HomeArticleThe Just World Fallacy: Why People Bash Assange And Defend Power

The Just World Fallacy: Why People Bash Assange And Defend Power

I write a lot about how important it is for political dissidents to research and understand cognitive biases, the large number of well-documented logical glitches in the way human brains process information. I do this because the science of modern propaganda has been in research and development for more than a century, so if public domain psychology is aware of these glitches we can be absolutely certain that the propagandists are as well, and that they are exploiting those glitches currently.

If you don’t cultivate a healthy respect for just how advanced modern propaganda has become, you won’t be able to understand what the propagandists are doing when observing the behaviors of the political/media class, and you’ll almost certainly wind up being fooled by the propaganda machine in various ways yourself.

The fact that people think of themselves as rational creatures, but in reality have many large cognitive vulnerabilities which can and will be exploited to cause them to interpret data in an irrational way, is not some amusing-yet-inconsequential bit of trivia. It’s an absolutely crucial piece of the puzzle in understanding why the world is as messed up as it is, and in figuring out how to fix it. The immense political consequences of this reality extend into every facet of civilization.

For example, have you ever wondered why ordinary people you know in real life often harbor highly negative opinions about Julian Assange, seemingly to no benefit for themselves, even while he’s being viciously persecuted for his truthful publications by some of the most corrupt political forces on the planet? You’ve probably correctly concluded that it’s because they’re propagandized, but have you ever wondered why that propaganda works? Even on some of the more intelligent people you know?

The reason is partly because of a glitch in human cognition known as the just world hypothesis or just world fallacy, which causes us to assume that if bad things are happening to someone, it’s because that person deserves it. Blaming the victim is more psychologically comfortable than seeing that we live in an unjust world where we could very easily become victim ourselves someday, and we select for that comfort over rational analysis.

In the early 1960s a social psychologist named Melvin Lerner discovered that test subjects had a curious tendency to assign blame for an unfortunate event to the victims–even when said event couldn’t logically have been their fault–and to assign positive attributes to people who received good fortune–even if their fortune was due solely to random chance. Lerner theorized that people have an unconscious need to organize their perceptions under the fallacious premise that the world is basically just, where good things tend to happen to good people and bad things tend to happen to bad people. Nothing in a rational analysis of our world tells us that this assumption is in any way true, but tests by Lerner and subsequent social psychologists have backed up his theory that most of us tend to interpret events through the lens of this irrational assumption anyway.

Like other cognitive biases, this one fundamentally boils down to our annoying psychological tendency to select for cognitive ease over cognitive discomfort. It feels more psychologically comfortable to interpret new information in a way that confirms our preexisting opinions, so we get confirmation bias. It feels psychologically comfortable to assume something is true after hearing it repeated many times, so we get the illusory truth effect. It feels more psychologically comfortable to believe we live in a fair world where people get what they deserve than to believe we’re in a chaotic world where many of the most materially prosperous people are also the most depraved and sociopathic, and that we could be next in line to be victimized by them, so we get the just world fallacy.

When news first broke in November of last year that the Trump Justice Department was preparing to charge Julian Assange for 2010 publications by WikiLeaks, establishment Democrats suddenly began babbling about “karma”. These people weren’t Buddhists or Hindus, yet when the Trump administration (who they claim to oppose) began an aggressive assault on the free press (which they claim to support), they began reaching for eastern philosophical concepts which have no evidentiary basis whatsoever in order to justify it. Their irrational belief in a just world was psychologically more comfortable than going against their confirmation bias about the guy who spilled dirt on Queen Hillary, so they selected it. Not because it was more truthful, but because it was more comfortable.

You see this more and more often as facts in evidence make it abundantly clear that the Trump administration’s persecution of Assange pose the greatest threat to the free press in modern history, both among the rank-and-file citizenry and among the political/media class. Countless opinion segments and articles have flooded the mainstream media denying that Assange’s persecution poses a threat to press freedoms, on the basis that Assange is different from the mainstream press in some way.

This isn’t due solely to the fact that these establishment lackeys know they’ll never publish anything which inconveniences power like Assange did (many mainstream journalists sincerely believe that they hold power to account in some way); a lot of it is due to the fact that it’s much more psychologically comfortable to believe that Assange is being savagely persecuted because he deserves it. Believing that Assange is getting what’s coming to him is just plain more psychologically comfortable than believing you’re in an endlessly out-of-control world where bad things happen to good people, and that in fact you live in a world where your own government will torture and imprison a journalist for publishing embarrassing facts about it. And it’s certainly a lot more comfortable than believing you could be next.

