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1984

News

Classic Books

Recommended Links

Animal Farm

Brave New World

The True Believer

Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism

The Good Soldier Svejk Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass Inverted Totalitarism == Managed Democracy == Neoliberalism  Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Big Uncle is Watching You The Irony of American History The Power Elite

The Deep State

Winner-Take-All Politics

Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"

The Rise of the New Global Elite

Parkinson Law

The Peter Principle

Humor


Introduction

 

Adapted from Wikipedia articles Nineteen Eighty-Four and George Orwell 

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950),[1] who used the pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. George Orwell know something about propaganda. He participated in Spanish Civil War and during the Second World war worked at BBC.  That's why 1984 despite viewed typically as a depiction of the USSR and similar communist regimes is actually much deeper and is a novel that researched ultimate limits of propaganda (aka brainwashing). Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture, and The adjective Orwellian connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past.

Many of  his neologisms, such as cold war, Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101, memory hole, doublethink, and thoughtcrime became common English words. Newspeak is a simplified and obfuscatory language designed to make independent thought impossible. Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. The Thought Police are those who suppress all dissenting opinion. Prolefeed is homogenised, manufactured superficial literature, film and music, used to control and indoctrinate the populace through docility. Big Brother is a supreme dictator who watches everyone. Orwell may have been the first to use the term cold war, in his essay, "You and the Atom Bomb", published in Tribune, 19 October 1945. He wrote:

We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity. James Burnham's theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications;— this is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a State which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of 'cold war' with its neighbours.[122]

As a yong man George Orwell has first hand experience with the security apparatus of British empire and its intelligence agencies. Working as an imperial policeman In Birma  gave him considerable responsibility while most of his contemporaries were still at university in England. When he was posted farther east in the Delta to Twante as a sub-divisional officer, he was responsible for the security of some 200,000 people. At the end of 1924, he was promoted to Assistant District Superintendent and posted to Syriam, closer to Rangoon.  A colleague, Roger Beadon, recalled (in a 1969 recording for the BBC) that Blair was fast to learn the language and that before he left Burma, "was able to speak fluently with Burmese priests in 'very high-flown Burmese.'"[27]   Later, he wrote that he felt guilty about his role in the work of empire and he "began to look more closely at his own country and saw that England also had its oppressed ..." In imitation of Jack London, whose writing he admired (particularly The People of the Abyss), Blair started to explore the poorer parts of London.

In 1927 he  resigned from the Indian Imperial Police to become a writer. He drew on his experiences in the Burma police for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and the essays "A Hanging" (1931) and "Shooting an Elephant" (1936). At the outbreak of the Second World War, Orwell's wife Eileen started working in the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information in central London, staying during the week with her family in Greenwich. In August 1941, Orwell  obtained "war work" when he was taken on full-time by the BBC's Eastern Service. He supervised cultural broadcasts to India to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links.  In September 1943, Orwell resigned from the BBC post that he had occupied for two years. In November 1943, Orwell was appointed literary editor at Tribune, where his assistant was his old friend Jon Kimche. Orwell was on staff until early 1945, writing over 80 book reviews[81] and on 3 December 1943 started his regular personal column, "As I Please", usually addressing three or four subjects in each. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was published in Britain on 17 August 1945, and a year later in the US, on 26 August 1946. In March 1949, while in sanatorium due to deteriorating health, he was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, set up by the Labour government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell's list, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs.[95] In sanatorium Orwell received more streptomycin treatment and improved slightly. In June 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four was published to immediate critical and popular acclaim. Early on the morning of 21 January 1950, an artery burst in Orwell's lungs, killing him at age 46.[97]

As he wrote in the conclusion to his 1940 essay on Charles Dickens,

When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer. I feel this very strongly with Swift, with Defoe, with Fielding, Stendhal, Thackeray, Flaubert, though in several cases I do not know what these people looked like and do not want to know. What one sees is the face that the writer ought to have. Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens's photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry—in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.

George Woodcock suggested that the last two sentences characterised Orwell as much as his subject.[106] Orwell's writing pierced intellectual hypocrisy wherever he found it

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a the second classic dystopian novel by George Orwell (the first was Animal Farm). It was published in 1949 several month before his death.  Orwell managed to predict two negative development after WWII:  the emergence of the  National Security State and stratification of the society into several "parallel" strata with low upward mobility. With the upper strata ( top 0.01% ) possessing almost absolute power over the rest of society by controlling the governing party. He predicted 24x7 total survellance (see Snowden revelations) long before technical capabilities for this were available and only first steps toward it made in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and wartime Britain.  He essentially predicted the situation "Privacy is Dead – Get Over It" that exists today.

His second major achievement is that he predicted emergence of the states,  where the truth didn't exist as such, but is replaced by "artificial reality" created by propaganda picture and systemic, all encompassing brainwashing. The total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.

Truth is what the "Big Brother" said. Rewriting of history is systematic and all-encompassing, to fit the current political needs. Much like in most modern states. The state depicted is a totalitarian one and reminds more Nazi dictatorship, Latin American Junta with death squads, Stalinist Russia or Maoist China then modern Western states, as Orwell did not live to experience Inverted Totalitarism.

But the ideology of inverted totalitarism and its attempt to control the discourse via controlling the language and creation of artificial reality including artificial history was predicted brilliantly.

The book was written near the author death, and that probably partially explains the uncompromising stance that the author demonstrated in the book. Orwell wrote most of it in rather short period of time on the Scottish island of Jura, from 1947 to 1948.

The Last Man in Europe was one of the original titles for the novel, but in a letter dated 22 October 1948 to his publisher Fredric Warburg, eight months before publication, Orwell wrote about hesitating between The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Forty-Eight.[11] Warburg suggested changing the main title to a more commercial one. Throughout its publication history, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been either banned or legally challenged as subversive or ideologically corrupting, like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932); We (1924), by Yevgeny Zamyatin; Kallocain (1940), by Karin Boye; and Fahrenheit 451 (1951), by Ray Bradbury.

 It was published on 8 June 1949, six months before the author death (21 January 1950). By 1989, it had been translated into sixty-five languages, more than any other novel written in English at the time.

In 2005 the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editor's list, and 6 on the reader's list.[5] In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. Literary scholars consider the Russian dystopian novel We, by Zamyatin, to have strongly influenced Nineteen Eighty-Four.[16][17]

The novel demonstrates stark predictions in several  aspects. In the novel England is now the province of Oceania called Airstrip One. Oceania with the center in the former USA is in perpetual war with other two global states and its alliances are constantly shifting. 

The total control of population

The title of the novel, its themes, the Newspeak language, and the author's surname are often invoked as a warning against excessive control and intrusion by the state,  made possible by modern technical means and computers.

The adjective Orwellian describes a totalitarian dystopia characterized by total surveillance that crashes any resistance, compete government control and subjugation of the 99% of the people in the interest  of the top 1% (the elite).

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA  (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

Omnipresent government surveillance, public mind control, fake leaders

Surviving population is suffering from omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc) which is run under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite (the term which instantly reminds me the term nomenclatura) that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as thoughtcrimes.

With NSA washing our every step we can say that modern technology exceed the dystopian picture provided by the book. Surveillance in modern societies is really omnipresent due to the fact that most communications are now electronic. As for social system the only replacement that reality made to the book is that this new political system is called neoliberalism. See Henry Giroux On the Rise of Neoliberalism As a Political Ideology . Other then we can state that omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control rules the day.

After Prism program was revealed in June 2013, Nineteen Eighty-Four became a bestseller on Amazon. As of June 15, 2013 it was #87 in Fiction. As one Amazon reviewer put it:"Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual..."

In November 2011, the United States government argued before the US Supreme Court that it wants to continue utilizing GPS tracking of individuals without first seeking a warrant. In response, Justice Stephen Breyer questioned what this means for a democratic society by referencing Nineteen Eighty-Four. Justice Breyer asked

 "If you win this case, then there is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States. So if you win, you suddenly produce what sounds like 1984...."[59]

The tyranny described in the book is headed by Big Brother, the quasi-divine Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. Much like modern heads of states, who are essentially placeholders, actors hired for the ruling financial oligarchy clans. Big Brother and the Party justify their rule in the name of a supposed greater good. We can say in the name of democracy ;-). 

In this respect too the reality provided to be amazingly close to the fiction. Obama is often described as " a pawn of the moneyed interests before he even took office.  He didn't sell out;  he was a well engineered product with a well targeted brand, selected and groomed for it. " Actually it is interesting to compare the picture of political system in the book with the picture of the political system provided in the post Why The Democrats Got Their Clocks Cleaned (Jesse's Café Américain, Nov 09, 2014)

The Democrats failed to make the most of a great moment in history because there was no Democrat brave enough, independent enough, to energize their party around the mandate for reform given to them overwhelmingly by the people in 2008.

Remember when everyone thought that the Republican party was dead, completely and utterly repudiated in 2008?  And how they have risen from the dead!

Obama was a pawn of the moneyed interests before he even took office.  He didn't sell out;  he was a well engineered product with a well targeted brand, selected and groomed for it.  

Less a politician than a thoroughly modern manager, Obama's primary objectives are to please his shareholders, whomever those may be.   And they were certainly not the people who voted for him.   He is not any kind of progressive or reformer once one scratches the surface.

That became clear in his first 100 days with his appointments.  And in his defense, the Democrats on the whole have been throwing their constituents under the bus for the sake of Wall Street money since 1992.  So Obama was not so much a betrayer as a fake, a member of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic party.  He is always fumbling, and making excuses, but at the end of the day, he did as he was told. 

The Democratic leadership has tried to bridge a gap between representing the people and fattening their wallets, and have ended up pleasing few.  They won't become the party of the moneyed interests because they cannot sell out more deeply than their counterparts.  And as for their traditional constituency in the working class, the only rejoinder is, 'the other guys are worse.'  And the other guys say the same thing to their base about them.  And no one is getting served, except the one percent.

I think that the 'other guys' are going to be worse, and people are just going to have to see how bad things can get, again, before they can get any better. 

From an FDR 1936 campaign speech in Madison Square Garden:
"For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."

The concept of Ministry of Truth and modern MSMs

The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record always supports the current party line. Smith is a diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.  His daily task is revising historical records to make the past conform to the ever-changing party line and deleting references to unpersons, people who have been "vaporised", i.e. not only killed by the state, but denied existence even in history or memory.

The picture of modern MSM and the level of brainwashing is less intrusive but no less effective, and journalists proved to be willing accomplices of the regime (Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few)

The smokescreen of propaganda is so think that it is impossible for common people of discern the reality.

They live in artificial reality.

Orwell's invented language, Newspeak, satirizes hypocrisy and evasion by the state. For example the names of the  the ministries became classic and nicely illustrate the concept: 

Many of its terms and concepts became common words in English and other languages. The effect of Nineteen Eighty-Four on the English language is so profound that there is a large set of works that were derived directly from the novel, but now entered common usage.

Among them the concepts of Big Brother, Room 101, the Thought Police, thoughtcrime, unperson, memory hole (oblivion), doublethink (simultaneously holding and believing contradictory beliefs) and Newspeak (ideological language) have become common phrases for denoting totalitarian authority. Doublespeak and groupthink are both deliberate elaborations of doublethink, while the adjective "Orwellian" denotes totalitarian state with omnipresent propaganda machine engaged in not stop brainwashing of citizens. It became apt depiction of official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past by a modern neoliberal state with the "Oceiania" as the most prominent of them.  The practice of ending words with "-speak" (e.g. corporate-speak) is also stems from the novel. For example Doublespeak.

The social  system

In describing the future social system George Orwell was strongly influence by the book The Managerial Revolution. This book  written in 1941 book in former Trotskyite James Burnham  described World War II as the first in a series of conflicts between managerial powers for control over three great industrial regions of the world—North America, Europe, and East Asia. The geographic scheme and condition of perpetual war are reflected in Orwell’s novel by the ceaseless struggles between Oceania (America with its Atlantic and Pacific outposts), Eurasia (Russian-dominated Europe), and Eastasia (the Orient). The Managerial Revolution itself appears in 1984 as Emmanuel Goldstein’s forbidden book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.

The Managerial Revolution, attempted to theorize about the future of world capitalism based upon observations of its development in the interwar period. Burnham argued  that capitalism was a temporary form of organization currently being transformed into some non-socialist but Totalitarian rule, strongly influenced by national socialism.

The events depicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four are set in Oceania, one of three inter-continental super-states that divided the world among themselves after a global war. Most of the action takes place in London, the "chief city of Airstrip One", the Oceanic province that "had once been called England or Britain". Posters of the Party leader, Big Brother, bearing the caption "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU", dominate the city, while the ubiquitous telescreen (transceiving television set) monitors the private and public lives of the populace.

The social  system of Oceania consists of three classes:

As the government, the Party controls the population with four ministries: the Ministry of Peace (Minipax), which wages wars, the Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty), which deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love (Miniluv), which deals with law and order (torture), the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which deals with propaganda (news, entertainment, education and art)

The Plot

The story of Winston Smith begins on 4 April 1984:

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen"; yet he is uncertain of the true date, given the régime’s continual rewriting and manipulation of history. His memories and his reading of the proscribed book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the United Kingdom fell to civil war and then was absorbed into Oceania. Simultaneously, the USSR conquered mainland Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia. The third superstate, Eastasia, comprises the regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia. The three superstates wage perpetual war for the remaining unconquered lands of the world, forming and breaking alliances as is convenient.

From his childhood (1949–53), Winston remembers the Atomic Wars fought in Europe, western Russia, and North America. It is unclear to him what occurred first: the Party's victory in the civil war, the US annexation of the British Empire, or the war in which Colchester was bombed. However, his strengthening memories and the story of his family's dissolution suggest that the atomic bombings occurred first (the Smiths took refuge in a tube station), followed by civil war featuring "confused street fighting in London itself", and the societal postwar reorganisation, which the Party retrospectively calls "the Revolution".

Oceanian society: Big Brother atop, the Party in middle, the Proles at bottom, in 1984. The story of Winston Smith presents the world in the year 1984, after a global atomic war, via his perception of life in Airstrip One (England or Britain), a province of Oceania, one of the world's three superstates; his intellectual rebellion against the Party and illicit romance with Julia; and his consequent imprisonment, interrogation, torture, and re-education by the Thinkpol in the Miniluv.

Principal characters in the book are inston Smith—the protagonist, is a phlegmatic everyman. Julia—Winston's lover, is a covert "rebel from the waist downwards" who publicly espouses Party doctrine as a member of the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League. Big Brother—the dark-eyed, mustachioed embodiment of the Party who rule Oceania. O'Brien—a member of the Inner Party who poses as a member of The Brotherhood, the counter-revolutionary resistance, in order to deceive, trap, and capture Winston and Julia. Emmanuel Goldstein—a former leader of the Party, the counter-revolutionary author of The Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, and leader of the Brotherhood. He is the symbolic Enemy of the State—the national nemesis who ideologically unites the people of Oceania with the Party, especially during the Two Minutes Hate, and other fearmongering by the Inner Party. It is unknown whether he is real or a fabrication of the Party itself for the purpose of propaganda.

Winston Smith

Winston Smith is an intellectual, a member of the Outer Party (middle class), who lives in the ruins of London, and who grew up in some long post-World War II England, during the revolution and the civil war after which the Party assumed power. At some point his parents and sister disappeared, and he was placed in an orphanage for training and subsequent employment as an Outer Party civil servant. He lives an austere existence in a one-room flat on a subsistence diet of black bread and synthetic meals washed down with Victory-brand gin. He keeps a journal of negative thoughts and opinions about the Party and Big Brother, which, if uncovered by the Thought Police, would warrant death. The flat has an alcove, beside the telescreen, where he apparently cannot be seen, and thus believes he has some privacy, while writing in his journal: "Thoughtcrime does not entail death. Thoughtcrime IS death." The telescreens (in every public area, and the quarters of the Party's members), have hidden microphones and cameras. These devices, alongside informers, permit the Thought Police to spy upon everyone and so identify anyone who might endanger the Party's régime; children, most of all, are indoctrinated to spy and inform on suspected thought-criminals – especially their parents.

At the Minitrue, Winston is an editor responsible for historical revisionism, concording the past to the Party's ever-changing official version of the past; thus making the government of Oceania seem omniscient. As such, he perpetually rewrites records and alters photographs, rendering the deleted people as "unpersons"; the original documents are incinerated in a "memory hole." Despite enjoying the intellectual challenges of historical revisionism, he becomes increasingly fascinated by the true past and tries to learn more about it.

Julia

One day, at the Minitrue, as Winston assists a woman who has fallen down, she surreptitiously hands him a folded paper note; later, at his desk he covertly reads the message: I LOVE YOU. The woman is "Julia," a young dark haired mechanic who repairs the Minitrue novel-writing machines. Before that occasion, Winston had loathed the sight of her, since women tended to be the most fanatical supporters of Ingsoc. He particularly loathed her because of her membership in the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League. Winston fantasises about making love to her but he would want to kill her at the moment of climax. Additionally, Julia was the type of woman he believed he could not attract: young and puritanical. Nonetheless, his hostility towards her vanishes upon reading the message. As it turns out, Julia is a thoughtcriminal too, and hates the Party as much as he does.

Cautiously, Winston and Julia begin a love affair, at first meeting in the country, at a clearing in the woods, then at the belfry of a ruined church, and afterwards in a rented room atop an antiques shop in a proletarian neighbourhood of London. There, they think themselves safe and unobserved, because the rented bedroom has no apparent telescreen, but, unknown to Winston and Julia, the Thought Police were aware of their love affair.

Later, when the Inner Party member O'Brien approaches him, Winston believes he is an agent of the Brotherhood, a secret, counter-revolutionary organisation meant to destroy the Party. The approach opens a secret communication between them; and, on pretext of giving him a copy of the latest edition of the Dictionary of Newspeak, O'Brien gives Winston the Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, the infamous and publicly reviled leader of the Brotherhood. The Book explains the concept of perpetual war, the true meanings of the slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, and how the régime of the Party can be overthrown by means of the political awareness of the Proles.

The Thought Police capture Winston and Julia in their bedroom and deliver them to the Ministry of Love for interrogation. Charrington, the shop keeper who rented the room to them, reveals himself as an officer of the Thought Police. O'Brien also reveals himself to be a Thought Police leader, and admits to luring Winston and Julia into a trap used by the Thought Police to root out suspected thoughtcriminals. After a prolonged regimen of systematic beatings and psychologically draining interrogation, O'Brien, now Smith's interrogator, tortures Winston with electroshock, showing him how, through controlled manipulation of perception (e.g. seeing whatever number of fingers held up that the Party demands one should see, whatever the apparent reality, i.e. 2+2=5), Winston can "cure" himself of his "insanity" – his manifest hatred for the Party. In long, complex conversations, he explains the Inner Party's motivation: complete and absolute power, mocking Winston's assumption that it was somehow altruistic and "for the greater good." Asked if the Brotherhood exists, O'Brien replies that this is something Winston will never know; it will remain an unsolvable quandary in his mind. During a torture session, his imprisonment in the Ministry of Love is explained: "There are three stages in your reintegration... There is learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance," i.e. of the Party's assertion of reality.

Confession and betrayal

In the first stage of political re-education, Winston Smith admits to and confesses to crimes he did and did not commit, implicating anyone and everyone, including Julia. In the second stage, O'Brien makes Winston understand that he is rotting away; by this time he is little more than skin and bones. Winston counters that: "I have not betrayed Julia"; O'Brien agrees, Winston had not betrayed Julia because he "had not stopped loving her; his feelings toward her had remained the same." One night, in his cell, Winston awakens, screaming: "Julia! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!" O'Brien rushes into the cell and sends him to Room 101, the most feared room in the Ministry of Love, where resides each prisoner's worst fear, which is forced upon him or her. In Room 101 is Acceptance, the final stage of the political re-education of Winston Smith, whose primal fear of rats is invoked when a wire cage holding hungry rats is fitted onto his face. As the rats are about to reach Winston’s face, he shouts: "Do it to Julia!" thus betraying her, and relinquishing his love for her. At torture’s end, upon accepting the doctrine of the Party, Winston now loves Big Brother and is reintegrated into Oceania society.

Re-encountering Julia

Some time after being restored to orthodox thought, Winston encounters Julia in a park. It turns out that Julia has endured a similar ordeal to Winston, and has also been purged of rebellion. Each admits betraying the other:

"I betrayed you," she said baldly. "I betrayed you," he said. She gave him another quick look of dislike. "Sometimes," she said, "they threaten you with something – something you can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say, 'Don't do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to so-and-so.' And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there's no other way of saving yourself and you're quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself." "All you care about is yourself," he echoed. "And after that, you don't feel the same toward the other person any longer." "No," he said, "you don't feel the same."

Throughout, a song recurs in Winston's mind: Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me— The lyrics are an adaptation of ‘Go no more a-rushing’, a popular English campfire song from the 1920s, that was a popular success for Glenn Miller in 1939.

Conversion

An alcoholic Winston sits by himself in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, still troubled by false memories which he is convinced are indeed false. He tries to put them out of his mind when suddenly a news bulletin announces Oceania's decisive victory over Eurasia for control of Africa. A raucous celebration begins outside, and Winston imagines himself a part of it. As he looks up in admiration at a portrait of Big Brother, Winston realises that "the final, indispensable, healing change" within his own mind had only been completed at just that moment. He engages in a "blissful dream" in which he offers a full, public confession of his crimes and is executed. He feels that all is well now that he has at last achieved a victory over himself, ending his previous "stubborn, self-willed exile" from the love of Big Brother — a love Winston now happily returns.

Secondary characters

Aaronson, Jones, and Rutherford—Former members of the Inner Party whom Winston vaguely remembers as among the original leaders of the Revolution, long before he had heard of Big Brother. They confessed to treasonable conspiracies with foreign powers and were then executed in the political purges of the 1960s. In between their confessions and executions, Winston saw them drinking in the Chestnut Tree Café — with broken noses, suggesting that their confessions had been obtained by torture. Later, in the course of his editorial work, Winston sees newspaper evidence contradicting their confessions, but drops it into the waste disposal pipe. Eleven years later, he is confronted with the same photograph during his interrogation. Ampleforth—Winston's one-time Records Department colleague who was imprisoned for leaving the word "God" in a Kipling poem; Winston encounters him at the Miniluv. Ampleforth is a dreamer and an intellectual who takes pleasure in his work, and respects poetry and language, which traits and qualities cause him disfavour with the Party. Charrington—An officer of the Thought Police posing as a sympathetic antiques-shop keeper. Katharine—The emotionally indifferent wife whom Winston "can't get rid of". Despite disliking sexual intercourse, Katharine continued with Winston because it was their "duty to the Party". Although she was a "goodthinkful" ideologue, they separated because she could not bear children. Parsons—Winston's naïve neighbour, and an ideal member of the Outer Party: an uneducated, suggestible man who is utterly loyal to the Party, and fully believes in its perfect image. He is socially active and participates in the Party activities for his social class. Although friendly towards Smith, and despite his political conformity, he punishes his bully-boy son for firing a catapult at Winston. Later, as a prisoner, Winston sees Parsons is in the Ministry of Love, because his daughter had reported him to the Thought Police after overhearing him speak against the Party whilst he slept. Mrs. Parsons—Parsons's wife is a wan and hapless woman who is intimidated by her own children, who are members of the Party Youth League and represent the new generation of Oceanian citizens, without memory of life before Big Brother, and without family ties or emotional sentiment; the model society moulded by the Inner Party. Syme—Winston's colleague at the Ministry of Truth, whom the Party "vaporised" because he remained a lucidly thinking intellectual. He was a lexicographer who developed the language and the dictionary of Newspeak, in the course of which he enjoyed destroying words, and wholeheartedly believed that Newspeak would replace Oldspeak (Standard English) by the year 2050. Although Syme's politically orthodox opinions aligned with Party doctrine, Winston noted that "He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly". After noting that Syme's name was deleted from the members list of the Chess Club, Winston infers he became an unperson who never had existed. Goldstein's book says that "Between the two branches of the Party there is a certain amount of interchange, but only so much as will ensure that weaklings are excluded from the Inner Party and that ambitious members of the Outer Party are made harmless by allowing them to rise." It is unknown whether Syme has been killed or promoted in the Inner Party in another province.

Ingsoc

 (English Socialism), is the regnant ideology and pseudo-philosophy of Oceania, and Newspeak is its official language, of official documents.

Ministries of Oceania

In London, the Airstrip One capital city, Oceania's four government ministries are in pyramids (300 metres high), the façades of which display the Party's three slogans. The ministries' names are antonymous doublethink to their true functions: "The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation". (Part II, Chapter IX — The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism) Ministry of Peace (Newspeak: Minipax) Minipax supports Oceania's perpetual war.

The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. At present, when few human beings even have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not urgent, and it might not have become so, even if no artificial processes of destruction had been at work. Ministry of Plenty (Newspeak: Miniplenty) The Ministry of Plenty rations and controls food, goods, and domestic production; every fiscal quarter, the Miniplenty publishes false claims of having raised the standard of living, when it has, in fact, reduced rations, availability, and production. The Minitrue substantiates the Miniplenty claims by revising historical records to report numbers supporting the current, "increased rations". Ministry of Truth (Newspeak: Minitrue) The Ministry of Truth controls information: news, entertainment, education, and the arts. Winston Smith works in the Minitrue RecDep (Records Department), "rectifying" historical records to concord with Big Brother's current pronouncements, thus everything the Party says is true. Ministry of Love (Newspeak: Miniluv) The Ministry of Love identifies, monitors, arrests, and converts real and imagined dissidents. In Winston's experience, the dissident is beaten and tortured, then, when near-broken, is sent to Room 101 to face "the worst thing in the world" — until love for Big Brother and the Party replaces dissension.

Doublethink

Main article: Doublethink

The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

— Part II, Chapter IX — The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism

Perpetual War: The news report Oceania has captured Africa, 1984. Three perpetually warring totalitarian super-states control the world:[30] Oceania (ideology: Ingsoc, i.e., English Socialism); its core territories are the Western Hemisphere, the British Isles, Australasia and Southern Africa. Eurasia (ideology: Neo-Bolshevism); its core territories are Continental Europe and Russia, including Siberia. Eastasia (ideology: Obliteration of the Self, i.e., "Death worship"); its core territories are China, Japan, Korea, and Indochina.

The perpetual war is fought for control of the "disputed area" lying "between the frontiers of the super-states", it forms "a rough parallelogram with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville, Darwin and Hong Kong",[30] thus Northern Africa, the Middle East, India and Indonesia are where the super-states capture and utilise slave-labour. Fighting also takes place between Eurasia and Eastasia in Manchuria, Mongolia and Central Asia, and all three powers battle one another over various Atlantic and Pacific islands.

Goldstein's book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, explains that the super-states' ideologies are alike and that the public's ignorance of this fact is imperative so that they might continue believing in the detestability of the opposing ideologies. The only references to the exterior world for the Oceanian citizenry (the Outer Party and the Proles), are Minitrue maps and propaganda ensuring their belief in "the war".

The Revolution

Winston Smith's memory and Emmanuel Goldstein's book communicate some of the history that precipitated the Revolution; Eurasia was established after World War II (1939–45), when US and Imperial soldiers withdrew from continental Europe, thus the USSR conquered Europe against slight opposition. Eurasia does not include the British Empire because the US annexed it, as well as Latin America, southern Africa, Australasia, and Canada, thus establishing Oceania and gaining control over a quarter of the planet. The annexation of Britain was part of the Atomic Wars that provoked civil war; per the Party, it was not a revolution but a coup d'état that installed a ruling élite derived from the native intelligentsia. Eastasia, the last superstate established, comprises the Asian lands conquered by China and Japan. Although Eurasia prevented Eastasia from matching it in size, its larger populace compensate for that handicap. Precise chronology is unclear, but most of that global reorganisation occurred between 1945 and the 1960s.

The War

See also: Perpetual war

In 1984, there is a perpetual war among Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, the super-states which emerged from the atomic global war. "The book", The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein, explains that each state is so strong it cannot be defeated, even with the combined forces of two super-states—despite changing alliances. To hide such contradictions, history is re-written to explain that the (new) alliance always was so; the populaces accustomed to doublethink accept it. The war is not fought in Oceanian, Eurasian or Eastasian territory but in the arctic wastes and a disputed zone comprising the sea and land from Tangiers (northern Africa) to Darwin (Australia). At the start, Oceania and Eastasia are allies combatting Eurasia in northern Africa and the Malabar Coast.

That alliance ends and Oceania allied with Eurasia fights Eastasia, a change which occurred during the Hate Week dedicated to creating patriotic fervour for the Party's perpetual war. The public are blind to the change; in mid-sentence an orator changes the name of the enemy from "Eurasia" to "Eastasia" without pause. When the public are enraged at noticing that the wrong flags and posters are displayed they tear them down—thus the origin of the idiom "We've always been at war with Eastasia"; later the Party claims to have captured Africa.

"The book" explains that the purpose of the unwinnable, perpetual war is to consume human labour and commodities, hence the economy of a super-state cannot support economic equality (a high standard of life) for every citizen. Goldstein also details an Oceanian strategy of attacking enemy cities with atomic rockets before invasion, yet dismisses it as unfeasible and contrary to the war's purpose; despite the atomic bombing of cities in the 1950s the super-states stopped such warfare lest it imbalance the powers. The military technology in 1984 differs little from that of World War II, yet strategic bomber aeroplanes were replaced with Rocket Bombs, helicopters were heavily used as weapons of war (while they didn't figure in WW2 in any form but prototypes) and surface combat units have been all but replaced by immense and unsinkable Floating Fortresses, island-like contraptions concentrating the firepower of a whole naval task force in a single, semi-mobile platform (in the novel one is said to have been anchored between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, suggesting a preference for sea lane interdiction and denial).

Living standards

In 1984, the society of Airstrip One lives in poverty; hunger, disease and filth are the norms and ruined cities and towns the consequence of the civil war, the atomic wars and purported enemy (but quite possibly self-serving Oceanian) rockets. Social decay and wrecked buildings surround Winston; aside from the ministerial pyramids, little of London was rebuilt. The standard of living of the populace is low; almost everything, especially consumer goods, is scarce and available goods are of low quality; half of the Oceanian populace go barefoot – despite the Party reporting increased boot production. The Party claims that this poverty is a necessary sacrifice for the war effort; "the book" reports that this is partially correct, because the purpose of perpetual war is consuming surplus industrial production.

The Inner Party upper class of Oceanian society enjoy the highest standard of living. O'Brien resides in a clean and comfortable apartment, with a pantry well-stocked with quality foodstuffs (wine, coffee, sugar, etc.), denied to the general populace, the Outer Party and the Proles, who consume synthetic foodstuffs; "Victory" gin and "Victory" cigarettes are of low quality.[31] The brand "Victory" is taken from the low-quality "Victory" cigarettes (also known as Vs), made in India, that were widely smoked in Britain and by British soldiers during World War II when American cigarettes could not easily be imported across the U-boat-infested waters of the North Atlantic. Winston is astonished that the lifts in O'Brien's building function and that the telescreens can be switched off. The Inner Party are attended to by slaves captured in the disputed zone. O'Brien has an Asian manservant, Martin.

The proles live in poverty and are kept sedated with alcohol, pornography and a national lottery, yet the proles are freer and less intimidated than the middle class Outer Party, and jeer at the telescreens. "The Book" reports that the state of things derives from the observation that the middle class, not the lower class, traditionally started revolutions, therefore tight control of the middle class penetrates their minds in determining their quotidian lives, and potential rebels are politically neutralised via promotion to the Inner Party or "reintegration" by Miniluv; nonetheless Winston believed that "the future belonged to the proles".[32]

Themes

Nationalism

Nineteen Eighty-Four expands upon the subjects summarised in the essay Notes on Nationalism (1945) about the lack of vocabulary needed to explain the unrecognised phenomena behind certain political forces. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Party's artificial, minimalist language 'Newspeak' addresses the matter.

Positive nationalism: Oceanians' perpetual love for Big Brother; Neo-Toryism, Celtic nationalism and British Israelism are (as Orwell argues) defined by love. Negative nationalism: Oceanians' perpetual hatred for Emmanuel Goldstein; Stalinism, Anglophobia and antisemitism are (as Orwell argues) defined by hatred.

Transferred nationalism: In mid-sentence an orator changes the enemy of Oceania; the crowd instantly transfers their hatred to the new enemy. Transferred nationalism swiftly redirects emotions from one power unit to another (e.g., Communism, Pacifism, Colour Feeling and Class Feeling). This happened during a Party Rally against the original enemy Eurasia, when the orator suddenly switches enemy in midsentence, the crowd goes wild and destroys the posters that are now against their new friend (Eurasia) and many say that this must be the act of an agent of their new enemy (and former friend) Eastasia, even though many of the crowd must have put up the posters before the rally. The enemy has always been Eastasia.

O'Brien concludes: "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."

Futurology

In the book, Inner Party member O'Brien describes the Party's vision of the future:

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always-do not forget this, Winston-always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-forever.

-Part III, Chapter III, Nineteen Eighty-Four

This contrasts the essay "England Your England" (1941) with the essay "The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius" (1941):

The intellectuals who hope to see it Russianised or Germanised will be disappointed. The gentleness, the hypocrisy, the thoughtlessness, the reverence for law and the hatred of uniforms will remain, along with the suet puddings and the misty skies. It needs some very great disaster, such as prolonged subjugation by a foreign enemy, to destroy a national culture. The Stock Exchange will be pulled down, the horse plough will give way to the tractor, the country houses will be turned into children's holiday camps, the Eton and Harrow match will be forgotten, but England will still be England, an everlasting animal stretching into the future and the past, and, like all living things, having the power to change out of recognition and yet remain the same.

The geopolitical climate of Nineteen Eighty-Four resembles the précis of James Burnham's ideas in the essay "James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution"[34] (1946):

These people will eliminate the old capitalist class, crush the working class, and so organize society that all power and economic privilege remain in their own hands. Private property rights will be abolished, but common ownership will not be established. The new 'managerial' societies will not consist of a patchwork of small, independent states, but of great super-states grouped round the main industrial centres in Europe, Asia, and America. These super-states will fight among themselves for possession of the remaining uncaptured portions of the earth, but will probably be unable to conquer one another completely. Internally, each society will be hierarchical, with an aristocracy of talent at the top and a mass of semi-slaves at the bottom.

Censorship

A major theme of Nineteen Eighty-Four is censorship, especially in the Ministry of Truth, where photographs are doctored and public archives rewritten to rid them of "unpersons" (i.e. persons who have been arrested, whom the Party has decided to erase from history). On the telescreens figures for all types of production are grossly exaggerated (or simply invented) to indicate an ever-growing economy, when the reality is the opposite. One small example of the endless censorship is when Winston is charged with the task of eliminating reference to an unperson in a newspaper article. He proceeds to write an article about Comrade Ogilvy, a fictional party member, who displayed great heroism by leaping into the sea from a helicopter so that the dispatches he was carrying would not fall into enemy hands.

Surveillance

The inhabitants of Oceania, particularly the Outer Party members, have no real privacy. Many of them live in apartments equipped with two-way telescreens, so that they may be watched or listened to at any time. Similar telescreens are found at workstations and in public places, along with hidden microphones. Written correspondence is routinely opened and read by the government before it is delivered. The Thought Police employ undercover agents, who pose as normal citizens and report any person with subversive tendencies. Children are encouraged to report suspicious persons to the government, and some even denounce their own parents.

This surveillance allows for effective control of the citizenry. The smallest sign of rebellion, even something so small as a facial expression, can result in immediate arrest and imprisonment. Thus, citizens (and particularly party members) are compelled to absolute obedience at all times.

The Newspeak appendix

Main article: Newspeak

"The Principles of Newspeak" is an academic essay appended to the novel. It describes the development of Newspeak, the Party's minimalist artificial language meant to ideologically align thought and action with the principles of Ingsoc by making "all other modes of thought impossible". (For linguistic theories about how language may direct thought, see the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.)[35] Note also the possible influence of the German book LTI - Lingua Tertii Imperii, published in 1947, which details how the Nazis controlled society by controlling language.

Whether or not the Newspeak appendix implies a hopeful end to Nineteen Eighty-Four remains a critical debate, as it is in Standard English and refers to Newspeak, Ingsoc, the Party, et cetera, in the past tense (i.e., "Relative to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new ways of reducing it were constantly being devised", p. 422); in this vein, some critics (Atwood,[36] Benstead,[37] Pynchon[38]) claim that, for the essay's author, Newspeak and the totalitarian government are past. The countervailing view is that since the novel has no frame story, Orwell wrote the essay in the same past tense as the novel, with "our" denoting his and the reader's contemporaneous reality.

Some sources for literary motifs

Nineteen Eighty-Four uses themes from life in the Soviet Union and wartime life in Great Britain as sources for many of its motifs.

The statement "2 + 2 = 5", used to torment Winston Smith during his interrogation, was a Communist party slogan from the second five-year plan, which encouraged fulfilment of the five-year plan in four years. The slogan was seen in electric lights on Moscow house-fronts, billboards, etc.[39]

The switch of Oceania's allegiance from Eastasia to Eurasia is evocative of the Soviet Union's changing relations with Nazi Germany, who were open adversaries until the signing of the Treaty of Non-Aggression. Thereafter, and continuing until the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, no criticism of Germany was allowed in the Soviet press, and all references to prior party lines stopped.

The description of Emmanuel Goldstein, with a goatee beard, evokes the image of Leon Trotsky. The film of Goldstein during the two-minutes hate is described as showing him being transformed into a bleating goat. This image was used in a propaganda film during the Kino-eye period of Soviet film, which showed Trotsky transforming into a goat.[40] Goldstein's book is redolent of Trotsky's highly critical analysis of the USSR "The Revolution Betrayed", published in 1936.

The omnipresent images of Big Brother, described as having a mustache, evokes the cult of personality built up around Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler.

The news in Oceania emphasised production figures, just as it did in the Soviet Union, where record-setting in factories (by "Heroes of Socialist Labor") was especially glorified. The best known of these was Alexey Stakhanov, who purportedly set a record for coal mining in 1935.

The tortures of the Ministry of Love evoke the procedures used Gestapo and NKVD in their interrogations, including the use of rubber truncheons, being forbidden to put your hands in your pockets, remaining in brightly lit rooms for days, and the victim being shown a mirror after their physical collapse.

Orwell's "Spies", a youth organization taught to look for enemies of the state, appears to be based on the Hitler Youth

A poster showing young Pioneers as future Komsomol members. The "Junior Anti-Sex league" was based on the Young Communists; the komsomol and Bund Deutscher Mädel (the League of German Girls).

The random bombing of Airstrip One is based on the Buzz bombs, which struck England at random in 1944-1945.

The Thought Crime motif is drawn from Kempeitai, the Japanese wartime secret police, who arrested people for "unpatriotic" thoughts.

The confessions of the "Thought Criminals" Rutherford, Aaronson and Jones are based on the show trials of the 1930s, which included fabricated confessions by prominent Bolsheviks Nikolai Bukharin, Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev to the effect that they were being paid by the Nazi government to undermine the Soviet regime under Leon Trotsky's direction.

The song "Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree" ("Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you, and you sold me") was based on Glenn Miller's 1939 song of the same name ("Under the spreading chestnut tree, Where I knelt upon my knee, We were as happy as could be, 'Neath the spreading chestnut tree.") The song has its origins in the 1920s, when it was a camp song, sung with corresponding movements (like touching your chest when you sing "chest", and touching your head when you sing "nut"). The original title was 'Go no more a-rushing'. Under these lyrics, the song was published as early as 1891.

The "Hates" (two-minutes hate and hate week) were inspired by the constant rallies sponsored by party organs both in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.

The contractions of words, in which "Ministry of Truth" was shortened to "Minitrue" and "English Socialism" to "Ingsoc" was inspired by the Soviet habit of combining words. Smert Shpionam ("death to spies", a sub-division of the NKVD) was shortened to "Smersh". Dialectical Materialism was similarly shortened to "DiaMat", and The Communist International was referred to as the Comintern.

"Vaporising" criminals (a metaphor for execution) is based on the Soviet word "liquidation" a vague term that usually meant execution or "Internal Exile" to the gulag labour camps. Nikolai Yezhov, walking with Stalin in the top photo from the 1930s. Following his execution, Yezhov was edited out of the photo by Soviet censors.[44] Yezhov became an "unperson".

Winston Smith's job, "revising history" (and the "unperson" motif) are based on the Stalinist habit of airbrushing images of 'fallen' people from group photographs and removing references to them in books and newspapers. In one well-known example, the Soviet encyclopaedia had an article about Lavrentiy Beria. When he fell in 1953, and was subsequently executed, institutes that had the encyclopaedia were sent an article about the Bering Strait, with instructions to paste it over the article about Beria.[46]

Big Brother's "Orders of the Day" were inspired by Stalin's regular wartime orders, called by the same name. A small collection of the more political of these have been published (together with his wartime speeches) in English as "On the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union" By Joseph Stalin. Like Big Brother's Orders of the day, Stalin's frequently lauded heroic individuals,[49] like Comrade Ogilvy, the fictitious hero Winston Smith invented to 'rectify' (fabricate) a Big Brother Order of the day.

The Ingsoc slogan "Our new, happy life", repeated from telescreens, evokes Stalin's 1935 statement, which became a CPSU slogan, "Life has become better, Comrades; life has become more cheerful.

Influences

During World War II (1939–1945) Orwell believed that British democracy as it existed before 1939 would not survive the war, the question being "Would it end via Fascist coup d'état (from above) or via Socialist revolution (from below). Later he admitted that events proved him wrong: "What really matters is that I fell into the trap of assuming that 'the war and the revolution are inseparable'".

Thematically Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Animal Farm (1945) share the betrayed revolution; the person's subordination to the collective; rigorously enforced class distinctions (Inner Party, Outer Party, Proles); the cult of personality; concentration camps; Thought Police; compulsory regimented daily exercise and youth leagues. Oceania resulted from the US annexation of the British Empire to counter the Asian peril to Australia and New Zealand. It is a naval power whose militarism venerates the sailors of the floating fortresses, from which battle is given to recapturing India, the "Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire.

Much of Oceanic society is based upon the propaganda strategies that emerged after WWI and fully florished during WWII. A similar thing also happened during the French Revolution in which many of the original leaders of the Revolution were later put to death, for example Danton who was put to death by Robespierre, and then later Robespierre himself met the same fate.

In his 1946 essay Why I Write, Orwell explains that the serious works he wrote since the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) were "written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism".

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a cautionary tale about revolution betrayed by totalitarian defenders previously proposed in Homage to Catalonia (1938) and Animal Farm (1945), while Coming Up for Air (1939) celebrates the personal and political freedoms lost in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Biographer Michael Shelden notes Orwell's Edwardian childhood at Henley-on-Thames as the golden country; being bullied at St Cyprian's School as his empathy with victims; his life in the Indian Burma Police – the techniques of violence and censorship in the BBC - capricious authority.

Other influences include Darkness at Noon (1940) and The Yogi and the Commissar (1945) by Arthur Koestler; The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London; 1920: Dips into the Near Future[53] by John A. Hobson; Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley; We (1921) by Yevgeny Zamyatin which he reviewed in 1946;[54] and The Managerial Revolution (1940) by James Burnham predicting perpetual war among three totalitarian superstates. Orwell told Jacintha Buddicom that he would write a novel stylistically like A Modern Utopia (1905) by H. G. Wells.

Extrapolating from World War II, the novel's pastiche parallels the politics and rhetoric at war's end-the changed alliances at the "Cold War's" (1945–91) beginning; the Ministry of Truth derives from the BBC's overseas service, controlled by the Ministry of Information; Room 101 derives from a conference room at BBC Broadcasting House; the Senate House of the University of London, containing the Ministry of Information is the architectural inspiration for the Minitrue; the post-war decrepitude derives from the socio-political life of the UK and the USA, i.e. the impoverished Britain of 1948 losing its Empire despite newspaper-reported imperial triumph; and war ally but peace-time foe, Soviet Russia became Eurasia.

The term "English Socialism" has precedents in his wartime writings; in the essay "The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius" (1941), he said that "the war and the revolution are inseparable... the fact that we are at war has turned Socialism from a textbook word into a realisable policy" - because Britain's superannuated social class system hindered the war effort and only a socialist economy would defeat Adolf Hitler. Given the middle class's grasping this, they too would abide socialist revolution and that only reactionary Britons would oppose it, thus limiting the force revolutionaries would need to take power. An English Socialism would come about which "... will never lose touch with the tradition of compromise and the belief in a law that is above the State. It will shoot traitors, but it will give them a solemn trial beforehand and occasionally it will acquit them. It will crush any open revolt promptly and cruelly, but it will interfere very little with the spoken and written word".

Adaptations in film, radio, television, and stage

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Gregg Silk - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

Official Strategy Of Mandatory Poverty Through Eternal War, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

The key part of the book is near the end where O'Brien is brainwashing Winston and explaining how the system works.

The Party's main problem is to keep the middle and lower classes hungry and fearful, and to make sure that the products of automation don't supply them with comfort and leisure.

The only way to do this is through eternal war, so that all excess production goes to weapons that are blown up or sunk in the ocean. It doesn't even matter if the war is real or not - the obsolete weapons are scrapped anyway. The important thing is to keep people poor so the class structure survives with the party on top.

The other key is to keep the population in a constant state of screaming enraged hatred. Anyone that looks "foreign" will get rounded up and executed. The country is saturated in phony "patriotism" over a war that probably doesn't even exist.

The government also pushes a national Puritanical drive to stamp out sex. And of course they use torture on a massive scale, and they apply it more or less randomly to get false confessions.

The only thing that make the book more anti-communist than anti-Fascist is that the Christian churches have been closed. The Nazis did not close churches, only synagogues.

Orwell was a life-long socialist but not a pacifist.

Julie - See all my reviews
The History Lesson You Wish you Had, March 3, 1998

George Orwell's final novel, 1984, was written amidst the anti-communist hysteria of the cold war. But unlike Orwell's other famous political satire, Animal Farm, this novel is filled with bleak cynicism and grim pessimism about the human race. When it was written, 1984 stood as a warning against the dangerous probabilities of communism. And now today, after communism has crumbled with the Berlin Wall; 1984 has come back to tell us a tale of mass media, data mining, and their harrowing consequences.

It's 1984 in London, a city in the new überstate of Oceania, which contains what was once England, Western Europe and North America. Our hero, Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth altering documents that contradict current government statements and opinions. Winston begins to remember the past that he has worked so hard to destroy, and turns against The Party. Even Winston's quiet, practically undetectable form of anarchism is dangerous in a world filled with thought police and the omnipresent two-way telescreen. He fears his inevitable capture and punishment, but feels no compulsion to change his ways.

Winston's dismal observations about human nature are accompanied by the hope that good will triumph over evil; a hope that Orwell does not appear to share. The people of Oceania are in the process of stripping down the English language to its bones. Creating Newspeak, which Orwell uses only for examples and ideas which exist only in the novel. The integration of Newspeak into the conversation of the book. One of the new words created is doublethink, the act of believing that two conflicting realities exist. Such as when Winston sees a photograph of a non-person, but must reason that that person does not, nor ever has, existed.

The inspiration for Winston's work, may have come from Russia. Where Stalin's right-hand man, Trotzky was erased from all tangible records after his dissention from the party. And the fear of telescreens harks back to the days when Stasi bugs were hooked to every bedpost, phone line and light bulb in Eastern Europe.

His reference to Hitler Youth, the Junior Spies, which trains children to keep an eye out for thought criminals -- even if they are their parents; provides evidence for Orwell's continuing presence in pop culture. "Where men can't walk, or freely talk, And sons turn their fathers in." is a line from U2's 1993 song titled "The Wanderer".

Orwell assumes that we will pick up on these political allusions. But the average grade 11 student will probably only have a vague understanding of these due to lack of knowledge. It is even less likely that they will pick up on the universality of these happenings, like the fact that people still "disappear" without a trace every day in Latin America.

Overall, however, the book could not have been better written. Orwell has created characters and events that are scarily realistic. Winston's narration brings the reader inside his head, and sympathetic with the cause of the would-be-rebels. There are no clear answers in the book, and it's often the reader who has to decide what to believe. But despite a slightly unresolved plot, the book serves its purpose. Orwell wrote this book to raise questions; and the sort of questions he raised have no easy answer. This aspect can make the novel somewhat of a disappointment for someone in search of a light read. But anyone prepared to not just read, but think about a novel, will get a lot out of 1984.

1984, is not a novel for the faint of heart, it is a gruesome, saddening portrait of humanity, with it's pitfalls garishly highlighted. Its historic importance has never been underestimated; and it's reemergence as a political warning for the 21st century makes it deserving of a second look. Winston's world of paranoia and inconsistent realities is an eloquently worded account of a future we thought we buried in our past; but in truth may be waiting just around the corner.

Plom de Nume "Rob" (Wolverhampton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews

1984 is the most "contemporary" book around - read it now!, November 2, 1999

Having just re-read 1984 it struck me that, whilst the quality of the writing is "timeless," (Orwell constructs a better sentence than most "literary artists"), the book's themes get more and more frightening as Western culture decays toward the millennium. My first school reading was in the days when 1984 was literally "the future," (even though Orwell had always intended it as a satire on contemporary Britain, with "1948" the originally intended title); in England today the resonances are especially profound, and what looked "old-fashioned" to `sixties and `seventies sci-fi readers has gained a new and bleaker realism. We're beginning to catch up with the US when it comes to presidential-style "leadership" and "spin," whilst the rewriting of history - with its horrible parallels with the politically correct mythologies espoused in transatlantic universities and the like - is already being implemented, with particular regard to the guilty denial of the achievements of the British Empire, (whilst the Roman and Greek civilisations still manage to escape trendy censure).

The worst shock comes with the realisation that everything 1984 says about the manipulation and reduction of thought by language-control, (Doublethink and Newspeak, respectively), is demonstrably happening right now. Things you can't say become thoughts you can't think, and an attempted conversation with most contemporary English youths on the street will reveal how hard it has become for our ill-educated masses actually to formulate rationale thought: what you get is a monotonic patois recitation of received simplistic opinion - or a boot stamping on your face, followed by a law-suit for your assault on them! One recent encounter left me with the reflection that we are so far from Shakespeare one could weep; then I read 1984 again, where Orwell has Winston wake up one morning with the name on his lips, a fleeting memory of a better past. The book is brilliantly written, shockingly painful and horribly, horribly relevant! (It's also fantastically entertaining and often very funny). Read it, read it again, and read it to your children!

Barry C. Chow (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

Consummately Wrong, October 10, 2004

Orwell wrote 1984 at a miserable juncture in history. The Second World War had just ended, the Europe of his memory was in ruins, the full horror of the holocaust had been laid bare and the victorious powers seemed bent on completing the destruction the planet. The best of optimists would have quailed, and Orwell was no optimist. Surrounded by this stark despairing landscape, he wrote a stark despairing speculation. It was his damning indictment of the dark places of our souls.

It has been called a masterpiece; one of the twentieth century's greatest prophecies; a visionary dystopia that will speak for all time.

I beg to differ.

I do not question the brilliance of Orwell's writing. It exactly conveys the utter dejection and despair that he felt in the aftermath of the war. It is an incredibly taut development of character, theme, setting, and plot that strikes our psyche like a fist to the stomach. It attains exactly the right balance between storytelling and polemic.

It is also all wrong. It felt wrong thirty years ago when I first read it. It feels just as wrong today.

If we ever manage to create hell, it won't be Orwellian. Humans are far more amenable to seduction than oppression. Why spy into every household when one can be persuaded to spy on oneself? Why use techniques as inefficient as torture when far more can be accomplished by appealing to our basest pleasures? Why need doublethink be forced when we will freely embrace it where it is invested with enough allure? And why would the denizens of a misbegotten future bother to listen to voices of discord when their every waking hour can be filled to excess with titillation, shallow ecstasy, and unending bombardment of the senses? The dystopia of the future will not be one of oppression, but of gluttony.

An observant person, looking at the here and now, might conclude that hell has already arrived. But it has arrived via Huxley, not Orwell. We already have the Brave New World of test tube babies, mass pacification, casual sex, and broadcasted voyeurism. The key to keeping a society docile is to make docility so pleasant, so seductive, that we will freely and willingly embrace it over the rigours of a well-examined life. The road to hell is paved with syrup, not vinegar.

Orwell was a brilliant thinker and writer, not just of fiction, but of social and personal commentary. His essays are probably the finest since Montaigne's, and his powers of human observation and his sheer intellect are overwhelming in their stature. This is what makes 1984 so difficult to understand. Such a keen mind should have arrived at very different conclusions from those exposited in this book.

In a really hellish future, there will be no need to destroy malcontents; they will simply be irrelevant.

Doug Vaughn - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)

Control language; control the world, December 8, 1999

So much has been written by others on this classic text that I will limit my comments to that aspect of the book I feel is still the most important - the manipulation of language to control behavior. Orwell understood how crucial meaning and communication is to social and political behavior. The Bolsheviks first and then the Nazis both went to great lengths to manipulate meaning, creating an acceptable vocabulary of politically positive words and images and an equally negative vocabulary for that which was to be vilified and destroyed. Attempting to channel behavior into patterns predefined by these limited modes of expression represents the greatest part of the state propogandist's art. Orwell reduced the complexity of this enterprise to something that could be seen for the con game it is. His invention of 'newspeak' demonstrates the reducto ad absurdum of such verbal restrictiveness.

In our day, whether Big Brother is really watching or not, we suffer from some of the same contraints of limited language and, in term, limited behavioral options. On the one hand we suffer from a language of polictical correctness that strives to offend no one, but makes speech clumsy and artificial. On the other extreme we suffer from the limited categories that the professional news media use - the narrow meanings available to them for understanding and communicating what is considered 'news'. Since politicians contribute to this limited vocabulary and play off of it, it saves them from facing much real in depth analysis and critique and limits the public to shallow expositions that distort reality and make meaningful political choice impossible.

So 1984 has come and gone and we haven't fallen into the dramatic pit that Orwell pictured, but the language we use to deal with social and political issues has been so attenuated that we are in danger of becoming slaves to a limited set of possibilities because we cannot even articulate any alternatives.

Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, September 16, 2005

This novel by George Orwell (whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair, 1903 to 1950) is about the effects of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is a characteristic of a government or state in which one political party maintains complete control under a dictatorship and bans all others.

This story, which takes place in London in 1984, follows one man (named Winston Smith) and his love interest (Julia) as they struggle against this totalitarian party ("The Party") whose leader (actually dictator) is "Big Brother." The Party political orthodoxy rules the giant country of "Oceania" (in which London is located).

At the heart of this party's political orthodoxy is the process of controlling thought through the manipulation of language and information by the use of "Newspeak" which utilizes what is called "doublethink."

Newspeak is the official language of Oceania (but is not the only language spoken). It is a language that eliminates unnecessary words and is designed to diminish rather than help expressive thought. For example, Newspeak states that there is no good and bad but only good and "ungood." Doublethink is the ability to simultaneously hold two opposing ideas in one's mind and believe in them both. The three Party slogans that title this review are examples of doublethink. Another good example is that (2+ 2 =4) and (2 + 2 = 5).

The Party keeps everybody in line through Newspeak and doublethink. But they also have other methods. For example, they have the "Thought Police" that investigate "thoughtcrimes." These are "crimes" of just having negative thoughts about The Party. Another example are telescreens that watch your every move even in bathroom stalls. Thus, "Big Brother is watching you" at all times.

Winston and Julia are discovered to be guilty of thoughtcrimes by O'Brien (who is the personification of The Party). O'Brien also represents those leaders who use cruelty and torture as their primary method of control (like Hitler and Stalin did). He makes them pay for their "crimes."

This novel clearly shows how totalitarianism negatively affects the human spirit and how it's impossible to remain freethinking under such circumstances.

This novel also contains an appendix written by Orwell. Here he explains various aspects of Newspeak and to my surprise he states that by the year 2050, Newspeak will be the only language that anyone will understand. Why does he state this? He wanted to keep the fear of totalitarianism alive in his readers well past the year 1984. (Thus, this novel is still quite relevant for today!)

This novel is in a word fascinating! It is well written and is filled with symbolism and imagination. It begins slow but gradually picks up speed. And the story is very interesting.

Finally, after reading this book, I recommend watching the 1984 movie "1984" starring John Hurt and Richard Burton (his last movie role).

In conclusion, this novel is a masterpiece of political speculation that serves as a warning to us all. Read it for yourself to see why it brought Orwell world-wide fame!!

(first published 1949; 3 parts or 24 chapters; 325 pages)

Melkor "Lord of Darkness" (Angband) - See all my reviews

Among the Literary Greats for Reason, September 14, 2005

It seemed so innocuous, just sitting there wedged between two other books on the shelf, collecting dust with the others on my "yet to read" list. I may have passed it by altogether had it not been for the fact that I needed to complete my three hundred pages for the second quarter of my junior year. Besides, I'd read this author's work before and knew that I enjoyed his writing fairly well. So, without realizing what I was plunging into, I picked up George Orwell's 1984; the most unceremonious beginning for a most extraordinary event.

As I unconsciously flipped the pages, not realizing that I was still me and not Winston Smith, the story's protagonist, barely cognizant, in fact, that this was a book and not reality, I was dimly aware that this was something special; something far beyond what I had been expecting. If Animal Farm was a slightly humorous, if morbid, look at communism, then 1984 was a ghastly, apocalyptic vision of a demented future. After reading the first twenty pages, I determined that this was the single most quotable book of all time.

The infamous Party slogans:

Chilling words from what could have been, from an averted catastrophe in which the human race subjugates itself through ignorance. Yet who's to say this could never come to pass? None can honestly look another straight in the eye and say, "That is not the future." To presume so is vanity manifest.

The one enemy man need truly fear is himself. The notorious Big Brother, the faceless autocrat in charge of Orwell's nightmare world (incidentally, it is never established whether Big Brother is a single man or a surreptitious group superciliously dealing justice to the masses), mercilessly dominates life on Oceania, one of three nations in existence. These countries, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia, are continually in a state of war with each other, in which Oceania and one of the others are allied against the last. Big Brother's control over his people is absolute, executed through a methodical censorship that keeps the façade of truth as a contorted mask. Big Brother has the power to efface any record of an event or person - to rewrite the past as he sees fit.

