10,000 on ignore, Book 196, The Days of Reckoning, Part 55....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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covidletter.png
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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With each passing month, COVID-19 becomes an increasingly Republican pandemic
Hunter

The New York Times has an updated look at the status of vaccinations and pandemic deaths in the United States, and with the help of the latest pretty charts and grim statistics we can see that the new status of COVID-19 as a Republican-spread disease is not abating.

If you live in a state or in a county that voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, you are more likely to be unvaccinated than if you live in a state or county that voted for Joe Biden—and the stronger the Trump preference, the more that holds true.

If you live in a state or county that voted for Donald Trump, you are therefore now much more likely to die of COVID-19 than if you live in a part of America that didn't. As the pandemic drags on, fueled primarily by the unvaccinated, the numbers continue to get starker; the Times cites Charles Gaba's finding that in top Trump-supporting counties, 47 out of every 100,000 Americans has died in the pandemic. In the least Trump-supporting, it's less than 10 in 100,000.
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So yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is at this point an ideologically fueled pandemic. The hospital systems are failing in Republican-governed areas, filling with Republican voters, dying of an illness being spread by other Republicans who have chosen, as part of their identity, to mock those that would have them act more safely. Because the virus itself does not distinguish between hosts, it's not just conservatives who are getting sick and dying. There is no question, however, that the places where the most people are getting sick and dying tend to be places that vote Republicans into office.

Go figure.

As to the why of these results, the vast majority of the press has been reluctant to even delve in to such questions, even as experts and non-experts alike ponder over how to convince the vaccine-hesitant to join the rest of the country in trying to Not Die. At The Washington Post, Aaron Blake gives a bit of context for that one. The short version is that unvaccinated Republicans have absolutely bizarre beliefs about the effectiveness of the vaccine they're not getting. Unvaccinated Republicans peg the chance of hospitalization if they were to get COVID-19 at about 5%, but also believe that the chances of vaccinated Americans ending up in the hospital at the same 5%.

This isn't even close to true—in fact, it's inverted. Getting vaccinated drops your risk of hospitalization to a tiny fraction of what it is for the unvaccinated, that being the whole point of vaccines. Unvaccinated Republicans have, ahem, "somehow" gotten the idea that the vaccine doesn't do much of anything at all.


What we've been seeing in polling has remained consistent. The current Republican base believes masks aren't effective, vaccines aren't effective, and that the dangers of COVID-19 are being overplayed to begin with so why bother.

Now here's where most press reports of how this bizarre misinterpretation of the most basic facts of the pandemic came to pass sort of ... peter out. However could Republican-leaning Americans be so bizarrely misinformed about the basic known facts of a deadly pandemic? Is this a new streak of libertarian aversion to government? Is it the topsy-turvy information world we live in these days? Are public health experts failing in their duties? Do vaccine refusers feel insulted by all this fact-knowing these days? What's going on? This is all very complex and—

No. No, it's not very complex at all.

These notions that have embedded themselves in the Republican base, from theories about the ineffectiveness of masks and vaccines to their supposed "hidden dangers" to a general dismissal of the dangerousness of the deadly global pandemic can all be summarized as The Fox News Nightly Programming Schedule. You're looking for how the staunchest conservatives in America are all rallying behind the same core collection of false claims and scientific denialism? Check Fox News during primetime hours and you'll see it propped up on the screen behind angry hosts just asking questions about whether Actually, all of the world's combined governments and experts might be lying to conservatives in order to something something something. And it's been happening, like clockwork, for over a year.

As for how pandemic misinformation became a particular focus of Fox News and other "conservative" pundit dens, that doesn't require much teasing out either. None of it was hidden.


• An incompetent real estate developer elevated to the presidency, one who surrounded himself with equally unqualified loyalist yes-men, suddenly found himself responsible for managing government through a worldwide crisis.


• Having no idea what to do or how to make it happen, the lifelong huckster declared that the crisis was overblown and that whatever actions he found himself unable to accomplish were therefore unnecessary.

• A movement that had celebrated the man's gleeful racism and authoritarian instincts latched on to these pronouncements, themselves declaring that the pandemic was not serious and that their leader's inaction was, in fact, evidence of his genius.

• These claims were widely broadcast by Fox News and the movement's other outlets.

• Well slap me with a spoon and call me pudding, it turns out that broadcasting ideologically premised falsehoods relentlessly for the span of a year-and-a-half results in a political base believing those things with every fiber of their being.

