HomeArticleAll Our Problems Are Built On Us-Vs-Them Propaganda

All Our Problems Are Built On Us-Vs-Them Propaganda

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Liberal pundit Keith Olbermann shared a video the other day where he ranted about people who don’t want to take the Covid vaccine with such emotional vitriol that spittle flew from his mouth and drool poured down his chin. I found it hard to watch, partly because it’s always uncomfortable to see someone come apart like that and partly because it made me realize that I’ve probably spent the last few years making fun of a media personality who has some actual diagnosable psychological disorders.

Rather than lay out what he thinks are the best arguments for taking the vaccine as most of his peers have been doing, Olbermann instead spouts vituperations about what “cowards” and “snowflakes” unvaccinated people are.

“They’re afraid!” Olbermann screams over and over again, as though being afraid of something makes you some sort of monster. As though we’re not all afraid of something, whether it be the vaccine or the virus or being alone or the fact that thawing arctic permafrost is pouring methane into the atmosphere. This commonality should draw us closer together, but here it’s being used for partisan us-vs-them theatrics which drive us further apart.

Us-vs-them frameworks are used constantly to manipulate people into espousing various narratives, and narrative manipulation is the underlying source of all of humanity’s problems.

Today’s world is dominated by a unipolar power structure loosely centralized around the United States government. It is comprised of many nations which are ostensibly independent, but, since they move in near-complete alignment with each other on all international issues of major importance, this power structure can effectively be called an empire. This empire sets the economic, environmental and military policies which are causing all the ecocide, war and nuclear brinkmanship we see driving humanity toward its destruction today.

The empire’s greatest weapon is not its military but its propaganda machine. There’s simply never been anything like the global narrative control provided by the western news media, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood. The military fights wars; the propaganda machine wins them long before they even start.

When you use the military to eliminate opposition, everyone knows it happened. When you use propaganda to eliminate opposition, people aren’t even aware you did it. They think it was their own idea to suddenly become super concerned about Saddam or Putin or Maduro or whomever or to go along with this or that power-serving agenda. Beyond the hard, concrete realities of war and militarism there’s a whole other war being fought on a far greater scale and of far greater consequence, and most people don’t even know it’s happening: the mass-scale psychological manipulation of the entire human species.

This is why human behavior looks so irrational when taken together. Why are we fighting all these wars, engaging in nuclear brinkmanship and destroying the biosphere when we know intellectually these are bad things? It’s not because humans are inherently destructive, it’s because a few destructive humans manipulate the rest of us into doing destructive things using propaganda.

A lucid and well-informed examination of the world’s problems will keep bringing you back to this one fundamental issue: that Earth’s inhabitants are being psychologically manipulated at mass scale into organizing themselves in ways that serve the powerful instead of the people.

Most propaganda is based on us-vs-them framing; support the oligarch-controlled Democratic Party because Republicans are bad, support the oligarch-controlled Republican Party because Democrats are bad, those evil Muslims/Russians/Chinese want to hurt us, that evil dictator over there is doing things which we good freedom-loving people cannot allow, etc. A tremendous amount of energy goes into feeding into these us-and-them frameworks to keep the propaganda engine running efficiently.

Manipulative narcissists, cult leaders and propagandists all do this, and they do it because it is effective. A video titled “The science behind ‘us vs. them’” by Big Think does a good job of breaking down how deeply hardwired the human brain is to think in terms of an “in” group who we like and an “out” group who we don’t like, citing numerous experiments which have shown this to be true around the world.

“What becomes clear when you look closely is it is virtually inevitable that we divide the world into ‘us’es and ‘them’s and don’t like ‘them’s very much and don’t treat them well,” explains neuroendocrinology researcher Robert Sapolsky. “But we are incredibly easily manipulated as to who counts as an ‘us’ and who counts as a ‘them’.”

“We could be manipulated by all sorts of ideologues out there as to deciding that people who seem just like us really aren’t, they’re really so different that they count as a them,” Sapolsky adds.