Perhaps less relevant as a prophecy today (1984 has come and gone and no dictatorship has arisen to consolidate the Americas and the United Kingdom into a single communist entity), 1984 remains a very real piece of culture, with its own voice in the way it challenges one's preconceived notions and ideals. My English teacher perhaps said it best, when comparing 1984 to Animal Farm: "Animal Farm hits you with gloves on; 1984 just smacks you bare-fisted." And it's no slap, no half-hearted jab; it is an in-your-face, force of a moving train blow to the jaw from which the reader reels for weeks, even months after. It is an illustration, as well, of the need of consolidation and the hopelessness that such a government can be beaten: Winston, after waging a personal crusade for his secret freedom, winds up a brainwashed pawn of Big Brother.

In the end, Orwell proves that, if the government so wills it, two and two really make five, not four, and no amount of protest is going to change that. This book was a life-changer for me in many ways, but mostly because it made me see a broader view of the world and made me appreciate life as I know it just that much more.

"He gazed up at that enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast. Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was alright, everything was alright, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

Quotes taken from George Orwell, 1984, copyright 1949 by Harcourt Brace Javonovich, Inc.

The "squirrelMaster" (BROUSSARD, LA United States) - See all my reviews

A masterpiece, misunderstood by many., July 1, 2004

A lot of readers seem to miss the point of this novel (especially the people who gave it 1 star, that's just weak). It's not about Orwell guessing what the world would be like in 1984 or really even a poke at communism.

Orwell presents an exaggerated and seemingly impossible not-so-distant future to the reader and supports it magnificently with parallelisms to religion and ideology. He addresses whether freedom of the mind is intrinsic to the human conscience and whether or not free thought is necessary for human happiness. It also questions what is real or true. Does 2+2=5? If you believe it and everyone else believes it, than why in the hell wouldn't it be so. The novel left me more afraid of the masses and the susceptibility of the human mind than the government. The people can take back control at the drop of a hat and they are the ones who allow it to get out of control in the first place.

Ahmed Ayad (Redmond, WA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
A must read for all, October 26, 2005

This is the most depressing tale I have ever read. Though I know it to be fiction, I still can't take myself out of its ending. Although you KNOW for certain how the story will end, one could even imagine writing the plot exactly as it is only half way through the book, you could still not imagine the profoundness in which it was written and the mood it puts you in. It is also one of the most mentally exhausting reads. Taking you from logical absurdities to the haziness of dream worlds to metaphysical discussions.

Ok, so why am I giving it 5 stars despite all this?

Because in doing it the way it is, Orwell has succeeded in transferring to you his absolute HATRED of mental bondage, and of absolute unchecked human authority, and anything and everything that can lead to them. The rate at which the story is advanced towards the darkness and viciousness, the way he never for a moment leaves a prickle of hope in you heart or your mind about the final outcome of the protagonists or the world in which he lives, all reflect in no uncertain terms this hatred. Sometimes you think to yourself reading this "ok, I get it, why all this darkness"? Then, you realize what he was doing. He is shouting with the top of his lungs to all of us to NEVER EVER let things even approach the conditions of "Airstrip one".

What I have found most amazing in the novel towards the end is his resolution of a question that kept lingering in the protagonist's mind throughout the story; the "why?", why would the "Party" or the people in it do that? I have seen few reviewers allude to it. His answer was as simple and unexpected to me as it was to Winston - the protagonist, yet was perfectly inline with the extreme world Orwell built. There is no "why", there is no logic to explain it. Power is an end, not a means. In the words of the party members: "GOD is power". There is no reason for such attrocities but a sheer animalistic lust for power. Again, he is in a way saying: "don't ever try to rationalize it to yourself or others".

What sets "1984" apart from its famous sibling "Animal Farm", which by the way was also very depressing, is that it is not tailored to the history of the Communists. You could see, in a sense, the development of Orwell's thought while writing these two pieces. He started with the first to document one of the worst forms of collectivism that he witnessed, then - seeing at that time no sign of it being defeated or abated - took it to its extreme form. Such a form was sufficiently general to cover all types of mind slavery, to the extent that it can be applicable everywhere. I belive he might have even hinted at that in the part where he recounts the "history of the world" that he imagined from the his time to 1984. In this history, ALL of the globe, is ruled the same way albeit with different names and insignificant changes in ideology.

It is impossible to read 1984 without drawing parallels between contemporary events and something that is taking place in the novel. Indeed, one might never find a place where this kind of world exists. Yet, there is always something to draw parallels upon. Here, in the States, when you here the words "spin masters", you can't help but think of the principle of "doublethink"; in which one can not only muster the ability to consciously think of something and its opposite at the same time, yet somehow be able to believe both of them. You hear the word "alternate reality" in which people hear, read, and see the facts yet still are able to fit them into their worldview. A view in which internment is justified, the poor are robbing the rich, dissent is treason, torture is patriotism, failures are successes, and everything you think is true is a lie fabricated by the an enemy called "the main stream media". Then, you can't help but think of the "Ministry of truth" and the "Ministry of love".

Orwell is a champion of freedom at all levels, but most importantly in "1984", he is a champion of common sense.

"Freedom is the ability to say that two plus two equals four".

1984 is a must read for all.

A.J. (Maryland) - See all my reviews

A great year for the defense industry, June 18, 2001

George Orwell's "1984," published in 1949, projects a parallel world 35 years into the future in which all nations have been combined into three major superpowers in an eternal state of unrest. London still exists, but it is now a part of Oceania, governed by an entity called the Party, headed by a sovereign figure known only as Big Brother. The Party's one goal is power -- power over everybody and everything in Oceania. Surveillance is administered constantly; devices called telescreens are placed in people's homes to monitor thoughts and actions and broadcast Party propaganda continuously, with no way for the resident to turn his off or change the channel. Free thinkers are not tolerated, and roving bands of "Thought Police" are sent to sniff out transgressors. The Party is developing an official language called Newspeak, whose goal is to simplify language by eliminating as many extraneous words as possible and reducing vocabulary to a small number of basic words, thus narrowing the scope of thought.

But there's always a rebel. The protagonist is a man named Winston Smith who works at the Ministry of Truth as a sort of professional history revisionist. His job is to revise newspaper articles and documents in which Big Brother made predictions or statements that did not agree with the actual outcome of events; in other words, to maintain the public illusion that the Party is infallible and omniscient. Unhappy with his state of being, Winston would like to overthrow the Party but is powerless to do so. Teaming up with his love interest Julia, another Party worker, he colludes with a high-ranking Party official named O'Brien, who reveals himself as a secret member of a society called the Brotherhood who are planning to destroy the Party. O'Brien gives Winston a subversive book explaining the ideals and motivations of the Party: The upper classes (the highest Party members) need to retain their economic status, so it is important to control the minds and bodies of the lower classes, and wars are waged constantly only so that capital will be spent on the production of war machinery instead of being converted into wealth which could be distributed to the lower classes.

Winston knows that if he is caught as a dissident, he's dead. The Thought Police are everywhere, and can he trust Julia, O'Brien, and the friendly old shopkeeper Mr. Charrington to be who they say they really are? Predictably, he is apprehended, but the Party's plans involve not killing but reprogramming him, which unfortunately for poor Winston could be a fate worse than death.

"1984" is not strictly an anti-communist rant. (For that, see Arthur Koestler's "Darkness at Noon.") Rather, it attacks the complacency of all people and nations who would let a small number of idealists have their way and take command over the rest of the population. Semantics aside, Communism and Fascism, as practiced by certain Twentieth Century world powers, are essentially the same thing: the individual loses all his importance for the benefit of the nation, which really means the ruling Party. If democracy requires eternal vigilance, "1984" illustrates the consequences of apathy.

New Age of Barbarism "zosimos" (EVROPA.) - See all my reviews

Big Brother Is Watching You., September 23, 2007

_Nineteen Eighty Four_, first published in 1949 by George Orwell (pen name of Eric Blair), is a horrifying dystopian novel of a world in which the individual human being has been completely degraded and deprived of his fundamental humanity that reflects the totalitarianisms of the day, particularly communism and Stalinism. George Orwell (1903 - 1950) was the pen name of the British author Eric Blair, who developed an early enmity towards those in power and their abuses of power. Orwell was a socialist but came to witness the horrors of the Soviet state and the betrayal of his ideals by Stalinists. As such, Orwell came to loathe totalitarianism in general and wrote novels showing the degrading effects such societies had on people. Throughout this book, one can witness the underlying hatred of Orwell and those imprisoned by the system for the totalitarian state and bureaucracy which completely controls their lives and existences. This book in particular shows that rage in the main character of Winston Smith, a mere pawn in a totalitarian society. Orwell's books are indeed prophetic and show us a world in which the very life-force has been sapped out of mankind by those in power. Orwell imagines a highly efficient totalitarian state, capable of enforcing political correctness at the highest levels, tampering with the memories of men, and maintaining a total disregard for the truth. Orwell shows how under such regimes the very notion of truth becomes suspect and the individual can no longer distinguish between fact and state propaganda. This particularly applies to the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin, which is the primary setting for Orwell's stories.

However, Orwell's books are also applicable to the West of today, where the constant menace of totalitarian ideology exists.

1984 gives us a whole slew of new terminology to describe the situation as it exists in a totalitarian state in which political correctness is enforced. The book introduces such terms as thought police, thought crime (and thought criminal), doublethink, memory hole, Ingsoc, and Newspeak. Such terms reflect the complete disregard of the totalitarian state for the truth and the active promotion of propaganda within society. They have also largely entered into our culture as expressions to describe the enforcement of political correctness.

1984 focuses on the main character Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party who lives in England and works for the Ministry of Truth. As it turns out, the Ministry of Truth ironically is responsible for spreading propaganda, and as all ministries mentioned by Orwell has a purpose exactly opposite to its stated purpose. The world of 1984 is a very bleak one indeed, run by a single party and its ruling leader "Big Brother", in which all individuals are subject to surveillance by the state should they commit a "thought crime". All expressions of individuality in 1984 have been wiped out and the human being is totally degraded living a pathetic existence of total subservience to the party. Sexuality has been suppressed as part of the "Anti-sex League" as well as religion. Truth itself is highly malleable and memory is constantly distorted, reflected in such ironical and oxymoronic sayings of the party as "War Is Peace", "Freedom Is Slavery", and "Ignorance Is Strength". Further, the nation of Oceania is constantly at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia, varying from day to day and reflected in the official propaganda of the state bureaucracy.

All party members revere their leader "Big Brother" (perhaps reminiscent of Josef Stalin or other totalitarian dictators) and despise the rebellious "Goldstein" (perhaps reminiscent of the Soviet hatred for Leon Trotsky). Further, the party exists in a caste system in which the "proles" (the proletariat) live underneath the party members (who are divided into the Inner and Outer Party). Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth but begins to keep a diary (which is strictly forbidden to party members) in which he reflects his hatred for "Big Brother". His work involves developing propaganda for the party. At work he meets up with Julia, who he initially believes is a strict orthodox member of the party. However, eventually he comes to realize that Julia is in love with him and they have a secret encounter in the countryside. Eventually Julia expresses to Winston her complete loathing for the party, though she publicly maintains a persona of utter obeisance and orthodoxy and belongs to the "Anti-sex League". Together they find a new hiding place in a shop in a part of the city where the "proles" live and attempt to re-discover the past of England. Throughout this period, however, the two live in constant fear of the thought police, should they catch onto their affair.

Eventually, Winston meets up with O'Brien at work, a man who he believes is a member of the Resistance, and is given a copy of Goldstein's book which explains the rise of the party and the need for perpetual war. Orwell quotes extensively from Goldstein's book which reflects much of the social thinking of the time, in particular the theory of managerial elites. However, Winston and Julia are captured by the party and it turns out that O'Brien is in fact a member of the party. While taken captive, both are tortured and made to recant their original beliefs about the party. In a particularly disgusting scene, Winston is taken to Room 101 where he must face his worst fear. There he ultimately betrays Julia (as she has already betrayed him) to save himself from being tortured by rats (the worst torture that he can imagine).

Eventually, Winston is completely re-educated and made to love "Big Brother" while his relationship with Julia is forever changed after their mutual betrayals of each other. Thus, ends in the most horrifying of manners Orwell's classic novel. Orwell concludes with an appendix on "The Principles of Newspeak" which effectively shows how even the language itself can be put to the purposes of propaganda within a totalitarian state.

1984 remains a classic dystopia reflecting the darker side of human existence within the Twentieth Century as it played out in the totalitarian dictatorships of the age. Throughout this novel, the very notion of truth remains problematic, as the party re-defines history to reflect its own agenda and thus even memory itself becomes distorted. Orwell shows the sheer degradation that the human being undergoes within such a surveillance society, to the eventual point where a man can be tortured by the powers that be to such an extent that he will eventually even renounce his love and embrace the figure he hates the most. While the novel is made to reflect Soviet society and Stalinism in particular, it also reflects the modern world in general, in which large-scale and efficient bureaucratic structures rob man of his humanity. Orwell's novels prove particularly prescient warnings to mankind to avoid the dangers of totalitarianism. As such, they should be read by all thinking individuals who seek to understand the horrors that can be inflicted upon the human being through totalistic societies.

A Customer

reality then v reality now, January 9, 2004

You've probably already read the other reviews on this site, so i'll just concentrate on my opinion on the relevance of this book in our contemporary society 1984 is a stark warning against totalitarianism. Written in 1948, Orwell's depiction of a government-controlled society seemed absurd when published, contrasting the innumerable amount of people that've said how real it seems now than it did then in western society

One interesting factor is the geography of the planet. We are told very little and all we're told is that there're three 'super-states', Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. Oceania is constantly at war with a vague and distant enemy, and is always switching between being allies and enemies with Eurasia and Eastasia. Comparing it to today, just what is this 'war on terrorism, and how threatened do you really feel about it (disregarding media opinion)?. America and Britian, both independantly throughout the years and in allegiance with each other recently, are constantly at war with an enemy. WWI, WWII, Cold war, Korean war, Vietnam war, Falklands War, Gulf war I and more recently Gulf war II. Societal opinions + perceptions are influenced by media, but who are we at war with? The "War on Terror" clearly highlights the fact that there is no tangible enemy anymore. Explained more clearly in Goldstein's passage in the book, we are constantly at war because it keeps us united, and stops us fighting one another, stops us fighting the government.

Another interesting factor in book is the issue of government surveillance. 'Telescreen' in homes, Cameras everywhere you walk, Microphones even in the countryside to detect rebellious behaviour. Although key issues stated in the book aren't as extreme, the power the government now has to keep tabs on people and spy on them has reached limits it has never reached before. The 'Party' explain that this surveillance is for the benefit of the people (note: animal farm) and they constantly reassure the citizens, or 'comrades', that life was worst off before they came along. Similarly, our governments are constantly re-assuring us how much better our lives are because of them. I.D cards are being proposed under the pretence that they will 'eliminate terrorism and benefit fraud', which are something the people are 'persuaded they want' because they media tells them they do.

The third, conclusively and i think most importantly, is the way this book challenges the fact we (society in 1948) take our freedom for granted. One passage in the book which sticks out in my mind specifically is when the main charactor walks through a lower-class area, and is terrified that the police patrols might stop him and ask him questions; 'what are you doing in this part of town? is this your usual way home'? etc. Similarly, if someone was walking down the street at 2am in a dangerous part of town for no particular reason, it would be deemed socially strange, thus encouraging this person not to do so, and do what everyone else does. If someone dresses in clothes that you do not usually see, he/she would be regarded as a weirdo, a social outcast".My point is, how free do we really think we are as a society these days? How easily are we opinionated by the media?

Our society is edging closer and closer to the reality that is 1984, and i recommend that you read it, it will change the way you perceive news articles, and you'll question all these erosions of civil liberties that have been happening.

By the way, Orwell didn't intend for this vision to be reality in the year 1984. He wrote it in 1948, so he just switched the last 2 letters around.

Valentin (Philadelphia) - See all my reviews

Remarkable, January 30, 2009

This excellent book is about life which was deprived of all meaning, whose primary goal was a constantly increasing productivity motivated by an ingeniously designed social system that advocated "love and peace."

I was born in the Soviet Republic of Ukraine. I recall the anxiety that tormented my family during the preceding months that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. I was seven and lived in my own universe, but I was sort of aware that the Soviet Empire was seeing its last days. Karl Marx must have been doing somersaults in his grave.

I don't remember much about living under communism - except that daily life was "by the book" - but I've talked plenty about it to my parents and grandparents. When Stalin went six feet under, it became a bit more tolerable, but it remained totalitarianism nonetheless. Orwell did an exceptional job at depicting the essential aspects of that kind of state, more precisely Soviet regime.

The detail that he told is fascinating; as if Stalin or Beria had let him in on the juicy stuff. Some of it he exaggerated, some he understated, but fundamentally he was accurate. Also, it is imperative that the reader keeps in mind that it was published in 1949. A vast majority of people in Russia and Europe were isolated from this kind of knowledge - the government made sure of that through an intricate system of secret police - so this book was a revelation. Of course we now know that, aside from the fictitious names, he essentially portrayed reality. The indoctrination that is described in the book still lingered when I attended school in Ukraine in the `80s. Soviet propaganda machine was thorough indeed.

The history of totalitarian states is complex and enormous amount of time and literature has been dedicated to it. This book, however, is a good substitute if one cannot wrestle with a lengthy 700-page tome. It won't make you a political scholar, but it'll educate you on what Soviet Russia was. It's written in a lucid manner; however, one has to read it as nonfiction to truly appreciate the author's vision. George Orwell is a genius and his "1984" will be read for a long time.

Aleksander Coho (Athens Greece, from Albania) - See all my reviews
History of The Communist World, February 20, 2001

No amount of positive reviewing will do justice to the importance and beauty of this book - you have to read if for yourself. What I really want to review are the reviews of some reviewers from Wstern countries. They like the book, but their reviews are of the kind 'This is a book about a hypothetical totalitarian dictatorshp, ..., etc.' What is wrong, is the word 'hypothetical' This book could have been titled 'Bits of the History of the Communist World (albeit a little allegorical)'

I don't know what people born in the West understand in this book. Not much perhaps. The very fact that Orwell is the ONLY Westerner I know of to have written an accurate description (though a bit allegorical) of communism in practice, suggests that most Westerners couldn't understand what was happening in the communist world. I suggest that they read it for what it is: History cast into an allegorical novel.

Now an example or two. There was a famous picture in history textbooks in communist countries. Lenin in a podium holding a speech, his hand streched to the masses listening. On his left you could see Stalin. Everyone of my age has seen this picture. What most people haven't seen, though, is an older version of it: Lenin holding a speech, and on his left, Trotsky. (Winston's job right)

Now my country (Albania) was great friends with USSR, until 1961, that is. Albania broke up with USSR (considering USSR a traitor of real socialism), to advance real socialism together with China. Not for ever of course - in 1978 China became a traitor of real socialism, too, having in fact never been really socialist. There was a famous picture in Albanian history textbooks. The Albanian B.B. (Enver Hoxha) was denouncing the betrayal of real socialism by the Soviet leadership. I have seen all three versions of this painting: In the first one, Enver Hoxha had Chou EnLai on one side and Mehmet Shehu (Albanian Prime Minister) on the other. This was valid between 1961 and 1978. When China betrayed socialism in 1978, Chou Enlai disappeared from the painting, and someone else took his stead. This second version lasted until 1981. That's because in 1981 Mehmet Shehu became a traitor, and 'was suicided'. So he disappeared from the painting, too. This is the last version of it. By the way, the painting stood in the Albanian National Art Gallery. Many people must have seen all three versions of it in original.

I could wrie a book longer than 1984, describing how accurate 1984 is.

Read 1984 as a history of the communist world; it is valid even for the four decades after Orwell's death.

Aleksander Coho

"skaven264" (Rochester Hills, MI United States) - See all my reviews
Through a dark mirrior, George Orwell's world of 1984, December 7, 2003

There are many different types of books out there: fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, history, and biography. But only a few of them have the same impact that George Orwell achieves in his book 1984. It seems part paranoid fantasy, part tribute to the malleability of the human psyche, and part historical allegory.

The issues, even presented in the outdated means that they are, still ring true for our modern society. The line between patriotism and nationalism is a thin one, and one that Americans look at each day. But in Orwell's world that line was crossed, and the result was a totalitarian government beyond anything most of us can imagine. With the government controlling all jobs, information, deeds, and actions, even to the smallest thought of their peoples, his world is stark and horrible to those of us used to a freedom. But the steps into that world are not that far away from our modern media control. In his world of 1984 the media serves the purpose of brainwashing the populace at large, and an ongoing war keeps the pressure on. And while some may claim that the media in our own country has the same control over us, in his world, the media is the government, and has no other agenda than that which the government sets forth.

The strange part is that all of this occurs to us, through the eyes of the main character, Winston Smith, as he falls in love with a young woman named Julia. In Oceania, the nation-state in which Smith lives, love is not allowed, and not tolerated. Winston Smith is, in essence, an insurgent in his own nation. He sleeps each night knowing that something is wrong, but not being able to say exactly what. As a reader we can see exactly the horrors to which he is made to endure, and though they might make us scream and shout, he is unmoved. But love draws him out of that sheltered reality, and into open insurgency against his own nation.

This is the beginning of the end for Wilson, as the romance, and the pleasures, are short lived. Like a terrible wave the police of the world he inhabits come crashing down upon him to break his spirit. The way they torture him is gruesome, and should offend anyone who values our human rights. But in the end, Wilson himself comes to love "Big Brother" the face of the state of Oceania. He forgets his insurgency, through a conscious adaptation of his logic processes. He has to know that whatever the nation does is right, even when it contradicts what he has experienced in the recent past. In Orwell's words, Doublethink.
These are just the surface issues that come across in Orwell's vision world the deeper issues are buried. As in, how could such a world come to exist? Well, he explains that after World War 2, there came a mighty nuclear war that wiped out most of the population centers of the world. And that out of the nuclear ash arose a political methodology that swept the nations, a kind of socialism that blended into totalitarianism. This totalitarian regime took hold and great purges, on the scope of the great purges in the early communist USSR, ran across the world as we know it. 3 stable nations were born: Oceania (The Americas, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and England), Eastasia (China, Mongolia, The Indonesian Peninsula, and Japan), and Eurasia (All of Europe save England, and all of the Former USSR). The rest of the world was in a constant state of conquest by one of these 3 super-nations, with the captured populations used as slaves. The constant state of war between the nations served to keep control over the people within the nations.

This is a world devoid of hope. Indeed, devoid of any emotions except hatred, fanatical delight in the war effort, and the obedience to the governments of the nations. This is the worst vision of what the Nazis in Germany hoped to accomplish in their conquests. A world without any laws, but what the government states to be true at that moment. A world where people disappear, but no one notices, or even cares, a world of total devotion to the state as a whole, without regard to creed, race, or social status.

It isn't often that the characters in a book become common usage in the world at large, but the phrase "Big Brother is watching you" has become synonymous with the government watching over its citizens. It shows up today in almost everyday speech. Especially when people are talking right to privacy issues. This seems apt, as privacy is one of the things that Wilson Smith never had, and will never have. Big Brother (the government) watched his every move of his life, recorded his every word, and rifled through his belongings at their leisure. This book is the origin of that phrase.
Orwell gives us a black and white view of the virtues of that world, and its drawbacks. The astounding thing is that it isn't still more talked about. We have, most of us, read this book. But how many too the time to understand the social and political ramifications it speaks of? I will from now on, that is for sure.

Mike H "Livin in the Past" (Reno, NV USA) - See all my reviews
What More Can You Say: An Abiding Classic That Demands To Be Read, September 21, 2012

It's nearly impossible to reduce what George Orwell achieved with "1984", but here are some good examples: First, that of the nearly 1,800 reviews of this book, it's likely nobody managed to say anything really different than anyone else; yet Orwell managed to do it throughout an entire novel -- and he did it nearly 70 years ago.

Further, Orwell was incredibly prescient and insightful. Take his "telescreen" for instance, which closely mirrors our giant-screen TVs today and soon-to-be two-way viewing technology that we enjoy with our computers. The little helicopters buzzing around spying on everyone could just as easily be drones and satellites today.

And take the ever-changing alliances between the United States, Russia and China -- which could easily be called Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania. There's always a war somewhere and when you turn on what passes for news today and it's all double-talk spin -- not so much concrete reality than it is flip-flop opinion. The world has yet to degenerate to thought control or "thoughtcrime", but the increasing constraints of political correctness has us edging that way.

And when it comes to our economic system, Orwell nailed that too -- "oligarchical collectivism," a system made by the few for the few. The Orwellian lexicon lives on: "Big Brother."

In the end, it boils down to the book itself. In short, it's a once-in-a-lifetime novel that begs to be read. An enduring classic. It's a book you can read time and again -- I know I have. One man resisting authority. The quest for freedom of thought and speech and liberty.

And I've said nothing no one else hasn't said already. You may as well quit reading what people have to say about this great classic and find out for yourself.

P. L. SORUM "Ricia" (FL) - See all my reviews
I attended parochial school as a teen and this book was a huge "no-no." I read it anyway and understood why those who seek control over others are very uncomfortable with this book. Personally, I think it should be required reading as it helps to define manipulative behaviors. It's a great book about a lousy world where thought is actively curtailed and the powers that be are only satisfied when the soul is utterly destroyed.
Carolyn Blades (Dexter, MI) - See all my reviews
Our world today and to come, January 29, 2009

Once science fiction, now daily reality: constant war, newspeak, doublethink, surveillance by hidden cameras (and now satellites), TV sets humming 24/7 in many homes, political cover-ups, repression, restriction of language and the concomitant impoverishment of thought, manipulation on many levels. If you only read this in high school, read it again.

Tikhonov Alexei "nabludatel" (Suwon, South Korea) - See all my reviews

1984 by Orwell, January 3, 2007

As a person who lived at socialism and now at capitalism in Russia and outside Russia I can say... '1984' is still actual, regardless of a political system. UNFORTUNATELY.

A lot of mind controlling methods, may be not as cruel as in '1984' described, but still same unhuman, are applied all over the world.... I strongly recommend to read this book to younger generation and don't think that it is about gone away Stalin's Russia... IT IS ABOUT OUR TODAY...In Russia and elsewhere. It is not too easy to read it, but when you MUST THINK it is always not easy....

James E. Egolf (Florida) - See all my reviews

A Description of the West from 1948 to the Present, March 27, 2006

George Orwell (1903-1950) wrote 1984 in the late 1940s,and the novel was published in 1949. This book was a description of a negative utopia,and served as a warning to the West of not only future events but events that had already occured in Western Europe and the United States. In fact, the original title of 1984 was 1948, but Orwell's publishers thought a futuristic title would increase sales of the book. There are three basic warnings in this book.

The shifting of political alliances in 1984 has an all to familiar ring. Note that during the first had of the decade of the 1940s that the Soviets, Chinese, etc. were gallant allies. On the other had, the Japanese, Germans, and the Italians were the forces of evil beyond redemption. Yet, by 1948, or 1946, the scene dramatically changes. All of a sudden, the Soviets were the evil "Gremlins in the Kremlin." The Chinese suddenly became wicked. The previously defined wicked Germans, Japanese, and Italians were now suddently "good guys." One should also that those who clearly wrote about this in any honest context were badly smeared or condemned for being honest.

Another part of 1984 which should be closely examined is the corruption of language. The politically approved words such as democracy, world peace, etc., are part of the media's cowardly effort to avoid truth. Political hacks use these approval words in a flimsy attempt to pose as experts assigned to explain the changes of "allies" and power shifts. Orwell was always aware of the corruption of language and, in turn, the corruption of thought. The examples Orwell uses in 1984 should attract the attention of thoughtful men.

Orwell was one of the few who saw the connection between war and economics. He was one of the first who saw war production as an economic engine to maintain something close to full employment. He lived through the Great Depression and realized that wars are started not so much to defeat the enemy as to maintain political unity and full employment on "the home front." If a "war" can be prolonged, the better attempt to maintain war production and full employment. While living standards were not good, workers have the illusion that they are reasonable well off and are busy with important work.

Orwell's 1984 should be required reading for any teenager. The political lessons derived from this book are important, and, as some have mentioned, one can learn good prose. Reading 1984 can help explain the shifting of alliances since the start of the Cold War and can help explain phony international tensions from the end of W.W. II to the present. One should reflect how many "enemies" and allies the Americans have had during this time as well as reflect on how enemies quickly become allies and vice versa. This reviewer would not recommend 1984 to anyone who is immune to reason.

john b (Concord, NC) - See all my reviews

2+2=5, December 30, 2005

Too often people summarily dismiss anything with the word 'classic' on the outside of it as something that is either too deep to understand or too tame to be interesting. 1984 defies the second mold and blows away the first, roaring off its pages as an untamable black-hearted novel about society.

That's where the ability to define the novel stops. Undoubtedly, when the reader finishes 1984, the last four words are going to draw a line for them; that line will be the one that demarcates whether the reader is a socialist (that the power of production in society lies in the hands of the state) or a capitalist (that the power of production in society should lie in individuals). The brief bio at the beginning of the novel states that Orwell himself was a socialist...this is a strange thing to have to hear because you get the feeling that the novel is not pulling for that side, nor the other.

Because that is the strange greatness that is this novel -- it pulls for nothing, gives no easy answers, and least of all holds back on the literary punch that it delivers. Some novels put forth a question then attempt to answer it (Dostoevsky's 'The Idiot' is one such attempt) and they are great for their own pattern. 1984 is of the other milieu, giving us only a large, unanswered question which is bound to divide us as much as it helps us to see the problems which we all face.

I've not talked much about the plot of the book, nor the characters to this point. To this I must simply say: why should I? The plot and characters, the whole course of the book...they are all contained in what I've already said. This is not a book, it is a problem, a deep philosophical/sociological one which cannot be pinned down. The novel uses its characters and their situations to stake out the nature of its presentation, and then leaves the reader to wade through it on their own once it is finished. It is a disturbance in the mind, one that is significant more so today than ever before- What is the nature of government and its intrusion into life (the NSA situation)? What controls should be placed on the individual (abortion, censorship, euthanasia)? What form should punishment take (torture in the US run detention camps)?

By the time you finish the book, you're going to be thinking about these questions and several more. Hopefully you will want to find answers, though doing so is no easy task; these are intentionally hard questions, aimed at all strata of society, ones that will stick with you the older you get, facing you every time you look at your pay stub and think about where your effort goes.

And again, the cultural significance of this novel cannot be understated. It has already pervaded our daily lives in such a way that we might take for granted; from the lyrics in songs (who controls the past now, controls the future), to the shows on television (Big Brother), one cannot help but to see 1984 all around us, so ingrained into our lives that we might overlook the impact it has made.

Bottom line: this is required reading in many schools for a reason. Every person should be made to read this book.

-LP

Chris (Washington state, USA) - See all my reviews

A fine piece of work, August 5, 2004

Oceania, with the British Isles, the America's and other lands, and London as its capital is a totalitarian state. Winston Smith works on changing past newspapers and other documents to make them doctrinally consistent with the short term needs of the party running Oceania, INGSOC. Thus documents are changed to make it seem that Oceania has always been at war with one of the two other nations of the world, Eurasia and in an alliance with EastAsia, the other nation; similarly is the construction when Oceania goes to war with EastaAsia. Similarly documents will be changed that have some INGSOC official uttering an inaccurate prediction about economic performance so that the official will have originally made an accurate prediction.. Documents are changed to eliminate mention of former favored party members after they fall out of favor and are sent to a forced labor camp or are "vaporized." Winston and other bureaucrats throw doctrinally inaccurate documents into the "memory hole", a chute, attached to his cubicle where they are sent down to the inner recesses of the government building to be burned.

Party members have in their homes and offices "telescreens" where they receive propaganda, are led in mandatory morning exercises but through which are also watched by officials for suspicious facial expressions, or any activity that might indicate independence of mind or feelings of love, enthusiasm or any other human emotion that are not directed at Big Brother, the possibly non-existent ruler of Oceania. People who exhibit such tendencies towards "thought crimes" are immediately arrested, executed or released back into society brainwashed and then rearrested and shot or sometimes sent to a forced labor camp.

INGSOC indoctrination ensures that its party members will not be able to not think logically and instead be completely subordinated to their emotions, which are completely engrossed in worshipping Big Brother. "Doublethink" is what is called the ability of the INGSOC party member to somewhat recognize the logical fallacies and outright falsehoods the party propagates as truth. At the same time such fallacies and falsehoods are accepted as the truth because one's emotions are trained to accept the party's pronouncements as truth whatever common sense says. Thus, it is easy to accept that two plus two equals five when logic says two plus two equals four. Or to not see anything wrong in the Ministry of Torture being officially called "The Ministry of Love," The ministry of truth management/propaganda, etc, where Winston works, as "The Ministry of Truth, and so on. Or to have the party denounce the original ideals of socialism while declaring itself to be a repository of socialist purity. Logic seems to be only tolerated when examining the crimes of official enemies of Oceania.

The bigger one's vocabulary is, of course, the more one can utilize it to articulate opposition to the party; so INGSOC wants to keep Newspeak-the language it is developing--and the remaining use of "Oldspeak"-old standard English-- as small as possible. In Newspeak there is no bad to good. Instead bad is called "ungood," "very good" in oldspeak is called "doubleplusgood." INGSOC indoctrination and throwing old documents and dictionaries down the "memory hole" has made "freedom" have no political connotations but only is defined as in the sentence "She was now free from the illness." Most documents before 1960 are sent down the memory hole or like the Declaration of Independence, altered to express doctrines of INGSOC.

Orwell is not just talking about Stalinism in this book. He sort of touches on elements of our own society. The bottom eighty five percent of Oceanic society, the non-party members are called "Proles", for Proletarian. The Proles are far less constrained by party discipline than INGSOC members produces for them and encourages them to consume dumb popular songs, pornography, trashy novels, play lotteries.. They are encouraged to jingoist frenzies where they attack foreigners and watch parades where they can jeer at foreign POW's and so on. All this distracts them from organizing to seize economic and political justice for themselves. They are still economically enslaved as they were under capitalism.

The sort of Trotsky of the story, Goldstein, notes that Oceania's rulers want to keep throwing resources into war-making so as not to have to divert them to making an equitable standard of living for the masses. \

Erich Fromm notes in his 1961 Afterward notes a few examples of how we in the U.S. practice "doublethink." He gives the example of the person who works for Corporation A and defends its products and everything about it as perfect regardless of what one's common sense might say. However the person will attack his employer's rival corporation B, trying logically to look for flaws in the latter's products and so on. Then the person might switch to employment in corporation B., thus switching loyalty to the latter, and attack the flaws of Corporation A., its former employer. Fromm also notes how American propagandists described U.S. allies as part of the Free World even though it contained viscous Latin American military dictatorships, apartheid South Africa, Salazar's Portugal, Franco's Spain, and so on.

As a piece of literature, this book is excellent. The structure, the parts of the story, are well put together and flow together well. Winston's struggle to maintain his intelligence and impendence is very realistic and well told. I liked the views of life among the Proles as seen by Winston. How Winston and Julia make contact and their first meeting where they end up fornicating are all a little unreal.. But despite this the Winston-Julia love story is very charming, full of real feeling. Winston's experiences in the last part of the book are described vividly, if being slightly incredible.

1984 (Signet Classics) George Orwell

Amazon.com Books
Julie on March 3, 1998
The History Lesson You Wish you Had

George Orwell's final novel, 1984, was written amidst the anti-communist hysteria of the cold war. But unlike Orwell's other famous political satire, Animal Farm, this novel is filled with bleak cynicism and grim pessimism about the human race. When it was written, 1984 stood as a warning against the dangerous probabilities of communism. And now today, after communism has crumbled with the Berlin Wall; 1984 has come back to tell us a tale of mass media, data mining, and their harrowing consequences.

It's 1984 in London, a city in the new überstate of Oceania, which contains what was once England, Western Europe and North America. Our hero, Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth altering documents that contradict current government statements and opinions. Winston begins to remember the past that he has worked so hard to destroy, and turns against The Party. Even Winston's quiet, practically undetectable form of anarchism is dangerous in a world filled with thought police and the omnipresent two-way telescreen. He fears his inevitable capture and punishment, but feels no compulsion to change his ways.

Winston's dismal observations about human nature are accompanied by the hope that good will triumph over evil; a hope that Orwell does not appear to share. The people of Oceania are in the process of stripping down the English language to its bones. Creating Newspeak, which Orwell uses only for examples and ideas which exist only in the novel. The integration of Newspeak into the conversation of the book. One of the new words created is doublethink, the act of believing that two conflicting realities exist. Such as when Winston sees a photograph of a non-person, but must reason that that person does not, nor ever has, existed.

The inspiration for Winston's work, may have come from Russia. Where Stalin's right-hand man, Trotzky was erased from all tangible records after his dissention from the party. And the fear of telescreens harks back to the days when Stasi bugs were hooked to every bedpost, phone line and light bulb in Eastern Europe.

His reference to Hitler Youth, the Junior Spies, which trains children to keep an eye out for thought criminals- even if they are their parents; provides evidence for Orwell's continuing presence in pop culture. "Where men can't walk, or freely talk, And sons turn their fathers in." is a line from U2's 1993 song titled "The Wanderer".

Orwell assumes that we will pick up on these political allusions. But the average grade 11 student will probably only have a vague understanding of these due to lack of knowledge. It is even less likely that they will pick up on the universality of these happenings, like the fact that people still "disappear" without a trace every day in Latin America.

Overall, however, the book could not have been better written. Orwell has created characters and events that are scarily realistic. Winston's narration brings the reader inside his head, and sympathetic with the cause of the would-be-rebels. There are no clear answers in the book, and it's often the reader who has to decide what to believe. But despite a slightly unresolved plot, the book serves its purpose. Orwell wrote this book to raise questions; and the sort of questions he raised have no easy answer. This aspect can make the novel somewhat of a disappointment for someone in search of a light read. But anyone prepared to not just read, but think about a novel, will get a lot out of 1984.

1984, is not a novel for the faint of heart, it is a gruesome, saddening portrait of humanity, with it's pitfalls garishly highlighted. Its historic importance has never been underestimated; and it's reemergence as a political warning for the 21st century makes it deserving of a second look. Winston's world of paranoia and inconsistent realities is an eloquently worded account of a future we thought we buried in our past; but in truth may be waiting just around the corner.

Geekier than thou TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 25, 2000

Big Brother is watching you - read this book and see how!

George Orwell's classic was incredibly visionary. It is hardly fathomable that this book was written in 1948. Things that we take for granted today - cameras everywhere we go, phones being tapped, bodies being scanned for weapons remotely - all of these things were described in graphic detail in Orwell's book.

Now that we have the Internet and people spying on other people w/ webcams and people purposely setting up their own webcams to let others "anonymously" watch them, you can see how this culture can develop into the Orwellian future described in "1984."

If you've heard such phrases as "Big Brother," "Newspeak," and "thought crime" and wondered where these phrases came from, they came from this incredible, vivid and disturbing book.

Winston Smith, the main character of the book is a vibrant, thinking man hiding within the plain mindless behavior he has to go through each day to not be considered a thought criminal. Everything is politically correct, children defy their parents (and are encouraged by the government to do so) and everyone pays constant allegiance to "Big Brother" - the government that watches everyone and knows what everyone is doing at all times - watching you shower, watching you having sex, watching you eat, watching you go to the bathroom and ultimately watching you die.

This is a must-read for everyone.


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[Oct 19, 2020] The Emails Are Russian- Will Be The Narrative, Regardless Of Facts Or Evidence by Caitlin Johnstone

Highly recommended!
Oct 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via CaitlinJohnstone.com,

Fight it all you want, but there's nothing you can do. "The emails are Russian" is going to be the official dominant narrative in mainstream political discourse, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. Resistance is futile.

Like the Russian hacking narrative, the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, the Russian bounties in Afghanistan narrative, and any other evidence-free framing of events that simultaneously advances pre-planned cold war agendas, is politically convenient for the Democratic party and generates clicks and ratings, the narrative that the New York Post publication of Hunter Biden's emails is a Russian operation is going to be hammered and hammered and hammered until it becomes the mainstream consensus. This will happen regardless of facts and evidence, up to and including rock solid evidence that Hunter Biden's emails were not published as a result of a Russian operation.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1317449899860951040&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Femails-are-russian-will-be-narrative-regardless-facts-or-evidence&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

This is happening. It's following the same formula all the other fact-free Russia hysteria narratives have followed. The same media tour by pundits and political operatives saying with no evidence but very assertive voices that Russia is most certainly behind this occurrence and we should all be very upset about it.

"To me, this is just classic textbook Soviet Russian tradecraft at work," Russiagate founder and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is heard assuring CNN's audience .

"Joe Biden – and all of us – SHOULD be furious that media outlets are spreading what is very likely Russian propaganda," begins and eight-part thread by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who claims the emails are "Kremlin constructed anti-Biden propaganda."

"It's not really surprising at all, this was always the play, but still kind of head-spinning to watch all the players from 2016 run exactly the same hack-leak-smear op in 2020. Even with everyone knowing exactly what's happening this time," tweets MSNBC's Chris Hayes.

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"How are you all circling the wagons instead of being embarrassed for peddling Russian ops 18 days before the election. It's not enough that you all haven't learned from your atrocious handling of 2016 -- you are doubling down," Democratic Party think tanker Neera Tanden tweeted in admonishment of journalists who dare to report on or ask questions about the emails.

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Virtually the entirety of the Democratic Party-aligned political/media class has streamlined this narrative of Russian influence into the American consciousness with very little inertia, despite the fact that neither Joe nor Hunter Biden has disputed the authenticity of the emails and despite a complete absence of evidence for Russian involvement in their publication.

This is surely the first time, at least in recent memory, that we have ever seen such a broad consensus within the mass media that it is the civic duty of news reporters to try and influence the outcome of a presidential general election by withholding negative news coverage for one candidate. There was a lot of fascinated hatred for Trump in 2016, but people still reported on Hillary Clinton's various scandals and didn't attack one another for doing so. In 2020 that has changed, and mainstream news reporters have now largely coalesced along the doctrine that they must avoid any reporting which might be detrimental to the Biden campaign.

"Dem Party hacks (and many of their media allies) genuinely believe it's immoral to report on or even discuss stories that reflect poorly on Biden. In reality, it's the responsibility of journalists to ignore their vapid whining and ask about newsworthy stories, even about Biden," tweeted The Intercept 's Glenn Greenwald recently.

"You don't even have to think the Hunter Biden materials constitute some kind of earth-shattering story to be absolutely repulsed at the authoritarian propaganda offensive being waged to discredit them -- primarily by journalists who behave like compliant little trained robots ," tweeted journalist Michael Tracey.

Last month The Spectator 's Stephen L Miller described how the consensus formed among the mainstream press since Clinton's 2016 loss that it is their moral duty to be uncritical of Trump's opponent.

"For almost four years now, journalists have shamed their colleagues and themselves over what I will call the 'but her emails' dilemma," Miller writes. "Those who reported dutifully on the ill-timed federal investigation into Hillary Clinton's private server and spillage of classified information have been cast out and shunted away from the journalist cool kids' table. Focusing so much on what was, at the time, a considerable scandal, has been written off by many in the media as a blunder. They believe their friends and colleagues helped put Trump in the White House by focusing on a nothing-burger of a Clinton scandal when they should have been highlighting Trump's foibles. It's an error no journalist wants to repeat."

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1316900508775280642&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Femails-are-russian-will-be-narrative-regardless-facts-or-evidence&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

So "the emails are Russian" narrative serves the interests of political convenience, partisan media ratings, and the national security state's pre-planned agenda to continue escalating against Russia as part of its slow motion third world war against nations which refuse to bow to US dictates, and you've got essentially no critical mainstream news coverage putting the brakes on any of it. This means this narrative is going to become mainstream orthodoxy and treated as an established fact, despite the fact that there is no actual, tangible evidence for it.

Joe Biden could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and the mainstream press would crucify any journalist who so much as tweeted about it. Very little journalism is going into vetting and challenging him, and a great deal of the energy that would normally be doing so is going into ensuring that he slides right into the White House.

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If the mainstream news really existed to tell you the truth about what's going on, everyone would know about every questionable decision that Joe Biden has ever made, Russiagate would never have happened, we'd all be acutely aware of the fact that powerful forces are pushing us into increasingly aggressive confrontations with two nuclear-armed nations, and Trump would be grilled about Yemen in every press conference.

But the mainstream news does not exist to tell you the truth about the world. The mainstream news exists to advance the interests of its wealthy owners and the status quo upon which they have built their kingdoms. That's why it's so very, very important that we find ways to break away from it and share information with each other that isn't tainted by corrupt and powerful interests.

* * *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet merchandise , buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here . Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I've written) in any way they like free of charge.

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[Oct 15, 2020] Yes, Take '1619' To Task, But Problem Goes Beyond One Story -

Oct 15, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Yes, Take '1619' To Task, But Problem Goes Beyond One Story by Tyler Durden Thu, 10/15/2020 - 18:20 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Submitted By J. Peder Zane, via RealClearInvestigations,

I'll join the chorus calling New York Times columnist Bret Stephens "brave" for last week's takedown of his newspaper's "1619 Project." But I'd also like to ask him: What took you so long?

The 100-page collection of 18 articles that infamously claimed America's "true founding" date is not 1776, but 1619 – the year enslaved Africans were first brought to these shores – has received withering criticism since it was published in August 2019 .

Ten months ago some of the nation's leading historians – including Pulitzer Prize winners Gordon Wood and James McPherson – wrote the Times to challenge a wide array of its claims, which the newspaper and its partner, The Pulitzer Center, were disseminating free of charge in the nation's classrooms . The historians were especially troubled by its assertion that the Revolutionary War was fought to preserve slavery and the project's near total erasure of the contributions of whites to dismantling slavery and working for freedom. Their letter described these failings as "a displacement of historical understanding by ideology."

Their criticisms were echoed and extended by others including Leslie M. Harris, an African American professor of history at Northwestern University, who said she "vigorously disputed" some central claims of the project when she helped fact-check it before publication. "Despite my advice," she wrote in Politico seven months ago , "the Times published the incorrect statement about the American Revolution anyway."

Stephens' sharply written broadside breaks no new ground. What it does provide is a skillful synthesis and endorsement of these voluminous critiques in the Times – by a Timesman. That is significant. But his decision to write the essay so long after the project's mistruths have been laid bare – and months after it was honored with a George Polk Award and a Pulitzer Prize – suggests more rot at the Gray Lady and in American journalism.

As Stephens (pictured) himself suggests, the precipitating event was Phillip W. Magness' Sept. 19 article in Quillette , which revealed that the Times has "taken to quietly altering the published text of the project itself after one of its claims came under intense criticism." Most significant, the paper had scrubbed the claim that 1619 was "our true founding" from the online text without acknowledgment.

This is not mere editing, but stealthy expurgation intended to cover up the paper's journalistic malpractice.

This sketchy conduct, presumably approved by New York Times Magazine Editor Jake Silverstein and others, warrants far more than a column. It demands a published response from the paper's executive editor, Dean Baquet, that acknowledges the misdeed and states whether Baquet knew of and/or approved the secret changes. Baquet must also detail the paper's response and explain why the Times still stands by the project, given the need for such major corrections.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

In this context, a column by someone with no authority at the Times beyond his opinion seems part of a strategy to acknowledge a problem without fixing it. For all his bravery in writing this piece, Stephens is the perfect foil for the Times, one that creates an escape hatch for 1619 acolytes.

It is relevant that Stephens – a conservative who came to the Times after a Pulitzer Prize-winning stint at the Wall Street Journal – is the columnist whom so many liberal Times subscribers love to hate. One of the few scribes at the paper who does not incessantly preach to its woke choir, he has generated strong pushback from colleagues and readers for his opinions on climate change and the Middle East . This may explain why the New York Times Guild initially felt comfortable sending a now deleted Tweet criticizing the editors for running Stephens' 1619 piece, which, it said, "reeks."

Stephens' standing makes it easier for many Times readers to dismiss or ignore his devastating critique. Imagine the impact a similar piece might have had if it been written by David Brooks or Nicholas Kristof.

Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger appears to be unconcerned by the allegations. The man who forced editorial page editor James Bennet to resign because he ran a controversial op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton , issued a brief statement Sunday that ignored the journalistic and factual issues raised by Stephens and others, and instead insisted that the 1619 Project was "a journalistic triumph" whose publication is "the proudest accomplishment of my tenure as publisher."

[ Baquet echoed Sulzberger's comments in a note to his staff on Oct. 13, when this column was posted. Without directly addressing the ethical and factual issues raised, he asserted that "the project fell fully within our standards as a news organization" and that it "fill(s) me with pride."]

The deeper issue raised by Stephens' column is that the 1619 Project is just one example of the degree to which the Times and other mainstream news outlets have displaced traditional journalistic practice with ideology. Informed by the tenets of social justice and critical race theory that have long dominated the humanities departments at leading universities, journalists have abandoned a commitment to the elusive ideal of objectivity for a naked embrace of results-oriented activism masquerading as reportage. In this regard, journalism is a symptom, rather than cause, of the deep-seated cultural relativism that pervades American culture.

The essence of the 1619 Project is the idea that America is a permanently racist nation whose founding ideals were lies. This is the capital T truth it seeks to advance. It dismisses facts that undermine that narrative, distorting the historical record because they are seen as roadblocks in the arc that bends toward justice. This approach relies on one of the most dangerous engines of dishonesty in human history: the notion that the means justify the ends.

That the Pulitzer board would bestow its prize for commentary to the lead writer of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, despite damning scholarly critiques, suggests how deeply this activist approach has infected journalism.

This impulse now drives much of the coverage in the Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, NPR, and other prestigious news organizations. The clearest example is reporting on Donald Trump, whom the left sees as an existential threat. This is the capital T truth they advance through stories that insistently eschew nuance to portray the president as a monster.

From climate change to identity politics, examples of their tendentious coverage are legion. But none is more thoroughgoing and dishonest than the years-long coverage claiming Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.

My RealClearInvestigations colleagues are among those who followed the leads and dug up the facts mainstream outlets refused to and, so, got the story right. Tom Kuntz, a former Times editor who leads RCI, detailed how the Times and the Post relied on untrustworthy anonymous sources, unfair innuendo and cherry-picked facts to advance this narrative in a series of stories that won both papers a Pulitzer Prize in 2018.

This effort to distort the truth continues unbowed and unabated. Last week, New Yorker writer Dexter Filkins wrote that Christopher Steele's dossier – opposition research paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign that claimed the Russians had been cultivating Trump as an asset for decades – "has been neither proved nor disproved."

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In fact, much of it has been debunked and the key parts of it that haven't been probably never will because you can't prove a negative – one can't ever prove that there is no videotape showing Trump paid Russian prostitutes to pee on a Moscow hotel bed the Obamas had slept in.

Shane Harris of the Washington Post encapsulated the ongoing dishonesty in an article last week acknowledging, after a fashion, damning new intelligence tying the Clinton campaign to Russiagate. In a single paragraph he both denied overwhelming evidence that the Clinton campaign helped generate that now debunked scandal while also insisting that the conspiracy theory was legitimate. Harris wrote:

"Trump allies have seized on the intelligence as evidence that Clinton was in some way involved in ginning up an investigation of Trump to tie his campaign to Russia. The president has consistently denied the charge as a 'hoax,' even though multiple investigations have documented numerous instances in which his campaign sought Russian assistance in damaging Clinton."

There is hardly any evidence that the Trump campaign "sought" such assistance. The most that can be said is that it was receptive to offers of dirt on Clinton at the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting . Her campaign, by contrast, used people like Steele to actively seek compromising material on Trump, which appears to have included Russian disinformation.

Such reporting is so brazen that it suggests a far deeper problem than any one story. Indeed, the deeply misleading Trump/Russia coverage and the 1619 Project are not deviations from the norm. They are the new standard at prestigious outlets that are committed to pursuing their notion of the capital T truth – inconvenient facts be damned.


[Oct 10, 2020] Woke crowd acts as the agent provocateur of the Deep State

Notable quotes:
"... The hatred of Donald Trump, which certainly to some extent is legitimate if only due to his ignorance and boorishness, has driven a feeding frenzy by the moderate-to liberal media which has made them blind to their own faults. ..."
"... Just as the Israel Firsters in Congress and in the state legislative bodies have had great success in criminalizing any criticism of the Jewish state, the mainstream media's "fake news" in support of the "woke" crowd agenda has already succeeded in forcing out many alternative voices in the public space. ..."
"... This type of "thought control" has been most evident in the media, but it is beginning to dominate in other areas where conversations about policy and rights take place. Universities in particular, which once were bastions of free speech and free thought, are now defining what is acceptable language and behavior even when the alleged perpetrators are neither threatening or abusive. ..."
"... Recently, a student editor at the University of Wisconsin student newspaper was fired because he dared to write a column that objected to the current anti-police consensus. ..."
"... The worst aspect of the increasing thought control taking place in America's public space is that it is not only not over, it is increasing. To be sure, to a certain extent the upcoming election is a driver of the process as left and right increasingly man the barricades to support their respective viewpoints. If that were all, it might be considered politics as usual, but unfortunately the process is going well beyond that point. The righteousness exuded by the social justice warriors has apparently given them the mandate to attempt to control what Americans are allowed to think or say while also at the same time upending the common values that have made the country functional. It is a revolution of sorts, and those who object most strongly could well be the first to go to the guillotine. ..."
Oct 10, 2020 | www.unz.com

Once upon a time it was possible to rely on much of the mainstream media to report on developments more or less objectively, relegating opinion pieces to the editorial page. But that was a long time ago. I remember moving to Washington back in 1976 after many years of New York Times and International Herald Tribune readership, when both those papers still possessed editorial integrity. My first experience of the Washington Post had my head spinning, wondering how front-page stories that allegedly reported the "news" could sink to the level of including editorialized comments from start to finish to place the story in context.

Today, Washington Post style reporting has become the norm and the New York Times , if anything, might possibly be the worst exponent of news that is actually largely unsubstantiated or at best "anonymous" opinion. In the past few weeks, stories about the often-violent social unrest that continues in numerous states have virtually disappeared from sight because the mainstream media has its version of reality, that the demonstrations are legitimate protest that seek to correct "systemic racism." Likewise, counter-demonstrators are reflexively described as "white supremacists" so they can be dismissed as unreformable racists. Videos of rampaging mobs looting, burning and destroying while also beating and even killed innocent citizens who are trying to protect themselves and their property are not shown or written about to any real extent because such actions are being carried out by the groups that the mainstream media and its political enablers favor.

The hatred of Donald Trump, which certainly to some extent is legitimate if only due to his ignorance and boorishness, has driven a feeding frenzy by the moderate-to liberal media which has made them blind to their own faults. The recent expose by the New York Times on Donald Trump's taxes might well be considered a new low, with blaring headlines declaring that the president is a tax avoider. It was a theme rapidly picked up and promoted by much of the remainder of the television and print media as well as "public radio" stations like NPR.

But wait a minute. Trump Inc. is a multi-faceted business that includes a great number of smaller entities, not all of which involve real estate per se. Donald Trump, not surprisingly, does not do his own taxes and instead employs teams of accountants and lawyers to do the work for him. They take advantage of every break possible to reduce the taxes paid. Why are there tax breaks for businesses that individual Americans do not enjoy? Because congress approved legislation to make it so. So who is to blame if Donald Trump only paid $750 in tax? Congress, but the media coverage of the issue deliberately made it look like Trump is a tax cheater.

And then there is the question how the Times got the tax returns in the first place. Tax returns are legally protected confidential documents and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is obligated to maintain privacy regarding them. Some of the files are currently part of an IRS audit and it just might be that the auditors are the source of the completely illegal leak, but we may never know as the Times is piously declaring "We are not making the records themselves public, because we do not want to jeopardize our sources, who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public." Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation wryly observes that when it comes to avoiding taxes "I'll bet that the members of the Times ' editorial board and its big team of reporters and columnists do the same thing. They are just upset that they don't do it as well as Trump."

Just as the Israel Firsters in Congress and in the state legislative bodies have had great success in criminalizing any criticism of the Jewish state, the mainstream media's "fake news" in support of the "woke" crowd agenda has already succeeded in forcing out many alternative voices in the public space. The Times has been a leader in bringing about this departure from "freedom of speech" enshrined in a "free press," having recently forced the resignation of senior editor James Bennet over the publication of an op-ed written by Senator Tom Cotton. Cotton's views are certainly not to everyone's taste, but he provided a reasonable account of how and when federal troops have been used in the past to repress civil unrest, together with a suggestion that they might play that same role in the current context.

This type of "thought control" has been most evident in the media, but it is beginning to dominate in other areas where conversations about policy and rights take place. Universities in particular, which once were bastions of free speech and free thought, are now defining what is acceptable language and behavior even when the alleged perpetrators are neither threatening or abusive.

Recently, a student editor at the University of Wisconsin student newspaper was fired because he dared to write a column that objected to the current anti-police consensus. Washington lawyer Jonathan Turley observes how the case was not unique, how there has been " a crackdown on some campuses against conservative columnists and newspapers, including the firing of a conservative student columnist at Syracuse , the public condemnation of a student columnist at Georgetown , and a campaign against one of the oldest conservative student newspapers in the country at Dartmouth. Now, The Badger Herald , a student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin Madison, has dismissed columnist Tripp Grebe after he wrote a column opposing the defunding of police departments." Ironically, Grebe acknowledged in his op-ed that there is considerable police-initiated brutality and also justified the emergence of black lives matter, but it was not enough to save him.

The worst aspect of the increasing thought control taking place in America's public space is that it is not only not over, it is increasing. To be sure, to a certain extent the upcoming election is a driver of the process as left and right increasingly man the barricades to support their respective viewpoints. If that were all, it might be considered politics as usual, but unfortunately the process is going well beyond that point. The righteousness exuded by the social justice warriors has apparently given them the mandate to attempt to control what Americans are allowed to think or say while also at the same time upending the common values that have made the country functional. It is a revolution of sorts, and those who object most strongly could well be the first to go to the guillotine.

