HomeArticleDissidents Must Understand The Difference Between Fact And Narrative

Dissidents Must Understand The Difference Between Fact And Narrative

A politician can run a flawless campaign, say all the right things from a place of authenticity, hold wildly popular positions and an impeccable public record, but if they say things which upset the powerful, the narrative can be reshaped to paint them as crazy, incompetent, unelectable, treasonous, or all of the above, keeping them out of office forever.

An investigative journalist can spend months breaking a story that severely incriminates extremely powerful people. They can get all the facts right, source everything perfectly, report clearly and concisely, and get full exposure in a mainstream news outlet. But extremely powerful people can use their influence over the political/media class to quickly shift the narrative in the wake of that breaking news story to almost completely nullify its impact by making it seem insignificant.

A leak outlet can create a new and innovative drop box to protect the anonymity of leakers, opening up the possibility of bringing transparency and accountability to power. It can take the utmost care and implement the most exacting standards in confirming the authenticity of documents and protecting the identities of their sources, and it can get true bombshell documents that expose appalling amounts of corruption and malfeasance. But extremely powerful people can shift the narrative around that outlet, and soon millions of people will believe it’s a Kremlin operation and its founder is a smelly Nazi rapist who abuses his cat.

We’ve seen all these things happen. We live in a world in which you can tell the truth at all times, make no mistakes, get very lucky, and be fully supported, but if you do anything to upset those in power, the narrative can be shifted around you to kill your ability to do any good.

The reason I talk about narrative so much is because it’s ultimately what all our problems boil down to. The ability of the plutocratic class and their allied government agencies to manipulate the way people think, act and vote is the only thing holding the ecocidal, omnicidal unipolar world order in place, which is why billions and billions of dollars are poured into the plutocratic media, think tanks, the agenda to censor the internet, and other influence campaigns. Any attempt to replace that world order with a system that serves humanity instead of a few wealthy sociopaths must necessarily understand and interact with this dynamic.

Do you know the difference between fact and narrative? Are you sure? The ability to be as lucid as possible about the difference between raw data and the story that is spun about it is absolutely essential to understanding and fighting the establishment propaganda machine.

Let’s look at Russiagate for an easy example. The narrative is that Donald Trump is secretly conspiring with the Russian government to subvert American interests to advance the agendas of the Kremlin. But what are the facts? The facts are that a few people who were associated with Trump during his presidential campaign have been convicted and pled guilty to process crimes and some underhanded dealings with nations that aren’t Russia, while Trump has been staging a regime change intervention against Venezuela, bombing Syria, arming Ukraine, implementing a Nuclear Posture Review with a more aggressive stance toward Russia, withdrawing from the INF Treaty, throwing out Russian diplomats, sanctioning Russian oligarchs, expanding NATO and securing it more funding. The narrative and the facts couldn’t be more different.

But that hasn’t mattered, has it? The propagandists have been able to get everyone worked up about the idea that Putin has managed to influence the very highest levels of the US government, despite there being no facts whatsoever to substantiate that idea. It’s pure narrative, yet it’s been used to manufacture a conceptual framework which allows anyone challenging the unipolar world order to be undermined as a Kremlin crony, from Jill Stein to Tulsi Gabbard to Glenn Greenwald to Rand Paul. There is nothing but insinuation and innuendo backing up those narratives, but that’s all they need.

This dynamic is not limited to political power, by the way. In an abusive relationship, for example, the abuser must control the narrative about what’s going on to keep the abused party from leaving: I hit you because you made me so angry with your actions that I lost control. I’m not sleeping around, you’re paranoid and crazy. You can’t leave, no one will ever love you and you’ll fail out there on your own. Narrative control is power, from the smallest possible group of people to the very largest.

Anyone who wants to legitimately challenge the status quo will necessarily find themselves up against this protective wall of narrative that the ruling power establishment has surrounded itself with, so it’s important to know how to fight against it.

There are a lot of great alternative media outlets out there, and a lot of good dissident politicians and activists, but the problem they run into again and again is that they often stay calm and monotonous while repeating cold, hard facts. This is a problem because while they’re trying to calmly fight the status quo using raw data, the establishment is using sparkly narratives in all the right places. They’re appealing to emotions, they’re condensing their stories into catchy 20-second sound bytes, and they’re using facts only when facts help advance the narrative.

I am not saying that dissidents should abandon truth and facts; if you’re not trying to build a world that is based on truth then what the hell are you fighting for? But it is absolutely essential not just to tell the truth, but to seize control of the narrative as well. Get all your facts right, then tell their story. Make it interesting. Make it funny. Activists can be some of the most dry, boring people you’ll ever encounter, believing that their rightness compensates for the fact that nobody’s ever interested in listening to what they’ve got to say. Bollocks! If you want to convey a message, make that message pop! What’s the point of speaking out if nobody’s even listening? Being right isn’t enough.

Humans are storytelling animals; have been ever since we invented language and campfires. If you want to shake people awake, you’re going to have to interface with that reality. Being able to rattle off a bunch of data about your issue of concern isn’t going to accomplish anything by itself; what the establishment understands and most dissidents do not is that people listen to stories, not data, and the more interesting the story the better. Russiagate didn’t gain traction because it’s factually accurate, it gained traction because it’s a scandalous story about the president of the United States conspiring with nefarious forces and being blackmailed over a night of water sports with Russian prostitutes.

