Propaganda 2.0

Many of us have had that strange experience where the media is suddenly interested in something about which we either have involvement or have direct knowledge. It is a strange exhilarating thing to see people on TV or at a major media site covering something or someone you know. In most cases, that moment of exhilaration is then followed by a brief moment of confusion, then irritation and then maybe anger. Without fail, no matter how simple the topic, the media will get the important parts wrong in some way.

My first experience with this was in the early days of the internet. This was right around when the first ISP’s were mailing people diskettes with offers to try this new thing called the internet. I was on a sports statistics mailing list and somehow the local news got wind that there was a “secret cable operating on the dark internet.” Apparently, someone showed one of the lunkheads an e-mail from the list and they reacted as if they witnessed black magic. Whatever the cause, it was suddenly a media story.

The person assigned to “report” on this secret cabal on the dark internet went on television and said a bunch of things that were obviously not true. In fact, it was clear to me the person had made the whole thing up. What was fascinating to me is they made up some anecdotes to add color to their tale. In other words, this was not just laziness, but a calculated decision to create a fictional tale, rather than report the news. Given the way TV news works, it also meant everyone at the station was in on the scam.

It was a moment of clarity, but as Theodore Dalrymple wrote about last week, even knowing the news is all fake, I still have to fight the urge to believe it. When they report on what I know, the rational part of the brain is jolted into action and I can see straight away that they are spinning fabulous tales. Maybe I will go on-line and point out the nonsense to those who may care about it. When the topic is outside my sphere of knowledge, I’m tempted to just accept what is being presented without thinking too much about it.

The reason the plutocrats prefer narrative journalism over actual reporting, of course, is it lets them set public opinion. We’ll get a dose of that this weekend as the actors and actresses of cable news explain to the world why we must go to war with Venezuela to stave off a humanitarian crisis. Most people know little about Venezuela, other than the fact our rulers are mad at the local ruler. That leaves the press to fill in those massive gaps with made up tales of horror from so-called experts on the subject.

As Dalrymple pointed out toward the end of his post, “One cannot live in a state of permanent skepticism about everything.” Most people are trusting and most people are wired to trust authority. That’s why we have propaganda. It works on that innate trust people have in authority. It’s not limitless, of course. The people living in the old Soviet Bloc evolved a morose cynicism, after decades of being lied to by the authorities. The same thing is happening in America, as people adapt to the reality of fake news.

Even so, some portion of the public can be counted on to believe what they are told, no matter how absurd. The Left has always relied on this to hold their ranks together. The people inclined to radical politics are in search of salvation, so they are inclined to believe more than most. The confirmation they find among their radical soulmates on the Left keeps them in the fold, even when their leaders are revealed to be frauds or contradict themselves on matters of faith. Belief is a powerful narcotic.

That raises an interesting corollary to Dalrymple’s line about living in a state of perpetual skepticism. Can a society exist in a state of perpetual fiction? We seem to be managing it, as most of what fills the public space these days is made up, either by our rulers or the various scammers allowed to work the crowd. The public space is now just a sea of nonsense and lies that no one can trust. We live in an age where even the weather forecasts are created to sell ads. Yet, the people manage to bugger on.

Maybe that’s what we are seeing in the information age. It’s Propaganda 2.0. Instead of trying to mobilize the crowd in support of the rulers, the point is to atomize the mob by turning everyone into a cynic. After all, if you can’t trust anyone, even the people in charge, then how can you conspire with anyone? Even if you find some safe space to conspire, how can you get others to join the conspiracy? In order to prevent resistance to their rule, the rulers have eliminated the social medium it requires to thrive.

Of course, by vaporizing social trust, the people in charge have eliminated an important medium through which they can maintain power. On the other hand, maybe soft-power has evolved to the point where social trust is no longer useful. Look at Venezuela. It’s clear that the US is slowly squeezing the life out of the country’s ruling class. They are doing so in a way that will cause the public to blame those bad rulers and welcome the handpicked good ruler, even though everyone knows he is a puppet.

It’s a great example of how social war has evolved. The local rulers are using the old methods of information control. They have state media repeating statements from the ruler, blaming some outside trouble makers and all the usual stuff. The US is not saying much, other than pointing out how awful it is that the power grid keeps failing. Of course, the US is probably behind the sudden rash of explosions, but that’s not important. What matters is Juan sitting in the dark, wondering when he charge his mobile again.

115 thoughts on “Propaganda 2.0

  1. Msz Arden, ‘This is not who we are.
    ‘The people who were the subject of this attack today, New Zealand is their home. They should be safe here. The person who has perpetuated this violent act against them, they have no place in New Zealand society.’

  2. Z,
    I did a lot of work in the oil and gas industry, including Venezuela. Chavez’s oil minister, Ramirez, openly talked about how the country was purchasing political support for the Bolivarian revolution not only in Venezuela, but also in Cuba, Ecuador, and Bolivia. They did this by spending down their oil wealth. Ramirez, always maintained that they would be able to consolidate the “revolution” before they went broke. They would then build back up by predation – Peru, Argentina, Colombia.

    So much for their financial models.

  3. “‘An ambassador is said to be a man of virtue sent abroad to tell lies for the advantage of his country; a newswriter is a man without virtue, who writes lies at home for his own profit.’

    “To these compositions is required neither genius nor knowledge, neither industry nor sprightliness; but contempt of shame and indifference to truth are absolutely necessary.”

    From this excellent essay by Samuel Johnson:

  4. I think your “atomization” theory is correct. Dalrymple himself reported a Romanian intellectual saying it’d take five generations for their national psyche to recover from Ceausescu, and the Securitate’s signature tactic — ostentatiously following random people on the street — seemed designed to atomize. The USSR has been gone nearly 30 years, and I can still spot an old comrade who grew up under the Iron Curtain. Organized resistance is impossible when nobody trusts anybody.

    • Correct. Atomization is why any right wing organization is either infiltrated or run by feds. They don’t want people who distrust the government to be able to trust each other enough to do anything about it.

    • Maybe that’s why the totalitarian media is going so hard after private individuals, like the meme-consuming grandmas, and swastika-beer-cup guys, even though they committed no crimes. To terrify people out of even private association.

