By now, we have all heard rumblings of Empire’s imminent collapse. Propaganda can no longer hide the obvious fact that social, financial, cultural and political systems have failed miserably, and are still failing with no end in sight.
Some collapseologists are observing something less apparent, which they describe as a “post-propaganda” phase or stage.Clearly, Empire is fighting for its life, overwhelmed by one institutional crisis after another in every bureau and department.What is left of Empire’s tattered unifying symbols? Is there much more remaining than a flag, national anthem and the Super Bowl to believe in? Even the national anthem was dispensed with at a recent NBA game in Dallas. https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Mark-Cuban-responds-NBA-push-back-on-anthem-15942393.php
Propaganda can no longer serve as a unifying tool to rally the commoners behind their great ruler (hero) and transport the masses to a parallel universe where all agree on common purpose, shared history and a willingness to work toward a future vision which promises a new, “Golden Age.” Instead, evidence of multiple grave crises afflicting the system surround us. The advanced state of Empire’s decomposition (rotting from the head down) caused by malevolent and incompetent leadership is now self-evident.
Sometimes I feel that the usual nationalistic propaganda signs and public proclamations have been quarantined as Empire is now focused on a single (last ditch) purpose: self-preservation. Empire has degenerated into an every-man-for-himself simulation of “The Hunger Games.” No one is safe. No one is untouchable, not even some of those who appear to be at the “top.”
Gone are those good old days of classic fascist or state socialist regimes like Mussolini’s Italy, Castro’s Cuba or Uncle Ho’s Vietnam and other typical totalitarian regimes in which political propaganda plays a crucial role for social conformism. Follow the rules, show loyalty and you are rewarded led to believe your loyalty mattered, even the “little people.”
In today’s disintegrating American empire the elite and the mad dogs running the “deep state,” has abandoned any pretense of respect for the citizenry to the extent that it no longer bothers with pretending that it respects them. It’s all out in the open.
Despite the rapidly changing conditions, I’m not buying the “post-propaganda” theory. Those promoting this mindset may be mired in the mystical magic of nationalism in what is clearly a sweeping global corporate takeover led by private capital and the central banking system; in other words, the financialization (and digitization) of everything.
The message from those in charge is clear: “Fuck you slaves, you are nothing but livestock to us.” A once faithful bootlicker in today’s “America” can never breathe easy. Members of Congress can’t feel safe and secure. The true elites don’t care about loyalty anymore, they only caring about keeping their power and will sacrifice whatever suck-up, minion and tool they see fit to sacrifice – after all, they paid for it didn’t they?
Any, and all, are disposable for the elite’s purposes and amusement, and that is why traditional American (nationalistic) propaganda is losing its effectiveness. Loyalty just doesn’t pay anymore for the 99%. This isn’t happening at a conscious level for most; it’s going to take a while for it to penetrate the thicker blockheads out there.
This did not begin in 2020. Back in 2016, what was left of the American voting pubic, elected Trump in reaction to the growing forces of private, global capital and its increasingly oppressive and elitist ideology is now labeled a “domestic terrorist.”
The elite took aim at the “deplorables,” who have always worked “non-essential” jobs that pay less than the cost of living. Trump was selected and installed to the highest office in the land. The honeypot was set out to catch its prey. As they had done before in the Reagan “revolution,” the populist voting block (flock) did it again for a variety of reasons, but mostly to deliver a big “fuck you” to the establishment.
This act of open rebellion was again, as it was in the Reagan Era, directed against a government everyone knows is owned by trans-national corporations and oligarchs who revile average Americans and treat them like dirt. It was a voter rebellion against a system of government they know they have zero influence over and won’t have a shred of influence over anytime soon.
Trump, the populist “hero” was born. The selection of a narcissistic clown, who rode his tricycle in circles, had its desired hypnotizing effect. As suddenly as he appeared, Trump, the populist hero was taken down, just as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, or Hitler were disposed of when their mission was completed. The play never changes: Suck in the dissenters and rebels, offer them a ray of hope, a new hero, and in “Act III” smash hope on the rocks for everyone to witness. The “War on Populism” never ends. Neutralizing populist rebellion is a repeating event used to remind the proles, and now the middle class, who is in charge.
