Caitlin Johnstone: It Rarely Looks Like This

It is more like water for fish. And when you are swimming in it you can’t see it. Only by stepping way, way back is it possible to get a perspective on the way it surrounds you. 

Secretary of State Colin Powell at the U.N.’s Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, presenting what turned out to be false claims about Iraq’s WMD. (U.S. government, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to Tim Foley reading this article.

People in the English-speaking world hear the word “propaganda” and might tend to think of something that’s done by the governments of foreign nations that are so totalitarian they won’t let people know what’s true or think for themselves.

Others might understand that propaganda is something that happens in their own nation, but think it only happens to other people in other political parties. If they think of themselves as left-leaning they see those to their right as propagandized by right wing media, and if they think of themselves as right-leaning they see those to their left as propagandized by left-wing media.

A few understand that propaganda is administered in their own nation by their own media, and understand that it’s administered across partisan lines, but they think of it in terms of really egregious examples such as weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or babies being taken from incubators in Kuwait.

In reality, all are inaccurate understandings of what propaganda is and how it works in Western society. Propaganda is administered in Western nations, by Western nations, across the political spectrum — and the really blatant and well-known examples of its existence make up only a small sliver of the propaganda in which our civilization is continuously marinating.

The most common articles of propaganda — and by far the most consequential — are not the glaring, memorable instances that live in infamy among the critically minded. They’re the mundane messages, distortions and lies-by-omission that people are fed day in and day out to normalize the status quo and lay the foundation for more propaganda to be administered in the future.

One of the forms this takes is the way the Western political/media class manipulates the Overton window of acceptable political opinion.

Have you ever noticed how when you look at any mainstream newspaper, broadcast or news website, you never see views from those who oppose the existence of the U.S.-centralized empire? Or those who want to close all foreign U.S. military bases? Or those who want to dismantle capitalism? Or those who want a thorough rollback of the creeping authoritarianism our civilization is being subjected to?

You might see some quibbling about different aspects of the empire, some debate over de-escalating against Russia in order to better escalate against China, but you won’t ever see anyone calling for the end of the empire and its abuses altogether.

That’s propaganda. It’s propaganda in multiple ways: it excludes voices that are critical of the established status quo from being heard and influencing people, it amplifies voices (many of whom have packing foam for brains) which support the status quo, andmost importantly, it creates the illusion that the range of political opinions presented are the only reasonable political opinions to have.

The creation of that illusion is propaganda. It’s not something solid that you can point to easily because it’s comprised of an omission of something rather than a concrete thing, but it warps people’s perspectives in ways that have immensely far-reaching consequences. It’s something that doesn’t stand out too sharply against the background, but because people are exposed to it continuously day in and day out, it plays a huge role in shaping their worldview.

Another related method of manipulation is agenda-setting — the way the press shapes public thinking by emphasising some subjects and not others. In placing importance on some matters over others simply by giving disproportionate coverage to them, the mass media (who are propagandists first and news reporters second) give the false impression that those topics are more important and the de-emphasised subjects are less so. As political scientist Bernard Cohen famously observed  in 1963, the press

“may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about. The world will look different to different people depending on the map that is drawn for them by writers, editors, and publishers of the paper they read.”

Ever noticed how the way governments are increasingly tempting nuclear war seems like it ought to be given front-page treatment pretty much every day of the week, but instead the news is full of stuff like the U.S. presidential race and people arguing over what products Target should sell during Pride Month? That’s agenda-setting.

The press could easily have spent Donald Trump’s entire administration screaming about the dangerous aggressions the U.S. president was advancing against Russia. In that case, mainstream liberals would have fixated on Trump’s warmongering insanity instead of calling him Putin’s puppet. But that wouldn’t have served the interests of the empire, which had been planning to ramp up aggressions against Russia for years. They set the agenda, and the public fell in line.

Another of the mundane, almost-invisible ways the public is propagandized from day to day is described in a recent video by Second Thought titled “You’re Not Immune To Propaganda.”

We’re continually fed messages by the capitalist machine that we must work hard for employers and accept whatever standards and compensation they see fit to offer, and if we have difficulty thriving in this unjust system the fault lies with us and not with the system. Poor? That’s your fault. Miserable? Your fault. Unemployed? Your fault. Overworked? Your fault.