    • The government was only one causative agent , there was also out of control capitalism and technology did the rest. Collectively they brought about the isolated individual and the degraded state. They dissolved the old ethnic neighborhoods, familial bonds, local communities the lodge system and churches that composed a social safety net and communal sense of well being for many Americans up into the 80’s.

      Carrol Quigley in his last paper AFIAK was one of the first to talk of it.

      Lewis Mumford also wrote about it. Though he put more bluntly.

      Psychologist Jordan Peterson in his lectures speaks of the psychological damage this atomization takes on people – depression, insanity, etc. This explains the epidemic in opioid deaths in small town America that started about the same time we de-industrialized under NAFTA.

      Medium term it means the death of America and big business.

  5. If the US goes full tyranny, it won’t be a band of conspirators (or revolutionaries) that stop it. That model is obsolete for many reasons. But there is an effective alternative that does work.

    Because of fake news, everyone thinks that some foreign hacker has brought down the power grid in Venezuela. Not so. For a power grid (and generation stations) to be reliable, you need to do regular maintenance and repair. And for that, you need trained and experienced technicians who do their job properly. One pissed off technician choosing to be sloppy in a covert fashion can have a big impact. And it’s hard to stop if he acts stealthily and spontaneously.

    • Or you get the affirmative action hires to let things go down over time, as the skill sets are maladjusted to the task at hand. Gets you to the same place, over time, in a different way.

      • The corollary to this is that we are now producing more SJWs than Votech apprentices, and the labor pool is degrading at an alarming rate. When I was a young man, everyone I knew got their hands dirty working under the hood of an old car. Now, they all play video games all day every day. Very sad.

    • Not to mention complexity and intelligence to bring up such a complex system. Lose a significant (critical) fraction of your support staff and viola, your first crash is your last. Same situation can be found in any IT center of sufficient complexity. Been there, done that.

    • The same is happening in IT as industry and the government outsource it to H-1B’s from India and China. And at the same time we get record number of successful hacks against industry and military sites.

      Gee I wonder if there is a connection.

      Silicon Valley is now 75% Hindu and Chinese nationals. How long will it be before they start working for India and Xi? No one would know because whites have been froze out except at the very top and they can easily kept in the dark.

      This is why I partly laugh at the Deep State. These f**kers are so damn stupid they are slitting their own throat. Smart people would demand that the critical things like the military and Intel only be manned by the best people, not affirmative action hires and quota idiots.

      Now the military may not rebel against it’s Ivy League rulers, but it won’t be able to fight it’s way out of a wet paper bag either.

      • Rod, you are assuming the Deep State wants competency in all these critical areas. A case can be made that they prefer incompetency, so that the resulting failure can play to their ideas of total domination by the wealthy, and the idea of their buying their way out of the suffering endured by others. Stupid, to you and me, but they don’t think like we do.

  6. The news was always fake and there was a narrative.

    Before, it was basically a secularized version of the Gospel. Emphasizing the Angel over the Animal.

    It was toward virtue and greatness. It tended to cover up the scars and warts and exhort men to strenght and courage. That may have been the undoing, finding out that there was no Santa Claus, but war crimes on both sides, cronyism, corruption, cheatng. Sometimes our fallen nature was exposed, and we wondered at the lie.

    Today, it is reversed where America does nothing right, Western Civilization is barbaric, and barbarians are noble savages. Maya Angelou is celebrated and Thomas Jefferson is derided. We celebrate out of wedlock births and shout our abortions.

    It is easier to destroy than to create. It is even easier to mock what has been created. However when the sub-creation ceases like pro-creation already has, we will experience the “Great Death”. The Temporal follows the Spiritual.

    • It’s called “alignment”. The Western propaganda complex used to be largely aligned with the adult male nominally Christian WT. All the special interest groups have wrested the alignment of the propaganda machine over to their preferences. Which means the culture now emphasizes the grasping, immaturity, and unreal outlooks of those special interest groups. Alinsky well understood how to convert the alignment of the propaganda machine to the crazies.

  7. I think my oldest (14 yr old son) gets all his news from 4chan. Holy shit the stuff that comes out of his mouth. It’s not that he’s wrong, it’s the fact that he needs to separate “being woke” with “being woke” at school. The state may be using official media, but no one is listening.

    • My 12 yr old daughter told me a program we were watching was pozzed. The program was, in fact, quite pozzed. nevertheless, we sat down and had “the talk” (neonazi version tm). Derbyshire has nothing on me 🙂

      • They’ve been told they’re evil YT their whole life, so they’re just rolling with it. I’ve had to have the winning the battle, losing the war conversation with the kid.

        • I hit the genetic lottery with my wife of 20 yrs. Two national merit scholars and counting. Finding out now I was kept in the dark about about many controversies with my children in the past. Apparently I’ve been pegged, unfairly IMO, as intemperate and they only bring me into the inner confidences when they got a nail and need a hammer. Just found out last week that my oldest daughter (5ft 120lb) caused two black girls to transfer to new schools in her sophomore year. Their parents complained about the bullying. Surveillance tapes saved her as they showed 4 larger girls chimping out against her. The cuck principal, to his credit told the parents to pound sand. She was a semi-elite gymast and can do 20+ pull ups, which is pretty good for a girl. Anyhoo i’ve largely gone from worrying about what the world will inflict upon them to concern for what they will inflict upon it.

          • 20+ pull ups for a guy in his prime is pretty good.

            Regarding the incident with your daughter and the nasty negresses, kudos to you for giving credit to the cuck principal. It is a reminder that even a cuck can marshal the stones to do the right thing.

  8. Why don’t we ever hear about the time US agents had Chavez tied up in the back of a plane and headed out of Venezuela? Did I dream that?

  9. The public space is now just a sea of nonsense and lies that no one can trust.

    I suspect this was always the case. Certainly, perusing the history of the fourth estate does not lead me to believe otherwise.

    But now that we have the internet, we suddenly see deception, the curtain is pulled aside. Watching this cataract of lies, we experience confusion and angst: “What can we even believe in anymore?”

    The stable public space we used to have, was stable because most everybody bought the lies.

    • The Comments section and Twitter destroyed journalism. The comments quickly exposed the reporter’s lies and misrepresentation. Twitter allowed everyone to see the personal bias and vacuousness of reporters.