• Those people are now getting sick and dying as a consequence of those broadcasts. It will continue until the broadcasters renounce the misinformation, until such a significant percentage of the believers have died off to cause a mass reevaluation of the false claims, or until the believers reach "natural" herd immunity the hard way.

There ya go, there's the entire pandemic flowchart—incompetence; denial; misinformation; consequences.

The COVID-19 pandemic is now, in this country, a partisan disease. It spreads mostly through Republican counties, infecting mostly Republicans and their immediate contacts, filling mostly Republican-region hospitals with mostly Republican patients. This is a direct consequence of Fox News hosts lying to America about vaccines, about masks, about social distancing, about the danger of the disease, and about the public health officials trying to keep Americans alive. It was intentional. It was specific.

It continues because the Murdoch family, the Fox News board, and those that work on each of the Fox News hosts' primetime shows are truly malevolent people who absolutely do not care how many Americans are coaxed into pandemic suicide by their half-assed justifications for conservative incompetence.

And it continues because Republican governors, mayors, and other public officials are more often than not devoting themselves to propping up conservative pandemic fictions rather than challenging a base now absolutely frothing in their insistence that the fictions are real.

So here we are.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Yes, Jan. 6 was a violent insurrection, as evidence in key Proud Boy’s case again demonstrates
David Neiwert

The next time that right-wing gaslighters—whether Tucker Carlson or other far-right pundits, or Republican congressmen—try to valorize the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by depicting them as harmless protesters, it might be helpful for everyone to review the case of Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola, charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, assault, and multiple other felonies.

The bearded Pezzola, a 44-year-old Rochester, New York, man, is a familiar figure in photos from Jan. 6 as the man who stole a police riot shield and used it to break windows on the south side of the Capitol. He was in court again this week in an attempt to win pretrial release from the D.C. Detention Center, and evidence released in that hearing demonstrate once again how violent and dangerous the insurrectionists were in reality.
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According to a memorandum filed by prosecutors in the detention hearing this week, among the evidence in his case was a USB thumb drive containing instructions on building homemade bombs, as well as guns and poisons, The Daily Beast reports.

Pezzola was one of the leaders in the Proud Boys’ assault on the Capitol, prosecutors allege, along with fellow indictees Ethan Nordean and Joe Biggs, who have made similar legal attempts to obtain pretrial release. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction charge alone.

FBI agents searching Pezzola’s home found the thumb drive there, and discovered “hundreds” of PDF files with instructions on building terrorist devices at home. “A sample of titles includes, but is not limited to: multiple serials of a series entitled ‘Advanced Improvised Explosives,’ those serials including ‘Explosive Dusts’ and ‘Incendiaries’; ‘The Box Tube MAC-11,’ with subtitle, ‘The Ultimate DIY Machine Pistol;’ ‘Ragnar’s Big Book of Homemade Weapons;’ ‘The Advanced Anarchist’s Arsenal: Recipes For Improvised Incendiaries And Explosives.’”

Prosecutors allege Pezzola confronted Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman outside the Senate Chamber as part of a mob. “Where they meeting at?” Pezzola said, referring to the members of Congress voting to certify Joe Biden’s win. “Where they counting the votes?”

In an earlier document filed in August, prosecutors claimed that Pezzola explicitly proclaimed in a video shot inside the Capitol that his intent was to interrupt the count:

Pezzola uploaded a victory speech to social media. Smoking a cigar, he exclaimed: “Victory smoke in the Capitol, boys. This is ****ing awesome. I knew we could take this mother****er over [if we] just tried hard enough.” Pezzola concedes that he smoked the victory cigar because “he considered the objective achieved, stopping the certification of the election pursuant to the instructions of the then President.”

Pezzola’s previous attorney had written in court filings that he believed a so-called "cooperating witness" was sharing information about the Proud Boys. An earlier filing by prosecutors had revealed that this witness heard Proud Boys members claim that “anyone they got their hands on they would have killed,” including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and that they would have also killed then-Vice President Mike Pence “if given the chance.” The men—who all had firearms or access to them—also talked about returning to Washington for Inauguration Day, and that “they plan to kill every single ‘m-fer’ they can.” That witness, prosecutors noted, has not been charged with a crime.