The continual message being fed to people is that there’s nothing to rebel against and nothing to oppose, because any problems we’re perceiving are our own fault and not the fault of an abusive, exploitative system which is built to extract profit from the working class and the ecosystem at the expense of both. The system cannot be a failure, it can only be failed.

Then there’s the ideological herding funnel we discussed recently, which herds the population into two mainstream factions of equal size which both prevent all meaningful change and serve the interests of the powerful.

Anyone who can’t be herded into either of these mainstream factions is instead herded into fake “populist” factions, which eventually corral them back into the mainstream factions.

Those who can’t be herded toward any of these groups are so few in number that they can simply be marginalized and denied any sizeable platform from which to spread their ideas, and “democracy” does the rest because the majority are supporting the status quo.

Possibly the most consequential of all the mundane, routine ways we’re propagandized is the way the mass media manufacture the illusion of normality in a dystopia so disturbing that we would all scream our lungs out if we could see it with fresh eyes.

-The way pundits, politicians and reporters will talk about the Biden administration surrounding China with war machinery without also talking about how freakish and horrifying it is that we’re looking at rapidly escalating brinkmanship between nuclear-armed countries.

-The way American cities are full of homeless people and it’s just treated as a normal and acceptable thing to simply let them stay homeless and push them out of wherever they try to be.

-The way nothing ever changes no matter who we vote for but we’re still herded into the voting booths and told to vote better.

As a character in the movie Waking Life puts it,

“We all know the function of the media has never been to eliminate the evils of the world, no! Their job is to persuade us to accept those evils and get used to living with them. The powers that be want us to be passive observers. And they haven’t given us any other options outside the occasional purely symbolic act of voting — do you want the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left?”

They don’t just tell us what to believe about the world, they tell us what to believe about ourselves. They give us the frameworks upon which we cast our ambitions and evaluate our success, and we build psychological identities out of those constructs. I am a businessman. I am unemployed. My life is about making money. My life is about disappointing people. I am a success. I am a failure. They invent the test of our adequacy, and they invent the system by which we are graded on that test.

Over and over and over again, day after day, we are fed seemingly small messages which add up over time. Messages like,

  • The world works more or less the way we were taught in school.
  • The media have some problems but basically tell the truth.
  • The status quo is working basically fine.
  • Democracy is real and voting is effective.
  • This is the only way things can be.
  • Our government might have its problems, but it’s basically good.
  • You can earn your way into happiness by working harder.
  • You can consume your way into happiness with more spending.
  • If you think the system is dysfunctional, you’re the dysfunctional one.
  • Those who oppose the status quo are weird and untrustworthy.
  • Things might get better after the next election cycle.
  • Any attempt to change things is a silly waste of time.

By feeding us all these simple, foundational lies day after day, year after year from the time we are very young, they lay the groundwork for the more complex, specific lies we’ll be told later on. Lies like “Russia/China/Iran/etc is a real problem and its government needs to be stopped,” or “People are struggling financially right now, but it’s just because times are hard and it can’t be helped.”

All the mundane lies serve as a primer for the lies we’ll be told later, because once our worldview has been shaped by them, our basic human cognitive biases and predisposition to reject information which conflicts with our worldview will ensure that we’ll take on board the information which confirms our biases and reject any evidence against it. They construct our worldviews for us, then let our normal cognitive defense systems protect it.

Their messages don’t even need to be well-evidenced or well-argued, they only need to be repeated frequently due to a glitch in human cognition known as the illusory truth effect which causes us to mistake the feeling of having heard something before with the feeling of something being true.

Add to all this the recent development of things like Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation and the deck becomes stacked against truth even further, because someone’s odds of stumbling across information which conflicts with the propaganda they’ve been fed goes dramatically down. Even if they’re actively searching for information which conflicts the mainstream worldview, algorithms by Google and Google-owned YouTube often make it almost impossible to find.

So that’s what we’re up against. There’s a failure to appreciate just how pervasive and powerful the empire’s propaganda machine is, even among those who are very critical of empire, because propaganda in our society is like water for fish — we’re swimming in it constantly, so we don’t see it. You have to step way, way back and begin examining our situation from its most basic foundations to get any perspective on how all-encompassing it really is.

