Read like a conservative to see the world in a new way!

Summary: Today’s exercise might open your eyes and raise you consciousness, hopefully in a good way. Here’s what a conservative, of the extreme variety, reads over the course of a week, stories describing a terrifying world of powerful enemies, foreign and domestic, poised to attack (or already subverting America from within). It’s about our weakness and their strength. But more importantly this distorted news flow has tilted the nation’s mental in an unbalanced and fearful way.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

“you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
— John 8:32. Yes, but lies told the weak are more politically useful.

Truth Will Make You Free

How have so many Americans become so fearful and militaristic since 9/11, urging an ever more belligerent foreign policy (despite its repeated failures)? There have been studies showing a large fraction of people with a bias or tilt towards these things, such as “Tea Party Members Cultural Dispositions ‘Authoritarianism, Fear Of Change, Libertarianism And Nativism’“.

But there’s more to it. An industry has arise to feed our fears. The information “diet” we consume exacerbates these traits, so that we see a distorted view of the world, with every threat exaggerated in size and immanence. The repeated failure of these threats to affect us does change their views, mysteriously.

Here’s a sample of stories from just a few days — most from respectable sources (it’s much worse in the shadowy corners of the Internet). Only a few from Fox News and the Washington Times, as that would be too easy. Nothing here from the flow of racism; we discussed that yesterday.

Some of these stories are accurate, but lack context. Some are exaggerated. Some are fanciful. It’s the selectivity of the diet that produces the desired effect, making the subject easy to rule. Imagine credulously reading these every day for years. Terror and a kind of paranoia are natural results, plus a desire to strike before they get us.

Foreign Enemies

How the Military Will Fight ISIS on the Dark Web“, Patrick Tucker, Defense One.  “Al-Qaeda morphs into a new movement since 9/11“, AP. AQ has gone thru more changes since 9/11 than Lady GaGa. Always threatening yet seldom acting.  “The U.S. strategy to defeat the Islamic State is underpowered“, Washington Post editorial.  “Islamic State group’s war chest is growing daily“, AP. Perhaps in a decade or so it will equal that of Liechtenstein ($420 million per year).

 

Propaganda for Sheeple

Never too soon to preemptively wet your pants about the next attack: “NYPD, others on high alert after terrorist threat“, UPI. Must have been another slow news day.  “Al-Shabaab Threatens U.S. Attacks: Should You Be Worried?“, Ashish Kumar Sen. .  “Islamic State supporter warns of attacks against U.S.“, Reuters. They can always run these stories on a slow news day. It doesn’t bother anyone that nothing has happened after 14 years of imminent attacks.

How Russia Is Revolutionizing Information Warfare“, Peter Pomerantsev, Defense One. It’s a staple of this literature that nations with a fraction of our resources (e.g., Iran, Russia, China) are ahead of us in some vital military tech (remember the Bomber Gap and the Missile Gap?).  “Russia successfully tests nuclear missile, more planned“, Reuters. Oddly these seldom provide a context by comparing their programs with our own.  “NATO Ship in Black Sea Buzzed By Russian Planes, Russia Disputes Account“, US Navy Institute. Unlike most reports, the USNI mentions the Russian denial. Also seldom mentioned is that these are always in international airspace; hardly acts of war.  “Russia Releases Photos of its Submarine Fleet“, Defense Tech. Again no context by comparison with the vastly larger and more advanced US fleet.  “Nuclear Specter Returns: ‘Threat of War Is Higher than in the Cold War’“, Der Spiegel.  “Britain says scrambles fighter jets to escort Russian bombers“, Reuters. Propeller-driven Tu-95 bombers, not state of the art when first flown in 1952 (same as the jet-engined B-52). They were, of course, in international air space.  “Ukraine is today’s West Berlin“, op-ed in the WaPo by Mikheil Saakashvili. He was president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013, and is now chairman of the International Advisory Council on Reforms for the President of Ukraine. As if the guys running Ukraine are interested in “reforms”.

How to Push Back against an Aggressive China: Enter the ‘Quad’“, James J Carafano, National Interest. China should ask our Latin American neighbors for tips about being aggressive; they’ve seen it all from the US. NI runs some good material, but is working to become Fear-mongers Central.  “Chinese New Years Photos Show Off Liaoning Aircraft Carrier“, Defense Tech. Quite aggressive of China to buy a small old carrier. Unlike our large powerful fleet.

