Caitlin Johnstone: Big Brains Going Extinct from Stupidity

This is peak crazy. A thinking species that regards as outrageous heresy any opposition to nuclear-war brinkmanship that can cause its extinction cannot get any more crazy.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

It’s really too bad that anyone who thinks it might be a good idea to stop exponentially escalating this proxy war is an evil Nazi Putin propagandist, because things are getting very very dangerous.


Normal person: I think it would be good if everyone didn’t die in a nuclear holocaust.

Crazy person: That means you love Vladimir Putin.

Normal person: No, I just think it would be a good idea to try to prevent the horrific death of literally everyone.

Crazy person: How much is the Kremlin paying you to say that?


Resisting nuclear Armageddon is the least partisan position that anyone could possibly have. The least one-sided. The least “campist.” It’s just being a normal human organism with the most normal human impulse you could possibly come up with. It’s absolutely insane that anyone tries to spin it otherwise.

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A society where opposing nuclear Armageddon is treated as freakish and evil is the most backwards and insane society imaginable. Seriously, try to imagine anything crazier and more backwards than that. A society where everyone walks and drives backwards? That’s less crazy and backwards. A society where the dogs own the people? That’s less crazy and backwards.

This is it. This is peak crazy. A thinking species which regards as outrageous heresy any opposition to brinkmanship that can cause its extinction cannot get any more crazy. It’s turned as far away from sanity as any thinking creature could possibly be.

Maybe it would be wise to stop playing the “Let’s cross Putin’s red lines, I bet he’s bluffing this time” game.

People who aren’t gravely concerned about the rapidly escalating brinkmanship between the U.S. and Russia simply have not spent enough time researching the facts and contemplating the reality of what nuclear war would mean. Their composure comes solely from psychological avoidance.

It is a bit hilarious that humans rapidly evolved these massive brains only to become the first species to go extinct due to stupidity.

FYI you should always be less trusting of your government in times of war, not more.

Analysis of the war in Ukraine which does not account for the Western provocations which gave rise to it is not analysis at all. It’s propagandistic children’s literature.

If your proxy war demands nonstop PR spin and mass media propaganda at maximum aggression to manufacture public consent for it, maybe your proxy war is immoral and bad.

The only way you can believe Russia is threatening with nuclear weapons in a way the U.S. is not would be to think the U.S. has a No First Use nuclear policy. Which would of course be false and silly.

When one side of the new cold war wants multipolarity where world power is much less centralized and the other side wants unipolar planetary domination where the entire world obeys Washington, D.C., and its puppet masters, it’s not hard to figure out which side is the aggressor.

Be completely dismissive of those who object to your criticisms of Western imperial aggression. The one-and-only reason they expect their dopey opinions to be taken seriously is because their position has been artificially normalized by copious amounts of propaganda. That’s it.

The one-and-only thing making your worldview look strange and suspicious and the worldview of empire apologists look normal is the fact that we’ve all been swimming in empire propaganda our entire lives. It’s got nothing to do with the factuality or validity of anyone’s position. In reality, focusing one’s criticisms on the most dangerous impulses of the most powerful and destructive power structure on Earth is the normal thing to do. It’s not strange and suspicious when you do it, it’s strange and suspicious that everyone else does not.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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43 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Big Brains Going Extinct from Stupidity

  1. John Kesich
    October 12, 2022 at 16:39

    Apparently the “big brained” billionaires who are profiteering from and cheer leading our march to nuclear Armageddon think they can ride out the end of the world in their luxury bunkers.

  2. Lux
    October 12, 2022 at 14:43

    We should let Luxembourg mediate and issue a binding judgment by which both Russia and Ukraine have to abide.
    Luxembourg has 998 square miles of land, and apparently don’t want more than that. They have no natural resources to speak of. But they have an extremely high standard of living. Let me arbitrate and issue a judgment. We can trust Luxembourg to make life better for both Russia and Ukraine.