The global capitalist ruling classes have just demonstrated in spades who is really in charge, who controls the monopoly on violence and who runs the U.S. military. All must now witness – in your face, and personal – the melting away of the façade of American democracy, the illusion of so-called “rights” granted by the U.S. Constitution and the melting away of the fantasy too many believed in, called “the rule of law.”
In the past year, have we not all been placed under medical martial law or house arrest? Were we not arrested, fined, beaten and shamed for not following orders, for not wearing (one or two) masks, being on the street without permission, for challenging their official narrative (propaganda), not just about the Covid-19 virus and lockdown and the election results, but all the big and little social, cultural, and economic lies told by the mainstream media, every single day. Censoring dissent, de-platforming and “shadow-banning” anyone challenging the official narratives and ideology is another “reminder” of who has control of the global joystick.
To understand today’s evolving global-program narrative it is essential to become more familiar with “terror management theory (TMT).”
Terror management theory (TMT) is derived from cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker’s efforts to explain the motivational underpinnings of human behavior.
Fear tactics and death reminders in advertising are more than just emotional appeals; they can directly alter election outcomes and public policy. As Sheldon Solomon, co-founder of TMT, has said, “Anyone who is a fan of democracy should be very concerned by the fact that a relatively subtle alteration of psychological conditions can have such profound effects on political preferences.”
Both major parties aim to cultivate fear and anxiety, a proven method of persuasion. They compel us to support people and programs based on gut-level reactions rather than rational decision making. Our hope is that viewing political advertisements through a “Becker lens” with the help of our Fort Lewis College students will enable us to recognize when our anxieties are being used to coax our political support, so that we make more informed decisions. https://ernestbecker.org/resources/terror-management-theory/embed/#?secret=miXnJtzbQ4
Most of us believe in our thought processes and that conscious, rational thought is what controls human behavior. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” right? Not so, if one examines closely the unfolding of our current mass hysteria (and plenty of examples from history), which tells us that this is hardly the case. Could it be that our unconscious fear of death is the invisible hand on the wheel steering human behavior. Fear of “death” is the foundational bogeyman which activates our current mass cultural psychosis. https://ernestbecker.org/this-mortal-life/political-manipulation/
The objective of official propaganda is no longer to unify, is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and find agency with them. This official narrative can be constructed of total nonsense. As we have seen, facts do not matter. The point is to erect and impenetrable ideological divide between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any and all other “truth” that contradicts their carefully constructed narrative.
As it was in Medieval feudal times, life inside the 21st-Century wall is “normal” society, regular employment, a respected career, and all the other token benefits sucking up to the ruling classes gets you. Outside the wall is ridicule, poverty, anxiety, isolation, and various other sanctions the cause human suffering and/or death.
The more feral the existence, the less impact all this “normal” society idiocy has on an individual. Remain tribal or start your own to (more or less) escape the inevitable pain of watching the whole façade we call Western Culture crumble around you. What one believes is irrelevant, so long as one regurgitates the official narrative verbatim. The official narrative (propaganda) is not designed to deceive or unify the public it is designed to be internalized and repeated, no matter how ridiculous it might sound.
Indoctrination by repetition is part and parcel of the classic Stockholm Syndrome model, which resembles most other forms of totalitarian conditioning.
Prepare for an extended period of global fake news repeated ad nauseam to delegitimize and stigmatize Trump – the fake nationalist/populist hero – and any other smoldering symbol of resistance to the advancement of transnational, private capital and continued global governance.
Not to worry, the great (oligarchical) powers have installed another of their loyal servants; like magic, life will go back to “normal,” or at least that’s what you will be forced (“nudged”) to believe if you want to go along to get along with your betters. Conform, and there’s a place for you inside. Refuse? Good luck out there. Which side of the wall do you want to be on?