So tell stories. Tell truthful, interesting stories. Fight their deceitful interesting stories with truthful interesting stories; authenticity resonates with people in a way think tank-manufactured narratives just don’t. If enough of us can find authentically interesting, funny, amusing, colorful ways to tell the story about what’s happening, it’s only a matter of time before they get picked up and circulated by the public like a good joke or a viral video. Help fight the narrative war against the plutocratic establishment that is strangling our species to death, and have fun doing it. The more fun you have with it, the better.

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Latest comments

  • What you say is quite right. Whatever we do we need to be aware that there is an agenda and most of us do not figure in it. One of your Twitter comments hints at the Christopher Steele’s “Golden Showers” dossier produced by Orbis Business Intelligence. Steele was Pablo Miller’s superior in MI6. Now they are in partnership together making up these stories about the so-called Skripal Novichok poisonings. As well as bringing Sergei Skripal to the UK Miller also brought Alexander Litvinenko. The story is so big! But no journalist dare tell it. It is what has happened to the world we live in. I dug it out but somebody needs to dig deeper. There is a lot more to this than meets the eye.

    https://johnplatinumgoss.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/pablo-miller-spyline/

    Keep up the good work.

  • Every day the US gets worse. We pretend everything is fine, justify things, lie to ourselves, and stay silent.

    Do you think things will get better on their own?

    At point will you get mad? When will you resist? What will say when the economy collapses, you get sent to the concentration camps, the civil war starts, and WWIII breaks out?

    Will you feel any responsibility at all?

    Are you just going to take it?

    • FSF, what should people do exactly?

      • Good question…

        Spent most of the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s researching and writing about many of the issues which still preoccupy us today. Got tired of being the “crazy conspiracy theorist” and social gadfly…

        How do you talk to/argue with/convince someone who is absolutely, positively sure that they are right and you are insane. Simply put, their point of view is a belief system and any fact based challenge to those beliefs is simply not credible in their eyes.

        Got tired of it and now simply do not engage politically because it is not worth arguing with people who do not know their history or understand current reality.

        P.S.: FWIW, all pretensions of privacy on the internet died when Phil Zimmerman finally gave in to (intense) US gov pressure and PGP died…

        • Spanky, the Cult of Equality is the new religion in the West and its adherents are zealots of the highest order. Reason is to them what reason is to any religion i.e. faith in the doctrine must be absolute therefore reason must be denounced as blasphemy. “Racist!”, “sexist!”, “homophobe!” etc are all just the modern day version of calling someone a witch. Before burning them at the stake of public opinion, of course.

          • Was pilloried and burned at the stake (metaphorically, of course, as well as actually bribed) for presenting reasoned political analysis based on facts and interviews with “experts” (in their respective fields) in print pubs during the 80s and 90s…

            So, IMO, there is nothing new about these denunciations, except that they’ve become so blatant and obvious in the published and televised MSM (whereas in the past it occurred mainly in the newsroom itself).

            Can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a CFR member MSM journo interview one or more CFR member banker/corp/gov/mil/intel types on a MSM broadcast using a script prepared by a CFR member think tank… then seen exactly the same talking points endlessly repeated the following day in print.

            So overall, I think, these obvious lies and character assassinations making it into print and broadcast reflect a profound shift in both the viewers as well as the MSM. A shift embodied in the greater amount of uncensored information being immediately available online and thus a decreased reliance on the legacy MSM media for “news”. Which partially accounts for the “Russian interference/troll” narrative as the MSM, in its roles as the elite water carriers and profitable enterprises, attempt to remain relevant.

            This also accounts for social media now showing its true colors (and intel funding/development origins) by sanctioning alternative voices and sources of information…

            Moreover, you are exactly on point: Religion has always been a social control mechanism, and identity politics (an ideology is merely a secular religion) is exactly the same thing — a mass population thought control mechanism.

            The only equality I support is the rule of law and equality before the bar. But that died a long time ago in the USA.