  10. I was in a combat unit in a war. Some of the retrospective stuff with interviews of Vets on the History Channel is pretty accurate. The real time news reporting – complete nonsense. I saw some of the CNN coverage of the Gulf War. It was just sensational ratings bait.

  11. Deep down I think we all know that we live in a world of lies but the lies are comforting because the truth is so depressing. People that have figured out what is really going on are often miserable and angry, always fighting off the black pills. Believing a comfortable lie makes it easier to sleep than an uncomfortable truth.

    • Owning the black pill and still getting up and going each morning anyway is a personal decision. It’s all up to you. One thing to understand is that seeing things a certain way is not the same thing as being in a position to do anything about it. Many people seem to completely overestimate their ability to make a real difference. I attribute that to the unrealistic expectations set in the public schools.

      • In there lies the cause of the depression, powerlessness. Some interesting monkey studies of 50+ years ago illustrating this.

        • The cause of depression is powerlessness, and an additional frustration is “trying to do something” when it is actually banging your head against the wall. The opportunity to “do something” is not dictated by you as to timing and strategy. The best you can do is prepare for various opportunities. The opportunity to make a change will be offered at a time and in a manner particular to some so-far unknown future moment. The opportunist takes advantage when that moment becomes available. Why did Trump run in 2016, not earlier or later? Preparation met a specific opportunity.

          • Yep. Losers often resort to the slight, “He lucked out” to excuse themselves. And as you pointed out in your last line “luck” is when opportunity meets preparation.

            May we both be “lucky” before we pass.

        • It’s more than that. It’s often found when someone has no meaning to attach to their lives. Men find meaning in what they do, women in who they are. Hence why we have an epidemic of female depression – they’re all trying to find meaning in men’s work, instead of in being wives, mothers, and the social glue that connects us together.

  12. It would seem that destroying the trust in the overall society will lead to people to place their trust in small groups, whether they be based on race, ethnicity or religion.

    As I’ve said before, we’re all Jews now. Time to start acting like it. Create a community within the larger society and police it. If someone doesn’t act according to our norms, i.e. loses our trust, throw him out. See how he likes to trying to navigate a trustless society without the help of a group that he can trust.

    This destruction of trust in the overall society will be a good thing for us. People will need some group that they can trust, and whites won’t be welcome in any other groups, so we’ll need to form our own.

  13. The term for the belief that while media reporting of stories you know about is totally wrong, other stories might be true, is Gell-Mann amnesia, after the Nobel Prize winning physicist..My wife and I have each seen perhaps a dozen news reports about matters of which we have intimate knowledge…None has ever been close to correct..I don’t believe anything reported unless I can find substantial backup, and I assume spin on everything with political implications.

    • I agree, everything I have seen in the national press, which I know something about, is completely wrong and probably mostly fabricated. I suspect it is a combination of point-of-view and the need to put things into some sort of story, rather than the reporting of facts on the ground.

      As to Venezuela, one report I saw, a man-in-the-street interview, suggested that most Venezuelans aren’t interested in protesting, they are jaded as to the real-world attractiveness of any politicians, and just want to find a way to survive into the next day. I don’t have any reason to believe any of this, other than that it fairly describes, IMO, where most Americans are at today, in less desperate fashion. If this is true, all the protests and political events are simply pandering for the cameras. Sounds about right.

    • One aspect of incorrect/ignorant reporting almost always involves statistics and the scientific method when reporting on the latest research “finding”. This covers a large swath of the “news”. A little knowledge of the scientific method, and stat’s, and perhaps a little simple math goes an awful long way toward the general cynicism wisely noted by Z-man.

      Indeed, this is so much of the “news” today that I fondly remember my commutes with the children to and from school while listening to the “news” on the radio. Everyday, we’d discuss the newcaster’s report wrt their conclusion and the data they reported to justify such. Best education I could provide now that I look back on those days.

      • Even worse is that most scientists are far too certain of their results because they use awful statistical methods. The whole field of stats is an exercise in overcertianty.

  14. “It was a moment of clarity, but as Theodore Dalrymple wrote about last week..”

    For those of you that haven’t read any of his books, you should.
    Suffice it to say, he is hated by the liberal establishment in the UK (he is British) and the USA.

    As for Venezuela, the life began being sucked out of that once relatively wealthy nation by the rulers their citizens FREELY placed in power; the communists Chavez and now Maduro (their version of Sanders or AOC here in the USA).

    Being communists, they have a natural affinity for destroying a nation (and filling up their own Swiss bank accounts) irrespective of US policy towards their ruling thugs.
    Look at Cuba; still around after 60 years despite US policies and their people are not starving (but only barely; not to many obese Cubans)
    And Cuba has ZERO natural resources to sell (cigars? sugar? secret police? mercenaries?). But they are still chugging along and as bad as things are in Cuba, it is a paradise compared to Venezuela.

    Venezuela’s main source of revenue is/was oil, which is a fungible commodity; they can ALWAYS find buyers (e.g., China, Cuba, N.Korea, some African nation, Bolivia, Nicaragua, etc) or trade it for agricultural or medical products.
    But if you can’t produce the oil because their govt. policies destroyed their ability to produce oil then the stuff is worthless.

    It is the policies of the commie thugs running Venezuela that have destroyed that nation. US policies are at most just helping it into the abyss.

    By the way, US policies would never be used to thwart Venezuelan imports of medical supplies, which are in very short supply there as well.
    Not every nation that hates the USA is going into the shitter because of US policies.

      • I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.
        H. L. Mencken

        Before the internet there was no easy way to discover the per capita GDP of Venezuela or other similar data. I hate the idea of being easily traceable, but I’m willing to accept it because the information available on line is a tremendous resource for getting at what is true. This is why China blocks access to anything the Party disagrees with, why, despite its many apologists, the primary goal of the Chinese government is to keep the nation’s people enslaved. I don’t doubt that one day our rulers will do the same. Until then we have a fighting chance.

        • I get the sense that the response to our being able to “look things up” is to “flood the zone” with propaganda. The idea is that the sheer weight and variety of intellectual chaff thrown at us will blind us to the truth. So it becomes like the video game where we continually must “level up” our skills, to keep up our ability to successfully wade through what they are shoveling out.