Iran’s Guard begins military exercises near key strait“, AP. Other nations defending themselves is another staple news story. Very aggressive, unlike the exercises we hold off their coast.

U.S. ‘deeply concerned’ by North Korean nuclear advance“, Reuters. Never in history has such a large nation been terrified for so long by such a small nation. Like an elephant afraid of a mouse.

Ministry of Truth

Enemies at home

Doings of the secret jihadist anarchist communist foreign unsurper Obama:  “Obama’s Untruth, Inc.:Let us count the ways: bald lies, lies of omission, mythography, amnesia, redaction . . .“, Victor Davis Hanson, National Review.  “Obama vs. the generals“, Marc A. Thiessen, Wa Po. “Watch Obama’s Top General Subtly, Repeatedly Skewer the President’s National-Security Policies“.  “HOW IS VERY SAD FOR AMERICANS! OUR PRESIDENT DIDN’T BOTHER TO REPRESENT AMERICANS IN PARIS WHEN 40+ WORLD LEADERS DID” , blog of Greta Van Susteren of Fox News. Love the ALL CAPS. “Top general: ‘Islamists embedded in White House?’“, Patriots For America. One from the fringe, just to remind you what’s out there, and what they say about Obama.  “U.S. military decimated under Obama, only ‘marginally able’ to defend nation“, Rowan Scarborough. Fun with numbers to produce delusional conclusion!  “Defense cuts degrading military, US no longer able to fight 2 wars at same time“, Fox News.

Benghazi bombshell: Diplomat tells of secret operation to withhold damaging docs from review board“, Rick Moran, American Thinker. Benghazi, Benghazi, BENGHAZI. No number of GOP-run investigations — all dry holes — can weary their faithful.

The threatening others amongst us: “New York man accused of trying to recruit, aid ISIS militants“, Fox News.

A Movement Betrayed: The Arms Control Crowd’s Iran Hypocrisy“, Emily B. Landau & Shimon Stein, National Interest.

Today’s hippie-bashing: “MOVIE DEALS DEATH BLOW TO VICIOUS LIES ABOUT VIETNAM: ‘BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WE WERE THE GOOD GUYS’“, WND. Read this website to see the popular delusions on the hard right. Just as scary as any of these stories.  It’s a dress rehearsal for the “stab in the back” explanaton for our failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama White House deporting fewer illegal immigrants than budget allows“, Washington Times. They seldom mention that Obama has been the top Presidentfor deporting illegals

Despite Blacks Enslaved by Muslims Across the World, Maxine Waters Calls Americans Bigots for Opposing Sharia Law“, Pamela Geller. The coming of Sharia Law to America is another popular trope on the far Right.

For More Information

Today was conservatives’ day to feature on the FM website. The Left get’s their turn often enough; see the posts about climate change to hear them howl.

See the posts about Information and Disinformation.  See the right-side menu bar to find more information about any of the subjects mentioned here.

20 thoughts on “Read like a conservative to see the world in a new way!

  1. It’s an exciting experiment in building an economy for the new era, based on fear, rage, and freefloating hostility as means of exchange. So far, so good!

  2. People read this stuff and believe much of it.
    People write this stuff and believe much of it.
    There is very little discernment, very little benchmarking with what happens in the near term reality, in comparison.
    There is a general distortion that occurs inside a mind at times and the consensus carries it all along; reality becomes what on believes and facts are then snuggled into that reality.
    “Benghazi” comes quickly to mind.
    That is a very disturbed mind.

    The magnitude of this onslaught and the accompanying cultural reinforcements is what is very odd and fascinating.
    However, how else can you convince a rather self satisfied citizenry to go along with the machinations of a Country the size and strength of the U.S.?

    It really is not all that surprising when you see the path the U.S. is taking.
    Empire.

    Many thx

    Breton

  3. The US is permanently crippled by two major historical factors.

    The worst was the introduction and maintenance of chattel slavery. And the second was that the US became the home of the most selfish, most stupid, and most militant form of Christianity. No other Western or Christian country has such a powerful combination of defects.