  3. James Keye
    October 12, 2022 at 10:51

    Any information system requires a design of attachment to a Reality informing source: the physical world has the laws of physics and chemistry, the biological world has to eventually pass information exchanges through the DNA nexus, only the human cognitive information system can be groundless and baseless…and we have been actively struggling against the ‘natural’ Realities for several thousand years; today’s world of wholly unsupported and unsupportable beliefs and certainties is sort of culmination…hopefully, not a final one.

  4. Donald Duck
    October 12, 2022 at 10:28

    ”Like the effect of advertising upon the customer, the methods of political propaganda tend to increase the feelings of insignificance of the individual voter. Repetition of slogans and emphasis on factors which have nothing to do with the issues at stake numb his critical faculties. The clear and rational appeal to his thinking are rather than the exception than the rule in political propaganda – even in democratic countries. Confronted with the power and size of the political parties as demonstrated in their propaganda, the individual voter cannot help feeling small and of little significance.” Eric From – The Fear of Freedom.

    We have become a mass society which in essence has become childlike and frightened … as for freedom it has a twofold meaning fro modern man: that he has been freed from traditional authority, particularly religious authority, and has become an ‘individual’ but he has become powerless, isolated, and an instrument of purposes outside himself, alienated from both himself and of others. In general, Freedom has reached a critical point where it has turned into its opposite – modern man is unfree, fearful and lost.

  5. Henry Smith
    October 12, 2022 at 09:59

    Last night on the BBC (which normally I avoid like the plague): ‘Russia is running out of ammo, missiles, etc.’ Confirmed by GCHQ ‘expert’. Absolute fact free opinion (BS) masquerading as truth.
    But, this lunacy is not new, consider:
    “If your demands nonstop PR spin and mass media propaganda at maximum aggression to manufacture public consent for it, maybe your is immoral and bad.”
    Insert your choice of , Eg: proxy war, Vax Agenda, Brexit Agenda, Assange Jailing, Climate Case, Novichok Case, Capitalism
    Thanks to the MSM, Security Services, Governments the masses unquestionably believe the lies every time. There is no hope.

  6. Anon
    October 12, 2022 at 02:46

    Recently remarked on Goologged comments compared 2 those which survived.
    CN scorecard more accurate.
    If memory serves… Bob Dylan said: “If you let me be in your dream… I’ll let you be in mine.”

  7. October 12, 2022 at 01:01

    Thank you, Caitlin, your contributions are a breath of fresh air. Most Americans seem to be clinging to the misguided belief that Putin is Hitler so they can continue to defend our insane proxy war against Russia. They can’t imagine a nuclear war breaking out because they’ve never seen one. They are like children living in a fairy tale.

    • Susan Siens
      October 12, 2022 at 15:11

      Edward Curtin wrote a terrific essay on American childishness. (Look for him online or at Dissident Voice.) None of these people know anything of Ukraine’s history (they generally do not know American history), they do not know that the four republics which voted to join the Russian Federation are populated by Russians, they do not know that the war began in 2014, etc, etc, etc. And they have no interest in knowing.

  8. October 12, 2022 at 00:22

    When I ask my friends why they are not afraid of a nuclear confrontation they say, “Oh, Putin won’t use nukes” or some such thing. They do not seem to grasp the insanity of the “Putin is Hitler” rhetoric which is keeping this war going and has become a very dangerous (and outlandish) point of view. People WANT to believe that Biden & Co. need to continue this proxy war in order to prevent Putin from barnstorming across Europe. Thank you Caitlin; your contributions are a breath of fresh air.

  9. Eddie S
    October 12, 2022 at 00:04

    I for-one am to the point where I believe that there’s a ~75% probability that we will have a major nuclear war within the next 100 yrs and 99% probability climate change will go unabated. I don’t say this lightly or out of a casual sense of cynicism, but from ~50 years of observing politics here in the US and reading some histories, national and international as well as a few left/progressive blogs, and studying psychology & philosophy in college. But prove me wrong humanity….. please!