“We turn the world into ‘us’es and ‘them’s, and we don’t like the ‘them’s very much and are often really awful to them, and the ‘us’es we exaggerate how wonderful and how generous and how affiliative and how just like siblings they are to us,” says Sapolsky.

Can you see how easy it would be for someone who understands this aspect of our psychology to exploit it to seed propaganda in our minds? Set up a “them” side who we distrust and an ‘us’ side who we trust, and any information which comes from the “us” side will slide in unchecked by critical thinking.

If you can split the population into two sides and control the “us” narratives of both of them, you can easily insert propaganda narratives into most of the population. If Rachel Maddow is in your “us” team you’ll desire increased cold war aggressions against Russia, if Tucker Carlson is on your “us” team you’ll want more escalations against China, both of which happen to advance the interests of the aforementioned empire. As does the status quo both sides promote in their own ways.

This happens constantly, throughout the empire all around the world. Fake “us”es and “them”s are set up for us by powerful manipulators, and our receptiveness to the “us” side allows the manipulators who control it to continually feed narratives into our minds about what’s going on in the world.

Power is controlling what happens. Real power is controlling what people think about what happens.

I don’t know exactly what’s going on with this virus and the vaccines; sometimes it seems like I’m the only person on the internet who doesn’t. But what I do know is that the intensely heated polarization over this issue on both sides feeds into the us-vs-them dynamic where power-serving propaganda about any subject can easily flourish. This benefits someone, and it ain’t you.

Humanity’s problems are made possible by mass-scale manipulation, and mass-scale manipulation is made possible by us-vs-them beliefs. If people weren’t being aggressively manipulated into consenting to the status quo they would have used the power of their numbers to end the status quo a long time ago. Divide-and-conquer isn’t just useful because it prevents people from unifying against their oppressors, it also pours rocket fuel in the oppressors’ propaganda machine.

What’s interesting is that humanity does have within itself the potential to dissolve its us-vs-them cognitive habits and thereby render the propaganda machine ineffective. The phenomenon commonly called spiritual enlightenment consists of a shift in perception which causes the sense of separateness to fall away, making it clear on a deep, experiential level that we are one, not just with all people but with the entire universe. You still have your own ideas, disagreements and preferences when it comes to politics and society, but the sense that anyone is some kind of “other” separate from you and yours falls away.

So there just happens to be a potentiality within us all that could solve all our problems if it were to somehow become unlocked at mass scale. Every species eventually arrives at a point where it must either unlock a potentiality within itself and adapt to a changing situation or go extinct. It looks like we are arriving at this point currently, and that collective enlightenment is the potentiality we will need to unlock if we’re to turn away from our trajectory toward doom.

And that will either happen or it won’t. I personally don’t think it’s some random aberration that this potentiality which sages have been writing about for millennia just so happens to be exactly what we need at this particular juncture with this particular collective psychological dilemma. But if I’m wrong and humanity does go the way of the dinosaur, it would be a damn shame if we didn’t at least hold hands on our way down.

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Latest comments

  • …..some assholes in a tax funded black project for the c.i.a. are probably working on it…..to make the world more profitable…..

  • ‘which happen to advance the interests of the aforementioned empire.’

    I really can’t see how a nuke war would ever advance the empire, Caitlyn.

  • Actually, maybe Keith is doing us a favor by making the Vaxinazis appear unhinged.

  • Your brief alluding at the top to global warming fits in the same us-vs-them conversation. It’s just more propaganda to gain more power and control. In fact, it is THE next big psy-op they’re gearing up to run on the world. WEF talks about it constantly. As does everyone who’s trying to carry water for the WEF.

    Be careful what narratives you believe coming from the mainstream. Any narratives.

    And yes, to another commenter — definitely follow the money, concerning global warming, aka “climate change”.

  • This link presents a compilation of media attacks on Jeremy Corbin:

    https://twitter.com/frolix22/status/1445087442667724817

    There should be an annual Emanuel Goldstein Prize for the figure most hated by the Western press.