[Oct 03, 2020] Do You Enjoy Beethoven- Then You Must Hate Women, Minorities, The Poor

True or not it's really funny, That's Onion level story.
Oct 03, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

Are you ready for this week's absurdity? Here's our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

Beethoven is a symbol of "exclusion and elitism"

The woke mob is attempting to cancel one of the most famous pieces of music in history – Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

Their aim? To thwart "wealthy white men who embraced Beethoven and turned his symphony into a symbol of their superiority and importance."

Come again?

Prior to Beethoven in the mid 1700s, lower class Europeans would regularly attend symphonies. And they were apparently quite a rowdy bunch– hooting and hollering all throughout the performance, like a modern day rock concert.

Around the time that Beethoven rose to prominence in the early 1800s, however, the lower classes were excluded from attending symphonies because they didn't keep quiet and applaud at the appropriate time.

So today's woke mob believes that by playing or enjoying Beethoven's Fifth, you are glorifying the exclusion of poor people, and by extension, women and minorities.

ay_arrow

Billy the Poet , 5 hours ago

Jon Voight as Conrack introduces his students to Beecloven:

https://youtu.be/8-jK3LBPgps?t=1937

Ghost of Porky , 5 hours ago

Heh that was where my mind went too.

NoDebt , 5 hours ago

Movies where a white person educates poor children of color are racist, obviously.

Unknown User , 4 hours ago

War is Peace / Freedom is Slavery / Ignorance is Strength

Unknown User , 3 hours ago

"He has made a marvellous fight in this world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The *** saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the ***; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?" - Mark Twain

yerfej , 5 hours ago

When low IQ reetaryds are manipulated to seize control they immediately attack everything beyond their cultural status and eliminate it. The west is witnessing rich progressive elites leveraging idiots to destroy society. What is funny is the idiots doing the manual destruction and footwork will of course get nothing out of all their efforts. They too will be culled, eventually, as always.

Bay Area Guy , 5 hours ago

But Beethoven was disabled (deaf at 26 or 27), so the woke crowd is prejudiced against the hearing impaired. They better self-cancel because of that.

drjimi , 4 hours ago

People don't go to classical music concerts because of the behavioral expectations????

Seriously???

People don't go to classical music concerts because they don't like classical music.

i can just as validly argue hip hop is elitist and exclusionary because I don't care for the chimp-like antics of its imbecilic fans.

MilwaukeeMark , 5 hours ago

Beethoven refuses to bow to the elites of his time. He demanded a place at their tables with them. He refused to become their hired help. Of course the left is too stupid to know that history.

Pernicious Gold Phallusy , 2 hours ago

The poem used in the last, choral, movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony was written by Friedrich Schiller and is know as "An die Freude", translated as Ode To Joy. But Schiller originally wrote the poem as "An die Freie" or "To the Free." Europe was in the grip of antimonarchic sentiment. The poem was not permitted to be published in Austria by the Emperor's censors. Schiller changed the word throughout the poem from Freie to Freude, and the censors permitted it. But everybody in the audience would have known this story, and realized the meaning of the poem.

Joe A , 3 hours ago

That is what communism does: it deconstructs and destroys history because it is all bad. History is a reminder of the oppression of the poor and downtrodden, of the class struggle. Everywhere in communist Europe they tore down churches and historical buildings and replaced them with ugly concrete colossal monstrosities.

Communists are insane.

Savvy , 3 hours ago

Rap is the most racist violent 'music' there is and they go after Beethoven? LOL

Jethro , 4 hours ago

The left is too stupid realize that they are creating the monsters that they've been autisticly screeching about.

Choomwagon Roof Hits , 4 hours ago

Sort of like the Old Bolsheviks back in the USSR...

Patmos , 5 hours ago

Their aim? To thwart "wealthy white men who embraced Beethoven and turned his symphony into a symbol of their superiority and importance."

I understand the desire of youth to shake things up when things don't seem right, to break out of the mold. It's James Dean, Rebel Without A Cause.

The modern "woke" mob isn't that though, it's rheetards without a clue.

[Oct 01, 2020] Why say riot when you can be vague and sensitive instead, AP Stylebook urges in newest Orwellian guidelines by Nebojsa Malic

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... AP is hardly the Ministry of Truth, dictating Newspeak under the penalty of torture. As it turns out, it doesn't have to be. A bit of updated style – and thought – guidance announced on Twitter from time to time will do. ..."
Oct 01, 2020 | www.rt.com
Used as the journalism Bible by most English-language media, the AP Stylebook has updated its guidance for employing the word 'riot,' citing the need to avoid "stigmatizing" groups protesting "for racial justice."

While acknowledging the dictionary definition of riot as a "wild or violent disturbance of the peace," AP said the word somehow "suggests uncontrolled chaos and pandemonium."

Worse yet, "Focusing on rioting and property destruction rather than underlying grievance has been used in the past to stigmatize broad swaths of people protesting against lynching, police brutality or for racial justice " the Stylebook account tweeted on Wednesday.

The claim that something has been used in the past in a racist way has already led to banishing many English terms to the Orwellian "memory hole." It certainly appears the AP is trying to do the same with "riot" now.

Instead of promoting precision, the Stylebook is urging reporters to use euphemisms such as "protest" or "demonstration." It advises "revolt" and "uprising" if the violence is directed "against powerful groups or governing systems," in an alarming shift in focus from what is being done towards who is doing it to whom .

READ MORE: CBS News whitewashes Kenosha destruction as mostly 'peaceful protests' as city smolders in aftermath

There is even a helpful suggestion to use "unrest" because it's "a vaguer, milder and less emotional term for a condition of angry discontent and protest verging on revolt."

Translated to plain English, this means a lot more mentions of "unrest" and almost no references to "riot," in media coverage going forward, regardless of how much actual rioting is happening.

Mainstream media across the US have already gone out of their way to avoid labeling what has unfolded since the death of George Floyd in May as "riots." Though protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota turned violent within 48 hours, before spreading to other cities across the US – and even internationally – the media continued calling them "peaceful" and "protests for racial justice."

Yet in just the first two weeks of the riots, 20 people have been killed and the property damage has exceeded $2 billion , according to insurance estimates – the highest in US history.

AP is no stranger to changing the language to better comport to 'proper' political sensitivities. At the height of the riots in June, the Stylebook decided to capitalize "Black" and "Indigenous" in a "racial, ethnic or cultural sense."

We're in a sinister new era of totalitarianism, where PC combat units use social media to destroy anyone who disagrees with them

A month later, the expected decision to leave "white" in lowercase was justified by saying that "White people in general have much less shared history and culture, and don't have the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color."

Moreover, "Capitalizing the term 'white,' as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs," wrote AP's vice-president for standards John Daniszewski.

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, as its full name goes, has effectively dictated the tone of English-language outlets around the world since it first appeared in 1953. It is also required reference material in journalism schools.

So when it embraces vagueness over precision and worrying about "suggestions" and "subtly conveying" things over plain meaning, that rings especially Orwellian – in both the '1984' sense of censoring speech and thought and regarding the corruption of language the author lamented in his famous 1946 essay 'Politics and the English language.'

AP is hardly the Ministry of Truth, dictating Newspeak under the penalty of torture. As it turns out, it doesn't have to be. A bit of updated style – and thought – guidance announced on Twitter from time to time will do.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

[Oct 01, 2020] America is on The Road to [Color] Revolution

Hannah Arendt books is junk, as elements of totalitarim are present inmst modern sociery, espcally neoliberal. The USA after 9/11 is one example.
Notable quotes:
"... Some émigrés who grew up in Soviet-dominated societies are sounding the alarm about the West's dangerous drift into conditions like they once escaped. They feel it in their bones. Reading Arendt in the shadow of the extraordinary rise of identity-politics leftism and the broader crisis of liberal democracy is to confront a deeply unsettling truth: that these refugees from communism may be right. ..."
"... Regarding transgressive sexuality as a social good was not an innovation of the sexual revolution. Like the contemporary West, late imperial Russia was also awash in what historian James Billington called "a preoccupation with sex that is quite without parallel in earlier Russian culture." Among the social and intellectual elite, sexual adventurism, celebrations of perversion, and all manner of sensuality was common. And not just among the elites: the laboring masses, alone in the city, with no church to bind their consciences with guilt, or village gossips to shame them, found comfort in sex. ..."
"... Heda Margolius Kovály, a disillusioned Czech communist whose husband was executed after a 1952 show trial, reflects on the willingness of people to turn their backs on the truth for the sake of an ideological cause: It is not hard for a totalitarian regime to keep people ignorant. Once you relinquish your freedom for the sake of "understood necessity," for Party discipline, for conformity with the regime, for the greatness and glory of the Fatherland, or for any of the substitutes that are so convincingly offered, you cede your claim to the truth. Slowly, drop by drop, your life begins to ooze away just as surely as if you had slashed your wrists; you have voluntarily condemned yourself to helplessness. ..."
"... You can also surrender it by hating others more than you love truth. ..."
"... In 2019, Zach Goldberg, a political science PhD student at Georgia Tech, found that over a nine-year period, the rate of news stories using progressive jargon associated with left-wing critical theory and social justice concepts shot into the stratosphere. The mainstream media is framing the general public's understanding of news and events according to what was until very recently a radical ideology confined to left-wing intellectual elites. ..."
"... For a man desperate to believe, totalitarian ideology is more precious than life itself. "He may even be willing to help in his own prosecution and frame his own death sentence if only his status as a member of the movement is not touched," Arendt wrote. Indeed, the files of the 1930s Stalinist show trials are full of false confessions by devout communists who were prepared to die rather than admit that communism was a lie. ..."
"... Similarly, under the guise of antiracism training, U.S. corporations, institutions, and even churches are frog-marching their employees through courses in which whites and other ideologically disfavored people are compelled to confess their "privilege." Some do, eagerly. ..."
"... "Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intellect and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty," wrote Arendt. ..."
"... President Donald Trump is a rule-breaker in many ways. He once said, "I value loyalty above everything else -- more than brains, more than drive, and more than energy." ..."
"... Trump's exaltation of personal loyalty over expertise is discreditable and corrupting. But how can liberals complain? Loyalty to the group or the tribe is at the core of leftist identity politics. This is at the root of "cancel culture," in which transgressors, however minor their infractions, find themselves cast into outer darkness. ..."
"... Beyond cancel culture, which is reactive, institutions are embedding within their systems ideological tests to weed out dissenters. At universities within the University of California system, for example, teachers who want to apply for tenure-track positions have to affirm their commitment to "equity, diversity, and inclusion" -- and to have demonstrated it, even if it has nothing to do with their field. ..."
"... De facto loyalty tests to diversity ideology are common in corporate America, and have now found their way into STEM faculties and publications, as well as into medical science. ..."
"... A Soviet-born U.S. physician told me -- after I agreed not to use his name -- that social justice ideology is forcing physicians like him to ignore their medical training and judgment when it comes to transgender health. He said it is not permissible within his institution to advise gender dysphoric patients against treatments they desire, even when a physician believes it is not in that particular patient's health interest. ..."
"... Like the imperial Russians, we Americans may well be living in a fog of self-deception about our own country's stability. It only takes a catalyst like war, economic depression, plague, or some other severe and prolonged crisis that brings the legitimacy of the liberal democratic order into question. ..."
"... If totalitarianism comes, it will almost certainly not be Stalinism 2.0, with gulags, secret police, and an all-powerful central state. That would not be necessary. The power of surveillance technology, woke capitalism, and fear of losing bourgeois comfort and status will probably be enough to compel conformity by most. ..."
"... At least at first, it will be a soft totalitarianism, more on the Brave New World model than the Nineteen Eighty-Four one -- but totalitarianism all the same. ..."
Oct 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

n 1951, six years after the end of World War II, the political philosopher Hannah Arendt published The Origins of Totalitarianism , in an attempt to understand how such radical ideologies of both left and right had seized the minds of so many in the 20th century. Arendt's book used to be a staple in college history and political theory courses. With the end of the Cold War 30 years behind us, who today talks about totalitarianism? Almost no one -- and if they do, it's about Nazism, not communism.

Unsurprisingly, young Americans suffer from profound ignorance of what communism was, and is. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit educational and research organization established by the U.S. Congress, carries out an annual survey of Americans to determine their attitudes toward communism, socialism, and Marxism in general. In 2019, the survey found that a startling number of Americans of the post-Cold War generations have favorable views of left-wing radicalism, and only 57 percent of Millennials believe that the Declaration of Independence offers a better guarantee of "freedom and equality" than The Communist Manifesto .

Some émigrés who grew up in Soviet-dominated societies are sounding the alarm about the West's dangerous drift into conditions like they once escaped. They feel it in their bones. Reading Arendt in the shadow of the extraordinary rise of identity-politics leftism and the broader crisis of liberal democracy is to confront a deeply unsettling truth: that these refugees from communism may be right.

What does contemporary America have in common with pre-Nazi Germany and pre-Soviet Russia? Arendt's analysis found a number of social, political, and cultural conditions that tilled the ground for those nations to welcome poisonous ideas.

Loneliness and Social Atomization

Totalitarian movements, said Arendt, are "mass organizations of atomized, isolated individuals." She continues:

What prepares men for totalitarian domination in the non-totalitarian world, is the fact that loneliness, once a borderline experience usually suffered in certain marginal social conditions like old age, has become an everyday experience of the ever-growing masses of our century.

The political theorist wrote those words in the 1950s, a period we look back on as a golden age of community cohesion. Today, loneliness is widely recognized by scientists as a critical social and even medical problem. In the year 2000, Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam published Bowling Alone , an acclaimed study documenting the steep decline of civil society since midcentury and the resulting atomization of America.

Since Putnam's book, we have experienced the rise of social media networks offering a facsimile of "connection." Yet we grow ever lonelier and more isolated. It is no coincidence that Millennials and members of Generation Z register much higher rates of loneliness than older Americans, as well as significantly greater support for socialism. It's as if they aspire to a politics that can replace the community they wish they had.

Sooner or later, loneliness and isolation are bound to have political effects. The masses supporting totalitarian movements, says Arendt, grew "out of the fragments of a highly atomized society whose competitive structure and concomitant loneliness of the individual had been held in check only through membership in a class."

A polity filled with alienated individuals who share little sense of community and purpose, and who lack civic trust, are prime targets for totalitarian ideologies and leaders who promise solidarity and meaning.

Losing Faith in Hierarchies and Institutions

Surveying the political scene in Germany during the 1920s, Arendt noted a "terrifying negative solidarity" among people from diverse classes, united in their belief that all political parties were populated by fools. Likewise, in late imperial Russia, Marxist radicals finally gained traction with the middle class when the Tsarist government failed miserably to deal with a catastrophic 1891-92 famine.

Are we today really so different? According to Gallup, Americans' confidence in their institutions -- political, media, religious, legal, medical, corporate -- is at historic lows across the board. Only the military, the police, and small businesses retain the strong confidence of over 50 percent. Democratic norms are under strain in many industrialized nations, with the support for mainstream parties of left and right in decline.

In Europe of the 1920s, says Arendt, the first indication of the coming totalitarianism was the failure of established parties to attract younger members, and the willingness of the passive masses to consider radical alternatives to discredited establishment parties.

A loss of faith in democratic politics is a sign of a deeper and broader instability. As radical individualism has become more pervasive in our consumerist-driven culture, people have ceased to look outside themselves to religion or other traditional sources of authoritative meaning.

But this imposes a terrible psychological burden on the individual. Many of them may seek deliverance as the alienated masses of pre-totalitarian Germany and Russia did: in the certainties and solidarity offered by totalitarian movements.

The Desire to Transgress and Destroy

The post-World War I generation of writers and artists were marked by their embrace and celebration of anti-cultural philosophies and acts as a way of demonstrating contempt for established hierarchies, institutions, and ways of thinking. Arendt said of some writers who glorified the will to power, "They read not Darwin but the Marquis de Sade."

Her point was that these authors did not avail themselves of respectable intellectual theories to justify their transgressiveness. They immersed themselves in what is basest in human nature and regarded doing so as acts of liberation. Arendt's judgment of the postwar elites who recklessly thumbed their noses at respectability could easily apply to those of our own day who shove aside liberal principles like fair play, race neutrality, free speech, and free association as obstacles to equality. Arendt wrote:

The members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it.

One thinks of the university presidents and news media executives of our time who have abandoned professional standards and old-fashioned liberal values to embrace "antiracism" and other trendy left-wing causes. Some left-wing politicians and other progressive elites either cheered for the George Floyd race riots, or, like New York mayor Bill De Blasio, stood idly by as thuggish mobs looted and burned stores in the name of social justice.

Regarding transgressive sexuality as a social good was not an innovation of the sexual revolution. Like the contemporary West, late imperial Russia was also awash in what historian James Billington called "a preoccupation with sex that is quite without parallel in earlier Russian culture." Among the social and intellectual elite, sexual adventurism, celebrations of perversion, and all manner of sensuality was common. And not just among the elites: the laboring masses, alone in the city, with no church to bind their consciences with guilt, or village gossips to shame them, found comfort in sex.

The end of official censorship after the 1905 uprising opened the floodgates to erotic literature, a prefiguration of our century's technology-driven pornographic revolution. "The sensualism of the age was in a very intimate sense demonic," Billington writes, detailing how the figure of Satan became a Romantic hero for artists and musicians. They admired the diabolic willingness to stop at nothing to satisfy one's desires and to exercise one's will.

Propaganda and the Willingness to Believe Useful Lies

Heda Margolius Kovály, a disillusioned Czech communist whose husband was executed after a 1952 show trial, reflects on the willingness of people to turn their backs on the truth for the sake of an ideological cause: It is not hard for a totalitarian regime to keep people ignorant. Once you relinquish your freedom for the sake of "understood necessity," for Party discipline, for conformity with the regime, for the greatness and glory of the Fatherland, or for any of the substitutes that are so convincingly offered, you cede your claim to the truth. Slowly, drop by drop, your life begins to ooze away just as surely as if you had slashed your wrists; you have voluntarily condemned yourself to helplessness.

You can surrender your moral responsibility to be honest out of misplaced idealism. You can also surrender it by hating others more than you love truth. In pre-totalitarian states, Arendt writes, hating "respectable society" was so narcotic, that elites were willing to accept "monstrous forgeries in historiography" for the sake of striking back at those who, in their view, had "excluded the underprivileged and oppressed from the memory of mankind."

For example, many who didn't really accept Marx's revisionist take on history -- that it is a manifestation of class struggle -- were willing to affirm it because it was a useful tool to punish those they despised. Consider the lavish praise with which elites have welcomed The New York Times 's "1619 Project," a vigorously revisionist attempt to make slavery the central fact of the American founding.

Despite the project's core claim (that the patriots fought the American Revolution to preserve slavery) having been thoroughly debunked, journalism's elite saw fit to award the project's director a Pulitzer Prize for her contribution.

Along those lines, propaganda helps change the world by creating a false impression of the way the world is. Writes Arendt, "The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world."

In 2019, Zach Goldberg, a political science PhD student at Georgia Tech, found that over a nine-year period, the rate of news stories using progressive jargon associated with left-wing critical theory and social justice concepts shot into the stratosphere. The mainstream media is framing the general public's understanding of news and events according to what was until very recently a radical ideology confined to left-wing intellectual elites.

A Mania for Ideology

Why are people so willing to believe demonstrable lies? The desperation alienated people have for a story that helps them make sense of their lives and tells them what to do explains it. For a man desperate to believe, totalitarian ideology is more precious than life itself. "He may even be willing to help in his own prosecution and frame his own death sentence if only his status as a member of the movement is not touched," Arendt wrote. Indeed, the files of the 1930s Stalinist show trials are full of false confessions by devout communists who were prepared to die rather than admit that communism was a lie.

Similarly, under the guise of antiracism training, U.S. corporations, institutions, and even churches are frog-marching their employees through courses in which whites and other ideologically disfavored people are compelled to confess their "privilege." Some do, eagerly.

One of contemporary progressivism's commonly used phrases -- the personal is political -- captures the totalitarian spirit, which seeks to infuse all aspects of life with political consciousness. Indeed, the Left today pushes its ideology ever deeper into the private realm, leaving fewer and fewer areas of daily life uncontested. This, warned Arendt, is a sign that a society is ripening for totalitarianism, because that is what totalitarianism essentially is: the politicization of everything.

Early in the Stalin era, N. V. Krylenko, a Soviet commissar (political officer), steamrolled over chess players who wanted to keep politics out of the game.

"We must finish once and for all with the neutrality of chess," he said. "We must condemn once and for all the formula 'chess for the sake of chess,' like the formula 'art for art's sake.' We must organize shockbrigades of chess-players, and begin immediate realization of a Five-Year Plan for chess."

A Society That Values Loyalty More Than Expertise

"Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intellect and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty," wrote Arendt.

All politicians prize loyalty, but few would regard it as the most important quality in government, and even fewer would admit it. But President Donald Trump is a rule-breaker in many ways. He once said, "I value loyalty above everything else -- more than brains, more than drive, and more than energy."

Trump's exaltation of personal loyalty over expertise is discreditable and corrupting. But how can liberals complain? Loyalty to the group or the tribe is at the core of leftist identity politics. This is at the root of "cancel culture," in which transgressors, however minor their infractions, find themselves cast into outer darkness.

Beyond cancel culture, which is reactive, institutions are embedding within their systems ideological tests to weed out dissenters. At universities within the University of California system, for example, teachers who want to apply for tenure-track positions have to affirm their commitment to "equity, diversity, and inclusion" -- and to have demonstrated it, even if it has nothing to do with their field.

De facto loyalty tests to diversity ideology are common in corporate America, and have now found their way into STEM faculties and publications, as well as into medical science.

A Soviet-born U.S. physician told me -- after I agreed not to use his name -- that social justice ideology is forcing physicians like him to ignore their medical training and judgment when it comes to transgender health. He said it is not permissible within his institution to advise gender dysphoric patients against treatments they desire, even when a physician believes it is not in that particular patient's health interest.

Intellectuals Are the Revolutionary Class

In our populist era, politicians and talk-radio polemicists can rile up a crowd by denouncing elites. Nevertheless, in most societies, intellectual and cultural elites determine its long-term direction.

"[T]he key actor in history is not individual genius but rather the network and the new institutions that are created out of those networks," writes sociologist James Davison Hunter. Though a revolutionary idea might emerge from the masses, says Hunter, "it does not gain traction until it is embraced and propagated by elites" working through their "well-developed networks and powerful institutions."

This is why it is critically important to keep an eye on intellectual discourse. Arendt warns that the twentieth-century totalitarian experience shows how a determined and skillful minority can come to rule over an indifferent and disengaged majority. In our time, most people regard the politically correct insanity of campus radicals as not worthy of attention. They mock them as "snowflakes" and "social justice warriors."

This is a serious mistake. In radicalizing the broader class of elites, social justice warriors (SJWs) are playing a similar historic role to the Bolsheviks in prerevolutionary Russia. SJW ranks are full of middle-class, secular, educated young people wracked by guilt and anxiety over their own privilege, alienated from their own traditions, and desperate to identify with something, or someone, to give them a sense of wholeness and purpose.

For them, the ideology of social justice -- as defined not by church teaching but by critical theorists in the academy -- functions as a pseudo-religion. Far from being confined to campuses and dry intellectual journals, SJW ideals are transforming elite institutions and networks of power and influence. They are marching through the institutions of bourgeois society, conquering them, and using them to transform the world. For example, when the LGBT cause was adopted by corporate America, its ultimate victory was assured.

Futuristic Fatalism

To be sure, none of this means that totalitarianism is inevitable. But they do signify that the weaknesses in contemporary American society are consonant with a pre-totalitarian state. Like the imperial Russians, we Americans may well be living in a fog of self-deception about our own country's stability. It only takes a catalyst like war, economic depression, plague, or some other severe and prolonged crisis that brings the legitimacy of the liberal democratic order into question.

As Arendt warned more than half a century ago:

There is a great temptation to explain away the intrinsically incredible by means of liberal rationalizations. In each one of us, there lurks such a liberal, wheedling us with the voice of common sense. The road to totalitarian domination leads through many intermediate stages for which we can find numerous analogues and precedents. . . . What common sense and "normal people" refuse to believe is that everything is possible.

If totalitarianism comes, it will almost certainly not be Stalinism 2.0, with gulags, secret police, and an all-powerful central state. That would not be necessary. The power of surveillance technology, woke capitalism, and fear of losing bourgeois comfort and status will probably be enough to compel conformity by most.

At least at first, it will be a soft totalitarianism, more on the Brave New World model than the Nineteen Eighty-Four one -- but totalitarianism all the same.

A Czech immigrant to the U.S. who works in academia told me that this "is not supposed to be happening here" -- but it is.

"Any time I try to explain current events and their meaning to my friends or acquaintances, I am met with blank stares or downright nonsense," he says. His own young adult children, born in America and indoctrinated into identity-politics ideology by public schooling, think their father is an alarmist kook. Can anyone blame a man like this for concluding that Americans are going to have to learn about the evils of totalitarianism the hard way?

From the book LIVE NOT BY LIES by Rod Dreher, to be published on September 29, 2020 by Sentinel, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2020 by Rod Dreher.


Augustine a day ago

I grew up under a socialist authoritarian state and I recognized it in the US 20 years ago. In the Patriot Act, to be more precise. It was the very same kind of law that I saw enacted in the early 70s back home that turned the tide of the regime to full out repression. You're noticing it just now because authoritarianism became bipartisan, though you have been quite comfortable since your tribe started it.

Eliavy Augustine 21 hours ago

The week after 9/11, I wrote President Bush asking him not to let something like the Patriot Act happen. I never got a reply and wondered ever since if it went astray (it was via email) or if anyone even read it.

Feral Finster Eliavy 13 hours ago

You are getting warmer.

I an not a 9/11 Truther, but 9/11 was hella convenient for those who wanted to saw things like the Bill of Rights as an outdated obstacle to Empire.


kenofken
Feral Finster 9 hours ago

The Bill of Rights got dumped in the drug war long before that.

Just Stop Digging kenofken 9 hours ago

<sigh> There are credible arguments to be made against the drug war, for sure, but how exactly did the Bill of Rights get "dumped"? OK I'm willing to concede that the Fourth Amendment got stretched beyond recognition to accommodate no-knock warrants and the like. Which of the rest of the Bill of Rights got dumped by the drug war?

If only liberals actually understood and believed in the 9th and 10th amendments, OTOH, we might be able to restore federal governance to something resembling sanity.

a Texas libertarian Just Stop Digging 8 hours ago

Well it is clear those last two of the original amendments have been almost totally forgotten. To speak of them is near treason at this point.

Sean Whitney Just Stop Digging 7 hours ago

Both the 9th and 10th Amendments were finally destroyed due to the drug war. The 2nd is collateral damage due to the increased use of home invasion raids by law enforcement see the "firearm enhancements". It can easily be argued that the increased militarization of law enforcement due to the drug war is a violation of the 3rd Amendment. The long sentences due given to people for possessing or selling a plant are a violation of the 8th Amendment. The right to a jury trial has been gutted via voir dire and the refusal of courts to recognize the natural right of all citizens to nullify unjust laws.

I am a liberal in the sense Patrick Henry was a liberal. We should have stuck with the Articles of Confederation.

SimpleMachine88 Sean Whitney 7 hours ago

It can't be easily argued that the drug war runs into the 3rd amendment, that is ridiculous. Nor is the 8th amendment really a great argument, although I do get where you're coming from.

It's obviously completely contemptuous of the idea of enumerated powers like you said before though. Why would you not mention the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, which had to be gutted for it, or the ways it runs afoul of the 14th, or basically ignores the precedent set by the 18th and 21st amendments.

Just Stop Digging Sean Whitney 6 hours ago

I too see where you're coming from, though I think the 9th and 10th amendments were already in tatters long before the drug war began. For that blame the now 100 year plus build up of the administrative state (particularly under FDR and LBJ) and the Court's enabling of it through imaginative readings of the Commerce Clause, delegation of powers, etc. Also blame Congress's total dereliction of duty per the above.

Add on the scheme by which the Federal govt takes everyone's money, shuffles it around and then hands it back to the states, but only under the condition that they do what the Federal govt tells them to do. Thus no state actually gets to build/maintain roads, develop housing programs, expand educational access or testing, and essentially anything else without following a million federal edicts.

Mark Thomason Eliavy 8 hours ago

Dubya's father had people who read such mail, and who answered it in his name. They seem to have passed on to him some sort of summaries of concerns.

I got from him one such answer.

The son never did that. Never.

JonF311 Augustine 15 hours ago

The very fact that a website like this exists, and we comment on it, suggests that.. No, we are nit under Totalitarian oppression or even an authoritarian regime. Would Stalin or even Brezhnev have tolerated a TAC critical of the ruling party? How about Hitler, Mussolini or Franco?

E.J. Smith JonF311 15 hours ago

Excellent point. There are, however, concepts such as "controlled opposition" and "soft totalitarianism" as outlined recently in Rod Dreher's piece. The latter concerns me more.

As long as Americans believe that they are getting the carrot they will not notice the slow encroachment of the stick, particulary if it's in the hands of large mega-corporations.

GaryH E.J. Smith 11 hours ago

You, sir, are correct. The totalitarianism rampaging toward us is going to be a paradoxical mix of Sexual Revolution, Cultural Marxism, and Globalist Vampire Capitalism. It will feature elements that seem to have been predicted in Zamyatin's We , Huxley's Brave New World , and Orwell's 1984 . It also has been foretold in Robert Hugh Benson's Lord of the World .

Just Stop Digging JonF311 15 hours ago

I'm sure you are well aware that Rod is not suggesting such a regime is here or coming. He has described how censorship will work / is working in painfully repetitive detail (because obviously people need to hear it over and over again).

Under soft totalitarianism, you will make the wrong response or refuse to affirm or refuse to attend the required re-education workshop and your job and livelihood will be gone. Don't pretend you don't understand Rod's argument.

James Just Stop Digging 6 hours ago

Jonf is for the woke soft totalitarianism, a dangerous element in the church, we Orthodox Christian's need to be on guard with Catechumens , and their motives for joining the Church, as well as Cradle liberals who dominate institutions in jurisdictions like GOARCH

blej Augustine 13 hours ago

The Patriot Act was always bipartisan. Please look at Congressional voting records before posting dumb stuff.

Wizard blej 11 hours ago

Most really bad ideas are.

Augustine blej 10 hours ago • edited

Who introduced and signed it into law again? Dumb stuff...

blej Augustine 8 hours ago

It had bipartisan support in Congress. Do you understand how the US legislative system works? Presidents don't unilaterally introduce and approve legislation.

Augustine blej 6 hours ago

It wasn't introduced by Bush, but by a nobody Republican in Congress. The act has the paw marks of Republicans through and through. Just 3 Republican congressmen voted against. There's no point hiding behind the bipartisan curtain.

Mark Thomason Augustine 8 hours ago

There is much yet to be answered for in the Patriot Act origins and how it came to be passed before anyone voting on it had a chance to read it once much less review it with propper staffing.

That Act was sitting on a shelf, like a time bomb, waiting for its chance. I suspect it was part of the preparations for an apocalyptic, dystopian America after a nuclear war.

It was pulled off that shelf because it was what they had on the shelf, it was there so they used it.

Augustine Mark Thomason 6 hours ago

And voted to renew it again and again.

kenofken 21 hours ago

"Can anyone blame a man like this for concluding that Americans are going to have to learn about the evils of totalitarianism the hard way?"

Americans have never learned anything the easy way. They don't learn the hard way either.

"Among the social and intellectual elite, sexual adventurism, celebrations of perversion, and all manner of sensuality was common."

Let no future commisar say that I didn't do my part for the revolution! I stand ready to humbly serve the people in the creation of an appropriate ministry for perversion.

Mark B. kenofken 12 hours ago • edited

Those who will have less than five sexual partners a year and do not switch gender in over two years will be chastised for the term of 10 years by legislation.

Kasoy 17 hours ago

When you remove God from your life, the inner desire implanted by God to look for the true meaning in life, & the desire to do good instead of evil remain strong. For most people, the "obvious" path is to give meaning to one's life is to follow the feel-good "social justice" road, a form of false humanism (for man & by man alone), ie, social justice without God that tries to create a paradise on earth (same way that communism tried to create a utopia without God).

Many young Americans no longer believe in God's relevance & His authority over their lives. This normally starts with the loss of respect for the authority of parents who represent God in the home (even Jesus was obedient to his mortal parents). The gradual destruction of the "domestic church", the family, in American homes is one of the immediate goals of radical agenda (eg, gender conflicts & confusion, gender id, gender choice, abortion, contraception, women liberation, etc) that results in increasing number of divorce & single-parent homes.

The only way to correct the path to a radical secular future is for people, esp the young, to regain their faith in God. The question is how. Evangelization is one. One can evangelize by words &or by acts. St Franscis of Assisi is often quoted to have said: When you evangelize, sometimes you need to use words. I think Rod is doing both through his books.

Kent Kasoy 15 hours ago

If God isn't implanted in a child's mind at a young age, it most likely never will. People, in there 20's, who never went to church are unlikely to ever become Christians. If you don't believe Heaven and Hell exist, why do you need a Savior? Look at the number of young families with young children at Church, and consider how many aren't there. That's the future.

richnice1975 Kent 11 hours ago

The idea of God doesn't need to be implanted in a child's mind. A child (and every person for that matter) intuitively knows that there has to be a Creator, an afterlife, and Divine Justice. As proof, I offer the fact that every civilization that has ever existed has had a religion with the aforementioned elements. Atheism did not appear until Marxism, and even then, in the Soviet Union / Russia, it did not succeed in eradicating faith and religion, which are as innate as love and sex.

dstraws richnice1975 11 hours ago

Unfortunately for you atheism long predates Marxism. Look to the early Greeks for the first recorded instances of non-believers. Try https://en.wikipedia.org/wi... for a overview.

Wizard richnice1975 11 hours ago

They want it, they don't know it. Knowledge requires evidence. But when you want something bad enough, it's easy to regard your desire as evidence.

Fabricio González richnice1975 11 hours ago

What? Atheism is as old as ancient Greece, probably older.

richnice1975 Kasoy 11 hours ago

Kasoy, you hit the nail on the head. You basically echoed what I say to people all the time. You truly get it! God bless you!

J Villain Kasoy 9 hours ago

>"The only way to correct the path to a radical secular future is for people, esp the young, to regain their faith in God."

Exactly the thinking powering Daesh. What is wrong with people being able to decide for themselves what religion if any they want? Why is a secular state a radical idea? The US is a secular state and it has served the US well.

Wydra 17 hours ago • edited

So Revolution or Civil War?
I keep hearing about one or the other, but only on the Internet.
I am of the opinion that we Americans are far too comfortable and have no stomach for privation.
We will continue to lurch along as always.

David Bartlett Wydra 14 hours ago

Does it really matter what "Americans" want? The very thesis of the article is that 'we' will do the bidding of the influential elites, regardless of whether we a) approve of their objectives, or b) are even aware of them. Like the article says, the vast majority of Americans mistakenly think that, so long as they have their routine, their job, their kids, their personal little patch of America complete with white picket fence, then, hey, how can things go wrong? "We" won't, wouldn't, couldn't, allow such a revolution or civil war to happen---why, there isn't even enough time to worry about it!

When a riotous mob of crazed BLM/ANTIFA soldiers comes marching up your peaceful street, you will become part of the 'revolution', like it or not.

Wydra David Bartlett 13 hours ago

I disagree with the dire assessment.
I don't see the fear or the desire of this anywhere but on the Internet.

Fair warning to the riotous mob - you should avoid my street during Mud Season. It can be pretty impassable if you're not used to it.

blej Wydra 13 hours ago

They almost always accompany each other.

peter mcloughlin 17 hours ago

Totalitarian Romanov Russia united with secular pluralist France against Germany in the lead-up to WWI. Similarly in WWII, totalitarian Marxist Russia united with the Western democracies to defeat Nazi Germany. The pattern is common place in history. Alliances reveal countries' motivations for war. And all are motivated by power.
https://www.ghostsofhistory...

massappeal 16 hours ago

I'll ask again (serious question): for conservatives who think we live in "Weimar America", isn't one of the major lessons for conservatives from Weimar Germany that when you're faced with the distasteful option of allying yourselves with liberals and the center-left, or allying yourselves with fascists and their street militias, it's important not to make the decision that German Nationalists did in the early 1930s?

WilliamRD massappeal 16 hours ago

The fascist are on the left. They always have been.

massappeal WilliamRD 15 hours ago

Thanks for your response, but no: https://www.britannica.com/...

WilliamRD massappeal 15 hours ago

I don't put much stock in Encyclopedias today. Like everything they've become PC.

Here's some actual. history on fascism

Three New Deals: Why the Nazis and Fascists Loved FDR

https://mises.org/library/t...

Hitler, Mussolini, Roosevelt

https://www.cato.org/public...

massappeal WilliamRD 15 hours ago

Yes, the Nazis and Fascists loved FDR which is why...they were allies of the US during World War II???

WilliamRD massappeal 14 hours ago

We were allied with one of the biggest mass murderers in history during World War 2. Joseph Stalin. Facts are facts and the facts are fascism is a leftist ideology.

blej massappeal 13 hours ago

To be fair, you can 'love' someone's ruling style and still go to war with them. Politics and warfare are about seizing power, not expressing admiration for the qualities of rivals.

massappeal blej 13 hours ago

To clarify, I didn't mean "love" in a personal or an emotional sense. In the case of World War II, democratic nations were opponents of fascist nations.

a Texas libertarian massappeal 11 hours ago

Before the war, many important people in America expressed approval of the fascist system and even Hitler.

Steve Naidamast massappeal 10 hours ago

I don't know what histories you have been reading but Adolph Hitler had no use for FDR as like many other European politicians of the day, they saw FDR as a relatively ignorant man.

blej massappeal 13 hours ago

The Nazis were basically 1848 (leftist) revolutionaries, who supported egalitarianism for German men and ethnonationalism (which was a very leftist idea when it was new). True reactionaries, like the King of Prussia in 1848, definitely did not share those values.

Aetius blej 12 hours ago

Can someone explain to me what the point of these arguments are? I always see people saying the Nazis were leftists, but even if I agreed with the claim what difference does it make to massappeal's point?

Most commentators put the Nazis on the far right. They themselves considered Nazism to be a "third way" between Capitalism and Communism. It's clear that the defining traits of Nazism are totalitarianism, nationalism, social darwinism, and virulent anti-semitism. Like communism and other forms of Facism, it is a revolutionary political movement. They also supported massive government spending and social welfare programs for "aryans", in a kind of state-dominated capitalism. It is also true that Ernst Rohm and the SA wanted a socialist revolution to follow the Nazi's national revolution, but they were betrayed and Rohm was executed for being too radical.

There's the truth. Facts are Facts. So what if they are leftist or rightist? I really don't understand the value of this argument. Is this a way to link Democrats to Nazis? Seems as ridiculous as trying to link Republicans to them.

BrotherJack Aetius 11 hours ago • edited

The point is obfuscation of reality from the US right, which has increasingly become enmeshed in world divorced from reality. Of course no respected historian places the Nazis as a Left ideology. There is some argument as to whether fascism/Nazism was Right, or neither left or right. But as an ideology, fascism and Nazism are illiberal, nationalist, and concerned with "natural hierarchies" which are anathema to "left" thought.

Anyone stating otherwise is either exceedingly stupid or not arguing in good faith. Either way, there is no point in engaging them or in giving them any platform to spout their nonsense. Shut them down, block them, mock them, and move on.

And conservatives wonder why they've "unwelcome" in academia...If you want to be taken seriously, you need to think seriously.

Aetius BrotherJack 11 hours ago

Penetrating insight. Of course, I am sure you are right. I want to give people a chance to defend themselves though, because I would truly love to be proved wrong and shown something of which I am ignorant.

a Texas libertarian Aetius 10 hours ago • edited

If you are honest in your search for the truth on this topic, please read Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn's " Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse "

No where will you find a more comprehensive and correct analysis of the history and composition of the Left.

Aetius a Texas libertarian 10 hours ago

I really appreciate the response. I read the synopsis and gather that the argument is somewhat similar to one which I have heard before, which is that all modern political movements are borne of the enlightenment, which is something I certainly agree with. There are certainly underpinnings under every modern party that find their root in the enlightenment.

The book you provided seems to be not quite that exact theory though, and of course I haven't read the whole thing...yet. But I honestly will, and I really appreciate the recommendation! Truth is truth, and it has no ideology. I will read it with an open mind.

Thanks again!

a Texas libertarian Aetius 10 hours ago • edited

The history of right and left, nationalist and internationalist, liberal and conservative is very complex and confusing. And it is different in America than it is in Europe. America started out mostly Protestant and Liberal (in the classical sense), so any right wing or conservative movement in the US would have these foundations. In Europe, conservatives were Catholic and Monarchist.

But Monarchy gets a bad rap in American public schools and universities, dominated as they were by Protestant and Liberal thinking at their founding and by Progressive and Socialist thinking now.

Here is a definition of the Right by EvKL (in the book):

"The true rightist is not a man who wants to go back to this or that institution for the sake of a return; he wants first to find out what is eternally true, eternally valid, and then either to restore or reinstall it, regardless of whether it seems obsolete, whether it is ancient, contemporary, or even without precedent, brand new, "ultramodern." Old truths can be rediscovered, entirely new ones found. The Man of the Right does not have a time-bound, but a sovereign mind. In case he is a Christian he is, in the words of the Apostle Peter, the steward of a Basileion Hierateuma, a Royal Priesthood"

And here the difference between Right and Left:

"The right stands for liberty, a free, unprejudiced form of thinking, a readiness to preserve traditional values (provided they are true values), a balanced view of the nature of man, seeing in him neither beast nor angel, insisting also on the uniqueness of human beings who cannot be transformed into or treated as mere numbers or ciphers; but the left is the advocate of the opposite principles. It is the enemy of diversity and the fanatical promoter of identity. Uniformity is stressed in all leftist utopias, a paradise in which everybody should be the "same," where envy is dead, where the "enemy" either no longer exists, lives outside the gates, or is utterly humiliated. Leftism loathes differences, deviation, stratifications. Any hierarchy it accepts is only "functional." The term "one" is the keynote: There should be only one language, one race, one class, one ideology, one religion, one type of school, one law for everybody, one flag, one coat of arms and one centralized world state"
a Texas libertarian a Texas libertarian 10 hours ago

Also from "Leftism":

"The rightists are "federalists" (in the European sense), "states' righters" since they believe in local rights and privileges, they stand for the principle of subsidiarity."
Aetius a Texas libertarian 6 hours ago

Beautiful quotes, my friend, I especially appreciate the latter one. I have not gotten far in the book, only 60 pages or so but I already find it fascinating, and I have gotten to that quote exactly, actually.

As a passing note, I will say that I doubt WilliamRD meant what you mean, though I could be mistaken. And I think defining Nazism as a leftist philosophy requires a semantic argument, which redefines "right" and "left" into something different than popular American political discourse defines it. And in fact, under these definitions, the Republican Party is at least partially leftist.

However, EvKL is clear that this is what he is doing, and you were clear yourself that we need to break out of these definitions. I couldn't agree more with you on that. Thanks for sending me the link, you've made me wiser.

a Texas libertarian Aetius 5 hours ago

You are a rare and beautiful soul! I can't believe you've already read that far into the book. I will try and learn from your example, the next time someone sends me a link.

And yes, the Republican party has been infiltrated by Leftism. I'm going to give you a book link on this too, but you don't have to read it right away! Just download it, and put it away in your files for later. It's a true story that is important to know and it gets to the heart of the American Conservative / Neoconservative divide.

It's called, " The Betrayal of the American Right " by Murray Rothbard

BrotherJack Aetius 10 hours ago • edited

Fair enough. To me it's analogous to listening to someone try and argue that 1+1=7. I'm just not sure that someone attempting such a calculation has the rational faculties to provide anything worth hearing, and I don't like lending legitimacy to every silly position that a person can take. Life is short, and I prefer to hear from people who demonstrate that they're playing with a full deck and arguing in good faith. The "Leftists are the Real Racists" crowd is certainly neither of those.

Edit: And hilariously, there is an actual RW goofball on this article's comment section, posting Nazi/Fascist sympathies (@Raskolnik) . So, the proof is in the TAC comments I guess...

a Texas libertarian BrotherJack 9 hours ago • edited

Are you arguing that Progressivism and Eugenics were not linked historically?

BrotherJack a Texas libertarian 9 hours ago

Again, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to think seriously:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/...

https://www.aaihs.org/eugen...

a Texas libertarian BrotherJack 9 hours ago

Lol. Wikipedia and a black racist journal? Seriously?

BrotherJack a Texas libertarian 8 hours ago • edited

The genetic fallacy definition can be found many places. If you read it, you might sound a little less dumb in public. And the AAIHS is not a racist journal. I know anything with "African American" in it seems to set off a very fragile segment of aggrieved whites, but I'm sure you could judge the article based on its content. I'd link to some others, but given what you've said so far, it seems unlikely you have access to JSTOR or any other legitimate academic resources. At this point all you're really accomplishing is offering more evidence that Right Wingers are almost allergic to information that contradicts their indoctrination. There's a reason your numbers are falling in legitimate academic institutions, and it isn't due to the secret cabal of communists that seem to haunt your daydreams. It's that your positions are asinine and you're incapable of arguing effectively and supporting your positions with evidence.

a Texas libertarian BrotherJack 8 hours ago

I'm just applying the same rules to blacks as get applied to whites. Imagine what the ADL or SPLC would say of an online journal called "White Perspectives" that teaches "white history."

BrotherJack a Texas libertarian 8 hours ago

Good to know: you're just stupid.

blej BrotherJack 8 hours ago

If you're too much of a lazy coward for serious discussion, then just go away.

BrotherJack blej 8 hours ago

There's nothing serious about you.

a Texas libertarian BrotherJack 8 hours ago

Lol. There we go. I knew you had it in you.

a Texas libertarian BrotherJack 8 hours ago

I have not committed the genetic fallacy. I not only attack the source of Leftism. I attack it's present manifestation and the false Left / Right paradigm those in its service have constructed in order to lead us ever leftward.

Leftism's founding principle is equality. Stated synonymously, and with much historical affirmation, this means uniformity.

The modern Left supposedly prides itself on diversity but this diversity is only skin deep. It still craves uniformity. It has just learned that it needs brown skin in positions of power to supplant white nonconformance, it's main opponent. The Left cannot even tolerate the opinions of those it disagrees with. This is why it labels everyone who disagrees with it's radical social engineering program a deplorable or a racist or an outright Nazi.

blej BrotherJack 10 hours ago

An actual theocratic monarchist reactionary would consider Nazism to be leftist, and ideas of 'racial superiority' or 'racial guilt' or whatever to be very modern ideas.

Please expurgate your naïve realism - it's all a matter of perspective. To someone with current mores, the Nazis, a rehash of the ethno-nationalist 1848 Revolutions in Germany, are unspeakably reactionary. To someone with pre-Enlightenment values, they're beyond far left. Please read something written by someone who was a 'leftist' in his own day, and it will almost always be unspeakably reactionary by the contemporary standards of even those 'white supremacists' that you so hate. Here's some anti-immigrant racist Benjamin Franklin for you:

"Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.

24. Which leads me to add one Remark: That the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably very small. All Africa is black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new Comers) wholly so. And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased. And while we are, as I may call it, Scouring our Planet, by clearing America of Woods, and so making this Side of our Globe reflect a brighter Light to the Eyes of Inhabitants in Mars or Venus, why should we in the Sight of Superior Beings, darken its People? why increase the Sons of Africa, by Planting them in America, where we have so fair an Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, of increasing the lovely White and Red? But perhaps I am partial to the Complexion of my Country, for such Kind of Partiality is natural to Mankind. "

BrotherJack blej 10 hours ago

This block of text is nothing but another incoherent rambling from a markedly unserious thinker. You've outed yourself repeatedly as an idiot or an ideologue. Either way, you're not worth another breath of response.

blej BrotherJack 8 hours ago

Whatever, coward.

a Texas libertarian BrotherJack 10 hours ago

"Anyone stating otherwise is either exceedingly stupid or not arguing in good faith"

Smells like Projection and Leftism to me. But I repeat myself.

BrotherJack a Texas libertarian 10 hours ago • edited

"Projection" is a safe word for simpletons who can't form an argument.

a Texas libertarian BrotherJack 10 hours ago

It's clear which one you think I am.

BrotherJack a Texas libertarian 10 hours ago

It doesn't really matter. You've demonstrated that you're utterly unserious. I don't care if it's because you're stupid or not.

a Texas libertarian BrotherJack 9 hours ago

Fair enough. Good bye.

Jordan Anderson a Texas libertarian 8 hours ago

Yes, if you simply throw out all logic and available evidence, Hitler and Mussolini were on the political left. And if you simply redefine the entire color spectrum, the sky is green and the sea is orange.

This is like History 101 people, get with the damn program.

a Texas libertarian Jordan Anderson 8 hours ago

History 101, and it was taught to you by Marxists.

"get with the damn program"

Spoken like a Leftist.

RAF BrotherJack 10 hours ago

Jack, if there is a nail and a head---you HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!

People do seem to try to put all of this in a left-right mindset which is more "tribal identity" than reality.

Broadly speaking ...repeat....broadly speaking----Russia and Stalin were an economic system-philosophy while Hitler carried on the German culture model of Martin Luther, which was much more GERMAN NATIONALISM -with a well documented anti-Semitism on steroids.

One was economic systems and the other one was nationalism. To put either into a leftist-rightist camp doesn't work with today's terminology.

The same way that it is not possible to call Trumpicans either conservative or liberal. The economic policies put in by Trump are reckless and certainly not conservative.

Labels are complicated.

blej Aetius 11 hours ago

The 'point' is to establish stigma by association. History is only useful in politics when it can used against one's enemies, either by associating with something valued or associating stigmatized history with one's enemies. It's also possible for history to be stigmatized due to its use by political enemies.

Wizard Aetius 11 hours ago

The point is to score points for your tribe. I find the terms "left" and "right" increasingly useless. If they ever had value, that value is largely lost. This is especially true in the US, where left and right seem determined to degenerate into each's caricature of the other.

a Texas libertarian Aetius 10 hours ago • edited

The point is to break out of the Left / Right paradigm as it's been presented to us by those who mean to rule us. Anybody who seriously opposes the Leftwing's steady march towards Communism, is labeled a far-right winger, and is put in the company of Nazis. They then become untouchable by normal people who have not devoted any time into historical or ideological inquiry.

This game forces normal people into the middle, and in the middle they pose no meaningful threat to the Leftward march of the establishment, because the middle cannot find the leverage to arrest its progress. The middle's only hope is to slow it down somewhat.

a Texas libertarian massappeal 11 hours ago

Fascism has perhaps not been 'on the Left' because, historically it has always arisen to fight communism, which is the farthest Left you can get (so anything opposed to it seems, by comparison, Right), but it is fully a child of the radical Left nationalism born of the French Jacobins. It's certainly not a grandchild of the European monarchies, though conservatives have at times had to ally with it as the lesser of two evils when confronted by communism.

Connecticut Farmer massappeal 16 hours ago

In the end it was a catastrophic economic meltdown--in their case taking the form of metastatic inflation--which sent Germany off the edge of the cliff and into the abyss. So it will be with the US. Pray we don't have a recurrence of 2007. Or worse!

massappeal Connecticut Farmer 15 hours ago

Thanks for your response. Hyperinflation in Germany ended in 1923; Hitler came to power in 1933.

Inflation wasn't a cause (or result) of the 2007-08 recession, and it's not evident in our current recession either.

Kent massappeal 15 hours ago

There was a thing called the Great Depression that started in America but spread to Europe quickly in 1929. Hitler came to power when millions of German workers lost their jobs and had no way of supporting themselves and their families.

massappeal Kent 15 hours ago

Yep. And Hitler came to power because German Nationalists (the conservative party) formed an alliance with him, rather than with the center-left and liberal parties.

Locksley massappeal 12 hours ago

Nationalism, German or otherwise, is not particularly conservative. The most intelligent conservative since Burke was Prince Metternich, who regarded nationalism as his greatest enemy, especially German nationalism.

Connecticut Farmer massappeal 13 hours ago

Yes, the actual hyperinflation did indeed end around that time but by then the economic die had already been cast. The cumulative effect upon the German middle and, especially, the working class, farmers, "petite bourgeoisie" etc.,would devastate the country through the remainder of the 20s and into the 30s (my father and his parents, who were working class Social Democrats, had to get out by 1928 and were lucky to gain admittance into the US as the doors were being closed on immigration at the time). As to 2007 I totally agree that inflation was not a factor. I was evidently unclear but--that really wasn't my point. The absence of inflation notwithstanding, we know that the economy went into the soup in 2007--so much so that, to date, we have not fully recovered. My main point is to express the fear that if it were to happen again for whatever reason, if you factor in the "Kulturkampf" within which American society is currently embroiled we are going to have one HELL of a mess on our hands.

massappeal Connecticut Farmer 13 hours ago

And given that, isn't it all the more important to try to avoid the political mistakes German conservatives made in the early 1930s when they chose to ally themselves with the Nazis?

Connecticut Farmer massappeal 12 hours ago

That's for sure!

totheleftofcentre massappeal 12 hours ago

Yes, it is. As we see here, conservatives like Rod think they can control the extremists. No snark this time, they really believe that.
They couldn't even control Trump.

Lynx2015 massappeal 11 hours ago

I think the bigger concern is the alliance of the center left with two marxist movements especially considering the right cannot ally with nazis as there are no comparable nazi organizations available

massappeal Lynx2015 11 hours ago

Thanks for your response. What are you referring to here---"the alliance of the center left with two marxist movements"?

Lynx2015 massappeal 10 hours ago

One of the three co-founders of BLM stated in an 2015 interview that she, Patrice Collers, and one other cofounder, Alizia Garza, are trained marxists. If the leadership claims they are marxist, then what is the BLM movement?

See here: https://www.politifact.com/...

Anarchists and Marxists simply have different methods of achieving the same goal. For an example of anarchist goals, see the collectivist actions of the Catalonian anarchists during the Spanish Civil War.

These are both anti-democratic and dangerous movements which the center left is happy to work with.

Disqus10021 Connecticut Farmer 12 hours ago

It was the ruinous inflation of 1923 COMBINED with the high unemployment in 1932 that encouraged millions of ordinary Germans to vote for the Nazis twice in 1932. Some wealthy Republicans seem to forget this as they lobby for more tax cuts and foreign aid to Israel. They also appear to forget that the period 1871-1914 was something of a "Golden Age" for German Jews. Germany's defeat in WWI AND the harsh peace treaty imposed on it by the other side were more than enough to offset the benefits of a new democratic constitution adopted in Weimar in 1919.
It is hard to believe that two decades ago, the US budget actually turned positive for a brief period of time, that the national debt was expected to be paid off in a decade or so and that some economists were wondering how the Fed would conduct monetary policy if there were no Treasury securities to buy and sell. They need not have worried. These days, the national debt is out of control. Instead of worrying about the future, I can take consolation in the fact that I have outlived (by more than a decade) all of my father's relatives who were still living in Poland in 1939. For them, the end of the line was an extermination camp called Belzec.

Steve Naidamast Disqus10021 10 hours ago

It wasn't just the 1929 Depression that caused so much hardship in Germany. In 1933 after Adolph Hitler came to power and Germany was just beginning to crawl out of the shock of their own depression, the international Jewish Community (Zionists) launched its economic war on Germany, which native, German Jews pleaded with their western brethren to not do. Ignoring the German Jews requests, the economic war against Germany persisted, causing massive economic disruptions as the popularity of this endeavor was picked up around the world...

Disqus10021 Steve Naidamast 9 hours ago

The first anti-Jewish measure put in place by Nazi Germany started on April 1, 1933 when Aryan Germans were encouraged by the government to boycott Jewish businesses in Germany. The boycott was the first of many anti-Jewish measures taken by the Nazis over the next 12 years. This boycott was followed on April 7, 1933 with the forced retirement of most non-Aryan (i.e. Jewish) civil servants in the country and a book burning of books by Jewish authors on May 10. There is a whole list of anti-Jewish measures taken by Nazi Germany in the museum catalog "Jews in German under Prussian Rule". Used copies are available at Amazon.

The economic response by Jews living outside Germany was a failure. It was the Battle of Stalingrad and the brutal Russian winter of 1942-43 that turned the tide of WWII in Europe

Connecticut Farmer Disqus10021 8 hours ago

Bit off topic but not long ago I read that of all the major industrial countries the one that supposedly suffered the least from the effects of the Depression-- was England!

Raskolnik massappeal 15 hours ago

The conservatives (right-liberals) have done nothing but ally with the left-liberals against the "fascists" (actual right wing) since 1945. Their entire raison d'etre is to lose gracefully while preventing the actual right wing from ever coming anywhere near power.

massappeal Raskolnik 15 hours ago

Thanks for your response. So, are you suggesting conservatives should ally themselves with fascists?

Raskolnik massappeal 15 hours ago • edited

Yes, if they actually care about accomplishing their stated policy goals

massappeal Raskolnik 15 hours ago

Thanks for your direct and clear answer, making clear your support for fascism.

Raskolnik massappeal 15 hours ago

You're welcome

Woland massappeal 12 hours ago

And if you believe WilliamRD just above, fascism is a leftist ideology, and the natural enemy of conservatism.

The right should get its internal affairs in order, or we're gonna need some new labels in the near future.

BrotherJack Raskolnik 12 hours ago • edited

Finally, full-throated support of fascism on TAC.

Well, if there is some "revolution", don't be surprised when you get the wall.

Raskolnik BrotherJack 11 hours ago

How exactly do you plan on accomplishing your "revolution" from the inside of a detainment camp?

BrotherJack Raskolnik 10 hours ago

Keep digging, Nazi.

Raskolnik BrotherJack 8 hours ago

I will, Commie

blej BrotherJack 11 hours ago

He won't be, but you definitely will be when you get it.

BrotherJack blej 10 hours ago

Scary stuff, dork.

