Every quantum leap in mass communications also made possible a vast improvement in propaganda techniques. Nazi and Soviet propaganda looks as crude to us as a Babbage calculating machine. Virtual reality isn't something that's coming. It's here. It's been here for a while. The potent combination of media budgets and crowdsourced social media distribution has allowed for a previously unparalleled level of propaganda that creates and inhabits its own virtual reality.
There's a name for that sort of thing. Schizophrenia.
What happens when the schizophrenic media reality collapses when it comes into too sharp of a conflict with reality is the same behavior that schizophrenics exhibit when their perceptions of the world conflict with the real world.
The people venting and rioting and screaming were living in a cozy reality. Everyone in that progressive reality understood that history was on their side, that the majority was with them and that the right was a decaying mass of racists and corporations soon to be swept away by the tide of change.
But this wasn't reality. It was a carefully constructed narrative that fooled even the people who were building it. It was a virtual world overlaid over the real world. Its narratives were so integrated with the real world that it seemed as if it were real. There were stories and polls. Everyone in their social media bubble, except a few crazy uncles agreed with them. All the celebrities were on board.
And then the holodeck got switched off.
It wasn't a unique experience. Most Nazis didn't understand what was happening when the tanks broke through to Berlin. The average Russian wasn't prepared for the fall of the USSR.
Propaganda is a very effective tool for managing a population. But the trouble with a lie is that sooner or later it falls apart. A narrative isn't reality. It's a story we tell. Reality has no story except one shaped by a far higher power than any mere mortal. No ideological victory is permanent.
The ideological narrative of the right side of history imbibed by the left is a delusion. Ideological victories are temporary. Even cultural dominance is a very slippery thing. It is a subtle tool that isn't much good for the gross kind of control that it wants. A dictatorship like the USSR only lasts for so long. And then it falls and its ideology that everyone was forced to study once is forgotten.
A society can be transformed and changed. But the results of that change will ultimately be non-ideological. The USSR gave way to a totalitarian regime that is uninterested in Marxism-Leninism, but has duplicated everything else from the cult of personality to the secret police to the bribe economy to the pointless efforts at expansionism that waste resources and feed the hatred of its neighbors. The Communists failed to fundamentally transform Russia into their ideological paradise, but they certainly left a huge crater of a non-ideological stamp on it.
Obama has changed America. But the left will find that these changes will be largely non-ideological. Radical change breaks the system. It leaves scars. It crushes civic institutions. That. more than any of the ideological victories, will be the real impact of the Obama years.
The left's conviction that demographic change will give them ultimate power was always a foolish delusion. Latin America is not an exclusively left-wing domain, though it can sometimes look that way. Barring an overt tyranny, there would always be a right. Its values might have little in common with those of traditional American conservatism, but it would exist even if the left managed to achieve its demographic transformation.
The left's efforts at absolute power scar societies. That can be easily seen across Asia, Latin America and the territories of the Warsaw Pact. It can also be increasingly seen in the United States.
The level of political polarization continues to rise. There is increasingly no middle ground. The left blames this on Republicans, but historically it's the left that has abused its power to force change more than the right. Obama taught a master class in simply doing whatever you want because history is on your side. The reaction to that led directly to President Trump. And too much of the left is incapable of the self-awareness needed to grasp this simple fact.
The rules of a society exist for a reason. If you break them, expect everyone else to break them too. And expect that the result will be a society in which those rules no longer matter.
If you walk into a bar and shoot someone... and then get away with it, then the next step is that everyone else will be doing it too. The left is shocked, baffled and angered at the consequences of the violence it has inflicted on American society. It has inhabited the narrative of victimhood so thoroughly that it isn't aware of the fact that its "change" is a form of violence.
Instead of stopping, the left is doubling down. It is convinced that it can break through if it pushes hard enough. And it's probably right. But its victories are temporary. The damage is long-lasting.
The left broke through the Bush years with Obama. But it hadn't grasped that its unprecedented delegitimization of Bush led directly to the Republican delegitimization of Obama. It wasn't racism that led Republicans to reject Obama as illegitimate. That was part of the comforting narrative that the left told itself. Republicans were reacting to the new rules created by the left.
Bush was illegitimate. Therefore Obama was illegitimate. Therefore Trump is illegitimate. Therefore whoever succeeds him will be illegitimate. This is a non-ideological change created in the name of ideology. Any future president will be deemed illegitimate by the losing side.
The right is not free of blame in all this. But it's reacting to what the left does rather than initiating it. It takes the ball and runs with it further down the field. Then the left runs with it down the field for ten times the distance. And the rest is history and crumbling pillars and great wastelands.
The left won't win. But it can destroy America. And many of its ideologues hate the country enough that they would consider that a victory. If nothing else, America provided a model that served as a counterweight to the ideal leftist society. Wrecking that model is already an ideological win for the left. The right didn't have to fix Communist societies. That was a bonus. It just had to wreck them. The left doesn't have to fix America. It just has to wreck it so that it's seen as unworkable.