  • If you — a US voter — do not want More Of The Same that has happened after every election in the past;, do not vote for another R or D, ever!, no matter what an R or D promises!

    • If you want to see what the Dems really think of the left look at how they are treating Assange.

  • Caitlin,

    I’m always amazed at the breadth of media you bring us. It’s vast. I would find it interesting if you wrote about a typical day of yours: where you go virtually, what you see, what you searched for, and give us an example of inspiration striking you that you decide to write about.

    I remember when I deeply appreciated Keith. I loved his passion and his point of view. It’s sad to see where that passion has descended to…

  • The question i try to wrap my mind around is:
    Since we are all made from the same particles, that seem to form everything in the universe and that seem to be practically immortal, what does it matter what becomes of us or our planet or anything?
    We have been stars, dust, elements. We have travelled through space. Right now we form these clusters, that are able to perceive and accumulate information, but if the universe is made like this, what does it matter in which shape we currently are? If the planet explodes, the universe will hardly notice.
    Maybe we as perceived individuals, who have become great at parallel processing input and generating output, who have developed a strong sense of aesthetics of all kinds, are part of a universe that wants to understand itself and therefor we mus do what we can not to lose all that we learned so far, but that is just a theory and it involves the assumption, that the universe has a conscience of its own.
    With this in mind – we can only guess what, if any, is the right path.

    • Here is an overview of what it would take to literally destroy Earth-i.e., to physically transform its particles so that it no longer exists as a recognizable cluster of elements.
      https://everything2.com/title/How+to+destroy+the+Earth

      • This may be the original, more detailed article upon which the above-linked comment is based:

        https://qntm.org/destroy

      • …..some assholes in a tax funded black project for the c.i.a. are probably working on it…..to make the world more profitable…..

  • Separateness, the bane of humanity!
    As the sages of old have told us, separateness is an illusion.
    How ironic then, that we fall for an illusion and permit it destroy the very fabric of our human family.
    Consciousness is the universal solution.
    Thank you Caitlin, for your daily ‘bread’.
    With deep respect,

  • PEACE! Wisdom! bucatini all’amatriciana!! All our problems maybe cannot be solved But…. https://youtu.be/dfUq0Oepdgo Skip to minute 19 and enjoy

    The wisdom! bucatini all’amatriciana!!
    I always enjoy your own comments each day. I hope I have donated.
    https:// Last Week in the Church with John Allen Jr./.

    • Thank you, Guanciale, artichole heart, white pizza, with scamourza; covered with arugula, is also something to consider (figs, maybe, too?)

      Librul Yuppie wensites, media, whomever’s so desperately trying to install “worse than Trump” after yet another “essential worker” feeding frenzy. Berating us chronically PASC survivors by banning peer reviewed, double blind ginormous studies, contradicting media; CDC, state, city and social networking LIES, feeding poor vulnerable 1099 gig workers to a virus, to extract loved-ones homes & usurious medical debt and BLATANTLY CENSORED that a very large percentage of us were perfectly SAFE after their jet-set infected us the first time & ceratinly, as we’d experienced pretty common side-effects from any 1st mRNA vaccine. That UNMASKED smug work-from-home churls spew virus particles directly into worker’s faces, after we’d desperately tried to survive the disease they’d bought over & spread by ignoring epidemiologists, murdering exposed clinicians, silencing whistleblowers & censoring essential information we’d known 17 months ago!

      https://khn.org/news/article/covid-immunity-through-infection-or-vaccination-are-they-equal/

  • Think about all the world wars and what they were about, religion mostly, including religiously caste economic systems. If we look at the decisive issues they are mostly nothing at all, its like Gullivers Travals. Since all social animals engage in periodic struggles over territory I assume humans are no different, so we need an excuse for a war from time to time, so we make them up wholesale, Vax VS antivax is also a left right divide world wide, it is the prefect excuse for the desired war, like the communism/capitalism divide, or Chsitianity/Islam divide
    People ask, what is the use for war? War is a means by which to eliminate corrupt regimes that sap the strength of a nation and so impede evolution.
    This is evidence that the world wide corruption has become so debilitating that nations are better off in a war than in continuing to support each others corrupt elites, the elite of each nation helping each other to dominate the local population is curtailed by war, nations that cross the line on the concentration of wealth and power are taken over by other nations that have a more functional political structure.

