Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Big Lies from Big Liars

Intellectuals believe in their minds. They believe in big ideas, the kinds that rarely enter their small minds. They identify as thought leaders, people who want to control the American mind.

Now, those who belong to the media are up in arms. They have discovered that the nation's problems derive from the fact that certain people do not think as they think. So, they want to censor anyone who does not believe what they believe. Why they conclude that they possess access to the truth... they will never be able to explain.

They believe in mind over matter and they insist that bad ideas cause bad behaviors. Thus, if only we can clean out the bad ideas that have infested the minds of people who do not think like them, then all will be well.

Blaming actions on ideas is a neat dodge. It comes from our very own therapy culture, the one that derives from a certain mental health practice. In that practice, therapists work hard to change minds, by granting them new illuminating insight and awareness, by teaching them how to narrate their lives. Then their patients will find meaning by folding their small narratives into larger narratives.

From the time of Freud and Jung these narratives were mostly pagan myths and legends. Now they are most likely Hegelian and Marxist narratives of oppression. (To be fair, Freud gave a lot of space to repression narratives.) We do not merely need to overthrow our capitalist patriarchal masters, but we need to change their minds, to institute what Communism called thought reform, i.e. brainwashing.

Dissenting opinions have now become an unmitigated evil, something that must be stamped out, lest we have more riots and more insurrections. You see, bad ideas produce bad behavior. Hate speech produces hateful actions-- unless it is directed at Republicans, in which case it is merely exposing a truth about those bad Republicans.

Among the institutions devoting themselves to this task are the school systems, the academy, the therapy profession, the Democratic Party, the world of television dramedy and sit coms. By all indications, these have been given over to the task of propagandizing the values of wokeness. How many television shows are multicultural, to a fault? How many promote feminist values? How many of the wrongfully accused are people of color? How many villains are white males, capitalist predators?

Now, the armies of wokeness, having conquered most of the marketplace of ideas, are expanding to takeover the rest of the American mind. Led by social media, seconded by the print press, these armies will now set out to censor conservative voices. Recall that the New York Times staff had a temper tantrum over a Sen. Tom Cotton op-ed. The paper apologized for being insensitive and it fired the editorial opinion editor, one James Bennet. Now, the armies of wokeness are stepping up the attack on television news and opinion, in particular, on Fox News.

One remarks that this is not coming from the liberal left. It is coming from the radical millennials who are especially woke. Liberal voices, from Alan Dershowitz to Jonathan Turley to Matt Taibbi to Glenn Greenwald have been out front denouncing this illiberal effort to monopolize the marketplace of ideas.

As you will recall, when the nation’s major cities were engulfed in violent protest this past summer, the media tended to play it down, to see it all as protests. Everyone recalls the pictures of a CNN reporter, standing in front of burning buildings, declaring that the protests were mostly peaceful.

The point is, the mini minds of the American media-- and they are profoundly limited-- believe that reality is what they say it is. They believe that they can change the world by changing the way we talk about and think about the world. Then they inveigh against people who ignore science and reject facts.

John Tierney addressed the point in a recent City Journal essay. (via Maggie’s Farm) We will note that the subterfuge does serve a purpose. The goal is to absolve rioters of all responsibility for what they perpetrated last summer, and to shift the blame to white police officers. If blacks are rioting, the fault lies with white people. Right?

It’s an interesting example of moral dereliction, one that deviates sharply from the approach people took some five decades ago. Then people believed that riots occurred because there was too little ineffective policing. Besides, in those old days, people believed that rioters needed to held personally accountable for their actions. Now people believe that riots occur because there is too much policing and too much racist thinking:

After the 1968 summer of riots, journalists, politicians, and sociologists spent many words and dollars trying to find and cure the “root cause” of the racial unrest. They failed, but eventually a solution did emerge. The root cause of riots turned out to be rioters. Peace returned to the streets once police adopted new crowd-control tactics and prosecutors cracked down on lawbreakers. Mob violence came to be recognized not as an indictment of American society but as a failure of policing.

That lesson was forgotten last year, when police were lambasted for trying to control violence at Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests. Journalists disdained tear gas and arrests in favor of addressing the “systemic racism” supposedly responsible for the disorder. After the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, some raised questions about police failure to stop the mayhem, but once again, progressive journalists are focusing elsewhere. They’ve identified a new root cause of mob violence: free speech.

Also writing for City Journal, Heather Mac Donald explained the price of the movement to blame the police, that is, to discredit the police and to defund the police.

The year 2020 likely saw the largest percentage increase in homicides in American history. Murder was up nearly 37% in a sample of 57 large and medium-size cities. Based on preliminary estimates, at least 2,000 more Americans, most of them black, were killed in 2020 than in 2019….