Schopenhauer Raskolnik 12 hours ago

Thank god they serve some purpose then.

Annie from Alaska massappeal 14 hours ago

I would call that "overfitting," expecting to find exact matches among the parties involved. My lessons:
- people can be given scapegoats in lieu of hope. "Yes, we've gutted manufacturing and flooded the country with low-skill illegal labour, but what's keeping you down is systemic racism. There is a secret hatred for the colour of the skin inside all white people. They can't even see it themselves, but it's there. Just look at all these stories from the Jim Crow era and get angry about them again, and you'll find that if you don't for me you're not really black."
- nothing's more dangerous than a well-meaning good person convinced they're better than everyone else, led about by skilled propagandists with total control of news and entertainment.
- projection and false flag operations are at the top of the propagandist's toolbox. If you're "fighting racism," you can see race everywhere and treat it as the defining aspect of every person you meet and the source of all their opinions. If you're "fighting fascism" you can dress in black and run around starting fires, attacking Senators, and shooting people for their political beliefs. If you convince everyone "white supremacist terror groups" are the biggest threat to the country you can unleash rioters on every major city to fight one rather well-behaved seventeen-year-old in one city. You can unleash a steady stream of hoaxes: Russiagate, a short clip of the longer George Floyd video that obscures why he died, the Covington Catholic Smirk of Supremacy, bleach and "This is MAGA country." It doesn't matter. The bigger the better: people will always believe the big lie.

You should think about your own role in all this. What part of Weimar are you playing?

massappeal Annie from Alaska 14 hours ago

Thanks for your thoughtful response. To answer your question, I play a small-to-the-point-of-insignificance role these days, trying to lower the political temperature in this time of pandemic, and trying to make the case for small 'd' democracy as the best (and highly imperfect) method for dealing with the challenges we face.

It's in that context that I find hope in the growing number of conservatives (most recently, former Montana governor and RNC chair Marc Racicot) who are placing "country over party" and stating their support for Biden, not because they agree with his policies but despite their disagreement with them.

Gaius Gracchus massappeal 13 hours ago

These folks are not putting "country over party". They are tied into the Uniparty ruled by the oligarchs doing the bidding of their masters.

Putting "country over party" would require them calling for the arrest of all those who were involved in the Russian collusion hoax, Spygate, and everything else, from Obama on down.

Putting "country over party" would require them to put the well-being of the citizens first and support an end to endless war and to support enforcing immigration law and fixing trade.

No, these every alleged Republican or conservative supporting Biden is showing that they are and have always been a fraud who doesn't believe what they preached and would rather continue in the good graces of the rich and powerful that really rule the country.

massappeal Gaius Gracchus 13 hours ago

Thanks for stating your views so clearly.

Nate J Gaius Gracchus 8 hours ago • edited

Exactly.

Support for country over politics and personal gain. Going back to the "normalcy" of the pre-Trump political order. Pick one. You don't get both.

Anyone who tells you how important it is for "the good of the nation" to go back to the long list of careerist politicians, hacks, and establishment elite who have governed it towards its ruination must first make the case that the "norms" of American political culture were good and righteous or (even from a strictly amoral view) practically useful. They never do, though.

It's always asserted as if it is a self-evident fact that we need to go back to the days of Bushes, Clintons, and Bidens, but nobody can really explain why.

blej massappeal 13 hours ago

Leftists don't want us as allies, and the 'street militias' are almost entirely leftist. Institutional elites in Germany supported National Socialism, while in the US today they support leftists.

massappeal blej 13 hours ago

Thanks for your response. Sure, there are those on the left who want nothing to do with centrists and conservatives. (Heck, some of them barely tolerate liberals.) But the Democratic party chose its most moderate candidate as its standard-bearer in this election, and Biden has made clear he welcomes the support of centrists and conservatives and Republicans.

(As for militias, per the FBI (not known as a bastion of liberalism) right-wing militias are by far the largest domestic terrorism threat.)

Just Stop Digging massappeal 12 hours ago • edited

Like the Republican party in the Trump era, there is no longer such a thing as the Democratic party in its traditional sense. As the GOP is an empty vessel now filled with Trumpism, the Democratic party is an empty vessel being filled with progressivism (an ongoing process). The traditional Democrats (like old-school moderate African-Americans) who put Biden over the top in the primary are otherwise powerless in the party.

Biden has made it clear that he will not push back against the far Left in any way - in his refusal to comment on packing SCOTUS, ending the Senate filibuster, ending the electoral college (the lack of an answer to these being itself an answer), in his absorption of much of Bernie's platform into his own, in his silence on urban riots and looting until campaign people told him it was affecting polling (and his response since has been tepid at best).

He lied gleefully (Trumpily?) during the debate about the prog platform - his own campaign website lists support for GND and an expanded "reimagining" of the suburbs among many other progressive goals which Trump is too inarticulate and ignorant to frame sensible arguments against.

The Democrats are planning to govern on the basis of vengeance and revolution. The mood of the base could not be more clear.

massappeal Just Stop Digging 12 hours ago

Thanks for your response. Unlike the Republican party, the Democratic party still has a party platform that extends beyond (far beyond, 90 pages beyond) fealty to its party leader. As Biden won a majority of the delegates, the platform those delegates adopted reflects the views of the factions that chose Biden more than it does any other faction in the party.

Biden has pointedly and repeatedly distanced himself from the policy wishes (e.g., Medicare for All, Green New Deal, defund the police) of the left-wing of the Democratic party.

Just Stop Digging massappeal 11 hours ago
Vice President Biden knows there is no greater challenge facing our country and our world. Today, he is outlining a bold plan – a Clean Energy Revolution – to address this grave threat and lead the world in addressing the climate emergency.

Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.


https://joebiden.com/climat...

Biden will implement the Obama-Biden Administration's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule requiring communities receiving certain federal funding to proactively examine housing patterns and identify and address policies that have a discriminatory effect. The Trump Administration suspended this rule in 2018.


https://joebiden.com/housing/

Giving Americans a new choice, a public health insurance option like Medicare. If your insurance company isn't doing right by you, you should have another, better choice. Whether you're covered through your employer, buying your insurance on your own, or going without coverage altogether, the Biden Plan will give you the choice to purchase a public health insurance option like Medicare. As in Medicare, the Biden public option will reduce costs for patients by negotiating lower prices from hospitals and other health care providers. It also will better coordinate among all of a patient's doctors to improve the efficacy and quality of their care, and cover primary care without any co-payments. And it will bring relief to small businesses struggling to afford coverage for their employees.


https://joebiden.com/health...

and plenty more where that came from

marku52 Just Stop Digging 11 hours ago

BIden as a captive of the left? When he spent literally most of the debate kicking them?

Laughable. Biden is a moderate republican, or would be before the GOP went completely off the rails.

blej massappeal 11 hours ago • edited

I don't deserve your thanks, kind sir. You're vastly overestimating the social importance of presidential elections, imo. And I don't believe the FBI. Every other institution in American society is virtue signaling support for the woke left, so why not them? They know who is going to run the country next year. Do you believe that the rioting and destruction this summer was caused by right-wingers? I have heard that conspiracy theory before, and I suppose it's the closest thing we'd ever get from leftists to an admission that the events were negative.

I think that there is definitely a strong double standard when it comes to media reporting and institutional acknowledgment of violence based on the demographics and politics of the perpetrator. There was a huge mass shooting in the city I live in last year, but the shooter (DeWayne Craddock) was black and had a stereotypically black given name. There was very little reporting on it as compared with the Texas church shooter that occurred at about the same time.

totheleftofcentre massappeal 12 hours ago

No, because we on the Left are always the greater evil.
Always.
The (few) bad tendencies of (some, very few) people on the Right can be contained and governed by the other conservatives.
/SNARK

JWJ massappeal 12 hours ago

In Germany, the national socialists and communists were battling for totalitarian control. Both of them were on the left. Dictatorship either way.

The real question today in the US is whether old fashioned liberals [belief in free speech, political discourse without threats or actual violence, natural American patriotism, etc] will disavow the violence and intimidation from the leftist totalitarianism that is the democrat party today.
The rioting, the burning, the street violence, the death threats of lining people against the wall, etc., etc., is pretty much all from the totalitarian left. I could give you hundreds of examples, the most recent the former CEO of Twitter wanting to shoot political opponents.

This hate-filled rhetoric from the totalitarian left is an attempt to dehumanize people they disagree with, to hate them. This is simply preparing for the stage that those the totalitarian left disagrees with should be sent to gulags at a minimum, or killed.

This is all with the approval and help of the "mainstream' democrat party. Denying this just makes you not credible.

p.s. Biden, at best, is a partial senile figurehead, whose function is to mask what the totalitarian left really wants to do.

QballK JWJ 12 hours ago • edited

Oh what Jonah Goldberg has wraught with this "NAZI's we're leftists" horseshit. I guess when you be been absolved of the notion that right wing thought had anything to do with the rise of fascism in Europe, you can say any horrible thing you'd like about people of another race, ethnicity, or religion ruining your pretty Lilly white country.

Disqus10021 QballK 11 hours ago

From Wikipedia:
"As the eldest son of Bertha Krupp,
Alfried was destined by family tradition to become the sole heir of the
Krupp concern. An amateur photographer and Olympic sailor, he was an
early supporter of Nazism among German industrialists, joining the SS in
1931, and never disavowing his allegiance to Hitler."

massappeal JWJ 11 hours ago

Thanks for your response. In case anyone else still isn't clear, and just for the record, the Nazis were not "on the left". https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

JWJ massappeal 11 hours ago

The national socialists were on the left. You may lie about it, I can't stop you.

But what is definitely clear is the national socialists were brutal evil totalitarianists [new word?]. Just like the communist dictatorships in russia, china, cambodia, cuba, etc.

This is the leftists/wokesters blm antifa [the brownshirts of today] in the US, with the tacit/explicit approval of democrat leadership.

Mark Thomason massappeal 8 hours ago

They would not have been better off aligned with Stalin, which was the other side in their domestic political extremes. It too was rioting in the streets.

The middle got too narrow to survive. That does not mean the other extreme was an acceptable choice, much less a better choice.

massappeal Mark Thomason 7 hours ago

"The middle got too narrow to survive."

No. For example, the Nazis and the Communists *combined* only accounted for 40% of the parliamentary seats after the 1930 election. If the center-right, centrist, and center-left parties had formed an alliance, they could have governed the country. https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

Daniel Baker massappeal 7 hours ago

I'm not really a conservative, but I share many concerns and values with conservatives. I do agree that it's better to ally with liberals and the center-left than to join right-wing authoritarians, and for that reason I have, however reluctantly, cast my mail-in vote for Joe Biden.

That said, I think you misinterpret the choice that ultimately faced German nationalists in 1932. By that time, the liberals and center-left had shrunk to powerlessness at the national level, and the republic itself was dead in all but name. The choice as the German nationalists saw it, and very likely as it actually was, was to join the communist KPD or the fascist National Socialists, both of whom were determined to kill the republic. Even a friggin' restoration of the Kaiser would have found more support at that point than the continuation of a liberal center-left republic which had been thoroughly repudiated by all the strongest players.

In retrospect, we know that even the KPD might have been less bad than the National Socialists, because the KPD probably wouldn't have blundered into another world war like the National Socialists did (Stalin, after all, avoided war with the USA and UK). But that would have been hard for German nationalists to foresee in 1932. The obvious question for them in making their choice was "Whose death list am I on?" If you were a business owner, independent farmer, or churchman, your chance of survival seemed better under the National Socialists; if you were nonwhite, or gay, or Jewish (always remember many German Jews were fervently nationalist; some of the men murdered in the camps had won Iron Crosses in World War I), you would have a better chance of survival under the KPD. If the businessmen, farmers and churchmen could have foreseen that the National Socialists were going to throw away their lives in another pointless war, they might have taken their chances with the communists instead.

Switching now to modern America, it seems as hard to predict now as it was for the Germans in 1932 which party will get us into a massive bloodbath overseas. Trump talks the nonintervention talk sometimes, but he never withdraws troops, twice came within a micron of getting us into a war with Iran, and consistently behaves bellicosely with foreign powers. Biden's record in supporting the Iraq War and the Libya intervention show that a vote for Democrats is no sure vote for peace either. In any case, dying in a conventional war is a very remote risk for most Americans; our forces are too strong and technologically advanced. Nazi Germany lost seven times more dead just invading Poland than America lost in the whole Afghanistan war. The true nightmare scenario for America is nuclear war with Russia, and there's no dispute about which party is more hostile to Russia.

My point is, if we've truly reached 1932 Weimar, it's already too late to ally with liberals and the center-left. The far right and the far left were their only options, and both led to disaster.

My fervent hope is that we're still closer to 1929 Weimar than 1932. The republic is sick, perhaps dying, but not everyone has lost faith in it; below the level of the political and media elites, confidence in the republic is still strong. The US military still supports the republic to an extent the Reichswehr never did. Biden is no fire-breathing radical; he's an establishment man to his bones. He has no idea how to cure the republic, and his policies helped bring it to this low ebb, but at least he isn't out to murder it. That's why I was willing to vote for him. But it's merely a stopgap measure. The far left is busily taking over Biden's party, and far from resisting it, he sees it as a useful ally against the right. The far right, of course, has long been doing the same to the Republican Party. We may not have arrived yet at 1932's dreadful choice between cutthroats, but we are speeding down that road, and it is crazy to imagine that a mere presidential vote for either of these two clowns is going to change our course.

What will change our course? I have only the haziest idea, and I'm eagerly looking forward to Rod's book for suggestions.

Unpaid correcter Daniel Baker 7 hours ago

This is the best answer, but radicals will just look at your "whose death list am I in" argument and say "yep the bourgeoisie should die, and so should anyone who supports them".

That's why I don't even bother anymore.

massappeal Daniel Baker 7 hours ago

Thanks for your thoughtful and informative response.

Just Stop Digging Daniel Baker 6 hours ago

Agreed that this is a thoughtful response. While I may even more reluctantly cast my ballot for a despicable lunatic instead, I relate to much of the above.

Disqus10021 Daniel Baker 5 hours ago

In the 1928 German elections, 15 political parties won seats in the Reichstag (parliament), with the Nazi party winning fewer than 3% of the seats. Germany's proportional system of allocating seats meant that even small parties could end up with a small number seats. Two years later, 15 parties again won seats in Reichstag elections. The Nazi party made the biggest gain in seats at the expense of more centrist parties. In both national elections held in 1932, 14 political parties won seats, with the Nazi party winning the most seats. The popularity of the Nazi party grew as economic conditions in the country worsened.

In 2020, the Covid-19 virus may have merely accelerated trends which were already in place in the US.

Unpaid correcter massappeal 7 hours ago

That's a stupid false equivalency and a scarecrow argument in one, maybe even a no true scotsman to go with that. You're aware that there were several conservatives opposing Hitler, right? Opposition wasn't just carried out by the far-left, some of which were in the SA/The Nazi party themselves . See: strasserism.

Books, read them

seydlitz89 16 hours ago

Rod, I agree with you about Arendt and her classic work, the best work in political history/theory of the 20th Century imo. But there is a reason why no one quotes it today. You mention only the last chapter of TOoT, but in Part II she goes into great detail about how capitalism led to imperialism which used racism as a means to that end. The "mob" originates with those displaced by The Great Transformation (Polyani's term) brought about by capitalism and the rise of bourgeois society . . . it is this mob that later forms the basis for totalitarian movements. Arendt's analysis covers a period of about 400 years, not simply the aftermath of World War I which was a result of the crisis that had already begun, that is the dissolution of the nation state . . .

marku52 seydlitz89 10 hours ago

But that would be uncomfortable to point out, as it is the rise of right wing economics that was destroyed the middle class in this country, and lead us to this parlous state.

For a long time, the right has happily embraced the culture wars to hide the destruction of the libertarian economic policies, that as always are looking for a way to crush labor power.

a Texas libertarian seydlitz89 38 minutes ago

So capitalism and the rise of the bourgeois (middle class) led to totalitarianism?

JonF311 15 hours ago

An anaylsis of the Communist takeover of Eastern Europe and East Asia that leaves out the World Wars is like an American history text that leaves out the Civil War. In every single Eurasian country from Hungary east to North Korea where the Communists came to power WWI and/or WWII was a key factor. No war, no Communist takeover. (And it regards to the Nazis in Germany WWI is also a crucial factor on their coming power)
What would play the role of those wars in our future if some manner of totalitarian government of the Left or Right junked the Constitution and seized power by force?

Just Stop Digging JonF311 15 hours ago
To be sure, none of this means that totalitarianism is inevitable. But they do signify that the weaknesses in contemporary American society are consonant with a pre-totalitarian state. Like the imperial Russians, we Americans may well be living in a fog of self-deception about our own country's stability. It only takes a catalyst like war, economic depression, plague, or some other severe and prolonged crisis that brings the legitimacy of the liberal democratic order into question.

Again, why are you responding to an argument that Rod is not making? He didn't write The Handmaid's Tale,

What were the catalysts for Cuba or Venezuela? Or the many socialist regimes in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America during the postwar decades?

Freespeak Just Stop Digging 14 hours ago

Revolutions against outside imposed dictatorships left over from a soft imperialism.

Platt Amendment, Banana Wars, School of the Americas and coups for days set up the conditions for people to not trust there near neighbor oppose to its distant enemies during the Cold War and the legacies from it created the social conditions for. We as a state literally supported death squads in Central America. Leading to the weak states and strong gangs in the region. The seeds of any empire bear bitter fruits. It is also where the police state we now see was created and imported home.

Just Stop Digging Freespeak 13 hours ago

As is so often the case, there are various partial truths in what you say but they don't add up to the simplistic conclusion. BTW Venezuela was a relatively wealthy and successful country when Chavez took over; the factors you list were long before and not involved. Rather what happened was existing inequities and problems were utilized to enable a power grab. In the same way that poor blacks and other minorities are being used to enable the current power grab, divide and conquer as always - in the end, they will be just as removed from power as they are now. Like all the woke white chicks, they are just considered useful idiots for the progressives seeking power.

We as a state literally supported death squads in Central America. Leading to the weak states and strong gangs in the region. The seeds of any empire bear bitter fruits.

Not that simple. The weak states and strong gangs came first. The weak states and corrupt governments and deep inequities created the instabilities that motivated insurgencies. Lack of a rule of law and the inability of the state to protect you forces people to turn to (and form) gangs for protection. All of this played out against a backdrop of a global conflict between two empires, two ideologies which further fueled all the conflicts.

There were death squads and all sorts of other abuses on all sides. There are no clean hands in such a conflict. It was not possible to remain neutral unless you were Swiss.

dstraws Just Stop Digging 12 hours ago

All of the problems you cite concerning central america are an outgrowth of the "governments" the US government/business imposed on those countries. The societies of central and south america were and are highly stratified with "Europeans"--ancestry--occupying the highest rung and receiving the lions share of the wealth. That's the reason Castro and Chavez had such an easy time overthrowing the governments and why there is so much resistance to a return of the previous conditions.

Just Stop Digging dstraws 11 hours ago

International relations and history are a lot more complicated than you think they are. The endless desire for Americans to find quick and dirty feel-good good vs bad answers to everything goes a long ways towards explaining the degrading of this society and its governance.

I note again that Venezuela was in a rather different state than pre-Castro Cuba. But yes having a large underclass that feels disconnected and deprived of what the rest of a society has goes provide fertile fuel for revolution.

Freespeak Just Stop Digging 11 hours ago

MS13 and Barrio 18 were born in the US from refugees fleeing our dirty wars in Central America. Poor wealth distribution leads to it. So glad you realize wealth focus is bad. Also oligarchs are bad. We supported those corrupted governments leading to the revolutions leading to the net result. Ever hear of United Fruit and the banana men? Imperial Companies support weak government because they can influence it.

Schopenhauer Just Stop Digging 12 hours ago

Well the catalyst for Cuba was Batista staging a coup, seizing power, and destroying the democratic process (with full US support) in 1952. Less than 10 years later, a popular revolution overthrew him. That revolution has proven a much tougher nut to crack. It's almost as if overthrowing democracy and giving into a strongman's appetite for power has consequences down the road.

Just Stop Digging Schopenhauer 11 hours ago

One could also say that trying to jump start / leap frog your way into equality and "justice" also has consequences down the road. A lesson that humans absolutely refuse to learn, thus condemning generation after generation into misery.

No one "gives into a strongman's appetite for power". People make choices based on incentives and possible outcomes. Rod uses the Franco example often. People often have to choose between two terrible outcomes - in which case they choose the one that has a better chance of their own survival or the survival of what they care about.

Ted JonF311 14 hours ago • edited

I can't comment about east Asia because I don't now enough about it, but as the great historian John Lukacs never tired of saying, the only country in Europe where the Bolsheviks triumphed politically was Russia. The Spartacists and the Bela Kun horror fizzled out. After the second war the Communists needed the Red Army to set up puppets. There was no "revolution" in Poland, Czech, Hungary or anywhere because nobody wanted it. Yugoslavia may be a partial exception, but look what happened to Yugoslavia.

Just Stop Digging Ted 14 hours ago

Good point. I guess we could make the argument that the Red Army sweep over Eastern Europe and absorption of all those countries into the Soviet empire required WW2 to occur, but that seems like not the argument that Jon is making in response to Rod's thesis.

Ted Just Stop Digging 13 hours ago

I was agreeing with him. But "what would play the role of those wars in our future" would be...a war. Which Biden (or, the Pentagon) has up his sleeve ("America is Back"). Experto crede. Do you not believe that the Kagan/Rubin/Boot crowd would shy from a shooting war with Russia? Because I don't.

Just Stop Digging Ted 11 hours ago

Thankfully empty-headed blabbers like Rubin and Boot are well removed from actual power (and even, I would say, influence - in fact it is unclear to me why anyone publishes their rantings). The people with influence in a Biden administration will be people like Harris, Warner, AOC, etc. I don't think they're really aching for a war.

But the point is that you don't need a war - the catalyst can be another major event like economic depression, a global pandemic, etc, etc.

Ted Just Stop Digging 8 hours ago

Well, we're asking the who/whom question only one way, it seems to me. Everybody is rightly convinced that on social and economic issues AOC and Princess Tiger Lily will have the wheel in a Biden administration. But who's to say that in foreign policy Gersonism won't prevail? All these never Trumpers are going to be looking for their rewards. Remember, Hillary destroyed Libya as a resume enhancer. And the Army has gone left. One of the things Trump mideast deal has done is set up a Sunni/Shia showdown. Why not follow through?

Just Stop Digging Ted 8 hours ago

Fair enough. I suppose that's possible, and the young AOC type progs barely know where anything on the globe is outside the US so they might be happy to let the old "experts" take back over foreign policy. Not where their interests lie, for sure.

I disagree about the mideast deals, though - a Sunni vs Shia conflict has been baked into the cake from the beginning (see: Iran Iraq war), and it was Obama's crazy Iran deal that started everyone back on that path by strengthening Iran and trying to push it into place as a regional hegemon. That was never going to go down with the Sunni countries.

The apparently not actually so naive Kushner was able to take advantage of new incentives that Obama's machinations created. I see this as quite positive.

Ted Just Stop Digging 7 hours ago

We'll agree to disagree about the mideast, which I really just brought up e.g. The one they're really lusting for is a shooting war with Putin. Have you read Gerson on that subject? What's the outcome of Mrs. Sikorsky's bellicosity but that? What else has all this NATO expansion been for, anyway?

Just Stop Digging Ted 6 hours ago

Haven't read Gerson in a while. I see your point, though I don't really think any of these people are quite reckless enough to lust for a war with a nuclear power.

But nowadays I suppose anything is possible.

Civis Romanus Sum Ted 12 hours ago

Partially correct. Czechoslovakia was an exception: Communists came to power as a result of a free election in 1946. But it was something of an outlier, probably the most left-wing country in Europe.

Ted Civis Romanus Sum 11 hours ago

Oh, "free election."

Disqus10021 JonF311 11 hours ago

It was Bush 43's costly Middle East adventures at a time when he was cutting income taxes that set the US economy on the terrible path it is on now. Our national debt is out of control. Many young people will leave college with massive student loan debt, poor job prospects and, in many areas, very expensive housing. We have paid and will continue to pay a very high price for trying to be the world's policeman.

dba12123 . Disqus10021 6 hours ago

Obama, the wild eyed leftist spender, cut the 1.2 trillion dollar deficit that W ran up with his tax cuts and catastrophic war down to 585 billion. By the end of '19, before any Covid-19 spending took place, Trump had run it back up to 984 billion. Growth has been a meager two tenths of one percent higher in the first three years of Trump's presidency than it was during the last three years of Obama and it has come at a high cost.

Rick Steven D. 15 hours ago

"...which seeks to infuse all aspects of life with political Consciousness."

Which explains the absurd phenomenon of polically-correct stand-up comics. Guess what? They're not funny. 'Whimsy' won't get you belly laughs. Trump still gets the belly laughs. Even from me, and I hate his rotten stinking guts with the white hot fury of a thousand suns.

A hundred years ago, Newtonian physics got nuked. Goodbye ordered universe, hello entropy and chaos. And we've been mopping up the fallout ever since. Ironically, years before, The Enlightenment had already started this dissolution process. So can you blame Picasso and Joyce for just trying to see things as they really are(?)

Griel Marcus traces this process in his great book Lipstick Traces. From The Brethren of the Free Spirit to the Cathars to St. Just to the Paris Commune to Duchamp and right up to The Sex Pistols, we are either fallen, or trying to achieve the colliding energy of a mere collection of atoms. The Lettrists even took a cue from Finnegans Wake and carved up the damn language, for Chr--sakes. And they've been doing it ever since.

So can you blame the great Stockard Channing, in Six Degrees of Seperation, 1993, for meditating on a Kandinsky and then coming to the same conclusion that many of us poor benighted souls have in these absurd times: 'I am all random.'

Connecticut Farmer 15 hours ago

"...the personal is political..."

Haven't heard that one in a long time. It's sooo--"Sixties."

Kent 15 hours ago

Arendt's fine. But I'll go with Carville's "It's the economy stupid".

When a young man who isn't "college material" has no economic future, he's going to find a way to make one. If it requires totalitarianism, so be it. Indeed, totalitarian ideologies can only flourish in an environment when bored, penniless young men have the time to read up on them.

Imagine all of those black guys rioting or white skinheads having to get up early in the morning for 10 hours of hard-work at the factory or on someone's roof. A couple of beers after work and your ready for bed, not revolution. Hence the great America of the '50's - the '80's.

WilliamRD 15 hours ago

Here's the former Chief Executive Officer of Twitter in all his glory.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1311472075903647750&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fdisqus.com%2Fembed%2Fcomments%2F%3Fbase%3Ddefault%26f%3Dtac1%26t_i%3D%26t_u%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%252Farticles%252Famerica-is-on-the-road-to-revolution%252F%26t_e%3D%26t_d%3DAmerica%2520is%2520on%2520The%2520Road%2520to%2520Revolution%2520%257C%2520The%2520American%2520Conservative%26t_t%3DAmerica%2520is%2520on%2520The%2520Road%2520to%2520Revolution%2520%257C%2520The%2520American%2520Conservative%26s_o%3Ddefault%26l%3Den%23version%3Dd716a1690aa4a08a02a6dcd8b6774c08&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

WilliamRD 15 hours ago

Biden Staffer: Traditional Religious Beliefs Should Be 'Taboo' and 'Disqualifiers' for Public Office

https://pjmedia.com/electio...

Just Stop Digging 15 hours ago

I have no idea what's coming, but we are trying to reduce our exposure by moving out of the city, as far as we can reasonably go for now until retirement. We are frantically trying to get our house on the market and hoping that thanks to the magic of "gentrification" (hopefully prospective buyers won't notice the giant "F*** Gentrifiers" spray painted on a nearby wall) we can trade our overvalued home into two properties - one in a distant town past the outer suburbs and another somewhere overseas where we can run to when things get really bad. That's the dream, at least. But the city we have already left and won't be going back.

Ted Just Stop Digging 14 hours ago

Very close to our plan.

FL Transplant Just Stop Digging an hour ago

I'm sure the overseas locations will be absolutely overjoyed to have a couple of US refugees, with no ties to the country or area, who don't speak the language or have any cultural understanding or background, and expect to instantly be fully integrated into the economic and social fabric, showing up.

Have you considered that you'll be akin to a Central American family moving into the outer suburb neighborhood you desire to live in, albeit one with more resources and legal status?

KevinS 14 hours ago • edited

"Trump's exaltation of personal loyalty over expertise is discreditable and corrupting. But how can liberals complain? Loyalty to the group or the tribe is at the core of leftist identity politics."

Whataboutism in our time!

CascadianPatriot KevinS 4 hours ago • edited

It's not whataboutism if it's mutually true.
Besides, whataboutism never gets anyone anywhere good.

KevinS CascadianPatriot 4 hours ago

Rod has never articulated that rule.....

WilliamRD 14 hours ago

"Progressive" Attacks on Capitalism Were Key to Hitler's Success

https://mises.org/library/p...

Ted WilliamRD 14 hours ago

The Horst Wessel Lied lyrics mention "Rotfront und Reaktion" as the enemies of National Socialism.

EmpireLoyalist 14 hours ago

Just when you thought the hypocrisy and the double-standard had reached the limits of what is humanly possible, Biden takes it up a notch.
After spending the last few months tearing up cities and threatening to burn down the country if they don't win in November, the Democrats now accuse Trump of putting the Proud Boys on stand-by???
Even my dog is laughing at this.
[How do these kooky communists even get elected to dog-catcher???]

Freespeak 14 hours ago

https://www.bellingcat.com/...

https://www.bellingcat.com/...

Sliver legion or SA?

Just saying both sides are playing this game. One is just doing it with more guns and state security support. The left has greater cultural focus cause those are the positions that interest them. This is the creation of capitalism.

Enoch Lambert 14 hours ago

If Rod paid more attention to all the data and not just those that feed his hysteria, he'd learn that there are all kinds of backlash within liberal and far left circles to the excesses he rightly decries. In fact, I think there is more self-correction and self-regulation going on within "the left" than on Rod's side of the spectrum

Just Stop Digging Enoch Lambert 14 hours ago

Do you have any examples of this self correction? I've been living in a far left neighborhood in a permanent liberal Democratic city for decades, and I don't see it (well now we fled so I can't speak for what happens next).

There are occasionally people who will whisper something in my ear or my wife's ear that suggests they recognize some lunacy that's going on. But they would never admit that publicly. And all evidence suggests there are still very few of such people.

The whole point of Rod's thesis is that the vast majority of people will go along with the tide even if they don't believe it - they will live their lives by lies. Very few people have the courage to take a stand in such circumstances, as history makes all too clear. The progressive left, again as has been made clear over and over, now owns all the institutions that matter in the US - with woke capitalism being the final crown. What Rod says is coming, is coming.

BanBait Just Stop Digging 12 hours ago

If Biden wins, 98% of North America is going to become an instant 2nd Amendment Sanctuary.

D Moor Enoch Lambert 13 hours ago

Elaborate? Are there links you can share??

Ted Enoch Lambert 12 hours ago

Say hello to all your friends on planet Venus.

R.C. Smith 14 hours ago

Without the '65 "immigration reform" act none of this would be happening. This isn't the result of personal loneliness, it's the inevitable result of becoming, in Eugene McCarthy's phrase, a colony of the world. The radical turn to the left is a direct result of anti-white bloc voting by immigrants. (Indeed you have to be willfully blind not to notice the high percentage of spokesmen for the extreme left who are immigrants or the children of immigrants.) This is a race war against white America, in which the cultural establishment and the government they shape are the leading protagonists. Classic racist colonialism, with the bizarre twist that perhaps a third of the white population supports the annihilation of their own peoples and cultures. For the others it's simply a Scramble For America, a rush to get money, territory, and power with the natives footing the bill.

Schopenhauer R.C. Smith 12 hours ago

Who wants to be the one to tell this guy that many of us lefty children of immigrant parents are white? As were our parents. Amazing, I know!

R.C. Smith Schopenhauer 8 hours ago

Irrelevant. It's the immigrant vote that puts them over. The vast majority of immigration is non-white. It's immigration that has California not electing a Republican to statewide office in 15 years, and nothing else. Don't take my word for it, the left itself has been telling Republicans for decades that the demographics are against them. It's an acknowledgement of the reality of identity bloc voting and the reason they support open borders. In any case, I mentioned you when I wrote about that mentally ill third of whites that supports self-annihilation.

massappeal R.C. Smith 7 hours ago

Tweak a few words at the fringes and this could have been written 100 years ago by a nativist about the Italians and the Jews and the Poles.

RAF 13 hours ago

Mr. Dreher! Now you are on the right course. GERMANY!!!!

Eric Hoffer wrote the best book on this subject in the early 50s Mass Movements

Some of these quotes are relevant.

The book is priceless to understand this topic..

https://www.amazon.com/True...

"""It is probably as true that violence breeds fanaticism as that fanaticism begets violence. Fanatical orthodoxy is in all movements a late development. There is hardly an example of a mass movement achieving vast proportions and a durable organization solely by persuasion. It was a temporal sword that made Christianity a world religion. Conquest and conversion were hand in hand. Reformation made headways only where it gained the backing of the ruling prince or local government. The missionary zeal seems rather an expression of some deep misgivings. Proselytizing is more a passionate search for something not yet found than to bestow upon the world something we already have. The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others.

A true believer is eternally incomplete and eternally insecure.

Mass movements do not usually rise until the prevailing order has been discredited. A full blown mass movement is a ruthless affair, and its management is in the hands of ruthless fanatics. A Luther who when first defying the established church, spoke feelingly of "the poor, simple, common folk," proclaimed later when he allied with the German princelings, that "God would prefer to suffer to government to exist no matter how evil, rather than allow the rabble to riot, not matter how justified they are in doing so."

"Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil."

However, the freedom the masses crave is not freedom of self-expression and self-realization, but the freedom from the intolerable burden of an autonomous existence. They want freedom from the arduous responsibility of realizing their ineffectual selves and shouldering the blame for the blemished product. They do not want freedom of conscience, but faith -- blind, authoritarian faith. """"""

Kingo Gondo 13 hours ago

Biden of course is scarcely a totalitarian figure--Trump is more suited to that role. But Biden would fit nicely as a von Hindenburg for the Loony Left.

mw006 Kingo Gondo 8 hours ago

How in the hell is Trump a totalitarian figure? I hear this calumny hurled at him time and time again, but without any specifics. Tell me, what specific totalitarian actions has he actually taken?

massappeal mw006 7 hours ago

Support for violent white supremacist groups. Using the Dept. of Justice to target political enemies. Adopting a Republican platform that consists solely of fealty to the party leader.

Krystal Sumner 13 hours ago • edited

Over the past 6 months or so, my husband has been listening to a lot of Jordan Peterson and I have definitely noticed a shift in his thinking. A good one! I, myself, just finished listening to his book, 12 Rules For Life and am now going through his Podcast episodes. It's quite fascinating! Rogan has also received a lot of flak for having Peterson on his show several times.

I went and listened to the episodes with Abigail Shrier and Douglas Murray (at your suggestion) and now have their books (as well as your's) sitting in my audible library.

BanBait 12 hours ago

Most of what you say is true, save for the usefulness of the "experts", the credentialed ones who have shown themselves to be absolute morons, incompetents and political hacks. (Think, Fauci.)

Revanchist 12 hours ago

Imagine if one hundred years ago you told the founding stock of this nation that every American institution would be weaponized against their own history and heritage. Imagine if you told them our universities, media, churches and immigration system were all being used to demonize and demographically displace their own posterity. They must be rolling over in their graves because that is exactly what is happening.

massappeal Revanchist 7 hours ago

In 1920? Large numbers of them absolutely would have believed it. In fact, millions of them *did* believe it. The country was being overrun by Italians, Poles, Greeks, Serbs, Russians. A frightening number of them were Jews and Catholics. They smelled funny, spoke weird languages, had bizarre beliefs and customs, cooked and ate strange foods. They were lazy bums who were taking all our jobs. At a rally in Rhode Island, the Grand Imperial Wizard proclaimed to thousands that the KKK stood for undying opposition to "Koons, Kikes, & Katholics".

And it's come true! Look, for example, who's on the Supreme Court.

FL Transplant massappeal an hour ago

Not to mention that the Jews were over-running colleges. Keeping them out required changes to admissions practices to make things other than pure academic ability deciding factors. Hence the emphasis on "the whole person", where a good background, good family, athletic ability, and being someone you'd want to associate with in your club began to over-ride performance on the academic tests that had previously been used to determine admissions.

EmpireLoyalist 12 hours ago • edited

Just soft totalitarianism? That seems incredibly pollyann-ish - delusionally optimistic.
If Biden wins, the USA, the EU and Red China will move swiftly to exterminate the remnants of Christian Civilisation - and anybody associated with it.
Bishop Vigano seems to share this view. ( https://www.lifesitenews.co...
[Anyway, we ALREADY have "soft totalitarianism". Need proof? Just go down to your HR department and tell them that you believe homosexual activity is immoral.]
As much as somebody may dislike Trump's personality, Biden is just not an option.
Biden = ethno-cultural extinction
As adults, we don't get to indulge our own childish sensitivities. We don't get to participate in this political fantasy-land alt-universe - where monstrous evil is praised as virtuous, and goodness is labelled as vice.

FL Transplant EmpireLoyalist an hour ago

Just go down to your HR department and tell them that you believe homosexual activity is immoral.

I imagine you'll get a reaction similar to that if you went down to HR and ranted about how sex outside of marriage is immoral, or lectured how sodomy is a crime against nature and its practitioners deserve to burn in Hell.

Room_237 12 hours ago • edited

I used to have a Ukrainian woman on my staff. When my younger staff all started in 2016 expressing support for Sanders she freaked. Then she freaked over Trump.

We are screwed. My decision to vote for Biden is predicated upon the hope that a boring gaff prone Biden presidency will allow a return to normalcy.

WilliamRD Room_237 11 hours ago

A vote for Biden is a vote for the radical totalitarian left. Packing the supreme court. Ending the Senate Filibuster and open borders. The country as we know it will be over. Certain end of the First and Second amendments. I don't find you credible at all

Room_237 WilliamRD 10 hours ago

Is it? We have seen Biden in public life for the past 48 years. He is no conservative but a radical totalitarian? No -- that is not him.

I'll take him over the incompetence and general horribleness of Trump anyday.

[Sep 29, 2020] The Meaning of War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength in Orwell s -1984 by NATALIE FRANK

Notable quotes:
"... I'm not sure that this is an original idea, but I've always thought that people missed the point about 1984 in that it is not about the evils of Government, so much as it is about the the Inner Party. The Government, represented by the Outer Party, is simply a tool that the Inner Party uses to maintain control and implement its agenda. The Inner Party is the real enemy, not the Government per se. The Outer Party is simply a means to an end. Right? ..."
"... Political correctness trying to rewrite history, continuing to try to keep a whole area of our population on a guilt trip (the South) while totally ignoring the warts on the rest of the country, focusing on the wealthy while calling the poor "parasites" are just a few of today's attempts at Doublethink. Something to think about. ..."
"... Excellent, to the point, and very well explained so even I can understand it. Begs an association to current events in America. The Democratic Party comes to mind. This is even more applicable to me since I grew up in socialism/communism in Eastern Europe. Until you know what living under limited freedom means you do not know freedom. ..."
Mar 26, 2020 | owlcation.com

Natalie Frank has a Ph.D. in Clinical psychology. She specializes in Pediatric Psychology and Behavioral Medicine.

At the beginning of the book 1984, these words are presented as the official motto of the nation of Oceania:

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength

-- George Orwell, 1984

These slogans were created by an entity known only as "The Party," which consist of those in charge of the country. The words are written in enormous letters on the white pyramid of the Ministry of Truth, which considering that they are obvious contradictions, seems to be an odd place to put them.

The fact that this motto is written on a government building for a department called the Ministry of Truth suggests that the author is trying to convey that these statements are somehow true for the society he has constructed. These are just the first in a series of contradiction written throughout the book and they serve to represent the nature of the society and how it is held together through the way in which these opposites function.

Orwell opened his book in this way on purpose in order to introduce the reader to the concept of Doublethink , which is what allows the people of Oceania to live with constant contradictions in their lives. Doublethink is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in one's mind simultaneously.

The Party develops this ability in it's citizens by undermining their individuality, independence and autonomy and by creating an environment of constant fear through propaganda. In this way, the Party breaks down their ability to think rationally and makes citizens accept and believe anything they tell them, even if it is entirely illogical.

The book is filled with similar contradictions like the ones seen in the opening quote. For example:

These contradictions keeps the citizens constantly off balance, so they are never sure of themselves or each other and must rely on the party for guidance as to how to live their lives.

The fact that the national motto of Oceania is just as contradictory as these other examples emphasizes the success of the Party's campaign of psychological mind control. The government has become able to maintain the apparent veracity of these opposing statements because the functions they serve which make them a reality in the society of Oceania.

What Is the Meaning of "War Is Peace" in 1984 ?

The first slogan is probably the most contradictory of the three. The people of Oceania believe that the saying War is Peace means that in order to have peace one must tolerate the horrors of war. It does not equate the two as the statement might otherwise suggest. The people fully believe that war is bad and peace is good.

Yet, as in real life, the people have come to the understanding that sometimes one must make terrible sacrifices in order to have a peaceful nation. The war does not take place on the soil of Oceania but instead, somewhere far from it so they don't see the horrors of the battle, the destruction, the wounded and dead in front of them. They only hear about it through the daily announcements made by the Party.

While this contradiction may seem like a logical reality at first, it becomes less so when the reader realizes that there is actually no war occurring at all. It is a made up fiction created by the Party just to keep the people in line. It is intended to keep their attention focused elsewhere, so that they do not realize how the Party is controlling their every thought and action.

The motto War is Peace indicates how having a shared enemy unites the people of Oceania and helps them remain on a common course. It gives them something to worry about external to the way the country is being run, that is happening somewhere else. It helps to prevent them from becoming consciously aware of the obvious problems in their own society. This mentality, put in place for the benefit of the Party, gives the people someone other than the government to blame for their problems, making them easier to rule.

A state of constant war demonstrates that people are sacrificing for the greater good of the society, pledging their effort and money to the war, and devoting themselves to their country and government. From the Party's point of view, all of this is good in that the more people that invest in and commit to their nation and government, the fewer problems they will perceive.

This saying focuses the people's attention, preventing them from being consciously aware of the obvious problems in their own society, where they are being actively manipulated and controlled. If people find themselves having thoughts counter to accepted government rhetoric, they can quickly distract themselves by thinking about the war and worrying over the possibility of attack.

What Is the Meaning of "Freedom is Slavery" in 1984 ?

The second motto, Freedom is Slavery, represents the message that the party imparts to the community that anyone who become independent of society's control is bound to be unsuccessful. A society that is based on free will result in chaos and the devolvement of the society. Since the slogan is commutative, if freedom is slavery then slavery is freedom. Here, the Party communicates the message that those who are willing to subjugate themselves to the collective will or the will of the society which by definition is the will of the Party, will be freed from danger and wanting what they can't have. Society defines what is good, what is acceptable, what is desirable. Those who focus on those things and on fulfilling the will of the society will be free from despair and will lack nothing, at least nothing that society, or the Party, condones.

The Party embodies the idea of a paternalistic structure for those who live in Oceania. Hence, the idea of the Government surveilling it's citizens being presented under the guise of "Big Brother." Adherence to the ideals and rules are ensured by this individual, who is presented as a family member and who is supposed to only have the best interests of the people in mind.

In order to survive in this society, the citizens must ignore the clear reality that Big Brother is certainly not a family member showing concern, but is rather the government spying on everything the citizens do in order to control them. The Party even interprets facial gestures and nonverbal communication and the people can be tortured as political prisoners because of behavior interpreted as subversive.

The obvious contradiction here is that it is only by enslaving yourself to the government and whatever they condone that you are free from harm and imprisonment. Freedom in Oceania means the freedom to do and think what the Party wants without deviating from their rules and regulations.

What Is the Meaning of "Ignorance is Strength" in 1984 ?

There is also the need for the citizens to subvert their will and their awareness to accept the contradictions the government puts forth. They are expected to bury the truth and accept irrationality such as is demonstrated in the three statements. Ignorance is therefore strength as it is the willing ignorance of the people who ignore obvious contradictions. They fail to investigate such inconsistencies as a non-existent war with an ever changing enemy.

It is this ignorance that maintains the power of the government and the seeming coherence of the the society. It is only through ignorance that people can find the strength to live in a totalitarian society where the government oppresses them even while communicating to them how fortunate they are.

When first reading these three slogans, most people scratch their heads wondering how conflicts that can arise from equating two opposites. But the idea of contradiction is one of the main themes of the novel. In particular, specific themes include:

All of these themes are contradictory, yet they power the plot of the novel.

Shifting Definitions of Freedom and Enslavement

One idea presented in Orwell's book is expressed in the saying:

"Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

The government has grown to become omnipotent, writing its own version of reality by changing the content of history books, and making the people too fearful to think critically.

The Party is so powerful that when it says 2+2=5, the people accept this and come to mindlessly believe it. When the Party declares that Oceania is at war with Eurasia, they distribute heaps of propaganda and edit records so that the people accept that this is how it is and has always been. When the government then says Oceania is at war with Eastasia and has always been at war with them, the people allow their reality to be changed and accept this as true. Not only that, but they accept that Eurasia has always been their ally.

Even so, the people do not perceive any of these contradictions as a type of enslavement. They willingly let the Party tell them what to think, what to believe, what to value, and how to act. They allow the government to change these ideals whenever they choose, believing the new propaganda as fact and repressing the previous reality.

The people must be aware on some level that they are accepting clear opposites, reversals of what is presented as fact, and revisions of history. Yet they have come to accept this as a small price to pay for safety from their assigned, feared enemy.

It is almost as if the government sometimes changes reality just because they can. There is no need to change a fictional enemy, as the entire war is made up anyway. Creating a new contradiction for the people seems sometimes to be done just because the Party is able to do so, and because it keeps the population on its toes. The government has not only come to rule completely, but has reached a point where it takes pleasure in enslaving people so they do, say, and believe whatever their master tells them.

The nature of the relationship between the Party and its citizens is very much like slavery. The people must serve the government, and any attempt to "escape" with independent thought is brutally punished. The people are valued only insomuch as they benefit the government.

In 1984 , Winston, the protagonist, and Julia, his lover, secretly attempt to escape from the mind control of the government in a room they rent above Mr. Charington's shop. They believe the old-fashioned room has no telescreen, a device through which the Inner Party surveils the population.

But in fact the room does have a telescreen hidden behind a painting, and Mr. Charington is actually a member of the thought police. The notion of freedom cannot be maintained as Winston and Julia are attempting to define it. They cannot be free just because they remove themselves from their normal environment and go to a different room. There is no escape.

As the book comes to a close, Winston's idea of freedom has changed. He no longer has a sense of individual self, he has, in essence, become selfless, a part of the greater society. Now, he is not only compliant with the Party's dictates, but he wants to be compliant. He loves Big Brother and has no difficulty rejoicing when he hears about a tactical victory in Africa. The author then states that he slips back into a blissful dream where he perceives himself to have a soul as white as snow as he confesses and reports more people to the thought police.

The novel ends by saying that the long hoped for bullet entered Winston's brain. This does not mean he actually died, but that the independently-minded Winston, whose idea of freedom was freedom from Big Brother and the dictates of the Party, died. This suggests that Winston was willing to give up all that he had fought for and accept being subservient, controlled, and manipulated.

In today's complex world, it can sometimes feel as if having others take responsibility for making decisions for us would be freeing. We wouldn't have to struggle with different options or accept the consequences of bad decisions and situations we can't control. For different people, different degrees of autonomy, responsibility, and consequences contribute to the way freedom is defined. Some may feel free when they have more control over their life, even if it means they have more responsibility. For others, the stress of responsibility hampers their sense of freedom.

More choices may be construed as freedom, while numerous options may paralyze. Thus, freedom may be perceived in different ways by different people. As we see with Winston and Julia, this is even true in the dystopia of 1984.

Trust, Loyalty, and Betrayal

The twisted nature of trust, loyalty, and betrayal is a recurring theme in the novel 1984. Winston is betrayed by Mr. Charrington, O'Brien, and Julia. He also betrays Julia as well as himself. Yet the novel explores the nature of trust and how it plays into loyalty and betrayal. Without trust, there can be no loyalty or betrayal, and trust is almost non-existent in the novel. The characters can never know if they are being observed, either in person or through the telescreen.

It is also impossible to know who is a member of the thought police, and even those who are not part of the thought police often betray others by turning them in. On multiple occasions those closest to one other–such as spouses, siblings, parents, and their children–may betray each other. Yet this is what is expected of the members of this society. Citizens report one another with zeal.

Prior to their arrest and torture, Winston and Julia believe the only true betrayal is the betrayal of the heart, as this is the only kind of betrayal they have control over. They learn that they actually have no control over this type of betrayal either, as in the end they have no choice but to betray each other and themselves. What establishes their loyalty to each other is trust in something outside of the Party and Big Brother, but this idea is eventually broken.

They aren't traitors, though, until the Party makes them traitors through torture, when they confess to betraying the entire society and are forced to further betray anyone toward whom they may feel loyalty. The Party seeks to eliminate potential betrayal at the root by getting rid of all trust and loyalty.

So, the contradiction exists whereby trust and loyalty to other citizens is deemed bad, while trust and loyalty to the Party is deemed good. Moreover, betrayal of the Party is deemed bad, while betrayal of others is deemed good. The irony is that when all loyalty toward other citizens is destroyed, no true loyalty toward the Party can exist either. Still, loyalty based on fear and manipulation is satisfactory to the Party.

Winston believes that despite knowing they will turn against each other and tell the Party what they want to hear about each other's sins, as long as they continue to love one another this will not be betrayal. This is an idealistic and naive viewpoint, since he clearly tells Julia that, once they are captured, there will be nothing they can do for each other.

Truthfully, they can remain loyal to the other by not giving up information. But neither of them consider this an option. When you cannot put another over yourself, or stop yourself from saying something that could harm the other, true or not, not only can there be no trust and thus no loyalty, there can be no love.

The Appearance of Reality vs. True Reality

In the novel, O'Brien tries to teach Winston about the nature of reality under the Party through torture, manipulation, and fear. Winston attempts to hold onto his belief that there is a true reality that cannot be controlled by the Party, especially in relation to the past, which is fixed and a part of people's memories. O'Brien points out that the Party controls all documents as well as people's thoughts, so the Party truly can control the past.

This absolute control leads to the assertion that whomever controls the past controls the future, and whomever controls the present controls the past. O'Brien is arguing that the Party's version of the past is what people believe, and what people believe is truth even if it has no basis in true reality. This is related to the Party slogans in several ways.

O'Brien wants Winston to let go and allow himself to be torn down so he can be reconstructed as a citizen that is loyal to the Party. This ties into the reversal of the traditional idea of freedom and enslavement, as it is only in allowing oneself to become enslaved by the Party, by fully accepting it and its ideals, that one can get rid of the stress and strain involved in fighting against it.

Once one accepts the Party, they no longer have to worry about what to think, how to act, or what to do with their lives. It is all done for them, and they are free from the burden of self-determination. By waging war against self-determination one can find peace. The easiest way to do this is through ignorance, which provides a person with the ability to accept anything the Party wants them to believe. This allows them to be a model citizen, and in this world, that is a strength.

Concluding Thoughts

In today's world we all too often fail to notice that we are allowing ourselves to be enslaved as well. Sometimes this is due to propaganda and the lack of alternative information that is easy to obtain. Other times it may be do to shear laziness and the failure to seek the truth or to let ourselves realize that we are contributing to our own slavery such as when we turn over personal information online without thinking twice.

We register brief outrage when learning of the government's intrusion into our private lives such as with hidden wires that allow them to access our mobile conversations and data. But we just as quickly let it go without demanding redress, with the excuse that we can't do anything about it or that that the company in question must deal with it. We let government officials change reality with false facts and fake news and again give lip service to our anger and disbelief but allow them to remain in office saying that is what politicians do and we have to accept the bad with the good.

In other words. we are letting those who lead, those in power, define our reality, at least in part. This is done through whatever means will help them retain power as opposed to what is in our best interests. We accept propaganda that reverses itself similar to the war propaganda in 1984. For instance, whether Libya is our staunchest enemy or ally has depended on if there was benefit to one vs. the other at the time.

We can accept that a nation is our friends one day and our enemy the next, largely by allowing ourselves to remain ignorant. We fail to learn everything we can about the situation, instead, simply believing the position the government tells us to believe. We allow ourselves to be led to wage war on what we know to be reality that is based on manipulated collective memories of events.

This may seem like peace since we don't have to work to undercover the truth of situations, but it is taking the easy way out and allowing others to define our past, present and future. The only way to find true freedom, peace and strength is to refuse to blindly accept whatever we are told just to keep things simple and non-confrontational.

We need to come to the conclusion that it is time to wage war on such automatic acceptance of manipulated reality. We can take a stance and follow our words with actions, demanding there be consequences for those who attempt to feed the public lies dressed up as alternate facts or who rewrite history according to their own best interests. This is ultimately what will lead to true strength, the abandonment of ignorance and ultimately freedom and peace.

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Related Articles Related Questions What Are the Four Ministries in 1984 ?

Ministries in 1984 are the departments of the government that maintain the status quo. Each of the ministries has a different responsibility. The four ministries and their functions are as follows.

Ministry Function

Ministry of Truth

Alters official documents to reflect the artificial reality dictated by Big Brother. Distributes propaganda, controls the flow of new information, and alters documents from the past to make them align with the present.

Ministry of Love

Enforces the rules of the government by carrying out surveillance of Oceania's citizens. Employs the thought police to spy on and capture potential offenders. Carries out the imprisonment and torture of political prisoners.

Ministry of Peace

Carries out all matters of war, including the creation of armies and the creation of weapons.

Ministry of Plenty

Carries out the production of goods like food, clothing, appliances, and equipment.

What Is Facecrime in 1984 ?

Facecrime in 1984 is committed when a citizen of the Party reveals that they are committing thoughtcrime through the expression on their face. It may also be something that indicates abnormality such as a nervous tic, a look of anxiety, muttering to oneself, for example. Anything that suggests someone has something to hide.

Facecrime can be detected using telescreens, a citizen spy, or a member of the thought police.

What Is Thoughtcrime in 1984 ?

Thoughtcrime in 1984 is committed when a citizen of the Party thinks "deviant" thoughts, which would include any thoughts that have to do with individuality or freedom. A citizen can be charged with thoughtcrime for simply thinking about thoughtcrime.

Thoughtcrime is detected with telescreens installed throughout Oceania that have both microphones and cameras. Thoughtcrime can also be detected by the inflection of one's voice or the micro-expressions of their face (called facecrime ). Members of the thought police, an organization within the Ministry of Love, or a citizen spy may catch someone committing thought crime which leads to the individuals arrest and interrogation.

What Is Doublethink in 1984 ?

Doublethink in 1984 occurs when a person knows that something is not true, but believes it to be true anyway. One example of the citizens of Oceania using doublethink is if Big Brother were to say that 2+2 equals 5. While mathematical fact says that 2+2 equals 4, through the use of doublethink, 2+2 can equal 5.

Doublethink is a fact of life in Oceania, and must be used everyday in order to survive. The best citizens in George Orwell's dystopian universe are those who have mastered the art of doublethink.

What Is Duckspeak in 1984 ?

Duckspeak in 1984 occurs when someone speaks without thinking, like a quacking duck. In Oceania, saying that somebody is using duckspeak can be interpreted as either good or "ungood" depending on who is speaking and what they are saying.

If a citizen is saying something in line with the parties ideals then it is good. If they are carelessly saying something against the Party doctrine then it is "ungood" and results in their arrest and interrogations.

What Does it Mean to Be Vaporized in 1984 ?

To be vaporized in 1984 is to be captured by the thought police for a crime and eliminated. Being vaporized means you not only cease to exist, but have never existed. Once you have been vaporized by the Ministry of Love, the Ministry of Truth goes to work removing every trace of your existence.

Often, those who are vaporized are not even told of their crimes. Instead, they are simply abducted one day, taken to the Ministry of Truth, tortured until they admit to some wrongdoing, asked to implicate others, and vaporized. The cycle continues endlessly, and keeps citizens vigilant when it comes to enforcing Big Brother's rules and ideologies.

In one scene from the book, Winston, is his job at the Ministry of Truth, has to edit an article from the past about a man who was recently vaporized. Since he is now considered an unperson , Winston fills the hole left by this man by creating an entirely fictional character, a decorated war hero. Other departments in the Ministry of Truth go to work making a face for the man, taking pictures of him in professional studios that make it look like he is in some far away, war-torn land. Once this work is finished, the real man is gone, replaced by a fictional one.

What Is an Unperson in 1984 ?

An unperson in 1984 is a person who has been vaporized and no longer exists (and has never existed). This is the term the Inner Party uses to refer to those they have had removed from society through vaporization.

A large part of Winston's job at the Ministry of Truth is to fill the gaps in history that are left in the wake of unpersons.

Questions & Answers

Question: Is the statement, "War is Peace" a paradox or an oxymoron? Also, what are some examples of paradoxes and oxymorons in literature?

Answer: Many people confuse oxymorons and paradoxes. Both can be recognized in everyday conversation as well as in literature. However, they are not the same thing and have different purposes.

A paradox is a statement or group of statements that may on the surface appear to embody contradictions or seen absurd but upon further reflection be seen as true or at least as something that makes sense. They are contrary to what we normally believe and can make us think about things in different ways or more deeply. They, therefore, are frequently employed as literary devices. An oxymoron is comprised of two opposing or contradictory words that are used for dramatic effect.

War is peace seems like a contradiction and an absurd one at that. War is the most brutal act we can carry out against each other. It is far from peaceful. Sometimes war is necessary to ensure that peace can occur.

Consider the situation where a country is constantly launching missiles at another country, going on stealth raids or other types of limited attacks that may be months apart and each a single occurrence but which still result in the loss of life, property, the constant fear or another attack that causes the population to have to change the way they live to protect themselves from harm and terror when the attacks occur.