  • “I am not saying that dissidents should abandon truth and facts; if you’re not trying to build a world that is based on truth then what the hell are you fighting for?”
    ..
    …..” but the problem they run into again and again is that they often stay calm and monotonous while repeating cold, hard facts.”
    ..
    ” If you want to convey a message, make that message pop! What’s the point of speaking out if nobody’s even listening? Being right isn’t enough.”
    ..
    ………….”people listen to stories, not data, and the more interesting the story the better.”
    ..
    “Russiagate didn’t gain traction because it’s factually accurate, it gained traction because it’s a scandalous story about the president of the United States conspiring with nefarious forces and being blackmailed over a night of water sports with Russian prostitutes.”
    ..
    “If enough of us can find authentically interesting, funny, amusing, colorful ways to tell the story about what’s happening, it’s only a matter of time before they get picked up and circulated by the public like a good joke or a viral video. Help fight the narrative war against the plutocratic establishment that is strangling our species to death, and have fun doing it. The more fun you have with it, the better.”
    ======================
    ..
    Now, here’s another “narrative” for your entertainment and I think it really pops.
    ..
    The short version is that what you are seeing and hearing 24/7 on the corporate MSM is the lead-up to a E.L.E. nuclear war. Is that interesting enough for you? Does it pop and grab your attention? Maybe the “why” of it will be more interesting.
    ..
    George Kennan was an influential US VIP for many years. He said the following only four or five short years before the end of the Soviet Union.
    ..
    “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
    ..
    At the time he said it, Kennan meant EXACTLY what he said, and ever since the USSR’s collapse, Kennan’s prediction has been time and time again PROVEN to be amazingly prescient. What we average people have a DUTY to fully realize and fully appreciate is that what Kennan said is EVEN MORE TRUE TODAY than it was in Kennan’s time.
    ..
    After the USSR collapsed to “The Russian Federation”, the US LITERALLY had no other choice than to CONTINUE its rampage around the world. But economic “things” started to go off the rails in 2007. Elite VIPs Paulson, Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, etc. were ABSOLUTELY CORRECT when they said that the ancient financial system (of a microscopic percentage of the population owning the vast majority of wealth and capital equipment for their own astronomical profit) would have “failed” had those VIPs not done what they did. By failure I mean that that microscopic percentage would have suffered massive losses on their investments; that many of their major banks would have gone out of business and many of the Elite would NOT have been able to remain the Elite. Most importantly of all, the US’s perpetual wars in support of USD hegemony would have had to come to a screeching halt along with its catastrophic effect on, again, the US’s war-based economy.
    ..
    So the president before Trump and the bone-ignorant US Congress Of Morons literally forced future US taxpayers to rescue the Elite; the Elite have remained the Elite; the Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks were officially born and the US’s global war of USD hegemony has continued unabated ever since.
    ..
    It is important to fully realize and appreciate that perpetual war and FIAT, FIAT, FIAT, printed-out-of-thin-air USD (NOT gold-backed USD) go hand in hand, because domestic and foreign mercenaries paid by fiat USD now REPLACE US-citizen-draftees. Should those mercenaries “lose confidence in” USD, US citizens and their children are going to have to fight and die around the world for USD/corporate hegemony.
    ..
    Unfortunately for humanity, what those very few human beings did to rescue the Elite and the TBTF banks was even worse that the actions of Nixon ending gold-based currency and Carter’s “Carter Doctrine”. Those panicked, impulsive actions steered the traditional whatever-you-want-to-call-it system into what is now essentially a worldwide laboratory experiment, or as Lord Jacob Rothschild bluntly put it in 2016,
    ..
    “The six months under review have seen central bankers continuing what is surely the greatest experiment in monetary policy in the history of the world.”
    ..
    As incredible and ridiculous as it may sound, the model — the experiment — that the increasingly-desperate Elite are trying to foist onto the people of the world all boils down to one thing. Humanity’s ultimate purpose is to SERVE the TBTF banks (more specifically, the Elite that runs and profits from them), NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND — THE WAY THAT THINGS USED TO BE BEFORE this ongoing experiment.
    ..
    Not so subtly, the Elite are telling us that in order for “us” to avoid yet another “financial crisis”, the Elite’s TBTF banks must FIRST have absolute control over each and every THING and each and every PERSON on planet earth and that WE are going to have to pay THEM a lot more money for their services.
    ..
    Experimental negative-interest-rate policy along with their necessary experimental abolishment of cash, are a last-ditch, now-fully-conscious effort by the inheritance/investment-owners to strip-mine some more profit from the no-inheritance owners, thus momentarily delaying the need for yet another astronomically-expensive and destructive war.
    ..
    But unfortunately, almost as if by the intentional design of an “invisible hand”, even all of these desperate, experimental measures CAN NOT and WILL NOT garner enough profit for the Elite’s centuries-long accumulation of inheritances/investments. When the panic-inducing pressure of impending loss on those investments inevitably becomes too great for the whatever-you-want-to-call-it present system to contain, the world will once again explode into full-scale, all-out war — this time, nuclear war, which will, this time around the “business cycle”, truly be the war to end all war. At least its end will come very fast. The mass die-off will take just a few more weeks.
    ..
    The total loss of INDIVIDUAL citizens’ privacy and liberty to an increasingly-secretive, tyrannical, intrusive, inquisitive, lawless, ruthless government/Elite are the inevitable domestic collateral damage caused by that Elite’s “foreign” policy. Foreign policy has “come home” and become domestic policy. “Threats from within” are becoming the focus of the Elite’s experimental national security state. Part of that “threat” is willing or unwitting agents of foreign powers — antiwar candidates, for example.
    ..
    The wars of USD/corporate hegemony and supporting MSM propaganda machine, as well as various Fed-funded hand-outs to keep the serfs in a semi-comatose, manageable state, are astronomically expensive, but all Jerome and Mario’s not-so-invisible hands have to do is hold down their “0” keys for longer and longer periods of time and all of the Elite’s invoices will magically get paid and their wealth infinitely increased.
    ..
    So here’s the US’s new, completely-experimental economic system in a nutshell. Jerome (etc.) holds down the “0” key for longer and longer periods of time; the TBTF banks get bailed out by taxpayers time and time again; the US national debt skyrockets and the US’s printed-out-of-thin-air-USD-funded MIC literally terrorizes the rest of the world into accepting those “dollars” as payment for their REAL goods. Any nation that does not comply with US diktat or fails to accept fiat USD as payment for its real products either has its government replaced or is reduced to stone-age chaos.
    ..
    The TBTF banks’ protective political insulation is very thick and the number of Jerome’s (etc.) fiat money is infinite, so, unfortunately, it’s beginning to look like the one and only thing that will stop the US’s new, politically-unstoppable, “whatever it takes” perpetual-war/TBTF-bank-based economic EXPERIMENT will be a nuclear strike undertaken by one or more of the ever-increasing number of nations who are being victimized by it.
    .=======
    .
    Now, what good does it do me to state my narrative and what good does it do to anybody who actually “believes” my narrative? Absolutely none, because what is desperately, desperately needed is a “narrative” that describes an ALTERNATIVE “arrangement” to the one we live in now — one that describes a day to day, “better” economic system/matrix in minute detail. That should be at least part of your mission, Caitlin. It’s going to take a lot more than reporting “truth” to save humanity from itself. Although a description of reality is a necessary first step to explain why reality must be changed, it is what follows that realization that is IMO most important. The commenters/admirers here need a GOAL to shoot for AFTER they eliminate the Elite.
    ..
    Again, the millions of people employed by the MIC and its spin offs already understand very well that their vote for an anti-war candidate is a vote for their own unemployment. Therefore, they’re going to be sticking with the “Russia/China are bad” narrative as “truth” and ignore alternative narratives that actually express reality. They’ll bet their and their children’s lives on the US conquering the world without any blowback from the ones their weapons are killing rather than experience certain unemployment. That’s reality. That’s how bad things are. Is it entertaining to know these things? You tell me.