The just world fallacy explains so much about what’s going on today. It explains why everyone scrambles to defend their government when it begins victimizing a sovereign nation for refusing to comply with the demands of the powerful. It explains why people have been so easily propagandized into believing that poverty is caused by the laziness of the poor rather than the exploitation of the rich. It explains why people are so quick to justify the censorship of a perceived political enemy on the internet. It explains why any time video footage of a controversial  police shooting goes viral, the comments are always flooded with people saying the victim should have known better than to get down on the ground so slowly or reach for his wallet so quickly. It explains why attempts to discuss rape culture are so often bogged down by moronic comments about how its victims should behave. It explains why people justify mass government surveillance claiming that if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Some of these issues are more obvious to those on the left of the partisan divide, and some of them are more obvious to those on the right, but the impulse to create a false sense of safety in yourself is the exact same in all examples.

Even those who are wide awake to what’s going on in the world and don’t fall for any of the victim-blaming dynamics described above still often fall for a victim-blaming illusion of their own: the impulse to blame the propagandized masses for being propagandized, instead of blaming the propagandists. This one is just as deluded as any of the others, and it works for the same reason: it’s just plain more psychologically comfortable to believe that someone is being victimized by the system because of some flaw in the victim.

If we had a just and fair world, creating propaganda would be illegal along with murder, theft, fraud, and every other infraction on an individual’s personal sovereignty. To be clear, I don’t think that trying to make it illegal would work. I believe we need to evolve beyond the manipulations so they no longer affect us, but that requires us to see it as the serious offense that it is. If in the future we are to evolve to see it clearly, propaganda will elicit an instant and aggressive backlash from the collective against the propagandist. But right now it doesn’t, and it’s protected in part by people who believe that the crime of manipulation is outweighed by the crime of being trusting. Deliberately manipulating people for money, power or both is an attack on people’s psychological sovereignty, and until we see it as such then we will never turn our anger where it’s meant to go: on the perpetrators. If we can’t eradicate propaganda then we will never be able to see and understand what’s going on in the world clearly enough to fix it.

In reality, we live in a very unjust world. We live in a world where money is the only real valuing system, and money selects for ruthlessness. Money elevates those who will do what it takes to get ahead, and so money elevates sociopaths. No amount of muddle-headed magical thinking about “karma” is going to make that untrue. There is no grand arbiter in the sky selecting for goodness and badness. We must select good and badness. People must be held to account for their actions by those that observe that those actions are unjust. Great things happen to bad people, and awful things happen to good people, and when culture elevates greed and sociopathy that is only going to get more true until we put an end to it.

It is psychologically comfortable to believe that we live in a just world. It is much less psychologically comfortable to understand that we don’t, and that we never will unless we fight very hard for it. One is an illusion, the other is reality. A preference for reality over comfort is the primary factor which separates those who serve corrupt power from those who speak out against it.

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Latest comments

  • Caitlin:

    Once again another incredibly brilliant (and amazingly timely) post. And I especially thank you for including the three clips explaining the “Just World Fallacy” (JWF.) For myself, I came to consciously self-recognize the reality of JWF rather late in life in a moment of trenchant perception regarding just one single incident – which was the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, 26 February 2012. My entire “mindset” about America got an instant RESET from that day onward. Another jolt was delivered with the 30 March 2018 commencement of the Palestinian GREAT MARCH OF RETURN at the “Gaza fence” – and the response of the Israeli Defense Force towards the participants. Once again, my entire “mindset” about the Palestinian/Israeli matter got an instant RESET. [Those are just the BIG TWO … there are many, many others NOW!] From time-to-time you write “in defense” of what you write – or, perhaps more accurately, to directly confront your critics as much as to define yourself to your readership (particularly “support”?) base. Either way, in the process you continue to illuminate as well as educate. I appreciate your “voice”, applaud your “guts”, and much value the “contributions” that you have made to my growth as a HUMAN BEING since I first met-up with your work (about 2 years ago, now?) YOU remain a “must read” – because, hit-or-miss on a daily basis, your mind “challenges” my own to THINK and especially RE-THINK! Which is precisely THE POINT (of your writing, and my reading), is it not? EXACTLY! (Which works-in-reverse, too, does it not? Via feedback – like this bit, perhaps?) MEANT TO ENCOURAGE!! Thank you, Caitlin.