Finding your way out of the propaganda matrix takes a lot of diligent work, tons of curiosity, the humility to admit you’ve been completely wrong about everything, and more than a little plain dumb luck. But if you keep hacking away at it eventually you get there, and then you can help others get there too. It’s a hard slog, but if our chains are psychological that means they’re ultimately only made of dream stuff. All that needs to happen is for enough of us to wake up.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, 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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36 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: It Rarely Looks Like This

  1. Greg Grant
    June 3, 2023 at 12:24

    This article is all truth. But unfortunately it’s not information that people lack, it’s the desire to know the truth that they lack. Since people do not want to know the truth they are therefore very easy to propagandize. They sign-up to be indoctrinated, they pay for it, they crave it and propogate it.
    Anybody who cares to know the truth, already knows, because it’s so glaringly obvious.
    When I was 18 back in the early 80’s I decided it was time to be a grown up and start watching the news. It only took me one week to realize something was wrong. They were talking at great length about four hostages in Lebanon to the exclusion of anything else. Even when they had nothing substantive to add, they just kept flogging it.
    It was obvious that filling a full hour day after day to the exclusion of everything else was intentional omission. I quickly wanted to know what they weren’t telling us, and why. It wasn’t long before I found the truth. The world is not that complicated and I’ve never been confused since. Greed explains most everything.
    I tried for decades to share my perspective, but 99.9% of people want no part of it, they want to be blissfully ignorant, and they want to believe they are supeior and they want to condemn others sanctimoniously. That’s most people.
    The world is not going to change because Americans and Europeans suddenly come to their senses and shrug off the propaganda.

  2. Arch Stanton
    June 3, 2023 at 06:36

    Great article Caitlin, one of the best I’ve read in a long time.

    • Rob Roy
      June 3, 2023 at 16:51

      Yes, Caitlin is always on point, clear and piercing. She reminded me of my philosophy, “Step Back,” way back, and look at the little blue dot called earth and see it realistically. It’s one: insignificant, and two: all we have. Most of the people I know, including friends and family, swim in the waters and have no clue they are drowned in propaganda; they get furious if I tell them Putin doesn’t lie and there’s been 30 years of pressure on Russia to finally say, enough. The US has wanted this war for decades.
      When I see Caitlin has written another article, it is with great anticipation I set out to read it; it never disappoints. Thanks, Caitlin, for all your knowledge and ability to express it so perfectly.

  3. John Manning
    June 2, 2023 at 18:31

    I disagree with the statement that propaganda is hard to identify. There are three steps which identify propaganda.
    First. You need to make yourself aware of what is going on in the world. Read diverse opinions and opinions you disagree with. Read from many sources. The internet has made this much easier. Read Pravda as well as WatPo. Read the China Daily (English version) as well as the Guardian.
    Secondly look for different types of thinking. Read economic analysis as well as news and politics. Make sure you are getting opinions of non-europeans if you are european. Make sure you are getting opinions of coloured people if you are white. Look at factual sources such as UN reports, country by country comparative data, not just news media.
    Lastly look for reality. Is what you read yesterday consistent with what is happening today. Most of all do not be frightened of changing your mind about subjects.

  4. Randolph Williams
    June 2, 2023 at 16:52

    The Communications Act of 1996 gave us the corporate media. We don’t get news, we get information. We don’t have reporters, we have Community Information Liasions. We also have foreign ownership of the media. Gee, what could happen?
    I was in the media for over 45 years and have seen the slow crawl to this point. Jimmy Carter was concerned about this during his presidency, God bless him.

  5. CaseyG
    June 1, 2023 at 17:52

    The longer I live, the sadder the human condition seems to become.

    Workers frightened by employers; all military lying to the world; mouthing only the truths of the rich, and failing to find your own voice. When I read about My Lai and the truth of what happened there, and then finding GW Bush creating 8 years of war for no real reason—–it all made me cry.

    The history the world makes me cry and I did not know how to deal with it—until I read Macbeth:

    ” Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale , told by an idiot, full of sound and fury—-signifying nothing. ”

    Thanks to Shakespeare , LIFE can still be wonderful, even in knowing that the TRUTH can be a horror, and
    thanks to Miss Dickinson and, ” HOPE is a feathered thing, with perches in the soul. ” Add a bit of that philosophy and LIFE can still be loved.

    • Valerie
      June 2, 2023 at 12:13

      The bits of life i still love CaseyG are the animals and birds and little insects. That’s a lovely piece from Shakespeare, and so true.

