Patrick Lawrence celebrates Jacob Siegel’s essay in Tablet magazine on the “hoax of the century.”
Sometime in the mid–Russiagate years, when it became clear that America was on a swoon back into the collective neuroses of the 1950s, I began to think we would have to wait for future historians to retrieve the truth buried alive in the cesspit of lies and cynical propaganda operations the deep state — and I am fine with this term — inflicted upon us in response to Donald Trump’s rise in national politics. There seemed no sorting out the godawful mess amid the incessant waves of mis– and disinformation to which our corporate media subjected us.
The task, if you were in the scribbling trade, was to write truthfully for readers, of course, but also to contribute, however modestly, to a record that tore a hole in mainstream media’s façade so that later historians looking back on our time could peer through it to see things as they were. It is not an exotic thought: America has had alternative histories of this kind for nearly as long as it has been called America, and they often reflect revisionist readings of contemporary accounts.
Jacob Siegel has just done all of us and all the historians to come an immense service in this way. He recently published an article in Tablet magazine, where he is a senior editor. His subtitle, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Disinformation,” is literate, gutsy and suggestive of the gloves-off essay underneath it.
This is the most powerful, sustained rip into the Russiagate disaster I have yet read — and certainly the best work published to date on the destruction of American democracy at the hands of a ruling elite that invented (1) the figment of a disinformation crisis and (2) the frightening apparatus that now drowns us in disinformation in the name of combating it. “Disinformation is both the name of the crime and the means of covering it up,” Seigel writes pithily, “a weapon that doubles as a disguise.”
"The hoax of the century"
Journalist @Jacob__Siegel explains how the US manufactured the threat of disinformation@aaronjmate @kthalps
Full interview: https://t.co/Dh8PDQ1Mnx pic.twitter.com/8QQHDrA6OX
— Useful Idiots (@UsefulIdiotpod) April 19, 2023
Siegel has been piling into orthodox narratives for years in the pages of Tablet, a lively Jewish-affairs magazine that has published since 2009 and seems to have a place for iconoclasts and breakers of taboos. Siegel is reliably excellent on mis– and disinformation, which is apparently among his favorite themes. A year ago he published “Invasion of the Fact–Checkers,” in which he dismembered the fact-checking phenomenon as “the Democratic Party’s new official-unofficial, public-private monopoly tech platform censorship brigade.”
Well-spotted and well-said, Jake.
If you want an argument in favor of independent journalists as the source of the craft’s dynamism, Jacob Seigel will give you one. His pieces are more than mere reporting. I value them for the background and intellectual framework he builds into them so that we finish with understanding as well as knowledge.
In this case, Siegel does more, much more, than part the curtain on the atrocious fiasco we call Russiagate and what he sees as its most profound consequence — the rise of a disinformation industry whose intent is to control public discourse so thoroughly as to control what we think as well as what we say. He puts those years into historical context, identifies those responsible for this malign project and explores the highly disturbing implications of the disinformation enterprise for the way we live now and the way those who come after us will live unless those of us alive tame and then eliminate this beast.
“If the underlying philosophy of the war against disinformation can be expressed in a single term, it is this,” Seigel writes in one of his better lines. “You cannot be trusted with your own mind.”
I have waited for years for a piece this penetrating, comprehensive, and intellectually honest. Anyone who was disgusted by the appalling corruptions of the Russiagate years and longed for a writer to identify its overarching realities will admire this lengthy essay and the controlled anger that suffuses it — every word of which earns its place. Anyone who was fired, canceled, driven to bankruptcy, censored, denounced, hounded out of town, or otherwise silenced will feel the subtle pleasure that comes of vindication. I do, certainly.
I also recall thinking, as Trump ran his 2016 campaign and won the election that November, that most people who found him objectionable had it upside down. Trump will come and Trump will go, I figured: It was the emerging illiberality of American liberals that most threatened the polity. These seemed the people on the way to destroying what remained of our democracy, and they would be with us long after Donald Trump was gone. “Liberal totalitarianism” was the term a late friend had for what we watched together. I saw his point but found that too strong.
Having read Jacob Siegel’s exceptionally perspicacious piece, I no longer do.