  • People, like other animals, seem to have as much energy and intentionality as (mostly) their genes dictate, probably affected by the chance of life circumstances (for instance, early childhood nutrition). Generally, the genetic setting for energy must be the outcome of human evolution — under some primitive circumstances, laziness, that is, a tendency towards inaction and rest, might have had positive survival value. I’ve come to this conclusion after long struggles with my own laziness, since I wish I could get more things done; but I seem to have as much energy as I have regardless of what I wish. In any case I think what people do with their energy matters more than how much of it they have. Many, many energetic people pursue ends that are anything but beneficial towards their neighbors and their world. Exploitation by the rich is one aspect of the situation. Another example, one might say, of the fundamental injustice of the world.

    • Hello.
      I had quite similar thoughts about “psychological comfort” and energy.

      In a state of rest, e.g. lying flat on the ground, with closed eyes and as few thoughts as possible (similar to meditation), the human brain already needs about 20% of the energy provided by the organism. If the human being then, for example, processes a problem mentally, the energy requirement of the brain increases and then opens the eyes, it rises further (in brain research they also speak of Arousal, the degree of activation of the central nervous system).
      But the organism respectively the brain always wants to reach a state in which as little energy as possible is consumed, e.g. when everything fits, when thinking, feeling and acting forms a unity, when one feels comfortable with the people with which one is together, and refer to Caitlin’s article when the opinions and beliefs concur – in short, the brain strives for a form of coherence.

  • Der Gerechte-Welt-Glaube: Warum Menschen Assange schlechtmachen und Macht verteidigen

    Von Caitlin Johnstone am 23.07.2019, übersetzt aus dem englischen.[…]

  • Thank you again, Caitlin Johnstone

  • “It explains why people have been so easily propagandized into believing that poverty is caused by the laziness of the poor rather than the exploitation of the rich.”

    Does it have to be one way or the other? Couldn’t there be truly lazy people who are poor because they don’t apply themselves, for whatever reason? Exploitation by the rich doesn’t explain everything, does it?

    I generally like your take on things, but this seemed a little weird.

    • People, like other animals, seem to have as much energy and intentionality as (mostly) their genes dictate, probably affected by the chance of life circumstances (for instance, early childhood nutrition). Generally, the genetic setting for energy must be the outcome of human evolution — under some primitive circumstances, laziness, that is, a tendency towards inaction and rest, might have had positive survival value. I’ve come to this conclusion after long struggles with my own laziness, since I wish I could get more things done; but I seem to have as much energy as I have regardless of what I wish. In any case I think what people do with their energy matters more than how much of it they have. Many, many energetic people pursue ends that are anything but beneficial towards their neighbors and their world. Exploitation by the rich is one aspect of the situation. Another example, one might say, of the fundamental injustice of the world.

  • This is essentially it, most people are going through the motions of life, but not really meaning any of it. They are like pets centered around a master, waging tails or growling its all about pleasing superiors and getting by, that way your not put down or punished, but instead your fed and protected.
    Wild dogs are shot on sight, they can’t be trusted to suck up.
    Most humans are like well broken house pets thinking themselves powerless but to capitulate, after all the ones who like to do their own thing tend to find dog catchers and pounds.
    Indeed the beginning of every tyrants bloodbath is the most creative members of society, this is how the majority know what not to be. Propaganda mission number one, consumption = winner, production = loser. destroyer = hero, creator = villain.
    Pets can be LAZY, that’s why they are pets. Looking to pets to find a road to freedom will never work, wild animals have to go it alone, they have to embrace work, they can not be lazy.

  • It seems that it is easier to confront a guy like Assange than to confront Iran.

    A recent article by Elijah Magnier is telling about the supposed “power” of the US. Magnier is almost saying that Iran are seeing the US as pathetic weaklings who will attack only is victory is 100% sure:

    “Washington won’t go to war if the outcome is not clear at least for itself. And, with Iran, no outcome can be predicted with certainty. Iran is aware of this US weakness, and is playing with it. It is showing that the West, for all its bulky muscles, is fragile and even vulnerable.”

    https://ejmagnier.com/2019/07/23/iran-imposes-its-rule-of-engagement-an-eye-for-an-eye/

    The fact that it is easier to go after Assange is in itself a reason why they are going after him.

