Note: The weekly post is up at Taki. This week is a cranky rant about wanting to be left alone in a world full of busybodies. Sunday Thoughts is up behind the green door, along with some other things.
Inside the microwave oven there is a microwave generator, which takes electricity and converts it into high-powered radio waves. The magnetron blasts these waves into the food compartment. The microwaves bounce back and forth off the reflective metal walls of the box, just like light bounces off a mirror. As these waves travel through the food item, they make the molecules inside it vibrate more quickly, which generates heat and that is what causes the food to get hot.
It is not only a brilliant way to quickly heat food in the home, but it is also a good way to think about what is happening inside modern America. Instead of a magnetron generating microwaves, we have the mass media which generates lies, fabrications, and propaganda. These waves of false information bounce around within society causing people to act. Since these waves of data are at odds with reality, this causes friction within society and the people inside get increasingly agitated.
As an example, consider this story in the sporting press about mascots. The claim is that a survey was conducted and the Notre Dame mascot, an exaggerated leprechaun, is the fourth most offensive mascot in college sports. The top three most offensive mascots were from Florida State, San Diego State and Hawaii. According to the story, these mascots are offensive to Native Americans. The survey was conducted by a company calling itself Quality Logo Products.
For starters, the whole thing is based on the lie that it is possible to be offended by a team mascot. This is a lie created in the last half century. For ten thousand years of human history, no one thought to be offended by such things. In fact, no one looked for a reason to be offended. Personal offense required intent. The person causing the offense was either trying to insult someone or was reckless in their opinions so as to cause an offense to social norms.
Putting that aside, what are the odds that this company, which sells marketing materials, actually conducted such a survey? What are the odds that anyone knows the name of the San Diego State mascot? Most American sports fans would know the Notre Dame mascot, as their football team is nationally famous. Few people probably know there is a college called San Diego State. The same can be said of Hawaii. In other words, the survey is completely fake.
The way these things work is the company probably thought this was a good way to get attention for their services. If you beam some lies into the college sports oven, you will get some of the fans agitated. In this case, the mass media is the mirror reflecting this stream of nonsense back to the intended target. Other media picked up the original “story” and beamed that back onto the target. In this way, a deliberate lie is turned into another social irritant, agitating the public.
Joseph de Maistre said, “False opinions are like false money, struck first of all by guilty men and thereafter circulated by honest people who perpetuate the crime without knowing what they are doing.” This is the modern age, accept that most opinion is false, and it is produced on an industrial scale. The people are assaulted by a constant stream of lies and falsehoods that comes from all directions. Even the escapism of sports entertainment is weaponized against them.
Some people sense that they are in a sea of contemptuous disregard for truth and unplug as best they can from the system. They don’t consume television and avoid what passes for mass culture. The person who does this chooses to live outside of society, however, so it brings its own challenges. Still, everyone has experienced the peace of going on holiday and unplugging from the system. It is like being unchained from a lunatic for a few days.
Another aspect of this is that the modern age selects for the sort of person who enjoys trafficking in lies and the madness it creates. This is a feature of political systems that claim to express the general will of the people. Communist societies bombard the people with propaganda to break their spirit. By forcing the people to nod along with the lies, they force the people to be party to the lie. As Theodore Dalrymple once said, “A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”
In liberal democratic societies, this is not a part of the design, but a byproduct of the conflict central to democracy. That conflict is the assertion that all opinion is equal and must have equal weight. Equality is itself a nonsensical term as no two things on this plane of existence are truly equal. When it comes to humans, it is like comparing snowflakes, as everyone is slightly different. In order to maintain the fiction of equality, liberal democracy must paper over reality with lies.
What starts as a polite fiction soon becomes an obsession for the true believer, who becomes obsessed with covering the truth of nature. This creates the demand for people who enjoy lying. At first, the best liars rise in status, as they serve the interests of the system and the people atop it. This inverts the natural moral code of the people, rewarding the falsehood at the expense of daily reality. Quickly, democracy turns into a madhouse of lies and heated reaction to those lies.
Equality is the great crime against civilization. The evidence of this crime is reality, which like the corpse from a homicide, is impossible to hide forever. No matter how hard the perpetrators try to weigh it down with lies, it keeps turning up. This fact drives the egalitarian mad as he becomes obsessed with hiding this truth. His madness becomes the madness of the people over whom he rules, but the reality of the human condition will not stay hidden. It is an immutable truth of life.
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