Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Shape Of Things That Are

     There aren’t a great many things I’m good at – the vast sums I’ve been shoveling into the pockets of various home-improvement contractors will stand as evidence of that – but I am good at spotting patterns. And when I spot a pattern, I tend to become obsessed. I want to know what started it and what sustains it. The answers aren’t always easy to unearth.

     I have a few dots to connect this morning. You might want to follow along with me...though if you’re smart, you might prefer to pour yourself another cup of coffee and turn to the sports pages.

     First up: If you’re familiar with the Sturm und Drang cooked off by President Trump’s recent Twitter barbs at “the squad,” you’re probably also aware that there’s been quite a lot of hand-wringing about his tweets and other comments on the nominal Right. We can omit consideration of NeverTrumpers such as Bill Kristol and his gang at The Bulwark; they would denigrate Trump for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. But when usually sensible commentators such as Ed Driscoll, John Hinderaker, and Deanna Fisher of the Victory Girls get into the act, it should draw some attention to the specifics.

     I repeat: the latter hand-wringers are not NeverTrumpers. Indeed, they’ve spoken warmly of the president and generally support his approaches to governance and communication. Yet they reacted reflexively and foolishly to a typical Trump stroke that subsequent events have established as well struck. So what evoked their all-too-swift condemnation of the president’s tweets?

     Give it some thought while I put up another pot of coffee.

     A couple of days ago I found myself in a back-and-forth with another generally sensible person who announced in the middle of an otherwise unrelated conversation that he dislikes and rejects President Trump. I probed for the reasons, and as usual, there weren’t many to be had. His dislike was mostly about Trump’s pugnacious style, which to be fair did rankle quite a few among the glitterati of American politics. He did cite one specific: Trump’s declaration that the U.S. would no longer work with British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch. He felt that to be an elevation of personal pique over sound management of international relations.

     But soft! What light of evidence through yonder window breaks?

     Leaked U.K. diplomatic cables critical of President Trump have led Britain’s ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch, to announce his departure from Washington earlier than expected. But the story is not yet concluded.

     According to one current and one former U.S. government official speaking on the condition of anonymity, Darroch repeatedly leaked classified U.S. intelligence information, including highly classified information, to a journalist for a U.S.-based media outlet. The sources are consolidated by the reaction my related inquiries have received from other government officials....

     A second source, a career government official, described the leaks as "unprecedented."

     So it appears that Darroch’s disgrace wasn’t entirely about his badmouthing of the president after all. But as the above information wasn’t available to the public until this very morning, my acquaintance’s reaction to the story couldn’t have taken that into account. Nor was he the only person I’ve encountered to react that way.

     Reflexive reactions are often poorly aimed. Yet how common they are! Especially in our era of news-at-the-fingertips, delivered at broadband speeds. The great irony here is that Donald Trump, the uncouth Queens businessman derided and dismissed by the political elite and their hangers-on for daring to bid for the presidency, is proving to possess the supreme political skills the media repeatedly told us were the property of Bill Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama, both of whom now appear destined for ignominy.

     You’d think “we” would have learned by now. So why haven’t “we?”

     When a man does something strange, we tend to look for his reasons, which we assume will be specific to him. After all, we didn’t do the strange thing, so his reasons either haven’t reached us or didn’t affect us. But when large numbers of people all do the strange thing – in the case at hand, at the speed of reflex reaction – it should prompt wider, deeper thought.

     And looky here!

     How is it that Facebook, who refuses to dox any of the violent Antifa terrorists that use its platform, are happy to give up the personal details of the Facebook user who anonymously uploaded a slowed video of Nancy Pelosi, within minutes, to some rando journalist on the phone? (How do you even call Facebook?)

     Well what if I told you a Policy Director at Facebook was Nancy Pelosi's Chief of Staff before taking said job directing policy at Facebook? What if I told you the head of algorithm policy at Facebook worked for Hillary at The State Department? Or that the Head of Content Policy worked for the Hillary presidential campaign? What if I told you the person in charge of privacy policy at Facebook used to work for Al Franken, before he worked for Senator Bonoff, before he worked for Congressman Oberstar? Or that the Director in charge of "countering hate and extremism" at Facebook came from the Clinton Foundation? Did you know that the person at Facebook who currently "oversees programs on countering hate speech and promoting pluralism", and "develops internal third party education and drives thought leadership on hate speech and content moderation" was one of Obama's policy advisers at The White House?...

