comments on a blog

I was included on a political email list by someone I've known for 30 years. The 1st email sent was one that directed me to a blog post. I read the post, subscribed to the blog, & posted a comment & waited to see if it would be allowed on by the moderator. It was & the auhtor of the blog, who's also the moderator, quickly replied in what I found to be a somewhat insulting way. I refrained from insulting him back but did another reply in which I defended my position. That reply wasn't allowed on. After thinking about it for a day I decided to request removel from the email list & to unsubscribe from the blog. When I looked at the blog again, not only was 2nd reply still not there but the entire thread had been removed. Even though I found both the initial email & the blog post intelligent I still had the feeling that I was expected to be docile in the face of a patriarch or face bullying & didn't want to participate in this censorious arrangement.

"Is the Government Losing its War?" asks the heading of Jack's blog post. As someone born in 1953, it's my observation that the US has been perpetually at war throughout my entire life. Whether that war was the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the covert wars in Latin America, the 'anti-terrorism' wars of the Middle East &/or the War Against Communism, the War Against Drugs, the War Against Terrorism, or the War Against COVID-19. I'm reminded of a statement credited to early 20th century American Social Behaviorist George Herbert Mead: "Without parties we could not get a fraction of the voters to come to the polls to express themselves on issues of great public importance, but we can enrol a considerable part of the community in a political party that is fighting some other party. It is the element of the fight that keeps up the interest." (p 220, Mind, Self, & Society) In other words, the perpetual war not only supports the eternally greedy vested interests of oligarchies it also keeps the general public 'engaged'. Alas, this 'engagement' is really just something that keeps the public sucked into the fear-mongering that makes them maximally susceptible to being on whatever page the powers-that-be want them to be on. It doesn't matter that the New York Times reverses its position, it just matters that they continue to steer the masses in the appointed direction & keeps them from thinking for themselves. After all, as I recall it was revealed in the recent film (2020) about FBI surveillance & harrassment of Martin Luther King Jr, "MLK/FBI", that the New York Times opposed MLK & presented him as a "traitor" because he opposed the Vietnam War. Would they dare do that now? Of course not. How can we forget that in George Orwell's 1984 who was at war with whom changed from time-to-time without the public even noticing - their ferocious support continued irregardless. The problem for me is not so much that the government is 'winning' or 'losing' but that most people have long since lost their ability to think for themselves but are simply parroting whatever propaganda comes their way that's approved by their subculture. If they're a professor at a liberal university they're no less susceptible to this process than a laborer who thinks that Rump represented the interests of the working class.

The blogger's reply:

What matters about the NYT reversing itself is what it shows something about the press today, and I offer different options, not a blanket judgment. . After all, REALITY is what we want to trust, which depends ultimately on our ability to observe before we judge, with the door constantly open to pulling back from judgments to observe again and correct ourselves. Rationality, in this case, is the ability to correct our judgments, in which we can't help but be emotionally invested. We do this when we're confronted with something that doesn't fit our worldview. Today that is happening to people on a massive scale, and they either rethink their loyalties or double down. That is the upheaval we're in. You say "people have lost their ability to think for themselves," a cliche that implies you have that ability, but we are social beings, and none of us have that ability in any absolute sense. What would it look like, anyway, how would you know if people are thinking for themselves, or if you are? And, I ask, who would say such a thing? Not someone who has ever reversed their thinking; that is a kind of suffering that goes unacknowledged but is crucial. It's someone who sees themselves as an isolate (with a few friends), standing for the truth and surrounded by the enemy, who "will never understand.".

My reply to the above:

My point about the NYT is that I don't trust any mass media because I think they all have financial incentives that bias their 'reporting' - that includes those bastions of 'liberal' opinions such as NPR & the Atlantic (who also recently reversed their opinions). This, of course, applies to 'conservative' media as well so it includes Fox 'News'. When I refer to people not thinking for themselves I'm generally thinking of people who I hear expressing themselves in sentences that I hear from multiple people. An example is this: shortly after the quarantine was initiated in PA it was pointed out that at the time there were very few deaths attributed to COVID-19 in PA but an enormous amount in New York. I heard people say: 'That's because our governor did the right thing' referring to his quarantine timing. NY's governor declared the quarantine a day or 2 later. That delay was said to've been fatal to tens of thousands of people. I didn't believe that then & I don't believe it now. The statement that PA's governor had 'done the right thing' struck me then & strikes me now as a propaganda statement that people were astroturfed into believing originated with themselves. If my claim about people not thinking for themselves were, as you claim, "a cliche" I think I'd hear it stated more often, rather than almost never, since clichés are widespread. As for "that implies you have that ability, but we are social beings, and none of us have that ability in any absolute sense". That's a fair enough criticism but I think that there are degrees of individuality that're demonstrable by what one says & how one forms one's opinions. I have never said 'The governor did the right thing', e.g.. I stopped watching TV in 1969 or 1970 - as such I cut out one of the most pervasive propaganda sources from my life. Furthermore, I'm not a reader of mass-media 'news' sources of any kind. I form my opinions based on what I directly observe in my life & based on books. Books, of course, can be called mass media sources but they're not as topical as a daily 'news' feed & in the process of reading them I take notes & write reviews so my consumption of them is critical. I review every book I read. I've also written two books addressing what I call the Medical Industry since the quarantine began: "Unconscious Suffocation - A Personal Journey through the PANDEMIC PANIC" (1,186pp) ( ) & "THE SCIENCE (volume 1)" (530 pp) ( ). Keep in mind that my comment is short & simple & for a more complex take on what I'm thinking about current societal conditions reading these two books would be more appropriate.



- Pittsburgh, March 5, 2023E.V.




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