    • Kurt
      October 12, 2022 at 13:22

      Humanity doesn’t have to prove you wrong because the vast majority of humanity is against war. They’re called the global working class and once they are organized to understand the immense power they have the wars and threats of nuclear annihilation fabricated by the capitalist ruling class will end along with capitalism, nationalism, and ruling class themselves.

      • October 12, 2022 at 20:53

        thank you!

      • Eddie S
        October 12, 2022 at 23:31

        Unfortunately Kurt, while the vast majority of humanity may SAY they’re against war (ie; because they feel it’s the right thing to SAY – see ‘Bradley effect’ / ‘social desirability bias’ in polling), it seems to me that this majority is relatively easily pulled into line to support the latest war their leaders want to wage. The poorer individuals see the money as enticing, and the more well-off are fine with having this underclass do the fighting & dying. The only time I’ve seen this system falter was the Vietnam ‘War’ when that became unpopular, which was only after 3 or 4 years when US deaths (the only ones that count, after-all) reached ~100 per day. And the working class people I’ve worked with seldom if ever voiced anti-war sentiments. Sadly, the local Peace Action group in my community (which I financially contribute to) has trouble scraping up a couple of hundred members in a city (Milwaukee, WI) of ~400,000 / metro-area of ~1M. So I have come to believe that most people (especially here in the US) are pretty OK with state violence as long as it’s not themselves personally suffering/dying.

  10. RomfordRob2
    October 11, 2022 at 22:49

    It never ceases to amaze me that people in the us cannot put themselves in the shoes of another. Where does this rabid Russophobia come from? If you stop someone in the us and ask them why Russians are hated, I doubt you would get more than a blank stare!! Maybe this is the result of a lifetime of propaganda barrage?

    • Scared Person
      October 11, 2022 at 23:49

      My Uncle said the two UK Russians who allegedly were poisoned, died. Skirpals.

      He was sure the Russians did it. The evidence amounts to: the UK spies say so. Neither person died. He thinks they did. The nerve agent supposedly involved in the incident, has not been secret for decades. Those people did not die, and the media just stopped speaking of them at all. There was a big scary show on TV, blaming the enemy for horrific injury, but without evidence. The primer-story worked.

      Some Navalni person, an obscure far-right Russian blogger, was supposedly poisoned, intelligence agencies say Russia did it. They refuse to say why they think that, or provide evidence for the claim. Media reports it is the truth. Barely an “allegedly” applied. My uncle thinks that guy was an opposition “leader”, when most Russians have never heard of him. Much like Guaidó in Venezuela. Some political nobody gets painted as a hero for convenient gain for the US Empire. Then the straw man gets flogged.

      Anti-Russia sentiment in the West has been propagated for over a century, because of the red revolution against the capitalist class. The reds abolished private capitalist power at the time. That scared the old empires into rabid aggression. Terrified that their own power could be easily abolished.

      In recent years, capitalist Russia has still been made out to be a foe of the West, because the oligarchs in the West wanted Russia’s stuff, and did not get it all after the collapse. They want it still. They want other peoples’ stuff, and they will kill millions to get it. Yeltsin was very giving towards Wall St, Putin was not. He did not want Russia to become Chile in the first 9/11.

      Corporate media is now state media. No wonder so many are so confused.

      There has never been evidence provided for the recent accusations against Russia, from the West. These contentions have been eaten by the public as if they are true, well before the escalation of the Ukraine war. Our diet is enforced to be bad.

      These stories, these narratives, like “Crimea was stolen” (rather than Crimea escaped), have set up the average Joe, to hate Russians before the really big lie (TM) is laid down. The big lie, is that Russia is the aggressor, so the West gains public support for their own aggression almost automatically.

      Rabid Russiaphobia comes from a long planned strategic narrative control. If “they” in power who own most of the world, can get the public to accept small crimes are true of their targets, then the public are set up to accept that larger, less plausible crimes are true. The public is “primed” to accept large bull**** as truth well in advance. We don’t know how large the big lie will end up being. It may be WMD scale, or Gulf of Tonkin scale, or it may end up being atomic.