Siegel makes a critical discrimination between the deep state — “unelected government functionaries who have administrative power to override the official, legal procedures of a government” — and the rise of a liberal ruling class. Although the two overlap at numerous points, this is an essential distinction if we are to understand what happened during the Russiagate years, when this class emerged as a hegemonic force:
“A ruling class describes a social group whose members are bound together by something deeper than institutional position: their shared values and instincts. … It is made up of people who belong to a homogeneous national oligarchy, with the same accent, manners, values, and educational backgrounds from Boston to Austin and San Francisco to New York and Atlanta. …
Only other members of your class can be allowed to lead the country. That is to say, members of the ruling class refuse to submit to the authority of anyone outside the group, whom they disqualify from eligibility by casting them as in some way illegitimate. …
What do the members of the ruling class believe? They believe … in informational and management solutions to existential problems and in their own providential destiny and that of people like them to rule, regardless of their failures. As a class, their highest principle is that they alone can wield power. …”
Now you know why liberals frighten me more than Donald Trump ever has. Trump is at bottom a passing bimbo. These people are malign and deadly serious and not going anywhere.
Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016 was intended to consolidate the liberal ruling class’s preeminence. It was her unexpected defeat that prompted liberals to lunge in defense of their hegemony by “fusing the U.S. national security infrastructure with the social media platforms, where the war was being fought,” as Siegel puts it. This meant “harnessing every sector of society under a single technocratic rule.”
Liberal totalitarianism, anyone?
‘The Counter-Disinformation Complex’
Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” written early in the modernist poet’s career and published in his first book, Harmonium, is Siegel’s reference. It is a useful allusion. Stevens was often after the ways our minds and imaginations can turn reality this way and that and as we do see it altogether differently — invent it, indeed. This is Siegel’s starting point. He considers the disinformation phenomenon “from 13 angles … with the aim that the composite of these partial views will provide a useful impression of disinformation’s true shape and ultimate design.”
This is what I value most in Siegel’s essay — his discerning chronology of the genesis and development of “the counter-disinformation complex.”
Seigel begins in 2014, when Moscow responded to the U.S.–cultivated coup in Ukraine, when it later reincorporated Crimea into the Russian Federation, and when the Islamic State declared Mosul the capital of its newly declared caliphate. “In three separate conflicts,” Siegel writes, “an enemy or rival power of the United States was seen to have successfully used not just military might but also social media messaging campaigns designed to confuse and demoralize its enemies.”
Two years later the national security state and the Democratic Party determined to bring counterinsurgency and counterterrorism techniques home to turn them on the new enemy within, the insurgents and terrorists being Donald Trump and his 70 million supporters — the “deplorables,” as Hillary Clinton usefully called them.
Then came the key man and the key moment.
“In his last days in office, President Barack Obama made the decision to set the country on a new course,” Seigel writes. “On December 16, 2016, he signed into law the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, which used the language of defending the homeland to launch an open-ended, offensive information war.”
This was to be not merely a “whole-of-government” undertaking: It was “whole-of-society,” meaning all lines between the public and private sectors would be erased and control of the hearts and minds of every American was made the objective.
Now we can understand how easily our public institutions enlisted in this good cause. These included Big Tech and the national security apparatus, of course, as well as law enforcement — the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation—the think tanks, the universities, the NGOs, and media. “The American press,” Siegel writes, “was hollowed out to the point that it could be worn like a hand puppet by the U.S. security agencies and party operatives.”
There were also various self-proclaimed guardians of “internet freedom,” whose shared objective was to suppress all forms of dissent by making sure no such thing survived their efforts. Notorious among these guardians and typical of them is Hamilton 68, which worked closely with Twitter to identify and suppress millions of social media accounts supposedly spreading Russian-inspired disinformation. Hamilton 68 is now exposed as “a high-level hoax perpetrated against the American people” by government operatives colluding with corrupt Twitter executives.
Here I have to say I know of no other writer who uses the term “bullshit” with more grace. Hamilton 68, he writes is “a purveyor of industrial-grade bullshit — the old-fashioned term for disinformation.”
Did these bastards create a diabolic universe or what?
It is cold comfort indeed, but what the disinformation complex took to inflicting on Americans a half-dozen years ago is what the rest of the world has been forced to put up with since the national security state took shape and began operating in the late 1940s.
Siegel’s 13 chapters — his essay reads like a book and I hope he turns it into one — take his theme is all sorts of directions. There are sections on data collection, the evolution of the internet — “from darling to demon” — the indefinite extension of the “war on terror,” the emergence of the “domestic terrorists” theme, the manipulation of the Covid–19 discourse, the Hunter Biden laptop affair, “The NGO Borg” (a wonderful title), artificial intelligence as the next diabolic mode of suppression and America as a one-party state.