      • Per capita GDP is not the point. You are arguing that the latest crook in charge shared more of the swag with the people—initially. The argument really is not who plundered the country in the most equitable manner, but who was a wiser ruler and ran the country to the greatest long term benefit of the people of said country. As to that, both Chavez and Maduro are abject failures—with little help needed by the USA and big, bad corporations.

        • You are wrong. Per capita GDP gives an idea of the overall economy. Median income gives a sense of the overall income inequality. It’s not perfect, but it is useful for getting a sense of the standard of living. For the typical Venezuelan, life got better under Chavez, despite the best efforts of the US government.

          Look. I would not want to live there. That has nothing to do with their economic model.

          • Chavez used the funds from the petroleum dollars as a piggy bank to fund his welfare and jobs programs, that raised the per capita GDP (IIRC). The state petroleum industry hired thousands in make work jobs for example. Raises for teachers. Day care workers for universal day care. Free medical equals more medical jobs. And so on.

            This type of situation is commonly found within all these revolutions. An initial boom that was unsustainable, but got the people on board. Then the collapse when the true (only) source of wealth declined, the petro dollar.

            Chavez may have had good intentions initially, but he was an economic ignoramous as well as a demigodic dictator. They all are. I don’t deny that life was better for awhile, but it was non-sustainable.

            The question is was the ride worth the fall? Are the Venezuela people better off now than before Chavez? Was Chavez’s handling of Venezuela’s petroleum wealth in Venezuela’s long term interest, or in Chavez’s short term interest?

            To blame it on the US is a cop out. Chavez rode the oil boom up and down. The US had nothing to do with that. It was a world wide phenomena. Note there was no revolution or bread lines in Saudi Arabia—or Kuwait, or UAE—they spent and saved their oil money responsibly. They rode through the decline and even sustained it in an attempt to destroy the US fracking industry.

            Chavez spent “his” oil funds buying public support and destroying the underlying democratic system (such as it may have been) in order to remain in power. He’d still be there but for his cancer, which if I remember was treated in Cuba (?).

            The Chavez tale is pretty much along the lines described by Hans Herman Hoppe, in “Democracy, The God That Failed”. Perhaps if Chavez was a Venezuelan hereditary monarch he might have treated the country as a sustaining asset for his heirs, rather than a short term looting situation. Seems to have worked for the Arab petro States so far.

            None of the above is to be construed as support for the former ruling elite as exists throughout South America, screw them as well. 😉

          • I’m surprised at you, Z. You know as well as any of us that GDP is an utterly worthless, fairytale metric. I’m not going to dig through old posts, but I’m positive you’ve said it on your own blog multiple times.

            It’s possible to accept that Maduro is worthless as a leader and that Venezuelans are generally not intelligent enough to succeed at democracy even temporarily, while still accepting that they should be permitted to run their own affairs and that neither the USA nor any other country has any business turning them into a puppet state.

            If you find yourself starting to believe that communism might be totally fine if America would quit interfering… then stop, take a breath, go for a walk, and reflect on where you took a wrong turn in your thinking, because that’s right on par with the flat-earthers.

      • Z;
        You’re a business guy. Q: What’s a fast way to increase your cash flow_?

        A: Defer maintenance and don’t update your physical plant. Oh yeah, and stiff your vendors too. That’s what Chavez did. Definitely can work in the short term. And It’s really nice that he only put some of that cash flow into his family’s and crony’s pockets and, unlike most of the rest of the petro-dictators, passed out the rest of the cash to his own citizens.

        Yeah our Cloud Folks are greedy and incompetent too, but they didn’t *make* him do that. Not sure why you seem so adamant that *temporarily* increasing GDP/cap (through obviously short-sighted measures) means that suddenly Venezuela was being run for its citizens.

        • I don’t think Z was saying that Venezuela was in any way run for its citizens, but instead that the citizens did benefit for a while. Some sort of high oil price trickle down effect, I suppose.

    • Do you really trust a bunch of smear merchants who in past times gas lighted us into a illegal and costly war with a country that was no threat to us. One that cost the lives of 4000 Americans and 3 trillion dollars.

      A news media that openly and repeatedly lied to us that Trump works for Putin and that Hillary should be president.

      How about Iit cheerleaded the destruction of Libya and covered up our attempted overthrow of Assad of Syria.

      Or maybe how they sold us that NAFTA would be good for America.

      I could go on about the steaming pile of lies by our MSM. But suffice to say, they are not on our side. They are very much against us.

    • I really enjoy reading Dalrymple’s books about the lower classes in England. I’d describe them as the show Cops in book form.

  15. Yes, the wiser I become, the more I realize we’ve all entered Hoax World together. But I think it was worse in the before internet days. Before everyperson had a voice, I think there were things made out of whole cloth, and not just the big thing we all know about.

  16. Look at Venezuela. It’s clear that the US is slowly squeezing the life out of the country’s ruling class.

    I don’t support US involvement in Venezuela, but it seems to me it’s hard to argue that Maduro is doing a pretty good job squeezing the life out of the political class (and every other class) in Venezuela all by himself (of course, I can only assume that from reading the news…)

    • Back when Chavez was running things, I’d look up stats on the place from places like the world bank and IMF. Two things are true about Chavez. One is the GDP went way up and the median GDP went way up. This was mostly due to the oil boom, but the people did enjoy some of the proceeds. That’s why they loved Chavez.

      It’s also why our government hated him. The energy giants want back in and that means we need a new puppet regime in Venezuela. The same thing used to happen with the agricultural giants in the before times. The CIA overthrew the government of Guatemala in the 50’s, because United Fruit paid them to do it.

      Maduro and his gang could be terrible, but that’s never been the point. Venezuela has the bad luck of existing on something we want, a massive oil and gas reserve. The US Government will agree to take in a few million peasants and support the new regime, as long as the new regime lets the oil giants exploit the reserves.

      • The United States Of America: Turning Leavittown into Tijuana, from sea to shining sea. Since 1965, at least.

      • Well Z, increasing GDP doesn’t tell the whole story. When you seize the nation’s assets without paying a dime for them, renege on all your former legitimate international obligations, commitments and agreements… your govt will look great on paper… for awhile. And the people you shaft in the process won’t be too happy either. I know it should be obvious but it bears repeating: statistics are one of the most useful forms of weaponized propaganda there is.

