Sunday, July 5, 2020

Living In A Parallel Universe

One of the questions I often hear these days is "How did we get so far off track? 

Who would have thought that calls to "defund the police" would be taken seriously by anyone?".

However, we see it happening everyday and the media is giving it a lot of credibility in their reporting.

If we have learned one thing from the 2016 election it is how deeply invested our media institutions are in promoting a liberal, progressive agenda. Of course, by corollary, that also means they are doing all that they can to destroy any alternative agenda. I knew there was bias. I knew there was an agenda. However, the scope and scale is beyond anything I could have imagined.

It is as we are living in a parallel universe. The universe the media has constructed that they believe we should be living in. And the universe that we know that we are actually living in. Most of the media is no longer reporting the news. They are more focused on manipulating the public into believing what the news should be.

There is no better example of that than the "reporting" of the speech that President Trump gave at Mount Rushmore on Friday night.

Before the speech and fireworks CNN already hd an agenda in its reporting. This is how correspondent Leyla Santiago described the event.

"President Trump will be at Mount Rushmore, where he’ll be standing in front of a monument of two slave owners and on land wrestled away from Native Americans," she said. "I'm told that, uh, he'll be focusing on the effort to 'tear down our country's history.'"

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are now nothing more than "two slave owners" and Mt. Rushmore was carved as a monument to slavery?

When Barack Obama visited Mt. Rushmore in 2008, CNN called it "majestic".

In 2013 Michelle Obama called Mt. Rushmore one of the "great American sites."

When Bernie Sanders visited Mt. Rushmore in 2016 CNN's reporter called it "a monument to four great American Presidents". 

Bernie said it "really does make one proud to be an American." 

A parallel universe indeed.

The speech President Trump gave was no different.

What did Trump talk about?

Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the speech.

There could be no better place to celebrate America’s independence than beneath this magnificent, incredible majestic mountain and monument to the greatest Americans who have ever lived. Today we pay tribute to the exceptional lives and extraordinary legacies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. I am here as your president to proclaim before the country and before the world, this monument will never be desecrated, these heroes will never be defamed, their legacy will never ever be destroyed, their achievements will never be forgotten, and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom.

From the middle.

We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture. We embrace tolerance, not prejudice. We support the courageous men and women of law enforcement. We will never abolish our police or our great Second Amendment which gives us the right to keep and bear arms. We believe that our children should be taught to love their country, honor their history, and respect our great American flag. We stand tall, we stand proud, and we only kneel to Almighty God. This is who we are. This is what we believe and these are the values that will guide us as we strive to build an even better and greater future. Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny. In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is to end America.

And the end of the speech.

Uplifted by the titans of Mount Rushmore, we will find unity that no one expected. We will make strides that no one thought possible. This country will be everything that our citizens have hoped for for so many years, and that our enemies fear, because we will never forget that the American freedom exists for American greatness. And that’s what we have, American greatness. Centuries from now, our legacy will be the cities we built, the champions we forged, the good that we did, and the monuments we created to inspire us all. My fellow citizens, America’s destiny is in our sights. America’s heroes are embedded in our hearts. America’s future is in our hands. And ladies and gentlemen, the best is yet to come. This has been a great honor for the First Lady and myself to be with you. I love your state. I love this country. I’d like to wish everybody a very happy Fourth of July to all. God bless you. God bless your families. God bless our great military, and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you.

How did the New York Times describe the speech?

It was "dark and divisive".

The Washington Post also called it "dark" and exploitive of "social divisions". 

The Associated Press headline said that "Trump pushes racial division" in the speech 

A speech that embraces the rule of law, equal justice, tolerance, free and open debate, unity, loving our country and its history is "dark and divisive"?

Also ask yourself who it is that has worked the hardest to exploit social divisions over the last six weeks?  I can assure you it is not Donald J. Trump. 

We are living in a parallel universe.

If you are interested, you can read the Trump speech yourself and see if you find it to be "dark and divisive".

I believe one other excerpt in the Trump speech captures why this media manipulation is so dangerous. I have highlighted in boldface below where I think the President zeroed in why this type of "reporting" is responsible for what we are living through right now. It also shows how perceptive Trump is when it comes to this manipulation and why he calls outs "fake news" and constantly uses Twitter to challenge the media narrative.

Trump understands the power of mass psychology exceedingly well. That is why he also said this in the speech.

Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they’re doing this, but some know what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive, but no, the American people are strong and proud and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history, and culture to be taken from them.

"Many of these people have no idea why they're are doing this." A truer statement was never made.

The drumbeat of repetition engages the "illusory truth effect" in humans. Simply stated, the more often we hear something the more likely we are to believe that it is true---even if it is a complete fabrication.

One of the key principles in any successful attempt to influence is lots of repetition by repeating your points over and over again to engage the "illusory truth effect".

"Racism". "White privilege". "Police brutality". "Black Lives Matter". "Defund the police". "Unequal justice". "Systemic racism." "It is all Trump's fault."