    If you go deeper, it is a sign of a decadent society… and if you go a little bit deeper, you will find that it is Simply the return of the days of Noah just before the Second Coming of Jesus which is very near according to many prophecies.

    And I pray the Rosary to hasten His glorious return because I am fed up and I have really really seen enough.

  • A question. How many people really buy into the mainstream media messages? Not those that are subconsciously subverted in some ways, rather those that are confident in and comfortable with its narrative and truths?

  • Very good points. Capitalism fans in particular are inclined to assume, fanatically and in spite of all the obvious evidence to the contrary, a ‘just capitalist system hypothesis’ or ‘just market hypothesis’, replacing or oddly mixing with the earlier belief in divine Providence (although even traditional religious doctrines often had the good sense to ascribe perfect justice only to life after death, to the kingdom that will arise after the return of the Messiah and suchlike, and not to the present).
    .
    It’s interesting that even when the fervent adherents of capitalism admit the existence of significant mismatches between income distribution and just deserts in the real world – a fact that they blame on polluting ‘socialist’ admixtures – they still somehow think that we should act as if those mismatches weren’t present. A hypothetical small businessman who would have become a billionaire in the ideal free-market system, but goes broke in the real world because of crony capitalism, state regulations etc., must nevertheless be left to starve or die of curable diseases with no welfare-state assistance, as if his poverty were deserved and the capitalism were not ‘crony capitalism’. It’s an interesting sleight of hand, where the ideal is, at first, sharply distinguished from the real-world system so as not to be delegitimised by it, and afterwards immediately identified with the real-world system again in order to legitimise that system.
    .
    I would add that, of course, there are *some* facts that would fit in with the just world hypothesis – morally good actions do *sometimes* lead to consequences that are beneficial for the agent, and morally bad actions do *sometimes* lead to consequences that are harmful for the agent. The problem is that this is very, very far from being a general
    rule or law of nature, unless the consequences relate to some kind of fundamental and possibly unprovable psychological wellbeing.
    .
    There is also a closely related idea, which could be called ‘the predictable world hypothesis’. It assumes that good and bad consequences are predictable, at least with with the help of sufficient knowledge, so one always tries to interpret bad events as the avoidable results of mistakes made by the agent, and good ones as the results of exemplary and correct decisions. Again, this assumption is often true, so, up to a point, it allows one to learn from observing the lives of others. However, one must also realise that there are events which cannot be predicted and influenced by the agent, and events where the potential influence of the agent is far less than that of external factors.

  • Caitlin, you could have begun and ended your article with only the last two paragraphs.
    ..
    The most important task for readers of you article is to imagine in great detail how human beings should behave in a “better world” than the one in which we are living. And by “behave” I mean on a daily basis, in great detail. Who is going to produce what for what “remuneration” or reward.
    ..
    Do we want to live in a “system” in which a mcroscopic percentage of the population owns or controls the vast majorit of LARGE SCALE , highly-automated capital equipment for their own astronomical profit, or do we want to live in a “system” in which that very same highly-automated capital equipment is owned by EVERYONE for the profit/benefit of EVERYONE?
    ..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXkxl8dSXb4
    ..

    • And of course, the next step is to live that better world as much as possible. One can break free of the corporate world in some ways. People can form a co-op or a community to work a business or farm together, thus gaining some freedom in how they relate to each other and work in a locally non-corporate environment. A group of people can have enough time and knowledge to create their own school to teach their children well. Consumers can form co-ops to buy better, safer food. Community radio can broadcast something different from the corporations. Do enough of this, and then one can find themselves almost entirely outside the corporate world, with only a few very noticeable occasions when one is force to interact. And one will then likely find that “Build it and they will come” is true as word starts to spread about what you are doing.

    • There are alternative systems already in existence today, ready to be copied on a large scale.

  • A very worthwhile essay Caitlin, thanks.

  • I’m sure there are some genetically controlled features to the brain that control susceptibility to propaganda. We are tribal and some people get follower gene packages and others leader/dissenter packages. To rise above that we can use our intellect to recognize manipulation narratives. An absolutely key component is to look at what the leader types do rather than what they say. Obama, was for example given away by any cursory examination of his primary donors prior to the election, and that reality confirmed by his cabinet appointments. He was a classic do one thing and say the opposite con-man.

