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The Misinformation Boogeyman
It's a front.
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Of all the elite hysterias that have played out since the political ascendancy of the Bad Orange Man w/mean tweets, arguably the most enduring has been the misinformation craze about malignancies that supposedly contaminate public discourse.
For the progressive types who’ve led the Great Awokening that has swept the American corporate-bureaucratic-nonprofit-media-academic oligarchy, they look out at the masses and see the layfolk as polluted specimens infected by that most toxic byproduct of modernity: unfettered speech. But you needn’t be especially discerning to understand that these are fake concerns and a smokescreen for power.
Today, more so than ever before, power is about the control of information, and this development has given rise to a new field of knowledge production that emerged during the Trump years at the juncture of progressive media, academia, and policy research, and which presumes that consuming bad information causes changes in belief or behavior that are “bad.” Since 2016, when the Bad Orange Man usurped the throne from the rightful heir — one Hillary Rodham Clinton, she of the Russiagate hoax perpetrated on Americans for 4 years and faithful monogamist to the lascivious William Jefferson Clinton — agitating for more online censorship has been a leading priority for a Democratic Party that still blames social media’s circulation of “fake news” for Hillary Clinton’s loss.
Long before the Twitter Files we’re revealed it was obvious that Democrats were in a close alliance with Big Tech, and that Big Tech’s rapidly expanding censorship regime was being used to advance the power of left-wing pols and security state operatives. That’s always been my core contention: That there’s a furtive, informal “alliance” between elites — and let’s be clear here that the egalitarian, pro-worker Democratic Party of old is no more, and has evolved into the party of the elite class, which is to say the kind of people who sport the unmistakable set of mouth that goes with high salaries and are more or less perpetually narrow-eyed and generally pissed-off in some broad geopolitical way and super eager to demonstrate how progressive and open-minded they are so long as it doesn’t cost them anything — and America’s canon-making institutions, of which Big Tech is now a key player, that’s been pushing, via suppression of dissent and censorship, for ideological conformity as a means of maintaining hegemonic influence over the country.
I’ll be the first to admit that this might sound like involuted, conspiratorial, mental labyrinth-type stuff that folks with a fondness for street-grade reefer get lost in for days at a time. But if you’re skeptical about the feasibility of remolding society by naturalizing schemas of social control favoring the vested interests of a specific ideology or group, and then passing it off as merely the spontaneous, anonymous derivations and by-products of the public’s will (q.v. - normalizing “pronouns” and 72+ genders), there are some fundamental examples of just such deliberate initiatives to enforce cultural change throughout history, and these examples indicate rulers of past civilizations were aware, even back then, that sheer physical force wasn’t enough to guarantee power, and that controlling information was also necessary.
The word “culture” is derived from the Latin root cultus, which means “care,” and which also gave us the word “cultivate.” Based on evidence, culture planning was definitely at work in Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia—the very first organized human group that documented itself.
The history of world religions is also chock full of culture planning examples, and these are particularly apropos since much of the left-wing dogma running rampant through our institutions is propagated by parishioners of the contemporary Church of Woke:
The emergence of centralized religious institutions and practices (in contradistinction, perhaps, to local cults), we are told by historians, can best be explained in terms of imparting social cohesion via cognitive allegiance through persuasion. Clearly, by adhering to the same codified set of cults and beliefs (anachronistically called religions), people were told what reality was, and which options of what repertoires are available to them, or indispensable for them. Students of ancient Egypt have suggested an explanation for the enigmatic preoccupation with the burial monuments known as pyramids. In their view, the whole enterprise was dictated by the need to invent a common project for the population to accept a certain repertoire of social order and individual identity. — Itamar Even-Zohar, Tel Aviv University, Israel
One need only look to the state Church of the Holy Roman Empire and its vice grip on the production of texts and large scale visual imagery to impose a deliberately uniform understanding of human teleology upon western European culture, which was going swell for about 1,000 years until that son-of-a-gun Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses showed up in 1517. But of course Luther had some help, if you’ll recall—something new and revolutionary that allowed people to share information more quickly and widely amongst one another, previously unavailable to others who’d tried challenging Rome’s stranglehold on truth: Gutenberg’s printing press.
The internet is our era’s printing press. It has completely transformed society, turning truth into a function of substance and trust that pertains to the authority of the source as opposed to whatever a select few say it is. An abundance of information, in this case a limitless, infinite influx, greatly diminished the authoritative aura of previously select sources, which is how the elite class — the small group of powerful people who hold a disproportionate amount of wealth, privilege, and political power — went from enjoying what might as well have been a monopoly on a relatively tiny information ecosystem to finding itself smack dab in the middle of an epistemic free-for-all in which humble peasants like yours truly can use online and mobile technologies to feed narrative-undermining information into the news stream and public conversation thanks to a new digital participatory culture. Once-esteemed custodians of information suddenly found themselves besieged by millions of new players looking for a seat in the members-only temple of authority, and these filthy laymen — uncouth, PhD-less mediocrities the lot of them — had the nerve to think that they, too, could assume the coveted role of Oracle.