Never mind that Donald Trump has only been President for three years and every city and state where the protests have been most destructive have been under Democrat control for decades. 

It is also easier to influence people within a group rather than as individuals. Most people look to others for cues to their behavior. Most people are conformists within a crowd. It is hard to go against the flow.

It is almost impossible to go against the flow if anyone who does so is shouted down and called out for their "outrageous", "ridiculous" or "radical" views. That is exactly what is happening today.

We are living in a parallel universe.

Gustave LeBon was a French doctor and social psychologist in the late 19th century who was one of the first to study and publish theories on the psychology of crowds. Adolph Hitler actually studied LeBon's work and used it to craft much of his propaganda.

Tell me if this quote from LeBon's book is not as relevant today as when he wrote it in 1895.

"The masses have never thirsted after the truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim."

Or consider this quote from LeBon on what happens to individuals when they get swept up in crowd psychology.

By the mere fact that he forms part of an organised crowd, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilisation. Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian — that is, a creature acting by instinct. He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings, whom he further tends to resemble by the facility with which he allows himself to be impressed by words and images — which would be entirely without action on each of the isolated individuals composing the crowd — and to be induced to commit acts contrary to his most obvious interests and his best-known habits. An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will.

Unfortunately, the following quote from LeBon has been shown to be eerily accurate as we have seen the lootings, the defaced buildings and scores of statues toppled.
Crowds are only powerful for destruction. Their rule is always tantamount to a barbarian phase. A civilisation involves fixed rules, discipline, a passing from the instinctive to the rational state, forethought for the future, an elevated degree of culture — all of them conditions that crowds, left to themselves, have invariably shown themselves incapable of realising. In consequence of the purely destructive nature of their power crowds act like those microbes which hasten the dissolution of enfeebled or dead bodies. When the structure of a civilisation is rotten, it is always the masses that bring about its downfall.

The destruction as a result of a crowd behavior recently has not just been limited to physical things. It has also resulted in additional deaths beyond that of George Floyd.

As of June 29, 25 people had died during the protests.  22 from gunshot wounds. 

Those numbers do not include the horrific incident in Seattle this weekend where a car slammed into a group of Black Lives Matter protestors who were on Interstate 5 at 1:40am on Saturday morning.

Two young, single, white Millennial women were struck. One died.

RIP Summer Taylor, 24

Diaz Love, 31

I recently wrote about the fact that white, Millennial women were a very prominent demographic at BLM protests.

If you saw the headline, or even read the story, you would think this was a hate crime. This seems to be the intentional manner in which the story is being presented. 

For example, this AP story on the incident gives the name of the driver, his age, the fact that he was driving a white Jaguar, lived at a Seattle address, attended Washington State University between 2011 and 2017 and the fact that he majored in business and commerce.

In the entire story it did not mention his race at all. I thought this was curious in that in the middle of all the racial friction right now that would be a very relevant fact.

I looked at a half dozen other stories about the incident and they also never mentioned the driver's race.

The media is once again trying to advance a narrative here that "peaceful protestors were wantonly run over". They are trying to leave the impression that it was racially motivated in that Black Lives Matter protestors were the victims.

After a good deal of research I found that the driver of the "white luxury car" was this man.

I would imagine this will soon be considered an unfortunate incident. 

Protestors had shut down the interstate highway for 19 consecutive days and the police let them do it. The police have now decided that it was not a good idea to allow this "peaceful protesting". By the way, since when is taking over an interstate highway considered "peaceful"? What happened to protesting in a park or on a sidewalk without disturbing the peace and the rights of other people?

There is a reason that we need law and order. Without it, people get hurt. People die. Property is damaged and stolen. People are not safe.

I was recently asked what is the greatest concern that I have today.

It is not about Covid-19. It is not about the burning and looting or the disrespect of the flag. It is not about racial division or whether our economy will recover from the Covid lockdown. We will survive all of these.

My greatest concern is that there are masses of people in this country who don't thirst for the truth. They are more than willing to accept illusions than to seek and understands facts and truths. And we have 
a media that is all too willing to keep those illusions alive every day. 

As LeBon commented many years ago, these people are like grains of sand that any wind can sweep up on a moment's notice. They are easily manipulated and it is way too easy to induce them to support acts (and politicians) that are contrary to their most obvious self-interests.

Hundreds of young Blacks looting stores? How is that going to end racism. It will end up feeding it.

Scores of young, white women marching with Black Lives Matter to defund the police? How is that going to make these women more secure? It will make them more vulnerable and less secure.

Protestors who blame America for their problems? Do they really think there is any other country in the world that they would have it any better? 

However, there are a lot of people who merely follow the latest shiny object that is shown to them. They also all have votes and in the United States the voters are sovereign.

It is a scary thought in an election year when things of such consequence may be decided based on illusions, whims and the madness of crowds.

As LeBon said, "it is always the masses that bring about (civilization's) downfall."

May those masses seek and see the truth. 

If not, they will get the parallel universe they deserve.

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