    • I can’t thank you enough for your comment. I learned so much, and it’s obviously the truth, and put together so well.

      What good did it do? It educated me. Before anyone can change, they have to want to change. If they don’t know how bad things are, they won’t want to change until it’s too late. We’re the last countries, US & Canada, part of Europe & Aus/NZ, to bring the Third World home, but it’s happening and will get worse.

      Anyways this was great. I would love to share it on Facebook.

  • An incremental improvement in the MSM narrative was made by the New York Times Editorial Board yesterday, headlined “End the War in Afghanistan”—
    [First three paragraphs are excerpted below:]

    On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress wrote what would prove to be one of the largest blank checks in the country’s history. The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists gave President George W. Bush authority to attack the Taliban, the Sunni fundamentalist force then dominating Afghanistan that refused to turn over the mastermind of the attacks perpetrated three days earlier, Osama bin Laden.

    In the House of Representatives and the Senate combined, there was only one vote in opposition: Barbara Lee, a Democratic representative from California, who warned of another Vietnam. “We must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target,” she said. “We cannot repeat past mistakes.”

    Days later, Mr. Bush told a joint session of Congress just how broadly he planned to use his new war powers. “Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there,” Mr. Bush declared. “It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

    [Last four paragraphs cut to the chase below:]

    Any reckoning with the longest war in this country’s history must also grapple with one of its gravest miscalculations. We need to recognize that foreign war is not a vaccine against global terrorism. In fact, the number of Islamist-inspired terrorist groups has grown worldwide since 2001, often in response to American military intervention.

    Nearly two decades of terrorist attacks — here and abroad by attackers both foreign and domestic — have shown the obvious: that terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy force that can be defeated, and it knows no borders. It can be thwarted in certain instances, but it cannot be ended outright.

    If efforts to deal with international terrorism are to be sustainable indefinitely, they need to rely principally on intelligence and interdiction, diplomacy and development — not war without aim or end.

    The troops have fought bravely in Afghanistan. It’s time to bring them home.

    • “…terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy force that can be defeated…”
      .
      Obvious is right. It was obvious the day Junior came up with that jewel of propaganda. It was painful to watch that war develop right in front of the world based on a steaming pile of outrageous BS.
      .
      Again yesterday, Trump denounced it. I’ve always called it Oil War II. Someone suggested that the real Oil War I was not Poppy’s, but actually WWI. That’s a valid viewpoint.
      .
      Trump came off super antiwar and anti-intervention in that CBS interview yesterday. I think those are his real views. He’s not an ideologue and he was a Demonrat before he became a Republicon. That’s because he’s really neither. He had his best shot as a Republicon. That’s may be why he chose that route.
      .
      But the IC and MIC are putting the squeeze on him like nobody has ever experienced before. He has little choice because the left is so deranged, he has to suck up to militarists. The left chased him to the right when the left could have lured him more left on a variety of issues. They did this because they know not what they do.
      .
      In a sense, he’s in the same spot as Maduro. He needs to have the military on his side or the morons will storm the Bastille! They’ll lynch him on brainless conspiracy theory principles. They don’t care what the truth is. They don’t care what’s best for the country or anything else. TDS rules like a madness plague in the USA.
      .
      I want him to overrule them. Everything he said indicates he would like to do just that. But they don’t have to listen to the Commander-In-Chief. If they want to throw him in the dungeon, who’s gonna stop them? The naive “energized” left will cheer. The MIC has the power, just like the military is the power in Venezuela. While the IC is holding BS over his and his family’s heads with the corrupt Mueller fiasco, the MIC are refusing to obey his orders. He said it before Xmas – out of Syria, out of Afghanistan. It ain’t happening.

  • 2018 Tasers 0 Others – 49 (doa) #1 (repeat) Wave Multiple Flags Sheeple. BDS Free Assange, Snowden and too many others, but “Have a nice day”.