    • “Imagine there’s no countries
      It isn’t hard to do
      Nothing to kill or die for
      And no religion, too
      Imagine all the people
      Living life in peace… ”
      — John Lennon

      ” In general nationalism is a sign of narrow-mindedness”
      — Vladimir Putin (recent interview with O.Stone)

  • This idea also confirms the pernicious consequences of belief in any kind of religion whatsoever. The idea that the good are always rewarded (heaven, nirvana) and the evil are always punished (hell) is a religious myth and has nothing more to do with reality than a belief in a supreme being or an afterlife. And it has worked extremely well for those in power who wish to control those they believe to be their underlings. The myth has endured for millennia and for the same reasons. You would THINK, that in the 21st century, all such nonsense would be rotting on the garbage heap of history. But the problem is that a very large number of people do NOT THINK.

    • The people who do not believe in God are often those who have seen wreckages of airplanes in the Pentagone and in a field in Pennsylvania on 9-11.

      Those who do not believe in Jesus will believe anything instead.

      I really really hope there is a better world elsewhere. If not, the human being is a nonsense.

      I pray the Rosary to hasten the return of Jesus. I am fed up. I have seen enough.

  • You’re right! But, I think that it may go even deeper than that, I’ve read stories where during the Inquisitions each victim accused others until often entire cities were so decimated they were left with virtually no inhabitants.

  • You have to know those sad facts:

    People will invent anything to perpetuate an unjust order that makes them feel superior to some other people.

    They will endorse any lie that help to perpetuate the statu quo giving them that feeling (like saying they have clearly seen wreckages of airplanes in the Pentagone and in a field in Pennsylvania on 9-11 where there were clearly no wreckages at all to be seen).

    Only, as the Bible tells us, some disaster can make people act in a more just manner and in good faith for a while.

    I think the next step is the return of Jesus and the Final Judgement of mankind as many prophecies tell us that His return is near.

    I pray the Rosary to hasten the return of Jesus because I have really really seen enough of all that bullshit.

  • Most every American is knee capped by the k-12 indoctrination camps. Hollywood and the MSM are the icing on the cake. That is a hard hill to climb for the masses where as the “elite” are under no such restraints and have been intently focused on achieving dominance for decades if not centuries. Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and the others don’t care about money. If they did they wouldn’t be such a danger to the world. They’ve made enough for a 100 lifetimes. They care about power, control, and domination. They are to be masters. We are to be their cattle.

  • “It is psychologically comfortable to believe that we live in a just world…”

    Well, people know very well they are not living in a just world. They are simply of “bad faith”.

    This is something very upsetting for the very very few who are hoping for a just world.

    And in our times which are the return of the days of Noah just before the Second Coming of Jesus, almost everybody is of “bad faith”. People of “good faith” are the exception.

    I have really really seen enough. I pray the Rosary to hasten the return of Jesus.

    • Evangelical end time crazies are among the most reliable Trump voters next to white supremacist Nazis. Given the man’s character it completely undermines what they profess to be. They are bogus pretenders, just another selfish cult pushing an agenda unrelated to what they profess.

  • It is always great and gives me a lot of hope when anyone uses the word fallacy as a reference point in an article. That being said, until Caitlin uses the word ‘Collective Intelligence’ we are not really going anywhere. Using the word fallacy only means we are pointed in the right direction.
    Caitlin often uses the word “we”. There is no “we” there is only individual intelligence and groups of individuals who depend on rely on individual intelligence ( the intelligence of the self ) to navigate the world.

    She also uses the word ‘collective’ as above, “If in the future we are to evolve to see it clearly, propaganda will elicit an instant and aggressive backlash from the collective against the propagandist” and again there is no ‘collective’ only a multitude of “we” There is at present no computer hardware or software connecting the ‘collective’ the ‘we’ the individual intelligence of all the persons the ‘individuals’, a collective Intelligence. The world is dominated by Individual intelligence. There is only us and we each base our conclusions on the determination of our ‘self’ we are stand alone as units of intelligence evolved to survive.

    The above sentence “If in the future we are to evolve to see it clearly, propaganda” is backward. First we will (hopefully) transition to a ‘Collective Intelligence’ (hardware and software integrating perspectives) then the way we ( humanity) functions will change. Then we will evolve.

