Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Colluders

You, my friends, are the ones who colluded.


Because the really-quite-successful-so-far efforts on the part of the Russian government to subvert the liberal democracies of the West required your help, and you gave it.  I mean, you did.  

I'm not talking about America's fever-swamp right flank.  "Conservatives" in America bought the troll-farm propaganda campaign hook, line, and sinker.

But honestly?  If you're on the far left of the American political spectrum?  You helped too.

Most of my friends are left-leaning or liberal, and for them, I'll say this again:  you helped make the insane reality we inhabit now happen.  How?  Let me lay it out, as what are going to be closely fought midterms approach.

First, you collude by being distractable.  You jump on every single thing, the more outrageous, the better.  What did that look like in 2016?   You want an example?

It looked like DAPL.

For three weeks leading up to the election, every single left-of-center friend I had was all Dakota Pipeline, all the time.  Their social media feeds were filled with long paeans to "water protectors."  They were "checking in" in the Dakotas.  They were feeling the requisite outrage.

On the left, there was vastly more crowd-energy around DAPL than there was to more prosaic things like, oh, golly, I don't know, getting out the vote. 

And I know, I know, I wasn't that into Ms. Clinton myself.  But if you honestly believe there's no difference between her and the current administration, if you suggest that there's absolutely no distinction between the two major parties in America today, you're delusional.  I mean, really.  Lasting damage is being done, because organizing around short-term-tactics gets you less than nowhere.

Pouring your energy into that effort meant, what, exactly, in the long run?

DAPL was stopped!  Victory!  It felt great.  For what, three months?

And then it all fell apart, because the energy was mis-spent.  A skirmish was "won," but the war was lost.  

It was shortsighted, shortgame-stupid, and it came up short.

Want to bet that there'll be something similar distracting you in the month prior to the midterms?  There may well be.  And you'll be angry about it.

Because second, if you're always outraged, you're easily manipulated.  You take the provocative input that you're given, and let it guide your formless rage and anxiety.  And much of that input was designed to help put our current administration in power.

DAPL is, again, a fine example.  We know now with certainty that many "First Nations" social media accounts that were gettin' you all riled up?  They weren't that at all.

They were Putin-funded troll-farm creations.  As were many of the "black" social media accounts.   Take, for instance, the strongly supported thread that Ms. Clinton was just manipulating the black community for her own power.  That was all over #blacktwitter in the weeks before the election, and it was part of the Russian effort to suppress the black vote and create division and distrust.

It worked.  Why?  Because you're angry.  

Your anger is your handle.  It is the leash around your neck, leading you to slaughter.  

If you're always angry, all the time, and you think that a constant state of frothing, profane outrage does anything other than make you more easily controllable by colder, more cynical minds?  Sigh.    

Third, your semiotic framework.  Meaning the ethos articulated by the particular linguistics of the deconstructive academic left.

Or, to put it more clearly, it's kinda hard to get any sense that you actually like the United States as a constitutional, liberal republic.

If you consider America fundamentally flawed, at its core and foundation a racist/capitalist/genocidal aberrance that grows cancrous on a stolen land?  A failure that needs to be replaced with something totally different?  If you're cynical about the intent of our Republic, convinced it's the irredeemable spawn of slaveholding oligarchs?  If you use the word "decolonization" regularly in casual conversation?

Then the semiotics of your critique of America are exactly the same as the rhetoric used by the Soviets during the cold war.  Seriously, people.  Same language.  Same thoughts.  Same thing.

I know, I know, Russia now is not the Soviet Union.  Far from it.  The autocratic system controlling that state couldn't care less about leftist ideals, or about workers, or about justice, or about racial equity.  Neither did the Soviet Union, honestly.

But our Russian pals are more than happy to use those old techniques, cynically, of course, to stir leftist dissent.  They'll take any opportunity to subvert the nation that had...until our current administration...been the bulwark of liberal democracy.

Again: if there's no material and actual difference between what you say and the old Soviet anti-American propaganda?  Then you have become that caricature.  You are, like Jill Stein sitting with Putin and Flynn...the colluder.

In sum: If you are continually distracted, filled with inchoate outrage, and deeply cynical about the republic, you're less likely to participate.  Your energies will go elsewhere, into the sorts of efforts that scattered, enraged, cynical people make.  Which is precisely what those who want to sabotage America want.

As our foundering republic moves towards a vital election, the question becomes: to what extent are you prepared to bring the focus, messaging discipline, and appreciation for democratic norms that it will require to begin the arc away from decline?

Because if you're not?  Well.

You know how that's working now.