  • Methinks Ms Johnstone is the best person around to come up with authentic, colorful, interesting stories which might be able to sneak into the social culture and have the slightest chance of popping the insidious fact/narrative bubble. We really live in an upside-down “Alice in Wonderland” world, and Caitlin would make a perfect post-modern, Post-9/11 “Alice,” don’t you think? I’m thinking short films or videos on specific topics – or perhaps these already exist? As for “democracy” – never worked, never will. There is no sociopolitical system which effectively weeds out, quarantines or filters the evil and duplicity inherent in Mankind. U.S. Democracy, in particular – as it is run by card-carrying Satanists – might more rightly be termed “DEMONCRACY”.

  • It’s true that colourfulness, entertainment, effective rhetoric and the shape of the message in general play a certain role. However, the propaganda does make sure to present apparent facts, so that even those who overcome boredom and make an effort to analyse the facts will come to the desired conclusion. The contradicting facts, boring or not, simply don’t reach the public, and I think that remains the main problem.
    .
    If colourfulness were decisive, the cause of truth would be hopeless, because reality is never quite as good a story as fiction can be.

  • Caitlin, everything you wrote here is spot on. But try this exercise to find out who is also either trying to control the narrative or create their own: in this article replace the words powerful, elite etc. with the words left, leftist, etc. The left is just as guilty of trying to control narratives as are TPTB. Indeed, it can be argued that the left is doing the bidding of the TPTB, unknowingly or not.
    Caitlin, I can only judge you by your articles but I think you are a genuine person who honestly cares and are not just some virtue signalling punk. As such I beg you to please look into the NAP. My mind always remains open but I think it is the only truly moral philosophy. Join the side of individual freedom and Truth. You are already so close.

    • Well said. Those who subscribe to the standard political thought of the left, per force, must support the unlimited, centralized power of the state. Most on the left have limited moral reservation about slaughtering the opposition. Those on the political right, generally believe (superficially) in the sovereignty of the individual and our natural right to be free, while at the same time blindly sacrificing their blood and treasure to the state’s murderous war machine. Of course these are narrative labels, and like most, contain numerous aberrations. But, but the facts remain about the historical brutality and intolerance of political ideologies of every variety–exemplified by Stalin’s murderous regime and Chairman Mao’s mass democide, to the Zionist GWB’s idiotic and evil wars of aggression. I also see the promise in Caitlin’s writing, so our encouragement is warranted. As you say, she is very close.

      • CB, it is curious as to how people, both left and right, can claim they believe in supporting the power of “the people” while at the same time they denounce the individual. Who or what exactly do they think “the people” are if they are not individuals?! “The forest is pure and good but the trees are evil monsters” is irrational to say the least.

        • Nobody denounces the individual. You right-libertarians are the ones who, by rejecting the power of the people (democracy), ignore the fact that the people is composed of individuals (and thus democracy is an expression of the freedom of individuals). Only fascists and traditionalists subordinate the individual to a group with an alleged inherent value that is not derived from the well-being and freedom of individuals. Leftists do not.

          • FF, first I am not of the right nor am I libertarian. I am a NAPist. That is my sole principle and the basis of all my views.

            “Only fascists and traditionalists subordinate the individual to a group with an alleged inherent value that is not derived from the well-being and freedom of individuals. Leftists do not.”

            Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc. disprove that assertion. Collectivism in any form is the enemy of the individual because all collectivism is based on coercion. And how can leftists be for individual freedom when they violently attack freedom of speech – as well as other individual rights?

      • ‘Those who subscribe to the standard political thought of the left, per force, must support the unlimited, centralized power of the state.’
        .
        No, we mustn’t and we don’t. We reject the unlimited power of individuals representing the state just as we reject the unlimited power of any individuals (while you libertarian right-wingers ignore any other power than that of the state).
        .
        ‘Most on the left have limited moral reservation about slaughtering the opposition.’
        .
        Not more so than most on the right.
        .
        ‘Those on the political right, generally believe (superficially) in the sovereignty of the individual and our natural right to be free’
        .
        No, they don’t. They believe that the individual must be unfree to the extent that tradition and/or hierarchy demand it. The tradition is often religious authority; the hierarchy can be one of employer over employee, rich over poor, husband over wife etc. The greatest hypocrisy of the ‘libertarian’ right is pretending not to see the *de facto* power that the employer, the rich person, the husband etc. yield over the individual it claims to care so much about under a laissez-faire system; in fact, it simply continues, with new means and slogans, the mission of the original 1789 right, which defended the domination of unelected kings, aristocrats and priests over the people.

        • Evidenced by the demonstrated historical nature of your philosophical cult (read that Hitler, Stalin, Mao, HRC, GWB, Obama, Trump, et. al), all socialists, collectivists, communists, statists, or whatever the appropriate left/right nom de jour, universally support and advance the concentrated, abusive power of the totalitarian state. In your collectivist ideology there exist no dignity nor value in the individual human life, except in service and sacrifice to the state, and the political whores who operate it for the central power structure. Read my previous comment again. I reject your ignorant and incorrect labeling of my belief system as ‘libertarian’ or ‘right’. I am neither. The fundamental problem with people who think like you is that they always have the answers for how everyone else should conduct their lives, but refuse to accept personal responsibility for their own. The socialist/collectivist state always provides a safety net for those who think like you. But, at whose expense? The state creates and produces nothing, and has nothing to give anyone that it doesn’t first steal from someone who earned it. Who will plow the fields and harvest the crops that feed you. Who will work the factory floor to produce the technical gizmos that give your life meaning? Who cares about the short order cook as she slaves 12 hour days on her feet? It sure as hell is not the state, whose only interest in her ‘vote’. Your socialist, ‘democratic god’ has never delivered anything to the ‘people’ except misery. When the bell rings, someone has to make payroll, not with fiat money, but the inflated facsimile that we are forced to use as our medium of exchange. Those at the top of the materialistic socio-economic human organization at scale; the corrupt central bankers, the industry monopolists, the war profiteers, and their predatory political enforcers–those who enslave and exploit the individual–these are the people who represent the power structure that ‘owns’ your ‘democratic’ state. I could care less what philosophical uniform you wear as long as you stay on your side of the fence. Sadly, you have decided to trade your cow for a bag of beans. Good luck with that.