How are we going to characterize the beast of the disinformation complex and the polity it has forced upon us? Siegel does not care for the term “Fascism” in this context, and neither do I: It overstates the malady afflicting America, and, as Siegel astutely notes, it faces us backward when we ought to face forward into something that has no name.
“Something monstrous is taking shape in America,” Siegel writes. “Formally, it exhibits the synergy of state and corporate power in service of a tribal zeal that is the hallmark of Fascism. Yet anyone who spends time in America and is not a brainwashed zealot can tell that it is not a Fascist country:”
“What is coming into being is a new form of government and social organization that is as different from mid-20th century liberal democracy as the early American republic was from the British monarchism that it grew out of and eventually supplanted. A state organized on the principle that it exists to protect the sovereign rights of individuals, is being replaced by a digital leviathan that wields power through opaque algorithms and the manipulation of digital swarms. It resembles the Chinese system of social credit and one-party state control, and yet that, too, misses the distinctively American and providential character of the control system.”
Just excellent — as insight, as writing.
Siegel’s 13th way of looking at his blackbird is called “After Democracy,” and it makes for reading as grim as its headline sounds. We’re now in the land where defending the Bill of Rights is “a parochial attachment” and an extensive regime of censorship is naturalized as common sense:
“So the problem of disinformation is also a problem of democracy itself—specifically, that there’s too much of it. To save liberal democracy, the experts prescribed two critical steps: America must become less free and less democratic. This necessary evolution will mean shutting out the voices of certain rabble-rousers in the online crowd who have forfeited the privilege of speaking freely. It will require following the wisdom of disinformation experts. … “
I have one thing to say to Jacob Siegel — who is now “Joltin’ Jake” in my household: Keep writing. So long as you do, you’ll show us all that all is not quite lost and that “hope” is more than a four-letter word. The better historians will love you, too.
This essay is from The Scrum. An earlier version appeared in ScheerPost.
Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His new bookJournalists and Their Shadows, is forthcoming from Clarity Press. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
In reading this and Siegel’s account, I must agree that this war will now be waged against RFK Jr. in the same manner it was on Trump. This is self evident.
Re Chinese social credit, the government of China has lots of problems, but it is FAR less authoritarian than it was 50-60 years ago. Can the US say the same?
Ordinary people in China are getting more and more prosperous. Their US equivalents are getting poorer and poorer.
Meanwhile, “a study by global tech protection and support company Asurion found that the average person struggles to go little more than 10 minutes without checking their phone. And of the 2,000 people surveyed, one in 10 check their phones on average once every four minutes.” (NY Post)
Step 1: addict the great majority of the population to their personal monitoring and control device;
Step 2: use said device to gradually guide the people to right think through individually AI tailored programs, as pre-determined by the liberal priesthood;
Step 3: call the small minority who dissents on wrongthink and need for correction.
I have just read the article that the author linked, one written by Jacob Siegel in the Tablet magazine. I have to say, that is the best summary of American deep state politics I have ever read. I rate it a lot higher and more important than the Seymour article on Nordstream pipeline bombing that caused all the stir lately. Anyone reading this, please click on that link.
I liked this piece the first time I read it. It did, however, incite a fair amount of cognitive dissonance. What does liberalism mean today? It sure as hell doesn’t mean what it meant back in the 60’s. What does conservatism mean today? Nobody seems to talk about it and it, too, has changed from what it was in the ’60s. I seriously thought about plutocracy and oligarchy both of which partially describe what we have today. It is a historical fact that the most serene republic (Venice) started out around 700AD as a real live democracy. It went along fine for centuries but by the 1300s (a bit after Marco Polo returned from China), Venice had become an oligarchy but it had the characteristic that the people no longer had the vote. We still have the vote. Sorta. If you consider a Hobb’s choice a vote. Authoritarianism isn’t normally thought of in terms of democracy, dictatorship, autocracy, monarchy. It certainly can apply to the last three but not the first one. The US has, not a democracy, but rather an authoritarian government. It crept in while you were hearing about legislation to prevent us from doing X , Y, or Z. It’s not the government’s business to prevent us from doing X, Y, or Z. As Robert Heinlein, in his glorious libertarian screed “The Moon is a harsh Mistress”, had the professor tell Manny, we pass laws to tell us not to do what we didn’t want to do anyway. Thus you couldn’t pass a law with less than 66% of the vote. And, demonstrating his firm grasp on logic, he properly converts the I proposition to an O proposition and says you should repeal the law with a 33% vote. When the government starts telling you what you can and can’t do just because some doddering old fools in the statehouse said so, you’re in serious trouble.