    Palloy laments in the comments below that Caitlin believes “violent protest (that doesn’t get us arrested) is wrong” ( I tend to think that violent protest will get you arrested). Here it is that I hope everyone sees the greater fallacy in Caitlin’s last para, “It is psychologically comfortable to believe that we live in a just world. It is much less psychologically comfortable to understand that we don’t, and that we never will unless we fight very hard for it.” This sentence seems to offer the hope that we can live in a “just” world if we just “fight for It”. This sentence seems to imply that there really is such a thing as, a ‘Just world’. The truth is that Caitlin and everyone else that now believe in ‘peace’ will end up with Palloy in violent protest because that is the last and only option. It always has been and always will be until people like Caitlin begin to use the words ‘Collective Intelligence’. Only then will we all share in the ‘Power’ of the intellect and we (humanity) find ourselves all on the same team. That is what it is all about anyway really ‘Power’ and the power of societies and cultures and the individuals and leaders who guide them to survive and thrive in the ‘world’ That is how it has always been. That is how it is today in our modern world based on a primitive reliance on ‘Individual intelligence’ and hence the behaviors of individuals and societies within our world. You have to see that intellectually that we (humanity) are still living in a ‘Wild, Wild West’.

    https://medium.com/@whmilk/save-the-world-collective-vs-individual-intelligence-69e1353ea9b5

    https://medium.com/@whmilk/the-value-of-anonymity-in-a-collective-intelligence-c0a003f481b6

  • What complicates this is that many of the propagandists believe their own nonsense. I tend to think most people are deluded rather than deliberately evil. At any rate, truth is hard to see as we all are veiled by layers of ignorance. Keep on working! Also karma does exist but does not bring justice at once. It works out over time and many incarnations. I cannot prove that of course but there is much traditional spiritual literature from ages that makes that case. If you dont agree at least keep an open mind to the possibility!

  • Methinks the problem is that while Sister Caitlin has perfectly identified these particular issues and supremely presented them (once again) to a cognitively functioning audience, it all amounts to “preaching to the choir”.

    On the one hand such educational issues should be taught to all young skulls full of mush as a mandatory part of developing critical thinking skills, while on the other hand the members of our aforementioned existing audience are probably all too aware of why this will never happen within any official public system of “education”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

    • Maybe it is, indeed, preaching to the choir, but one has to start somewhere.
      Here, we can at least begin by gathering coherent concepts and digest them.
      What we do with that information after that is entirely up to our own initiative.

      Caitlin can’t be expected to find us jobs in influential centres of education, or to hold our hand while we protest outside the offices of our most prominent propaganda manufacturers. That’s all up to us, and nobody ever said that fighting for justice was going to be easy.

    • Lloyd: Evidently you are ignorant of what IGNORANT is — and apparently have not much interacted with modern high school graduates in the USA, since you speak of “critical thinking skills”. Here are a few CLUES for you, from one who interacts with recent USA high school students routinely/daily: (1) don’t (cannot?) “read”; (2) don’t (cannot?) “count” all the way to 7; (3) cannot perform simple “mental arithmetic” (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division); (4) have ZERO (recognizable) sense of “personal responsibility”; (4) have ZERO (recognizable) “work ethic”; (5) are UNABLE to associate cause-to-effect or exhibit even an awareness that effect has cause … it’s just all “spontaneous occurrence” absent the concepts of “cause” and “effect”; and (6) an immutable self-defense mechanism grounded in absolute personal blamelessness regardless of obvious irresponsibility, blatant recklessness, or sheer stupidity. BUT — your most eggregious (and ridiculous) gaffe is to speak to what the USA educational system SHOULD be doing/teaching. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN the past 60 years, man? I graduated PUBLIC (state-funded, mandatory) elementary school, junior high school and then senior high school in ’73. As a 17-year-old BACK THEN, “Public Education” was a bad/sad joke. I then attended PUBLIC universities and colleges in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s — and every decade that passed I saw “academic standards” slide into literally “total meaningless” in terms of content and especially personal achievement. And even THEN long-accepted standards such as IQ, SAT, and ACT “test scores” were subsequently ADJUSTED UPWARDS for incomprehensible NON-“reasons.” What “public education” IS doing is continuing to produce generation after generation of increasingly calm (sedated), clueless (ignorant), fundamentally brain-dead (stupid) and thoroughly complaisant (“satisfied”) VOTERS who simply aren’t capable of even imaging “anything better/other” than status quo — especially when endlessly offered “more-for-nothing.”