His previous attempts at winning release on bond denied by two different federal judges, Pezzola hired a new legal team to make a third attempt. Those attorneys, Marty Tankleff and Steven Metcalf, argued in court this week that the restrictions the D.C. Jail places on his access to the voluminous evidence in the case violate his constitutional rights.

However, they seem not to have persuaded the judge: “Even if defense were to be able to show a Constitutional violation in the way he’s being detained, the remedy wouldn’t be to release him, the remedy would be to remedy the Constitutional violations," Federal Judge Timothy Kelly said.

“Pezzola poses both a serious danger to the community and a serious risk of flight,” prosecutors argued.

Just a reminder, once again, that there’s a reason prosecutors are considering charges of “seditionist conspiracy” against some of these conspirators—and why “insurrection” is precisely the right term to describe what they attempted that day.
 

McCloudersportLion

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Joey throws guy in the dungeon for calling out his senile incompetece in Afghanistan withdrawal. Threatening and punishing dissenters on anything from vaccines to incompetent foreign policy is all this pathetic man has left...

#DangerouslyDesperateDementedJoe

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Joey throws guy in the dungeon for calling out his senile incompetece in Afghanistan withdrawal. Threatening and punishing dissenters on anything from vaccines to incompetent foreign policy is all this pathetic man has left...

#DangerouslyDesperateDementedJoe

Gateway Pundit. LULZ.

Right after a Rod Liddle column, too. Double LULZ.

Your brain is so very damaged.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Senate Republicans, who ballooned the national debt under Trump, block Democratic bill to pay for it
Kerry Eleveld

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised his caucus would engage in political terrorism on raising the debt ceiling, and on Monday Senate Republicans delivered.
On a party-line vote, Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill to avert a government shutdown, provide new disaster relief funding, and raise the debt ceiling to allow the federal government to pay its bills. The federal government is funded through midnight Thursday, and the nation will default on its debt sometime in October unless the ceiling is either lifted or suspended.
.......
Senate Republicans filibustered the House-passed measure—which would have passed by a simple majority with Democratic support—for no other reason than to undermine President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats. A government shutdown is one thing, but the U.S. defaulting on its obligations to pay its debts would be globally catastrophic while potentially triggering another national recession.

It's nothing short of political terrorism. Led by McConnell, Republicans have insisted that Democrats clean up the mess they made during Donald Trump's tenure. Not only did Republicans pass an unpopular tax cut for the rich that added some $2 trillion to the national debt, they also added nearly $8 trillion to the debt overall.

But instead of voting to raise the debt limit in a bipartisan vote—the standard course of action for more than half a century—Republicans are demanding Democrats raise it alone while also blocking their ability to do so. As McConnell told Democrats last week while promising to play Russian roulette with economy, "don’t play Russian roulette with our economy."
Democrats must now scramble to pass a continuing resolution by Thursday to keep the government funded while also finding a workaround for raising the debt ceiling. McConnell said Republicans would support passing a "clean continuing resolution" to fund the government, so long as it did not include a provision to raise the debt ceiling.

“We’ll see if Washington Democrats actually want to govern," McConnell said Monday. That's rich coming from a guy whose only real legislative accomplishment during Trump's four years in office was passing the tax gift to wealthy Americans via reconciliation on a party-line vote. Other than that, McConnell succeeded in stealing two Supreme Court seats—a boon for his party, to be sure, but it has nothing to do with legislating.

As Majority Leader Chuck Schumer noted, "After today, there will be no doubt which party in this chamber is working to solve the problems that face our country — and which party is accelerating us toward an unnecessary, avoidable disaster."

Later on Monday, Schumer stressed the fact that Republicans have now opened an unprecedented new front in its political sabotage of the country.

"Let me be clear, what the Republicans in the Senate did tonight is not normal,” Schumer said. “This isn't your typical Washington fracas and it shouldn't be treated as such. It has far more severe consequences than the typical political cat fight."
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Brainwashing and the Media's Role in Today's Radicalization: The Steel Corridor
novapsyche

This week I came across an article, brought to my attention by xaxnar. The article discussed the phenomenon of brainwashing and how today’s press is ignoring the obvious fact that the malady has ravaged the Republican Party:

A recent Wall Street Journal report on a deadly Covid surge in West Virginia driven entirely by the unvaccinated noted, “Early on, the state excelled at vaccinating people in nursing homes and others who were eager to get the shot, but then it ran into a roadblock of hesitant people, state officials say.”
West Virginia “ran into a roadbloack of hesitant people,” the newspaper reported, and that was it; the Journal delved no further into the how or the why. Fact: The unvaccinated phenomenon in America represents the story of Covid today. But the press tip-toes around it, pretending it’s normal for millions of Americans to risk death by refusing to take a vaccine that’s been administered billions of times worldwide.
Within the media, there’s lots of tsk-tsking commentary about vaccine “misinformation.” But the press continues to look away from the consequences of mass brainwashing —millions of Americans believe the vaccine is more dangerous than the virus. And they’re lashing out in public, staging deranged acts of civil disobedience, often inside restaurants and at local school board meetings, where the white-rage screaming and name-calling commences.