          • China has created and executed 13 five-year plans as a socialist country over the past 70 years.

            Perhaps you might want to educate yourself about some examples of socialism in the US. I would offer Tacoma Power as an example of a very “socialist” public utility.

            Your expression of ignorance here does not reflect well on your other writing

        • They way I see it is.
          The battle or balance is about individual rights/sovereignty and social obligation to the overall society one finds themselves in. The anarcho-capitalist disregards any obligation to the overall collective(humanity). The anarcho-socialist says these obligations matter.

          • Orlando, if you’ll allow me, most of your writing strikes me as very sincere and heart-felt, but sometimes misguided. The selected terms used here are oxymoronic. True anarchists are not statist, of any variety. They believe in self-governed societies based on ‘voluntary’, cooperative institutions, and generally resist all forms of hierarchical social control. Socialist, by definition, do not believe in self-government. They adhere to a completely different concept of social-economic-political order in which all human life and property is under the direct control of the state. The capitalist, by definition, believes in private ownership of the means of production, private property and competitive markets, all of which are anathema to the socialist. It is possible for capitalism to produce highly benevolent, constructive and compassionate outcomes in the human condition. Not so with socialism, in form or function. Respectfully, I believe your concept of capitalism is distorted and confused with the corrupt, abusive form of private central bank controlled mercantilism that exist in the U.S. If we can find a starting point where all forms of political organization are based, first, on the fundamental belief that each person owns his life, his body and his labor, then we have a chance to change things for the better. Otherwise, we will continue to slaughter one another while marching to the drumbeat of the state.

            • I have to totally disagree with you, for it seems you have no real concept of anarcho socialism or anarcho capitalism.

              You confuse capitalism with free enterprise. Anarcho socialist are not anti-free enterprise.

              Capitalist regard private ownership as the supreme expression of personal freedom which is a total crock.

              Who should own the water and air? No one because it is a resource every human needs. Capitalist left unfettered are literally attempting to do this now.

              A socialist would say since air and water is something we all need therefore we all have an obligation to ensure these resources are not spoiled.

              You are concerned about the scale of human organization. Well at the lowest scales of human organization from family to tribes they are truly Anarcho-socialist because these group recognized the common interest that keeps the tribe going.

              • If you want to have a productive discussion of the concepts you advocate, I’ll go there with you. But, I’m not interested in verbal dueling with you over ill-conceived generalizations that have no basis in fact. I have a good grasp of both anarcho-capitalism and social anarchism, based on the commonly understood and widely accepted definitions of those human organization concepts. Before you accuse me of not understanding either, take some time to state the fact basis for your argument, or keep your own counsel. I’m disinclined to respond further to the type of nonsensical rubbish contained in your post, videlicet, your comment that “capitalist regard private ownership as the supreme expression of personal freedom which is a total crock”. From what source of inspiration did you formulate that asinine blanket generalization. The real ‘crock’ is your narrow-minded and shallow comprehension of personal freedom. Without personal freedom and self-determination, we are slaves to the powerful. What part of that eternal truth escapes you. EVERY human society that exist either acknowledges the natural right of personal ownership, or it doesn’t . It really is no more complicated than that. As I have repeatedly said, either you personally own your life, your body and your labor, or you are a slave. Period. So, do you actually believe that the human condition can possibly advance through state ownership of all human creativity, production and trade, especially with irrefutable historical record to the contrary? Who owns and controls the central power structure that regulates all operations of the socialist state, Orlando? Who protects the individual against the oppression and exploitation of the state? Wake up before you become trapped in a terminal mindset of distorted reality. When people share common values and moral standards of conduct, they have the chance to live and work together, grow together, and protect each other, in a condition of peaceful coexistence. When people have the freedom to
                create socio-economic organization structures at human scale that enhance their sense of well-being, meaning and purpose in life, ‘that’ is the highest expression of our humanity.