      “Cognitively functioning audience”, eh? “Preaching to the Choir”, eh? Go TROLL elsewhere. Plainly, a person of such elevated intellect as yourself obviously has BETTER PLACES to spend this same time/attention that you have spent HERE. Go THERE to spew your astounding insights …

  • A truly logical critical thinking mind would wonder why Assange has never really revealed anything that those of us who have been awake and aware did not already know. Would wonder why he gets so much media coverage if he is truly a threat. Would wonder why real whistleblowers who are truly doing damage like Gary Webb get “suicided”. Would wonder why anyone would believe that they couldn’t have gotten to him at anytime and anywhere he was supposedly hiding. They would also conclude that his and Wikileaks highly promoted debut was a tad suspicious. That it reeked of a limited hangout, controlled opposition psyop from the start. He is an asset, pure and simple and a perfect demonstration of how easily manipulated people can be

    • The truly important thing is that the persecution and prosecution of Julian Assange will have a destructive effect on freedom of speech for EVERYONE. Your personal views on Julian, which I believe to be total crap, are irrelevant. The aim is total fascist control over free speech–in other words, the elimination of free speech. If you support the throttling of a free press, of people’s right to know the truth, then you are supporting the Trumps of this world. Your excuse is feeble. You are a Pavlov’s dog in a test of people’s cowardice and/or gullibility.

  • Karma means we live in a cause and effect universe. That’s all. It is a wonderful way to examine ones own acts of body, speech and mind, to evaluate if we are living according to our highest standards. Understanding karma leads to an attitude of absolute responsibility for our actions.
    On the larger stage, its very complicated. Overdetermined. Not so easy to apply. As all beings are creating karma. The universe is dependent arising, from our actions, and actions of all beings.
    Neera, if she really believed in karma, should be terrified.
    As far as propaganda, the US media is grabbing the minds of babies, young children, and adults, and has been for so long, that few can think straight anymore. I wish people knew just how damaging TV, movies, an advertising can be to logic, ethics, and clear thinking. Imagine a whole culture convinced that they should buy their children devices designed to be addictive, on social networks that are mining their data and manipulating their opinions. These devices break DNA, and cause numerous maladies including cancer. Happy Birthday honey! Have a device, and some glyphosate, GMO laced cake! I love you so much!
    I fled a decade ago, and still mourn the social disaster that the US is becoming.
    For goodness sake, cut the cable! Stop giving money and attention to these companies!

  • Ah, the Buddha Ms Caitlin speaks the truth! As usual you are extremely correct.
    Hey, whatever happened to real ” Justice “? I guess it has also been hijacked along with so many other things nowadays. Mr. C.H. Smith is right about ” the masses ” wishes for our ” Ruling Elites”:
    https://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly19/moral-crisis7-19.html

  • Thanks again Caitlin. Just after Trump was elected I lost a friend who made the startling claim that Putin had not just gotten Trump elected, but that Putin was “a monster whose killed millions of people”. My pointing out that was totally ridiculous, and asking for evidence quickly degenerated into a yelling match, and very heated words. Friendship over. I know others who have strongly insinuated Julian Assange needs to go to Sweden to face rape charges. I pointed out there were Never any charges, and told them to check out couple articles debunking this. Those people never got back to me, not a word since. I also got into a heated argument with one of my Big Issue customers over 2 years ago about the United States election. Her major source of news was The Guardian. Yes, that same Guardian that has proven by its many actions who it serves, and the revolting propaganda role it plays.

  • BTW, protests in Puerto Rico are up to now crowds of a half a million people. The crowds are demanding that the corrupt governor resign. Charges have already been filed against several of his cabinet officials. Sometimes the misdirection in the media is done by downplaying a story and diverting attention. Thus, when the corporate media has to cover this, they focus on the celebrities involved, as several Puerto Rican singers and musicians are on the side of the protesters. Or they dismiss the leaks of the supposedly private chat group among the corrupt inner circle as just the sort of boys will be boys on the internet and claim the protests are only about some racy chats. What is happening is that the people of the island who’ve been royally screwed for a long time have had enough of it, and are out in the streets saying so. And one interesting thing is that the American cities on the east coast all have sizeable Puerto Rican populations, and they’ve been getting abused by Trump and his cop buddies as well. Up here in the north, the long hot summer is only really getting going. This is already worth paying attention to, and it could grow unexpectedly. The protest on the island have now been going for 10 days now, and every attempt to either defuse them or beat them down has only made them grow bigger.