      My uncle doesn’t seem to think advertising and propaganda work on him. If it didn’t work, the rich would not pay for it.
      Lots of love.

      • J Anthony
        October 13, 2022 at 06:58

        Excellent response, explains it perfectly

  11. gcw919
    October 11, 2022 at 21:00

    Destroying the bridge connecting Crimea to Russia will, as we have seen, simply escalate the carnage. Once again, the most vulnerable will suffer disproportionately. The only humane response is to start ceasefire negotiations immediately. Obviously, those pulling the strings on both sides of this conflict have zero regard for human life, so that’s probably far down the road. In the meantime, we can only hope that some lunatic does not decide to use nuclear weapons.

    • Common Sense
      October 12, 2022 at 14:54

      I suggest you read Mr. Putin recent speech.

      You might see then the enormous difference between the two sides and their regard for human life.

  12. Bushrod Lake
    October 11, 2022 at 18:57

    It could be the “crazy” intention IS to start a nuclear war.

    In a spacefaring way, it would take at least two or three years to travel by rocket to another planet and it would be very, very expensive…So, why not kill off everybody here except a few thousands hiding underground in, say, Colorado Springs and/or Northern Virginia for three years, figuring they could come out after a nuclear winter and find an uninhabited, beautiful, pristine Earth that is, probably, better than anything they could find elsewhere.

    Historically, when have we ever shied away from genocide?.

    This completely evil idea would solve a lot of problems currently confronting the elites, and it might be very tempting (given the fragility of human morality). I hope we will keep and eye out to avoid this possibility.

    • playmobilmeister
      October 12, 2022 at 02:58

      Nice fantasy, but it would be anything but pristine and beautiful with all soil and water contaminated, most megafauna and megaflora extinct, billions of skeletons lying around, and those few thousands survivors would not be elites anymore because they will have to do everything by themselves. The current situation is much more convenient.

  13. Scared Person
    October 11, 2022 at 18:36

    Imagine if the power of the propaganda machine could be put to use to promote peace, understanding, cooperation, environmental responsibility and economic sanity, rather than promoting war, exceptionalism and imperialist domination for private profit.

    I find it easy. In fact, it is likely that a cultures can change very rapidly for the better if the propaganda machine can be wrested from the clutches of those inclined towards psychopathy and conquest. We know the machine is effective enough to get a portion of us cheering for the end of complex life, so it is certainly effective enough to do the opposite.

    The propaganda machine is just a tool in the wrong hands. It is presently in the hands of those who do not actually value human life, at all. Thanks.

    • firstpersoninfinite
      October 11, 2022 at 23:31

      Well said! It’s as if the modern day stooges of empire really believe that the ancient Romans didn’t die and go away – they must walk still in the glory of old Rome, because the ones with the most money can’t help but live forever. Our government is peopled by deluded emperors who wonder aloud why no one praises them for those clothes they finally took off for the stone masks of naked power.

  14. rathcore
    October 11, 2022 at 18:11

    Writer G B Shaw is reported to have said

    Only 2% of the people can think
    Only 3% of the people think they can think.
    And 95% of the people would rather die than think.

    This explains a lot.

  15. RomfordRob
    October 11, 2022 at 18:01

    It never ceases to amaze me that people in the us cannot put themselves in the shoes of another. Where does this rabid Russophobia come from? If you stop someone in the us and ask them why Russians are hated, I doubt you would get more than a blank stare!! Maybe this is the result of a lifetime of propaganda barrage?

  16. Mikael Andersson
    October 11, 2022 at 17:39

    The Labor government of Australia supports – without question, without one word of opposition, without a flicker of an eyebrow – the actions of the USA in its (potentially nuclear) war against the Russian Federation in Ukraine. In our “democracy” you have a member of the House of Representatives to “represent” you have 12 Senators to represent your state (2 if you live in the NT or ACT). Are you thinking it’s time to shout at them? It’s your asre …

    • Noah Scape
      October 12, 2022 at 10:38

      Gee whiz, do you HAVE to be so articulate Caitlin? Nails being hit on their heads isn’t a very pleasant sound.