Eric Boehlert, the author, is no slouch, and I wouldn’t paint him as an alarmist, either. So it’s very interesting to me that this is the point in the national conversation where someone with name recognition has raised this terribly relevant problem. If Boehlert is correct, what is this brainwashing, how can we be sure it is occurring, and what is to be done?

The panic of the “brainwashee” is the total confusion he suffers about all concepts. His evaluations and norms are undermined. He cannot believe in anything objective any more except in the dictated and indoctrinated logic of those who are more powerful than he. (The Rape of the Mind, p. 29)

I began exploring the topic of brainwashing as a matter of course, in the wake of reading They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer, which removed scales from my eyes.

Until reading Mayer’s incredibly relatable vignettes and distillations of ten representative samples of the German people during the Nazi era, I had not be able to conceive how a population could get swept up so entirely. I came to see that the phenomenon that captured them could be better referred to as ‘fascination’: the symptoms involved a kind of infatuation, a sublimation to a more resonant personality; a psychic genuflection of sorts. One observer of history described Hitler’s charisma for a more modern audience in a different way: we in the United States had seen this kind of fascination before, with the Beatles, notably. And when you think about that type of crowd reactivity, that is plainly, palpably powerful.

This kind of hyper-devotion, transferred to the political arena, is clearly present in the relationship between Donald Trump and his followers. (I could call them disciples, acolytes, believers, worshipers, cultists, devotees--all of these appellations would be accurate and reflective, but some of this group of people are offended by the connotations and implications of some of these labels. I try to thread the needle by referring to them somewhat neutrally, but I do want to drive home the fact that these people are under an influence, so I can’t choose words that are entirely void of emotional content. I call them “followers” because they are part of a political movement, and Trump is the head of that movement.)


The fanaticism of members of totalitarian movements, so clearly different in quality from the greatest loyalty of members of ordinary parties, is produced by the lack of self-interest of masses who are quite prepared to sacrifice themselves. (The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 348)

These citizens, of whom many have voted Republican all of their lives and for whom ‘Republican’/conservative has become an intimate part of their identity, upon encountering the GOP’s new standard-bearer in 2015, became activated upon hearing him speak. Trump, as has been delineated elsewhere, is demagogic by nature. He intuitively knows how to evoke emotions. This is not to say that he is eloquent. Indeed, laypeople often admit comparatively that they missed former President Obama’s oratorical style, with his lilting cadence and elevated subject matter. Trump speaks to the masses as hoi polloi, not as individuals dispersed in a crowd but as one entity, riling up that entity by accentuating its fears and then offering his “solutions” to dispel that fear. Nearly all of his solutions involved pointing fingers at scapegoats, notably marginalized outgroups that long had been associated with many of the in-group’s deep-seated cultural anxieties.

But Trump was aided by more than just a soapbox and a megaphone. He had an entire media industry behind him, amplifying his message, increasing the reach of his siren song. Using analogues of hate speech, he either pulled taut existing prejudices in a follower or implanted the seeds of future prejudice in those citizens otherwise open to other aspects of his campaign and candidacy. Many of these citizens probably would not have encountered any other significant person in their lives espousing this level of what one researcher calls “contemptuous prejudice”. This type of contempt is contagious; moreover, it is radicalizing both by nature and by design.

Hate speech is as contagious as communicable disease. When the national media outlets began covering the Trump campaign in the manner that they did, effectively giving him free platforms to air his ideas, they permitted him to be a superspreader, not only giving license to those who already consciously adhered to racialized and other forms of supremacist thought but also bringing those ideas anew to the unsuspecting GOP voter. This voter may already have had some associations regarding these concepts on an unconscious or subconscious level, but Trump’s words and the simultaneous movement springing up around those words would serve as catalyzing agents.

