Something that seems to be a part of every revolution and great period of social unrest is that a cloud of suspicion descends on the society. The people, through distrust and ignorance, no longer understand or trust their rulers. The rulers, because of insularity and obstinance, no longer understand what is happening in their society. There may be factions in the public that view one another with suspicion, so they are not able to properly evaluate one another, adding to the chaos.
One thing that happens when people can no longer trust their rulers is they are ready to believe anything. The French Revolution and Bolshevik revolution, for example, had periods where crazy rumors rocketed around society. We are seeing this today with the QAnon stuff and the election lawsuits. The former was mostly escapism for unhappy people on the left-side of the bell curve. The latter was escapism for the civic nationalists who are one step from exiting the system.
In both cases, the role of these rumors and wild theories is to distract from the reality on the ground. People really wanted to believe Trump was the answer to the failing system, so they were willing to accept increasing ridiculous explanations for his inability and unwillingness to follow through on his promises. The people into this stuff are not sitting around compulsively cleaning their weapons, surrounded by stocks of MRE’s. They are highly engaged citizens who believe in the system.
Suburban civ-nats are not the only people indulging in escapism. The cosmopolitan loyalists have their own Harry Potter version of reality. You see it in this ridiculous video put out by the Tubby Tyrant of the Tidewater. Hogan is backed by the Chinese Communist Party and the neoconservatives, who think they can slither back into power and it will be the Bush years all over again. Republican escapism is built on the idea that everyone will just forget about the last four years.
You see, in this fantasy, Trump is expelled from their midst and the people rally to their banner, prepared to return to a world of old fashioned toadyism. Those sober-minded Republicans will be at the helm again, promising tax cuts for billionaires and endless wars for Israel. After all, that’s what Edmund Burke and Reagan would do. Of course, their masters promote the idea, as you see in this post. Ross Duothat’s role is to promote conservative’s official role in the farce of politics.
You’ll note that no where in that post or any of the writings of these people is there any consideration for why any of this is happening. That Duothat post should have been accompanied by this picture. While lots of white people are no doubt indulging in fantasy in the face of the massive corruption we are seeing, they are doing so for a deeper reason than just escapism. There are real problems that are not going to be papered over by installing the Pretender Biden.
Reality avoidance is not just for the little people. The reaction to the Covid-10 pandemic by members of the plutocracy is another form of escapism. Bill Gates sees himself as a trusted wise man in modern society. He has been out front promoting the latest fads on the coronavirus virus. Why a retired computer executive thinks he is an expert on pandemics is a mystery, but a bigger mystery is why he thinks the world at large trusts his judgement and advice on this issue.
This is probably the most remarkable aspect of the pandemic. The people in charge are completely unaware of the fact that hardly anyone believes them. Even the people wearing their masks to bed think the rulers have botched things. We’re not seeing public surveys on the handling of the pandemic, as it would be a waste of time and it would contradict the fantasy. The people at the top really think they are beloved by the public and it is a small bunch of hooligans causing trouble for them.
To some degree, it really does not matter what anyone thinks, other than the people in control of the institutions. They have the monopoly of force, so they can impose their reality on the rest of us. We see this with the election. The media and tech oligarchs are erasing any questions about the election and will carry on as if the Pretender Biden is a wildly popular hero of the people. They are even trying to sell him to religious people as a “church-going Catholic” who also believes in infanticide.
The thing is though, and this is the great irony of liberal democracy, is that the system needs the fantasy of self-rule to operate. The middle-class has to believe that their votes matter and the market place is always right. These efforts to suppress public debate in order to repress skepticism over the official narrative do more to undermine that fantasy of self-rule than the wild rumors. QAnon believers will keep believing the plan is still real. Take that away and the scales fall from their eyes.
This is why social unrest comes with wild rumors and conspiracy theories. The dynamic of distrust leads to various forms of escapism, which creates a barrier of confusion between the rulers and the ruled. The people at the top, rather than face their own role in the crisis, indulge in their fantasies. The people at the bottom look for explanations as to why things are not as they were promised. The desire to impose an official narrative creates more distrust, leading to more conspiracy theories.
House slaves like Ross Duothat hope that the escapism is a substitutive for real action, but the ongoing street theater says otherwise. The far Left was promised a revolution, so they will not play along with the fantasy. Now the populist Right is getting a taste of street radicalisms and they like it. A new populism is being born in the streets during these election protests. Lots of unhappy people in the streets, feeling the rush or revolt, will have time to share their theories with one another.
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