Potayto, potahto, fascism, totalitarianism, does it matter what we call our wretched mode of governance?
As far reaching as D oriented media control is, almost all of its arguments consist of ad hominem arguments. That and deference to testimony from the same sources that provided us evidence on the WMDs in Iraq: unnamed intelligence sources. It isn’t a huge lift to see through the walls of bullshit rising around us: basic logic and critical thinking will see us through. However, basic logic and critical thinking is polemical to the cornerstone of post modernist bullshit: post truth relativism. Learn truth tables and symbolic logic.
It appears that the Supreme Court is truly a SUBPRIME court. And along with that court there are 3 more eggheaded ones ,like Humpty Dumpty–apparently riding for a fall too : Biden , Blinken and Nuland.
I second the notion to print the article as a pamphlet or a small book. It may do what “Common Sense” did for an older America.
Secondly, part of what makes the masters of the liberal totalitarianism system so pernicious is their natural and complete disregard for facts and truth. Anything factual counter to their subscribed to and inquisitional world view will be ignored or buried and their “facts” will never be changed. Thus, for example, Russia Gate is still true; China is the great adversary; America must lead because it alone is exceptional; etc.
Yes. Keep repeating the lie, and say, “see, I am a normal, healthy person and I believe this; you believe it too.” When fear and uncertainty weaken logic, people are vulnerable to the appearance of a friendly face. They recognise in it their own fundamental decency. But for those who tell the lie, that decency is foreign. They fear it, and they exploit the vulnerability. Each time they repeat the lie, they move farther from any decency they had. And each time they repeat the lie, it gains strength.
US administration and sub-servants , lie after lie and they believe in their own lies. They are a liability for Peace in the world.
The majority of people in the world, do not trust them any more, we do not believe in their lies.
I just went searching for article by Jacob Siegel and have just finish ……….Prologue: The Information War .
This is so frightening, so depressing so unimaginable as though we have been taken over by evil itself.
My beautiful grandchildren are doomed, they will never know the freedom that I have known and yet probably never fully appreciated.
The only thing that comes to mind is to …………well it is a crime so I dare not post it .
THE HISTORY HAS BEEN WRITTEN AND IS AVAILABLE TO ALL
With all due respect, it seems that the works of Tim Weiner and James Bamford have been mysteriously
neglected. There is no mention to these important works on the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. It is all available…
To emphasize just how pernicious this change is, and how difficult it is to conceptualize or find analogy, Siegal himself attempts to parallel liberal totalitarianism with a Chinese social credit system, the existence of which, is itself Western disinformation.
I keep trying to find the perfect analogy in history, or other cultures, and I can’t. It’s a bit like someone living in the 1940s trying to describe WWII in terms of the Franco-Prussian War. We would find that funny, because the scale of WWII so overshadows the historical references those people may have had. I think here, we are in the era that future generations use as the reference, not one that is easily described by the past.
From statement of Theodore Roosevelt alluded to earlier. “The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.”
That’s true, of course, but even our Supreme Court has let America down by limiting election reform and letting money be the controlling force.
The horizon? It will continue to be a hopeless place for we deplorables unless there is something out there that will preserve the principles in the Bill of Rights and rid us of the control of the self-selected elites. Shakespeare had something say about that begins with “The fault is not in our stars but…”
Solution for CU – Const,Amend. declaring that money is not speech and Corps are not people – it has been 13 years since the decision was handed down and neither party has lifted a finger to correct it – why is that do you suppose? Is it because both parties like things just the way they are – with the money pouring in – and the icing on the cake is that they can blame the SC for their failure to halt this mess! Such a deal!
And “we the people” keep putting these miscreants back in office – why is that do you suppose …
The reason CU will never be overturned is that the main beneficiary of unlimited money is the MSM. Where does the vast majority of all that money end up ultimately? Advertisements for elections. One thing I’ve learned…little happens in the halls of Congress if the MSM doesn’t get on board. I think there is an argument for eliminating the electoral college for the same reason. Highly partisan states are losing out on all of this payola because their elections are in the bag, so no need for tons of election ads, right? Solution? One man, one vote. What a bonanza!
What is CU?
A mental lapse there: not Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, but Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, of course.
Liberal totalitarianism is the correct concept.
Fascism is the correct term.
I would distinguish between what I call ‘multi-cultural fascism’ (the corporate democratic party) and ethno-nationalist, white settler fascism (as can be seen in much of Trump and his supporters and the Republican party).
The multicultural fascists have indeed blended well with the ‘State’ and its disinformation platforms and military industrial complex, most of which come or came out of military funding.