This is not a state of peace. So to stop all this, the country being attacked launches a war against the other nation to render it impossible for them to continue the attacks both materially and based on the conditions of either a cease-fire or final agreement. The country that had been previously attacked wins the war following which they now have peace and are free from fear of further attack.

In Animal Farm, also by George Orwell, there is a cardinal rule set forth for all the animals. Part of it states:

"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

This statement seems like it is impossible. First of all, equal is equal; it's an absolute without a related quantity. You can't have something that is more equal or less equal. So then, if all the animals are equal, you can't have some that are more equal. This would imply that some are either better, have more power, have more of a right to make decisions or deserve more resources than others. Again this would not suggest equality.

But in the novel, the government has never treated everyone equally even while stating that everyone is equal. It is akin to the separate but equal doctrine that once justified systems of segregation and the dual education system in the south. It was determined that as long as black children were provided with equal facilities as white children, segregation didn't go against the Constitution. But these separate schools were anything but equal.

In another, example, In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet states, "I have to be cruel to be kind." Again being cruel and being kind are considered to be opposite and mutually exclusive such that an action that is cruel cannot be kind and vice versa. We typically don't see someone who is cruel to us as a kind person.

In this example, Hamlet is speaking about his mother, and his intention to kill Claudius, his Uncle. It will be a tragedy for his mother, who is Claudius's wife, but Hamlet thinks that killing his father's murderer will ultimately be the best thing for this mother. So in the greater scheme of things, while it may seem cruel initially, Hamlet feels that the kindness he is doing is far greater.

In another Shakespeare work, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, it says,

"The earth that's nature's mother is her tomb;

What is her burying grave, that is Rainbow in her womb "

The lines are at once describing the birth, with the earth being the birthplace, and death with the same earth housing Juliet's tomb. The second life, juxtaposes the idea of a grave, again alluding to death, with a womb, which is associated with birth.

In the poem, My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold by William Wordsworth, is the line:

"The child is father of the man "

This line seems reversed for it should be the man who is the father of the child. But thinking about it more carefully, it can be seen that childhood and everything that happens during this stage sets the stage for what comes after. So childhood is the basis for adulthood and thus, childhood "fathers" the man or adulthood.

There are numerous examples of an oxymoron in literature, but probably the most obvious one is from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:

Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!

O anything, of nothing first create!

O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!

Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!

Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this.

Romeo learns he has fallen in love with an unavailable woman and feels as if he has descended into chaos. All his hopes and dreams have been shattered. Shakespeare portrays this sense of discord through the use of opposites that don't make sense much the same as Romeo's life no longer makes sense to him. This is communicated through phrases such as loving hate, heavy lightness, serious vanity, feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, waking sleep.

© 2018 Natalie Frank

Comments

CommonCents on October 18, 2019:

Natalie said: "Given everything that is going on in the world today and our current President in the U.S. I think so many of the things Orwell wrote about have already come to pass in our society. "

Well Natalie, you are clearly drinking the INGSOC Party Kool-Aid if you think the current president represents the worst of 1984... the previous president (Obama) and his party see 1984 as their bible.

Daniel on May 28, 2019:

Hilarious that both 1984 and Brave New World predicted the future. Even more hilarious that us proles are still allowed to read them as a token freedom of "and what are you going to do about it?".

Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on September 15, 2018:

No, you have that reversed, jnjerrynelson. The Inner Party rules Oceania, making up 2% of the population. They are the ones that have the power and make the decisions for the society. The outer party is essentially the middle class and composed of the more educated members of society. They are largely responsible for implementation of the Party's policies (though this is actually carried out through spying and reporting on each other often aimed at gaining a bit more safety from being arrested) but they have no say in anything. They have strict rules applied to them. The proles are the lower class and have the same rules applied to them they just have less resources and lower level jobs. The inner party is the government.

jnjerrynelson on September 12, 2018:

Hi Natalie - I read the great 1984 many years ago and think about it all the time these days. I'm not sure that this is an original idea, but I've always thought that people missed the point about 1984 in that it is not about the evils of Government, so much as it is about the the Inner Party. The Government, represented by the Outer Party, is simply a tool that the Inner Party uses to maintain control and implement its agenda. The Inner Party is the real enemy, not the Government per se. The Outer Party is simply a means to an end. Right?

Derek on September 07, 2018:

Actually,1984 is NOT pessimistic -- everyone ignores the Appendix, which is clearly written in Oldspeak -- after the novel's events. It begins-''Newspeak WAS (my italics) the official language of Oceania'', and later-about a slogan-''it was believed with a fervour it is impossible for us to understand today'' -- implying the Party has been overthrown. Also, don't forget the idea that maybe Julia really was an agent of the Thought Police, with her access to quality tobacco, chocolate, etc.

Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on September 04, 2018:

Naum, Thank you for interest and your comment. I agree with you that the war is real from the standpoint of the people of Oceania. I hope I made that clear in the article. The point I was making as since from the standpoint of the government the war is made up and the people already believe in it, what does it matter who the enemy is? It causes the government added to work to suddenly change the enemy - they have to then ensure all of the people are on the same page, make announcements, change all sorts of documents and all the textbooks every time they do this.

So it would seem in the governments best interests since the war is always somewhere far away with the people only having a vague idea where so they'll never to near and find out the whole thing is a lie, to keep the enemy the same. It would serve the same purpose of unifying the people and make them willing to sacrifice resources, freedom, privacy etc. on behalf of the war effort.

My opinion is that the reason they change what is already a fictional enemy - meaning that while Eurasia and Eastasia, exist Oceania isn't at war with either - is for the purpose of doublethink, control and power. The government wants to get the people engaging in doublethink as much as possible so it is automatic. This is the main source of power for Ingsoc.

It also means the government can tell them blue is red and up is down then immediately say no, red is green and down is sideways and the people will have no problem switching from the first set of illogical statements to the second, fully believing each in turn. This makes them easy to control as they stop thinking for themselves, and let Ingsoc do all the thinking and decision making for them.

This allows the government to remain in complete control, to have all the power and different from most real life situations, they don't have to worry that the people will overthrow them - it takes a thinking population to first see things differently from the way they are told to believe and do what it takes to carry out a revolt.

Thanks again for reading the article and taking the time to comment. I hope you return to take a look at some of my other articles.

Naum Shuv on August 29, 2018:

Thank you for this extremely interesting article.

However, I cannot agree with one of your statements. Just one.

"There is no need to change a fictional enemy, as the entire war is made up anyway."

In my opinion, the war in the novel is absolutely real. I mean, it is artifical, of course, but it is not fictional. Unfortunately, war is real in our life too, and loss of dozens or even hundreds human lives is of no importance for politicians.

Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on August 21, 2018:

The more I look into it, the more similarities I see between what Orwell predicted and warned us about and the society we live in today. It really is an amazing parallel in a lot of ways. Thanks for reading and for commenting, Linda.

Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on August 05, 2018:

Dora - I'm glad you found the article interesting and relevant. Given everything that is going on in the world today and our current President in the U.S. I think so many of the things Orwell wrote about have already come to pass in our society. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on August 05, 2018:

Hi Doris - You are so right about what you said. We may not call it doublethink but that's not to say we don't do it a whole lot. We read 1984 and can't imagine living in such a world but fail to see that many of the things he warned us about have come true in spades. Just the fact we are accepting the idea of fake news and alternative facts, perhaps giving lip service to being outraged but at the same time we are letting leaders stay in power who are actually admitting to doing this as well as responsible for coining the terms in the first place. I'm sure what you saw in Russia was even worse as these things are certainly not limited to our country and have been going on elsewhere a lot longer. But seeing it actually develop under our noises with our awareness and ultimate acceptance or at least refusal to do anything is frightening and frustrating. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. I am just finishing another article on other similarities between our world and 1984 - I hope you'll check back for it and take a look once it's published. I'll look forward to your response.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on July 09, 2018:

I agree with your analysis on 1984. Good job! I read this book back in the dark ages when I was a college student and found it so frightening that I thought it too ridiculous to even consider the possibility that it could come true. Today, I'm not so sure, and that is what really concerns me.

Political correctness trying to rewrite history, continuing to try to keep a whole area of our population on a guilt trip (the South) while totally ignoring the warts on the rest of the country, focusing on the wealthy while calling the poor "parasites" are just a few of today's attempts at Doublethink. Something to think about.

I like Tom's' comment mainly because I spent two weeks in the Soviet Union in the late 80s. Although I enjoyed traveling through a couple of major Russian cities, I could not wait to get back home to my own country, the land of the free and the home of the brave. HA!

Tom S on July 06, 2018:

Excellent, to the point, and very well explained so even I can understand it. Begs an association to current events in America. The Democratic Party comes to mind. This is even more applicable to me since I grew up in socialism/communism in Eastern Europe. Until you know what living under limited freedom means you do not know freedom.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on May 04, 2018:

Excellent analysis of Orwell's 1984. I read the book during my sophomore year of college in the 1960s, and it has stuck with me all these years enough to see a parallel with today's propaganda being spoon fed to us through both professional and social media. It doesn't matter whether we are losing elections allegedly due to fake news sourced from Russian hacking or whether Southerners are being fed a constant barrage that they are bad people because of something their ancestors did over 150 years ago. The result is still the same, and it stems from the same premise of mind control as was evident in the dystopian novel. Just as in 1984, people are accepting this form of mind-control as truth and allowing it to stir up hate for each other. In today's society, as was then, there seems to be a preponderance of the absence of love.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 03, 2018:

This is a very interesting and thought-provoking analysis, Natalie. 1984 is an impressive book that contains some fascinating ideas. I enjoy reading people's thoughts about the story and its implications for today. BY NATALIE FRANK

Related Articles

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LITERATURE A Different View of Women in Orwell's 1984 LITERATURE How Has George Orwell's Novel 1984 Come True Today? HISTORY A Historical Analysis of George Orwell's 1984 LITERATURE Analyzing Dystopian Fiction: How George Orwell's '1984' and Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' Explores Oppression LITERATURE George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty - Four": Summary and Analysis LITERATURE "Down and Out in Paris and London" by George Orwell - Book Review HISTORY Pax Romana: Peace During War

[Sep 27, 2020] MSM brainwashing in quotes from Mark Twain and Goethe

Sep 27, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

play_arrow


Freeman of the City , 39 seconds ago

"Life is hard, it's harder if your stupid" - John Wayne

Freeman of the City , 18 seconds ago

'It's Easier to Fool People Than to Convince Them That They Have Been Fooled'

- Mark Twain

palmereldritch , 49 seconds ago

And prior to Bezos/CIA ownership the paper was managed by heirs whose ownership stake was originally acquired through a bankruptcy sale by a board member/trustee of The Federal Reserve.

So maybe it was just a share transfer...

Freeman of the City , 1 minute ago

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free"

- Goethe

[Sep 25, 2020] US standard "negotiating" techniques

Highly recommended!
Sep 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ashino , Sep 23 2020 9:23 utc | 67

http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2020/09/russia-steals-everything.html
Comment by Reader Dark Fate
EXCERPTs

Following a long line of very arrogant american imperial "negotiators", mr oblivion billingslea used standard "negotiating" techniques like

(a) accusing the other side of crimes Americans have committed first and forever, eg, extreme lying, bad faith argumentation, military aggression, foreign government security breaching, assassination and poisoning [as in american presidents and independent thinkers], and of course, electoral cheating;

(b) putting the opponent in the "negotiation process" on the defensive or back foot by stating false news allegations amplified by the media controlled by the american empire;

(c) offering nothing useful or commitable to be done by the empire, and yet "magnanimously" demanding the moon as opponents' concessions, eg, russian, iranian and chinese nuclear weapons limits, but not for nato's development and deployment, and; (d) after making impossible demands, the imperials accuse the opponents of hostility and unwillingness to "negotiate".

The russians can skillfully agree by stating that they only require the americans to reduce their nukes to 320 pieces like china, and in less than five years.

This is why it is very important for sovereign nations to read the guidebook, called the "idiot's guide on running the american empire", and developing deep and lasting solutions.

As for the other american imperial military "advantages", eg, constellation of "aggression" satellites, andrei forgot to mention that these can be shot or burned down in minutes easily by russia, china and even iran, as these stations cannot hide or run away in earth orbits.

Replenishment of weapons and military supplies after 3 months is rather doomed as the cheap, mass production and manufacturing facilities do not exist. Which must be re-created somehow but now
American lands are the targets. Much, Much Different Than WW2 !!

And of course, russia can always nuke down the USA and its vassal countries, and thus permanently ruin their economies for a decade or more, they don't know how to run defense -- this was always the fatal weakness of all bullies - if they'll have enough time to "learn it"... let's see... I doubt this.

Let's see americans try to start and conduct a nuclear war after too many spy, internet and gps satellites are shot down. Russia can even do this today using conventional explosives, and the world will be shocked how helpless the american military and economy can be made even without using russian nukes.

There are countries still immune to the numerous american imperial diseases that are already documented daily in zerohedge postings. The better countries still have lots of parents telling their kids to study and work hard so they can have better lives than their ancestors.

In oregon and california, they teach unemployable kids to burn something or somebody sometime before dinner.

CdVision • 11 hours ago
I was about to say that what now comes out of the US & Trump's mouth in particular, is Orwellian. But that credits it with too much gravitas. The true comparison is Alice in Wonderland:
"Words mean whatever I want them to mean".

Ashino , Sep 23 2020 9:29 utc | 68
Reminiscence of the Future.. ( http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2020/09/russia-steals-everything.html)
Russia "Steals Everything" !! (Not just China, oops... ???!!!!)
And Jesus Christ was an American and was born in Kalamazoo, MI. It is a well-known fact. So Donald Trump, evidently briefed by his "utterly competent and crushingly precise aids", knows now that too! !!! LOL

Time For Daily Auto-Hypnosis, Comrades. !!!

https://vz.ru/news/2020/9/19/1061259.html
https://www.Путин-сегодня.ru/archives/108431
https://vk.com/deebeepublic?w=wall-197487820_23447
(Digital Translation)

> US President Donald Trump claims that Russia developed hypersonic weapons after allegedly stealing information from the United States.

> According to him, "Russia received this information from the Obama administration," Moscow "stole this information." Trump said that "Russia received this information and then created" the rocket, reports TASS.

> "We have such advanced weapons that President Xi, Putin and everyone else will envy us. They do not know what we have, but they know that it is something that no one has ever heard of. "

->We are the foremost and always number one. Everything is invented only by us, the rest can only either steal, or be gifted with our developments for good behavior. This situation is eternal, unchanging, everyone lags behind American Tikhalogii at least 50 years (the time frame was chosen so that even a 20-year-old would lose heart, "what's the point of trying to catch up, it won't work anyway, in my lifetime"). It was, is, and will be, this is the natural course of events.

All this is delivered in the format of the classic Sunday sermon of the American provincial Protestant church, coding the parishioners for further deeds and actions. And it worked effectively, creating in some basalt confidence "we are better because we are better", in others - "I don't mind anything for joining this radiant success, I'm ready for anything, I'll go for any hardships and crimes, if only There".

Only now it worked. In a situation where the frequency of pronouncing such mantras is more and more, emotions are invested in them too, but in fact everyone understands that this is what autohypnosis does not work.

The poor have stolen from the United States, if you look at it, literally everything. And 5G and the superweapon of the gods. Moreover, a pearl with a characteristic handwriting is not copy / paste, but move / paste, you bastards. Therefore, the United States does not even have any traces of developments left - the guys just sit in an empty room, shrug their hands, "here we have a farm of mechanical killer dolls, with the faces of Mickey Mouse overexposed, and now look - traces of bast shoes and candy wrappers from "Korkunov" only, ah-ah-ah, well, something like that, ah. "

At the same time, there are no cases of sabotage, espionage - whole projects were simply developed, developed, brought to a working product, and then the hob - and that's it, and disappeared. And this became noticeable only after years. And all the persons involved are like "wow, wow."

Psychiatric crazy fool of the head, no less.

But due to the fact that all of the above theses are driven very tightly into the template for the perception of the world, both those who voiced these theses and the listeners are satisfied.

Because the post-American post-hegemonic world is not terrible because in some ratings another country will be higher there, and Detroit will never be rebuilt "as it was". It is scary because it is not clear how to live for people who had no support in the form of global goals, faith, philosophy of life, and all this was replaced by narcissism on the basis of "successful success is my second self".

This means that the moment when this issue has to be resolved must be delayed to the last. Leaving the whole topic on the plane "we were offended, we are offended, we were dishonest, which means we have the right to any action" is not a bad move.

It's a pity that it doesn't really affect the essence of what is happening.

< >

[Sep 23, 2020] Costco CANCELS Palmetto Cheese after foodmaker's owner criticizes Black Lives Matter on Facebook, triggers woke brigade boycott

Looks like neoliberal Dems are playing with fire. Another couple of such success stories and Biden can safely enroll to the assisted living senior citizen community where he belongs. This is an excellent way to mobilize Trump voters. Just look at the comments section of this story.
This is somewhat similar to hysteria in Germany in 1930th.
Notable quotes:
"... And Costco was once a retail store. Bravo! Today transformed into a political party? ..."
Sep 23, 2020 | www.rt.com

Costco has halted sales of Palmetto Cheese, a popular brand of pimento cheese spread that had been offered in over 120 of its stores, after the company's owner triggered outrage with a Facebook post criticizing Black Lives Matter.

A sign posted at a store in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, indicates that Palmetto Cheese has been discontinued and will not be ordered again by Costco. The retailer hasn't made a statement on its decision, but the move came after consumers called for a boycott of the brand because of social media comments by Palmetto Cheese's owner, Brian Henry.

"This BLM and Antifa movement must be treated like the terror organizations that they are," Henry said in an August 25 Facebook post that has since been deleted. He wrote the message in response to the alleged shootings of three white people by a black man in Georgetown, South Carolina. He complained that BLM and Antifa were being allowed to "lawlessly destroy great American cities and threaten their citizens on a daily basis" and declared "All lives matter. There, I said it. So am I a racist now?"

This is the owner of Palmetto Cheese. Racism is not it. #boycottpalmettochese pic.twitter.com/PbscLB9UCU

-- Liv 🌙 (@LivCountess) August 25, 2020

The reaction on social media was swift, with commenters calling Henry a racist. Activists jumped into action with a boycott campaign against Palmetto Cheese. A Twitter account was set up mocking the company as "Appropriation Cheese," because of its use of a black woman on its packaging who worked for the company before dying earlier this year.

Activists on the Appropriation Cheese page celebrated Costco's decision and pressed for more. One commenter on Tuesday thanked Costco and demanded that Kroger, Lowes Foods and other retailers cancel Palmetto Cheese. Another boycott supporter called on Publix Super Markets to drop the product, saying: "Costco pulled Palmetto Cheese because of the open racism of its owner. We are hoping you are considering the same." Still another said: "Attention Corporate America. This is how you ally."

But others lamented Costco's move and the divisiveness it represents. "This is how divided the country has become," one commenter tweeted. "Even store chains are picking sides now. This is insane." There were those who defended Henry, saying that criticizing the group doesn't mean that one is racist.

Henry, who also is mayor of the small South Carolina coastal town of Pawleys Island, may have squandered a chance to inspire a boycott-backlash movement – like that which Goya Foods enjoyed after its owner was vilified for praising President Donald Trump – when he issued an apology on September 3. He said his comments were "hurtful and insensitive."

"I spent the last 10 days listening and learning," Henry said. "The conversations I have had with friends, our staff, the community and faith-based leaders provided me with a deeper understanding of racial inequality and the importance of diversity sensitivity."

ALSO ON RT.COM When cancel culture finds its limits: Woke brigade's push to destroy Goya for praising Trump falters as grocers reject boycott

Henry added that his family and company will donate $100,000 in the first year of a new foundation set up to improve race relations, and Palmetto Cheese will rebrand its product "to be more sensitive to cultural diversity." In addition to having a picture of a black woman, the current packaging refers to Palmetto Cheese as "the pimento cheese with soul."

The company sold more than 15 million units last year in about 4,000 stores. Henry warned that a boycott would only hurt the hundreds of people employed by the company in South Carolina.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

uncledon 8 hours ago

I guess I'm a racist as I believe all lives matter! I believe that people have a reason and the right to peacefully protest. People do not have a right to murder, to plunder, to destroy properties and businesses, to loot and set fires! If these things are done under the BLM movement it is lawlessness. If we are to have a peaceful and productive society we need law and order not total chaos. If the BLM wants to make change, (and change is sorely needed) then sets some rules in your organized protest that gives it strength and power. Every smashed window, every fire, every looted business and every intimidation to innocent bystanders is a reason for people like myself not to support your cause.

KarlthePoet 9 hours ago

It's too bad that the American consumers haven't started a boycott of the Jewish Banking Cartel, which ultimately controls the US government and Wall Street. A cheese spread isn't the problem in America.

JG1547 10 hours ago

And the stupidity continues. Sad

CrabbyB 7 hours ago

Avoid social media other than trying to garner sales. Avoid any chit-chat or opinions, just bare minimum contact that suits your business purpose and that's it. The mob harmed but using Fakebook as a soapbox was the big mistake

VillageIdiot34 4 hours ago

Keep it up amerimutts.

With this rate of acceleration we are talking civil war before Christmas. I can already see it; the corporate communists, backed by every globalist for-profit corporations against "real capitalism has never been tried" gang. Less fighting abroad, more fighting domestic. It's a win/win for everyone else

Jack The Man 3 hours ago

Absolutely right and principled action by Costco. And BTW, who on earth would like to eat this processed garbage anyway?

rightmove 5 hours ago

And Costco was once a retail store. Bravo! Today transformed into a political party? I'm in Australia and won't be shopping at Costco. The customer can decide if the BLM impacts their choice of merchandise, not the damn seller.

Mistermal 6 hours ago

According to Webster's Dictionary: "The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes." Costco CEO simply told the truth. BLM is an openly racist, violent hate group.

Alan Hart 3 hours ago

Will Costco also ban Israeli goods - because of their criticism of PLM (Palestinian Lives Matter)...??

Flyingscotsman 3 hours ago

Simple, boycott Costco. I bet all these so called republican white Supremacist racists spend more there , than all these keyboard woke warriors!

[Sep 21, 2020] Matt Taibbi on cancel culture hypocrites by Yasha Levine

Notable quotes:
"... The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily. ..."
"... They've conned organization after organization into empowering panels to search out thoughtcrime, and it's established now that anything can be an offense ..."
Sep 21, 2020 | yasha.substack.com

... ... ...

On the other side of the political aisle, among self-described liberals, we're watching an intellectual revolution. It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It's become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.

The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.

They've conned organization after organization into empowering panels to search out thoughtcrime, and it's established now that anything can be an offense

A "cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts"? The "guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves"? Geeeeee, sure does remind me of someone....

[Sep 21, 2020] Stephen Cohen Has Died. Remember His Urgent Warnings Against The New Cold War by Caitlin Johnstone

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God
"... In a world that is increasingly confusing and awash with propaganda, Cohen's death is a blow to humanity's desperate quest for clarity and understanding. ..."
Sep 19, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

Stephen F Cohen, the renowned American scholar on Russia and leading authority on US-Russian relations, has died of lung cancer at the age of 81.

As one of the precious few western voices of sanity on the subject of Russia while everyone else has been frantically flushing their brains down the toilet, this is a real loss. I myself have cited Cohen's expert analysis many times in my own work, and his perspective has played a formative role in my understanding of what's really going on with the monolithic cross-partisan manufacturing of consent for increased western aggressions against Moscow.

In a world that is increasingly confusing and awash with propaganda, Cohen's death is a blow to humanity's desperate quest for clarity and understanding.

I don't know how long Cohen had cancer. I don't know how long he was aware that he might not have much time left on this earth. What I do know is he spent much of his energy in his final years urgently trying to warn the world about the rapidly escalating danger of nuclear war, which in our strange new reality he saw as in many ways completely unprecedented.

The last of the many books Cohen authored was 2019's War with Russia? , detailing his ideas on how the complex multi-front nature of the post-2016 cold war escalations against Moscow combines with Russiagate and other factors to make it in some ways more dangerous even than the most dangerous point of the previous cold war.

"You know it's easy to joke about this, except that we're at maybe the most dangerous moment in US-Russian relations in my lifetime, and maybe ever," Cohen told The Young Turks in 2017. "And the reason is that we're in a new cold war, by whatever name. We have three cold war fronts that are fraught with the possibility of hot war, in the Baltic region where NATO is carrying out an unprecedented military buildup on Russia's border, in Ukraine where there is a civil and proxy war between Russia and the west, and of course in Syria, where Russian aircraft and American warplanes are flying in the same territory. Anything could happen."

Cohen repeatedly points to the most likely cause of a future nuclear war: not one that is planned but one which erupts in tense, complex situations where "anything could happen" in the chaos and confusion as a result of misfire, miscommunication or technical malfunction, as nearly happened many times during the last cold war.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/kqQbK_6meM8?feature=oembed

"I think this is the most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations, at least since the Cuban missile crisis," Cohen told Democracy Now in 2017. "And arguably, it's more dangerous, because it's more complex. Therefore, we -- and then, meanwhile, we have in Washington these -- and, in my judgment, factless accusations that Trump has somehow been compromised by the Kremlin. So, at this worst moment in American-Russian relations, we have an American president who's being politically crippled by the worst imaginable -- it's unprecedented. Let's stop and think. No American president has ever been accused, essentially, of treason. This is what we're talking about here, or that his associates have committed treason."

"Imagine, for example, John Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis," Cohen added. "Imagine if Kennedy had been accused of being a secret Soviet Kremlin agent. He would have been crippled. And the only way he could have proved he wasn't was to have launched a war against the Soviet Union. And at that time, the option was nuclear war."

"A recurring theme of my recently published book War with Russia? is that the new Cold War is more dangerous, more fraught with hot war, than the one we survived," Cohen wrote last year . "Histories of the 40-year US-Soviet Cold War tell us that both sides came to understand their mutual responsibility for the conflict, a recognition that created political space for the constant peace-keeping negotiations, including nuclear arms control agreements, often known as détente. But as I also chronicle in the book, today's American Cold Warriors blame only Russia, specifically 'Putin's Russia,' leaving no room or incentive for rethinking any US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991."

"Finally, there continues to be no effective, organized American opposition to the new Cold War," Cohen added. "This too is a major theme of my book and another reason why this Cold War is more dangerous than was its predecessor. In the 1970s and 1980s, advocates of détente were well-organized, well-funded, and well-represented, from grassroots politics and universities to think tanks, mainstream media, Congress, the State Department, and even the White House. Today there is no such opposition anywhere."

"A major factor is, of course, 'Russiagate'," Cohen continued. "As evidenced in the sources I cite above, much of the extreme American Cold War advocacy we witness today is a mindless response to President Trump's pledge to find ways to 'cooperate with Russia' and to the still-unproven allegations generated by it. Certainly, the Democratic Party is not an opposition party in regard to the new Cold War."

"Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world," Cohen wrote in another essay last year. "No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take -- in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia's electric grid -- to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/owbMRxC382A?feature=oembed

And now Stephen Cohen is dead, and that clock is inching ever closer to midnight. The Russiagate psyop that he predicted would pressure Trump to advance dangerous cold war escalations with no opposition from the supposed opposition party has indeed done exactly that with nary a peep of criticism from either partisan faction of the political/media class. Cohen has for years been correctly predicting this chilling scenario which now threatens the life of every organism on earth, even while his own life was nearing its end.

And now the complex cold war escalations he kept urgently warning us about have become even more complex with the addition of nuclear-armed China to the multiple fronts the US-centralized empire has been plate-spinning its brinkmanship upon, and it is clear from the ramping up of anti-China propaganda since last year that we are being prepped for those aggressions to continue to increase.

We should heed the dire warnings that Cohen spent his last breaths issuing. We should demand a walk-back of these insane imperialist aggressions which benefit nobody and call for détente with Russia and China. We should begin creating an opposition to this world-threatening flirtation with armageddon before it is too late. Every life on this planet may well depend on our doing so.

Stephen Cohen is dead, and we are marching toward the death of everything. God help us all.

medium.com

lay_arrow

novictim , 55 minutes ago

People are just now starting to realize that possible alternate path. But the Demoncrats in the USA must first be put down, politically euthanized, along with their neocon never-Trump Republican partners. And that cleaning up is on the way. Trump's second term will be the advancement of the USA-Russia initiative that is so long overdue.

PerilouseTimes , 48 minutes ago

Putin won't let western billionaires rape Russia's enormous natural resources and on top of that Putin is against child molesters, that is what this Russia bashing is all about.

awesomepic4u , 1 hour ago

Sad to hear this.

What a good man. It is a real shame that we dont have others to stand up to this crazy pr that is going on right now. Making peace with the world at this point is important. We dont need or want another war and i am sure that both Europe and Russia dont want it on their turf but it seems we keep sticking our finger in their eye. If there is another war it will be the last war. As Einstein said, after the 3rd World War we will be using sticks and stones to fight it.

Clint Liquor , 44 minutes ago

Cohen truly was an island of reason in a sea of insanity. Ironic that those panicked over climate change are unconcerned about the increasing threat of Nuclear War.

thunderchief , 41 minutes ago

One of the very few level headed people on Russia.

All thats left are anti Russia-phobic nut jobs.

Send in the clowns.

Stephen Cohen isn't around to call them what they are anymore.

Eastern Whale , 55 minutes ago

cooperate with Russia

Has the US ever cooperated with anyone?

fucking truth , 3 minutes ago

That is the crux. All or nothing.

Mustafa Kemal , 49 minutes ago

Ive read several of his books. They are essential, imo, if you want to understand modern russian history.

Normal , 1 hour ago

The bankers created the new CCP cold war.

evoila , 19 minutes ago

Max Boot is an effing idiot. Tucker wiped him clean too. It was an insult to Stephen to even put them on the same panel.

RIP Stephen.

Gary Sick is the equivalent to Stephen, except for Iran. He too is of an era of competence which is and will be missed as their voices are drowned out by neocon warmongers

thebigunit , 17 minutes ago

I heard Stephen Cohen a number of time in John Bachelor's podcasts.

He seemed very lucid and made a lot of sense.

He made it very clear that he thought the Democrat's "Trump - Russia collusion schtick" was a bunch of crap.

He didn't sound like a leftie, but I'm sure he never told me the stuff he discussed with his wife who was editor of the left wing "The Nation" magazine.

Boogity , 9 minutes ago

Cohen was a traditional old school anti-war Liberal. They're essentially extinct now with the exception of a few such as Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich who have both been ostracized from the Democrat Party and the political system.

[Sep 12, 2020] Nineteen years since 9/11 Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman attempt to Infects Readers With 9/11 Dementia

Sep 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Sep 11 2020 16:05 utc | 2

The price for the worst tweet of the year goes to Paul Krugman .


bigger

In the real world the U.S. reacted to 9/11 by doing extremely bad and ridiculous things as well as this :

In the days, weeks, and months immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Arab-Americans, South Asian-Americans, Muslim-Americans, and Sikh-Americans were the targets of widespread hate violence. Many of the perpetrators of these acts of hate violence claimed they were acting patriotically by retaliating against those responsible for 9/11.
...
Just after September 11, numerous Arabs, Muslims, and individuals perceived to be Arab or Muslim were assaulted, and some killed, by individuals who believed they were responsible for or connected to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The first backlash killing occurred four days after September 11.

Balbir Singh Sodhi was shot to death on September 15 as he was planting flowers outside his Chevron gas station. The man who shot Sodhi, Frank Roque, had told an employee of an Applebee's restaurant that he was "going to go out and shoot some towel heads." Roque mistakenly thought Sodhi was Arab because Sodhi, an immigrant from India, had a beard and wore a turban as part of his Sikh faith. After shooting Sodhi, Roque drove to a Mobil gas station a few miles away and shot at a Lebanese-American clerk. He then drove to a home he once owned and shot and almost hit an Afghani man who was coming out the front door. When he was arrested two hours later, Roque shouted, "I stand for America all the way."

The next two killings were committed by a man named Mark Stroman. On September 15, 2001, Stroman shot and killed Waquar Hassan, an immigrant from Pakistan, at Hassan's grocery store in Dallas, Texas. On October 4, 2001, Stroman shot and killed Vasudev Patel, an immigrant from India and a naturalized U.S. citizen, while Patel was working at his Shell station convenience store. A store video camera recorded the killing, helping police to identify Stroman as the killer. Stroman later told a Dallas television station that he shot Hassan and Patel because, "We're at war. I did what I had to do. I did it to retaliate against those who retaliated against us."

Beyond these killings, there were more than a thousand other anti-Muslim or anti-Arab acts of hate which took the form of physical assaults, verbal harassment and intimidation, arson, attacks on mosques, vandalism, and other property damage.

Instead of "calming prejudice" the GB Bush administration institutionalized hate crimes:

First, in the weeks immediately following the September 11 attacks, the government began secretly arresting and detaining Arab, Muslim, and South Asian men. Within the first two months after the attacks, the government had detained at least 1,200 men.
...
Second, in November 2001, the Department of Justice began efforts to "interview" approximately 5,000 men between the ages of 18 and 33 from Middle Eastern or Muslim nations who had arrived in the United States within the previous two years on a temporary student, tourist, or business visa and were lawful residents of the United States. Four months later, the government announced it would seek to interview an additional 3,000 men from countries with an Al Qaeda presence.
...
Third, in September 2002, the government implemented a "Special Registration" program also known as NSEERS (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System), requiring immigrant men from 26 mostly Muslim countries to register their name, address, telephone number, place of birth, date of arrival in the United States, height, weight, hair and eye color, financial information and the addresses, birth dates and phone numbers of parents and any foreign friends with the government.

Besides all that a rather useless security theater was installed at U.S. airports which has costs many billions in lost time and productivity ever since. The Patriot Act was introduced which allowed for unlimited spying on private citizens. Wars were launched that were claimed to be justified by 9/11. These were "mass outbreaks of anti-Muslim sentiment and violence. Many were killed and maimed in them. People were tortured and vanished. All of this happened largely to applause of a majority of the U.S. people which were glued to 24 and dreamed of being "terrorist hunters".

Anyone with a functional memory knows that the U.S. reaction to 9/11 was anything but "pretty calm". It is ridiculous that Krugman is claiming that.

Posted by b at 15:46 UTC | Comments (73)

I find it a bit humorous b that you are critical of Krugman for his 911 dementia when for years many of us finance types have railed about how morally corrupt the logic and thinking of Paul Krugman is.

Paul Krugman is to economics what Bernie Sanders has become for the purported "left" side of the "right wing" uni-party....a sheep dog for the easily led.

Paul Krugman is an acolyte for the God of Mammon/global private finance elite.


Clueless Joe , Sep 11 2020 16:11 utc | 3

Paul is getting old. Looks like senile dementia isn't limited to Biden nowadays.

Red Ryder , Sep 11 2020 16:44 utc | 11

While spreading anger and hate toward Arab people, The Bush Administration rescued the many members of the Kingdom's family from all around the US and escorted their flights out of the US to safety in Saudi Arabia.

Distracting the public big time was Dick Cheney, VP, who insisted from the very next day that the plot to hit the Twin Towers was Saddam's plot.

So, the historical record and US response was skewed from the getgo. AQ and Bin Laden didn't concern the neocons. They wanted the US to go to Iraq again, and this time start a wide war that would spread to Syria and Lebanon and Iran.

It was easy times to spread fear and hate, and Cheney and the war mongers of CENTCOM were riding high. Americans were scared of all Arabs, all Sunnis, all Shiites, from anywhere. They were all the same in the public's mind. Enemies.

It was perfect and has led to 19 years of endless wars. Add ISIS and al Nusra and the Taliban and you have an endless soup of enemies.

Jackrabbit , Sep 11 2020 17:01 utc | 13

I'm coining a new term: "Empire apologist".

!!

michaelj72 , Sep 11 2020 19:59 utc | 35

krugman is a terrible shill for the neo-cons and liberal-interventionists of the 21st century

at my age, I shouldn't really be surprised any more by what american "intellectuals" and "nobel prize winners" say about anything..... but I am.

He's neo-liberal interventionist moron of the first rank, and saying what he did actually normalizes the war mania and war-mongering which has become so staple in mainstream thought and the "think tanks" and is now practically part of the american DNA and "culture".
shame on krugman

Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 11 2020 20:08 utc | 36

...
It appears the Deep State has attacked the USA's people twice in two decades--on 911 and with the decision to let as many die as possible by deliberately not doing anything to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and allowing the real economy to atrophy so even more will die in the long run.
Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 11 2020 19:40 utc | 34

Talking about tilting at windmills - I'll never forget Robert Fisk angrily pointing out that the Yankees knew where to find Al CIA-duh because they extended the cave complex at Tora Bora to help Al CIA-duh, equipped with 10,000 US Stinger Missiles, kick the Russians out of Afghanistan in the 1980s!!!

(The Yankees had to wait for 10+ years to invade Afghanistan because it takes that long for Stingers to pass their Use By date)

Rob , Sep 11 2020 20:08 utc | 37

@michaelj72. "krugman is a terrible shill for the neo-cons and liberal-interventionists of the 21st century"

Actually, Paul Krugman was a strong and outspoken opponent of the Iraq War since early 2003 and possibly earlier. He was amongst the few mainstream liberal commentators to take that stand.

Jen , Sep 11 2020 21:02 utc | 44

If MoA readers and commenters were to read the entire series of Krugman's tweets, six in all, they will see mention of how the Bush govt began exploiting the events of 11 September 2001 almost immediately. Though the example Krugman actually uses would make most people cringe at what it suggests about the bubble he lives in and how far removed it is from most people's lives and experiences, and his reference to a "horrible war" does not mention either Afghanistan or Iraq.

It has to be said that Twitter is not designed very well for the kind of informal conversational commentary that people often use it for. But then you would think Krugman would use something other than Twitter to discuss and compare 9/11 with the impact of COVID-19.

The real issue I have with Krugman's Tweet is that he is revising history and bending over backwards to apologise for Dubya in a way to criticise Donald Trump's performance as President.

uncle tungsten , Sep 11 2020 22:13 utc | 50
b " Anyone with a functional memory knows that the U.S. reaction to 9/11 was anything but "pretty calm". It is ridiculous that Krugman is claiming that. "

Careful with that axe b, you are talking about Biden's chief economic adviser and likely appointee as Chair of the Fed. How does this look?
Volker
Greenspan
Bernanke
Yellen
Powell
Krugman

What could go wrong?

Prof K , Sep 11 2020 22:15 utc | 51
From 2019, Krugman de facto admits he was wrong his whole life. What a tool.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-10/inequality-globalization-and-the-missteps-of-1990s-economics

David G , Sep 11 2020 22:34 utc | 54

uncle tungsten | Sep 11 2020 22:13 utc | 50:

Reading Krugman's columns in 2016, I had a strong to overwhelming sense that this was a person revving up for a spot in Hillary's White House or cabinet. For some reason it isn't hitting me as strongly this time around – he may not have as close connections in Biden's circle – but it certainly would not be a surprise to see him take a turn through the media/government revolving door if Trump loses (though, fwiw, I don't think it will be a job at the Fed).

Et Tu , Sep 11 2020 22:48 utc | 55

Yep. Pretty staggering how a few disgruntled ex-CIA contractors managed to, deliberately or not, help the US Gov't launch the biggest world war operation right under the noses of the brainwashed masses.

99% of Westerners still are clueless as to explaining the last 20 years in a broader geopolitical context.

Russ , Sep 11 2020 22:48 utc | 56

Posted by: Caliman | Sep 11 2020 22:15 utc | 52

#28: "The antiwar protests in the US were small and insignificant."

No they were not. Millions of people demonstrated against the planned war, in the US, in the UK, and around the world...

We mustn't forget how the vast majority of those who allegedly were anti-war suddenly went totally pro-war silent upon Obama coming in.

But that pales compared to the vile spectacle of all the self-alleged "anti-authoritarians", "anti-propagandists" "dissidents", who suddenly regard the government media as the literal voice of God, where their alleged God speaks of Covid.

Prof K , Sep 11 2020 22:55 utc | 57

His book, End this Depression Now, is pretty weak. He has no theory of why the crash occurred. He critiques the austerity agenda but doesn't understand that government spending CAN create tax liabilities for capital down the road and eat into profits, thus blocking expanded investments and growth. Moronic libertarians hate Krugman just because they are right wing assholes who think, like fairies, that a free market without the state will work fine and self correct. Marx debunked this fairy tale thoroughly in Capital Volume 1, showing that, even if we start with the mythical free market of libertarian morons, capitalism will still operate according to the general law by which concentration and centralization lead to class polarization. In any case, in volume 3 of Capital, Marx develops his laws of crisis, showing that the cycles of expansion and depression under capitalism follow the movements of the rate of profit, which itself is determined by the ratio of the value of sunk capital in production technologies to the rate of exploitation (profits/wages). If the former rises more than the latter, the rate of profit sinks, along with investment, output and employment. Financial crises then set in.

The empirical evidence in the data bears out Marx's theory, not Krugman's dumb notion of aggregate demand, or the stupid libertarian focus on interest rates.

vk , Sep 12 2020 0:16 utc | 64

We could discuss here all day about the sociological subject of the American people's true positioning in the aftermath of 9/11. It would be, sincerely, a waste of time.

The important thing to grasp over this episode - from the point of view of History - is this: it was a strategic victory for al-Qaeda . The USA took the bait (all scripted?) and went into a quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a few years, the surplus the USA had accumulated with the sacking and absorption of the Soviet space during Bill Clinton evaporated and became a huge deficit in the Empire's accounts. Not long after, the 2008 financial meltdown happened, burying Bushism in a spectacular way.

There's a debate about the size of the hole the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan cost the American Empire. Some put it into the dozens of billions of USDs; others put it into the trillions of USDs range. We will never know. What we know is that the hole was big enough to both erase the American surplus and to not avoid the financial meltdown of 2008.

Either the expansion through the Middle East wasn't fast and provided riches enough to keep up with the Empire's voracious appetite or the invasion itself already represented a last, desperate attempt by the Empire to avoid its imminent collapse. We know, however, that POTUS Bush had a list of countries he wanted to invade beyond Iraq (the "Axis of Evil") which contained a secret country (Venezuela). He was conscious Iraq and Afghanistan wouldn't be enough. Whatever the case, he didn't have the time, and the financial meltdown happened in his last year in the White House.

uncle tungsten , Sep 12 2020 1:15 utc | 65

michaelj72 #38
karlof1 at #12

great stuff from M. Hudson, one of my favorite reads these days. Hudson has krugman's number. thanks again for those snippets and the links!

Steve Keen also has his number and Keen is pro capitalist

Krugman is a moron dressed as a weasel sounding like a squawking hen, with the vision of a hemorrhoid.

Antonym , Sep 12 2020 1:26 utc | 66

The main harsh reaction of G.W. Bush after 9/11 was the formation of DHS and laws to legalize mass national and international spying on anybody with electronic traffic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Homeland_Security#History

They knew who the perps of 9/11 were: their "own" Saudi irregulars in the CIA's US main land training camps, who started practicing on the "wrong"- domestic American- targets. These guys were officially entered without any background checks.
The Bush and Bin Laden families go way back in money making. That is why George had to ponder so long in that Florida kindergarten after hearing about the attacks: he had a suspicion. The Saudi only fly out after 9/11 confirms that.

Kay Fabr , Sep 12 2020 2:30 utc | 69

Paul Krugman Is a pro. Completely owned by Deep State. His purpose is to deflect discussion and prevent questioning the official version of 9/11 , and get people chasing something completely irrelevant. Well done Paul, most have taken the bait.

[Sep 11, 2020] Ignorance is strength: The 9-11 Official Story Retold in under 5 minutes

Compare with United Flight 93 National Memorial - YouTube
Sep 11, 2013 | www.youtube.com

Visit http://www.policestateusa.com


Joe 90 , 3 years ago

9/11 cost America over 3.3 trillion dollars & over 6 trillion dollars in two Middle East wars.

JF Byers , 6 years ago

This video was created by James Corbett of thecorbettreport (dotcom). He's the most prolific and talented alt news guy out there, in my opinion.

nvsyruable , 7 years ago

When I talk to people about that lack of closure for the victims of 911, I merely get a moment of silence and then I notice the deer in the headlights look. A few have said I'm crazy for questioning the official story, others say that nothing will ever change and the rest don't care enough to even think about it. Smh! Thanks to the minority who still want justice!

[Sep 09, 2020] "Cancel Culture Won't Last" - The American Conservative

Sep 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

ou remember Ian Buruma, right? He was forced to resign as editor of The New York Review of Books in 2018 after he published an essay by the Canadian broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, who was accused and acquitted of sexual assault. Now, Buruma talks to The Telegraph about his new book (on Churchill and Britain's "special relationship" with America) and "cancel culture":

Having been toppled himself, he is worried that cancel culture will lead to 'a kind of timidity and fear and caution on the part of people who edit and write. The whole point of being a good editor is having the freedom sometimes to do something that might be provocative, because that helps debate, and debate helps people think. And if you cancel that out, you get a sort of boring and fearful conformity that is inimical to a lively intellectual and artistic culture.'

He sees the new 'intolerance and puritanism' as a substitute for religion. 'It is particularly strong in the New World, in Australia, Canada and the United States, and Britain to a slightly lesser extent, than in non-English-speaking countries. There is a sort of puritanical zeal that is very strong in America and the intolerance of unorthodoxy may be a secular version of it.'

The point of Ghomeshi's article, he says, was to explore the question of how we set the perimeters of the length and severity of the punishments doled out by the court of public opinion. 'I deliberately did not want the article to be about what he had done, there was no way that I wanted to stick up for that or defend it. I was interested in it because it was a voice that hadn't been heard, somebody who'd actually had that experience.'

Is there not a danger that his viewpoint might be a bit too detached, I ask? Isn't there an argument that the many abused women who never even get to see their abuser in court and feel unheard are quite right to be angry that a liberal magazine should give a voice to somebody like Ghomeshi?

'Well that's probably true, statistically, that most cases of abuse go unreported and therefore we never hear about them. But it would be false to say that the voices of women, or men for that matter, who've been abused in one way or another have never been heard – we've heard quite a few, maybe not enough, but we've heard them. So I don't think that that is right.'

Has being 'cancelled' affected him much? 'All I will say is that certain publications I used to write for do not ask me any more because it would upset people – not so much readers but people who work for those publications.

'I don't miss being in an office, I'm perfectly happy sitting in my own office writing whatever I want, but I miss the job in the sense that I could have done something interesting with [the NYRB] and I no longer can. I wanted to have more voices from South America, more on Africa, Asia. I think the problem with a lot of American publications today is that they look inward too much.'

In other news: Thomas Homer-Dixon says reading The Lord of the Rings made him a better parent. He explains why in The Walrus : "Many Christian commentators and scholars say Tolkien espoused a Christian hope based on faith in redemption and God's ultimate intervention. (He was a devout Roman Catholic.) By this view, hope, which in this case would be Estel, can remain secure because we know God will take care of us in the end. Other Tolkien aficionados have argued that he eschewed hope entirely: his protagonists keep going because of nothing more than their ardent commitment to courage and cheer regardless of what the future seems to hold. Neither argument convinces me. I see little hint of Christian eschatology in the pages of The Lord of the Rings, and the book's life philosophy is deeply informed by Norse, Germanic, and Celtic myth. Indeed, to my mind, Tolkien's heroes possess the Finnish virtue sisu , which translates roughly as 'fierce tenacity' or 'toughness' and indicates inner strength in the face of daunting odds."

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13045197114175078?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13045197114175078-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&rid=www.theamericanconservative.com&width=838

Richard Mabey reviews Helen Macdonald's Vesper Flights : "I longed for a bird that was just itself, not a token of class war or a sop to emotional neediness."

Richard Reinsch reviews George Weigel's The Next Pope : "Weigel's book is an attempt to spell out spiritual criteria for the next pope -- to explain, in his view, how the next pope should act in order to revive the church's fortunes in the modern world. There are many elephants in the room here, but one of the biggest, prudently left unnamed by Weigel, is Pope Francis's pontificate. Weigel drops small vignettes throughout the book of what the next pope must do and not do."

What's wrong with the university today? Many things, but the main problem, Mario Biagioli argues, is a preoccupation with gaming the system rather than focusing on its core purpose: teaching and research. "According to Goodhart's Law, as soon as a measure becomes a target, gaming ensues, which undermines its function as a measure. Charles Goodhart, an economist, was referring to the gaming of economic indicators, but his law applies equally well to all sorts of regimes of evaluation, including the metrics that command so much authority in today's higher education. Universities are investing ever more heavily in curating and occasionally faking figures that enhance their national and global rankings, while simultaneously keeping those metrics in mind when deciding anything from campus development projects to class size. (Architecturally ambitious campuses attract alumni giving, which is a positive factor in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of universities, as are classes capped at 19 students.) Now in full swing, this trend started inconspicuously a few decades ago. Already in 1996, Northeastern University's president, Richard Freeland, observed that 'schools ranked highly received increased visibility and prestige, stronger applicants, more alumni giving, and, most important, greater revenue potential. A low rank left a university scrambling for money. This single list [ ] had the power to make or break a school.' Freeland quickly figured out which numbers Northeastern needed to privilege. Ranked 162nd in 1996, Northeastern jumped to 98th in 2006 and, ten years after his departure, 47th in 2016. This trend goes hand in hand with another distinctive feature of the modern university: the discourse of excellence. Because 'excellence' is devoid of a referent that can be either empirically or conceptually defined -- its meaning effectively boiling down to 'being great at whatever one may be doing' "

Jeremy Seaton reviews a new edition of Russell Kirk's Old House of Fear : "While the novel itself remains unaltered so far as I can tell, the current edition features the addition of a wonderful introduction by James Panero that offers much insight into both Kirk and his works. This edition also restores Kirk's dedication of the volume: 'This Gothick tale, in unblushing line of direct descent from The Castle of Otranto , I do inscribe to Abigail Fay.' This inscription, brief as it is, offers valuable revelations regarding the Old House of Fear and its residents."

me title=

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.407.2_en.html#goog_1874787619 Ad ends in 48s Next Video × Next Video J.d. Vance Remarks On A New Direction For Pro-worker, Pro-family Conservatism, Tac Gala, 5-2019 Cancel Autoplay is paused

Why time flies when you're old : "Over a three-minute period, younger people can count down the seconds almost perfectly. Older people, on the other hand, can be out by as much as forty seconds -- meaning that if they counted seconds for an hour they'd think the task done with around the 47-minute mark. It sounds paradoxical, but it's that slowing of the older person's body clock that leads to their faster counting -- and their feeling that the rest of the world is speeding up."

In search of the English Proust : "Writing to his publisher Gaston Gallimard, Proust opted for an unusually crisp register: 'I refuse to let the English destroy my work.' He was protesting at translator C. K. Scott Moncrieff's use of a pretty Shakespeare quotation ( Remembrance of Things Past ) for his analytically more precise title ( À la recherche du temps perdu ), not to mention the now iconic but misleading Swann's Way (for Du côté de chez Swann ). He softened, though his subsequent communications with Scott Moncrieff himself are best represented as polite rather than cordial. Scott Moncrieff remains nevertheless the true hero in the story of Proust in English, and any bad feeling on Proust's part is a mere bagatelle compared to how he would have felt about John Middleton Murry's unintelligible proposition: 'No English reader will get more out of reading Du côté de chez Swann in French than he will out of reading Swann's Way in English.' It is, alas, the sort of thing that also infected Conrad, who came up with the lunatic claim that Moncrieff's Proust was superior to Proust's Proust."

Photos: New Hampshire

Receive Prufrock in your inbox every weekday morning. Subscribe here . ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Micah Mattix is the literary editor of The American Conservative and an associate professor of English at Regent University. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal , National Review , The Weekly Standard , Pleiades , The Washington Times , and many other publications. His latest book is The Soul Is a Stranger in this World: Essays on Poets and Poetry (Cascade). Follow him on Twitter .

Bureaucrat 13 hours ago

Ian Buruma highlighted something I've also noticed from the woke mob: Despite their supposed advocacy of global societies and non-white voices, they completely ignore the experiences, struggles, and contradictions of global people, especially the Global South. The persecution of women and girls in Muslim societies is an inconvenient topic for the intersectional mob, balancing feminism and anti-Christian sentiments. The extremely prominent colorism of Latin American is inconvenient, balanced between an always uneasy coalition between Latino and Black Americans.

kouroi 34 minutes ago

"And if you cancel that out, you get a sort of boring and fearful conformity that is inimical to a lively intellectual and artistic culture." In the old country, that was called "the wooden tongue". You really can't do nothing with such an instrument...

[Sep 06, 2020] Polymerase test specificity and NYT articles

Highly recommended!
Sep 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

lay_arrow


naro , 15 hours ago

NYTimes article last week suggested that only 10% of Covid positive PCR tests are clinically significant and infectious.

I Write Code , 15 hours ago

NYTimes articles that are significant is much less than 10%.
1 play_arrow

naro , 15 hours ago

Like a broken clock it is occasionaly right.

I Write Code , 15 hours ago

I don't know, as soon as they print it, I think it becomes false.

[Aug 30, 2020] A Medieval mass neurosis by Janet Daly

Aug 30, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"In moments of despair it had occurred to me that there was something of a medieval Dark Age about the current mood: Extinction Rebellion with its child saints and the self-flagellating Woke culture. Being given an apparently sound reason to disable the most notable manifestations of that historical tradition which we are now being encouraged to denounce: what could be better suited to the weird, vaguely hysterical, fashion of the times?

Fear may be the most dangerous contagion but I am coming around to the view that this is not simple fear. It is a mass neurosis of which irrational and prolonged anxiety is a symptom: a corrosive loss of confidence and understanding of one's role and identity which will, if it prevails, ultimately undermine the quality of modern life more irrevocably than any virus.

It is not only our official cultural institutions that are at risk here. One of the most fundamental principles of post-war liberal democracy is on trial – or, at least, coming up for examination." The Telegraph

--------------

Yes, I know. I am becoming even more boring about this, but Daly has her finger on the essence of the matter. The call to wokeness is a siren song enlisting neurotic adherence to a cause that demands rejection of the world as we have known it and the creation of a utopian cult that does not know its own creed.

That remains to emerge when the putative victors in the struggle for a woke world fall upon each other for control. What would President Bidoharris do in such a circumstance?

IMO they would cave in and the street fanatics would rule a barren landscape that was once a prosperous and well run country. pl

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/29/wests-response-covid-shows-have-succumbed-medieval-mass-neurosis/


Eric Newhill , 29 August 2020 at 12:25 PM

IMO, This phenomenon is not organic. Rather, it has been deliberately induced by the enemies of democracy and of the US - some of these enemies are foreign powers, some are foreign individuals and some are domestic, and of those, even within our own government. Allies with a common objective for the time being.

The US govt began systematically developing mind control techniques in the 1950s that built on the work of Bernays. Some of the programs were for controlling individuals (e.g. MK-ULTRA) and some for controlling masses. Those programs have come to fruition and are being applied to the US population. It's easy now with mass media, social media and everyone being wired into their devices 24/7.

As much as the Democrats have a war room, that war room is taking orders from another one that is higher up the chain of command, IMO.

The current panic/hysteria could be reversed or morphed into something more positive within a year if the powers running this operation wanted it to be done, but they don't want that. They want to wreak havoc and destruction. They make a James Bond villain look like child's play.

https://academyofideas.com/2017/07/edward-bernays-group-psychology-manipulating-the-masses/

Deap , 29 August 2020 at 12:36 PM

A terrified world was ready to believe in the Zombie Apocalypse. What are the roots of that predeliction?

"Covid" was not the trigger; only the spark that set off the tinder already gathered. Loss of religion - substituting drugs for the pain of personal growth - broken families - mass media - age of disinformation - retreats from the challenges of daily interpersonal connection to interactions by choice behind the computer screens

Rollo May, in his book "Love and Will" nailed it in the 1960's - the Age of Aquarius will become the Age of Addiction- life-affirming passion is being replaced by life-sapping lust.

However, this describes only the malaise and our own choices to this this mainstream. There are still incredible people out there that reject all of the above. As the 1960's taught us, if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. And part of the problem may be tuning into the malaise ourselves and blocking out where the sunshine still exists.

Mea culpa. Playing one of Eric Berne's Games People Play - "Ain't it Awful?"

nbsp; TedBuila , 29 August 2020 at 12:59 PM

Come on Pat.. the Cone Head family runs a "well run country."

Senescal , 29 August 2020 at 01:33 PM

What is the creed of the liberals, Colonel? Who are the liberal gods? Do you think the problems facing western civilisation are a consequence of it turning its back on them? I have a different thesis: The west didn't turn its back on the liberal gods. It embraced them wholeheartedly, so much so it has now earned an audience with their prince, in his own abode no less.

Vegetius , 29 August 2020 at 02:18 PM

In the case of the ongoing George Fentanyl riots I would suggest that this is a mass psychotic episode, caused by everything mentioned in the article plus drug use, especially constant, long-term, vaporized marijuana use.

I don't think it is a coincidence that the worst of the rioting has occurred where marijuana has either been legalized or effectively decriminalized.

John Merryman , 29 August 2020 at 05:02 PM

An interesting article on the subject;
https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/millennial-guide-to-anti-wokeness-liberal-democracy/

nbsp; turcopolier , 29 August 2020 at 05:14 PM

Ted Buila

You mean the Obamas and the Clintons? They do look a bit "alien" in the best sense of the word. Barry rode a fantastic "train" of scholarships all the way to editor of the Harvard Law Review. Michele and her brother were the beneficiaries of the Daly Machine's gratitude to her father's role as a ward healer. This seems an amazing sequence of events in an indelibly racist country.

Seward , 29 August 2020 at 06:01 PM

Regarding the climatic aspects of it at least, there is some evidence in peer-reviewed journals that there may be a Maunder Minimum beginning in the 2030, resulting in a significant drop in average temperature. It's related to sunspot cycles. [Note: I'm citing a popularization of it here:]
https://www.livescience.com/51597-maunder-minimum-mini-ice-age.html .
The detailed peer-reviewed article aboutmit in Nature is quite lengthy and technical.

walrus , 29 August 2020 at 06:22 PM

Col. Lang,

Yes. Savonarola.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonfire_of_the_vanities

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girolamo_Savonarola

Deap , 29 August 2020 at 06:29 PM

Post 9-11, Dick Cheney pushed the One Percent Doctrine to justify invading Iraq - if there is a one percent chance Saddam has nuclear weapons, the US must treat this as a 100% chance.