      But ya, even my own son thinks of me as an “evil Nazi Putin propagandist”. It is just the influence of TV news, but of course people are offended by the suggestion that they have believed a lie,

      HEY but wait – isn’t he saying I believed a lie? So why don’t I feel offended?

      I can use this gem to keep the family intact – “you should always be less trusting of your government in times of war, not more.”

  17. BB
    October 11, 2022 at 16:58

    It was the United States that brought the world to the abyss of a nuclear catastrophe. If Washington is not stopped, it will push us all into this abyss.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      October 11, 2022 at 22:18

      Sorry to bring a few drops old cold rain on Caitlin’s analysis but in her Q and A she left out one important question and some key facts. Yes, without question, since, at least 2014 Washington and its prime NATO ally, Britain, had been doing what they could to provoke Russia, all of which I am aware of, but, at any time before February 24th, was Russia actually threatened with an invasion or an attack by either the US alone, in conjunction with NATO, or by Ukraine? The answer is clearly, “No.”

      What the US, UK and NATO had intended with those provocations was to induce Putin to walk into what was obviously a trap and it clearly worked. His attempted invocation of Article 51, the right of self-defense, was undermined by the absence of any genuine threat of attack and the mass of Russian troops he had stationed in place in Belarus and on Ukraine’s border.

      • BB
        October 12, 2022 at 13:36


        What matters in politics is not intentions, which can change dramatically over time, but opportunities. The Russians have no doubt that, having surrounded them with their military bases, the United States at the first opportunity, if, of course, they are sure that this will pass with impunity, as in the case of Japan, will drop nuclear bombs on their heads. Moreover, the US government will always find the reason for this and, with the help of the mainstream media, prepare public opinion in advance so that the majority of Americans will begin to think that this is necessary to protect freedom and democracy in the US and throughout the civilized world.

        Who can convince the Russians that this will never happen?

      • Common Sense
        October 12, 2022 at 14:39

        NATO aggressively approaching Russian borders more and more through the years with missiles stationed also much closer as well, appears to you as not threat?

        Not even mentioning the killing of thousands of Russian speaking people in Ukraine since the coup in 2014.

        And the planned big attack on eastern Ukraine/ Donbass by the Kiev Nazi- regime, therefore the Russian Federation did not have any other choice anymore but to intervene.

      • Susan Siens
        October 12, 2022 at 15:17

        If you think surrounding Russia with bases (missiles aimed at Russia) was not tantamount to planning an invasion, you are delightfully naive.

        And the Ukrainian army was massed on the borders of the Donbass in preparation for annihilation of the Russian peoples there after killing 14,000 since 2014. One of the judges at Nuremberg had a daughter who, reading the results of her father’s and others’ jurisprudence, has said that under the law Putin was fully justified in invading, something the people of the Donbass had been begging him to do for eight years.

      • Gene Poole
        October 12, 2022 at 15:56

        Was Russia actually threatened? No more than the US would be if China set up missile bases in Canada and Mexico. And there would be people like you to say, ‘C’mon. What threat?’

      • bardamu
        October 12, 2022 at 20:31

        Actually, the answer to that question is clearly “Yes.”

        The pushing of NATO east, the coup of ’14, the invasion of various countries to the south of Russia, the unilateral withdrawal from an important antinuclear treaty, the buildup of nuclear arms in the eastern NATO countries (all pointed at Russia), the repeated insistence by US executives that “everything is on the table,” and the imposition of sanctions all were threats, though of course the sanctions were more than that.

        Why would anyone imagine differently?

      • J Anthony
        October 13, 2022 at 07:03

        Come on man, you know the US blankets the world with military bases and war-gaming s***, and you think these countries have no reason to feel threatened by that?

