Propaganda & Thought Control

The People v. Pundits United

This electoral season has confirmed to me that the entire industry of opinion journalism is a con. Commit this to memory: it is not journalism. It is an elaborate game of social posturing and status jockeying, in which writers prove they are acceptable to other writers by constantly reaffirming the cultural values of their in-group.

It’s why liberal and conservative pundits sound the same these days. Once you understand that the purpose of contemporary journalism is not to inform the people, but to ingratiate oneself with the right kind of people, you begin to see the contours of our national malaise.

It’s also one reason Trump made it so far. The pundit class is a symbol, to all kinds of voters, of our civilization’s enduring cultural rot. If you make your living as a carpenter or janitor, you’re not likely to have much respect for a sealed-off class of idle scribblers who make money solely off their opinions. This is especially true if those scribblers, whether “left” or “right,” think you’re an unwashed malcontent. (more…)

Trojan Donkey

2016-21-10_lite

I have written the cover story for the October 21 issue of The Catholic Herald. My piece concerns the controversial pilfered emails from John Podesta, released by Wikileaks, that point to Democratic activists’ use of certain Catholic groups to influence the U.S. Church.

Here’s a taste:

It’s hardly surprising that liberal activists would create organisations devoted to left-wing goals. But these comments should open up fresh debate about the use of religious groups for political ends – and the often close relationship between a small circle of powerful Democrats and liberal Catholic groups.

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Wearing Down the West

There are two effects of today’s routine Islamist terrorism, apart from the death and destruction, that are breaking the will of its target countries. One is that the regularity blunts our outrage: when bombings and shootings happen nearly every week, people begin to accept them as part of their new existence. Humans can get used to anything. And when they’re used to something, there’s no longer any will to stop it.

The other effect is that the regularity overwhelms the media, to the point where effective reporting on the attacks isn’t really possible. Let’s assume for a moment that the Western media actually want to report on all the attacks. There’s evidence that they’re more interested in protecting the comfortable lies of multiculturalism than in factual reportage: consider how far Sweden will go to keep migrant crimes hidden from the public. (See here, here, and here for explanation.)

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The Politics of Guilt: or, How to Win a Culture War

Here’s me at The Catholic Herald, reflecting on last week’s Democratic sit-in for the policy people like to call “gun control”:

One side of the culture war has been successful in linking all its opinions to the most contentious and guilt-ridden periods in American history. Anyone opposing the sit-in, then, is cast in the symbolic role of Bull Connor.

One might scoff at all of this, but bringing guilt and shame by continually invoking the lowest points in a nation’s history does affect people — see “Germany” — and often makes people assent to things not on their merits but on their emotional repercussions. I’ll always defend the Enlightenment, but it cemented in many Western minds a false idea of how humans actually think and make decisions. We have been trained since school age to believe that if we use facts, logic, and reason to make a case, we can persuade others to our side; if we apply this process to governance, the thinking goes, we can preserve our rights and liberty through superior argumentation.