        • Orlando, if you want to have a productive discussion of the concepts you advocate, I’ll go there with you. But, I’m not interested in verbal dueling with you over ill-conceived generalizations that have no basis in fact. I have a good grasp of both anarcho-capitilism and social anarchism, based on the commonly understood and widely accepted definitions of the respective human organization concepts. Before you accuse me of not understanding either, take some time to state the fact basis for your argument, or keep your own counsel. I’m disinclined to respond further to the type of nonsensical rubbish contained in your post, videlicet, your comment that “capitalist regard private ownership as the supreme expression of personal freedom which is a total crock”. From what source of inspiration did you formulate that asinine blanket generalization. The real ‘crock’ is your narrow-minded and shallow comprehension of personal freedom. Without personal freedom and self-determination, we are slaves to the powerful. What part of that eternal truth escapes you. EVERY human society that exist either acknowledges the natural right of personal ownership, or it doesn’t . It really is no more complicated than that. As I have repeatedly said, either you personally own your life, your body and your labor, or you are a slave. Period. So, do you actually believe that the human condition can possibly advance through state ownership of all human creativity, production and trade, especially with irrefutable historical record to the contrary? Who owns and controls the central power structure that regulates all operations of the socialist state, Orlando? Who protects the individual against the oppression and exploitation of the state? Wake up before you become trapped in a terminal mindset of distorted reality. When people share common values and moral standards of conduct, they have the chance to live and work together, grow together, and protect each other, in a condition of peaceful coexistence. When people have the freedom to
          create socio-economic organization structures at human scale that enhance their sense of well-being, meaning and purpose in life, ‘that’ is the highest expression of our humanity.

          • Yet you can’t understand this simple definition:
            Social anarchism (sometimes referred to as socialist anarchism) is a non-state form of socialism and is generally considered to be the branch of anarchism which sees individual freedom as being dependent upon mutual aid.

            “No man is an island”
            What part of that eternal truth escapes you.

      • Psychohistorian, please correct me if I’m mistaken, but I thought Tacoma Power was one of the country’s oldest and most stable ‘citizen-owned’ electric utilities, managed by a board that represents the cooperative of owner-customers. This is a very different model from the “socialist” operating utility models that are subsidized by the state and federal governments–most of which operate at significant financial deficits, and are highly unstable. There is transparency and accountability in the Tacoma Power operating model that does not exist in the socialist public utilities that serve, say, Southern California, Cook County, IL, and Northern New Jersey. When time permits, and if you are so inclined, compare the income statements and balance sheets of the different models, and the distinction will be clear. As for China, I don’t have a clue. The bureaucracy is so complex and deep, and the corruption so ineffable (not unlike America’s, only perhaps more so), it’s above my pay grade to figure. Regards.

    • “Join the side of individual freedom and Truth.”

      That’s the best thing you’ve ever written. And I’m still unclear on the distinction between “personal sovereignty” and “individual freedom,” but I haven’t seen her use the latter term. I just replaced the 22 times in this essay that she said narrative, including in the title (and plurals), with the word “propaganda.” It worked perfectly at least 80% of the time. That made it clearer and more forceful to me too. More “pop.”

      The word propaganda is generally reserved for what other “bad” countries do by the IC controlled MSM. It’s similar to calling powerful business people “oligarchs” in Russia but never in the US. No, Bezos is no oligarch. He’s just the richest person in the world (pre-divorce) and owns the mouthpiece of the CIA, aka the WaPo, as well as that Alexa thingy that’s collecting data on all those early adopting consumers. He’s also got his eye on space.
      .
      Here in the narrative matrix the WaPo, NYT, CNN, MSNBC, etc don’t spew propaganda. They have narratives.
      .
      Words are weapons. Chose your weapons wisely.

      • Rod, I argue that propaganda is not an end but rather the means to an end (in this case a narrative is the end). Propaganda is a device used to create or control a narrative; it is a tool used to reach a goal and not the goal itself.

    • Orlando, at the risk of sounding patronizing, I suggest that you step it up a bit or this will be my last contribution to the thread. From where derives your understanding of the concept “social anarchism”? I’d bet my pony against your lego set that Wikipedia is the culprit. Your definition was lifted from that site. Here’s the thing about Wikipedia–it is not your friend. Just FYI, it is not controlled by the same noble people who operate Wikileaks. Google “Holocaust Deaths” and what do you get? “WWII genocide in which 6 million Jews were murdered by Nazi Germany and its collaborators”. Question: do you believe that number is accurate? The same deep state operative that edited the spurious “6 million” number into the Wikipedia platform also provided you with your definition of “social anarchism”. Are you beginning to follow yet? If not, here’s the point straight up: ‘Social anarchism’ is an oxymoronic term based on a self-contradictory utopian social concept. Conversely, ‘anarchism’ is universally and accurately defined as the essence of personal freedom, and ‘socialism’ is universally defined as ‘state control of the means of production’. Do you detect the subtle persuasive intimation and specious programming to shape your cognitive interpretation of the concept? ‘Anarcho-capitalist’ is a perfectly synthesized term that defines a symbiotic and mutually beneficial social order based on personal freedom and self-determination. Don’t rely on Wikipedia for your education. You have a good mind, use it.

      • It has been argued that the real oxymoronic term is Anarcho-capitalist but I don’t need to go there to destroy your unscrupulous philosophy.

        The problem with AnCap it literally tries to deny the fact that you live in a COMmmunity or SOCiety and that within those units of organizations there are agreed upon rules of behavior. So if you lived in a community with a single source of water what gives you and anyone the right to claim it as private property and do with it as you will? None because you all need that water to live it is a (commons). Now if you decided well I will set up pipes throughout the community that everyone has access to it equally instead of everyone going to the source of course that person should be compensated for their labor. And of course people would be free to say “I don’t want your pipes , I prefer to get my own water or make my own pipes”

        What is truly defective about AnCap is that literally tries to deny the interconnectedness of humans and their environment. You clowns try to reduce human activity to just resource extraction, labor, private property, and voluntary transactions. Communities and societies come together on more than just those things.