     How about YouTube? How does Laura Southern's documentary about the border get removed from YouTube within 24 hours of posting without any reason or explanation? What if I told you a Policy Manager at YouTube, before becoming a Policy Manager at YouTube, was employed by Hillary for America and was a manager in Obama's campaign before that? What if I told you YouTube's Global Content Policy Lead previously worked at the DNC? Did you know the person responsible for "growing the next generation of stars" on YouTube worked in the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House under Obama? Or that the person in charge of developing the careers of YouTube creators was the Director of Video for Obama? Speaking of helping the careers of creators, did you know Vox, the company that got Steven Crowder demonetized, was one of the companies that YouTube doled out $20 million dollars to, for 'educational videos'?

     Ten people, directly connected to the progressive Democrat political machine who are now controlling our conversations online. Sounds like an important alarm, no?

     What if I told you there were nearly a hundred more?

     Must I exhort you to read it all? You will, won’t you?

     The moguls of the New Media have acquired a degree of power over our communications that no one anticipated in the early days of the publicly accessible Internet. For reasons beyond the scope of this tirade, that power has concentrated at a few points: Facebook, Twitter, and Google and its YouTube subsidiary. And power attracts those to whom power is the asset of supreme importance.

     Hierarchies all possess a centralizing tendency. Whatever goal the organization was formed to pursue will eventually become the strictly controlled domain of the top people. If the goal of the organization is profit, eventually all profit-and-loss decisions will be controlled by the chief executive officer and his inner circle. If the goal of the organization is power over others, eventually all that power will be controlled from the pinnacle of the highest tier of government. Against this dynamic, no known counter-dynamic is effective in the near term. Only collapse can thwart the progression.

     The power-seeker seeks power wherever it can be had, including in nominally private organizations supposedly formed to pursue profit, the promotion of some interest or enthusiasm, or whatever else stimulates people to form a group. Consider this development as an illustrative case:

     Bodies that practice collective decision making excite those who seek power: they target such bodies for infiltration and takeover. That's what happened to [the Science Fiction Writers of America.] It's also what's happened to both major political parties and quite a few less well known organizations.

     The New Media powers, which have been targeted, colonized, and conquered by the Left, have steadily accustomed us to swift delivery of both news and opinion. They’ve often disguised one as the other, while simultaneously excluding alternative perspectives on the developments of the day from reaching our eyes. One of the effects has been a sharpening of our mental reflexes: we are ever swifter to reach conclusions, despite the demonstrated lacunae and ambiguities in the “news.” We are no longer wary, no longer suspicious of what axe the “reporter” might be striving to grind.

     This is very much in the interests of both the media and the Left. The quicker we are to react, the less reflective we will be. The less reflective we are, the less likely we are to notice discrepancies and “palmed cards” in the coverage. If they can condition us to their liking, they’ll be able to get us to accept anything we’re told, to believe it without any consideration of alternative assessments, and to act on it without qualm. We will have descended from a people to a mob.

     The Spinquark article about the emergence of a new “revolving door” between the Left’s political organizations and the bastions of the New Media should sound an alarm that rings deafeningly, and nationwide. Will it? Or are we all too busy updating our “statuses” on Facebook? Will we take note? Will we ponder what it means that a group of power-seekers, who have already demonstrated that no tactic or lie is beneath them, has acquired de facto control of the most important communications conduits and conversational fora the world has ever seen? Will we take note of how those channels are being used to deprive us of the element required for gathering the facts and reflecting soberly on them – time?

     Take a few moments’ thought over it. Please.

1 comment:

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

Fran, no comments should answer your question. The media does not report this either just like the SECURE act which is anticipated to pass the senate and on to the POTUS which he will probably sign in anonymity just like the news you reported here.