    The first factor has been fatal to worker solidarity and organization, the second fatal to intelligent action in general. These two factors have increased racism, cruelty, fear, division, selfishness, greed, and a craving for violence and war to a level far above that of most of the world’s democracies. The people who have this combination of racial and religious insanity may not amount to a majority, but they have a solid 40% or so, and under our political system, that means they have enough power to effectively block sensible societal action for long periods of time.

    1. I think it might be more about the American characteristic of individualism that allows manipulating people and people’s fears to be socially acceptable.

      I LOVE the line about how industry has arisen to fulfill the fear mongering.

      Seems we feed fears the same way we feed most of our mouths ; we produce unhealthy fare that caters to – in fact leverages – our base instincts because it is socially acceptable to take advantage of others in our society.

    2. Gloucon,

      Great points! I have written about our horrific 19th century, and its economic and social effects. But I had never thought about its effects on our character. Interesting, but not surprising, that these things have had little or no effect on our ability to gather money and power.

  4. The idea is:

    1) We Americans are rugged individuals because of our cultural heritage, so it is okay to screw others because – conveniently – if they are too stupid or lazy or sick or young to take care of themselves, it’s their fault.

    2) We really are just “lizard brains” wired to worry about survival (social/identity as much as physical these days) more than anything

    3) The great shift in the past 100 years has been from worrying about how we can produce enough to worrying how we can consume enough (to keep up with our post WWII productive capacity), so we focus all our energies on getting people to consume more.

    4) the easiest way for #3 to happen is to leverage #2, under the guise of #1

    5) we have spent years and years of very intense, sophisticated labor on #4. There are buildings full of PhD’s figuring out how to get people to eat bad food, take medicine that they don’t need, vote for bad policies, rig the markets or click on video’s that are cultural bottom food. This stuff doesn’t happen by accident. There are more PhD’s at Facebook than at Yale School of Medicine working on curing diseases. We are so good now at #4 that the average person doesn’t stand a chance.

    6) Man’s whole world has been about exploiting for survival, whether it be natural resources or other men. That is our nature.

    Two good references are http://www.amazon.com/What-about-Me-struggle-market-based-ebook/dp/B00IO8KZH8 and BBC’s documentary called “the Century of Self”

    Thanks for your blog.

    1. cwdz,

      (1) That’s a big point. Rugged individualism and social darwinism had horrific effects on the West, undoing much of the normative progress made by Christianity (change in values, if not behavior). See the classic rebuttal Charles A. Beard: “The Myth of Rugged American Individualism“, Harper’s, December 1931).

      (2) I dislike the framing of #2 – 5. Other than a few macroeconomists, nobody cares about boosting aggregate consumption. They care about aggregate income, production, taxes, etc. The drive to consume more comes from the bottom; it’s microeconomics. Companies want to boost sales. With that different framing, I agree with your points. It comes to much the same result.

      (3) I see #6, a result of #2, as beneficial — coding that’s let us survive under the most difficult conditions. Ice ages, eruptions of the Toba super volcano (very roughly 70-75,000 years ago), etc. Our challenge today is to use our minds and hearts to channel that coding in new ways.

    2. That would be really conservative point of view, not necesarily incorect, it is a choice to view it that way. There is another way to look at it. All that is serving the painfully slow but succesfull problem solving society that is periodically stuck with comming up with next problem that can be solved and finding out the solutions.
      Conservative view such as yours is about being impatient and frustrated by slowness of solutions. But it is progressing, no matter. It is my choice to view it this way, you have yours and it is not contrarian.

    3. Christianity, like most good ideas, started out pretty well and then became a convenient tool for people to take (financial) advantage of others. The Crusades are an obvious example of selfish exploitation. The reformation was really a financial protest/revolution more than a philosophical one. The medieval church was strikingly similar to our current “religion” of free market capitalism, where a good idea simply became a corrupted tool of enrichment for a few at the expense of the many, under the guise of “true ideals”. You don’t need to go as far as the CEO of Goldman Sachs claiming to do “God’s work” to get called an apostate for suggesting that capitalism doesn’t in fact lead to heaven. Families groomed their children in 1400 to be priests just like today’s families channel their kids will go to Wall Street. The leaders of the church were as corrupt and untouchable as today’s banksters. The parallels are remarkable, due to the same basic make-up of humans to be scared (for lack of a better word) into being taken advantage of and the willingness of a few people to systematically work to take advantage of them. Add a few decades and even the best idea will be overtaken by human weakness.