This One Percent doctrine became widely discredited, and Ron Suskind wrote a book about it - how indeed were government decisions made during the War on Terror?

How much of the One Percent Doctrine remains embedded in government decisions today, when faced with the War on Covid? If it was discredited as the Cheney Doctrine as 100% overkill, why is it still applied as our model for "covid" decision making?

Shut 100% down if there is a 1% risk -that some will die, and in fact some did die. Shouldn't we be talking about this?

Deap , 29 August 2020 at 06:48 PM

In the case of George Flloyd (et al) why has there been a pathologic avoidance in virtually all media, right and left, to even mention resisting arrest and drug use as co factors in these person's ultimate outcomes?

If one tried to raise these issues all one got back is "he did not deserve to die even if he was a criminal high on drugs", "he did not deserve to be killed over passing a $20 bill" ......... that a death alone justifies the ongoing string of distortions.

What undergirds this intentional avoidance that prevents even the introduction of personal responsibility for one's own outcomes? Liberal orthodoxy California-style requires only blame; and shuns any possible hint that one set their own fate in motion by their own choices. This bleeding hear overkill is oppressive.

The cult of victimization - is it now found in 99% of our society? Please, November 3, show me I am wrong. Of course, my mind set is distorted by living in California. Asking for personal responsibility is thee quickest way to get canceled and censored on any local blog out here.

I vaguely remember when personal responsibility was a fundamental tenant of American life. It was certainly the hall mark of my own growing up in the 1950's. In California.: When did this change so dramatically? Was it LBJ and The Great Society?

Who was it that said fate is what life hands you; destiny is what you do with it. Fate is being born a certain race, in a certain neighborhood to certain parents, or lack of them. Destiny is certainly what one chooses to do with that fate. And well evidenced by the recent RNC testimonies. Bravo.

John Merryman , 29 August 2020 at 07:01 PM

The gist of this article;
https://www.zerohedge.com/political/schiff-pelosi-livid-after-intel-community-ditches-manipulated-election-briefings-written
Seems to be the marriage of convenience between the democrats and the intelligence community is starting to fray, as the lightbulb over the head of the intelligence people has turned on, that sticking to the, "Hillary as the rightful one," narrative for the last four years was too many eggs in one basket and now they will be throwing the democrats under the bus.
Anyone sensing similar?

Deap , 29 August 2020 at 09:34 PM

Does the 1955 Alan Ginbsurg beat poem "HowL" have any relevance to what is going on today? Does "Rebel Without a Cause" speak the same message - rage, undefined, diffuse generational rage .....at something.

Howl
BY ALLEN GINSBERG
For Carl Solomon


I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,

who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,

who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls,

incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between,

Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,.......... (etc, etc, etc)

nbsp; TedBuila , 29 August 2020 at 10:05 PM

Pat..come on. Tweaking the Obamas, Clintons and me the Cone Head Family are other subjects. I was addressing your inference that the Trump family is running the country in a well and prosperous manner. Hardly. Running the country on an overnight 4 trillion dollar plus credit card charge and dribbling out dixi cups Less Taxes Kool Aid is pushing the standard definition of a well run prosperous country.

nbsp; Mike46 , 30 August 2020 at 12:02 AM

John Merryman:
I didn't I read it that way. Seems more like a way to get out of answering questions.

nbsp; turcopolier , 30 August 2020 at 01:08 AM

Ted Buila

It is the Democrat congressional party that wants to spend more funny money than Trump and you know very well that if it had not been for the carefully encouraged CODIV panic and shutdown the country would be hugely prosperous and Trump would have clear sailing to re-election. As I have said before, I am quite good at taking a Le Carre style back-azimuth. There is an ops room somewhere running The Resistance, always has been and at the bottom of that chamber pot are painted familiar faces.

[Aug 29, 2020] Cancelling Cancel Culture- Covington Catholic's Sandmann Speaks At RNC Convention

Aug 29, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

written by daniel mcadams wednesday august 26, 2020
It was one of the most notorious cases of 'cancel culture' gone crazy. A young high school student was relentlessly bullied and character-assassinated by the mainstream media because he wore a MAGA hat while a bully screamed in his face. Nicholas Sandmann turned the tables and walked away with millions of dollars after suing the media outlets that slandered him. But is "cancel culture" going away? Or is it getting more violent? Watch today's Liberty Report:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/7LVvfNTCdmI

undefined


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute

[Aug 24, 2020] Announcement- Half a Pulitzer Prize to the Wall Street Journal by Ron Unz

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself. ..."
Aug 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Half a Pulitzer Prize to the Wall Street Journal RON UNZ AUGUST 23, 2020 1,800 WORDS 11 COMMENTS REPLY Tweet Reddit Share Share Email Print More RSS

For forty years I carefully read the New York Times in hard copy each and every morning, eager to discover what had transpired since the previous day. But just in the last few months, my commitment has begun to flag, and my eyes often only lightly glance at half or more of the articles and their columnar headlines.

I'd never thought much of Donald Trump, but can't seem to work up the enthusiasm to read yet another article headlining the "lies" of our Great Satan or his coterie of lesser Satans. The endless villainies of his Luciferian ally Vladimir Putin have grown dull to my mental tongue. The diabolical wickedness of China, whom Trump had supposedly so recently courted, elicits little interest. Closer to home, my eyes skip over another "social distancing" advice column about Covid-19, or further explanations of how "peaceful protesters" had recently set a government building on fire in Portland, Oregon, or destroyed Chicago's wealthiest downtown shopping district.

The Business Section reports that the worst disease outbreak in a century, the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, and the worst national rioting in two generations has produced unprecedented gains in share prices on Wall Street, but the staff writers have apparently forgotten the word "bubble." Many days the Arts Section seems to have become almost monochromatically black. So my daily regular morning ritual now takes much less time than it did in the past.

I can't exactly plot the trajectory of this sharp drop in my recent interest. But I certainly noticed the change not longer after a Twitter-mob forced the Times to summarily purge for insufficient "wokeness" its highly-regarded Editorial Page Editor, widely considered a leading contender to run the paper, perhaps suggesting that the journalists changed their coverage and writing style to avoid a similar fate. I had always read my morning newspapers at a local coffee-shop, but the Coronavirus outbreak ended that possibility, thereby disrupting my routine. And my years of denouncing the dishonesty of "Our American Pravda" in my own articles may have finally begun to register in my own mind.

There are occasional exceptions to this pattern. Earlier this month the Times carefully tabulated our national mortality figures and determined that our "excess deaths" from early March to the end of July had already exceeded 200,000 , indicating that the American body-count from our Covid-19 epidemic was considerably larger than generally assumed, and might even reach the half million mark by the end of the year. But examples of such solid reporting seem few and far between these days.

The obvious decline of the Times is especially apparent to me each morning when I compare it with the rival Wall Street Journal , which I read immediately afterward. After Rupert Murdoch acquired the Journal in 2007, most observers predicted a sad fate at the hands of the proprietor whose early Fleet Street media empire had been built upon on the frontal nudity of the Page Three Girls of his tabloid Sun . But Murdoch totally confounded those skeptics, providing his new flagship broadsheet with huge financial backing and a hands-off editorial policy, thereby elevating it from a business-focused publication to a near-peer rival to the Gray Lady at a time when so many other papers were about to begin shriveling from massive loss of advertising. Within a couple of years, even such inveterate Murdoch-haters as The Nation acknowledged this surprising reality .

Superb journalist resources unshackled by extreme "political correctness" allow an outstanding product, and this has certainly been demonstrated by the Journal 's regular front-page investigative reports. A few days ago, our continuing Covid-19 disaster prompted yet another of these, which I think lacked only a few crucial elements to be worthy of a Pulitzer Prize.

Numerous publications have documented America's severe mistakes in combating the disease, but this 4,500 word WSJ report focused upon the serious mishandling of the original outbreak by Chinese authorities.

The article revealed that top public health officials at China's Center for Disease Control only became aware of the situation on December 30th, when they learned that at least 25 suspected cases of a mysterious illness had already occurred in Wuhan during that month. But as the writers noted, the outbreak had certainly begun somewhat earlier:

Even a fully empowered China CDC would likely have missed the very first cases of the coronavirus, which probably began spreading around Wuhan in October or November, most likely in people who never showed symptoms, or did but never saw a doctor, researchers say.

All of this new information seems quite consistent with what had previously been discovered by America's leading media outlets. But the Journal writers seem to have missed one additional fact that could have elevated this important story from a mundane investigation to a sensational expose. Although they documented that the Chinese government only learned of the Wuhan outbreak at the end of December, they seemed unaware that more than a month earlier American intelligence officials had distributed a secret report to our military allies describing the "cataclysmic" disease outbreak then underway in Wuhan.

A few months ago, I had noted the clear implications of this bizarre discrepancy in timing:

For obvious reasons, the Trump Administration has become very eager to emphasize the early missteps and delays in the Chinese reaction to the viral outbreak in Wuhan, and has presumably encouraged our media outlets to direct their focus in that direction.

As an example of this, the Associated Press Investigative Unit recently published a rather detailed analysis of those early events purportedly based upon confidential Chinese documents. Provocatively entitled "China Didn't Warn Public of Likely Pandemic for 6 Key Days" , the piece was widely distributed, running in abridged form in the NYT and elsewhere. According to this reconstruction, the Chinese government first became aware of the seriousness of this public health crisis on Jan. 14th, but delayed taking any major action until Jan. 20th, a period of time during which the number of infections greatly multiplied.

Last month, a team of five WSJ reporters produced a very detailed and thorough 4,400 word analysis of the same period, and the NYT has published a helpful timeline of those early events as well. Although there may be some differences of emphasis or minor disagreements, all these American media sources agree that Chinese officials first became aware of the serious viral outbreak in Wuhan in early to mid-January, with the first known death occurring on Jan. 11th, and finally implemented major new public health measures later that same month. No one has apparently disputed these basic facts.

But with the horrific consequences of our own later governmental inaction being obvious, elements within our intelligence agencies have sought to demonstrate that they were not the ones asleep at the switch. Earlier this month, an ABC News story cited four separate government sources to reveal that as far back as late November, a special medical intelligence unit within our Defense Intelligence Agency had produced a report warning that an out-of-control disease epidemic was occurring in the Wuhan area of China, and widely distributed that document throughout the top ranks of our government, warning that steps should be taken to protect US forces based in Asia. After the story aired, a Pentagon spokesman officially denied the existence of that November report, while various other top level government and intelligence officials refused to comment. But a few days later, Israeli television mentioned that in November American intelligence had indeed shared such a report on the Wuhan disease outbreak with its NATO and Israeli allies, thus seeming to independently confirm the complete accuracy of the original ABC News story and its several government sources.

It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself. Unless our intelligence agencies have pioneered the technology of precognition, I think this may have happened for the same reason that arsonists have the earliest knowledge of future fires.

An entirely new disease that spreads in silent, asymptomatic fashion can easily escape initial detection, and we should not be surprised that no one in China noticed the Wuhan outbreak when it first began in October or November. But America's intelligence operatives were entirely aware of what was happening from the very beginning, and began informing all our allies. This seems about as close to a "smoking gun" as we can ever likely to encounter in the annals of the murky world of intelligence operations.

Moreover, I have also noted the very unusual international pattern the deadly disease immediately began to follow:

As the coronavirus gradually began to spread beyond China's own borders, another development occurred that greatly multiplied my suspicions. Most of these early cases had occurred exactly where one might expect, among the East Asian countries bordering China. But by late February Iran had become the second epicenter of the global outbreak. Even more surprisingly, its political elites had been especially hard-hit, with a full 10% of the entire Iranian parliament soon infected and at least a dozen of its officials and politicians dying of the disease, including some who were quite senior . Indeed, Neocon activists on Twitter began gleefully noting that their hatred Iranian enemies were now dropping like flies.

Let us consider the implications of these facts. Across the entire world the only political elites that have yet suffered any significant human losses have been those of Iran, and they died at a very early stage, before significant outbreaks had even occurred almost anywhere else in the world outside China. Thus, we have America assassinating Iran's top military commander on Jan. 2nd and then just a few weeks later large portions of the Iranian ruling elites became infected by a mysterious and deadly new virus, with many of them soon dying as a consequence. Could any rational individual possibly regard this as a mere coincidence?

So if the journalists at the WSJ had merely taken note of what had previously been reported by ABC News and confirmed by Israeli television, they would surely have earned themselves a Pulitzer Prize. But earning and receiving are two separate matters, and they might easily have instead been purged for treading upon such touchy national security matters. After all, our own webzine was banned by both Facebook and Google just days after we raised these same matters.

Such retaliation helps explain why our American mainstream media has long since concluded that discretion is the better part of valor.

AnonStarter , says: August 23, 2020 at 9:48 pm GMT

Such retaliation helps explain why our American mainstream media has long since concluded that discretion is the better part of valor.

Rapier-sharp allusion given the context in which it first appeared.

[Aug 23, 2020] Catapulting Russian-Meddling Propaganda by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The fresh orgy of anti-Russian invective in the lickspittle media (LSM) has the feel of fin de siècle . The last four reality-impaired years do seem as though they add up to a century. And no definitive fin is in sight, as long as most people don't know what's going on. ..."
"... The LSM should be confronted: "At long last have you left no sense of decency?" But who would hear the question -- much less any answer? ..."
"... Thus the reckless abandon with which The New York Times is leading the current full-court press to improve on what it regards as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's weak-kneed effort to blame the Russians for giving us Donald Trump. The press is on, and there are no referees to call the fouls. ..."
"... Incidentally, Mueller's report apparently was insufficient, only two years in the making, and just 448 pages. The Senate committee's magnum opus took three years, is almost 1,000 pages -- and fortified. So there. ..."
"... is a good offense, and the Senate Intelligence Committee's release of its study -- call it "Mueller (Enhanced)" -- and the propaganda fanfare -- come at a key point in the Russiagate/Spygate imbroglio. It also came, curiously, as the Democratic Convention was beginning, as if the Republican-controlled Senate was sending Trump a message. ..."
"... The cognoscenti and the big fish themselves may be guessing that Trump/Barr/Durham will not throw out heavier lines for former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, for example. But how can they be sure? What has become clear is that the certainty they all shared that Hillary Clinton would be the next president prompted them not only to take serious liberties with the Constitution and the law, but also to do so without taking rudimentary steps to hide their tracks. ..."
"... The incriminating evidence is there. And as Trump becomes more and more vulnerable and defensive about his ineptness -- particularly with regard to Covid-19 -- he may summon the courage to order Barr and Durham to hook the big fish, not just minnows like Clinesmith. The neuralgic reality is that no one knows at this point how far Trump will go. To say that this kind of uncertainty is unsettling to all concerned is to say the obvious. ..."
"... None of that takes us much beyond the Mueller report and other things generally well known -- even in the LSM. Nor does the drivel about people like Paul Manafort "sharing polling data with Russians" who might be intelligence officers. That data was "mostly public" the Times itself reported , and the paper had to correct a story that the data was intended for Russian oligarchs, when it was meant for Ukrainian oligarchs instead. That Manafort was working to turn Ukraine towards the West and not Russia is rarely mentioned. ..."
"... On the Steele Dossier, the committee also missed a ruling by a British judge against Christopher Steele, labeling his dossier an attempt to help Hillary Clinton get elected. Consortium News explained back in October 2017 that both CrowdStrike and Steele were paid for by the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign to push Russiagate. ..."
"... the description of #WikiLeaks ' publishing activities by this #SenateIntelligenceCommittee 's Report appears a true #EdgarHoover 's disinformation campaign to make a legitimate media org completely radioactive ..."
"... And that's not the half of it. In September 2018, Mazzetti and his NYT colleague Scott Shane wrote a 10,000-word feature, "The Plot to Subvert an Election," trying to convince readers that the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) had successfully swayed U.S. opinion during the 2016 election with 80,000 Facebook posts that they said had reached 126 million Americans. ..."
"... That turned out to be a grotesquely deceptive claim. Mazzetti and Shane failed to mention the fact that those 80,000 IRA posts (from early 2015 through 2017, meaning about half came after the election), had been engulfed in a vast ocean of more than 33 trillion Facebook posts in people's news feeds – 413 million times more than the IRA posts. Not to mention the lack of evidence that the IRA was the Russian government, as Mueller claimed. ..."
"... "Liberals are embracing every negative claim about Russia just because elements of the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency produced a report last Jan. 6 that blamed Russia for 'hacking' Democratic emails and releasing them to WikiLeaks ." ..."
Aug 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Catapulting Russian-Meddling Propaganda


by Tyler Durden Sat, 08/22/2020 - 23:20 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Ray McGovern via ConsortiumNews.com,

The New York Times is leading the full-court press to improve on what it regards as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's weak-kneed effort to blame the Russians for giving us Donald Trump...

The fresh orgy of anti-Russian invective in the lickspittle media (LSM) has the feel of fin de siècle . The last four reality-impaired years do seem as though they add up to a century. And no definitive fin is in sight, as long as most people don't know what's going on.

The LSM should be confronted: "At long last have you left no sense of decency?" But who would hear the question -- much less any answer? The corporate media have a lock on what Americans are permitted or not permitted to hear. Checking the truth, once routine in journalism, is a thing of the past.

Thus the reckless abandon with which The New York Times is leading the current full-court press to improve on what it regards as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's weak-kneed effort to blame the Russians for giving us Donald Trump. The press is on, and there are no referees to call the fouls.

The recent release of a 1,000-page, sans bombshells and already out-of-date report by the Senate Intelligence Committee has provided the occasion to "catapult the propaganda," as President George W. Bush once put it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/VxnegxNEDAc

As the the Times 's Mark Mazzetti put it in his article Wednesday:

"Releasing the report less than 100 days before Election Day, Republican-majority senators hoped it would refocus attention on the interference by Russia and other hostile foreign powers in the American political process, which has continued unabated."

Mazzetti is telling his readers, soto voce : regarding that interference four years ago, and the "continued-unabated" part, you just have to trust us and our intelligence community sources who would never lie to you. And if, nevertheless, you persist in asking for actual evidence, you are clearly in Putin's pocket.

Incidentally, Mueller's report apparently was insufficient, only two years in the making, and just 448 pages. The Senate committee's magnum opus took three years, is almost 1,000 pages -- and fortified. So there.

Iron Pills

Recall how disappointed the LSM and the rest of the Establishment were with Mueller's anemic findings in spring 2019. His report claimed that the Russian government "interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion" via a social media campaign run by the Internet Research Agency (IRA) and by "hacking" Democratic emails. But the evidence behind those charges could not bear close scrutiny.

You would hardly know it from the LSM, but the accusation against the IRA was thrown out of court when the U.S. government admitted it could not prove that the IRA was working for the Russian government. Mueller's ipse dixit did not suffice, as we explained a year ago in "Sic Transit Gloria Mueller."

The Best Defense

is a good offense, and the Senate Intelligence Committee's release of its study -- call it "Mueller (Enhanced)" -- and the propaganda fanfare -- come at a key point in the Russiagate/Spygate imbroglio. It also came, curiously, as the Democratic Convention was beginning, as if the Republican-controlled Senate was sending Trump a message.

Durham

One chief worry, of course, derives from the uncertainty as to whether John Durham, the US Attorney investigating those FBI and other officials who launched the Trump-Russia investigation will let some heavy shoes drop before the election. Barr has said he expects "developments in Durham's investigation hopefully before the end of the summer."

FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith already has decided to plead guilty to the felony of falsifying evidence used to support a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to surveillance to spy on Trump associate Carter Page. It is abundantly clear that Clinesmith was just a small cog in the deep-state machine in action against candidate and then President Trump. And those running the machine are well known. The president has named names, and Barr has made no bones about his disdain for what he calls spying on the president.

The cognoscenti and the big fish themselves may be guessing that Trump/Barr/Durham will not throw out heavier lines for former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, for example. But how can they be sure? What has become clear is that the certainty they all shared that Hillary Clinton would be the next president prompted them not only to take serious liberties with the Constitution and the law, but also to do so without taking rudimentary steps to hide their tracks.

The incriminating evidence is there. And as Trump becomes more and more vulnerable and defensive about his ineptness -- particularly with regard to Covid-19 -- he may summon the courage to order Barr and Durham to hook the big fish, not just minnows like Clinesmith. The neuralgic reality is that no one knows at this point how far Trump will go. To say that this kind of uncertainty is unsettling to all concerned is to say the obvious.

So, the stakes are high -- for the Democrats, as well -- and, not least, the LSM. In these circumstances it would seem imperative not just to circle the wagons but to mount the best offense/defense possible, despite the fact that virtually all the ammunition (as in the Senate report) is familiar and stale ("enhanced" or not).

Black eyes might well be in store for the very top former law enforcement and intelligence officials, the Democrats, and the LSM -- and in the key pre-election period. So, the calculation: launch "Mueller Report (Enhanced)" and catapult the truth now with propaganda, before it is too late.

No Evidence of Hacking

The "hacking of the DNC" charge suffered a fatal blow three months ago when it became known that Shawn Henry, president of the DNC-hired cyber-security firm CrowdStrike, admitted under oath that his firm had no evidence that the DNC emails were hacked -- by Russia or anyone else.

(YouTube)

Henry gave his testimony on Dec. 5, 2017, but House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff was able to keep it hidden until May 7, 2020.

Here's a brief taste of how Henry's testimony went: Asked by Schiff for "the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data", Henry replied, "We just don't have the evidence that says it actually left."

You did not know that? You may be forgiven -- up until now -- if your information diet is limited to the LSM and you believe The New York Times still publishes "all the news that's fit to print." I am taking bets on how much longer the NYT will be able to keep Henry's testimony hidden; Schiff's record of 29 months will be hard to beat.

Putting Lipstick on the Pig of Russian 'Tampering'

Worse still for the LSM and other Russiagate diehards, Mueller's findings last year enabled Trump to shout "No Collusion" with Russia. What seems clear at this point is that a key objective of the current catapulting of the truth is to apply lipstick to Mueller's findings.

After all, he was supposed to find treacherous plotting between the Trump campaign and the Russians and failed miserably. Most LSM-suffused Americans remain blissfully unaware of this, and the likes of Pulitzer Prize winner Mazzetti have been commissioned to keep it that way.

In Wednesday's article , for example, Mazzetti puts it somewhat plaintively:

"Like the special counsel the Senate report did not conclude that the Trump campaign engaged in a coordinated conspiracy with the Russian government -- a fact that the Republicans seized on to argue that there was 'no collusion'."

How could they!

Mazzetti is playing with words. "Collusion," however one defines it, is not a crime; conspiracy is.

'Breathtaking' Contacts: Mueller (Enhanced)

Mark Mazzetti (YouTube)

Mazzetti emphasizes that the Senate report "showed extensive evidence of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and people tied to the Kremlin," and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the intelligence committee's vice chairman, said the committee report details "a breathtaking level of contacts between Trump officials and Russian government operatives that is a very real counterintelligence threat to our elections."

None of that takes us much beyond the Mueller report and other things generally well known -- even in the LSM. Nor does the drivel about people like Paul Manafort "sharing polling data with Russians" who might be intelligence officers. That data was "mostly public" the Times itself reported , and the paper had to correct a story that the data was intended for Russian oligarchs, when it was meant for Ukrainian oligarchs instead. That Manafort was working to turn Ukraine towards the West and not Russia is rarely mentioned.

Recent revelations regarding the false data given the FISA court by an FBI lawyer to "justify" eavesdropping on Trump associate Carter Page show the Senate report to be not up to date and misguided in endorsing the FBI's decision to investigate Page. The committee may wish to revisit that endorsement -- at least.

On the Steele Dossier, the committee also missed a ruling by a British judge against Christopher Steele, labeling his dossier an attempt to help Hillary Clinton get elected. Consortium News explained back in October 2017 that both CrowdStrike and Steele were paid for by the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign to push Russiagate.

Also missed by the intelligence committee was a document released by the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that revealed that Steele's "Primary Subsource and his friends peddled warmed-over rumors and laughable gossip that Steele dressed up as formal intelligence memos."

Smearing WikiLeaks

The Intelligence Committee report also repeats thoroughly debunked myths about WikiLeaks and, like Mueller, the committee made no effort to interview Julian Assange before launching its smears. Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who partnered with WikiLeaks in the publication of the Podesta emails, described the report's treatment of WikiLeaks in this Twitter thread :

2. the description of #WikiLeaks ' publishing activities by this #SenateIntelligenceCommittee 's Report appears a true #EdgarHoover 's disinformation campaign to make a legitimate media org completely radioactive

3. Clearly, to describe #WikiLeaks and its publishing activities the #SenateIntelligenceCommittee's Report completely rely on #US intelligence community+ #MikePompeo's characterisation of #WikiLeaks. There is not even any pretense of an independent approach

4. there are also unsubstantiated claims like:
– "[WikiLeaks'] disclosures have jeopardized the safety of individual Americans and foreign allies" (p.200)
– "WikiLeaks has passed information to U.S. adversaries" (p.201)

5. it's completely false that "#WikiLeaks does not seem to weigh whether its disclosures add any public interest value" (p.200) and any longtime media partner like me could provide you dozens of examples on how wrong this characterisation [is].

Titillating

Mazzetti did add some spice to the version of his article that dominated the two top right columns of Wednesday's Times with the blaring headline: "Senate Panel Ties Russian Officials to Trump's Aides: G.O.P.-Led Committee Echoes Mueller's Findings on Election Tampering."

Those who make it to the end of Mazzetti's piece will learn that the Senate committee report "did not establish" that the Russian government obtained any compromising material on Mr. Trump or that they tried to use such materials [that they didn't have] as leverage against him." However, Mazzetti adds,

"According to the report, Mr. Trump met a former Miss Moscow at a party during one trip in 1996. After the party, a Trump associate told others he had seen Mr. Trump with the woman on multiple occasions and that they 'might have had a brief romantic relationship.'

"The report also raised the possibility that, during that trip, Mr. Trump spent the night with two young women who joined him the next morning at a business meeting with the mayor of Moscow."

This is journalism?

Another Pulitzer in Store?

The Times appends a note reminding us that Mazzetti was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on Donald Trump's advisers and their connections to Russia.

And that's not the half of it. In September 2018, Mazzetti and his NYT colleague Scott Shane wrote a 10,000-word feature, "The Plot to Subvert an Election," trying to convince readers that the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) had successfully swayed U.S. opinion during the 2016 election with 80,000 Facebook posts that they said had reached 126 million Americans.

That turned out to be a grotesquely deceptive claim. Mazzetti and Shane failed to mention the fact that those 80,000 IRA posts (from early 2015 through 2017, meaning about half came after the election), had been engulfed in a vast ocean of more than 33 trillion Facebook posts in people's news feeds – 413 million times more than the IRA posts. Not to mention the lack of evidence that the IRA was the Russian government, as Mueller claimed.

In exposing that chicanery, prize-winning investigative reporter Gareth Porter commented :

"The descent of The New York Times into this unprecedented level of propagandizing for the narrative of Russia's threat to U.S. democracy is dramatic evidence of a broader problem of abuses by corporate media Greater awareness of the dishonesty at the heart of the Times' coverage of that issue is a key to leveraging media reform and political change."

Nothingburgers With Russian Dressing: the Backstory

The late Robert Parry.

"It's too much; it's just too much, too much", a sedated, semi-conscious Robert Parry kept telling me from his hospital bed in late January 2018 a couple of days before he died. Bob was founder of Consortium News .

It was already clear what Bob meant; he had taken care to see to that. On Dec. 31, 2017 the reason for saying that came in what he titled "An Apology & Explanation" for "spotty production in recent days." A stroke on Christmas Eve had left Bob with impaired vision, but he was able to summon enough strength to write an Apologia -- his vision for honest journalism and his dismay at what had happened to his profession before he died on Jan. 27, 2018. The dichotomy was "just too much".

Parry rued the role that journalism was playing in the "unrelenting ugliness that has become Official Washington. Facts and logic no longer mattered. It was a case of using whatever you had to diminish and destroy your opponent this loss of objective standards reached deeply into the most prestigious halls of American media."

What bothered Bob most was the needless, dishonest tweaking of the Russian bear. "The U.S. media's approach to Russia," he wrote, "is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. Does any sentient human being read The New York Times ' or The Washington Post 's coverage of Russia and think that he or she is getting a neutral or unbiased treatment of the facts? Western journalists now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide facts that otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia."

Parry, who was no conservative, continued:

"Liberals are embracing every negative claim about Russia just because elements of the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency produced a report last Jan. 6 that blamed Russia for 'hacking' Democratic emails and releasing them to WikiLeaks ."

Bob noted that the 'hand-picked' authors "evinced no evidence and even admitted that they weren't asserting any of this as fact."

It was just too much.

Robert Parry's Last Article

Peter Strzok during congressional hearing in July 2018. (Wikimedia Commons)

Bob posted his last substantive article on Dec. 13, 2017, the day after text exchanges between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were made public. (Typically, readers of The New York Times the following day would altogether miss the importance of the text-exchanges.)

Bob Parry rarely felt any need for a "sanity check." Dec. 12, 2017 was an exception. He called me about the Strzok-Page texts; we agreed they were explosive. FBI Agent Peter Strzok was on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's staff investigating alleged Russian interference, until Mueller removed him.

Strzok reportedly was a "hand-picked" FBI agent taking part in the Jan 2017 evidence-impoverished, rump, misnomered "intelligence community" assessment that blamed Russia for hacking and other election meddling. And he had helped lead the investigation into Hillary Clinton's misuse of her computer servers. Page was Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's right-hand lawyer.

His Dec. 13, 2017 piece would be his fourth related article in less than two weeks; it turned out to be his last substantive article. All three of the earlier ones are worth a re-read as examples of fearless, unbiased, perceptive journalism. Here are the links .

Bob began his article on the Strzok-Page bombshell:

"The disclosure of fiercely anti-Trump text messages between two romantically involved senior FBI officials who played key roles in the early Russia-gate inquiry has turned the supposed Russian-election-meddling "scandal" into its own scandal, by providing evidence that some government investigators saw it as their duty to block or destroy Donald Trump's presidency.?

"As much as the U.S. mainstream media has mocked the idea that an American 'deep state' exists and that it has maneuvered to remove Trump from office, the text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal how two high-ranking members of the government's intelligence/legal bureaucracy saw their role as protecting the United States from an election that might elevate to the presidency someone as unfit as Trump."

Not a fragment of Bob's or other Consortium News analysis made any impact on what Bob used to call the Establishment media. As a matter of fact, eight months later during a talk in Seattle that I titled "Russia-gate: Can You Handle the Truth?", only three out of a very progressive audience of some 150 had ever heard of Strzok and Page.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ngIKjpucQh8

And so it goes.

Lest I am accused of being "in Putin's pocket," let me add the explanatory note that we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity included in our most explosive Memorandum for President Trump, on "Russian hacking."

Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental. The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times.

somecallmetimmah , 1 hour ago

Only brain-washed losers read the new york times. Garbage propaganda for garbage people.

AtATrESICI , 43 minutes ago

"developments in Durham's investigation hopefully before the end of the summer." What summer? The summer of 2099.

Mouldy , 1 hour ago

So in a nutshell.. They just called half the USA too stupid to make an informed decision for themselves.

ominous , 1 hour ago

the disagreement is over which half is the stupid half

homeskillet , 25 minutes ago

The MIC's bogey man. What a crock of **** this whole country has become. Pravda puts out more truth than our MSM. I trust Putin more than the Dem leaders at this point.

Demeter55 , 1 hour ago

The Globalist/New World Order/Deep State/Elitists (or whatever other arrogant subsection of the psychopaths among us you wish to consider) have one great failing which will defeat them utterly in the end:

They do not know when to cut their losses.

As a result of that irrational stubbornness, born of a "Manifest Destiny" assumption of an eternal lock on the situation, they will go too far.

Even if they systematically try to destroy us, they will not have the ability unless we are complicit in our own destruction. While there are many who have "taken the knee" to these tyrants in training, there are more who have no intention of doing so.

Most nations are not so buffaloed as to fall for this propaganda, but the United States especially was created with the notion that all men are created equal, and this is ingrained in the national character. We don't buy it.

And our numbers are growing daily, as people wake up and realize they have to take a side for themselves, their families, their communities.

The global covid-panic was a masterful attack, but it will fail. Indeed, it has failed already. The building counter-attack will take out those who chose to declare war on humanity. There really is no alternative for us, the humans. Live Free or Die, as they say in New Hampshire.

And despite the full support of the MSM and the DNC, the Would-Be Masters of the Universe will not succeed.

sborovay07 , 1 hour ago

Sad Assange wasn't granted immunity to testify and was silenced just prior to the release of the Mueller report. Little has been heard since except his health is horrific. Now, all the Deep State figures on both sides are just throwing as much mud against Trump as possible to hide the truth. If Durnham does not indict the Deep State figures who participated in the Obama led coup, all is for not. Only the foot soldiers marching in lock step will be charged.

wn , 1 hour ago

To sum it up.

Conclusion of the Democrats.

Americans need Russian brains to decide their leader in order to move forward.

nokilli , 25 minutes ago

Once the MO for "Russian hacking" is published to the international intelligence community, any (((party))) can pose as a "Russian hacker."

This is the way computers work. Sybil is eponymous.

KuriousKat , 35 minutes ago

Mazzeti looks like the typical Gopher boy for the CIA Station Chiefs around the world..they retire or become contributors to NewsWeek Wapo or NYT. ..not Any major network w/o one...Doing **** like this is mandatory..not elective.

[Aug 23, 2020] Bright future lies ahead of NYT it can soon match and even exceed the caliber of jornalism of the "National Inquirer"

Highly recommended!
Aug 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

J S Bach , 58 minutes ago

I hope I live to see the day when the "New York Times" is deemed the same caliber of "journalism" as the "National Inquirer". Of course, those with two brain cells to rub together already know that this is the case. However, by "deemed", I mean by the one-brain-celled masses.

homeskillet , 23 minutes ago

The National Enquirer actually has many more believable articles.

Pernicious Gold Phallusy , 20 minutes ago

The National Enquirer broke the story of Presidential candidate John Edwards cheating on his wife, who was undergoing breast cancer treatment at the time. Other media organizations, including the NYT, knew about it and refused to cover it.

Stu Pedassle , 1 hour ago

Glad to see Operation Mockingbird is still going strong after 60 years

[Aug 19, 2020] NYT degenerates into a gossip magazine for girls, publish a "best and worse moments" on the Democrat Convention

The silver lining to a second Trump win would be watching crazy Democrats go Rabidly Crazy.
Aug 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Aug 19 2020 11:26 utc | 19

NYT degenerates into a gossip magazine for girls, publish a "best and worse moments" on the Democrat Convention:

Democratic Convention: Best and Worst Moments of Night 2

It's not every time we can see the whole circus assembled. Enjoy the reading.

[Aug 09, 2020] NYT as an amplifier for the mislabeled US 'Intelligence' Agencies rumor and baseless claims about foreign interferences in US elections

The first and the most important fact that there will no elections in November -- both candidates represent the same oligarchy, just slightly different factions of it.
Look like NYT is controlled by Bolton faction of CIA. They really want to overturn the results of 2020 elections and using Russia as a bogeyman is a perfect opportunity to achieve this goal.
Neocons understand very well that it is MIC who better their bread, so amplifying rumors the simplify getting additional budget money for intelligence agencies (which are a part of MIC) is always the most desirable goal.
Notable quotes:
"... But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr. ..."
"... The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process." ..."
"... But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections? ..."
"... But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn? ..."
"... Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence. ..."
"... Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China? ..."
"... If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them? ..."
"... Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget. ..."
"... Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose. ..."
Aug 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
No Evidence Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections, U.S. Intelligence Says

Yesterday the mislabeled U.S. 'Intelligence' Agencies trotted out more nonsense claims about foreign interferences in U.S. elections.

The New York Times sensationally headlines:

Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But when one reads the piece itself one finds no fact that would support the 'Russia Continues Interfering' statement:

Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.

At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.

But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.

The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.

The authors emphasize the scaremongering hearsay from "officials briefed on the intelligence" - i.e. Democratic congress members - about Russia but have nothing to back it up.

When one reads the statement by Evanina one finds nothing in it about Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. elections. Here is the only 'evidence' that is noted:

For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television.

After a request from Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, a Ukrainian parliamentarian published Ukrainian evidence of Biden's very real interference in the Ukraine. Also: Some guest of a Russian TV show had an opinion. How is either of those two items 'evidence' of Russian interference in U.S. elections?

The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process."

But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections?

As a recent piece in Foreign Affairs noted :

The mainstream view in the U.S. media and government holds that the Kremlin is waging a long-haul campaign to undermine and destabilize American democracy. Putin wants to see the United States burn, and contentious elections offer a ready-made opportunity to fan the flames.

But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn?

Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence.

Even the NYT writers have to admit that there is nothing there:

The release on Friday was short on specifics, ...

and

Intelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.

How do 'intelligence' agencies know Russian, Chinese or Iranian 'intentions'. Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China?

If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them?

Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget.

Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose.

Posted by b on August 8, 2020 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

[Aug 08, 2020] The New York Times has finally woken up to the fact that Seattle s CHOP was a complete disaster – a month after it was disbanded by Guy Birchall

Somalia in Seattle ;-)
It would be interesting to see how many of inhabitants of CHAZ zone, who experinced the "summer of love" will vote for Trump in Novemebr.
Notable quotes:
"... The land of soy milk and honey was disbanded on July 1 and was duly eulogised by the usual suspects as basically an extended block party. A month on, the NY Times finally got around to sending a reporter to speak to the people who lived and worked in the area before the protestors moved in and produced an admittedly excellent piece of reportage on the situation. ..."
"... The piece, as journalist Michael Tracey observed on Twitter, would have been dismissed as right-wing propaganda just a month ago and shows that this little experiment in anarcho-communism was a million miles away from paradise. ..."
"... The picture painted by the residents is one of gangs of armed thugs running protection rackets and widespread vandalism. The first person mentioned in the piece, a gay man of Middle Eastern extraction named Faizel Khan, reveals that to get to the coffee shop he runs he had to get permission from "gun wielding white men" who at one point barricaded him and all his customers in the store. ..."
"... In his pre-CHOP days, Mr Hearns was a security guard for many years, but after the police vacated the area (their precinct was taken over by protesters and then promptly set on fire) he became part of the "Black Lives Matter Community Patrol". This patrol had locals "pay for their protection." ..."
"... It doesn't sound like they were particularly good at ensuring community cohesion either, considering six people were shot under their jurisdiction and two of them died. ..."
"... Observers also noted that rather than being a multi-racial melting pot of equality, the CHOP turned into a "white occupation" as the numbers of Antifa activists began to outnumber the BLM protesters. They also established "black only segregated areas" within the CHOP, making it frightening similar to the Confederacy, which also, coincidentally, seceded from the union. ..."
"... The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT. ..."
Aug 08, 2020 | www.rt.com

Following an investigative report the paper of record has revealed that business owners who were stuck in the Capitol Hill Organised Protest 'aren't so sure about abolishing the police'. No sh*t Sherlock.

The New York Times has done something distinctly out of character and actually produced some decent journalism. Taking a break from getting editors sacked for allowing Republican senators to write op-eds and forcing out the few remaining sane people on their staff for not quaffing the identity politics Cool-Aid enthusiastically enough, they dispatched a reporter to Seattle to pick through the remnants of the CHOP , a month after it closed.

The Capital Hill Organised Protest, formally CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), was the area of the city that, for 23 glorious days, declared independence from the United States. A bunch of Black Lives Matter and Antifa radicals hoofed out the police and decided to try and run the area as some sort of Marxist utopia. What they actually established was a gang run hellhole that made the Wild West look like Switzerland.

It wasn't described as such at the time of course. Seattle's mayor said the city was in for a "summer of love" and most of the left-wing press would have had you believe that it was pretty much a hippy commune full of free vegan food and urban collective farms.

The land of soy milk and honey was disbanded on July 1 and was duly eulogised by the usual suspects as basically an extended block party. A month on, the NY Times finally got around to sending a reporter to speak to the people who lived and worked in the area before the protestors moved in and produced an admittedly excellent piece of reportage on the situation. It was headlined, "Abolish the Police? Those Who Survived the Chaos in Seattle Aren't So Sure." The piece, as journalist Michael Tracey observed on Twitter, would have been dismissed as right-wing propaganda just a month ago and shows that this little experiment in anarcho-communism was a million miles away from paradise.

To say they "aren't sure" has to be the understatement of the year. The picture painted by the residents is one of gangs of armed thugs running protection rackets and widespread vandalism. The first person mentioned in the piece, a gay man of Middle Eastern extraction named Faizel Khan, reveals that to get to the coffee shop he runs he had to get permission from "gun wielding white men" who at one point barricaded him and all his customers in the store.

Mr Khan's experiences during these three and a bit weeks of lawlessness were so horrendous that he and a host of other small business owners, described as "lonely voices in progressive areas," are suing Seattle after the local police force refused to respond to their calls for the duration of the CHOP. And as the litany of horrors they were subjected to is laid bare in the NY Times article, it is not hard to see why.

Another character we meet in this saga is Rick Hearns. In his pre-CHOP days, Mr Hearns was a security guard for many years, but after the police vacated the area (their precinct was taken over by protesters and then promptly set on fire) he became part of the "Black Lives Matter Community Patrol". This patrol had locals "pay for their protection." Now what other organisation does that remind you of? If you can't think of it, may I suggest you watch virtually any Martin Scorsese movie and I think you'll get the picture.

It doesn't sound like they were particularly good at ensuring community cohesion either, considering six people were shot under their jurisdiction and two of them died. Interestingly, since they were replacing the "institutionally racist" police force, (run by a black woman incidentally but why let facts spoil it) one of the victims was a black teenager.

Observers also noted that rather than being a multi-racial melting pot of equality, the CHOP turned into a "white occupation" as the numbers of Antifa activists began to outnumber the BLM protesters. They also established "black only segregated areas" within the CHOP, making it frightening similar to the Confederacy, which also, coincidentally, seceded from the union. Oh, and they had a Warlord, Raz from CHAZ, too, just as an icing on the cake.

Quite why these so-called activists felt the need to see how anarchy turns out in a world where Somaila exists is beyond me, and frankly any sane person who is even vaguely aware of history. I'm sure if they'd managed to get hold of the port it wouldn't have been long before they decided to give piracy on the high seas a try, but alas they didn't have the time.

This just makes the tone of the NY Times piece all the more baffling. While it does chart the horrors of the zone well, framing the notion of "abolishing the police" as anything other than irredeemably stupid is frankly ridiculous. I suppose they do deserve praise for finally telling the story, but in no way does it make up for the way they have fomented and given succour to the absurd and dangerous ideas that gave rise to the CHOP for so long.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall 7 Aug, 2020 22:11 Get short URL CHAZ/CHOP protesters remove man for bothering them, June 13, 2020

[Aug 08, 2020] Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says

Aug 08, 2020 | www.msn.com

Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says Julian E. Barnes 4 hrs ago


Trump falsely claims coronavirus is "disappearing" and Russia Coronavirus updates: School district says 100 students, staff positive for COVID-19 The New York Times logo Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says

WASHINGTON -- Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.

a group of people standing next to a person in a suit and tie: Joseph R. Biden Jr. last week in Wilmington, Del. A new intelligence assessment said Russia continues to interfere in the election on President Trump's behalf, while China prefers Mr. Biden. © Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times Joseph R. Biden Jr. last week in Wilmington, Del. A new intelligence assessment said Russia continues to interfere in the election on President Trump's behalf, while China prefers Mr. Biden.

At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.

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But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.

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The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.

The White House has objected in the past to conclusions that Moscow is working to help Mr. Trump, and Democrats on Capitol Hill have expressed growing concern that the intelligence agencies are not being forthright enough about Russia's preference for him and that the agencies are introducing China's anti-Trump stance to balance the scales.

a group of people posing for a picture: Trump supporters in Ohio on Thursday, during the president's visit to a factory in Clyde. © Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times Trump supporters in Ohio on Thursday, during the president's visit to a factory in Clyde.

The assessment appeared to draw a distinction between what it called the "range of measures" being deployed by Moscow to influence the election and its conclusion that China prefers that Mr. Trump be defeated.

It cited efforts coming out of pro-Russia forces in Ukraine to damage Mr. Biden and Kremlin-linked figures who "are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television."

China, it said, has so far signaled its position mostly through increased public criticism of the administration's tough line on China on a variety of fronts.

An American official briefed on the intelligence said it was wrong to equate the two countries. Russia, the official said, is a tornado, capable of inflicting damage on American democracy now. China is more like climate change, the official said: The threat is real and grave, but more long term.

Democratic lawmakers made the same point about the report, which also found that Iran was seeking "to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country" ahead of the general election.

"Unfortunately, today's statement still treats three actors of differing intent and capability as equal threats to our democratic elections," Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement.

Asked about the report during a news conference on Friday night at his golf club in New Jersey, Mr. Trump said, "The last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have." He said that if Mr. Biden won the presidency, "China would own our country."

Aides and allies of Mr. Biden assailed Mr. Trump, saying that he had repeatedly sided with President Vladimir V. Putin on whether Russia had intervened to help him in 2016 and that he had been impeached by the House for trying to pressure Ukraine into helping him undercut Mr. Biden.

"Donald Trump has publicly and repeatedly invited, emboldened and even tried to coerce foreign interference in American elections," said Tony Blinken, a senior adviser to the former vice president.

It is not clear how much China is doing to interfere directly in the presidential election. Intelligence officials have briefed Congress in recent days that much of Beijing's focus is on state and local races. But Mr. Evanina's statement on Friday suggested China was on weighing an increased effort.

"Although China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action, its public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current administration's Covid-19 response, closure of China's Houston Consulate and actions on other issues," Mr. Evanina said.

Mr. Evanina pointed to growing tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea, Hong Kong autonomy, the TikTok app and other issues. China, officials have said, has also tried to collect information on the presidential campaigns, as it has in previous contests.

The release on Friday was short on specifics, but that was largely because the intelligence community is intent on trying to protect its sources of information, said Senator Angus King, the Maine independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

"The director has basically put the American people on notice that Russia in particular, also China and Iran, are going to be trying to meddle in this election and undermine our democratic system," said Mr. King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Intelligence officials said there was no way to avoid political criticism when releasing information about the election. An official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that the goal was not to rank order threats and that Russia, China and Iran all pose a danger to the election.

Fighting over the intelligence reports, the official said, only benefits adversaries trying to sow divisions.

While both Beijing and Moscow have a preference, the Chinese and Russian influence campaigns are very different, officials said.

Outside of a few scattered examples, it is hard to find much evidence of intensifying Chinese influence efforts that could have a national effect.

Much of what China is doing currently amounts to using its economic might to influence local politics, officials said. But that is hardly new. Beijing is also using a variety of means to push back on various Trump administration policies, including tariffs and bans on Chinese tech companies, but those efforts are not covert and it is unclear if they would have an effect on presidential politics.

Russia, but not China, is trying to "actively influence" the outcome of the 2020 election, said the American official briefed on the underlying intelligence.

"The fact that adversaries like China or Iran don't like an American president's policies is normal fare," said Jeremy Bash, a former Obama administration official. "What's abnormal, disturbing and dangerous is that an adversary like Russia is actively trying to get Trump re-elected."

Russia tried to use influence campaigns during 2018 midterm voting to try to sway public opinion, but it did not successfully tamper with voting infrastructure.

Mr. Evanina said it would be difficult for adversarial countries to try to manipulate voting results on a large scale. But nevertheless, the countries could try to interfere in the voting process or take steps aimed at "calling into question the validity of the election results."

The new release comes on the heels of congressional briefings that have alarmed lawmakers, particularly Democrats. Those briefings have described a stepped-up Chinese pressure campaign, as well as efforts by Moscow to paint Mr. Biden as corrupt.

"Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process," Mr. Evanina said in a statement.

The statement called out Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russia member of Ukraine's Parliament who has been involved in releasing information about Mr. Biden. Intelligence officials said he had ties to Russian intelligence.

Intelligence officials have briefed Congress in recent weeks on details of the Russian efforts to tarnish Mr. Biden as corrupt, prompting senior Democrats to request more information.

A Senate committee led by Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, has been leading an investigation of Mr. Biden's son Hunter Biden and his work for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm. Some intelligence officials have said that a witness the committee was seeking to call was a witting or unwitting agent of Russian disinformation.

Democrats had pushed intelligence officials to release more information to the public, arguing that only a broad declassification of the foreign interference attempts can inoculate voters against attempts by Russia, China or other countries to try to influence voting.

In meetings on Capitol Hill , Mr. Evanina and other intelligence officials have expanded their warnings beyond Russia and have included China and Iran, as well. This year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence put Mr. Evanina in charge of election security briefings to Congress and the campaigns.

Intelligence and other officials in recent days have been stepping up their releases of information about foreign interference efforts, and the State Department has sent texts to cellphones around the world advertising a $10 million reward for information on would-be election hackers.

How effective China's campaign or Russia's efforts to smear Mr. Biden as corrupt have been is not clear. Intelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.

The first reactions from Capitol Hill to the release of the assessment were positive. A joint statement by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee praised it, and asked colleagues to refrain from politicizing Mr. Evanina's statement.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the acting Republican chairman of the committee, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the Democratic vice chairman, said they hoped Mr. Evanina continued to make more information available to the public. But they praised him for responding to calls for more information.

"Evanina's statement highlights some of the serious and ongoing threats to our election from China, Russia, and Iran," the two men's joint statement said. "Everyone -- from the voting public, local officials, and members of Congress -- needs to be aware of these threats."

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York.


[Aug 07, 2020] John Cleese- Woke People Have -Zero Sense Of Humour-; They're Killing Comedy -

Highly recommended!
"Yesterday, there was a Tzar and there were slaves. Today, there is no Tzar, but the slaves are still here. We have gone through the epoch when the masses were oppressed. We are now going through the epoch when the individual is to be oppressed in the name of the masses." ― Yevgeny Zamyatin, A Soviet Heretic
Aug 07, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Legendary British comedian John Cleese has hit out at permanently offended woke people, insisting that they have no sense of humour and are contributing to the death of comedy.

In an appearance on the Daily Beast's The Last Laugh Podcast, Cleese noted that woke people simply do not understand the intricacies of comedy.

"There's plenty of people who are PC now who have absolutely zero sense of humour. I would love to debate, in a friendly way, a couple of 'woke' people in front of an audience. And I think the first thing I would say is, please tell me a good 'woke' joke," Cleese urged.

"What they don't understand is that there's two types of teasing," Cleese continued, noting that "There's really nasty teasing, which is horrible, and we shouldn't do it, full stop. But the other type of teasing is affectionate. You can tease people hugely affectionately and it's a bonding mechanism."

"All humour is critical. You cannot get laughs out of perfect human beings," Cleese continued, adding that "If you've got someone up on the screen who is perfect, intelligent and kind and flexible and a good person, there's nothing funny about that. So we only laugh at people's frailties, but that's not cruel. You can laugh at people's frailties in very funny and generous ways."

https://embed.acast.com/last-laugh-daily-beast/johncleeseishopeless

Cleese was recently at the centre of a 'woke' storm when his Fawlty Towers show, made some 40 years ago was temporarily canceled after complaints that it featured a 'racist' character.

Cleese called the BBC "cowardly and gutless" for removing an episode of the show, pointing out that the racist character in question was the target of ridicule in the show.

Cleese has previously warned that political correctness will lead to the death of comedy, noting that "If you start to say we mustn't, we mustn't criticize or offend them then humor is gone. With humor goes a sense of proportion. And then as far as I'm concerned you're living in 1984."

After daring to question the diversity overlords, Cleese also recently found himself being labeled a 'racist'


Nunyadambizness , 3 hours ago

Cleese is absolutely spot on.

The vast majority of "woke" people have fallen subject to the Cultural Marxism that is political correctness, and frankly have the intellectual capacity of my shoe. Disagree? You're a racist/sexist/homophobe/islamophobe/ etc., etc., etc. One cannot debate ideas because if your idea is different then theirs, they cannot accept the fact that you have a different idea than the "woke" theology--same as Islam demands submission to their theology.

WorkingClassMan , 2 hours ago

The man IS a comedic genius. Even when he made fun of 'The Germans," he did it in such a unique and awesome way it even had this German-American laughing. He can get away with a Hitler skit--he's THAT good.

EvlTheCat , 2 hours ago

"Woke" in itself is a joke and a oxymoron, which if you know the definition makes it ironic also. Touches all bases John.

seryanhoj , 2 hours ago

Also a grammatical error. The chosen ones who may not be questioned, are awakened.

Clese is right . The " woke " have less sense of humour than the state dept. or the Pentagon or the NRA.

Anyone who tskes himself seriously is a threat. Fortunately even he will soon be dead and forgotten.

EvlTheCat , 1 hour ago

Mr. Fawlty will never be forgotten.

Simple past participle.

Bay Area Guy , 2 hours ago

I wonder what George Carlin would have to say about the situation today. I think he would say a lot of things similar to what Cleese has said. Carlin was most definitely a staunch liberal, but he also stood up for true free speech. I recall a skit he did that skewered feminists. Undoubtedly, they would try to silence him today.

I'm not sure a true wokester could ever tell a joke. They'd be deathly afraid of someone in their crowd taking it the wrong way and getting canceled. Besides, the concept of humor is totally foreign to them. When you spend your entire waking life (and probably your dream state as well) constantly finding things to be offended at and be outraged by, humor is going to go completely over their heads. My guess is the best joke in the world would be met with glassy eyes and the need to explain the joke which, of course, totally negates the value of the joke.

ZenoOfCitium , 2 hours ago

Here is a good woke joke for you: Woke people care about only their woke-selves, period!

Being "Woke" is being selfish. Being only interested in oneself. Being woke is believing only minorities can succeed without one's woke self interference.

Being woke is about protesting fascism, while demanding authoritarian and dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy.

El Chapo Read , 2 hours ago

The BBC executive staff transitioned into a chosenite-dominated lineup over the last 20 years.

They ruin everything.

gcjohns1971 , 2 hours ago

I love Cleese's work.

He demonstrated a particular talent for shredding the self-important imbeciles of the 1970s... but somehow became both self important and unwilling to shred crowds with whom he sympathized in the 1990's, 2000's and today.

Mores the pity. His work could have saved a generation. It is a tragedy.

The wokesters are like the terminator...but with sensitive ears that cannot withstand the slightest disagreement, much less criticism. Their motto is the reverse of the one we learned as children, "Words and verbs destroy my world, but sticks can never hurt me".

Cleese, there, could have been a weapon of mass comedy.

You can't really grow up until you can laugh at yourself. But the wokesters are coffee-shop commando's simmering in malevolent pike while eating soy and sipping coffee...but only of the poshest and most stylish blend.

GeezerGeek , 1 hour ago

Cleese is a little late to the party; plenty of others have already announced the death of comedy, particularly on campus. Comedy clubs still exist, but the PC crowd has limited the subjects about which one can tell jokes.

I wonder how the wokesters would treat Carlin if he was still alive. I doubt he'd be very kind to them.

simulkra , 3 hours ago

I read a book years ago, the thesis of which was that humour was closely related to inventiveness. It argued that both involved making connections between the apparently unrelated.

Ideologues, of the useful idiot variety, often do not have the capacity for humour, as they do not have the cognitive ability to think in the abstract and make these connections. Their inferiority drives them to attempt to reduce others to their level, by elevating the slogan's they have managed to learn by rote, to absolute importance. They are the sheep in Animal Farm.

Do not grace them with the moniker of 'woke', as they are sleepwalkers in someone else's dream. What we are seeing here is the media promotion of the idiot horde.

High Vigilante , 3 hours ago

Humour requires intelligence.

Doom88 , 3 hours ago

For the woke crowd comedy is no laughing matter.

Cognitive Dissonance , 2 hours ago

Humour requires intelligence.

Or at the very least perspective and self awareness, something categorically lacking in the so-called 'woke' crowd.

john doeberg , 3 hours ago

People with mental disorders ... can't be funny.

Their brains are fried.

Saddam Miser , 3 hours ago

Woke people have zero sense of anything because they're all closet schizos. Try talking to one. You would think you're talking to a completely psychopathic schizo.

[Aug 07, 2020] Real Time with Bill Maher- John Cleese on Political Incorrectness (HBO)

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like George Carlin once said "political correctness is fascism disguised as politeness" ..."
"... "Almost nobody has any idea what they are talking about." That's the problem with this internet age giving every moron a voice. ..."
"... Social Justice Warriors = political correctness on steroids. ..."
"... "It starts off as a halfway decent idea and then it goes completely wrong" Sums up all this stupidity in the wake of the BLM protests. What started out as legitimate anger about the murder of an unarmed black man by a police officer has denigrated to people trying to cancel comedy shows from 20 years ago and bitching about "inappropriate language" and just ..."
"... Take any ethical position to its extreme and if it holds together it's good. - Kant. Liberalism taken to an extreme fails. Get a clue. ..."
"... I love how Cleese puts it. Fundamentalism does not just have to do with religion, or the far right. It is taking anything to an extreme. The same goes with political correctness. ..."
"... John Cleese outclasses Bill Maher by an absolutely massive margin ..."
"... Political correctness is another way of stating: " I want to make rules of tolerance that only apply to everyone else in society. But only don't apply to everyone on the same side as the group I'm with" ..."
"... Political correctness and Social Justice isn't about protecting minorities, or protecting the LGTBQ community etc, its about control and censoring through bullying. its about telling you how to think, and what you can say. Our Great Grandparents died to protect our right to think and speak freely, and to tell me how to think and speak, you are literally pissing on the graves of the people who died to protect that right, and THAT offends me. ..."
Aug 07, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Martin Macdonald , 1 year ago

'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners.' George Carlin

Jimmy Jenkinson , 1 year ago

Like George Carlin once said "political correctness is fascism disguised as politeness"

njaime70 , 1 year ago

I am Mexican and we joke badly about ourselves. These two guys are amazing.

bobbytookalook , 5 years ago

Cleese's huge laugh at the "religion of peace -- a piece of you here, a piece of you there" was wonderful -- he laughed so hard -- almost as though he'd never heard that before -- and perhaps he hadn't -- but he sure seemed to enjoy it, as did I!

elseptimo77 , 11 months ago

"The world wouldn't work without stupidity." ....was the lost and forgotten conversation.