So his followers, being part of this nascent political movement, were already being cognitively captured that way. In the context of fascination, however, in terms of the Trump phenomenon being far-flung, we must also indict the media industry. Broadcast media, as opposed to print media, is inherently more dangerous as auditory can be understood directly whereas the written word must be interpreted first (translated from concrete symbol into accessible meaning, which involves the prefrontal cortex as a waystation). Written words elicit a logical, not merely associative, process in a way that broadcast media bypasses. This makes demagogic material broadcast on such platforms even more dangerous. It is the difference between a fire under control, and flashover.
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In the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, the populace had to wait for results because of various circumstances on the ground (e.g., mail-in votes in at least three Democratically-leaning states were by law required to be counted after in-person votes had already been tallied, the election itself produced more votes than any other U.S. electoral contest, there was the complication of pandemic protocols, &c). During this interim, a split became noticeable in U.S. media. For example, Rachel Maddow on her eponymously named show on MSNBC, during the week following the election, noted that she had been tuning in to Fox News periodically and that they still had not, as the other major networks had done that previous Saturday, called the race for Joe Biden. First one week went by, then two. Maddow became more perplexed over time. She communicated to her audience by way of a comment to a colleague (Chris Hayes, I believe, during the handoff between their shows) her surprise that Fox News was taking so long and, in the process, drawing out the period where there would be uncertainty for its viewers.

This lag concerned me, too. Humans are notorious for dealing badly with uncertainty. We fill in blanks unconsciously. The brain is a machine designed to incorporate disparate pockets of information into an integrated representation of the world--naturally, when faced with areas of unspecified detail, the brain just sort of shades those areas in, papers them over. The discrepancy between Fox and all of the other (non-conservative) media outlets could, and did, cause those viewers to connect their dots differently than everyone else, because they had fewer dots to connect. Their picture of reality, as opposed to that of their compatriots, was hopelessly distorted. Hopelessly so, because Fox was not interested in correcting the erroneous picture they were in the process of painting. The period of uncertainty was, from all that I can tell from the outside looking in, an intentional act. Otherwise, even a network that abhors self-correction as much as Fox does would have issued a correction on air, over multiple days, to make sure its viewership was properly informed. I have not encountered any reasonable explanation for the discrepancy in Fox’s reporting.

That was the first instance where I became truly alarmed at how the media, specifically conservative media, was treating the election results. Their standard-bearer had lost his contest, and the incumbency to break the news to his supporters was theirs. This was all the more true due to the tendency of conservatives to concentrate their media consumption to a very narrow band of sources (what is called the siloing of information). For them, it wouldn’t matter that ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and a bevy of other respected journalistic outlets all agreed that Biden had prevailed--they waited to hear the news from their trust agents, and those trust agents never relayed in adequate fashion the reality of the situation. There was a good deal of false hope being bandied about, which ultimately is not appropriate for a news outlet, except in times of clear national crisis where the sustaining of morale would be paramount. An election typically is not one of those times.

Another instance of this kind of manipulation occurred in the wake of the Derek Chauvin trial. Chauvin, tried for the murder of George Floyd the year before, was found guilty after his murder trial was broadcast live on several stations over the course of three weeks. The conviction was handed down on Tuesday, April 20. A poll was taken Tuesday through Thursday of that week and showed that conservatives by approximately 3:1 agreed with the verdict and thought the trial had been fair. A different poll, taken that Wednesday through Saturday, showed that the opinion of the core audience (that is, of White conservatives males) had shifted, in that incredibly tight timeframe, to only about 45% approval for the guilty verdict. In the span of only a few days, conservative media noted a 20-point swing as its core viewership did a complete-180 on this very contentious conviction. What accounts for that drastic shift in opinion?

It seemed to me that, if these two instances were entirely coincidental, they still pointed to the fact that the media silo that these people trafficked in was entirely closed and that these discrepancies had the potential, indeed promised, to grow into flashpoints amongst the citizenry. The viewers of these conservative outlets would come to hold fundamentally different ideas of how reality unfolded in these two events than the rest of U.S. society. These glaring factual disparities between the conservative outlets and those more mainstream would give rise to discord, and this discord could be used as a boundary, psychologically speaking, for those in the conservative in-group to demarcate what it is to be a Republican today. The new canon would be gospel; heretics like Liz Cheney would be excommunicated; and in the Manichean struggle these party faithful would be set against the out-group, which ends up being everyone else. Non-conservatives in general, but Democrats in particular, are portrayed as ultimate evil (e.g., baby-eating reptiles), enemies in our midst to be destroyed.