      As to other posts here, it seems to me that they are missing quite a bit of history. Slavery is just another form of this universal human aspect of exploitation, and it took/takes place everywhere. If you study the wages and lifestyle of an Amazon warehouse workers and compare it to the past slavery in the US south, you will find a good argument that it is cheaper to hire contingent workers at low salaries (no up-front costs, no maintenance nor risk of illness) than it is to actually put up capital to buy and keep slaves. Check the data: the top 1/10 of 0.01% who employ such workers today live better than yesterday’s slave holders, and in many cases the workers live worse. That is not a coincidence.

      I always try to remember that if there is money (power) involved, nothing happens because of coincidence. “The bank never makes a mistake in your favor”, whether the “bank” be a religion, a general, a politician, an oil or pharmaceutical company or hospital . People are hardwired to act a certain way, either as exploiter of exploitee; it’s all about the Benjamin’s. And until we fully come to terms with the absolute nature of people to exploit others for financial/power gains – and the inability of people to avoid being exploited – we are just playing into the hands of those doing the exploiting. It has worked throughout history and it is working now.

  5. Let me clarify my statement about conservativism addressing the points.
    1) Rugged individualizm is what had to happen, it was addaptive force in environment. Treating it as something bad and that it should not happen is conservativism (everything should be preserved as is, in order to preserve hierarchy) And that mentality has changed with FDR explaining how we all are interconected. But then new propaganda changed that again to return it to past.
    2) let’s wory about dying instead about survival. And again from point 1)
    3) why is bad that now masses can have what only aristocracy could have a 100 years ago? Again conservative since masses should not have as rich.
    4) i will not dispute the power of marketing just as FDR did and changed individualizm into more collective by good marketing.
    5) Look just what it got us to, now poor can have what only aristocracy had 100 years ago.
    6) it is what forces us to cooperate to achieve many things because as single man we keep finding stronger ones so we have to cooperate to overcome. Great training for cooperation. Adaption and cooperation, not always winning and that makes us richer. Inequality is reduced by not always winning.

    1. Jordan,

      Thank you for explaining. I don’t understand much of it, but it’s clear and well expressed. Two small points.

      (1) Every reference I’ve seen to “rugged individualism” considers it a conservative doctrine. For what are, I think, quite obvious reasons.

      (2) “Let’s worry about dying instead of survival”

      I don’t understand what that means.

    2. Sorry, that was very sarcastic. But how to respond to critique about “wanting” to survive? ” We really are just “lizard brains” wired to worry about survival ” why is that bad? Should we want to die instead of survive?

  6. Britain had chattel slavery, yet followed a very different path from America, abolishing the slave trade in 1807 and abolishing slavery in 1833, rather than fighting a civil war to preserve it. The British, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portugese all indulged in chattel slavery, with Christopher Columbus (as a Spanish example) rewarding his lieutenants by giving them 9-year-old Taino girls as sex slaves. Columbus started a global child-sex-slave inustry, shipping girls around the world: in 1500, Columbus wrote in a letter to a friend, “A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old) are now in demand.” Yet we don’t see the current pathologies of America’s endless foreign wars or racism or gun violence in Britain, France, the netherlands, Spain or Portugal today.

    “The U.S., with 4.5 percent of the world population, accounts for about 40 percent of the planet’s civilian firearms…” Source: “U.S. Guns: Statistics Show America An Outlier Among Developed Nations,” Huffington Post, 20 December 2012.

    1. There is a huge difference between those countries that used chattel slavery in distant colonies, but not in their homelands, and the US who at its founding had a population that was one fifth black slaves.

      Also, did it ever occur to you that a country that has the task of keeping 20% of it’s people in chains and to be on guard against slave revolts is probably going to be more militaristic and cruel and have a need for a strong gun culture and hence more guns?

    2. Gloucon,

      That’s an important point, and one from school I had forgotten about (it’s been a long time). The major western nations with large domestic slave/serf populations were Russia and America — both also have massive militaristic expansion programs — that continue to this day.

      For more about the dynamics of slavery see the (imo) best analysis by “Capitalism, Socialism, and Serfdom: Essays by Evsey D. Domar” by Evsey D. Domar (1989).

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