  6. June 1, 2023 at 13:05

    If you are not a conspiracy nut, you are part of the conspiracy.

  7. JohnO
    June 1, 2023 at 12:12

    This is an awesome, comprehensive look behind the curtain. That Second Thought video is loaded with insights and tools for seeing and thinking clearly. This trove of critical perspectives will impress the converted minority and probably depress all the fishes who don’t know what water is. One point that the excellent Second Thought video did not cover re: neoliberalism is war. War is the cash cow for which there is no substitute. When private ownership has bled the population dry, and more billionaires need more revenues, war, and the imminent threat of war, is an absolute necessity 24/7.

    • Valerie
      June 1, 2023 at 14:17

      As far as the last video goes, i think my “cognitive ease” must be malfunctioning.

  8. June 1, 2023 at 12:04

    Propaganda rhymes, with programmed, much like a computer, and Pavlov’s dogs.
    We bark on common command
    The leash is short
    and menu scant

  9. David Hall
    June 1, 2023 at 12:00

    The biggest and most dangerous lie of all is that the U.S. military has been fighting for decades to protect our freedom, liberty, and way of life. And a tragic associate lie is that service in the U.S. military in furtherance of our war crimes is honorable and heroic.

  10. Henry Smith
    June 1, 2023 at 11:38

    Curiously, many of the propaganda sources, eg. politicians, actually believe their own BS.

    • jorge santo
      June 1, 2023 at 12:37

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”

    • Jana
      June 1, 2023 at 12:49

      How do you know?

    • June 1, 2023 at 13:13

      A few of them do believe it, but the ones higher up probably don’t, or they wouldn’t be able to carry it onward without making a mistake. I used to work in the arms industry and I knew that to get any higher, I’d have to become on of the elite who just know the right lie to tell at a moments notice. I didn’t want to become one of them, so I left. I’ve never regretted it.

  11. Frank McCoy
    June 1, 2023 at 11:33

    Thanks: great ideas discussed. The recent farce in DC about the debt limit happens very regularly and is another example of propaganda. The media tries to grab and hold you and pretend they are giving you some kind of truth. The whole problem here of course is that we can take care of the military industrial congressional, wealthy complex but not the workers. The workers who do the work and who make up at least 90% of the employers/employees!. The wealthy do not want to be taxed as they should be taxed and the wealth disparity in the country is outrageous. So this budget nonsense/hysteria, which is all about what I just said goes on as fake and phony “discussion.”

  12. Sprager
    June 1, 2023 at 11:24

    AI and AI’s appearances in today’s media cycle(s) is a great example of advertising used as propaganda. The great threats/opportunities of AI must appear ahead of planned financial actions, namely IPO. Tech was used this way before. Recall how social networking was propped up ahead of IPOs of firms such as Meta, Facebook at the time.

    Going public is always the final act. People get rich that way, it’s sufficient to cause all what see with this latest blitz. Propaganda used this way has you think they will regulate a technology, but they will more likely limit liability for these firms that go this route. Fear of civil litigations appearing just ahead of that grand final act is elementary logic in venture capital circles. AI is not so different if you understand capitalism, here we go again. To say it’s to protect the public is (queue in that dastardly music), fa***sm.

    What will happen is as these modules become product-ized, that in other words is made into standard products more and more, they will be turned loose on the public’s individuals, especially poor people. The purpose of the propaganda we are seeing in today’s discourse will be a public’s acceptance of some regulation(s), laws that will certainly affirmatively include limits on ability of individuals to garner civil remedy when they are damaged by AI. Also, they will include their goody-list such as allowing products to not include a hard coded opt out ahead of phone based chatbots; this is what they care about. They care about individuals not being in the way of being used as a test lab animal, and it does all go back, to some distant past, to behaviorism. I have been damaged recently with the business of heathcare recently by a (rather cheap) chatbot, beyond scope online.

    Am serious, expect scientists to be the first to get the dollar signs in their eyes, when it (IPO) can and does happen, scientists discover how much less they actually have to do with the entire endeavor, and just remain happy to cash in (and who wouldn’t?). They become the bobble-faces, might as well be clergy.

    I deleted my Disqus account to protest how Alternet has become too superficial and often a hate screed in the remarks, not that it matters. It empowers(ed) establishment censorship, and that is directly on display too, they hide behind pseudonyms. And, if you recall some things about pseudonyms that should be seen to be pro-indicative of said thesis, their relevance to the viability of early pre-IPO social networking. This has been fun.