I would disagree with the author by embracing his conclusion as to ‘liberal totalitarianism’: America is the largest technological fascist nation on the planet.
To say the US is in a Weimar moment would be a cliche.
As capitalism reduces life to mere savagery and as liberal democracy dies both from within and from outside changes in material conditions, one can expect that this form of Fifth Generation War, basically a post-modern Phoenix Program brought to the US, will create countless cases of menticide.
And the digital Leviathan, a beautiful poetic phrase that spells doom and resonates with fear, will continue to become more technologically complex and will be used against its people regularly to the point that one will have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy.
We are in an epoch of domination and have been for thousands of years.
Lord – serf, peasant
Employer – employee
And now, cartels, transnational corporations and a growing international fascist movement from Peru to Ukraine, from Paris to the US have hastened the decline of democracy for if one cannot think democratically then democracy is an illusion.
Birds born in cages think birds that fly are crazy.
I agree with you. Any country that has hundreds of military installations all over the globe and supports fascism is a FASCIST STATE. And you know what I just read in the Daily Mail, of all places? They have been going through Jeffrey Epstein’s contact books and visitor logs for years and they found who had been visiting him AFTER his conviction and registration as a sex offender. He had a meeting with Noam Chomsky and Ehud Barak, and now I’m wondering how long Chomsky has been in someone’s pocket.
In response to Mr. Lawrence and his praise of one Jacob Siegel. I refuse to buy this long winded diatribe as being a totally accurate description of a very complicated mess.
To cute, to neat and not at all accurate from my point of view. Almost as if Mr. Siegel’s description is serving more than one purpose. The truth maybe that what he has described is correct for a transient period of time.
The fifth (full) paragraph from the bottom, Lawrence quotes his article, see and read it. “Something monstrous is taking shape in America”, Siegel writes. I urge everyone t read these two paragraphs. In the sixth from last paragraph. I have many issues with this statement by Lawrence. He offers an opinion to back up the opinion of Siegel here. I flatly refuse to buy this neat packaging of opinions.
Back to that fifth paragraph, especially that last sentence, “Yet anyone who has spent time in America and is not a brainwashed zealot can tell it is not a fascist country.” Hell no not yet, but can we exclude that the efforts of the Deep State, are not efforts to foster fascism? Again, I don’t agree with the premise here, earlier in this piece by Lawrence, first paragraph, first sentence he states he is fine with the term deep state.
I find this uniquely interesting. I see the Deep State as very divisive when considering their ultimate goals and very fascist in it’s politics. Whether Mr.Lawrence agrees here or not I have no clue, but something here is amiss.
Far right zealots one and all, very similar in their machinations as are the extreme right wing leadership currently leading the State of Israel down the road to perdition. I call that leadership fascist because of their actions and intentions. This is my heart felt opinion.
I was born at night but not last night and I damned sure didn’t fall off a turnip wagon earlier this morning.
I just read through the Siegel piece. Something I desperately wish I had done before I wrote the response above. I should know better and I can do better. I snake bit myself, unforgivable by even my loose standards.
To Mr. Siegel’s credit he has this story right and he did a great job of putting it together. Clear, to the point and short.
I do however still have issues with how these events Siegel so adequately describes came about. (hint with help from DOJ and the intelligence community). Additionally why not condemn the high-tech billionaires who sold the rest of us down the river? They are no different from and undeniably worse individuals than the organized crime leaders of the last century. Enslaving the world’s population so they can some how rise above climate change is clearly an act of insanity. Remember Hitler?
Why? Because the government of the U.S and Israel have been in cahoots, God forbid I use the terms colluding or conspiring together secretly, since well before the PROMIS – Inslaw scandal that resulted in the deaths of numerous individuals and the rape of Bill Hamilton & his company.
Study the results of this single action and dissect it, learn when and who went into the business of top secret development of mass surveillance technology.
It is a given, I have not trusted the judgement of my government for most all of my adult life, the same can be said of Israel. I goddamned well, will never trust the Israeli government if I don’t trust my own.
The revelation of the real reasons for this distrust have been slow in coming. Not until after 911 did I start realize the undeniable truths of the Deep State, the resulting Patriot Act and what the governments actions actually meant to the average American. A process of developing a serious distrust of the U.S. Government encouraged by the events of Ruby Ridge and Waco Texas which never made any sense to me and for good reason.
So I own a profuse apology to Mr. Lawrence for his high praise of Siegel’s piece. I’m sorry Larry!
Siegel produced a fine product but is a far cry from calling out all who deserve to be called out. This must stop!