        • Well, the nation’s assets belong to the nation, so there’s that. There’s also the point that per capital GDP and median income are pretty useful measures when taken together. The average Venezuelan was a lot better off under Chavez than his predecessor. That’s why they loved him.

          The same media that claimed Trump was Hitler is more than capable of claiming Maduro is Pol Pot.

          • “The nation’s assets belong to the nation”. Is that really true? It seems that the nation’s various assets, here and abroad, belong to someone or another, but there is now precious little of any economic or social value that is not privately owned any more, complete with “do not trespass” signs of some sort posted prominently.

          • A nation is people, not a government or a spot of land. Therefore, by definition, a nation’s assets belong to the nation. This does show just how we have been conditioned to not think like members of a nation, but rather as consumers at a mall.

          • Point taken, Z. But the atomization of society and the unraveling of many areas of social relationships suggests that the people of our nation have been “privatized” in their own way. The greater part of the traditional social “commons” is extinct. Sites like yours substitute for parts of it.

          • The number of people ignorant of the concept of sovereignty is quite astonishing. The concept of sovereign risk didn’t appear out of the blue.
            Venezuela used to have one of the greatest concentrations of wealth in Latin America, with a Gini coefficient right up there with Brazil.
            When I was in the Private Banking business pre-Chavez, Venezuela was a great source of business with the oligarchs desperate to get their money offshore for when the gravy train ended, – Hello Miami.
            The corrupt oligarchy cut all sorts of sweetheart deals with foreign oil companies so that the State (a proxy for the people) ended up with peanuts for selling the nations patrimony. Chavez recognized this and ran a successful Presidential campaign to reverse it. He poured the resultant money into healthcare and improving the lives of the peasants by whom he was widely loved, He routinely got approval ratings in the high 50’s, 60’s. When one of the US orchestrated coup attempts prompted demonstrations it was amusing to see all the Anti-Chavinista’s all white with a healthy smattering of Swedish style blondes versus the Pro-Chavez demos of dark native Indios.
            (Think of the Mexican Parliament- long honkies)

            Why is the latest coup attempt happening under Trump? By a funny coincidence Venezuela’s oil is heavy sour high sulfur oil that requires special distillation plants and the bulk of those are operated in the States by the Koch brothers, the highest (might be second behind Adelson now) donors to the Republican party, Koch Industries would love to see a return to the good old days of asset stripping.

          • Nonsense. When gov’ts nationalize a resource, they take control of privately owned assets or corporations and almost always run them into the ground. Watch what will happen in South Africa – they will look pretty good on paper too… for awhile. You need to do some homework, Z, because the Lefties Of Lagos are rubbing off on you…

          • Why should anyone feel sorry for some international corporation having its “assets” taken back by the people of the country? I’d love for China and Russia to “nationalize” facebook or google and see what happens!

          • What assets are you talking about, Z? You might have a point about the oil, but the refineries, pipelines, capital assets and infrastructure to bring the oil to market have to be financed – legitimately – through those evil corporations and banks we all love to hate.
            The problem with that though, is this: without those guys you don’t have an economy.
            The Venezuelans voted for free chit and they got what they deserved. The globalists won’t deal with thieves and I don’t blame them.

          • John Smith: “have to be financed – legitimately – through those evil corporations and banks we all love to hate.”
            You literally cannot conceive of anything beyond leveraged fiat money, debt-based laissez faire “capitalism.” Expand your knowledge, explore more than just the economic theory already known to you. Maybe reconsider the utility and effects of viewing your fellow humans as hyper-atomized economic consumption units. You will be surprised at what you may learn.

          • I am not an economist. But to say Chavez was – would be like saying Alexia Occasional Cortex is one too. Most economists aren’t worth a hill of beans.

            Our crony capitalism, at its worst – is still better than socialism at its best.

          • When did globalists and the international corporations become friends of conservatism? They’re the one’s pushing for open borders, social liberalism, global government, no tariffs and treating us all like fungible goods. But I guess they want to make $$$, so therefore we need to defend them. Sorry, no can do.

          • Yeah whatever, you are still paying for your internet and feeding Google ad money. Agree that fiat money and debt leveraging are evils, and Guaido may be yet another globalist capitalist, but if Chavez had lived through the end of the oil bonanza he would be as hated as his bus driver successor is now. The problem with Latin America is twofold: on one hand, leftists take over and after a brief redistributionist honeymoon, they eventually enable brown entitlement and thus mass crime and squalor, and bureaucratic stasis that only the powerful allied with the state can break through; on the other hand the whitish right lords it over the browns like Southern planters, and signs deals with the IMF to import more than export so as to sell browns the Western lifestyle on credit (in worst case scenario, this type flees to Miami/LA/NYC)…
            The solution might need to come with semi-right wing (fascist, rather) military leaders that will have to enable business through low taxes and union suppression while also force a stable money supply and a basic safety net (not mattress), as well as defense spending. The amount of debt Latin America has will probably need to be reset eventually, and strong military leaders not afraid to kick Americans, Europeans, Russians, Chinese out will be needed, while also suppressing CultMarx elements at home (which are seeping in, specially in the Millennial Hispanic youth). Ideally Latin America would pool its resources at least for defensive purposes – the countries, however, they are led by the same old vapid and clannish settler elites fighting all the time amongst themselves while external forces take what they need. Just like Europeans who cannot get the concept of a supranational army without the US involved.

          • Not to disagree wrt US and big corporation involvement, but oil and revenue is not to be slighted. Over 90% of Venezuela’s export economy is due to oil. They are not diversified and have no other source of trade dollars. When oil prices dropped, really plunged, Chavez left his country high and dry. Rather than invest in the country and expand/diversify the economy during the good times, he passed out welfare and spent every nickel he got. Yep, everyone likes freebies.

            Maduro turned up the printing presses and was unable to even provide toilet paper. What the hell do you expect from a god-damned former bus driver? And as is true of all these worker paradises, one aristocracy was simply replaced by another—in this case “Friends of Maduro”.

            Before we turn to conspirousy theories, perhaps we “get the biology right”. Stupid people do stupid things. Stupid countries fail at democracy.

