Monday, June 19, 2017

Selling Big Lies

A great propagandist will sell you a narrative that makes no sense. He will do so by taking control of the media presentation of the topic and by denouncing anyone who disagrees, who manifests the least particle of doubt, as a bigot, a Nazi, a mass murderer and a terrorist. 

When Muslim terrorists commit acts of terrorism, right thinking people will immediately rush to the barricades to explain that we must suppress Islamophobia. When a boy thinks he is a girl we must accept that he is a girl, to the point of subjecting him to treatments that will stop puberty. Of course, the propagandists love facts and are opposed to all forms of child abuse.

The climate change chorus is up in arms about the Trump administration’s renunciation of the Paris climate accord. It is telling us that America has now abandoned the environmental cause and, with it, world leadership. Considering that citizen of the world Barack Obama had already abrogated American world leadership on anything other than the quixotic quest to shut down industry, it was rich indeed.

In the aftermath of the Trump decision California’s Governor Moonbeam flew to China in order to ally his state with the Middle Kingdom and against the United States. The spectacle of an American governor trying to embarrass the American must have warmed hearts and minds in Beijing. Who know how easy it was to manipulate governors.

Joel Kotkin exposed the folly of the Brown trip:

California Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent trip to China reflects the massive disconnect inherent in the progressive establishment worldview. The notion that the country that is the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, emitting nearly twice as much as the United States, and is generating coal energy at record levels, should lead the climate jihad is so laughable as to make its critics, including Trump, seem reasonable. All this, despite the fact that the U.S., largely due to the shift from coal to natural gas, is clearly leading the world in greenhouse gas reductions.

If you are praising the heroism of Gov. Brown be sure to mention that your opinions are incontrovertible facts.

Kotkin continued:

Paris is good for China in that it gets it off the hook for reducing its emissions until 2030, while the gullible West allows its economies to be buried by ever-cascading regulations. The accords could have cost U.S. manufacturers as many as 6.5 million industrial jobs, while China gets a basically free pass. President Xi Jinping also appeals to the increasingly popular notion among progressives that an autocracy like China is better suited to address climate change than our sometimes chaotic democratic system….

Ultimately, the Paris accords are much ado about nothing. The goals will have such little impact, according to both rational skeptics like Bjorn Lomborg and true believers like NASA’s James Hanson, as to make no discernible difference in the climate catastrophe predicted by many greens. In reality, Paris is all about positioning and posturing, a game at which both Brown and Xi are far more adept than the ham-handed Trump.

When it comes to leadership on green energy and climate change the left thinking elites now worship German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Miss Open Arms herself. After all, Germany shut down all of its nuclear power plants because of climate risk and is now burning more coal. Keep in mind, when you are selling a narrative, facts only matter if they appear to support your point.

Kotkin explained Merkel’s folly:

Never mind that Germany’s green energy plan has been so successful that the country is reopening coal plants, and has produced increasing emissions the last two years, in large part due to the inefficiencies of the renewable sector. Germany, like most of Europe, also suffers from such low birthrates that it must depend on more immigration, largely from the most lethal parts of the world. The European Union is expected to shrink by 2050 under any circumstances, while Germany’s population will drop by 8 percent.

Europe’s immigration policy is such rank madness that more and more people are shrugging their shoulders and accepting its inevitable consequences: the Decline and Fall of Western Europe.

As for Vladimir Putin, he never had it as good as he had it during the Obama administration. Effectively, our citizen of the world president ceded world leadership to Putin and Xi Jinping. Naturally, this has led the media elites to go into paroxysms of rage about how Trump is Putin’s puppet.

And then there’s this, in Kotkin’s words:

For all the hysteria surrounding Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, Putin would have been better off with the Democrats in power. Putin needs two things to put his “Upper Volta with missiles” back at the center of global geopolitics: a weaker American military and more curbs on U.S. fossil fuel production. Democrats are more likely to accomplish these goals than Republicans, who are more closely tied to the defense and energy industries.

Kotkin concluded that America will retain its preeminence for decades to come.

America is likely to remain the dominant country in the world — economically, culturally and technologically — for decades to come. Unlike Germany, China, Japan or Russia, its population will not be shrinking in 2050, and it enjoys both advanced technology and vast resources. Trump may damage our image in the world, but even his clumsiness will not be sufficient to undermine our continuing pre-eminence.


Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: A great propagandist will sell you a narrative that makes no sense.

That statement itself might be propaganda, since it doesn't really make sense.

Perhaps this misperception can be explained by tribal thinking? When you see someone arguing from a different tribe, it makes no sense to you, so you assume it is trying to trick you, and you don't understand why that tribe has bought it so readily.

I've also heard that we tries the hardest to convince others of things we ourselves are unsure about, so if you're unsure, but you can convince someone else, you'll feel better that you're on the right track. And Einstein even supposedly said you don't really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. But that still doesn't solve the propaganda problem - your grandmother may want to believe you, and not ask critical questions.

I recall the quote "The best lies are half truths", and that makes more sense. We're always more susceptible to deception when it starts with things we agree with, but ends with claimed conclusions which really are self-interested opinions. So this apparently works well when you're speaking to homogeneous audience whom all want to believe the same thing. But if the premise itself is questionable, because you stand outside of that echo chamber, you see right through it.

My best understanding is that hard problems, including political ones, are "divergent problems" where the best solutions don't come out of one way of thinking, but come out of multiple points of view, and the worse solutions arrive when one narrative controls everything and tries to assert itself as the only valid approach.

People who sell "final solutions" are usually the biggest liars, since they've very convincing. If you make your enemies disappear, then the issues they carry for you might also disappear.

trigger warning said...

The new Confederate flag:

The "Climate Alliance", WA, CA, and NY, have declared a confederacy of states to engage in a foreign policy engagement with the major players in the Paris "Accord"...

"It is a little bold to talk about the China-California partnership as though we were a separate nation, but we are a separate nation,”
--- Gov Jerry Brown (via USA Today)

As soon as IL is in, I say we let them go, and move the border checkpoints to the existing state lines.

On second thought, why wait?

Sam L. said...

Governor Moonbeam is well, and accurately, named.