Lord FRIEZA , 11 months ago (edited)

1:47 absolutely amazing. An elderly man swearing. That's pure comedic gold

M. Strain Jr. , 1 year ago

"Almost nobody has any idea what they are talking about." That's the problem with this internet age giving every moron a voice. Used to be that you had to have some kind of intelligence or talent to get recognition.

11Kralle , 1 year ago (edited)

How were the early protestants teased by the catholic hierarchy: "They read the bible as if it was true!"

harperjack99 , 1 year ago

"He threw the money lenders out of the temple" Clever John, clever.

Evi1M4chine , 5 years ago

Social Justice Warriors = political correctness on steroids.

Kevin Kibble , 1 month ago

"It starts off as a halfway decent idea and then it goes completely wrong" Sums up all this stupidity in the wake of the BLM protests. What started out as legitimate anger about the murder of an unarmed black man by a police officer has denigrated to people trying to cancel comedy shows from 20 years ago and bitching about "inappropriate language" and just

Chris Bonnett , 1 year ago

Take any ethical position to its extreme and if it holds together it's good. - Kant. Liberalism taken to an extreme fails. Get a clue.

Haftepaff , 5 years ago

I love these guys, the whole "political correctness" is an absurd illusion. In my country we love to make jokes about western countries and specifically our neighbors, but you will most certainly get arrested if you make joke about other nationalities, origin or "that" religion.

Marc Law , 5 months ago

PC is just a way of conditioning us into a controlled submission. Fack PC,an individual should be able to be themselves.

winterlandboy , 5 years ago

For John Cleese Fans.. If you've never seen an old 80,s film of his called "Clockwise" Please check it out. Small budget film By Handmade Fims which was in part George Harrison's company.. and very very funny FYI

Jyotsna Gokhale , 2 years ago

"...Stupidity, I've heard you're against it "!!!!! "Australians are so well balanced, because they've a chip on each shoulder"!!!!!! 3:30 "religion of piece - there's a piece of you over there, there's a piece of you over there, ..."!!!!

Michael Rogers , 1 year ago

Understand the following like you have understood nothing else before: (Maher and Cleese obviously had not at the time of this interview.)

'Political Correctness' is now a construct utilised almost exclusively to trivialise and dismiss anything that seeks to redress injustice, unfairness and the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege.

Whatever the issue it will be dismissed as being only 'political correctness' and even common decency of courtesy are disparaged as 'political correctness gone mad' . It has also become at the same time a 'weasel' term used by cowards and bullies to avoid having to openly state that the have no care for the rights, concerns, feelings and well-being of others.

Look for how and by whom 'political correctness' is currently used and you will see what Maher, Cleese and posters commenting on this clip hve not and be less likely to be misled and duped.

MisterCharlton , 4 years ago

I love how Cleese puts it. Fundamentalism does not just have to do with religion, or the far right. It is taking anything to an extreme. The same goes with political correctness.

John Smith , 2 years ago (edited)

It's hard for rich liberal like Maher to be truly subversive against an Establishment they largely control.

AmerginMacEccit , 5 years ago

"Political incorrectness... Could we just bitch about that?"... And here I sense feminist hysteria storm coming Bill Maher's way. I definately prefer the British style. John Cleese was one of those people I looked up to and thought "I want to be like him when I grow up".

Crescendo , 1 year ago

John Cleese outclasses Bill Maher by an absolutely massive margin and Bill Maher is so full of himself he always thinks he's the smartest, most important person on the show. Bill Maher is embarassing to watch.

Bill Cleveland , 3 years ago

George Carlin - Political Correctness is Fascism pretending to be Manners..................

Gulzat Matisakova , 1 year ago

Despite loving Mr. Cleese, I want to point out that when you joke about oppressed group it becomes part of oppression. That's why joking about Mexicans in USA or Britain it is different than joking about Mexicans in Mexico by Mexicans. Context is everything

Robert McElwaine , 2 years ago (edited)

Cleese's logic here is irrefutable; and really shines a light on the incredible double standards that are prevalent in contemporary society. It's rewarding to know; watching this when he speaks about Jesus that there are religious academics, and representatives that see the wise satirical insight of; Life of Brian. If only we had a movie now that lampooned radical Isalm. Oh wait there is; its called; Four Lions.

clarence crawford , 5 years ago

If you read Fahrenheit 451...

Bill Cleveland , 3 years ago

Political correctness is another way of stating: "I not only want my piece of the cake to eat for myself, but I also want the whole cake to eat for myself too." Political correctness is another way of stating: " I want to make rules of tolerance that only apply to everyone else in society. But only don't apply to everyone on the same side as the group I'm with"

Ron Cooney , 5 years ago

Cleese is so spot-on about the madness of political correctness. Goebbels would have loved it, except this fascism is of the left, in the heads of "open-minded" liberals (so-called.)

lachazaroony , 1 month ago

Political correctness and Social Justice isn't about protecting minorities, or protecting the LGTBQ community etc, its about control and censoring through bullying. its about telling you how to think, and what you can say. Our Great Grandparents died to protect our right to think and speak freely, and to tell me how to think and speak, you are literally pissing on the graves of the people who died to protect that right, and THAT offends me.

Ben Jamin , 4 years ago

So annoying watching bill maher. He's so arrogant and conceited. He's always cutting in awkwardly to say some middle-of-the-road boring hum-drum to get an obligatory clap from his audience. Can't we just listen to the fantastic john cleese and not the wannabe political spokes-person?

Jim Coppersmith , 3 weeks ago

It seems to me thar racial tensions in particular or worse now than they Were before they shoved this whole political correctness thing down our gullets. And that statement goes back to before the Minneapolis police killed a man for using a counterfeit $20 bill(being black). Forcing political correctness on people doesn't work. You're not changing peoples ideas you're just suppressing them. When you suppress a persons ideas those ideas fester. When suppressed ideas fester they build up pressure and eventually explode. Instead of telling people what they can't say or do, we need to re-educate our people to except those that are different. Humor is a very good way of getting people to see how ignorant their ideas are.


v1e1r1g1e1
, 2 years ago

''Political correctness'' is for people who have achieved nothing, done nothing, and ARE nothing. It is their way of pretending to have power over REAL people. That's why celebrities and Hollywood actors love being PC so much.

Ozzy Bacchus , 4 years ago

Punching up or across is funny. Punching down isn't funny.

[Aug 07, 2020] John Cleese - Woke People Have -Zero Sense Of Humour

Highly recommended!
Radicals have never had a sense of humor. They are unbalanced. "In jest, there is truth". -- Roman proverb. Radicals has problems with truth. Therefore, they don't like humor.
See also John Cleese vs Extremism - YouTube
Notable quotes:
"... Monty Python was the pinnacle of contemporary comedy precisely because it drew attention to the absurdity of modern society and it pompous hypocrisy ..."
Aug 07, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

hooligan2009 , 2 hours ago

i saw a joke today

big female BLM supporter wearing a nappy mask that says "i can't breathe" on it

soccer mom says "well take the stupid mask off"

MartinG , 3 hours ago

How many Wokesters does it take to change a light bulb?

tardpill , 3 hours ago

the only one that can possibly change the bulb with it out being a racist privilege is not available because they are too busy burning **** down

DaBard51 , 2 hours ago

You forgot:

When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

<edit> whoever up-voted, my thanks. Shadow-banned, I am not, now, I see...

Roger Casement , 3 hours ago

They are the joke.

philipat , 2 hours ago

Yes, and that is why humor is so important, especially at the margin. Politicians, especially Democrat politicians, don't like comedy because it draws attention to the absurdity of most of what they do.

Monty Python was the pinnacle of contemporary comedy precisely because it drew attention to the absurdity of modern society and it pompous hypocrisy. It gave me more laughs more consistently than anything I have come across since. 'God speed John, you stay with what you believe and ***k the humorless wokesters who need to get a life and lighten up for their own sake and for that of all the rest of us!

45North1 , 2 hours ago

An Antifa member, a BLM'er and a Proud Boy go into a Bar.....

EvlTheCat , 2 hours ago

"Woke" in itself is a joke and a oxymoron, which if you know the definition makes it ironic also. Touches all bases John.

[Aug 04, 2020] Americans are socialized into learning to keep their mouth shut

Notable quotes:
"... Among Americans without a high school diploma, for example, 27 percent self-censor. Among Americans who completed high school, this goes up to 34 percent. And among those who have attended college for at least a few years, 45 percent do. This suggests that Americans are socialized into learning to keep their mouth shut: the longer you spend in the educational system, the more you learn that it is appropriate to express some views, but not others. ..."
"... The implicit claim is that the good people, or at least the people with good taste and good manners, will abuse the bad people out of power is the social media version of "The King's advisors are corrupt!" The political "analysis" which reduces everything to the personal malice of your enemies and their conspiracies and all we need to do is the same politics that says all we need is good Christian leaders, except the morally trivial difference of who "we" are deemed to be. ..."
"... using the immoral methods you advocate is actively immoral in itself. Like Heinlein in Starship Troopers arguing that the whipping post was actually fairer, you're arguing the social media equivalent of pillory and stocks are fairer! ..."
"... reducing the whole issue of the current reliance on moral scandals about individuals in lieu of any principled politics to nothing more than the personal pique of the privileged (who alleged power is as likely to be imaginary as real, incidentally,) by waving away the problems, this is exactly what you are endorsing. ..."
Aug 04, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Musicismath 08.03.20 at 2:29 pm

I am sure that people restricting what they say because of a fear of ostracism is a thing that happens, but there's no reason to suppose that this is restricted to liberals, or more common among liberals

@147; @150: There is, apparently, some recent data on this. According to a survey conducted in 2019, a full 40% of Americans "don't feel free to speak their minds." (The corresponding figures were 48% in 2015, and 13% in 1954, at the height of McCarthyism. There are no figures for 2020.) Other relevant findings from that study: equal numbers of R and D voters feel unable to speak their minds; but uneasiness about speaking freely correlates most strongly with higher levels of education:

Among Americans without a high school diploma, for example, 27 percent self-censor. Among Americans who completed high school, this goes up to 34 percent. And among those who have attended college for at least a few years, 45 percent do. This suggests that Americans are socialized into learning to keep their mouth shut: the longer you spend in the educational system, the more you learn that it is appropriate to express some views, but not others.

This finding (if valid) would seem to vindicate the functionalist interpretation of self-censorship laid out by @150: that its purpose is to control the range of expression permissible within the college-educated, broadly liberal PMC.

The figure in the Persuasion piece suggests that it's based on a longer paper. If it's this one , then it's still a preprint. But, still: at least something to go on.

bob mcmanus 08.03.20 at 3:03 pm (
159
)

130 is as said before excellent and instructive

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/aug/03/taylor-swift-folklore-hardcore-pop-fans-abusing-critics-stan

I see this kind of thing multiple times every day. I suppose because these reviewers haven't yet been shot and killed, this isn't really "cancel culture," not serious, I'm making it up.

There is some strenuous gaslighting going on in this thread.

steven t johnson 08.03.20 at 2:01 pm (
157
)

Jerry Vinokurov@143 wrote: "I'm sorry, I genuinely do not understand what you mean to say here."

How curious Well then, to be blunt, defending "dragged on Twitter" is defending a storm of abuse as useful political speech, which is ridiculous. It's defending the storm of abuse by gamers of women, for one thing. Pretending it's not because those kind of people only want to pretend this kind of rotten politics is only a problem when people they perceive as "left" do it, doesn't change that. The same tactics used by the right too, for example, demonize Hilary Clinton for thirty years may not be called PC or cancel culture, but that's what it is.

The implicit claim is that the good people, or at least the people with good taste and good manners, will abuse the bad people out of power is the social media version of "The King's advisors are corrupt!" The political "analysis" which reduces everything to the personal malice of your enemies and their conspiracies and all we need to do is the same politics that says all we need is good Christian leaders, except the morally trivial difference of who "we" are deemed to be.

Moral reformation by abuse is not going to work. Frankly, the actual irrelevance of this to ownership of the country is one reason why it is allowed, a way to neuter real opposition. It prevents solidarity between the lowers, while fostering illusions about select masters. Wasn't there some guy who actually wrote about the Obama presidency under the title We Were Eight Years in Power?

And, by the way, if politics were simply just personal morality, then using the immoral methods you advocate is actively immoral in itself. Like Heinlein in Starship Troopers arguing that the whipping post was actually fairer, you're arguing the social media equivalent of pillory and stocks are fairer!

You think for some reason stuff like some guy pulling a Norwegian flag because somebody complained about a Confederate flag being displayed isn't a problem? Even worse, you really think pulling Confederate flags is a real solution to anything? You think a judge who ruled that Ashley Judd could sue Harvey Weinstein for retaliation and defamation (as in blacklisting her,) but couldn't sue him for employer harassment when she wasn't his employee should be purged from the judiciary? And that of course a judge should rule that Judd should be able to sue him for employer abuse when she wasn't employed by him because that will allow fishing expeditions into every employee's work history? You think the movie An Office and A Spy should be canceled but that doesn't make you an anti-Dreyfusard?

Probably the pretense is that none of this was intended. But reducing the whole issue of the current reliance on moral scandals about individuals in lieu of any principled politics to nothing more than the personal pique of the privileged (who alleged power is as likely to be imaginary as real, incidentally,) by waving away the problems, this is exactly what you are endorsing.

[Aug 04, 2020] This first person account by @SwipeWright of his academic cancelling is worth paying attention to. Reputational smears, job market sabotage, lies, etc. Brutal. Follow him for thoughtful insights and smart analysis of scientific subjects.

Notable quotes:
"... You're not allowed to criticise it. And therefore, if you offer even a fairly mild criticism, it really does sound strident, because it violates this expectation that religion is out of bounds. ..."
Aug 04, 2020 | threadreaderapp.com

Save as PDF My Authors

1/ What is cancel culture? A few months ago I was a postdoc at Penn State with an soon-expiring contract, job hunting for tenure track professorships.

Social and peer influences

Parental reports (on social media) of friend clusters exhibiting signs of gender dysphoria [1-4]
and increased exposure to social media/internet preceding a child’s announcement of a trans-
gender identity [1-2,9] raise the possibility of social and peer influences. In developmental psy-
chology research, impacts of peers and other social influences on an individual’s development
are sometimes described using the terms peer contagion and social contagion, respectively. The
use of "contagion" in this context is distinct from the term’s use in the study of infectious dis-
ease, and furthermore its use as an established academic concept throughout this article is not
meant in any way to characterize the developmental process, outcome, or behavior as a disease
or disease-like state, or to convey any value judgement. Social contagion [29] is the spread of
affect or behaviors through a population. Peer contagion, in particular, is the process where an
individual and peer mutually influence each other in a way that promotes emotions and behav-
iors that can potentially have negative effects on their development [30]. Peer contagion has
been associated with depressive symptoms, disordered eating, aggression, bullying, and drug
use [30-31]. Internalizing symptoms such as depression can be spread via the mechanisms of
co-rumination, which entails the repetitive discussion of problems, excessive reassurance seek-
ing (ERS), and negative feedback [30, 32-34]. Deviancy training, which was first described for
rule breaking, delinquency, and aggression, is the process whereby attitudes and behaviors asso-
ciated with problem behaviors are promoted with positive reinforcement by peers [35,36].

Peer contagion has been shown to be a factor in several aspects of eating disorders. There
are examples in the eating disorder and anorexia nervosa literature of how both internalizing
symptoms and behaviors have been shared and spread via peer influences [37-41] which may
have relevance to considerations of a rapid onset of gender dysphoria occurring in AY As.
Friendship cliques can set the norms for preoccupation with one’s body, one’s body image,

I posted the following tweet citing the well-known "social contagion" hypothesis forwarded by Dr Lisa Littman's work on ROGD. This first person account by @SwipeWright of his academic cancelling is worth paying attention to.

Reputational smears, job market sabotage, lies, etc. Brutal. Follow him for thoughtful insights and smart analysis of scientific subjects. Unroll available on Thread Reader

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=SoOppressed&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=true&id=1281793002986336256&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthreadreaderapp.com%2Fthread%2F1282404647160942598.html%3Frefreshed%3D1594769677&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=550px

While on the subject, I also recommend reading this thread from @SwipeWright on the topic of cancel culture and academia.

Colin Wright @SwipeWright 1/ The are several ways cancel culture erodes academia:

  1. Directly getting people fired for their heterodox views.
  2. Getting other academics to stay silent &/or avoid certain questions/topics out of fear.
  3. Causing heterodox students to avoid going into academia altogether.

As the following quote suggests that "woke ideology" is a secular religion"

"Yes, yes, I know," Dawkins interrupts. "I know. People say I'm shrill and strident."

Dawkins has a theory about this, which is very persuasive.

"We've all been brought up with the view that religion has some kind of special privileged status. You're not allowed to criticise it. And therefore, if you offer even a fairly mild criticism, it really does sound strident, because it violates this expectation that religion is out of bounds."

[Aug 04, 2020] Cancel culture is the overall environment, the habitus, the totality of 2010+ media and communication. We all can get ostracized and isolated at any time

Aug 04, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

There is some gaslighting by woke mob going on in this thread.


bob mcmanus 08.03.20 at 3:03 pm (
155
)

130 is as said before excellent and instructive

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/aug/03/taylor-swift-folklore-hardcore-pop-fans-abusing-critics-stan

I see this kind of thing multiple times every day. I suppose because these reviewers haven't yet been shot and killed, this isn't really "cancel culture," not serious, I'm making it up.

There is some strenuous gaslighting going on in this thread.

NickS 08.03.20 at 3:13 pm ( 156 )

The Natalie Wynn transcript is very good, and I hadn't seen that before. Thank you.

It's worth wrestling with a bit, because it has the advantage of not framing the question in terms of Free Speech. I think that the free speech framing often pushes people to draw bright lines that confuse rather than clarify the debate. For example, various statements that I've seen by Yascha Monk he tries to make a clear distinction between, "being dragged on twitter" (which is not a free speech concern, in his opinion) and suffering employment consequences. But that's a difficult distinction to maintain, and Natalie Wynn is, correctly, concerned about to problems of being harassed on twitter.

I read her essay as being less about, "see how this suppresses speech" and more about, "look at the way in which twitter encourages/amplifies/leans towards" bad arguments. That people are engaging in speech but are doing it badly because they are being lazy or careless, or just not inclined to see the people they're arguing with as persons.

Take these two passages (which I'm quoting in reverse order from which they appear in the original).

I recently read a book by Sarah Schulman called Conflict is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility and the Duty of Repair. Basically Schulman's argument is that, in various contexts from romantic relationships to community infighting to international politics, the overstatement of harm is used as a justification for cruelty and for escalating conflict.

... ... ...

bob mcmanus 08.03.20 at 3:25 pm (
157
)

Or this, 5 minutes later

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/the-diversity-trap-jilani

"Just look at the case of Denise Young Smith. Young Smith spent almost two decades working her way up in Apple, becoming one of the few black people to ever reach its executive team. She was named vice president of diversity and inclusion

Then she uttered the sentence that really got her into trouble: "And I've often told people a story -- there can be 12 white blue-eyed blond men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they're going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation," she noted.

Within a week, the uproar over her comments forced Young Smith to write an apology. A few weeks later, her departure from the company was announced. She was replaced by Christie Smith, a white woman."

Every day, many times a day. As far as I am concerned. Cancel culture is the overall environment, the habitus, the totality of 2010+ media and communication. We all can get ostracized and isolated at any time.

[Aug 04, 2020] Cancel culture and Maoism: cancel culture is the social media equivalent of the criticism/self-criticism sessions on campuses in the Cultural Revolution

Aug 04, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

steven t johnson 08.01.20 at 4:19 pm ( 93 )

Like PC, the term cancel culture is an effort by right-wingers to re-brand their own practices as something horrible when they are on the receiving end. As such, if cancel culture were honestly applied what they do, some of us would agree that it is a bad thing. Notably, everyone who has indignantly invoked their private property rights to delete comments, shriek about trolls, ban commenters or even refuse comments, has agreed, whether or not they concede the point, has agreed there is an active harm from it, even when it isn't rape/death threats to women.

The real problem is not just that things like presumption of guilt, guilt by association, etc. aren't moral. The real problem is they can't possibly do the job alleged. Causing mental agony to people, even "bad" people, isn't political reform. Not only is this kind of thing a diversion from politics, it is totally amenable to misuse, and everybody knows it. Making excuses for Biden while harping about Trump is hypocritical gossip, partisanship, not principle. Bill Cosby's accomplices got away scot free and Harvey Weinstein's stooges still have their cheating Oscars! I suppose one of the biggest triumphs of cancel culture is suppressing movies like the Gore Vidal biopic and the movie An Officer and a Spy. But what kinds of victories is joining the anti-Dreyfusards?

To put it another way, cancel culture is the social media equivalent of the criticism/self-criticism sessions on campuses in the Cultural Revolution. Except today's version lacks any changes in party/state personnel, lacks any significant redirection of resources to the people left behind, lacks any hint of fundamental political differences in the future of the country. This current iteration of this kind of "politics" is even more apt to disguise score settling or even puritanism. As near as I can tell, there isn't even a strong case to be made that "puritanism" as such was helpful even to the Puritan revolution, not like congregations paying their pastors.

And I don't think the pleasure of getting "our" own back on the reactionaries is enough to pay for giving up any moral condemnation of the injustice of such methods, any more than building clinics in the countryside in China was helped by criticism/self-criticism sessions.

One link: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/exiting-vampire-castle/ The people outraged at this can be satisfied the miscreant reformed his brain later.

For those who favor cancel culture, here's a defense, in the particular case of Aristotle:
http://moufawad-paul.blogspot.com/2020/07/apparently-aristotle-is-in-danger-of.html There are a couple of funny things to this, notably the fact that Aristotle is already canceled as far as popular culture goes. For the SF fans here, consider Neal Stephenson's abuse of "Aristotle" in Anathem. Or the nearly universal assumption in popular discourse that Aristotle was an enemy of science. (See The Lagoon.)

Also, despite being a professional, our Maoist friend seems to think Aristotle was a major philosopher in ancient times, when as near as I can tell from reading Peter Adamson is that Aristotle's preeminence was a product of Arab/Persian/Central Asian culture, and hence not really a white thing at all. (And Black Athena, while documenting influence from Egypt, is incomplete, neglecting the cultural influences on the Greek cities of Ionia, which were more important originally than Athens.)

Andres 08.01.20 at 7:46 pm ( 95 )

I may have missed something after a cursory reading of the thread, but neither Chris B. nor any of the commenters have attempted to place strict definitional boundaries on "cancel culture" in order to make the debate more manageable. So not surprisingly we get a bunch of commenters who object to hypothetical extreme examples of the tendency that "cancel culture" is only a narrow subset of.

Some examples of the general tendency that I and most civilized people vehemently oppose:

–Damnatio memoriae (ancient Rome) and un-personhood (communist countries).
–Firing for political opinions held outside of the workplace.
–Hiring blacklisting based on political opinion.
–Death threats and other threats of violence against people with objectionable opinions. (Of course, if the objectionable individual was the first to issue such threats, then it is fully justified to issue retaliatory threats, action movie-style).
–Legalized segregation or physical exile targeting people with objectionable opinions.
–Last, definitely not least and most obviously, the actual genocide of groups based solely on their political opinions or actions (The legalized killing of individuals based on their actions is another matter).

These are what the critics of cancel culture such as Sebastian H seem to have in mind. But either they are projecting their own fears or they are dishonestly using straw men. What we've seen of "cancel culture" in the U.S. so far is:

–Attempts in public education to re-write false history, the Lost Cause most prominently.
–Pulling down statues and other memorials of people who should not have been "sainted" in the first place.
–Renaming of places/institutions named after either people who are very far from sainthood (e.g. Bragg and Hood of CSA Army infamy) or objectionable nicknames.
–Calls for boycotts of commercial products or franchises whose CEOs voice anti-democratic cultural or political opinions (e.g. ChickFila and homophobia).
–Along the same lines, the refusal to grant media platforms and public speaking engagements to individuals with such opinions.
–Refusal to allow blog comments from people with a past history of objectionable opinions (e.g., Chris B. rightly keeping Ralph Musgrave away from this comment thread).**
–Social ostracism that is either absolute (refusal to be physically near an objectionable person, especially if such a person has made inflammatory public comments) or more conditional (same refusal, but with the precondition that said person refused to be respectful or to consider other opinions in previous debate).

... ... ...

likbez 08.03.20 at 7:48 pm (
162
)

@Andres 08.01.20 at 7:46 pm (95)

Pulling down statues and other memorials of people who should not have been "sainted" in the first place.

And who are you to judge particular statue historical and cultural value? Re-writing of history was attempted in the past. And we know the results.

This is Red Guard mentality, pure and simple.

This farce of replaying Cultural revolution will do a great damage to the US society. Already did.

[Aug 03, 2020] Natalie Wynn also refers to Jo Freeman's 1976 piece on "Trashing," in which she describes her experience of being ostracized by fellow feminists for alleged ideological deviation. The dynamic of cancellation predates the internet.

Highly recommended!
Aug 03, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

oldster 08.03.20 at 1:17 am 141

Natalie Wynn also refers to Jo Freeman's 1976 piece on "Trashing," in which she describes her experience of being ostracized by fellow feminists for alleged ideological deviation. The dynamic of cancellation predates the internet.

(I don't know where a young you-tuber probably not born before the millennium encountered Shulamith Firestone's old partner in crime, but I am delighted that she did! I know it shows my age, but I think that young activists today could benefit a lot from reading what my generation's activists wrote. Also, from getting off my lawn.)

oldster 08.03.20 at 1:21 am ( 142 )

and I forgot the link:
https://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/trashing.htm

[Aug 03, 2020] KEEPING YOUR MOUTH SHUT by James L. Gibson & Joseph L. Sutherland

Highly recommended!
This is a shadow of USSR over the USA. Dead are biting from the grave.
Notable quotes:
"... Over the course of the period from the heyday of McCarthyism to the present, the percentage of the American people not feeling free to express their views has tripled. In 2019, fully four in ten Americans engaged in self-censorship. Our analyses of both over-time and cross-sectional variability provide several insights into why people keep their mouths shut. We find that: ..."
"... those possessing more resources (e.g., higher levels of education) report engaging in more self-censorship ..."
"... fully 40% of the American people today reported being less free to speak their minds than they used to. That so many Americans withhold their political views is remarkable -- and portentous. ..."
"... Self-censorship is defined as intentionally and voluntarily withholding information from others in [the] absence of formal obstacles ..."
Aug 03, 2020 | poseidon01.ssrn.com

Over the course of the period from the heyday of McCarthyism to the present, the percentage of the American people not feeling free to express their views has tripled. In 2019, fully four in ten Americans engaged in self-censorship. Our analyses of both over-time and cross-sectional variability provide several insights into why people keep their mouths shut. We find that:

(1) Levels of self-censorship are related to affective polarization among the mass public, but not via an "echo chamber" effect because greater polarization is associated with more self-censorship.

(2) Levels of mass political intolerance bear no relationship to self-censorship, either at the macro- or micro-levels.

(3) Those who perceive a more repressive government are only slightly more likely to engage in self-censorship. And

(4) those possessing more resources (e.g., higher levels of education) report engaging in more self-censorship .

Together, these findings suggest the conclusion that one's larger macro-environment has little to do with self-censorship. Instead, micro-environment sentiments -- such as worrying that expressing unpopular views will isolate and alienate people from their friends, family, and neighbors -- seem to drive self-censorship.

We conclude with a brief discussion of the significance of our findings for larger democracy theory and practice. Electronic copy available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3647099

There can be little doubt that Americans today are deeply divided on their values, many issue preferences, and their ideological and partisan attachments (e.g., Druckman and Levendusky 2019). Indeed, these divisions even extend to the question of whom -- or what kind of person -- their children should marry (Iyengar et al. 2019)!

A concomitant of these divisions is that political discourse has become coarse, abrasive, divisive, and intense. When it comes to politics today, it is increasingly likely that even an innocent but misspoken opinion will cause a kerfuffle to break out.

It therefore should not be surprising to find that a large segment of the American people engages in self-censorship when it comes of expressing their views.1 In a nationally representative survey we conducted in 2019 (see Appendix A), we asked a question about self-censorship that Samuel Stouffer (1955) first asked in 1954, with startling results: fully 40% of the American people today reported being less free to speak their minds than they used to. That so many Americans withhold their political views is remarkable -- and portentous.

... ... ...

===

1 Sharvit et al. put forth a useful definition of self-censorship (2018, 331): " Self-censorship is defined as intentionally and voluntarily withholding information from others in [the] absence of formal obstacles ." Studies of self-censorship have taken many forms, ranging from philosophical inquiries (e.g., Festenstein 2018) to studies of those withholding crucial evidence of human rights abuses (e.g., Bar-Tal 2017) to studies of self-censorship among racial minorities (e.g., Gibson 2012).

[Aug 03, 2020] Natalie Wynn link is an excellent discussion of the cancel culture that I see all the time.

Aug 03, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Sebastian H 08.03.20 at 4:57 am

I 1000% recommend that Natalie Wynn link. It is an excellent discussion of the queer facebook/twitter/social media cancel culture that I see all the time. The discussion of the step to abstraction plus essentialism is especially good and totally applicable to most of the real cancelations (the step from 'here is research about violent vs. non-violent protests' to 'Shor is racist' is a classic).

I'm going to provide a lot of examples and I'll use the Wynn tropes. Not all of them have all of the tropes, but I think it is a true cultural issue, so I'm not sure you need all of them at the same time. One that I won't mention every time is the Transitive Property of Cancellation. But you should realize that it exists in every case where someone does something off the job, and the cancelers try to get them fired, because the logic is "your company is horribly tainted by have X as a worker". There are a few cases using words that are forbidden. I'm not going to type them outright only because I don't want to get dragged into the discussion of the appropriateness of using them directly when discussing them, third hand. However the appropriateness is important to the context (eg "dont call me a N!gg$%" or black artists who deliberately use it to be provacative)

Shor. I won't recite the fact but the link (along with some of the names that Quiggin wanted) is a good discussion of it. It exhibits problematic Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Essentialism

https://www.vox.com/2020/7/29/21340308/david-shor-omar-wasow-speech

Emmanuel Cafferty: power company worker fired because he allegedly gave the OK symbol which is allegedly a white power symbol. This very obviously Hispanic man in San Diego says he has no idea that the OK symbol is a white power symbol and that he was just cracking his knuckles. BTW the OK symbol thing is it's own area of insanity, where WP groups intentionally troll us to make us look like overreacting ninnies. It requires so much context to explain to the non-hyper-woke that it would be way easier to just never take the bait–because if you can strongly suggest someone is racist without it, just do so. If you can't it is definitely not worth it. Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Essentialism, Dualism

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/sdge-worker-fired-over-alleged-racist-gesture-says-he-was-cracking-knuckles/2347414/

Dominique Moran fired from Chipotle because she insisted on getting payment from a group of black men who specifically had had their cards declined only 2 days before, and who she had been warned that those specific men had "dine and dashed". She became an internet exemplar of racism so much so that her mother found out about it across the country. It wasn't until later that other internet sleuths demonstrated that Chipotle had been set up for an internet anti-racist mob. (Note that the company itself never figured that out on their own). Presumption of Guilt, Essentialism,

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/25/us/false-racism-internet-mob-chipotle-video/index.html

Marlon Anderson was a [black] security guard at a Wisconsin high school. He was repeatedly taunted as being a N!gg$% by students. He told the students that they absolutely could not call him a N!gg$%. The students accused him of using the word N!gg$%, and he was fired for using racial slurs. The only good news is that this firing is so ridiculous that it has generated some serious pushback. (I could not however find out what happened). Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Pseudo-Moralism, No Forgiveness

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/10/19/black-high-school-security-fired-after-telling-student-not-call-him-n-word/

... ... ...

Sarah Silverman fired from her movie because she appeared in blackface in her show from more than a decade before . The piece clearly indicates that white people take blackface too casually and that they are wrong to do so. Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, No Forgiveness, Dualism.

https://pagesix.com/2019/08/12/sarah-silverman-fired-from-new-movie-for-blackface-photo/

Israel Morales. Jewish restaurant attacked for being Nazi sympathizers because they didn't overreact to a patron wearing a shirt with the work "Luftwaffe" on it. The owner didn't believe it was as clear as the accuser said and tried to stop a confrontation in the restaurant. The most annoying part is the final paragraph "For its part, Kachka's owners says they fear the rumors could lead racists and neo-Nazis to assume the restaurant is a place that welcomes their views. "Our fear is that this misinformation could cause discriminatory groups to think Kachka is a safe haven, which it most certainly is not," Israel Morales wrote in a statement to Eater. "We would like to reiterate that we never kicked anyone out for speaking up, we had no idea what the symbol on the shirt meant, and if we had known, we would not have served him." Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, Dualism, Transitive Property (serving someone in a restaurant must mean you're a Nazi sympathizer).

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/03/16/25923286/jewish-owned-eatery-in-portland-accused-of-nazi-sympathizing

Ahmad Daraldik accused of anti-Semitism for his comment "stupid jew thinks he is cool" which he posted in response to a photo which is now said to be staged of an Israeli soldier stepping on a child. Daraldik was TWELVE and living in the Palestinian territories at the time. This one is still very much in process as it was just reported in July of 2020. I presume he will not be actually removed from FSU. But it exhibits many of the cancel culture tropes. Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, No Forgiveness, Dualism.

https://www.thefire.org/city-of-aventura-demands-florida-state-universitys-administration-remove-student-senate-president-over-social-media-comments/

Neal Caren. UNC associate professor of sociology. Accused of creating an unsafe environment for students of color for asking a white student to role-play a black person in order to try to better understand racial issues. This was reported in early 2020 so it is too soon to tell where the investigation will go. Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Intellectualism, Dualism.

https://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2020/07/sociology-professor-racism-allegations-0707

Gary Garrels. Senior curator of painting and sculpture at the SF Museum of Modern Art. Museum employees sent a petition saying "Considering his lengthy tenure at this institution, we ask just how long have his toxic white supremacist beliefs regarding race and equity directed his position curating the content of the museum?" This apparently was in response to his statements that he wanted to increase diversity and "Don't worry, we will definitely still continue to collect white artists".

This may require a new trope of 'gross exaggeration', but I guess that is a Presumption of Guilt issue, Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, Dualism.

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/gary-garrels-departure-sfmoma-1893964

https://reason.com/2020/07/14/gary-garrels-san-francisco-museum-modern-art-racism/

Jonathan Friedland. Removed from Netflix for saying in a meeting that certain words were not OK to broadcast in comedy and specifically saying that the word N!gg$% was one of them (he said it aloud in the meeting).

This one might not be directly cancel culture in that there was no internet furor, but it exhibits many of the tropes so I included it. Essentialism, Dualism, No Forgiveness. It also took place on the job, so I understand that it is more of an edge case.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/jonathan-friedland-exits-netflix-1122675

Gordon Klein. Currently suspended from teaching at UCLA for the following response to an ask that exams be delayed for black students to allow participation in local BLM rallies (which continued every day for more than a month). He contributed a rather snarky response which I will copy here in full so that no one accuses me of hiding it. But not a firing/suspension offense.

Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota. Do you know the names of the classmates that are black? How can I identify them since we've been having online classes only? Are there any students that may be of mixed parentage, such as half black-half Asian? What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half? Also, do you have any idea if any students are from Minneapolis? I assume that they probably are especially devastated as well. I am thinking that a white student from there might be possibly even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they're racist even if they are not. My TA is from Minneapolis, so if you don't know, I can probably ask her. Can you guide me on how you think I should achieve a "no-harm" outcome since our sole course grade is from a final exam only? One last thing strikes me: Remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the "color of their skin." Do you think that your request would run afoul of MLK's admonition?

Thanks, G. Klein

He also noted elsewhere that "previously he had received a directive from his supervisor in the undergraduate Accounting program that instructors should only adjust final exam policies and protocols based on standard university practices regarding grading[:] {"If students ask for accommodations such as assignment delays or exam cancellations, I strongly encourage you to follow the normal procedures (accommodations from the CAE office, death/illness in the family, religious observance, etc.)."

Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, Transitive Property, Dualism

https://reason.com/2020/06/10/ucla-business-school-lecturer-placed-on-leave-for-e-mail-to-student-rejecting-request-for-exam-leniency-for-black-students/

Gibson's Bakery. Black Oberlin student detained for shoplifting, Oberlin school hierarchy involved in an attempt to portray the Bakery as racist. The good news is that school's behavior was terrible enough to cause them to lose a lawsuit over it. The bad news is that it was that terrible.

https://archive.vn/KUuHM

Kathleen Lowrey. Forced out of her job in the University of Alberta as undergraduate programs chair for what she believes are her views on gender. Shockingly the school won't even tell her who accused her or exactly of what.

https://nationalpost.com/news/university-of-alberta-loses-admin-role-over-views-on-gender

Niel Golightly. Boeing communication officer, resigned after pressure centering around a 33 year old article he wrote objecting to women in combat. He said that the dialogue around that article 33 years ago changed his mind on the issue. This one is interesting because it is in one of the few kinds of positions that I might believe off the job behavior could be relevant. But I tend to think that 33 year old articles (of fairly common positions for the time) might not be enough. Essentialism, No Forgiveness, Dualism.

https://nypost.com/2020/07/03/boeing-communications-boss-niel-golightly-resigns-over-article/

Iranian-Canadian atheist (raised Muslim) fired for being anti-Islamic in his personal facebook page rant against honor killings. "In response to these killings, Corey wrote 'F*** Islam. F*** honour killing. And f*** you if you believe in any of these barbaric stone age ideologies.'" The response after ordering him to take down the post (he complied) "Despite Corey's compliance, Wray responded "Your anti-Islamic social media post is in direct contradiction with Mulgrave School's and Canadian values. It is racist and highly offensive. As a result, I am immediately terminating any further relationship with you. You will no longer be allowed to [do business with our school] and you should not enter the school building under any circumstances.""

This report has been anonymized, so I understand if you want to take it as less demonstrative.

https://thepostmillennial.com/man-fired-for-speaking-out-against-honour-killings

Brian Leach was fired for sharing on Facebook a Billy Connolly sketch which colleagues complained was anti-Islamic.

It was from Connolly's "Religion is Over" stage act, and if you listen to it is just as hard on Christians as it is on Islam. It is essentially an atheistic rant. (The link has the clip)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7174761/Grandfather-sacked-Asda-sharing-anti-Islamic-Billy-Connolly-sketch-Facebook.html

This discussion is on the bizarre article run by the Washington Post which got a woman of no public interest fired for wearing blackface to try to make fun of Megan Kelly's stupid comments about blackface. It has Abstraction, Essentialism, No Forgiveness, Transitive Property (via 3rd parties! this was apparently newsworthy because the person who threw the party that the costumed person showed up at also works at a newspaper!) and dualism.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/why-did-the-washington-post-get-this-woman-fired.html

... ... ...

Sebastian H 08.03.20 at 5:09 am ( 146 )

I forgot to include the Vox accusations. They have a bunch of the tropes.

Emily VanDerWerff accuses Matt Yglesias of making her feel less safe at work as a trans person for signing the Harper's letter which she asserts contains "many dog whistles toward anti-trans positions".

Her definition of anti trans dog whistles is included at the link. It has huge Presumption of Guilt and Abstraction problems. She claims to not want any consequences for Yglesias, but if that is the case she shouldn't have used "feel less safe at work" which is less of a dog whistle and more of an alarm bell for Human Resources to immediately open an investigation into the (for cause) firing of someone.

https://twitter.com/emilyvdw/status/1280661254118322177

likbez 08.03.20 at 2:17 pm (154 )

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

@Sebastian H 08.03.20 at 4:57 am

Thanks. A good antidote from lunatic posts.

oldster 08.03.20 at 1:17 am (141 )

Natalie Wynn also refers to Jo Freeman's 1976 piece on "Trashing," in which she describes her experience of being ostracized by fellow feminists for alleged ideological deviation. The dynamic of cancellation predates the internet.

(I don't know where a young you-tuber probably not born before the millennium encountered Shulamith Firestone's old partner in crime, but I am delighted that she did! I know it shows my age, but I think that young activists today could benefit a lot from reading what my generation's activists wrote. Also, from getting off my lawn.)

kinnikinick 08.02.20 at 10:59 pm ( 134 )

From @130 oldster's Natalie Wynn link (good find!), I now have a description of "cancel culture" that satisfies me. YMMV.
I lifted these straight from Natalie's headings – they're mostly self-explanatory. The whole transcript is well worth reading; the back half has a nightmarish fractal-hall-of-mirrors quality that's a good illustration of what it describes.

Trope 1: Presumption of Guilt
Trope 2: Abstraction
Trope 3: Essentialism
Trope 4: Pseudo-Moralism or Pseudo-Intellectualism
Trope 5: No Forgiveness
Trope 6: The Transitive Property of Cancellation
Trope 7: Dualism

Donald 08.02.20 at 3:57 pm ( 129 )

For people who want data, here is the longest list of real or alleged cancel culture incidents that I have seen. 156 cases. Have fun analyzing.

I think the list has a mostly rightwing bias, so I didn't see Finkelstein or Salaita listed ( though maybe I missed it.)

For myself, I would have to look into them before judging, but of the handful that I know something about, some I agree are genuine cases of people being unfairly cancelled, and others I might possibly cancel myself. There are also gray areas.

I found the list via a piece by Cathy Young, but am too lazy to go back and link her piece.

Donald 08.02.20 at 3:58 pm ( 130 )

Darn it. I forgot the link.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1282404647160942598.html?refreshed=1594769677

[Aug 02, 2020] Purges is a mopping-up operation that is a product of media-activated mass psychosis that derives from the already existing witch hunts and purges that have going on for decades

Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

fnn , says: August 1, 2020 at 3:40 pm GMT

This is a mopping-up operation that is a product of media-activated mass psychosis that derives from the already existing witch hunts and purges that have going on for decades. Moldbug is a Zionist ultra, but he explains it well:

It's actually not hard to explain the Brown Scare. Like all witch hunts, it's built on a conspiracy theory. The Red Scare was based on a conspiracy theory too, but at least it was a real conspiracy with real witches -- two of whom were my father's parents. (The nicest people on earth, as people. I like to think of them not as worshipping Stalin, but worshipping what they thought Stalin was.) Moreover, the Red Scare was a largely demotic or peasant phenomenon to which America's governing intellectual classes were, for obvious reasons, immune. Because power works and culture is downstream from politics -- real politics, at least -- the Red Scare soon faded into a joke.

As a mainstream conspiracy theory, fully in the institutional saddle, the Brown Scare is far greater and more terrifying. Unfortunately no central statistics are kept, but I wouldn't be surprised if every day in America, more racists, fascists and sexists are detected, purged and destroyed, than all the screenwriters who had to prosper under pseudonyms in the '50s. Indeed it's not an exaggeration to say that hundreds of thousands of Americans, perhaps even a million, are employed in one arm or another of this ideological apparatus. Cleaning it up will require a genuine cultural revolution -- or a cultural reaction, anyway. Hey, Americans, I'm ready whenever you are.

The logic of the witch hunter is simple. It has hardly changed since Matthew Hopkins' day. The first requirement is to invert the reality of power. Power at its most basic level is the power to harm or destroy other human beings. The obvious reality is that witch hunters gang up and destroy witches. Whereas witches are never, ever seen to gang up and destroy witch hunters. By this test alone, we can see that the conspiracy is imaginary (Brown Scare) rather than real (Red Scare).

Think about it. Obviously, if the witches had any power whatsoever, they wouldn't waste their time gallivanting around on broomsticks, fellating Satan and cursing cows with sour milk. They're getting burned right and left, for Christ's sake! Priorities! No, they'd turn the tables and lay some serious voodoo on the witch-hunters. In a country where anyone who speaks out against the witches is soon found dangling by his heels from an oak at midnight with his head shrunk to the size of a baseball, we won't see a lot of witch-hunting and we know there's a serious witch problem. In a country where witch-hunting is a stable and lucrative career, and also an amateur pastime enjoyed by millions of hobbyists on the weekend, we know there are no real witches worth a damn.

https://www.unqualified-reservations.org/2013/09/technology-communism-and-brown-scare/

[Aug 02, 2020] Cancel mob in the USA reenacts Stalin purges as a farce instead of tragegy

Aug 02, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

chrisare 07.30.20 at 9:20 am (no link)

I found this piece unconvincing.

"People can have their voices amplified or silenced by their wealth, connections or prestige but also by other speech which aims to deny them the right to participate on equal terms with others."

It's unclear if this refers to those at the receiving end of speech the author wants to prevent or the speaker deserving of canceling.

"As Jeremy Waldron has argued in his book The Harm in Hate Speech, racist speech aims not just at hurting the feelings of its victims or expressing a view but at reconstituting the public arena of democratic debate and argument so that some people are not seen as forming a proper part of it."

It is very dubious that most slurs "aim" to "reconstitute the public arena of democratic debate and argument so that some people are not seen as forming a proper part of it." Do you have any support for this theory?

"It says that those people are not a part of "us" and that their opinions and arguments have no place as we decide where our country should go."

It's not clear how a racial slur "says" any of this. Perhaps the author is reading subtext?

"Racist speech by some also legitimizes and emboldens racist speech and opinion by others, telling bigots that they are not alone, that others think as they do, and strengthens an ideal of exclusive community based on ethnic or racial lines."

On this point it's worth quoting Henry Louis Gates Jr: "Why would you entrust authority with enlarged powers of regulating the speech of unpopular minorities unless you were confident that unpopular minorities would be racists, not blacks?"

"Anti-racist speech, has the opposite effect, it affirms a view that those targeted by the racists, be they black, or Asian, or Muslim, are full members of the democratic political community in good standing with as good a right to a say as anyone.

"It also reinforces a social norm about what may not be said, telling those who are tempted to stigmatize migrants or minorities that they will pay a price for doing so."

It also creates a precedent for excluding views by shaming based on current sentiment. Only someone oblivious to history wouldn't see the danger in that precedent.

"The role that speech plays in defining who is and isn't included in our vision of democratic community can have powerful real-world consequence."

Who to include as part of your community is an important issue that should be discussed openly by all of society. What you're trying to do is to elevate advance your position without having to defend it.

"One way to understand the ease with which the victims of the Windrush scandal could lose their jobs, their homes, their liberty or be deported to far-away countries, is that in the public imaginary that is partly constituted by speech, many people did not see them as proper members with equal standing to others."

Were we to do away with everything that had a downside we would have very little good. Therefore arguing that something has potential downsides is not sufficient to establish that it's not good. Can you argue that free expression and debate by citizenry on the most important issues facing a democratic nation is not good, besides by arguing that there might be some cost?

"Racist speech is just one example that makes clear how the practice of open discussion isn't simply a matter of unfettered conversation among people who are already present but also involves choices about who gets to speak and involves sensitivity to the way that speech by some has the effect either of depriving others of a voice or of making it impossible for others to hear what they say. A society which is full of highly sexualized messages about women is also a society in which it is harder for women to get a hearing about sexual violence and income inequality. A society where trans people are the objects of constant ridicule, or are represented as dangerous, is one in which it is also more difficult for them to argue for their rights and have their interests taken seriously."

This implies that the intolerant are the powerful group capable of suppressing minorities with their speech alone. This is disproven by the very fact that anti-racist etc speech is so successful. The success of antiracist codes of social conduct is because the group exercising them is the powerful group. This very fact implies their obsolesce.

"Much of the pushback against cancel culture has come from prominent journalists and intellectuals who perceive every negative reaction from ordinary people on social media as an affront. Ironically, while being quick to take offence themselves they demand that those less powerful than they are should toughen up and not be such "snowflakes"."

This is an uninformed or dishonest characterization of the pushback against cancel culture. The pushback is due to intolerant enforcement of ideological conformity and homogeneity through threat to job and reputation. And no this is not only ideological conformity in that you can't say overtly racist things; it's ideological conformity in that you can't criticize BLM or cite scientific literature on biological differences between the sexes without risk.

"But if we take seriously the idea that speech can silence speech or make it unhearable, then a concern with whether the heckling of cancel culture makes it harder to say some things also has to take account of the fact that saying those very things can make it harder for other voices to be heard."

This piece hasn't given any reason to make us take seriously the idea that speech against one group can silence another, other then through threat to livelihood or reputation. It's not clear though how for example referencing scientific but currently unpopular claims, criticizing a social movement, having a narrower view on who should be considered a citizen or even using a slur silences people.

John Quiggin 07.30.20 at 10:17 am ( 7 )

An important problem is the conflation of public opprobrium actual sanctions like being fired. This is mainly a problem in the US because of employment at will. In most countries, unfair dismissal laws would protect people being sacked because of their political views, unless they related directly to job performance.
https://crookedtimber.org/2018/03/04/free-speech-unfair-dismissal-and-unions/

But the fact that the same example (David Shor) is cited every time the issue is raised suggests that losing your job for breaching left orthodoxy not a major problem in the US, or at least that other possible examples are much less sympathetic (racists fired from Fox, for example).

Mostly, AFAICT, being cancelled means having to read rude things said about you by lots of unimportant people on Twitter, as opposed to engaging in caustic, but civilised, debate with your peers in the pages of little magazines.

aepxc 07.30.20 at 12:11 pm (
10
)

The question is who decides? Most readers here would agree that "[a] society that refuses to tolerate speech like David Starkey's recent racist remarks about "damn blacks" and the slave trade is better for it", but of the world's ~8 bln people, I strongly suspect that most would believe that a society would be better off for refusing to tolerate speech about abortions and homosexuality. So do we decide democratically? Through the ethics of enlightened elites? An ever ongoing fight between the majority and the elite? Some other method? Perhaps we fracture into mini-societies, each with their own standards of "better off", which do not talk to one another?

From my perspective, there is thought and thought-like speech (anything without direct call to action) , which ought to be maximally tolerated for both ethical and practical reasons. Ethical because it dispenses with the requirement for absolute and inviolable knowledge (and disempowers people who would otherwise need to select and enforce "allowed" views. Practical because it encourages transparency (shutting racists up will not stop them from thinking racist thoughts), intellectual development (new ideas can emerge to challenge the existing wisdom) and rigor (having to often hear opposing viewpoints hones your understanding of your own). Not to say that such tolerance has no costs whatsoever (e.g. making it easier for racists to be racist in the short term, that you mention), but that the benefits of such tolerance outweigh the costs.

What cannot be limitlessly tolerated are actions and action-like speech. To use my own nationality as an example, I would have to fight back were a person to decide to try to kill all Russians. For action-like speech, I would also be against an unlimited freedom for a person to stand on the corner shouting "pick up a gun and go find a Russian to kill". But change the phrasing slightly to "all Russians are evil, sub-human scum, I wish none of them lived" and I would be hurt but okay with that, until and unless the speaker or their listener decided to try to act on the sentiment. Indeed, it would give me a heads up about which person (or people) to avoid. In a less extreme example, "shout that stupid Russian dow, how dare he try to even voice an opinion!" is action-like speech (therefore needs limits), while "I don't see the need to listen to Russians" is thought-like (and therefore better to be tolerated). The problem with modern cancel culture is that it often responds to thought-like speech with action-like speech.

Obviously, no one owes it to anyone else to listen to them. If you hear something you do not like, you should be free to close the door on that person and never again invite them into your company. But from my perspective it is an intellectually small and fragile mind that looks to exercise this freedom at a mass scale or anything other than a last resort. People who say stupid, hateful or offensive things are not examples to be emulated. This is exactly the reason not to join a crowd saying rude or offensive things back at them. Surely, we can form and promote communities of respect and diversity without needing to destroy communities that are exclusionary and hateful? If we are right about what makes communities better off, we will simply outcompete the latter, which will wither of their own accord.

[Aug 02, 2020] Cancel culture my ass by Roy Edroson

Aug 02, 2020 | edroso.substack.com

Examples given show quite clearly that "cancel mob" is an established form of the political struggle. And in this case the reasons behind the particular attack of the "cancel mob" is far from charitable.

Cancel culture my ass Justice for Brad Hamilton Roy Edroso Jul 14 38 30

You remember way back before social media and Thomas Chatterton Williams , when Phil Donahue lost his MSNBC show because he opposed the War in Iraq ? And the Dixie Chicks got the pre-Twitter equivalent of Twitter-mobbed for criticizing George W. Bush? ("Toby Keith famously joined the fray by performing in front of a backdrop that featured a gigantic image of Natalie Maines beside Saddam Hussein.") Ah, those carefree, pre-cancel-culture days!

Might's well also flash forward to 2001, NFL.com :

Mendenhall loses endorsement deal over bin Laden tweets

[Steelers running back] Rashard Mendenhall's candid tweets about Osama bin Laden's death and the 9/11 terror attacks cost him an endorsement deal.

NFL.com senior analyst Vic Carucci says Rashard Mendenhall has become an example of the risks that social media can present to outspoken pro athletes.

Athletic apparel manufacturer Champion announced Thursday that it had dropped the Pittsburgh Steelers running back after he questioned the celebrations of bid Laden's death and expressed his uncertainty over official accounts of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, suburban Washington and Pennsylvania.

Things haven't gotten any better. I've already written about Springfield, Mass. police detective Florissa Fuentes, who got fired this year for reposting her niece's pro-Black Lives Matter Instagram photo. Fuentes is less like Donohue, the Chicks, and Mendenhall, though, and more like most of the people who get fired for speech in this country, in that she is not rich, and getting fired was for her a massive blow.

Speaking of Black Lives Matter, here's one from 2019 :

The controversy began after [Lisa] Durden's appearance [on Tucker Carlson], during which she defended the Black Lives Matter movement's decision to host a Memorial Day celebration in New York City to which only black people were invited. On the show, Durden's comments included, "You white people are angry because you couldn't use your white privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter's all-black Memorial Day Celebration," and "We want to celebrate today. We don't want anybody going against us today."

Durden was then an adjunct professor at Essex County College, but not for long because sure enough, they fired her for what she said on the show. (Bet Carlson, a racist piece of shit , was delighted!) The college president defended her decision, saying she'd received "feedback from students, faculty and prospective students and their families expressing frustration, concern and even fear that the views expressed by a college employee (with influence over students) would negatively impact their experience on the campus..."

Sounds pretty snowflakey to me. I went looking in the works of the signatories of the famous Harper's letter against cancel culture for some sign that any of them had acknowledged Durden's case. Shockingly, such free speech warriors as Rod Dreher and Bret Stephens never dropped a word on it.

Dreher does come up in other free-speech-vs-employment cases, though -- for example, from 2017, Chronicle of Higher Education :

Tommy Curry, an associate professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University at College Station, about five years ago participated in a YouTube interview in which he discussed race and violence. Those remarks resurfaced in May in a column titled "When Is It OK to Kill Whites?" by Rod Dreher in The American Conservative.

Mr. Curry said of that piece that he wasn't advocating for violence and that his remarks had been taken out of context. He told The Chronicle that online threats had arrived in force shortly after that. Some were racial in nature.

At the same time the president of the university, Michael K. Young, issued a statement in which he appeared to rebuke the remarks made by Mr. Curry...

In his column on Curry , Dreher said, "I wonder what it is like to be a white student studying under Dr. Curry in his classroom?" Imagine worrying for the safety of white people at Texas Fucking A&M!

Curry got to keep his job, but only after he "issued a new statement apologizing for how his remarks had been received," the Chronicle reported:

"For those of you who considered my comments disparaging to certain types of scholarly work or in any way impinging upon the centrality of academic freedom at this university," [Curry] wrote, "I regret any contributions that I may have made to misunderstandings in this case, including to those whose work is contextualized by understanding the historical perspectives of events that have often been ignored."

Sound like show-trial stuff, doesn't it -- the kind of show-trial stuff Dreher is always claiming liberals are bringing to the United States . (Though he doesn't seem to mind when Vladimir Putin does it .) Yet I never heard him or any conservative lament this shameful episode.

Bottom line: Most of us who work for a living are at-will employees -- basically, the boss can fire us if they don't like the way we look at them or if they don't like what they discover we feel about the events of the day. There are some protections -- for example, if you and your work buddies are talking about work stuff and the boss gets mad, then that may be considered " concerted activity " and protected -- but as Lisa Guerin wrote at the nolo.com legal advice site, "political views aren't covered by [Civil Rights] laws and the laws of most states. This means employers are free to consider political views and affiliations in making job decisions."

Basically we employees have no free speech rights at all. But people like Stephens and Dreher and Megan McArdle who cry over how "the mob" is coming after them don't care about us. For window dressing, they'll glom onto rare cases where a non-rich, non-credentialed guy gets in trouble for allegedly racist behavior that he didn't really do -- Emmanuel Cafferty, it's your time to shine ! -- but their real concern isn't Cafferty's "free speech" or that of any other peon, it's their own miserable careers.

Because they know people are starting to talk back to them. It's not like back in the day when Peggy Noonan and George F. Will mounted their high horses and vomited their wisdom onto the rabble and maybe some balled-up Letters to the Editor might feebly come back at them but that was it. Now commoners can go viral! People making fun of Bari Weiss might reach as many people as Bari Weiss herself! The cancel culture criers may have wingnut welfare sinecures, cushy pundit gigs, and the respect of all the Right People, but they can't help but notice that when they glide out onto their balconies and emit their received opinions a lot of people -- mostly younger, and thoroughly hip that these worthies are apologists for the austerity debt servitude to which they've been condemned for life -- are not just coughing "bullshit" into their fists, but shouting it out loud.

This, the cancel culture criers cry, is the mob! It threatens civilization!