          • Democracy is stupid. So is the Republic to be honest. The only smart government is a well run monarchy and people being stupid often fail at that.

            I think you are basically correct re Madurp

            . This rotten country is sure to be involved somewhere along the way but its also a pretty sure think that Maduro got hit by the curse of the petro state.

            Just about every nation that ends up with high demand resource quickly becomes dependent on that and as soon as the price hits the floor, it all goes to hell

            Norway is one of the few exceptions but its run by some of the most honest hardworking people in the human race.

            The US kind of did but we are run more like Venezuela than we like to admit and are a continent sized empire with a reserve currency

          • Money quote:
            “The same media that claimed Trump was Hitler is more than capable of claiming Maduro is Pol Pot.”

            This is so spot on. We cannot trust media at all on what they are saying about Maduro. Remember the lead up the wars with Iraq and how the media gas lighted us 7×24 on how Saddam was the most evil man in the world, his soldiers bayoneting babies in Kuwaiti incubators, etc?

            That should give anyone pause when it comes to trusting the MSM. and it’s attendant mouthpieces.

      • >> The US Government will agree to take in a few million peasants and support the new regime, as long as the new regime lets the oil giants exploit the reserves.

        I’m slammed at work so no time to follow events, but I saw a blurb indicating that the Democrats, including Marco Rubio (D-FL), were supporting legislation to grant asylum to the entire population of Venezuela. The old saying used to be fight ’em there or we’ll have to fight ’em here. Now it seems to be fight ’em there or we’ll import their entire population.

        • ” Now it seems to be fight ’em there or we’ll import their entire population”


          ” Now it seems to be fight ’em there and we’ll import their entire population”

      • Venezuela has massive crude reserves, but it’s a heavy crude that is only suitable as feedstock for certain types of refineries (w/petroleum cokers). The old Citco refinery near Lake Charles is one such, and is now half owned by PDVSA. Other than that, most of this crude is brokered elsewhere where environmental regs are non-existent. The energy politics of Venezuelan crude supply are about price stabilization for the US and remediating investment liability for China/Russia.

      • Maybe this guy is down in Venezuela now:

        From the U.S. military in Iraq to infrastructure development in Indonesia, from Peace Corps volunteers in Africa to jackals in Venezuela, Perkins exposes a conspiracy of corruption that has fueled instability and anti-Americanism around the globe, with consequences reflected in our daily headlines. Having raised the alarm, Perkins passionately addresses how Americans can work to create a more peaceful and stable world for future generations.

        Perkins has just reissued his book with major updates. The basic premise of the book remains the same, but the update shows how the economic hit man approach has evolved in the last 12 years. Among other things, U.S. cities are now on the target list. The combination of debt, enforced austerity, underinvestment, privatization, and the undermining of democratically elected governments is now happening here.

    • So I read about this, and it seems Crichton himself is being slightly disingenuous. Mistakes in a subject like advanced physics are a result of inability of lay people to understand it, whereas disinformation about Palestine has to do with the establishment not wanting us to understand the facts, mistake of the head versus heart. And Gell-Mann, not to judge him, don’t know about his politics, is the sort of person who might be highly susceptible to this type of “confusion.” The takeaway point is that journalists are incompetent AND mendacious!

      • Many years ago (decades?), there used to be classifications of reporters. For example, I remember that scientific reports were often presented by the designated “science” reporter. The point being that such news of a technical nature was a bit too technical for a typical reporter’s competence and/or needed certain vetting best done by a more knowledgeable and specialized individual.

        This obviously this is no longer the case. Now we see “news” casters (really actors as Z-man points out) spewing talking point after talking point, citing “fact” after “fact”, without the slightest understanding of what they are talking about. A simple questioning of one or more of their points by a knowledgeable individual (hardly happens) and the result is a stuttering, stammering, fool, floundering to get back on point and finish their “lines”.

        This is one of the elements of Jordan Peterson’s success. He has a quick mind and a wealth of information at hand wrt any particular topic he cares to entertain. It only takes a few seconds for him to disagree and cite alternative information (research) and his inquisitor moves on to another talking point. Such is always a clue that you are not being informed, but rather propagandized.

        • Even then, it was all Kabuki theater. The long-time science reporter at the newspaper I worked at back in the 80s-90s had no formal science training. I corrected him once on an article where it described the electron as “the heaviest particle in an atom,” explaining that an electron was smaller than a proton or a neutron by many orders of magnitude and he just dismissively told me “That’s what he [the source] told me.”

          There have never been any requirements that a reporter on a particular beat has deep knowledge of the subject he is covering. It’s always been “You’ll pick it up on the job.”

          Sports nuts tend to gravitate toward sports reporting, political junkies to political reporting, etc., but they don’t have to know anything.

          • Vizzini, point taken. I was fairly young when I remember listening to such reporters. They probably could have sold me the Brooklyn bridge.

            As an aside, your point on reporters gravitating to fields they have an interest in, but perhaps little knowledge, e.g., sports. There is now reported in use at newspapers (and really is not new, I saw such demo’d 20 years ago) an AI type program that actually writes the local sports news automatically from fed scores and player names. That’s how little value added the typical sports reporter brings to their job. 😉

          • Sports “reporting” is the classic example of why nobody needs reporters in the first place. I actually did some “sports reporting” in college, for one of those little startup local indie rags that flourished right before the Internet blew up. My first “story” involved asking the quarterback about the last game. Since I actually knew something about football, we talked about coverages, reads, interesting stuff to people who are interested in football. The “editor” sent it back — all the readers want to know, said he, was why the QB threw that interception in the 4th quarter. “But that’s what the whole article is about!” I replied. And that was the end of my sportswriting career. They sent someone else to ask the QB why he threw the INT, and he recited the standard cliche about taking it one play at a time, and that was that.

          • In the early 80’s I was working in a large metropolitan news paper putting the finishing touches on the new computerized type-set system that was going to put all the old grubby, ink-stained type-setters out of work. [yes, at that time they were still setting rubber letters backwards in big round steel drums].On one of the floors was a large glassed-off room where a dozen guys in 80’s era sports jackets were sitting at long tables, smoking furiously, and watching small televisions while taking notes on yellow pads.
            This was the “sports dept. ” It was laughed at even by the obit writers.