I thought there existed a general agreement among so many that the elected government of the Unites States is made up of mostly useful idiots these days. I believe this to be true. This government was sent a message on Nov 22, 1963 and the American public blindsided because those elected officials deferred the obligation to serve those who voted for them.
So while Siegel reveals a true story he artfully avoids going up the food chain to the real live evil doers who are behind all this. The world banking system is their lair, and off shore banking, their delivery system.
Whitney Webb has made the call, the reason for all this nefarious activity, mental illness called greed, the greed for power and wealth. Total control of the masses by high-tech will deliver those of the Deep State all they desire. Everyone must wake the hell up we all are headed into suffering the consequences of a ruling class run amuck.
The actions of the high tech billionaires club telegraphs what is to come and civil war in the U.S. now seems inevitable. My advice to everyone is to learn as much as the can about Israeli domestic policing, something the Patriot Act has embraced since the day after 911. Ever hear of ” kettling”, it is straight out of the Israeli domestic policing manual of ruthless techniques.
Wake up, “Trust” is becoming maybe the most valuable commodity a human can seek from another human.
We all having fun now!
I just fail to understand why all this ‘tempest in a tea pot’ over Russiagate and the supposedly meddling in US elections. A ‘tempest in a tea pot’ over US meddling all over the world would require a much, much larger ‘tea pot’. Yet the West remains silent – I guess too much of a coward and no balls to stand up to the Yanx.
Russiagate was a self-indulgence of so-called progressives who worked themselves up in a lather of righteous indignation. These people seem to fall for every narrative peddled by government propagandists and continue to think themselves superior to those who don’t watch the PBS NewsHour. Interacting with them is nearly impossible, sad to say.
I don’t know about German, or Italian “fascism”; however, I do know a little about McKinley’s legalistic deceptive arguments to enter into the Spanish-American war. Also President Wilson’s legal rationalizations to get us into the 1st World War while pretending not to. This mind/mental manipulation use was and is weaponized to control the Leviathan, that is, us. Now algorithms decide with biais toward the rulers.
The question is now can we, the Leviathan, be relied on to think for ourself? And the jury is still out on that one.
Good article but I disagree with Seigel on one point. Fascism is not too strong of a word to describe what has taken hold in the US. As the country prepares for war with the Sino-Russian block, we are only in the early stages. The cancer is metastasizing. The question that always goes unstated is what can be done about it? I am pessimistic. Edmund Burke’s old adage comes to mind: “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Yup, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for us to keep putting these goon in office …
“In his last days in office, President Barack Obama made the decision to set the country on a new course,” Seigel writes. “On December 16, 2016, he signed into law the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, which used the language of defending the homeland to launch an open-ended, offensive information war.” This followed the abolition (“modernization”) of American law (Smith Mundt) against domestic propaganda. The State Department (read CIA) was legally enabled to do to America what they had been doing abroad since the end of WWII, control the Official Narratives and the minds of the population.
We are inured to the character assassinations that have ‘interfered’ in American elections forever. After Trump (an ineffectual FU to the Establishment who was not allowed near the Levers of Power– often direct Presidential orders were either totally ignored or slow-walked) all sorts of new ways to determine Election outcomes, beyond voters, were put into play.
The “Hunter Biden laptop affair” is a good, on-going example. Shellenberger’s Twitter Files on the Aspen “war room exercises” which involved much of social media, State Media, intelligence agencies, and academicians working to decide how to handle upcoming Biden Corruption revelations from Hunter’s laptop (the NY Post’s story would break several weeks later) exposed the perfect way to interfere in an Election: control the information, by ignoring and censoring, and squealing Russian disinformation. While this would be expected in a DNC exercise, having a foreign-funded think tank, with many of the people involved acting on government grants, or worse, having their salaries paid by tax-payers, seems just a bit over the line in supporting the Establishment candidate.
Somehow this will be the rule going forward. The cat’s out of the bag!
I would very much appreciate having a link to the article being discussed, or lacking that, the title of the article so I could do a search (the sub-title is provided, but not the title.)
It has been inserted.
Important article but, unfortunately, it continues to confuse the Democratic Party with liberalism and the left, things it certainly is not. If you replaced “Democratic Party” every time liberal is used, it would be all too accurate.
Thank you, Guillermo. Democratic Party automatons took over local peace and justice centers, calling themselves the Resistance. And I was sent a petition I was supposed to sign thanking the FBI! These people are not leftists, they’re classic liberals who aligned themselves with America’s foreign policy after WWII and who now expose themselves as utter conformists and supporters of the status quo.