  18. October 11, 2022 at 16:54

    I’m holding out hope that the leaders are not crazy enough to take this to the nuclear option.
    I mean nobody would have guessed in 1945 that we’d go 77 years without. Nobody.
    So maybe there’s a modicum of sanity buried somewhere deep inside everybody?
    I mean I don’t see how anybody could choose total global anihilation as an option to anything.
    And as much as I hate Biden, deep and visceral hatred, I don’t think any single living person on earth is more evil than Barrack Obama who is a 100% totally and thoroughly morally corrupt sociopath. So I would be even more afraid if he was still president.

    • WillD
      October 12, 2022 at 00:02

      And I’m holding out hope that the US military (Pentagon and others) will refuse to carry out attack instructions coming from the president. It’s already obvious that the Pentagon is very uncomfortable with the level of belligerence and ‘nuclear’ rhetoric coming from the politicians.

    • doris
      October 12, 2022 at 11:21

      Sorry, but those in control really believe they can survive. Biden has already told us it will take “sacrificing” on our parts with the orchestrated (record profits) price gouging on basic life needs. He’s proven he’s willing to sacrifice millions of humans, both foreign and domestic, with his life-sucking policies since he’s been in office. The people pulling Biden’s strings are clearly psychopaths, as their constant lust for total global domination even at the risk of total annihilation proves. Remember their old adage, “Better dead than red.” That goes for us, not them. They all have massive bunkers and believe the Earth won’t be a nuclear wasteland when they emerge from them in a few years. Like Caitlin said, “It’s insane.”

  19. JoAnn
    October 11, 2022 at 16:53

    Thank you, Caitlin, for pointing out the important things in life. Sort of makes all the attention by MSM on Georgia and classified documents of no importance.

  20. Paula
    October 11, 2022 at 16:04

    I don’t think its stupidity so much as manipulation and censorship and living in an internet/consumer oriented bubble rather than the real world. Most don’t know Michael Hudson, what he had to say in 2015, nor read the Asian Times or even know about a paper written in 1904 called The Geographical Pivot of History by H.J. Mackinder. If USA respected the sovereignty of other nations, we wouldn’t be in Ukraine, if they weren’t so afraid of losing their war economy and NATO and control of a European nation prospering with access to the vast resources of the bear with whom they could do trade and commerce and free themselves of their current overlords. If any of our leaders are stupid, they are stupid in an evilly smart way.

    • doris
      October 12, 2022 at 11:50

      “If the US respected the sovereignty of other nations,” the world would look very differently today. Imagine all the war trillions from our tax dollars being spent on We the People! We’d have enough to make the earth a sustainable place for all. We’d never have allowed Hearst, Rockefeller, and DuPont to poison our lands with their hideous products. Industrial hemp would be the go-to plant for EVERYTHING humans AND the Earth need.

      I left the Christian faith when I left home decades ago, but that verse in their book claiming, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil,” was surely talking about the leaders of Amerika. They are all kinds of EVIL! And many do their evil deeds in the name of righteousness!! God and Country are synonymous to most of them. (As if worshiping a piece of red, white, and blue cloth like they do isn’t a false idol.) Like Holly Near says, “I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God.” So even if they destroy the Earth, which seems to be God’s message to them, they’ll have a perfect home with streets of gold in heaven! “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil,” but God promises “streets of gold” for eternity. ‘Thou shalt not kill,” (unless you’re a woman who’s not a virgin on your wedding night, in which you should be stoned to DEATH!) That insane lack of cognitive dissonance is what created the insane – “We can destroy the world, and come out unscathed” mentality.

      And agreed – Michael Hudson ROCKS!

  21. d4l3d
    October 11, 2022 at 15:57

    Rename it the Archduke Ferdinand Bridge for the few remaining days we have.

  22. Richard Romano
    October 11, 2022 at 15:40

    Why why why is it so hard to see that Catlin is easily expressing the truth. Why and how has our country so insane. Is it fear of Trump? Isn’t this insane
    Put up a good candidate and he is toast. Have a media that supports real choices not a fixed election.

    • J Anthony
      October 13, 2022 at 07:04

      I don’t think it’s fear of Trump so much as just plain ignorance and indoctrination

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