History shows that power tends to be partial toward those with the best command of information. The liberal obsession with the Misinformation Boogeyman is a front for maintaining a stranglehold on the flow of information and public discourse; it’s about the perpetuation of their power and the cultural hegemony they enjoy thanks to an unofficial partnership between Big Tech, corporate media, academia, cash-rich foundations, and Democratic politicians.
Earlier this year the Biden administration attempted to stand up an actual Ministry of Truth (“Disinformation Governance Board”). The blowback was fierce, and the idea was officially “paused.” What the Twitter Files have revealed — particularly the latest batch, which shows the Biden administration told the platform’s executives to censor people who dared to question The Narrative™ — is that the Ministry of Truth initiative wasn’t a new idea but an attempt to formalize what had been an informal process in which the government imposed censorship by proxy.
The truth is important. Helping people separate fact from fiction isn’t a bad thing. But that’s not what was happening.
Consider the case of Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist and co-host of a very popular podcast that used to be on YouTube, but which was summarily banned. Why? Because Weinstein believes that the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin is an effective medication for covid—a position that he argued on air, for which he was kicked off the platform under YouTube’s “covid misinformation policy.”
Virtually every social media platform shared the same covid misinformation policy (often still enforced), making such incidents extremely common. This radical contempt for the scientific process defined the pandemic. Rather than contest Weinstein’s confidence in Ivermectin, which was based on empirical studies conducted across the world and results reported from the field, the pro-censorship covid zealots of the Left demanded that he be silenced, and the mainstream media did its part by discrediting Ivermectin and claiming (lying) that the drug was “horse paste” being consumed by flyover chuds rather than a Nobel Prize-winning medicine that’s been successfully administered hundreds of millions of times for a variety of diseases and which could have saved thousands of lives had it not been suppressed by Our Lord and Savior Tony Fauci and his acolytes.
Rather than censor Weinstein and others like him, debate should have been encouraged because it’s essential to the scientific process. Those qualified to judge (in my opinion, everyone, not just officially-sanctioned experts) should have been allowed to listen to the evidence Weinstein presented, and, if unpersuaded, used data and other studies to publicly refute his contention. But over and over again, on everything from ivermectin to mask mandates to PCR tests, precisely the inverse happened, and it’s for this reason that the pandemic was one big public health shit show that has thoroughly divested many of our key institutions of credibility.
In the past two years, the Biden administration and its social media lackeys have spread numerous falsehoods — serious falsehoods, like the insane notion that natural immunity to covid isn’t as beneficial as a rushed-to-market vaccine created by the most corrupt industry in the history of mankind, not Trump-ish egotistical falsehoods — and suppressed even more truths — like warnings about the long-term damage that masks and school closures, both unnecessary, were doing to kids. Had debate been permitted and our noble overlords refrained from censorship, maybe we wouldn’t have implemented so many scientifically bereft, socially disastrous policies.
The pandemic was a case study in why it’s idiotic to think information should be curated and disseminated by a rigid, top down pyramid of information custodians predominantly comprised of a bunch of censorious Grievance Studies majors who think Donald Trump is a Literal Nazi™ and covid is the Bubonic Plague 2.0 and words are violence. Are we to believe that, as long as it’s the Left that gets to facilitate good governance by reshaping Americans’ informational context and helping us make informed decisions, then the supposed malevolent forces afoot instilling impure thoughts in the masses — the sort of impure thoughts that might, say, get the Bad Orange Man re-elected president, or lead people to decline a vaccine they don’t need — will be routed in quick order and democracy will no longer be in danger?
Give me a break, man. Think of the mental gymnastics required to simultaneously believe that free speech is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy™ because of “epistemic and moral deficiencies” that’ve metastasized among the public, but ordaining a select few individuals to be society’s Truth Oracles is totally cool. These people often go out of their way to show us, by way of their own irrational beliefs and pieties, that they’re beholden to stupidity of a truly rare impenetrability. They prefer the comfort of strong answers already given rather than the freedom of thought, and if they had their way, the untutored preferences of everyone external to the progressive clerisy would be censored, with “informed choices” delimited solely to those made within a well-curated informational setting or context. Any dissent, however mild, would be nipped in the bud, and inconvenient truths would become morally disqualified facts.
It is absurd to think that it’s in the interest of society for a select few arbiters of truth to curtail free speech in an effort to protect delicate progressive psyches from impure thoughts/micro-aggressions and purge the commons of untruths. A rigid epistemic hierarchy in which some have the power to silence others implies a monopoly over knowledge. Ridiculous.
It’s important to let people speak freely in a public forum. That right isn’t contingent on a guarantee that whatever is said is correct. The point is to protect a fundamental principle of public discourse, which is that the truth emerges from a fair hearing of diverse perspectives in which nobody is beyond challenge. The weaponization of the concept of misinformation is a charade used to advance left-wing interests and silence political opponents and establishment dissidents, and it sets a dangerous precedent for scientific and moral debate in a free society.