One of the mistakes conservatives, variously defined, have always made when analyzing modern politics is to assume purely rational motives to all actors. Today this combines a form of reductionism. The motivations of groups are reduced to the sorts of motivations that you can assign to an individual. The “cancel culture” stuff is now about power, as if the people behind it are powerless. Other events are reduced to the quest for money or maybe leverage over others in the pursuit of money.
In reality, the culture war has been driven by people who have all of the power and money they could ever need. The Left in America controls everything and lives like royalty, so power and money are not primary motivators. They are motivated by the same sort of religious zeal associated with fanatics. Theirs is a secular religion, but it is salted with plenty of mysticism. The reason that Gaia worship and now the Covid stuff endures is it satisfies their need for the supernatural.
This is why the mass media has started to look like a flock of birds or a school of fish, seeming to act in coordination on every story. A year ago, every respectable journalist knew that Covid came from exotic meat markets. It was the provincial rubes and their taste for bat meat. Similarly, it was provincial rubes in America and their conspiracy theories that thought Covid was possibly man-made. Now all of a sudden, the media fish are schooling around the lab leak theory.
They are not doing this because they got a memo from HQ explaining how the official narrative has been updated by the committee. The journalists are not getting an e-mail explaining the revision to the official narrative on Covid. “Please be advised that the new truth on the origins of Covid have been changed. Be sure to update your opinions accordingly comrade.” Instead, one heavy from the party signals the change and the rest, like fish, instinctively respond.
This is also why the media is oblivious to their own change in direction. Like fish in the school, their focus is always on the members around them. They go where they go, which means they are always reacting to those around them. Since there is a strong social hierarchy in all human organizations, the humans in the media hive are always looking up for direction. Biden says something, then the media lackeys in the press pool react, which causes the rest of the media to react.
The way to think of the media is not so much as a sentient organicism playing a complex game of politics, but as a mindless organism that responds to the stimuli applied by a small group of people. This is the part missing from this otherwise excellent post about CIA manipulation of the media. The CIA can influence the media narrative by simply turning a relatively small number of journalists. They do not control it in an absolute or direct sense. They just control some influencers.
The CIA is not the only part of the managerial state playing this game. The major Wall Street players use access journalism to promote their interests. The FBI sends dozens of retired people into media jobs every year. The corrupt agents involved in the seditious plot to overturn the 2016 election landed in the media. The cable channels alone have over one hundred retired FBI people employed. Then you have the revolving door between the media and presidential administrations.
That is one of the reasons official Washington despised Trump. Thousands of people in Conservative Inc spent the final years of the Obama administration angling for jobs in what was assumed to be the next Bush administration. Jonah Goldberg’s wife hit the gym and got a makeover assuming she would be in the Jeb Bush White House, but then Trump came along and ruined it all. For “conservative media”, Trump represented thousands of lost book deals, speaking gigs and so on.
The way to think about the managerial class is like a small town. It is really a collection of small towns, linked together by government think tanks, elite universities, and sinecures at nodes in the system. Newcomers are evaluated like the new family in a small New England town. If they fit in, they become part of the community, with all the benefits and responsibilities it entails. Who they are is linked to their membership in the community, so their loyalty is tangled up in their sense of self.
In the case of the media, it works a lot like any industry. There are small players and big corporate players. Some people start at a small player and eventually get called up to the big leagues by one of the big players. Others start at the bottom at a big media player and work their way up. The control is not just the threat of being blackballed by the media, but also the threat of being sent to a minor media outlet. Going from Fox News to YouTube, for example, is a horrible humiliation.
This is why reform is probably impossible. A reformer is immediately swarmed by flocks of angry insects from the various subgroups in the managerial class. We saw this with Trump, who set upon on all sides. The genuine reformer must battle with many hives of bees attacking at the same time from different angles. Before long he is solely focused on defense, which is what happened with Trump. He spent most of his tenure defending himself from one attack after another from the system.
According to Livy, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus received a messenger from his son asking what he should do now that he was a powerful ruler. Tarquin went into his garden, took a stick, and lopped off the heads of the tallest poppies. The messenger got tired of waiting for an answer, so he went back and told Sextus what happened. Sextus realized that his father wished him to put to death all of the most eminent people of Gabii, the city over which he was now the ruler.
This is probably the only way to reform the managerial state. A strong leader will need to behead the main institutions. New people with loyalty to the leader will be installed and they will purge the ranks. This is what happened in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin and the installation of Khrushchev. The problem is the American version of the corporate state does not have a strong party leader. Therefore, reform of this sort may be impossible, which means reform is impossible.
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