I don’t think that Russiagate was really something new. Nor the devolution of the US into a totalitarian state. Sheldon Wolin coined the term “inverted totalitarianism’ back in 2003, as the natural consequence of corporatocracy and technology, not to mention US political philosophy. The US was founded as an oligarchy. It has never had a real revolution. It remains an oligarchy, which takes advantage of technology. Of course, there is a tipping point. As there was with the Soviet Union.
I well remember being puzzled at how little use “liberals” and hillary fans had for improving critical thinking skills, how eager they were to “protect” me by censoring every unwelcome fact or opinion.
I suggest you read Diana Johnstone’s Queen of Chaos and Whitney Webb’s One Nation Under Blackmail. If one tried to engage with a Hillary supporter regarding any of her past or present activities — which are horrendous, including murder and treason (I’m not sure I believe in treason, but Hillary certainly does … for other people) — one was met with a child closing her eyes, putting her fingers in her ears, and screaming “lalalalalala.” I still see this online in women’s forums and find it unbelievable.
Susan Siens,I sometimes call Hillary supporters The Church of Hillary (Fundamentalist). She is as much a false messiah as Trump is.
Joe Biden describes this current system as ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. There are two words.
Shakespeare wrote a line about a rose still smelling as sweet no matter what name was given to it.
I know what this system smells like.
America has …
— a huge prison system, with more people locked up than anyone else in the world. A prison system where prisoners die of neglect, are denied proper medical care, and which trained the guards at Abu Gharaib.
— massive, militarized police forces that kill thousands every year, and even write up reports admitting 1,000. This huge, militarized police force rules by violence and intimidation, when it is not killing citizens.
— a mass surveillance system which collects and stores everything.
— laws against protest in many places, and thugs with guns and bear mace in the places where protest is not completely illegal.
Just how hard does it have to get?
When politicians lie, then it is a coup-de-etat against democracy. Think about it. If the politicians are lying, exactly what are the voters electing?
A lying politician should be treated in exactly the same way as one that tries to physically overthrow the government. Its the same thing. The politician is taking power away from the people and grabbing it for themselves by telling lies that get them elected.
It doesn’t really matter what the lie is. If the politician is lying, then they have committed fraud and gained power under false pretenses.
Both major political parties and all modern politicians lie constantly.
So why are the voters still electing them?
SH, we must admit the high quality of the political hoax and lifelong indoctrination all add up to effective voter manipulation.
Misusing the ‘F Word’
Fascism belongs to the 20th Century. As this article argues there is a new and perhaps more insidious authoritarian system forming that as yet has no useful description. And yet people still cling to the word, however inaccurately, because there is still no better word to use.
I’m not sure “liberal totalitarianism” is accurate enough also. This is similar to saying an incredibly thin fat boy. Essentially it is nonsense based on how traditional terms have pejorated in the past few years–if we use “liberal” in its proper meaning versus applying it to those who have migrated to an authoritarian (fascist) position.
‘Fascism’ is not at all a wrong word in the roots of its modern introduction to public discourse by Mussolini, or its characterization by FDR not so long after.
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” – Benito Mussolini
FDR contrasted this with government shaped by democratic process…
…..”Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people.The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living.”
Franklin D Roosevelt
The reason it seems obvious that the US does not appear to be fascist in the way Nazi Germany was is because the more obvious signs of fascism are consigned to the margin of the empire, the black sites, the murderous coups and paramilitary violence, the wars, the use of sanctions and debt traps against weak nations and union movements abroad, the punishment of political dissidents like Eugene Debs or Julian Assange, the theft of land, massacres, and breaking of treaties with indigenous peoples. A student from China in a US university or prep school will experience none of this, and surveillance by the NSA or Google will be equally invisible. So….
… what I see as different in recent history is that the strategies of empire to allow hegemonic control of dissident countries are closing in on the dissident citizens in the US, Germany, France, Canada etc. who challenge the political boundaries drawn by a deep state that has been steadily freeing itself from democratic restraint. The classic fascist tactic of demonizing the other( Russia,China, Communism, Socialism,) began immediately after WW2 as the US, together with the remnants of the British empire built a new global empire which is the core goal of fascism. The fascistic brutality of that project has been obscured by its distance from home and the endless repetition of the myth of the land of immigrant opportunity, the myth that the US and UK were the key warriors against Hitler, the racially reinforced myth that our prosperity was due to our unique intelligence and hard work and our brilliant embrace of the liberating power of free markets.
