In just a few years Democrats flipped from freaking out about Nazis, shrieking that Trump was going to start a nuclear war, and denying US election results to cheering for Nazis, demanding more nuclear brinkmanship, and accusing anyone who denies election results of treason.
Putin’s just lucky he didn’t suffer a real coup attempt, like several wingnuts wandering around a government building for a few hours.
The powerful haven’t been promoting the idea that control of speech is needed because they want to stop viruses, protect marginalized groups, fight foreign influence and curb domestic extremism. They’ve been pushing for control of speech because they want to control speech.
It’s a well-established fact at this point that western government bodies have been doing everything they can to infiltrate and influence Silicon Valley platforms where people gather to share ideas and information, because they understand that narrative control is real power.
Speech hasn’t gotten any more dangerous lately, yet control of speech by government and government-adjacent bodies has gotten more and more normalized in recent years. Every excuse to expand this control has been seized upon by those in power, from Russian bots to January 6 to Covid. The window of what constitutes “shouting fire in a crowded theater” keeps getting deliberately broadened in mainstream liberal consciousness, which liberals accept because it’s framed by empire propagandists as a weapon that can be used against the political enemies of liberals.
Western liberals are in effect being offered a political bribe by the empire: support the restrictions on political speech we are constantly pushing for, and it will undermine the interests of your political rivals. This bribery has made “liberals” far more tyrannical. Liberals play along because they’ve been convinced at every opportunity that restricting speech is the best way to fight hate, right wing extremism, health misinformation and malign foreign influence, but in so doing they’re supporting the most tyrannical regime on earth.
So now we’re in this bizarre situation where being “liberal” effectively means supporting censorship to silence your political enemies for the benefit of the most murderous and tyrannical people on this planet.
I often see people who are skeptical of power calling this or that news story a “distraction” and implying that the powerful orchestrate entire events to draw public attention away from more inconvenient stories. From what I can tell that’s not quite how it works though; in practice we see distraction used more as a general mundane distortion that’s always happening, rather than grand conspiratorial plots involving the orchestration of specific individual news stories to manipulate public attention. Certainly government officials may sometimes release stories at specific times for their political convenience, but that’s generally about the extent of it.
We see the political/media class using distraction primarily in the form of agenda-setting, where emphasis is placed on some issues instead of others in ways that benefit the powerful. This can take the form of keeping people focused on domestic politics so they don’t pay attention to their government’s foreign interventions, or keeping people focused on culture war issues so they don’t focus on class war issues. As we’ve discussed previously, the employees of the mass media are all too happy to facilitate these distortions because they facilitate their own career and class interests as well as the interests of their employers.
I respect leftist commentators who despise both the US empire and Putin and yet still do honest commentary on brinkmanship with Russia infinitely more than I respect those who act like it’s fine to mostly ignore this extremely dangerous conflict just because “both sides are bad”. It’s like, okay, fine, let’s say both sides are bad; let’s even say both sides are equally bad for the sake of argument. That’s still not a legitimate reason for a leftist to ignore their own government’s role in starting and perpetuating this increasingly dangerous standoff.
Only baby-brained morons break down conflicts into “Good Guys vs Bad Guys” frameworks. The fact that you don’t subscribe to that infantile framing doesn’t give you an excuse to just check out. Just because there’s no Good Guy doesn’t mean it doesn’t urgently need our attention.
It’s okay if you haven’t found a political faction or leader who you can throw your support behind. At this point in time humanity is very lost and confused, so its political movements — even the better ones — will frequently get lost and confused too. In a world that is ruled by evil tyrants who manipulate politics and media to make everyone crazy and keep us all focused on issues which don’t threaten the powerful, confusion is to be expected in every facet of political engagement.
Speaking for myself I feel perfectly fine about mostly standing on my own and just throwing my weight behind any specific effort or movement I support on its own merit without joining up with any particular faction or party. I’ve found that having loyalty to political factions can cause one to fail to see the errors in their own faction, and in humanity’s current state of confusion there will necessarily be a lot of errors.
So I’m comfortable standing on my own for the time being to make sure my vision stays clear, with the understanding that that hopefully won’t be necessary one day.
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