There are a lot of aspects to this brainwashing. The media plays a large role for these folks, as they are subjected to what I call the steelpan corridor. The steelpan corridor is a media gauntlet that, when observed, appears to have many different faces in individual hollows, but if you bend to have a closer look you find that all of the images are distortions of yourself. The voices that emanate and echo from these simulacra sound distinct but they are the same opinion, simply hammered at different points on the instrument--your own opinion reverberated back to you. And the corridor bends around you like a mirror, so everything is reflected but stretched out of proportion. It is a media silo constructed to deceive. By spreading out the same opinion across many different personalities, trust agents, and other familiar public figures, the audience is led to believe that the opinion is widespread and commonly held, and thus the opinion becomes entrenched with its own sense of validity.
..............
I mean to write more about the dangers of brainwashing in our time. Some people don’t like the term “brainwashing” (some don’t even think the phenomenon has been established to definitively exist), which again is one of the reasons I turn to the more acceptable and accessible term of “fascination”. I also consider “under a spell”, “enthralled”, or any of that family of terms to be appropriate, because they adequately communicate the mechanism of cognitive capture that has been effected. It is an indirect seizure of a person’s worldview. These people, like those under guided hypnosis, respond only to the things that they otherwise would allow themselves to do--in the case of politics, it’s a form of confirmation bias. In fact, it’s like confirmation bias on performance-enhancing drugs, because in normal reality a person tries to have their worldview correspond to external reality, whereas these people are being convinced that external reality is lining up with their worldviews, that in fact there is no difference, that their worldview is reality.


[W]hatever we believe to be a true picture [of reality], we treat as if it were the environment itself. (Public Opinion, p. 6)

So when Tucker Carlson told his viewers months ago to harangue parents who were masking up their children, to physically cause altercations with these parents, if these people went ahead and did it (and some did), those people would not have participated in such actions if some part of them psychologically had refused to grant internal permission to do so. On some unconscious level, their actions accorded with their worldview. It just became easier to commit those acts when an external trust agent or authority told them to. When that figure is one in whom one has placed enormous stores of trust and devotion, the permission structure is one by which one can justify theretofore unconsidered acts. Many perpetrators of the violence on January 6th admitted that they had never dreamed of doing what they did that day until there came the movement, with its attendant counterrevolutionary spirit or mood, that gave them that sense of motivation. Part of it was the camaraderie of participating in one grand action with like-minded people, but a good deal of it can be laid at the feet of those who spurred those citizens to organize and gather. They fashioned the permission structure.

It’s my suspicion that social media exacerbates this phenomenon, for several reasons. Visual media tends to narrow a person’s focus to the exclusion of much else in the surrounding environment, and social media is often interactive besides. It can clearly absorb a person’s total focus. In addition, it tends to be entertaining. Many a schoolteacher can tell you that a pupil absorbs information more readily when it is communicated in an entertaining way. On the other side of that coin, Goebbels and other masters of propaganda knew or intuited that information when embedded in entertainment is more easily slipped by the gates of a sober, rational mind. Any such information can be elicited later--activated--because it’s already been implanted and established. (This, incidentally, is one of the reasons I refuse to read any Lovecraftian fiction, as his odious racism is so deeply embedded in his thoughts, his word choices, his insinuations and tone, that I cannot encounter his work without being on guard at every moment so as not to let his bias enter my mind.)


First of all, and above all, it is necessary to please them. The man forming part of a crowd whom one has succeeded in pleasing is on the point of being convinced, and is quite disposed to accept as excellent any arguments that may be offered him. (The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, p. 112)

So I believe social media has much to do with our current moment, but I need to do more research on this, as I personally do not interact with social media (other than YouTube, I suppose, if you want to put it in that category). I am coming at this from quite the outside perspective. So I need to fill in that blank. And I think there are feedback loops that lend themselves to reinforcing certain concepts or conceptual structures that would tend to keep the brainwashing, the deception, going. Obviously, the cult aspect of Trump’s following extends in that direction. The movement’s authoritarianism, also, would tend to restrain adherents from questioning their role in the movement, especially if their role is that of a foot soldier. I think there are many facets to this mesmerization, but it will take some time to explore. I appreciate your patience thus far.





End Book 196
 
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