Do you expect to see goose-stepping American troops in the streets and Jews, leftists, and the disabled rounded up and put in concentration camps in America today? And the flag of a single ruling party replacing the American flag? The article argues that this is a new phenomenon we are dealing with today.
It seems that Patrick has this brown shirt form in mind in saying the US is not a fascist state; but we also need to think about (I know you’re thinking about this) alternate forms of control, much subtler, as with how many Americans have been taken in by the Russia-gate charade (and still believe it?)–the mechanisms of mind control versus physical control.
As with after (a few days ago) the ex-CIA chief Morell admitted lying about the laptop as Russian disinformation back in 2020, instructed to do this by the currently still functioning Secretary of State Blinken, and there seems to have been no consequences to or alarm about the power structure for this. (Morell’s reason: “I wanted Biden to win.”) As just one example. So we don’t need brown shirts on the doorstep at this time, apparently, for a very effective form of what is fascism at the core.
Sorry, I didn’t complete my thought.
We are not far off from a “party,” a small cadre, pushing around local governments to get their flag flown on government property and accorded equal “official” status as the flags of the actual governing entities.
Military-Keynsianism, adopted after WWII, is fascism.
You see it now.
There is a lot of debate on terms like “liberal”, “leftist”, “fascist”, “right wing” … You get it. We could just skip the terms and in they’re place, in a given text or dialogue, replace what ever term it is we intend with the definition of that term. A bit more wordy in the short run, but could be helpful.
You are correct.
Perhaps the kerfuffle is over what the disscussion over what fascism is has gone from the classical Itailian version articulated in the Doctrine of Fascism to the popular venacular of Wikipedia that focuses on what it turn into as Italy went to war?
The progressives just loved the version that got the trains to run on time but that is not the version they claim to hate so as not to associate themselves with what they used to love and are ingaged in the modern day version of.
After all, tribalism with hard strict orthodoxy as praticed with today’s progressives is really akin to nationalism that old term we are to loath as practiced by evil ones.
Fascism in the 21st century should not be expected to replicate precisely fascism of the 20th century. Rather, it will be a variant built upon the same foundational themes. It has been said that United States of the present embodies a “soft” form of fascism, in that it is not a full-on police state. Expect it to get harder with the passage of time.
It is important that we expand the notion of fascism, not do away with the term.
For fascism is both an economic and political term and concept embedded within decaying capitalist systems.
I would distinguish between technocratic-multicultural fascism, as found in the corporate democratic party, with ethno-national white settler fascism found among Trump supporters and the Republican party.
They are both fascist if one reads Mussolini the Godfather of fascism.
Both parties are wedded to the State.
However, the technocrats in the multicultural fascist movement are in full control.
But let’s face it: there can be no democracy under capitalism.
Hitler’s party was a small party until he gave the speech to 25 industry members at Dusseldorf in 1932 where he promised no democracy if the ruling class supported him.
You can read his speech here. After he gave the speech, all industrialists were on board.
Dusseldorf Speech hxxps://hitler.org/speeches/01-27-32.html
The corporate democrats are fascist for they too rely on the State economically and culturally.
They are simply more cunning and have had the stale air of delusion they have had since they were minted.
Liberal democracy is dead. It dies when capitalism begins to decay.
A look at Weimar Germany will tell the history.
Fascism is the political face of an economic system that benefits a tiny .0001%.
Call it what you like, but as Voltaire said:
“History never repeats itself. Man always does.”
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”
With 5 G headed down the pike it will be hard to tell reality from fantasy, much as it is now.
We may not be a fascist country yet, but we’re heading in that direction. When Washington lies to the public about propping up Nazis in Ukraine to balkanize Russia, we give a signal that we fear sharing the world with the rest of humanity more than resisting fascism. We know the corporate set is far more comfortable with Nazis than they are with socialists. Anyone who doesn’t grant them absolute control over resources and labor can expect covert or overt actions to remove them.
Hello Lois. Perhaps the seniority of the participants has reversed. In the 1920s Mussolini created a fascism with the state as the senior party. Hitler imitated the approach. The present circumstances place corporations in the lead. The state follows its corporate masters. We might call it Corporatism but that seems innocuous. Perhaps Corporate Fascism is the accurate term. The termination of democracy remains the common characteristic, and corporations are not democratic structures. You were correct to raise the Nationalism of the NAZIs. The interesting intersection is the use of national identity – and the unshakable USA belief in exceptionalism – to fortify the emergent Liberal Totalitarianism (thanks Jacob Seigel).