Summary: This week we had simultaneous two-minute-hate sessions run by both Right and Left against Obama and George Will. These are fine demos of peasants’ protests in New America, proving that we remain capable of collective action: fun, righteous, purposeless swarming. Orwell predicted it. The 1% laugh.
- We enjoy our two minutes hate
- About Obama’s prisoner exchange
- About George Will & the epidemic of sexual assault
- For More Information
(1) We enjoy our two minutes hate
How do a people act who see themselves as powerless heirs to a Republic? Passive and apathetic, yet feeling a legacy of responsibility to act — resulting in severe cognitive dissonance. Pressure building each day as they see the Second Republic decay around them. Stress, emotion, demanding an outlet. This week we saw the reaction, simultaneous in both Left and Right.
- Obama denounced for exchanging a disgraced Army deserter for 5 Taliban terrorist leaders, soon returning to the battlefield.
- George Will defended rapists. “One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college” — and Will criticized Obama’s efforts to take back the night.
The rage was palatable. No denunciation was too lurid. No exaggerations of the evil one’s beliefs is condemned. No guess about his motives is questioned. It’s all nonsense, on several levels. The accusations are largely false. There’s not even the pretense of rational criticism (debating darkness!). Nor is this political activity (no personal activity results); it’s the substitute for it.
In a nation of isolated individuals, participation in political swarms gives us the feeling of belonging to something good and larger. Fun faux righteous togetherness.
And it relieves the pressure on us. Until the next time. Worse, as America slides away the pressure builds more quickly — and so these become more frequent. At some level we know these accomplish nothing. They convince nobody, change no policy, leave no trace. They’re peasants’ protests, not politics.
The 1% smiles, since hatred instead of rational debate prevents communication — keeping us divided and weak.
In this, as in so many things, George Orwell foresaw us.
The Hate had started. As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust.
… Goldstein was delivering his usual venomous attack upon the doctrines of the Party — an attack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it.
… Before the Hate had proceeded for 30 seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room. … In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy- haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish.
… The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out ‘Swine! Swine! Swine!’ and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein’s nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair.
The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within 30 seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.
It’s a peasants’ protest for busy people. Fast, concentrated. Afterwards we feel better, and life goes on — unchanged. But we can do better than this.
(2) About Obama’s prisoner exchange
- “Taliban prisoner swap makes sense“, Anand Gopal, CNN, 5 June 2014 — Bind-blowing facts about the 5 Taliban
- “Taliban Prisoner Swap: A Fact-Free Controversy“, Justin Raimondo, AntiWar, 9 June 2014 — “Who needs facts when we have our emotions?”
- “‘We’re in a war’“, Steve Benen (Producer, The Rachel Maddow Show), MSNBC, 10 June 2014
(3) About George Will and the college sex assault epidemic
The subject of tomorrow’s post.
(4) For More Information
(a) Reference pages about American politics:
- Posts about politics in America
- Posts about reforming America
- The Information reference page lists posts about propaganda run against us by our military, the Left & Right
(b) Posts about two-minute hates:
- George Will: climate criminal or brave but sloppy iconoclast?, 23 February 2009
- 5 years later: checking up on the 2-minute hate at George Will about melting of the polar ice, 10 June 2014
- More attempts to control the climate science debate using smears and swarming, 19 October 2009
- Well-funded organizations inciting us to hate & fear, again. How gullible are we?, 7 December 2013
- Nate Silver goes from hero to goat, convicted by the Left of apostasy, 25 March 2014
- The Left stages a two minute hate on Nate Silver, Roger Pielke Jr (& me), 29 March 2014
(c) Posts about peasants’ protests:
- Occupy Wall Street, another futile peasants’ protest, 5 October 2011
- The Million Vet March, a typical peasants’ protest. Does it portend more serious protests in our future?, 13 October 2013
- Occupy & Tea Party are alike, both saving America through cosplay, 18 October 2013
- Lessons from the failure of Occupy Wall Street, its lasting legacy, 7 May 2014