          • [yes, at that time they were still setting rubber letters backwards in big round steel drums]

            They were very likely recently setting lead letters a line of type at a time (generated from machines called “Linotypes” appropriately enough) backwards on large flat frames.

            The rubber drums were actually a step later after phototypesetting really started taking over in the 70s — offset lithography. That step can remain at the press end regardless of whether the pages are laid out by computer or not. And nothing is actually laid out in rubber letters or etched in rubber. Metal plates are made all at once via a chemical etching process from the photo typeset output (don’t know the technical part of that) and on the press, the image is transferred from the plate to the mat and then to the paper.

            When we moved to phototypesetting at my paper, not one of the Linotype guys was laid off. They were all retrained in layout and paste-up for photo typesetting, or moved to the press room. A few of them even “learned to code” and moved to IT.

            The paper I worked at actually used a letter press — direct raised metal surface to print surface — printing until the mid-80s. Long after they’d adopted phototypesetting and computer typography.

            Letterpress is just terrible with color registration, though, especially the creaky many decades-old presses we had.

            After they opened the new printing facility, I would occasionally roam through the old presses sitting dark and silent in rooms that managed to be cavernous yet cramped — they were so filled with machinery and catwalks. Everything in the facility was black, from years of atomized ink spatter.

          • I actually bought and operated one of the early Linotype photo type setters in my department. Could never figure out why the hugh keyboard with all the funny keys and characters until finally told about the history of such machines in the industry.

            Anyway, it was a godsend. Prior to laying out our books and paper manuscripts for publication, we had to send typewritten paper to the publisher, then edit his galley proofs. Time consuming.

            When mathematic equations were used, the publisher usually simply photographed the equations and placed them inside the paper/book as photographed—the effort at copying was too prone to human transcribing error. Looked crappy at best.

            After we did our own typesetting (photo), we never published a second edition with an accompanying error (errata) sheet. There were no known errors as we took care of every reported error immediately upon notification! Once we had six editions come out in a matter of a few months—none with known errors. Unheard of at that time.

            Am I sounding old—well I am I guess. 😉

  17. I respectfully disagree.

    You can set your watch and warrant to the mass media – IF you know how to read it. First of all, assume you are being lied to. Look closely at the evidence they offer and never take it at face value. Look at who the villains of the piece are, and who the heroes are, and who their masters and vassals are and look at THEIR agenda. Read between the lines. Finally, consult the punditry. For me it’s reflex now.

    One of the tricks I learned from this blog – is looking up the authors of questionable pieces. If I see a smear piece on men, for example – often you find such pieces are penned by obese she-twinks with face jewelry, tatts, and that they’ve penned other tripe for other disreputable publications. I judge books by their covers and it works pretty good as far as it goes. Often they write contradictory articles that depend on whose farts they are catching on any given day.

    GAB just launched Dissent. I haven’t used it yet – but I can’t wait to see the reaction from the Usual Suspects in the media who often close the comments so that ignorant dirt people don’t get to reply to their trolling and propaganda.

    Mankind has never learned that real thought and speech control is impossible.

    • Glen, if you were around during the Cold War, you will remember how the Sovietologists used to comb the government-approved news coming out of Russia, looking for signs and portents. Who was standing next to whom on the reviewing stand on Lenin’s tomb was a big deal. We Americans (and Brits) of the nasty, hateful persuasion are reduced to doing that now, in our own countries. I suspect most on this list have gotten pretty good at it.

  18. When I was young, I read a bunch of 18th 19th and early twentieth-century literature for whatever reason but one thing I’d noticed was that journalists and actors were universally reviled in all these times. Everyone knew they were degenerates and fabulists. A change in thinking came about, It seems to me, when bunch of movies were made by the demonic cesspool in Hollywood in the sixties and seventies about how great journalists are and now we think all these people are worth listening too. And then the journalists turn around and write about all these wonderful do getting actors and actresses. Has anyone else noticed this?

    • It really is an odd thing. Going back to the Romans, people in “entertainment” were forced to live on the fringe, as they were the lowest cast in society. The Greeks did venerate playwrights, but that’s a somewhat different thing than what we think of today. My grandfather used to say that when he was young, everyone considered actors to be gay and actresses to be whores. Neither was considered a positive in his day.

      The media is a strange thing. Being a reporter was like being in any trade up until the 60’s. Newspaper men lived in working class neighborhoods because they came from the working class and they earned like the working class. Then it became a profession, then a calling and now a weird degenerate priesthood. Cable news is our bacchanalia.

      • Yes. It is odd. There are a lot of things that you can look back on and see parallels in history but this one you don’t

      • I can attest to this. In my salad days in DC, I worked very closely with and hung out with reporters. The older guys were a fairly normal bunch, just doing a job and heading home. Some of them hadn’t even gone to college.

        The younger crowd, reporters my age at the time, were an entirely different breed. All were college educated, and this being DC, many came out of top 20 schools with the occasional University of Missouri grad. (Missouri had a well known journalism school.) They invariably grew up upper middle class to quite wealthy.

        Due to their background, they felt that they deserved to do more than report on the news; they wanted to influence policy. After all, they did go to Columbia or Brown. What was fascinating about them was how they truly believed that they were equals to Congressmen, Senators and cabinet secretaries. Some 30-year-old reporter who’d never done anything in their life and made less than a school teacher expected to be treated as though they were a captain of industry or a national politician.

        Naturally, they were extremely liberal. That was partly the nature of those who went into the field and the fact that any non-believer quickly realized that there was no place for them going forward (probably similar to non-liberal grad students looking to become professors) so they left journalism.

        The pay issue is also important. Any job that pays as poorly as journalism will naturally weed out all but the most fanatical or subsidized, two groups not known for their impartiality and good judgement.

        Main point is that via various mechanisms, journalism produces snobby, over-educated, uber-liberal, entitled, fanatical “reporters.”

        • The Progressives ruined journalism, like the ruined everything else, by making a credential out of it. It takes zero formal training — NONE — to be a good reporter. You need a basic command of English, a nose for bullshit, and the ability to network, plus the stones to stick a recorder in a general’s or a grieving widow’s face. Those are the kinds of skills you learn in an apprenticeship, or not at all. I honestly can’t imagine what they “teach” in J-school. How to use Lexis/Nexis? Play around with it for fifteen minutes and you’ll figure it out. But whatever — since they have no ability to network (except with other “journalists”) and have no nose for bullshit (because they’ve done nothing but pass tests their entire lives), all they do is polish the corporate apple.