The question though is how many Americans to the left of center really want to be part of such a project. Not many. That is why the media bubble really exists. The narratives exist less for the sake of the center, let alone the right, but to manage the constituency of the left. The narrative is already healing after the shock of the Trump win. Activists are being urged to rally around victim allies and continue fighting until the bitter end. The bitter end being the collapse of everything.
The bubble is a lie. Everything inside it is a lie. It's a virtual space filled with propaganda as pervasive as anything out of the USSR or North Korea which utterly misrepresents everything to those inside it. The USSR could keep the game going longer because it controlled the vertical space of total power as well as the horizontal space of messaging. The left's grip on power is shaky. Its grip on messaging is total. And that is where media schizophrenia creeps in.
Citizens of totalitarian regimes recognize that they are being lied to. Statistics show a level of recognition of media bias among Americans on par with that of any totalitarian regime.
The media should be panicking over such numbers. But it doesn't care if 80 or 70 percent of Americans don't trust them. They are a secondary audience. Its core goal is to manage the beliefs of those who do. They are the revolutionary vanguard. They have to be shaped and directed.
And when they look over the iron curtain and past the media wall, reality no longer fits the narrative. Media schizophrenia kicks in. And they lose their grip on reality and lose their minds.
When you only speak with people who agree with you, and only associate with people that are like you, you forget that not everyone is the same. Diversity, right?ReplyDelete
I totally agree....after seeing the Midwest repudiate barry and the socialists and become the new wall for Trump I find it amazing that they have turned up the heat against Trump even more to soil him before 20 January. Additionally Scott Adams of Dilbert fame has posted some really good comments recently on this topic....worth the read.ReplyDelete
Great article. I have one disagreement.
You said "The question though is how many Americans to the left of center really want to be part of such a project. Not many. "
When you see the incessant flow of leftist garbage from school systems, even those in the midst of "normal" America, the directives from Washington, city and state governments, and academia, as well as the media, it is reasonable to question the "not many" hypothesis. Instead, we are talking about millions of gauleiters working to initiate and enforce their narrative. This is why the brain eating leftist disease is so difficult to stamp out.
Very well said. I still keep a subscription to the New York Times to keep track of what they think.ReplyDelete
They appear to be deep in an unreal world, as you say. I was stunned by how little analysis they did of their incorrect forecasts, but also by the fact they refuse to admit their world is unreal.
A day or two after the election they posted a bunch of women writing how being female had held them back in life. Comments were attached to that story and it filled with more women telling their own stories.
A huge pity party. As though the most important issue of the election was that a woman be elected. That's the unreal part of it. They cannot see that it was not that Hillary was a woman, but what her planned program for governing was. That's why she lost!
And I say this as a woman who spent her working life in a male-dominated field (I don't remember any time being female held me back).
My, goodness, this is gorgeous comprehension and writing, Daniel, thank you.ReplyDelete
MSM seems to have gone over to concocting and selling a narrative, instead of trying to discover the truth and report on it.
The media schizophrenia was deliciously obvious on election night. They were all decked out in their best smug then melted into babble when confronted with impossibility.ReplyDelete
But the media, celebs, and teachers are like persistent crabgrass. Tough competitors have to fearlessly present the Truth. We who already knew have a window of relative safety to help proclaim, validate, spread it.
The right should take care, in time, to neutralise the present trend in the very important "new"media of Twitter & Facebook where increasingly those who are in control censor the right's posts thereby effectively closing the route off which found and proved it's vallor in spreading a more balance message bypassing the biased traditional MSM.ReplyDelete
GREAT analysis-- explains why Trump won in a tsunami wave of votesReplyDelete
After the election, my father said, "Finally, the people saw behind the lies of the media." Thanks to the internet and brave writers, such as Mr. Greenfield, people can seek and find the truth. Vile Clinton and her paid truth assassins flooded every msm outlet with lies, scrubbed truth from the internet, destroyed people's characters and livelihoods, attacked sites with malware, and murdered sources. The spider web of deceit relentlessly continues to suppress truth, and we must never let the obamas and the merkels force censorship. Thanks to clever hackers, sources, and brave reporters, msm is collapsing. but we get to suffer through its death throes and the freakouts.ReplyDelete
I cannot respect people who knew facts and consented to lawlessness.
Beyond the excesses of personal indulgence in how they run their businesses, expenses, including their fat salaries, depend on advertising profits and stockholders' tolerance. Inevitably, reality rudely comes back into focus, whether they keep their eyes closed or not. When there is too little cash flow to pay for their nonsense, a new CEO is brought in to clean house, and get rid of the people killing the business or they shut down.ReplyDelete
For the elites and their media minions we all are alien Somalis, even if we are of Viking descent, we all are nothing but a minor nuisance interchangeable and deplorable.ReplyDelete
"The left's conviction that demographic change will give them ultimate power was always a foolish delusion."
The Left assumes we all share their basic assumptions including conforming to their socialist 'group think'. But despite their efforts in our schools and the media, people have, and continue to exercise, free will.
For example, the idea that Hispanic immigrants will necessarily vote Democratic ignores the fact that they come from countries with far less freedom than America. And a significant fraction will sort out that the opportunities they find here are directly related to the degree to which we have, and exercise, freedom and individual rights.