  13. vinnieoh
    June 1, 2023 at 10:40

    “Any attempt to change things is a silly waste of time.”

    Of all the items in that list, that is the most insidious. I’ve been harping to family, friends, co-workers all of the above for most of my adult life, and that last is the go-to excuse I’ve heard most for not confronting what ails us.

    That excuse works because if you don’t keep paddling as fast as you can, you’ll sink or get swept downstream. “Best of all possible worlds” indeed. “A rising tide floats all boats”: And if you don’t have a boat?

    “Boatlessness” is becoming much more widespread, and the tide is coming in. What’s next?

  14. penrose
    June 1, 2023 at 10:29

    One common illusion I encounter is that the Earth can support a vast human population. Mother Nature knows better and will be giving a Final Exam down the road.

    • Henry Smith
      June 1, 2023 at 12:10

      penrose. Actually, I believe it’s the case that, the Earth can support a larger population than what we already have (~8Bn).
      The problem however is the gross inequality that exists, eg.
      – The UN estimates that 931 million tonnes of food is wasted every year;
      – The world’s richest 1 percent, those with more than $1 million, own ~48 percent of all the world’s wealth;
      – Half of the global population lives on less than US$6.85 per person per day;
      – There are ~56 million people worldwide whose assets exceed one million US dollars, nearly 40% live in the USA.
      Sort out the inequality and many of the population related issues disappear. Whether that’s a good thing or not …

  15. susan
    June 1, 2023 at 10:19

    Thank you, Caitlin, for your persistence in trying to open our eyes and minds with your brilliant writing!

  16. Vera Gottlieb
    June 1, 2023 at 10:16

    Enough already!!! of seen pictures of this liar and murderer.

  17. J Anthony
    June 1, 2023 at 06:31

    I would bet that some of us here who read CN regularly either have friends or family, or ARE those friends or family who are considered radical or “conspiracy nuts” because we question and challenge the official narrative coming from the government or the corporate media. It is not an easy place to be, in fact it can be quite maddening. After so many decades of one crisis after another, where we find out a few years after that we’d been had, the majority of the population falls for it again. Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown time and again comes to mind.

  18. Jörgen Hassler
    June 1, 2023 at 02:15

    Great article, but there’s a problem: fool a man and he will hate you for years, convince a man he has been fooled and he will hate you forever.

  19. HelenB
    May 31, 2023 at 23:08

    Propaganda is part of advertising anything. COCA-COLA, war, candy, real estate, cars, you name it.
    Sometimes subtle, other times direct.

  20. Jose Gomez
    May 31, 2023 at 19:56

    This article is truly incise and useful for anyone whose understanding of how propaganda works are limited. I have downloaded already the app ground news so I can sharpen my ability to recognize propaganda anytime and anywhere. Great article.

    • jef Jelten
      June 1, 2023 at 09:50

      Jose – It does get easier to see the lies after a period. In fact after a while you start to think, how could I not have seen this? and, how can people not see this is a lie?.

      But be warned it is a lonely world at that point.

  21. Sam F
    May 31, 2023 at 19:43

    Excellent consideration for those least aware of the universality of propaganda.

  22. Denny a Kirk
    May 31, 2023 at 19:31

    Great article. I agree with everything that was said. I would only add one thing……

    Try and practice the virtue of “Detachment”. This does not mean that one closes his or her mind, emotions or thought process and goes into a shell or a form of isolation.

    It means that one develops a deep contemplative presence in his or her life so that they are able to discern the spirit of Truth which is necessary for growth in one’s knowledge and wisdom of the ways of the world.

    This will move one to know that all of us are brothers and sisters that are interconnected in a world that is broken and is crying out for help and healing.

    We are more powerful than we think.
    Peace to All

    • Tim
      June 1, 2023 at 15:55

      Awesome comment about the concept of detachment, Denny. It is the deeper meaning of Luke 9:3, “Take nothing for the journey, no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no second tunic.”

      I’ve been studying the Tao Te Ching for a while now – did you know that Tao means “the way”? In Shinto, they teach of the “Torii”, meaning “gate, or door”. In German, the word “Tor” means “gate”, and “Tuer” means “door”. Jesus just so happened to teach about “the way”, the “straight gate” and/0r “the door”. And there are SO MANY other similarities in both languages and teachings, that go way beyond the coincidental, but we have not been able to TRULY discern the Spirit of Truth. As such, we remain stuck in our traditional dogmas and teachings of men.