        As much as AnCap talks about personal freedom and individual sovereignty you clowns miss the whole point that humans are social beings what makes humans different then basic bees buzzing in a hive is our ability to empathize with one another. You AnCapers show a basic lack of human empathy because your so wrapped up in your “philosophy of all about me”

        And taken to its logical conclusion, AnCap philosophy and lack or denial of empathy is what leads back to our current status of world affairs where sociopaths and psychopaths who lack human empathy are ruling the world and destroying our natural resources.

        • AnCap shows a lack of basic human empathy because your so wrapped up in your “philosophy of all about me”

  • When the bank doors close and stay closed, many will be asking questions, but, but, they said this and they said that…..to late mate! These people are known in the bible as “fools”, because they DID NOT seek the truth, and those that spoke the truth, they did not listen to! The TRUTH is the light, speak it, search for it, live it, or live a life in darkness, and face the consequences! Nobody likes to admit, they have been living foolishly. Taking for granted that MSM tells us all the truth, when in fact they are selling us a narrative supplied and scripted by their owners, the Deep State. Taking for granted that our government and Parliment are honerable and trustworthy people, when mostly they are not, they too sell a narrative, a narrative that YOU WANT TO HEAR, so they may gather your vote. Telling half truths is NOT the truth, it is like a jigsaw puzzle with a piece in the middle missing, a piece that would change the whole picture, had it been included!
    Well, here we all are now, and the narrative of a healthy economy is now slipping quickly into our rear veiw mirror, and the narrative of being a free and democratic society, is also quickly dissappearing into the same rear veiw mirror, along with Human Rights, International Law and order. ALL, being thrown into the dust bin of history, AND digitally erased! If people can’t see this, recognise it, and take appropiate action/preparation, against it, then they will face the consequences of their own inaction and lack of thought. We have become a very complacent society, and we are ALL going to pay a VERY HIGH price, one way or the other. NOTHING, should be taken for granted, only FOOLS take things for granted. Do your home work folk, and do it proper, lest we all end up living in a place known as hell!

  • Marketing 101. The Americans are the best in the world at selling, and they have been doing it for a very long time. They know exactly how to pitch their malarky to get their desired result. As a population they are the most brainwashed on the planet. As I said before, they have been doing it for a very long time.

  • An excellent and much-needed article that reminds us of things we all knew but have not sufficiently heeded.

    Another way of putting it is that the rich and powerful who run the world have always known the techniques of marketing and advertising.

    Watch any string of TV commercials (taking something to settle your stomach first, if necessary) and you will see exactly the process Ms Johnstone describes. When did a car company ever try to sell its latest model based on hard facts? Instead they show sequences of glamorous, lightly-dressed young people racing along romantic highways through magnificent scenery, with their hair blowing in the wind and not a care in the world.

    Commercials for banks and insurance companies are even more repulsively disingenuous.

  • Agree there are a lot of excellent factual news sites, but for people short on reading time there are also excellent podcasts. Try ‘Loud and Clear’ (John Kiriakou and Brian Becker), ‘Moderate Rebels’ (Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton), ’21st Century Wire’ (Patrick Henningson).

  • When I read this, I can’t help but think of the old marketing adage “Sell the sizzle not the steak”
    https://simplesmallbiz.com/business-marketing-101-sell-the-sizzle-not-the-steak/

    “There are a lot of great alternative media outlets out there, and a lot of good dissident politicians and activists, but the problem they run into again and again is that they often stay calm and monotonous while repeating cold, hard facts(the steak). This is a problem because while they’re trying to calmly fight the status quo using raw data, the establishment is using sparkly narratives(the sizzle) in all the right places. They’re appealing to emotions, they’re condensing their stories into catchy 20-second sound bytes, and they’re using facts only when facts help advance the narrative.”

    And the reality is that humans are emotional beings.

    Nice post Johnstone.

  • Great blog post, CJ.

  • Caitlin, you’ve outdone yourself on this one. This IS the meta-analysis to end them all. So glad I discovered you a year ago. You are like a compass helping us navigate through all the bs and teaching us how to think for ourselves. No mean feat. Keep these coming. Maybe enough people with catch on and a critical mass will form to counter the insanity going on around the globe.

    In Canada, but have relatives in Venezuela. I cannot imagine what they must be dealing with.

  • @ Catlin who wrote:

    …..the establishment is using sparkly narratives in all the right places.

    I agree with this and have been developing some alternative narrative descriptions
    One is about empire and how it seems to have more and more “plates spinning” (on end of stick) like the new one of Venezuela. Picture the empire spinning plates of the ME, Ukraine, Korea, China, Russia, Iran, Syria, and all those US domestic plates

    An Orwellian concept I have thought of is a follow on to your “sparkly narrative” comment above…called DazzleSpeak. It is the conjunction of your sparkly with Orwellian overtones. It is what is used to start the plates spinning and keep them going now and again when needed.

    Fact is important also and what you are not allowed to report about nefarious actions by the UK government is as important, IMO, as narrative.

    • “DazzleSpeak”
      Nice
      “Sparkly narrative” is right on the money as well.
      So refreshing to see a commentator with their eyes wide open and their brain fully engaged.
      Pity most of the world is apparently not listening, or at least if they are they are too distracted to understand they are being mislead.
      Cognitive dissonance explains a lot of it, but not all of it.

  • water sports !

  • Make the message pop – a gift you possess Caitlin. The rest of us can but aspire to your brilliance.

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