I know people, immigrants to America, who have seen socialism in action in their home countries and are inoculated against the 'siren song' of the socialists, 'free everything without lifting a finger'.
The worst aspect of our policy toward immigrants is moving them into the welfare state. As with American born welfare recipients, the immigrants who take welfare and don't eventually get away from it end up with dead end lives.
"Citizens of totalitarian regimes recognize that they are being lied to." This is so sad and true: The citizen says, "I lie to myself that I recognize what's being said is a lie because I'm too comfortable in my denial."ReplyDelete
I believe after January 20 things will slack off. The media will always attack Trump. He made them look like Brownie Scouts playing in a pro football game. The left thought they had beaten us into submission with PC guilt but they were sure wrong. If you look at the left close, it's just a Communist movement disguised as Socialism. They use the minority excuse to take power, but it didn't work this time and now their ship is sinking. They are also to the point of being openly racist by calling people who don't agree with them racist. They have two choices: accept defeat and try harder next time, or attempt to topple the country with a Civil War that they don't have a chance of winning.ReplyDelete
I think your article shows exceptional comprehension of the state of leftist/radical/revolutionary self deception and operation. But, I have seen several other equally perceptive commentaries/analyses on completely different levels that are equally true. I'm trying to grasp the totality of these perspectives because they do overlay naturally.ReplyDelete
Thank you, well done.
We need rigor on our side. Otherwise editorials too easily become "fake news"ReplyDelete
Brilliant. Thank you, Daniel Greefield, for writing and posting this article.ReplyDelete
It's hard for me to see any chance in hell of turning things around. The Left (Kantians, irrational, nehilists...) own so much of what drives the culture, not the least of which is k12. They have a generational pipeline already primed up; in essence, rationality has been outbreed.ReplyDelete
We are in what Eric Voegelin described as the Gnostic dream conception, an order of counter principles to the real principles of existence brought about by a psycho-pathology inherent to human nature. The ancient Gnostics failed in a millennial long competition with Christianity, so it migrated to the realm of political religions starting with the Puritan revolution. It has progressively intensified the conflict, so ordinary folk scratch their heads at the conspicuously crazed ideas but the underlying cause eludes them. Intellectuals and analysts see the symptoms at a more detailed level but are often astonished at their audacious agendas, asking themselves can they really be this deluded. As Daniel described the double down is as predictable as calculating our planet's orbit, there are two factors you can always rely on the predict to Gnostic behaviour. One, the claim to an immanent vision of a historical future they approach the present from - which is why they get so angry when people refuse to comply. Get it? You can't see the vision, benighted preterites - in fact the dream is so real to them you must be deliberately sabotaging it which makes you evil. The second is the misconception of the established order as a cosmic fact, not the temporal and tenuous arrangements of men Daniel alludes to. The smirking Gnostic, you can always tell when you're around one. They give themselves away with that stupid grin, like they know something you don't.ReplyDelete
Mr. Daniel Greenfield,ReplyDelete
I have been a fan of your writings for some time now. This post absolutely NAILS IT in terms of how we are being lied to by the media-of-mass-deception!
Thank God the people of the U.S. didn't fall for the lies during the 2016 Election!
Thank you for your brilliant analysis!
Talk Wisdom blog on Wordpress
I concur with nearly all of your observations and conclusions - but the 'liberal right' has also been a major contributor to the death of 'Amerika'.
I am 70+ years old man, who for several years has stated that I do not live in the country that I was born in just after WW II.
My dad was born just after WW I - and he felt the same way.
So this descent by 'Amerika' into the bottomless pit of moral relativism has been going on for a long time.
I am a 'Biblical CHRISTian', and the end of the matter about 'Amerika' - and every other country that follows the same human 'logic' of 'progessive ideologies' - their bitter end was written some 3,000 years ago in "the word of the Lord" - TWICE:
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man,
but the end thereof are the ways of death."
(Proverbs 14:12 | 16:25 ~ AV)
Of course when it all comes crumbling down the "Left" will blame the "Right" and the "Right" will blame the "Left" and the Media of course will blame it on the "Right"ReplyDelete
Thank you Daniel for another insightful essay.ReplyDelete
"So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don't even know that fire is hot." ― George Orwell, born Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950) Quote from "Inside the Whale and Other Essays", 1940.
Break up the media conglomerates using antitrust law.ReplyDelete
I agree that the left and it's world view will lose but what will it lose? The presupposition that "The Left" will lose it mind it interesting but based on what as a foundation? The left has no foundation only emotion and therefore I submit that it will never ceases to find "useful idiots" to fill it's ranks. Reality has no meaning to the vast majority of the left until the age of 38 or 40 years of age. Until then everything is based on feelings and what's cool or trending. This is the burden that Capitilizism bears because of its wealth creation and peace thru strength. The reason the USSR world view failed is because this system doesn't create a real economy. I may and probally am reading history wrong here but I really don't think its much more complicated than this. I do agree that the USA is scared because of this but all the more reason for the adults to with love and patience teach and bind up the woundsReplyDelete