        • This seems to be a recurring path to convergence. In my new Western state, the judges get paid about as well as a mid-level associate attorney, barely into the 6 figures. Any partner at a respectable firm would take a 50pct pay cut to take the bench, so we have a lot of silly persons doing bizzare discivic things in our courts, far to the left of the state’s traditional values. The rule seems to be, if you drastically underpay any important position, you get only zealots willing to take the positions.

          • That’s what the Soviets did. They figured that factory *managers* should be paid as much as factory workers, because Socialism, so the only guys willing to take on the headache of being managers were either Communist zealots or truly epic criminals (the latter now run Russia). Same deal with medicine, which is why “Soviet medicine” is a phrase that still makes everyone shudder.

      • If I were king of the white people, I would force all of us to throw out our TV’s, and force all other groups to watch it.

      • Completely OT, but I just had to share with someone, and I know you all can appreciate it. I’m presently working at one of the joint special ops bases in VA and about 10 minutes ago I hear a loud and close helicopter. I step outside to see what they are up to and I see a body leave the open side door of the SH-60 from about 250 ft. up. (much too high to safely jump) It just tumbled sloppily through the air and hit the water with a big splash. I thought to myself, “Holy Shit! Free helicopter rides! The Navy just Pinochet’d somebody!” I look out on the water to see a stuffed, man-overboard dummy floating high in the water. Dammit, false alarm. I thought maybe for just a second the balloon had finally gone up.

        • keep us posted, that was funny as hell. Pinochet’d… I can only dream that my name might be used as a verb one day! He was a great man and he did nothing wrong!

      • Same can be said of govt workers; for years it was a humdrum existence that led one to lead maybe a low middle class life. Now, they’re living in 3000+square ft houses & pulling down 6+ figures!!! Potomac MD is the richest area of the U.S. I hear, eclipsing even Beverly Hills!

        Not precisely certain but I Think it was around the time of Clinton’s admin that the whole thing flipped over –

    • Maybe what we now face is a problem largely due to democracy and mass culture.

      In times past you could poison the king and a few of his retinue to change things.

      Now things need to devolve into mass collapse and mass warfare to turn things around.

    • “A change in thinking came about…in the sixties and seventies about how great journalists are…”

      I agree with the premise, but I’d date it earlier, maybe even to the earliest days (watched His Girl Friday recently, made in the late 40s I think, and based on a play from the 20s or 30s; in concerns the newspaper business, guess who the hero’s were?). In fact, if I wanted to get my tinfoil hat out, I might could connect a certain subset of the population to that steady, positive portrayal.

      • True, but in “His Gal Friday,” the journalists were shown to be liars. Very clearly shown to be totally dishonest liars–as opportunistic as any virus ever even thought about being.

        • Maybe it was Watergate that pushed the image of the heroic journalist, crusading to fight evil. Before that, reporters were not necessarily BAD characters in movies, but they were not glamourized. They were often physically unprepossessing, scruffy, slightly disreputable rascals, but redeemed by a golden heart. Think of “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”: the press ends up on the side of the angels in the end, but for most of the film they’re shown as cynical opportunists.

    • Great observation, Whitney. It seems to me that the period you mention–the 18th to early-20th centuries–may have been an unusual period in history. Printing/publishing had created, for the first time, the possibility for a truly “mass” media. But it was a media of the word–the audience was insulated from the subtly persuasive (and even hypnotic) effects of personality, because it didn’t transmit through the printed journals and books that were the medium for mass communication.

      Even if you were going to a political event (like the Lincoln-Douglas debates) or a dramatic production (like a Shakespeare play), the actual figure speaking was very small and remote, and you primarily attended to the words being spoken. This was in some sense “unnatural,” because man had evolved to be a “personal,” face-to-face communicator; but people of the time were adapted to this concentration on the abstraction of words spoken or read.

      That all changed when communication became primarily visual, with movies and TV. We were back to being face-to-face with people, but in a wildly exaggerated way. To minds evolved to respond to personality and one-on-one communication, the experience is one of intimacy with the giant heads seen on movie and TV screens, when in fact those faces are incredibly remote, and the people behind them aren’t even aware of our existence as onlookers.

      At the same time, the powers of persuasion projected through subtle facial cues and physical attractiveness become hugely magnified through visual media. Faces in our immediate proximity have an incredible power to elicit our sympathy–and that’s what we see day after day in our media. Is it any wonder people come to trust, believe, even worship the faces presented to them? The compulsion to do so is deeply biological, and the purpose of the prevailing form of media is to manipulate that inescapable biological urge.

    • Some famous NYT reporter/editor wrote something similar in his autobiography (can’t remember specific name). Before WW2, Journalism was considered a low-class profession that quality people (especially intellectual Jews) stayed out of. Bascially, just a bunch of drunks who hung out at the police station or the local courthouse. The man’s parents were horrified he went in journalism. Then that all changed after WW2. Suddenly “reporters” were foreign policy experts, and asking Presidents questions on TV. People started to worship Edward R. Murrow. It became a lucrative and powerful profession. Now, we’re going to back to previous times. Everyone knows 90% of the Press is corrupt and in the tank for liberals/Democrats. They don’t even pretend to be objective any more.

  19. That’s why those old Sicilians had omertà. And when the Feds finally broke that cultural firewall, the ability of the mafia to operate was destroyed because you couldn’t trust anyone.

    We have to close ranks in a similar manner with our own code, or we lay ourselves open to infiltration and destruction.

    • Dude, you’re gonna have to shower and put on some clean clothes before you “close ranks” with anyone. Rick and Morty fans deserve their own work camps.

      • In the mafia, wasn’t it the case that if you introduced a guy as “this guy is a friend of mine” and the guy was a fed or later became a rat, didn’t you get whacked?

        • I believe so. If you “vouched” for a guy and he turned out to be an undercover cop, then you got the death sentence.

    • The Feds and their informants are all bluepilled on women (see the fake dossier against Trump). The RedPill test is the first step at ferreting out Fed informants.

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