      You are so right with your comment that we are all brothers and sisters and interconnected – our failing is that we do not perceive that we should ALL be “AS ONE”. This is not a “religious issue”, but a HUMAN one, and this is something that the fundamentalists (“the zealots” of the bible seem as spiritual ancestors) fail to see. We are “reaping what we have sown” all around the world, but especially here in the U.S., and although it is necessary, it is not very pleasant to watch.

  23. shmutzoid
    May 31, 2023 at 18:49

    All too true. Establishment narrative control is complete……..Virtually all facets of corporate culture reinforce various memes which sacralize our, er, “American way of life”. …….. Empire-centric ‘schooling’ first inculcates American exceptionalism —-> we are the ‘greatest nation ever to exist!’, bringing nothing but freedom, democracy and decency to the rest of the world. From there those themes are carried forward (overtly or subliminally) via TV, movies, magazines, social media. …….Every single broadcaster on Memorial Day who invoked the tired cliche “…… “we salute those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy our freedom here in America’…is a propagandist. ……. yep, it’s like the air we breathe – it’s just THERE.
    ……. I can no longer have any rational political discussions with any friends. They are immersed in NPR, NY Times and the rest of imperial bougie crap. …………. Like a kid who has a hard time coming to terms that there is NO Santa Claus, people find it too difficult to let go of long held illusions about the US and its destructive role in the world……… it’s just too easy and comforting to go with the mainstream flow. —–> Putin is EVIL, he’s Hitler!………. There are no Neo Nazis in Ukraine, they’re ‘freedom fighters’!………..The US had nothing to do with the 2014 coup in Ukraine – the people were just yearning to be aligned with the EU, not Russia………. Putin had/has no real security concerns. ………and on and on.

    One quibble with the essay——-> Trump was attacked FROM THE RIGHT by Dems for being ‘soft on Russia’. A blustery war-mongering Trump toward Russia would NOT have been met with Dem opposition. They would’ve harped on everything else to bash Trump, but, not THAT.

  24. Wolf
    May 31, 2023 at 18:45

    oh, I admire You for it – it is fundamental .. sorry, I’m German – please beware – we need You ..!

    • Andrew Nichols
      June 1, 2023 at 01:59

      The Western Mainly White Minority World is life imitating art – The Truman Show.

      • John Zeigler
        June 1, 2023 at 17:25

        Ooooo! How deliciously, wickedly true!

    • Francis Lee
      June 1, 2023 at 07:10

      The great ideological fakery really got started about late in the 19th century and then into its stride in the 20th. Generally speaking the political writers of the time, Jack London, George Orwell,* Yevgeny Zamyatin, Albert Camus, and so forth, were in opposition to the powers-that-be, but also pessimistic about about the capacity of the ‘proles’ to overcome their ideological imprisonment. Ms. Johnstone seems very aware of this situation, as was another person in a rather different time and diffuse set of circumstances. (See Below)

      ”The ways in which issues and the popular will have on any issue are being manufactured in exactly analogous to the ways of commercial advertising. We find the same attempts to contact the subconscious. We find the same technique of creating favourable and unfavourable associations which are the more effective the less rational they are. We find the same evasions and references and the same trick of producing opinion by reiterated assertion that is successful precisely to the extent to which it avoids rational argument and the danger of awakening the critical faculties of the people. And so on.” Joseph Alois Schumpeter 1942.

      The ‘Inner party’ of Orwell’s 1984 – the WEF, IMF WHO and so forth – were/are fully aware of the ‘great game’ and astute in its deployment. But the real red meat of never ending war was grist to the mill of the outer-party, the ideological foot-soldiers of the state. The true believers and fanatics.

      To repeat: (What) ”we are dealing with here is a political system which, essentially, does not appeal to rational forces of self-interest but which arouses and mobilizes diabolical forces in man which we had believed to be non-existent, or at least which had died out long ago.” Eric Fromm – The Fear of Freedom.

      There you go.

      * A note on Orwell and his conversion to the snitch in the UK Home Office where he fingered various writers of the time. See Ben Norton in this connexion.

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