  • We are constantly cajoled from all directions.
    ‘Enjoy Coca Cola’
    ‘Have a happy meal’
    ‘Work hard and save’
    ‘Make America great again’
    ‘Buy this stuff’
    ‘Feel freedom in this car’
    ‘Don’t miss out’
    ‘Look younger or sexy in these clothes’
    It goes on and on and on.
    Now we are being cajoled through history’s biggest fear campaign by rapacious corporate behemoths and their government sycophants.
    Families and friendships are being torn apart and ordinary folks are being pilloried, demonised and ostracised.
    What hope humanity.

  • …..your latest article on propaganda shed light on my feelings all along about how people have and are now being manipulated concerning the perception of what we generally now can call reality. We are the consumers that make the empire powerful, therefore all of our decisions, or “choices”, are based on a consumable achievement. “My god, my burgers and fries, my science, my home, my law,” etc. it gets all melted together like the cheese on the burger and that taste is all that matters. 30 seconds later it’s off to see the consumer wizard about that great deal online or that bloviating blowhard peddling opinions based on personal fantasy. online. our capacity for intellectually articulating predicaments that we find ourselves in is greatly compromised at this point due that level of thinking…….

  • I’m afraid Keith Olbermann is right! I am personally afraid to put into my system the content of a syringe abusively called “vaccine” only authorized in case of an emergency artificially created by the overreaching western governmental denial of treatments proved remarkably effective in India, inter alia, and certainly better than nothing – which failed the honesty test bench from the get go. This experimental mRNA shit has already killed tens of thousands and harmed hundreds of thousands according to the CDC/FDA’s VAERS itself, which is why a sizeable number of nurses – who should know – won’t take the jab to protect themselves against a disease that’s nothing more than a strain of flu (like most coronavirus diseases) and that, in spite of PCR tests run at 40 CT grossly over-estimating its impact through overwhelming production of false positives, has still been officially survived in the first year, without a vaccine, by 99,97% of the world population (!)
    Big Pharma’s risible propaganda machine has proved unable to fudge the numbers any further and relied on people being too busy and/or lazy to investigate (besides being gullibility-trained from the cradle by government agencies, stupid or bribed) to be able to conceal this simple fact and replace it with daily overblown fake headlines hammered to stir panic, whereby two cases appearing in a place where there was only one the day before was systematically and laughably sold as “a 200% increase in only 24 hours” (!)
    It is a fact that the only incontrovertible advantage of the vaccine so far has been to turn millionaires into billionaires and it is arguable that Keith Olbermann himself didn’t do that stint for free out of love for humanity but would probably go ding-ding like a church bell if you shook his pockets.
    However I don’t “them-ise” people who got the jab. I meet some everyday and it’s just not a thing either for them or me – especially since most of them took it through governmental indirect coercion, which always produces resentment, to be able to go on leading a normal life. I just don’t want Big Pharma sponsored Big Brother to dump experimental shit in my system, the same way I refuse that his agents kick me in the balls for any reason at all, especially in application of unconstitutional decrees violating the Nuremberg principles. Is that too much to ask from the self-styled “leader of the free world” which was itself instrumental in concocting said Nuremberg principles in order to hang a bunch of Germans – like Olbermann’s ancestors – in the first place?
    Last but not least, someone who, according to his Wikipedia entry, routinely refers to Russians (ALL Russians) in public pronouncements as “pigs” and “scum” makes me wonder if he wouldn’t be, by any chance, some kind of hate-speech addict and if, just like we were short of masks in the beginning of the scamdemic, his being loose in society could be interpreted as a sign that we are now short of straightjackets…

  • Oh, Cait; are these jokers, Brianbotu and Guillermo Calvo Mehe some of the people you talked about, want to talk only about Jewish bankers running the world? I can understand your frustrations. I have been running into this crap for about 50 years.