Yet they cannot force us to pay attention or buy their shitty opinions. The sound and smell of mockery disturbs their al fresco luncheons and weddings at the Arboretum . So they rush to their writing desks and prepare sternly-worded letters. Their colleagues will read and approve! Also, their editors and relatives! And maybe also some poor dumb kids who know so little of the world that they'll actually mistake these overpaid prats for victims and feel sorry for them.

Well, you've already heard what I think about it elsewhere: Protect workers' free speech rights for real, I say -- let them be as woke, as racist, or as obstreperous they wish off the clock and the boss can't squawk. The cancel culture criers won't go for that deal; in fact such a thing has never entered their minds -- free-speech is to protect their delicate sensibilities, not the livelihoods of people who work with their hands!

And in the new tradition of the working class asking for more rather than less of what they want, I'll go further: I give not one flaming fuck if these assholes suffocate under a barrage of rotten tomatoes, and I think Brad in Fast Times at Ridgemont High got a raw deal from All-American Burger and should be reinstated with full back pay: That customer deserved to have 100% of his ass kicked!

likbez 08.01.20 at 7:00 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

@Jason Weidner 07.31.20 at 9:29 pm (73)

This is a brilliant response to the idea of "cancel culture": https://edroso.substack.com/p/cancel-culture-my-ass?fbclid=IwAR30mrg9sIVo6RqRbNDHGgNIcj2OgELyb9mg_mydF12a-5d5Ht6q9oCkWk4

Examples given show quite clearly that "cancel mob" is an established, albeit somewhat dirty, form of the political struggle. Often the reasons behind the particular attack of the "cancel mob" is far from charitable. Orwell's 1984 describes an extreme form of the same.

[Aug 02, 2020] "Racism quotient" and "exemplary cancellation" make me sound like taken directly from Orwell

Highly recommended!
there is a difference between Prudent speech and Free speech.
When punishment for voicing dissenting opinion includes physical assault it doesn't much matter how rare the actual instances of physical violence are
Notable quotes:
"... Of course, it is not (yet) possible to determine the exact racism quotient of each individual, so exemplary cancellations are the means of influencing individuals to modify their behaviour. I appreciate that "racism quotient" and "exemplary cancellation" make me sound like one of those right-wing Orwell cosplayers, but I can't think of a better way of putting it. ..."
Aug 02, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Cancel culture, I suggest, matters most when our ability to access diverse opinion is curtailed as a result of speech policing, either by algorithms or individuals, especially in the run-up to an election. Self-censorship in universities is equally important. When Chomsky signed the Harper's letter, he reported he receive a great many letters of support from academics terrified of being cancelled.


rjk 08.01.20 at 10:44 am (
86
)

We're coming out of a certain kind of (neo-)liberal consensus in which politics was viewed as a mostly technocratic business of setting laws in the abstract. That perspective was sufficient to get some things right: many blatantly discriminatory laws have been repealed across the Western world over the last 70 years. But it turns out that racism and sexism don't require explicitly racist or sexist laws on the books: they can subvert neutral-seeming laws to their purposes, and can bias the behaviour of individuals and networks of individuals to the extent that widespread discrimination can continue...

The other strand focuses on the moral reform of white people. It proceeds from the assumption that the law has only a limited role in moral conduct, and that the evidence of the last 50 years is that removing explicitly racist legislation, and even legislating anti-racism (e.g. affirmative action) isn't enough to secure good outcomes. If your individual acts have the practical outcome of furthering or defending racist interests, then you are part of the problem. The demands here are much harder to define. Rather than focusing all attention on a specific reform that can be enacted in a single moment by an executive or legislature, attention is cast broadly across all actions occurring at all times by all people. Of course, it is not (yet) possible to determine the exact racism quotient of each individual, so exemplary cancellations are the means of influencing individuals to modify their behaviour. I appreciate that "racism quotient" and "exemplary cancellation" make me sound like one of those right-wing Orwell cosplayers, but I can't think of a better way of putting it.

All of this intersects with the modern reality of social media: things that "normal" people might be able to say in a bar or a cafe discussion with friends or colleagues are now part of the permanent public record, searchable and viewable by millions. Social media provides excellent tools both for taking things out of context and re-contextualising them. Secondly, "brands" or organisations are now direct participants, and can be subject to public pressure in much more visible ways than previously.

kinnikinick 07.31.20 at 3:36 pm ( 6 )

@49 Andres "fake populism as pandemics"

I'm a big fan of biological metaphors; they keep one humble about the inevitability of unintended consequences. The metaphor gets strained when it moves from external viral spread to internal immune response, though; in the former, we're assuming a team of informed medical professionals, seeing things from the "outside" with the authority implied by specialized and objective knowledge. I'm not sure who these people correspond to in the world we inhabit, where even the real doctors have trouble getting traction.
The internal immune response feels like a closer match, as surface protein markers are proxies for identity, microbes display "false flags" to avoid detection, and auto-immune and inflammatory responses often do more damage than the threats they're reacting to.
On both levels of metaphor, it seems clear that the structure of social media is explicitly designed to create and exploit "virality"; we need to rethink what this means for us.
More: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/29/social-distancing-social-media-facebook-misinformation

L2P 07.31.20 at 5:05 pm ( 67 )

" No one seems to reflect here that silencing people because of their politics is historically and usually the preserve of those with the power to silence – that is, conservatives. Be careful what you wish for."

And here we have the cancel culture "problem" in a nutshell. The complaint isn't that Musgrave lost a job or is literally forbidden to speak or even lacks reasonable ways to be heard. The complaint is that blog found him distasteful and doesn't want him commenting there. This isn't a right to speak issue, it's a demand to be heard issue.

Far worse things are done to BLM protesters. Being denied a blog posting? Try being denied the right to even assemble, and shot with tear gas and rubber bullets. That didn't stop me from protesting. Being denied a blog post and hearing some harsh criticism is nothing.

engels 07.31.20 at 5:37 pm ( 68 )

I broadly agree with the points about free speech in the post, and Waldron's arguments, but I don't think it's right to equate the debate about "cancel culture" with these issues.

John's understanding of it is even more dismissive (and imo off-target).

being cancelled means having to read rude things said about you by lots of unimportant people on Twitter, as opposed to engaging in caustic, but civilised, debate with your peers in the pages of little magazines

It seems to me cancel culture is both an ethos and a tactic. The ethos involves a zero tolerance approach to certain ethical transgressions (eg overt expressions of racism) and an absolute devaluation of people who commit them. The tactic is based around achieving cultural change by exerting collective pressure as consumers on managers of corporations (or corporation-like entities, like universities) to terminate transgressors, as a way of incentivising other emplpoyees to fall into line. It seems to me to be heavily shaped by and dependent on American neoliberalism as the ethos is both punitive and consumerist and the tactic is dependent on at-will employment and managers' deference to customer sentiment, and while most of its current "successes" have been broadly of the Left there's no reason to assume that will be the case in future. I think it does represent a weakening of liberal norms of freedom of discussion and I think Chomsky's right to be concerned.

ph 07.31.20 at 12:30 pm ( 63 )

Interesting discussion and OP.

There's nothing new about speech codes. Puritans and others refused to employ the Book of Common prayer demanded by the Act of Uniformity of 1662. Scolds and speech police can be found among agnostics, people of faith, and across the political spectrum. Nor is the common sense exercise of good judgement regarding when, or if, to suggest to a friend he, she, or they might like to lose a little weight, or to refrain from pointing out the questionable personal grooming habits of a colleague, client, superior, or family member.

Do I need to declare my beliefs and opinions on every topic freely in every forum. In my own case, no. And there's a big difference between being shunned and being imprisoned, or executed, for mocking the wrong text or monarch.

As I courtesy, I might well avoid broaching topics I'm aware may distress another. But that's a far cry from what's happening in modern old media. Bari Weiss evidently had her privileges to write and edit others freely severely curtailed. And, yes, I'm aware that she had cancellation issues of her own. But forcing James Bennett to resign, who put Ta-Nehisi Coates on the cover of the Atlantic, for permitting a US senator to publish an op-ed in the NYT?

We need a diverse set of values and beliefs, argues Henry, J. S. Mill, and others. The head of Google is just now trying to explain why "Washington Free Beacon, The Blaze, Townhall, The Daily Wire, PragerU, LifeNews, Project Veritas, Judicial Watch, The Resurgent, Breitbart, the Media Research Center, and CNSNews" somehow disappeared from the Google search engine. https://thefederalist.com/2020/07/29/google-ceo-dodges-question-on-blacklisting-of-conservative-websites/

Cancel culture, I suggest, matters most when our ability to access diverse opinion is curtailed as a result of speech policing, either by algorithms or individuals, especially in the run-up to an election. Self-censorship in universities is equally important. When Chomsky signed the Harper's letter, he reported he receive a great many letters of support from academics terrified of being cancelled.

When punishment for voicing dissenting opinion includes physical assault it doesn't much matter how rare the actual instances of physical violence are. I spoke with an American colleague employed this week who stated that any dating which is going on among staff and adults of one kind or another on campus is done in secrecy, if at all. Do Democrats feel that they're better off having thrown Al Franken under the bus?

Adhering to speech codes and surrendering to a tiny, highly vocal mob seems a very bad idea to me, and I suspect, many, many others. We don't quite know what to do with the screaming adolescents of varying ages, but we wish they'd stop yelling.

The good news is that we live in societies, for the most part, which permit the upset to act out freely. I wonder whether the folks currently trying to burn down the US federal courthouse in Portland believe their rights to privacy must be respected? The double-standards on display roil what should be reasonable debate. It should be possible to disagree civilly with anyone.

Trying to get someone fired, or shunned, for any reason, is about the saddest waste of energy and time I can imagine – I mean, talk about a poverty of imagination. It's happened to me here on occasion. When the pitchforks come out, I know my opponents 'got nothing.' That's small solace, however, when watching those I'd prefer to respect do their best to stifle debate.

Relative to other nations, we enjoy liberties others can only dream of. These liberties are worth protecting. I'm not sure we're doing such a good job.

[Aug 02, 2020] 'Cultural Marxism' isn't political Marxism. It is a method a tool if you wish used by the oligarchs who wield true power to 'divide and rule' (not least by deflecting attention from the yawning gulf that lies between their own excesses and monstrous wealth on the one hand, and the increasing indigence of the great mass of people on the other)

Highly recommended!
Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

GeeBee , says: August 1, 2020 at 7:42 am GMT

The government will eventually be Marxist

With all due respect, you – like the great majority of people – fail to understand the dynamics involved. 'Cultural Marxism' isn't political Marxism. It is a method – a tool if you wish – used by the oligarchs who wield true power to 'divide and rule' (not least by deflecting attention from the yawning gulf that lies between their own excesses and monstrous wealth on the one hand, and the increasing indigence of the great mass of people on the other). It is called 'Cultural Marxism' purely because it uses Marx's technique of dividing society into a small clique of 'oppressors' and 'the masses' who are 'oppressed'. Marx, of course, had the capitalists in mind when he wrote of the oppressors, and the proletariat naturally were the oppressed.

Today, the last thing the oligarchs desire is a unified and organised proletariat with 'agency': that would constitute a serious threat to their existence. Instead, they divide the sacred role of 'the oppressed' into a multitude of more or less fissiparous groups, whom we are all aware of, but of which those comprising 'BAME' are perhaps the most useful. Others include feminists (more or less all young women in today's world), homos, those suffering from sexual dysphoria (that's 'trannies' in today's 'Newspeak') and the disabled.

These groups will never discover any common ground between themselves, and thus will fight among themselves for the scraps thrown from the oligarchs' table. No danger there, and that's just how they planned it. As for the 'oppressors', there are no prizes for guessing that they are White, heterosexual (i.e. normal) males.

So much for your fear of actual Marxism. As for 'the government', it is important to understand that no government in today's West is invested with any meaningful power. Not only are they not 'sovereign' but they are little more than puppets, dancing to their masters' dismal tunes.

Who are these oligarchs – these Masters of the Universe? That's a story for another day. But you won't go far wrong if you place the word 'oligarchs' in triple parentheses

[Aug 01, 2020] Everyone working in academia, the non-profit sector, and journalism is aware that there are many ideas broadly held which people hesitate to say because they are worried a group of their strident colleagues will try to destroy their career

Highly recommended!
Free speech is not a dimmer switch, its on or its off – you can’t have it both ways. Cancel culture is a reincarnation of Stalinist purges, or McCarthyism.
Notable quotes:
"... The sort of "lose your job for engaging in speech" thing happens in other contexts, too. Companies routinely censor their employees' speech in ways small and large, and this includes completely non-political speech about purely technical matters. ..."
"... the government severely punishes employers whose employees speak in ways the government/the identity politics left (they are working together here) dislike, and so effectively outsources speech regulation to employers. ..."
"... The concern about cancel culture is in my observation largely driven by this dynamic: the frequent tagline right-leaning speech is violence, while left-leaning violence is speech" reflects the fact that getting some particular approach to a topic defined as "discrimination" ..."
"... Think about Rebecca Long-Bailey's recent demotion from the Labour shadow cabinet over a tweet she made. Last month, she retweeted a newspaper interview with prominent Labour-supporting actress Maxine Peake, calling her an "absolute diamond." The interview included an inaccurate claim from Peake ( based apparently on information in a Morning Star article, and which Peake subsequently withdrew when she was challenged on it) that the specific knee restraint used on George Floyd had been taught to Mineapolis police by Israeli secret police consultants. ..."
"... Long-Bailey lost the Shadow Education role, and her political career is likely over, ostensibly on the basis of this one tweet. ..."
"... The RLB case also throws a spotlight on language. The various rationales for cancelling listed in the OP -- racism, transphobia, or (in this case) antisemitism -- are rarely clear-cut in real-world instances ..."
"... This, I would suggest, is also related to power. The purpose of an accusation like this is to demonstrate the power or dominance of the cancelling agent, and to intimidate others by example. ..."
"... These concepts are capable of apparently endless linguistic elasticity. Indeed, it's when they're at their most extended or diffuse, that these grounds for cancellation seem to have the most signifying power. ..."
"... Everyone working in academia, the non-profit sector, and journalism is aware that there are many ideas broadly held which people hesitate to say because they are worried a group of their strident colleagues will try to destroy their career ..."
"... it is unquestionable that "canceling from the left" is a bigger threat from the right. ..."
"... Remember that the academic institutions in which controversies about 'cancel culture' exist are bourgeois institutions, pretty much like corporations. It is a world of authority, hierarchy, and carefully controlled behavior. ..."
"... As the power and prestige of the bourgeoisie shrink, the inmates of that particular cage will fight more fiercely for what's left. One way of fighting is to get someone's job by turning up something disreputable, such as the use of an apparently racist epithet. ..."
"... It seems to me that "cancel culture" is based on the infosphere's equivalent of the technological progress that now allows a small group of determined people with AK-47s to render a region ungovernable. ..."
"... The arms dealers don't care – they sell to everyone, and the more ammunition they sell, the more you'll need. ..."
"... Whether justified or not, a significant minority of Americans, across multiple lines, are fearful that their political opinions could endanger their jobs; this suggests the problem might be more than just people getting "bent-out-of-shape that they can't be raging bigots" . ..."
"... Purveyors of what-aboutery will probably appreciate that Steve Salita now makes a living as a bus driver ; I have no reason to think that the Harpers Letter signers (even Bari Weiss) would regard that situation as any more just than other examples. ..."
"... My position on this is that individuals shouldn't face public opprobrium unless there is 1) Clear and convincing evidence they are motivated by fundamentally malicious ends and 2) They have no remorse about it. Even when these conditions are met the opprobrium they receive should be clearly proportional to the wrong they've committed. We should relax these rules somewhat for celebrities, and a great deal for politicians, who have implicitly agreed to face criticism as a consequence of their role. ..."
"... In that testing sense, cancel culture can be seen as a type of supplementary social defense mechanism compared to the standard immune system response of trying to prove the political cult wrong in the eyes of unbiased observers; in too many historical cases, the immune response is weakened by factors such as adverse economic or geopolitical circumstances (e.g., a lost war) ..."
"... Cancel culture then works as (a) tracking and removal in the form of boycotts and ostracism, in that the infected cells(individuals) are removed from positions of influence, and (b) as a type of lockdown measure (censorship) that is warranted when the infected individual is transmitting patently false versions of current events or past history, and is starting to infect others around him. ..."
"... As to Peter's argument that cancel culture disfigures the left, I would add that the only cases where the radical left has seized power took place in the brutal aftermath of right-wing pandemics: e.g. the hyper-nationalism that led Germany and Russia among others to war in 1914, or KMT/warlord attempts to violently and brutally suppress peasant demands in the case of China. In such situations, it is no surprise that the radical left becomes infected with political cultism. ..."
"... Between those two positions there's a large space where people get harassed, threatened, ostracised and silenced for minor slips, reasonable disagreements, details that were lost in translation and failures to recite the correct thought-terminating cliches with sufficient conviction – basically, things that don't threaten anyone else's ability to speak. ..."
Aug 01, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

J-D 07.30.20 at 9:16 am

When I read this, I got the idea that there'd been a related discussion here at Crooked Timber before, and indeed there was!

https://crookedtimber.org/2016/08/27/the-university-of-chicago-is-nothing-more-and-nothing-less-than-a-complex-of-safe-spaces/


Tim H. 07.30.20 at 11:21 am ( 8 )

Racism from my perspective, looks like an unwillingness to evaluate people on an individual basis, whether it's from sloth, contempt or disability and it's a terrible look for an intellectual.

CHETAN R MURTHY 07.30.20 at 1:08 pm ( 11 )

JQ @ 1: The sort of "lose your job for engaging in speech" thing happens in other contexts, too. Companies routinely censor their employees' speech in ways small and large, and this includes completely non-political speech about purely technical matters.

I know of a case where a famous chip designer got up at a conference and said "none of you people talking about Itanium [Intel's ia64 chip that was the future of microprocessors once upon a time] actually think it's going to succeed -- why don't any of you admit it?"

Within moments he was covered in PR and lawyers basically taping his mouth shut. When I worked in global enterprise IT, I didn't post blog comments (neither political nor technical) b/c it was clear that there would always be the possibility of career repercussions for making statements that would have post-hoc repercussions

Companies censor their employees speech before-and-after-the-fact for lots of reasons, sometimes political. This is a fact of life, and you're very right to point out that if people actually cared about this [as opposed to getting bent-out-of-shape that they can't be raging bigots] they'd support strong unions.

SamChevre 07.30.20 at 1:25 pm ( 13 )

This is mainly a problem in the US because of employment at will.

Employment at will may contribute, but a larger part of the problem is that the US laws around free speech are odd. Technically, the government cannot regulate speech at all (with very limited exceptions, not relevant here.) In practice, though, what has happened (via so-called "antidiscrimination" law) is that the government severely punishes employers whose employees speak in ways the government/the identity politics left (they are working together here) dislike, and so effectively outsources speech regulation to employers.

The concern about cancel culture is in my observation largely driven by this dynamic: the frequent tagline right-leaning speech is violence, while left-leaning violence is speech" reflects the fact that getting some particular approach to a topic defined as "discrimination" means that it is severely punished by government, at second-hand.

Musicismath 07.30.20 at 1:42 pm (16 )

One thing that might be useful is distinguishing "cancel culture" as a phenomenon from cancellation more narrowly defined as a tactic . So many of the discussions I've seen recently about the issue seem content to operate at the big-picture level, asking whether such a thing as cancel culture even exists (the New Statesman approach) or (if it does) whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. Focussing in on actual cases, and thinking about who (precisely) benefits from individual instances, might instead help us think about the specific function of cancel culture, and the role that language plays in it.

Think about Rebecca Long-Bailey's recent demotion from the Labour shadow cabinet over a tweet she made. Last month, she retweeted a newspaper interview with prominent Labour-supporting actress Maxine Peake, calling her an "absolute diamond." The interview included an inaccurate claim from Peake ( based apparently on information in a Morning Star article, and which Peake subsequently withdrew when she was challenged on it) that the specific knee restraint used on George Floyd had been taught to Mineapolis police by Israeli secret police consultants.

Long-Bailey lost the Shadow Education role, and her political career is likely over, ostensibly on the basis of this one tweet. This, to me, is a fairly clear instance of cancellation at work, but it would be inadequate to leave it at that. The complete lack of commensurability between the transgression and the outcome would be incomprehensible without asking how RLB's cancellation fits into Labour Party politics; that is, the function of cancelling in this specific instance. Absolutely no one I know thinks this tweet proved Long-Bailey was genuinely antisemitic, or that it was even the primary reason she was demoted. Instead, it's been broadly (and, I think, correctly) interpreted as a signal from the Starmer wing of the party that the Corbyn faction with which RLB is aligned has no future in Labour. Cancellation, in this case, is a naked piece of power politics: a way of getting political opponents out of the way.

The RLB case also throws a spotlight on language. The various rationales for cancelling listed in the OP -- racism, transphobia, or (in this case) antisemitism -- are rarely clear-cut in real-world instances. In fact, there's a kind of homeopathic logic at work, where the more tendentious the attribution is, the more cut-through it often seems to have.

This, I would suggest, is also related to power. The purpose of an accusation like this is to demonstrate the power or dominance of the cancelling agent, and to intimidate others by example. ("If RLB got cancelled for this , then how little would I need to do to suffer the same fate?") As Jonathan Dollimore has pointed out, there's a certain in-built "linguistic imprecision" in many of the terms that cancellation depends on, and it's from that imprecision that the capacity for intimidation or fear generation stems from.

These concepts are capable of apparently endless linguistic elasticity. Indeed, it's when they're at their most extended or diffuse, that these grounds for cancellation seem to have the most signifying power.

Anon For Obvious Reasons 07.30.20 at 5:31 pm (
23
)

I find this deliberately misleading. "Cancel culture" in practice refers to the idea that you shouldn't be ostracized by your peers, friends, or professional field for holding and voicing ideas that are essentially mainstream.

Everyone thinks that if you insult someone with a racial slur, there should be consequences.

But after that, what should be the proper "bound" that discourse should not cross? I would argue that "any idea which can be studied rigorously" and "any idea held by a reasonably broad cross section of society" is clearly within the bound, and we do ourselves a huge disservice by refusing to countenance ideas in those sets. Further, as a commenter above notes, most people in the world are not left-wing activists. Setting the norm that you shouldn't be friends with/work with/hire/buy from people with ideas you find acceptable, but which are not extreme, will be and has been a disaster for gay people, atheists, and many others.

Everyone working in academia, the non-profit sector, and journalism is aware that there are many ideas broadly held which people hesitate to say because they are worried a group of their strident colleagues will try to destroy their career. The Shor example comes up because, as Matt Yglesias pointed out yesterday, it is so obviously ridiculous to lose your job for linking to a paper in APSR by a prominent (young, black) political scientist, and yet there really are many people in that world, progressive political campaigns, who would refuse to work with you if you hired Shor . It wasn't just his boss or "workplace protections" – he was kicked out of the listserv that is the main vector for finding jobs in that sphere, and his new employer remains anonymous on purpose!

And yes, this is not just a lefty thing. I'm sure that right-wing media sites, and church groups, and the rest all have similar cases. Trump clearly "canceled" Kaepernick, with the NFL's help. Yet we all agree that is bad! And in the sphere many of us are in, academia, it is unquestionable that "canceling from the left" is a bigger threat from the right.

Anarcissie 07.30.20 at 8:35 pm ( 30 )

Trader Joe 07.30.20 at 2:17 pm @ 17 --
Remember that the academic institutions in which controversies about 'cancel culture' exist are bourgeois institutions, pretty much like corporations. It is a world of authority, hierarchy, and carefully controlled behavior. Obviously there is little expression which may not have adverse consequences.

As the power and prestige of the bourgeoisie shrink, the inmates of that particular cage will fight more fiercely for what's left. One way of fighting is to get someone's job by turning up something disreputable, such as the use of an apparently racist epithet.

This didn't start yesterday. There is a certain spillover into popcult as students emerge from academia into the outer, also declining world and repeat the patterns which they have observed. Numerous stories are available, but I'll spare you. Anyway, Mr. Taibbi has been ranting well, and you can go there.

kinnikinick 07.30.20 at 9:08 pm (
34
)

Surprising to see so little emphasis on social media as the main catalyst. Tribalism is the driver of "engagement" online, and if righteous anger at the out-group gets the clicks, so be it. Consider how any Twitter post can become a tiny gleaming tableau, a battle flag, an allegory of sin or virtue. Context and interpretation cannot be arbiters, and must only serve the self-evident cause of loyalty to one's synthetic tribe. Faith and bad faith merge; that's just optimal use of an app's system of influence. "We shape our tools and then our tools shape us".

It seems to me that "cancel culture" is based on the infosphere's equivalent of the technological progress that now allows a small group of determined people with AK-47s to render a region ungovernable. This does not imply that the region's current government is a good one. It does not imply anything about the group's views, except that debating them is not likely to be on the agenda when they visit your village. There will no doubt be some unpleasant people among the casualties; perhaps that counts as a silver lining.

The arms dealers don't care – they sell to everyone, and the more ammunition they sell, the more you'll need.

Kiwanda 07.31.20 at 12:00 am ( 45 )

John Quiggin:

"But the fact that the same example (David Shor) is cited every time the issue is raised " here is one attempt to tabulate cancellations, at least on the left identitarian side; I am not endorsing any particular example. (NB: Sophie Jane in this case, not Sophie Grace.)

I would be curious about whether Henry approves of the suppression of speech as much as the OP does.

Whether justified or not, a significant minority of Americans, across multiple lines, are fearful that their political opinions could endanger their jobs; this suggests the problem might be more than just people getting "bent-out-of-shape that they can't be raging bigots" .

Purveyors of what-aboutery will probably appreciate that Steve Salita now makes a living as a bus driver ; I have no reason to think that the Harpers Letter signers (even Bari Weiss) would regard that situation as any more just than other examples.

J-D 07.31.20 at 12:05 am ( 46 )

There have been occasions in my life when I have justly and rightly experienced adverse consequences as a result of things that I have said. The proposition that nobody should ever experience adverse consequences as a result of statements made is utterly indefensible.

de Pony Sum 07.31.20 at 2:16 am ( 48 )

Discussions over "cancellation" can make things unnecessarily difficult because it's a very hard term to define- exactly how badly does your public reputation have to be before you are cancelled. All too often debates turn into "well so and so wasn't cancelled because they still have a job/they still have a platform/they're still living their life." (Although your post does avoid this by describing it in terms of an attempt instead of outcome) So to avoid ambiguities that attend "cancellation", I prefer "opprobrium"

My position on this is that individuals shouldn't face public opprobrium unless there is 1) Clear and convincing evidence they are motivated by fundamentally malicious ends and 2) They have no remorse about it. Even when these conditions are met the opprobrium they receive should be clearly proportional to the wrong they've committed. We should relax these rules somewhat for celebrities, and a great deal for politicians, who have implicitly agreed to face criticism as a consequence of their role.

I support this anti-opprobrium position because being shamed publicly is extremely painful. I would rather lose a limb than be widely publicly shamed and reviled, and I think a lot of people feel the same way, so, by the golden rule and all of that

In terms of the position you outline it seems to me that we're going to agree on a lot of issues. Pre-meditated use of racial slurs, for example. But I think there are a lot of instances of cancel culture that we won't agree on.

Here's some people I think have been unfairly subject to vast amounts of pubic opprobrium that some people would call cancel culture:

The p**nstar ( I won't spell it out because I'm at work) who killed herself in part because of the criticism she received when tweeted out (homophobically) that she didn't want to work actors who had done gay male scenes. While criticism would have been appropriate, the torrent of backlash she received was disproportionate.

The woman who went to the Washington Post's cartoonist party in blackface in a very misguided but not malicious attempt to satirize blackface and subsequently lost her job when the Washington post named her in their paper. Natalie Wynn of Contrapoints – for many different things.

Glenn Greenwald over the age difference between him and his partner

Now I'm picking cases of opprobrium that came from the left broadly construed, because I think of this as an internal conversation on the left. However, one thing that frustrates me about this debate is that no one is acknowledging that the right are masters of excessive opprobrium. Some examples:

But maybe my position amounts to a silly apolitical wish that people would be nice to each other, unless there's a very, very good reason not to.

Andres 07.31.20 at 3:07 am ( 49 )

Chris: An interesting case can be made in favor of cancel culture if we start thinking of most political cults including communism, fascism, maga-Trumpism and other types of fake populism as pandemics.

For starters, there is the testing. A positive test result is indicated by

(a) the talking points or analysis are exclusionary toward one or more social groups that are being "othered" based on any common aspect other than political actions that are unethical by some well-defined criterion; the extent indicates the severity of the symptoms, and

(b) the speaker or commenter is repeating someone else's talking points or writing rather than their own attempts to understand the issue; the extent indicates the degree of infectiousness.

In that testing sense, cancel culture can be seen as a type of supplementary social defense mechanism compared to the standard immune system response of trying to prove the political cult wrong in the eyes of unbiased observers; in too many historical cases, the immune response is weakened by factors such as adverse economic or geopolitical circumstances (e.g., a lost war).

Cancel culture then works as (a) tracking and removal in the form of boycotts and ostracism, in that the infected cells(individuals) are removed from positions of influence, and (b) as a type of lockdown measure (censorship) that is warranted when the infected individual is transmitting patently false versions of current events or past history, and is starting to infect others around him.

I am not in complete agreement with the above political cults-as-pandemics theory, but it has some compelling aspects in exceptional situations. Normally, the political-economic-cultural discourse is sufficiently healthy that the standard "cure for bad speech is more good speech" response is sufficient. Commenters above such as Peter Dorman are assuming that the "body politic" has a healthy and undisrupted immune system, but I would argue that is far from being the case right now; the U.S. is afflicted by oligarchic politics, highly unequal and quasi-feudal economics that make appeals to the free market laughable, and by standard of living deterioration in a large number of inner urban areas as well as mid-tier and small cities. So the patient is immuno-compromised and additional interventions are called for.

As to Peter's argument that cancel culture disfigures the left, I would add that the only cases where the radical left has seized power took place in the brutal aftermath of right-wing pandemics: e.g. the hyper-nationalism that led Germany and Russia among others to war in 1914, or KMT/warlord attempts to violently and brutally suppress peasant demands in the case of China. In such situations, it is no surprise that the radical left becomes infected with political cultism.

The important thing is to know when to apply cancel culture (and other resistance measures including mass disobedience) to left-wing movements that are "infected". Post-1989 Eastern Europe is a good example, though now it is right-wing pandemics that are taking hold. That is, cancel culture is not just for Lost Cause racism and proto-fascism, but for all political movements that cross the border into cultism and "othering".

Aubergine 07.31.20 at 3:14 am ( 50 )

CB:

Much of the pushback against cancel culture has come from prominent journalists and intellectuals who perceive every negative reaction from ordinary people on social media as an affront.

I don't think this is fair. As EB says @22:

The (wealthy, high profile) signers of the Harper's letter were not complaining on their own behalf; they were complaining on behalf of the millions of people with no power or money who are also threatened with mobbing if they voice divergent (not racist, not transphobic, not misogyist) views.

JK Rowling is pretty hard to cancel; she has a mountain of cash, and her books are still selling. But people who don't have a mountain of cash are going to look at examples like children's author Gillian Philip, who appears to have been "let go" by her publisher after being targetted by a cancellation campaign for tweeting "#ISTANDWITHROWLING", and think very carefully about whether they can afford to stick their head over the parapet. Personally, I've made a number of comments on Crooked Timber which I don't think were at all outside the bounds of acceptable discourse – certainly not in the same category as the racist speech you refer to (and at least one moderator must have agreed, because they were posted) – but which I simply couldn't risk making without a pseudonym.

I often detect a bit of motte-and-bailey in the anti-anti-cancel culture argument. The outer bailey is something like "cancel culture isn't the problem it's made out to be; it's just how norms of acceptable behaviour are worked out these days"; the motte is "it's okay to deplatform hardcore racists and holocaust deniers".

Between those two positions there's a large space where people get harassed, threatened, ostracised and silenced for minor slips, reasonable disagreements, details that were lost in translation and failures to recite the correct thought-terminating cliches with sufficient conviction – basically, things that don't threaten anyone else's ability to speak. Often this is done with the assistance of the false-flag social media "activist" accounts that right-wing agitators use to pick away at fault lines on the left.

Even when there are no serious real-world consequences this tends to create a narrow, stifling intellectual environment, which is what a large part of the opposition to "cancel culture" is trying to prevent. You do realise, don't you, that Crooked Timber's willingness to acknowledge heterodox views, on certain subjects, from the broad left puts it radically out of step with most of the "progressive" Western Internet?

(There are other parts where cancel-culture tactics are used against different targets, such as apostates and feminists in general (not just the wrong kind of feminists), which hopefully we can all agree is not good.)

Basically, I don't think it's an adequate response to critique of cancel-culture to pick out the cases where relatively mild tactics were used against acceptable targets, without acknowledging that the critique is much broader than that.

[Aug 01, 2020] Great Purge - Wikipedia

Aug 01, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

Great Purge From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Stalin era purges ) Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the 1936–1938 Soviet purge. For political purges in general, see Purge .

Great Purge
Part of Purges of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Vinnycia16.jpg People of Vinnytsia searching for relatives among the exhumed victims of the Vinnytsia massacre , 1943
Location Soviet Union
Date 1936–1938
Target Political opponents, Trotskyists , Red Army leadership, wealthy peasants (so called " kulaks "), ethnic minorities , religious activists and leaders
Attack type
Deaths 681,692 [1] –1,200,000 [2]
(higher estimates overlap with at least 136,520 [3] deaths in the Gulag system)
Perpetrators Joseph Stalin , the NKVD ( Genrikh Yagoda , Nikolai Yezhov , Lavrentiy Beria , Ivan Serov and others), Vyacheslav Molotov , Andrey Vyshinsky , Lazar Kaganovich , Kliment Voroshilov , Robert Eikhe and others
Motive Elimination of political opponents, [4] consolidation of power [5]
Part of a series on the
History of the
Soviet Union
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History [show]
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1927–1953: Stalinist dictatorship [show]
1953–1964: Khrushchev Thaw [show]
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Related topics [show]
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The Great Purge or the Great Terror ( Russian : Большой террор ), also known as the Year of '37 ( 37-ой год , Tridtsat sedmoi god ) and the Yezhovschina ('period of Yezhov '), [6] was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union that occurred from 1936 to 1938. [7] It involved a large-scale repression of wealthy peasants ( kulaks ); genocidal acts against ethnic minorities ; a purge of the Communist Party, government officials , and the Red Army leadership; widespread police surveillance; suspicion of saboteurs; counter-revolutionaries ; imprisonment; and arbitrary executions. [8] Historians estimate the total number of deaths due to Stalinist repression in 1937–38 to be between 680,000 and 1,200,000. [1] [2]

The "Kulak Operation" and the targeting of national minorities were the main components of the Great Terror. Together these two actions accounted for nine-tenths of the death sentences and three-fourths of Gulag prison camp sentences. Of the operations against national minorities, the Polish Operation of the NKVD was the largest one, second only to the "Kulak Operation" in terms of number of victims. According to historian Timothy Snyder , ethnic Poles constituted the largest group of victims in the Great Terror, comprising less than 0.5% of the country's population but comprising 12.5% of those executed. [9]

In the Western world, Robert Conquest 's 1968 book The Great Terror popularized the phrase. Conquest's title itself was an allusion to the period from the French Revolution known as the Reign of Terror (French: la Terreur , 'the Terror'; from June to July 1794: la Grande Terreur , 'the Great Terror'). [10] While Norman Naimark deemed Stalin's 1930s Polish policy " genocidal ," he did not consider the entire Great Purge genocidal because it also targeted political opponents. [11]

[Aug 01, 2020] The ethnic and sex-based groups created and supported by neoliberal oligarchy are constructed so that they can never discover any common ground between themselves, and thus will fight among themselves for the scraps thrown from the oligarchs' table.

Highly recommended!
Aug 01, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 08.01.20 at 6:30 pm

John Quiggin 07.30.20 at 10:17 am (7)

An important problem is the conflation of public opprobrium actual sanctions like being fired. This is mainly a problem in the US because of employment at will

No. The cancel culture is just a new incarnation of the old idea of religious and pseudo-religious (aka Marxist or Maoist) "purges". A new flavor of inquisition so to speak.

The key idea here is the elimination of opposition for a particular Messianic movement, and securing all the positions that can influence public opinion. As well as protection of own (often dominant) position in the structure of political power (this was the idea behind Mao "cultural revolution")

You probably can benefit from studying the mechanic of Stalin purges. Mechanisms are the pretty similar ("History repeats ", etc) .

If opposition to the new brand of Messianism is suppressed under the smoke screen of political correctness, the question arise how this is different from Stalinist ideas of "Intensification of the class struggle under socialism" and Mao Red Guards excesses (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensification_of_the_class_struggle_under_socialism )

You can probably start with "Policing Stalin's Socialism: Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union, 1924-1953 (Yale-Hoover Series on Authoritarian Regimes)"

A new book which waits for its author can be similarly titled "Policing US neoliberalism : Repression and Social Order in the USA 1980-2020") ;-)

Here is one thought-provoking comment from the Web:

GeeBee, August 1, 2020 at 7:42 am GMT

The government will eventually be Marxist

With all due respect, you – like the great majority of people – fail to understand the dynamics involved. 'Cultural Marxism' isn't political Marxism. It is a method – a tool if you wish – used by the oligarchs who wield true power to 'divide and rule' (not least by deflecting attention from the yawning gulf that lies between their own excesses and monstrous wealth on the one hand, and the increasing indigence of the great mass of people on the other).

It is called 'Cultural Marxism' purely because it uses Marx's technique of dividing society into a small clique of 'oppressors' and 'the masses' who are 'oppressed'. Marx, of course, had the capitalists in mind when he wrote of the oppressors, and the proletariat naturally were the oppressed.

Today, the last thing the oligarchs desire is a unified and organised proletariat with 'agency': that would constitute a serious threat to their existence. Instead, they divide the sacred role of 'the oppressed' into a multitude of more or less fissiparous groups, whom we are all aware of, but of which those comprising 'BAME' are perhaps the most useful. Others include feminists (more or less all young women in today's world), homos, those suffering from sexual dysphoria (that's 'trannies' in today's 'Newspeak') and the disabled.

These groups will never discover any common ground between themselves, and thus will fight among themselves for the scraps thrown from the oligarchs' table. No danger there, and that's just how they planned it. As for the 'oppressors', there are no prizes for guessing that they are White, heterosexual (i.e. normal) males.

So much for your fear of actual Marxism. As for 'the government', it is important to understand that no government in today's West is invested with any meaningful power.

Not only are they not 'sovereign' but they are little more than puppets, dancing to their masters' dismal tunes.

Who are these oligarchs – these Masters of the Universe? That's a story for another day. But you won't go far wrong if you place the word 'oligarchs' in triple parentheses

[Jul 31, 2020] What's wrong with "cancel culture"

Jul 31, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

"Cancel culture" has recently been in the news as a threat to free speech and open debate, most notably with the publication the other week of that open letter in Harpers. Cancelling is essentially a kind of crowdsourced attempt to boycott and ostracise individuals for their words or actions, sometimes including calls for them they be fired from their jobs or denied contracts and opportunities by media organisations.

In the democratic space of social media this can sometimes tip over into unpleasant mobbing and sometimes bullying. But is "cancelling" people always wrong? Is the practice always an attack on the norms of free speech and open debate? Might cancelling some people be necessary to ensure others get the voice and platform to which they are entitled?

One objection to "cancellation" is that it chills open debate and makes people self-censor.


casmilus 07.30.20 at 7:19 am (no link)

Discrediting and marginalisation already occurred – just look at how David Irving's status changed over the decades (notoriously, the early book about Dresden is cited in "Slaughterhouse 5"). So we've simply accelerated the process in the digital age.

My contrarian take is that "the campus Left" actually had more power in the 70s/80s. In a world with no internet and limited independent publishing and distribution, public meetings were the route to disseminate new ideas, so no-platforming and picketing could have an effect. Look at "The History Man" (the 1981 BBC TV adaptation) for a portrayal of what it was like; all that "soft power" is forgotten because of course Thatcher and Reagan won the grown-up elections. Also note that that was a world where the university as an institution had much less to fear from individual students who might feel discriminated against. In comparison, no one can actually suppress ideas nowadays and even banning books from the libraries leaves them available in the virtual library of websites.

The reality also is that "cancelled" authors acquire new readerships and can move into different circles. Ex-lefties have been doing that since the 1930s: Freida Utley, Eugebe Lyons, James Burnham and of course Whittaker Chambers fell-out and immediately fell-in to bigger audiences.

chrisare 07.30.20 at 9:20 am (no link)

I found this piece unconvincing.

"People can have their voices amplified or silenced by their wealth, connections or prestige but also by other speech which aims to deny them the right to participate on equal terms with others."

It's unclear if this refers to those at the receiving end of speech the author wants to prevent or the speaker deserving of canceling.

"As Jeremy Waldron has argued in his book The Harm in Hate Speech, racist speech aims not just at hurting the feelings of its victims or expressing a view but at reconstituting the public arena of democratic debate and argument so that some people are not seen as forming a proper part of it."

It is very dubious that most slurs "aim" to "reconstitute the public arena of democratic debate and argument so that some people are not seen as forming a proper part of it." Do you have any support for this theory?

"It says that those people are not a part of "us" and that their opinions and arguments have no place as we decide where our country should go."

It's not clear how a racial slur "says" any of this. Perhaps the author is reading subtext?

"Racist speech by some also legitimizes and emboldens racist speech and opinion by others, telling bigots that they are not alone, that others think as they do, and strengthens an ideal of exclusive community based on ethnic or racial lines."

On this point it's worth quoting Henry Louis Gates Jr: "Why would you entrust authority with enlarged powers of regulating the speech of unpopular minorities unless you were confident that unpopular minorities would be racists, not blacks?"

"Anti-racist speech, has the opposite effect, it affirms a view that those targeted by the racists, be they black, or Asian, or Muslim, are full members of the democratic political community in good standing with as good a right to a say as anyone.

"It also reinforces a social norm about what may not be said, telling those who are tempted to stigmatize migrants or minorities that they will pay a price for doing so."

It also creates a precedent for excluding views by shaming based on current sentiment. Only someone oblivious to history wouldn't see the danger in that precedent.

"The role that speech plays in defining who is and isn't included in our vision of democratic community can have powerful real-world consequence."

Who to include as part of your community is an important issue that should be discussed openly by all of society. What you're trying to do is to elevate advance your position without having to defend it.

"One way to understand the ease with which the victims of the Windrush scandal could lose their jobs, their homes, their liberty or be deported to far-away countries, is that in the public imaginary that is partly constituted by speech, many people did not see them as proper members with equal standing to others."

Were we to do away with everything that had a downside we would have very little good. Therefore arguing that something has potential downsides is not sufficient to establish that it's not good. Can you argue that free expression and debate by citizenry on the most important issues facing a democratic nation is not good, besides by arguing that there might be some cost?

"Racist speech is just one example that makes clear how the practice of open discussion isn't simply a matter of unfettered conversation among people who are already present but also involves choices about who gets to speak and involves sensitivity to the way that speech by some has the effect either of depriving others of a voice or of making it impossible for others to hear what they say. A society which is full of highly sexualized messages about women is also a society in which it is harder for women to get a hearing about sexual violence and income inequality. A society where trans people are the objects of constant ridicule, or are represented as dangerous, is one in which it is also more difficult for them to argue for their rights and have their interests taken seriously."

This implies that the intolerant are the powerful group capable of suppressing minorities with their speech alone. This is disproven by the very fact that anti-racist etc speech is so successful. The success of antiracist codes of social conduct is because the group exercising them is the powerful group. This very fact implies their obsolesce.

"Much of the pushback against cancel culture has come from prominent journalists and intellectuals who perceive every negative reaction from ordinary people on social media as an affront. Ironically, while being quick to take offence themselves they demand that those less powerful than they are should toughen up and not be such "snowflakes"."

This is an uninformed or dishonest characterization of the pushback against cancel culture. The pushback is due to intolerant enforcement of ideological conformity and homogeneity through threat to job and reputation. And no this is not only ideological conformity in that you can't say overtly racist things; it's ideological conformity in that you can't criticize BLM or cite scientific literature on biological differences between the sexes without risk.

"But if we take seriously the idea that speech can silence speech or make it unhearable, then a concern with whether the heckling of cancel culture makes it harder to say some things also has to take account of the fact that saying those very things can make it harder for other voices to be heard."

This piece hasn't given any reason to make us take seriously the idea that speech against one group can silence another, other then through threat to livelihood or reputation. It's not clear though how for example referencing scientific but currently unpopular claims, criticizing a social movement, having a narrower view on who should be considered a citizen or even using a slur silences people.

John Quiggin 07.30.20 at 10:17 am ( 7 )

An important problem is the conflation of public opprobrium actual sanctions like being fired. This is mainly a problem in the US because of employment at will. In most countries, unfair dismissal laws would protect people being sacked because of their political views, unless they related directly to job performance.
https://crookedtimber.org/2018/03/04/free-speech-unfair-dismissal-and-unions/

But the fact that the same example (David Shor) is cited every time the issue is raised suggests that losing your job for breaching left orthodoxy not a major problem in the US, or at least that other possible examples are much less sympathetic (racists fired from Fox, for example).

Mostly, AFAICT, being cancelled means having to read rude things said about you by lots of unimportant people on Twitter, as opposed to engaging in caustic, but civilised, debate with your peers in the pages of little magazines.

[Jul 30, 2020] Financial capitalism is bloodthirstily by definition as it needs new markets. It fuels wars.

Jul 29, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

steven t johnson 07.29.20 at 3:14 pm (50 )

PS likbez@46 reminded me of a line from the movie Reds. Warren Beatty's John Reed spoke of people who "though Karl Marx wrote a good antitrust law." This was not a favorable comment. The confusion of socialism and what might be called populism is quite, quite old. Jack London's The Iron Heel has its hero pointing out even before the Great (Class) War that the normal operations of capitalism, concentration and centralization, destroyed the middle class paradise of equal competition. It wasn't conspiracies.

likbez 07.29.20 at 3:30 pm

@steven t johnson 07.29.20 at 3:14 pm (51)

Jack London's The Iron Heel has its hero pointing out even before the Great (Class) War that the normal operations of capitalism, concentration and centralization, destroyed the middle class paradise of equal competition.

I think the size of the USA military budget by itself means the doom for the middle class, even without referring to famous Jack London book (The Iron Heel is cited by George Orwell 's biographer Michael Shelden as having influenced Orwell's most famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.).

Wall Street and MIC (especially intelligence agencies ; Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer) are joined at the hip. And they both fully control MSM. As Jack London aptly said:

"The press of the United States? It is a parasitic growth that battens on the capitalist class. Its function is to serve the established by moulding public opinion, and right well it serves it."
― Jack London, The Iron Heel

Financial capitalism is bloodthirstily by definition as it needs new markets. It fuels wars. In a sense, Bolton is the symbol of financial capitalism foreign policy.

It is important to understand that finance capitalism creates positive feedback loop in the economy increasing instability of the system. So bubbles are immanent feature of finance capitalism, not some exception or the result of excessive greed.

[Jul 29, 2020] America's Own Color Revolution by F. William Engdahl

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Color Revolution is the term used to describe a series of remarkably effective CIA-led regime change operations using techniques developed by the RAND Corporation, "democracy" NGOs and other groups since the 1980's. They were used in crude form to bring down the Polish communist regime in the late 1980s. From there the techniques were refined and used, along with heavy bribes, to topple the Gorbachev regime in the Soviet Union. For anyone who has studied those models closely, it is clear that the protests against police violence led by amorphous organizations with names like Black Lives Matter or Antifa are more than purely spontaneous moral outrage. Hundreds of thousands of young Americans are being used as a battering ram to not only topple a US President, but in the process, the very structures of the US Constitutional order. ..."
"... Alicia Garza of BLM is also a board member or executive of five different Freedom Road front groups including 2011 Board chair of Right to the City Alliance, Board member of School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), Forward Together and Special Projects director of National Domestic Workers Alliance. ..."
"... The Right to the City Alliance got $6.5 million between 2011 and 2014 from a number of very established tax-exempt foundations including the Ford Foundation ($1.9 million), from both of George Soros's major tax-exempts–Open Society Foundations, and the Foundation to Promote Open Society for $1.3 million. Also the cornflake-tied Kellogg Foundation $250,000, and curiously , Ben & Jerry's Foundation (ice cream) for $30,000. ..."
"... That front since 2009 received $1.3 million from the Ford Foundation, as well as $600,000 from the Soros foundations and again, Ben & Jerry's ($50,000). ..."
"... And Garza's SOUL, which claimed to have trained 712 "organizers" in 2014, when she co-founded Black Lives Matter, got $210,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation and another $255,000 from the Heinz Foundation (ketchup and John Kerry family) among others. ..."
"... Nigeria-born BLM co-founder Opal Tometi likewise comes from the network of FRSO. Tometi headed the FRSO's Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Curiously with a "staff" of two it got money from major foundations including the Kellogg Foundation for $75,000 and Soros foundations for $100,000, and, again, Ben & Jerry's ($10,000). Tometi got $60,000 in 2014 to direct the group . ..."
"... The BLMF identified itself as being created by top foundations including in addition to the Ford Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation and the Soros Open Society Foundations. They described their role: "The BLMF provides grants, movement building resources, and technical assistance to organizations working advance the leadership and vision of young, Black, queer, feminists and immigrant leaders who are shaping and leading a national conversation about criminalization, policing and race in America." ..."
"... Notably, when we click on the website of M4BL, under their donate button we learn that the donations will go to something called ActBlue Charities. ActBlue facilitates donations to "democrats and progressives." As of May 21, ActBlue had given $119 million to the campaign of Joe Biden. ..."
"... What is clear from only this account of the crucial role of big money foundations behind protest groups such as Black lives Matter is that there is a far more complex agenda driving the protests now destabilizing cities across America. ..."
"... The role of tax-exempt foundations tied to the fortunes of the greatest industrial and financial companies such as Rockefeller, Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett and Soros says that there is a far deeper and far more sinister agenda to current disturbances than spontaneous outrage would suggest. ..."
Jun 17, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

Color Revolution is the term used to describe a series of remarkably effective CIA-led regime change operations using techniques developed by the RAND Corporation, "democracy" NGOs and other groups since the 1980's. They were used in crude form to bring down the Polish communist regime in the late 1980s. From there the techniques were refined and used, along with heavy bribes, to topple the Gorbachev regime in the Soviet Union. For anyone who has studied those models closely, it is clear that the protests against police violence led by amorphous organizations with names like Black Lives Matter or Antifa are more than purely spontaneous moral outrage. Hundreds of thousands of young Americans are being used as a battering ram to not only topple a US President, but in the process, the very structures of the US Constitutional order.

If we step back from the immediate issue of videos showing a white Minneapolis policeman pressing his knee on the neck of a black man, George Floyd , and look at what has taken place across the nation since then, it is clear that certain organizations or groups were well-prepared to instrumentalize the horrific event for their own agenda.

The protests since May 25 have often begun peacefully only to be taken over by well-trained violent actors. Two organizations have appeared regularly in connection with the violent protests -- Black Lives Matter and Antifa (USA). Videos show well-equipped protesters dressed uniformly in black and masked (not for coronavirus to be sure), vandalizing police cars, burning police stations, smashing store windows with pipes or baseball bats. Use of Twitter and other social media to coordinate "hit-and-run" swarming strikes of protest mobs is evident.

What has unfolded since the Minneapolis trigger event has been compared to the wave of primarily black ghetto protest riots in 1968. I lived through those events in 1968 and what is unfolding today is far different. It is better likened to the Yugoslav color revolution that toppled Milosevic in 2000.

Gene Sharp: Template for Regime Overthrow

In the year 2000 the US State Department, aided by its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and select CIA operatives, began secretly training a group of Belgrade university students led by a student group that was called Otpor! (Resistance!). The NED and its various offshoots was created in the 1980's by CIA head Bill Casey as a covert CIA tool to overthrow specific regimes around the world under the cover of a human rights NGO. In fact, they get their money from Congress and from USAID.

In the Serb Otpor! destabilization of 2000, the NED and US Ambassador Richard Miles in Belgrade selected and trained a group of several dozen students, led by Srđa Popović, using the handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy, translated to Serbian, of the late Gene Sharp and his Albert Einstein Institution. In a post mortem on the Serb events, the Washington Post wrote, "US-funded consultants played a crucial role behind the scenes in virtually every facet of the anti-drive, running tracking polls, training thousands of opposition activists and helping to organize a vitally important parallel vote count. US taxpayers paid for 5,000 cans of spray paint used by student activists to scrawl anti-Milošević graffiti on walls across Serbia."

Trained squads of activists were deployed in protests to take over city blocks with the aid of 'intelligence helmet' video screens that give them an instantaneous overview of their environment. Bands of youth converging on targeted intersections in constant dialogue on cell phones, would then overwhelm police. The US government spent some $41 million on the operation. Student groups were secretly trained in the Sharp handbook techniques of staging protests that mocked the authority of the ruling police, showing them to be clumsy and impotent against the youthful protesters. Professionals from the CIA and US State Department guided them behind the scenes.

The Color Revolution Otpor! model was refined and deployed in 2004 as the Ukraine Orange Revolution with logo and color theme scarves, and in 2003 in Georgia as the Rose Revolution. Later Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the template to launch the Arab Spring. In all cases the NED was involved with other NGOs including the Soros Foundations.

After defeating Milosevic, Popovic went on to establish a global color revolution training center, CANVAS, a kind of for-profit business consultancy for revolution, and was personally present in New York working reportedly with Antifa during the Occupy Wall Street where also Soros money was reported.

Antifa and BLM

The protests, riots, violent and non-violent actions sweeping across the United States since May 25, including an assault on the gates of the White House, begin to make sense when we understand the CIA's Color Revolution playbook.

The impact of the protests would not be possible were it not for a network of local and state political officials inside the Democratic Party lending support to the protesters, even to the point the Democrat Mayor of Seattle ordered police to abandon several blocks in the heart of downtown to occupation by protesters.

In recent years major portions of the Democratic Party across the US have been quietly taken over by what one could call radical left candidates. Often they win with active backing of organizations such as Democratic Socialists of America or Freedom Road Socialist Organizations. In the US House of Representatives the vocal quarter of new representatives around Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib and Minneapolis Representative Ilhan Omar are all members or close to Democratic Socialists of America. Clearly without sympathetic Democrat local officials in key cities, the street protests of organizations such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa would not have such a dramatic impact.

Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the Neoliberal Color Revolution in America

To get a better grasp how serious the present protest movement is we should look at who has been pouring millions into BLM. The Antifa is more difficult owing to its explicit anonymous organization form. However, their online Handbook openly recommends that local Antifa "cells" join up with BLM chapters.

FRSO: Follow the Money

BLM began in 2013 when three activist friends created the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag to protest the allegations of shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin by a white Hispanic block watchman, George Zimmermann. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi were all were connected with and financed by front groups tied to something called Freedom Road Socialist Organization, one of the four largest radical left organizations in the United States formed out of something called New Communist Movement that dissolved in the 1980s.

On June 12, 2020 the Freedom Road Socialist Organization webpage states, "The time is now to join a revolutionary organization! Join Freedom Road Socialist Organization If you have been out in the streets this past few weeks, the odds are good that you've been thinking about the difference between the kind of change this system has to offer, and the kind of change this country needs. Capitalism is a failed system that thrives on exploitation, inequality and oppression. The reactionary and racist Trump administration has made the pandemic worse. The unfolding economic crisis we are experiencing is the worst since the 1930s. Monopoly capitalism is a dying system and we need to help finish it off. And that is exactly what Freedom Road Socialist Organization is working for ."

In short the protests over the alleged police killing of a black man in Minnesota are now being used to call for a revolution against capitalism. FRSO is an umbrella for dozens of amorphous groups including Black Lives Matter or BLM. What is interesting about the self-described Marxist-Leninist roots of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) is not so much their left politics as much as their very establishment funding by a group of well-endowed tax-exempt foundations.

Alicia Garza of BLM is also a board member or executive of five different Freedom Road front groups including 2011 Board chair of Right to the City Alliance, Board member of School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), Forward Together and Special Projects director of National Domestic Workers Alliance.

The Right to the City Alliance got $6.5 million between 2011 and 2014 from a number of very established tax-exempt foundations including the Ford Foundation ($1.9 million), from both of George Soros's major tax-exempts–Open Society Foundations, and the Foundation to Promote Open Society for $1.3 million. Also the cornflake-tied Kellogg Foundation $250,000, and curiously , Ben & Jerry's Foundation (ice cream) for $30,000.

Garza also got major foundation money as Executive Director of the FRSO front, POWER, where Obama former "green jobs czar" Van Jones, a self-described "communist" and "rowdy black nationalist," now with CNN, was on the board. Alicia Garza also chaired the Right to the City Alliance, a network of activist groups opposing urban gentrification. That front since 2009 received $1.3 million from the Ford Foundation, as well as $600,000 from the Soros foundations and again, Ben & Jerry's ($50,000).

And Garza's SOUL, which claimed to have trained 712 "organizers" in 2014, when she co-founded Black Lives Matter, got $210,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation and another $255,000 from the Heinz Foundation (ketchup and John Kerry family) among others. With the Forward Together of FRSO, Garza sat on the board of a "multi-racial organization that works with community leaders and organizations to transform culture and policy to catalyze social change." It officially got $4 million in 2014 revenues and from 2012 and 2014, the organization received a total of $2.9 million from Ford Foundation ($655,000) and other major foundations .

Nigeria-born BLM co-founder Opal Tometi likewise comes from the network of FRSO. Tometi headed the FRSO's Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Curiously with a "staff" of two it got money from major foundations including the Kellogg Foundation for $75,000 and Soros foundations for $100,000, and, again, Ben & Jerry's ($10,000). Tometi got $60,000 in 2014 to direct the group .

The Freedom Road Socialist Organization that is now openly calling for a revolution against capitalism in the wake of the Floyd George killing has another arm, The Advancement Project, which describes itself as "a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization." Its board includes a former Obama US Department of Education Director of Community Outreach and a former Bill Clinton Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. The FRSO Advancement Project in 2013 got millions from major US