  • Here is what I noticed about watching CNN. This is now over 15 years ago, as this is what led me to stop watching completely. In the lead-up to the Iraq war, they were doing a lot of stories on Iraq’s WMD’s. Turns out, this was in an area where I had some undergrad education, so I could spot the lies. I’d end up arguing with the picture on the TV set yelling back and refuting the obvious lies and distortions. Then, CNN would move on to the next piece. Now this is about a topic that I was not as knowledgeable about. So, I wasn’t arguing with the talking heads. Later, I noticed that some opinions that were very unlike my normal stances on things would come out of my mouth. At one point, I could remember specifically that this was a CNN piece that ran right after their lies about WMDs. So, even though I was very mistrustful of the source, and had held a consistent view that CNN frequently lied for several years by that time, what they said in a piece when I wasn’t actively arguing back at the TV had later come out of my mouth. And I rather quickly realized that this position was the opposite of what I would normally think. I forget exactly what it was, but I had said something dismissive towards some group of people, and it had come from CNN, and I knew where it had come from. It was shortly after that incident that I began to use the parental obscenity controls to block CNN (and all the other 24/7 news channels) from my house. That rather quickly improved my life, and I have never regretted doing it.

    • Obscene indeed. A very smart doctor told a friend of mine that in order to get the rest he needed for his serious heart condition he should NOT watch the evening news as had previously been his practice. He’s been doing much better.

  • “All I want is some Truth!
    Just give me some Truth!”

    John Lennon

  • Caitlin understands and explains this problem well. But she still thinks that my opinion that we need violent protest (that doesn’t get us arrested) is wrong. She says she will never go that way. And yet she knows that the propagandists are prepared to imprison and TORTURE good people (JA for example) who embarrasses them on the world stage. These people DESERVE violence to their system, and they DESERVE to be strung up from the nearest lamposts, and have their offices burnt down. They will KILL people who do that. So don’t get hung up on all that Karma blurb. Some groups will HAVE TO burn their power structures down at some stage.
    Just make sure you don’t get caught, and that you don’t hurt the best interests of the common people.

    • There was a fascinating documentary made a few years back about the members of the Weather Underground. Anyone thinking of going down this road should watch that video. The Weather Underground did exactly what you describe in the late 60’s, early 70’s. Thus anyone who thinks of following that same road should see this documentary about the ones who survived and what they think looking back at the experience.

  • Good article, but you need to go deeper into the uniqueness of the American psyche. I suggest that our tendency to blame the victim is far more insidious in the United States than in any other country because of our still quite influential (yet unacknowledged) heritage of Puritanism. For a more in-depth understanding, take a look at my book “Madness at the Gates of the City: The Myth of American Innocence,” especially Chapter Seven. You can find that chapter here: https://madnessatthegates.com/sample-chapters/

  • If there were other inhabited planets, I would give this blog post the equivalent of a galactic Nobel Prize, not just one for this world.

    I also get upset with the victims being propagandized and not seeing it.

    Caitlin may still think she has no use for the ancient writings of long dead men, but this is still the truth about how it all turns out:

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+20%3A12&version=KJV

    Revelation 20:12 King James Version (KJV)

    “12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

    And there is more to it than that as well.

  • I was sailing along congratulating myself for being so above all the flaws Caitlin was revealing……..until this hit me – “…the impulse to blame the propagandized masses for being propagandized, instead of blaming the propagandists.”
    Caught me napping, dead to rights! Yeah, I’ve indulging in that bit of condescending sophistry too often to deny it now. Oh well, I need to add it to the list of things I need to correct about my views. That’s why I come to this site – to learn how I can understand myself and my world better.

    • Yup, me too. I’ve blamed them as ignorant, stupid, apathetic, in denial, lazy, and so on. But while some of them might genuinely be one of more of the things I have accused them of, many others aren’t – and none of them don’t deserve my blame.

      Not that my blame was ever relevant or justified anyway, because I was/am guilty of the ‘just world fallacy’ when I’m feeling exactly what I’ve accused others of, ‘ignorant, stupid, apathetic, in denial, lazy, and so on’.

      Understanding this fallacy, and correcting it, is a vital piece of the solution of how to deal with the propaganda, the misinformation, and the lies. Most people can do it easily enough if helped a bit and constantly reminded.

      So, Cailtin, well done for bringing up, and please don’t stop reminding us.

  • Thanks Sister.
    Hard lesson. truth is hard.
    i have work to do.
    each of us has work to do.
    http://www.johndayblog.com/

  • Wow. That’s all I got.

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