    It is the same thing over and over. Never seems to update. The problem is not that it is false, but that it is a selective view of history. It is one branch of the oligarchy trying to “Them” another branch, making us into an “us” without telling us what the “us” entails.

    The video was pretty good. Explains the tribalizing process. However, it is still clear that it will be impossible to defeat the “theming” of ruling elites until you can shut off their bad noise factory. They are unlikely to give in easily.

    So there will have to be a fight to make them shut up and go away. This inevitably requires “theming” them so we can effectively fight them.

    So as the video makes clear, there is a use for the “Us”vs “Them” in our minds. Otherwise it would not have evolved. The thing is to get the “Us” and “Them” right.

    That is where some other features of the human brain come into play.

    As for this rage against antivaxxers, there are lots of nut cases around. Some of them land on the “Provax” “side” of this non argument.

    At the core of it is the fact there is a pandemic going on. The logic of it is that people have to not only get vaccinated but comply with a lot of other measures. If they do not comply they have to be isolated. Arguing about civil rights does not go anywhere.

    I am currently working on a brilliant and witty short story showing this concept. When I am done Cait and company will be the first to get to read it.

    Until then, I have recently blogged something about the covid crisis which Caitoz people should read. Your welcome.

    https://yaxls.wordpress.com/2021/09/27/on-left-and-right-libertarianism-plus-covid/

  • Vax pushers and vax resisters are not mirror images of each other. They are not two sides of the same coin. Vax pushers want to force everyone to submit to lifelong vaxxing with mandatory booster shots. By contrast, vax resisters simply want to be left alone in peace. Resisters don’t care what you do with your body. They don’t object if you choose to get vaxxed. They don’t want to kill you if you decide to worship politicians, Big Pharma, and the corporate media outlets, as long as you stay in your own lane, so to speak.

    This is how wars start. One group of people wants to occupy, enslave, exterminate, or forcibly vaccinate another group, which says no. Leave us alone or we will resist. The winner is whoever is left standing after a storm of bombs and bullets.

    • 4.8 million dead worldwide and climbing fast. At this rate, you guys are bound to catch up with Hitler.

    • Or perhaps, “The winner is whoever is left standing after a storm of bombs and bullets [and disease].”

      Many who you characterize as “Vax pushers” would gladly leave you all alone were there a place to which you all migrated and never strayed. You could all contract one or more of the COVID-19 variants currently circulating and suffer, perhaps to die together. Two problems with that (1) according to current reports, COVID-19 patients have so strained hospital facilities that non-COVID patients are denied care and (2) vaccine resistors left alone in the general population allow greater opportunity for the disease organism to spread and evolve, thus continuing to evolve as a threat to those who have been vaccinated.

      Just get the jab, what are you afraid of? Me, I am afraid of the disease especially because it cost two close relatives their lives.

      • I’m afraid of uninformed, misinformed and worst of all willfully ignorant people whose critical thinking skills and utter inability to connect the dots makes them the easiest people to manipulate by the powers that be.

        The truest dictum in a capitalist system is “Follow the money.” On literally every issue you MUST start there and you MUST use it to determine peoples’ motivations and credibility. Failure to do so means the opinions you form are never better than somewhere between severely hamstrung or completely worthless.

        The fact that you would even say “just get the jab, what are you afraid of?” shows that you haven’t given much thought at all to how many billions of dollars are in play to be hoovered up by the pharmaceutical companies and how getting the masses to comply greatly benefits them as well as the rest of the oligarch class who are committed to keeping us herded into compliance so they can continue to wield power and control most of the wealth.

        Follow the money and start connecting the dots. Of all the information I’ve sifted through over the last year and a half or so the following might be the most useful composite of info I’ve come across. Do yourself a favor and take a half hour or so and read it. Then read it again. The title doesn’t near do it justice, it’s packed with technical info laid out in an easy to understand fashion while connecting the dots that you clearly have failed to connect on your own:

        The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service)
        https://www.juliusruechel.com/2021/09/the-snake-oil-salesmen-and-covid-zero.html#Forward

  • Olbermann is the Alex Jones of the shitlib clan. Only he even more unhinged than Jones.

