Only When We Know What Propaganda Is, And How It Works, Will We Be Free to Live Our Lives and Rule Ourselves
For those of us who study propaganda critically, and seek to do this all-important work as public intellectuals, these last two years have been uniquely challenging, and even dangerous, forcing us into a painful double bind.
On the one hand, we have never had so much to work with, nor has there ever been a greater need for our peculiar expertise. Whereas in the “democratic” West, propaganda used to be most evident as an intensive episodic practice, flaring up in wartime, in political campaigns and following immense state crimes like JFK’s assassination, 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks (among other national traumas engineered by governments), the propaganda blasting all of us non-stop today is no longer national, or merely multinational, but global; and the former intermittency of those most awful crises, with decades going by between one trauma and the next, has given way to a mind-numbing strategy of serial bombardment — one cataclysmic fuss after another (with, sometimes, one within another), as under openly totalitarian rule.]
Thus, throughout 2020 — Year One of the now-endless Covid crisis — we were inescapably suffused with terror of “the virus,” and thereby bullied into locking down (despite the scientific fact that lockdowns do more harm than good), while also masking all the time, and everywhere, and “social-distancing” as well (despite the scientific fact that neither practice “slows the spread” of any respiratory virus). While masking was imposed, ostensibly, to make us less afraid of Covid-19, it only made us more afraid of one another, and so compounded that disabling fear with a ferocious anger at all those not wearing masks (despite the scientific fact that masks would not prevent transmission of “the virus” even if the entire global population wore them all the time).
As propagated fiercely by the media — both corporate and “alternative” — throughout 2020, that sanctimonious division of ourselves into benevolent maskers and self-centred “anti-maskers” was just a pestilential variant of the “red”/”blue” divide that the media, with very few exceptions, had already fiercely propagated since the rise of Donald Trump; and that incapacitating tribalist division deepened, in mid-2020, with the George Floyd incident, and the emergent cult of BLM, whose blurry mission against “white supremacy” was suddenly and ostentatiously extolled throughout the media worldwide (George Floyd’s beatification being yet another stroke of global propaganda, the same big graphic of his quasi-tragic face popping up at rallies as far afield as France, Ghana and Japan), and anomalously hailed by Jeff Bezos, Mitt Romney, Jaimie Dimon, Bill and Melinda Gates, Nancy Pelosi, and other wealthy players not notable for their concern about black lives (on the contrary). Whereas the anti-lockdown protests flaring up (organically) that spring had been denounced throughout the government and media as lethal “super-spreader events” (despite the scientific fact that no respiratory virus ever has been known to spread asymptomatically, as even Dr. Fauci publicly admitted at one point), the multitudes of BLM protesters were applauded for assembling, although many wore no masks, or had their masks below their chins (nor were the rioters who followed them condemned for “putting everyone at risk,” either by their masklessness or by their vandalism, arson and/or physical assaults in cities nationwide — crimes pointedly denied throughout the media).
Now reaffirmed as a distinctly racial melodrama, with BLM (and Antifa) facing off against the “white supremacists” supporting Trump and (just like him) not masking, the mass division between Us and Them so thunderously propagated — and exacerbated — by the media exploded one more time, on January 6, 2021, when, during the gigantic peaceful protest going on in Washington that day (to move the Supreme Court to look into the evidence that Joe Biden’s election victory had been stolen), an ebullient little horde of (unarmed) “white supremacists” — including over 20 FBI assets — “forced their way” into the US Capitol (having been urged in by Capitol police), their noisy antics universally and stridently misrepresented, by the Democrats-and-media, as an “attempted coup.” As a propaganda sideshow to the mammoth protest going on outside the Capitol that day — a protest as diverse as it was peaceable — this FBI-backed “insurrection” served the purpose of impugning that far larger gathering, intended to protest the likely theft of the election, as a “fascistic” mob intent on taking “our democracy” by force; and since the anti-Biden vote was driven mainly by resistance to the stringent “Covid measures” favoured by the Democrats, the propaganda over “January 6” served to advance those measures, by demonizing their opponents as “extremists,” while making it now practically illegal to voice any doubts about Joe Biden’s inexplicable election “victory.”
Meanwhile, with millions now fixated on that raging “anti-fascist” propaganda drive (whether they believed it, or resisted it), Year Two of the Covid crisis started with the rollout of the most fascistic “Covid measure” of them all — the long-awaited “vaccination” program, which Bill Gates, in a televised exchange with Stephen Colbert, had hyped, indiscreetly, as “the Final Solution.” Thus, the propaganda inescapably instructing everybody to mask up (“Wearing is caring”), on the lunatic collectivist presumption that your mask will not “protect” you unless everybody’s wearing them, was now suddenly and inescapably instructing everybody to “get vaccinated,” as if anyone not getting jabbed was thereby (somehow) putting all those jabbed “at risk.” Thus, “vaccination” was now not only certified as “safe and effective” — by governments at every level, and by all the media, both corporate and “alternative,” and by hundreds upon hundreds of celebrities, and by every pharmacy, and by the schools, from grade schools up to colleges and universities, and, of course, by the “vaccine” manufacturers, along with Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates — but one’s own “vaccination” was now urged weirdly as (to quote Pope Benedict) “an act of love.”
And having thundered on through 2021, and into 2022 — with all those blithe assurances of “safety” and “effectiveness” disproved ever more dramatically by data out of country after country, harrowing research by independent scientists and doctors the world over, Pfizer’s and Moderna’s own clinical trials, and the ever-rising global toll in “sudden deaths” and incapacitating “vaccine injuries” — all at once that propaganda seemed to stop (the “Covid measures” abruptly dropped or modified by states and cities all around the world), as we were suddenly and (yet) still inescapably confronted, and surrounded, and pervaded, by another propaganda drive entirely; or so it seems.
This propaganda drive is, or was, not about “the virus,” or the “measures” used (allegedly) to stop it, but, exclusively, about Ukraine — and yet this drive is (or was) essentially the same as what preceded it; for just as that one had us all obsessed with Covid, the benevolence of those who followed every rule for “fighting” it, and the evil of all those who disobeyed, this one has (or had) us all obsessed with Ukraine’s struggle to defend itself against the monster Putin, the benevolence of all those who “stand with” Ukraine, and the evil of all those who don’t. And just as Covid once had everyone applauding, every evening, those courageous “frontline workers” in the hospitals (all “overrun,” reportedly, by Covid), so are (or were) we now attending vigils for Ukraine, signing petitions for Ukraine, sending money to Ukraine, and wearing Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow on our backs, and in our hair, and on our nails and our lapels, and hanging Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow in doorways and/or windows, and marvelling at public monuments now bathed in blue-and-yellow lights, to show our solidarity with that upright democracy against the Nazi Putin’s bloody effort to assassinate its noble leader, wipe out its brave soldiers, and exterminate its people, in his ruthless drive to conquer all the world.