The local murder increases in 2020 were startling: 95% in Milwaukee, 78% in Louisville, Ky., 74% in Seattle, 72% in Minneapolis, 62% in New Orleans, and 58% in Atlanta, according to data compiled by crime analyst Jeff Asher. Dozens of children, overwhelmingly black, were killed in drive-by shootings. They were slain in their beds, living rooms and strollers. They were struck down at barbecues, in their yards, in malls, in their parents’ cars, and at birthday parties. Fifty-five children were killed in Chicago in 2020, 17 in St. Louis, and 11 in Philadelphia. In South Los Angeles alone, 40 children were shot, some non-lethally, through September.

Some civic leaders blamed it all on systemic racism, so to speak:

Why this mayhem? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch expresses the conventional wisdom: because of the “economic, civic and interpersonal stress” from the coronavirus pandemic. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blamed pandemic-related “frustration, anger . . . trauma and mental health challenges.”

To translate, this means the rioting is a valid form of political expression, and that it is even a valid therapy for the oppressed. 

Yet, when white people protest, at times violently, at the United States Capitol, that cannot be a valid therapy for the oppressed. Because white people are oppressors.

 Thus, Tierney points out that journalists apply an obvious double standard to the protests. This means that the law and the media and the commentariat treats two groups of people differently. They might as well be living in two different countries. For the record I do not believe that said journalists are progressive, in any serious sense of the word.

In Tierney’s words:

Progressive journalists have been in an ideological bubble so long that they’ve come to believe their own hype about the right-wing menace—and they’re oblivious to their blatant double standards.

They pretended that riots across the United States last year were “mostly peaceful protests,” while the one at the Capitol was a historic “insurrection” and “attempted coup” that put “democracy in peril.” Its symbolism made the Capitol riot a singularly horrifying spectacle on television, but the actual toll in life and property was much smaller than that of last year’s mob violence, which claimed at least 15 lives and caused more than $2 billion in damage.

Yes, the mob at the Capitol had been fed lies and conspiracy theories about election fraud, and some of the organizers had used social media—including not just Parler but also Facebook and Twitter—to enrage the protesters. It’s no surprise that Joe Biden and other Democrats are denouncing this “Big Lie” and promising to fight “domestic terrorism” by imposing new restrictions on social-media platforms. Politicians are always eager for more power.

The interesting point about the war on what Democrats call “domestic terrorism” is that domestic terrorism is the only terrorism Democrats are willing to fight. They are certainly not willing to fight Islamist terrorism-- their great idol, Barack Obama never even spoke the words.

Those who fight an external enemy, like radical Islam, are doing more to unite the country. Those who are fighting against domestic terrorism are necessarily dividing the country.

It’s all about propaganda and promoting lies. It is interesting to see political leaders lying through their teeth while accusing the other side of lying. Of course, this happened during the George W. Bush administration. Given the leftist control of the media, Republicans have yet to come up with an effective counterattack.

That freedom allowed journalists to spend two years promoting a conspiracy theory about Russia collusion, a falsehood that did far more far to cripple the federal government than the Capitol riot. They encouraged last year’s riots by convincing the public, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, that black men were being disproportionately killed by white police officers.

The promoters of those “Big Lies” assume that they won’t be censored as long as Democrats rule Washington and Silicon Valley, but the precedents being set will give Republicans weapons for payback when they return to power. The eventual result will be bipartisan censorship. Far better to let police and courts deal with rioters—and leave Americans free to say what they want.


370H55V said...

"[T]he precedents being set will give Republicans weapons for payback when they return to power."

Ah, but that's the whole point. They are confident that that will never happen again, and plan to insure that with obscenities like HR 1.

Sam L. said...

As I keep saying, I don't know if the media is/are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dem Party, or if it's the other way round, but it's OBVIOUS that they are in CAHOOTS.

Sam L. said...

"Now, the armies of wokeness are stepping up the attack on television news and opinion, in particular, on Fox News." Really??? I had the impression that Fox had gone over to the DARK SIDE of Leftism. Must be only the DIM side, so far...

Anonymous said...

The Republicans won't be returning to power, not in 2022, not in 2024, not ever.

We can't vote our way out of this.

ErisGuy said...

Tierney points out that journalists apply an obvious double standard to the protests.

There is no double standard. Leftists are consist, making it easy to predict their moral judgement on an issue. Leftism has a hierarchy of race, class, gender. An action becomes good as it approaches the top of the hierarchy and bad as it descends lower on the scale. This is not hypocrisy. This is not a double standard, except in the obsolete, inoperative, outmoded “universal” morality which believed that good and bad was the same for everyone and could be discovered and followed by anyone, two assumptions which have become demonstrably false.

ErisGuy said...

Yes, the mob at the Capitol had been fed lies and conspiracy theories about election fraud,

Either the journalists are telling the Truth and don’t hold a double standard: Biden’s election was the cleanest ever, or Tierney and the journalists are wrong: the fraud was massive and obvious, as was the conspiracy to steal the election.Can’t have it both ways here Tierney.