    • Oops, he’s even more unhinged . . .

      • not sure I buy that BS – Olbermann never once said the Sandy Hook massacre was a false flag government opp

  • Professor Antony C Sutton wrote a series of books concerning Wall Street and the Russian Revolution, The Rise of Hitler and Franklin D Roosevelt. He traced the common denominator in both the Bolsheviks, Hitler and the election of FDR were the bankers.

    These central bankers both in the US and Europe own and control the majority of the governments of the world and virtually every thing you can think of via BlackRock and Vanguard.

    For well over a century via the 1913 Federal Reserve Act, WW1, WW2, The 1929 Wall street crash, the UN, IMF, WHO, WB and NATO sought to control and depopulated the Earth.

    The Scamdemic is the latest part in the jigsaw.

    As Sutton said ” there is no left or right, it’s us via them” !

  • It’s ironic that the political party whose most famous modern leader once proclaimed that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” has evolved into the most blatant fear mongering force on the planet. It does so with respect to Russia and China and Iran and Venezuela and Muslims and now, with respect to our health. It does so with respect to our relationships whether gender based, religious or racial. And in each case, trillions of dollars are shifted from common men and women to the oligarchs who own the Deep State. Fear is always the whip, fear of purported “greater evils” in elections that are perpetually sold as existential, fear of impending Armageddon, fear of anything that is useful at any given instant. And there are legitimate concerns we need to address: environmental issues, inequity and inequality, poverty, illiteracy, inadequate infrastructure, polarization, censorship, etc., and they’re all given lip service, and orchestrated votes are taken where a few scapegoats in opposition permit many to vote in favor knowing that needed measures won’t pass (were passing an option, then many more would vote against), it’s a show and little else, a show for the easily deceived and manipulated masses. Traditional Republicans are just as bad, only the populists on the left (like the ill led Sanderistas) and on the right (libertarians and Tea Partiers) seem to have any integrity, but integrity bereft of power. Bereft of power thanks to all of the rest of us who lack the courage to vote our convictions and who buy into the myth of the wasted vote. Most of us vote against that which we are led to fear instead of in favor of that in which we believe, that is the real wasted vote, not the vote than may not win even if it is the right vote. Only when we overcome our fear of being cast into a minority will we ever have a chance to attain working majorities, and to then cast the rascals out, out to the prisons they built for others in their orgy of impunity. Something about which to think in these vert troubled times.

  • Perhaps Olbermann recognizes that “those people,” the other tribe (them) cannot be convinced through reason and logic to take the vaccine. Perhaps he is convinced that “they” must take the vaccine in order to protect the rest of “us.” And further, he might be trying to get to “them” through emotional manipulation.

    Always looking for a reasonable explanation for apparent aberrant behavior. Thinking of Olbermann as one of “them” may not be an effective way to reduce the us v. them divide.

  • In a think piece on social media, or on a podcast, I remember the insider saying how outrage is the number one click getter. So it then becomes in a platform’s interest to recommend things that will outrage you. Its sad it’s not joy. Or even cats. At least that was my initial reaction. But on some level the fact it is outrage isn’t necessarily a negative. It’s like in the movie Network. ‘First you need to get mad as hell and then say we’re not going to take it anymore.’ That is, most often the outrage is at some form of injustice. People are mad because they want the world to be a better place. It’s a shame that that gets manipulated and twisted, but in and of itself, it isn’t bad. Is one thought I had.

    Another is being reminded of these lyrics from an amazing REM song Ignoreland, https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/39236/

    ‘These bastards stole their power
    From the victims of the Us v Them years
    Wrecking all things virtuous and true ‘

    • Sapolsky’s “ Behave” is the best explanation for our mass stupidity and cruelty. He’s a remarkable guy.

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