Grievance Grift (part 6)

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.

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Grievance Grift [GG]

Grievance Grift (part 1)   ||    GG (part 2)   ||   GG (part 3)   ||    GG (part 4)    ||    GG (part 5)

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“Political technologies”[PT]

You know how America is, we take an idea from somewhere, change it ten percent or so, maybe add a coat of paint, and call it our own. We proudly declare: ‘Aren’t we something!?!’

When it comes to our adaptation/integration of Russian PT, maybe not so much on that last part, e.g., no braggadocio, mum’s the word on what we’re doing with PT. Well, OK, some do, sort of:

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For those who’ve struggled understanding the notion of political technologies, let alone how they are at work in American politics, here’s an excellent piece from NPR‘s This American Life [April 14, 2017]—hat tip to Dr. Linsey Moddelmog, and the WU political science department for the heads-up on this resource. This clip is Act III of a program entitled “The Other Mr. President.” 

Act III is entitled: “Maybe Pay Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain.” This will really help with what is meant in the Russian/Eastern-European use of the phrase, ‘PT’, and just how DJT might be connected to all this:

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Obviously, DJT adapted the specifics of what would configure his particular PT approach in his take-off on “United Russia,” e.g., MAGA (including “Unite the Right”). We’ve talked several times about the ‘disinformation technology’ that DJT made foundational to his PT:

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This, all to create a mythos of autocratic power/invulnerability for the cult leader. This tactic, in effect, removes the possibility of holding a cult leader accountable, DJT in this case. One hopeful aspect is that DJT no longer has the platforms to do this as effectively as before. 

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Don’t feel too bad for DJT as he has been able to raise millions of dollars using outrage over this, and PT is making first amendment outrage a golden-egg-laying goose for immoral leaders like Senator Roger Marshall, the junior senator from Kansas. Marshall, et al., can fuel their grievance grift with this PT handed to them by DJT.

Managed Democracy [Sovereign Democracy]

“Managed democracy? It sounds like a contradiction in terms.”

“Exactly. In other words, no democracy.”

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You experience an effect of Americanized PT whenever you hear an opposition party leader completely mischaracterizing a legislative or policy position taken by your party. It likely makes you angry, outraged even. Extremely cynical Republicans like Cruz, Marshall, et al., have learned they can “write the agenda” of the opposition, and “own the libs” in one stroke of deception and disinformation.

“Open borders” is a blatantly dishonest mischaracterization of President Biden’s position, and yet Marshall uses the PT-weaponized phrase in this The-facebook post. Notice that I’ve indicated in the snip that the video begins with the weaponized use of (PT demonized) Nancy Pelosi. It’s all about red-meat to feed the grievance:

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This is one of the keys that I see, and a common thread in much of the second-generation application of DJT‘s PT. I feel it forms the tell on what’s really going on with PT.

After looking into PT, and watching it’s adaptation in the U.S. unfold in real-time, I have become convinced that PT is essentially an extraordinarily cynical political play off of extreme-postmodernism..

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From Act III, This American Life producer, Sean Cole, and author/journalist, Peter Pomerantsev, discuss the book that Vladislav Surkov has ghost written (clip edited for time): 

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That conversation was back in 2017 so the events of November 3, 2020, and January 6, 2021, certainly raise questions about the accuracy of the (“give up”) ‘no revolution’ speculation. Still, the dynamics of gaslighting, and its effects in constructing reality from disinformation, remain. 

Postmodern overreach, e.g., extreme-PoMo

Recall two related cultural memes we’ve considered in a mystical möbius:

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The grievance grift—the goose that lays the golden eggs—is a very unfortunate by-product of PT. Even more dangerous, though, are the by-products of a willingness to lie without reservation.

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Recall the ‘firehose of falsehoodPT. Lying in very obvious ways is the whole point and is designed to demonstrate that truth and accountability have no hold on the autocrat whatsoever. That their power is greater than truth or facts. 

Senators Cruz, Hawley, Johnson, (Marshall to a lesser extent), et al., are the senate face of the PT machine left behind by DJT. It’s anti-democratic, it’s very cynical. Sadly, even though it is mostly juvenile, PT works well enough to be very dangerous. Our task is to call it out into the light. 

tl;dr

Senator Roger Marshall, et al., have adopted DJT‘s political technologies. Sadly, with the collaborative collusion of Fox News, Newsmax, OANN, et al., PT works.

Unfortunately it’s quite effective for raising funds, mobilizing a base, and shaping reality by using disinformation. Our task is to call it out into the light.

 

Next week: GG (part 7) Come and see. 

[this post approx. 800 words (3 min. read)]

Your thoughts? 

What did you hear me say? 

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7 thoughts on “Grievance Grift (part 6)

  1. A book that had a profound effect on my understanding of using Post-Modern and Post-Truth tactics was Post-Truth by Lee McIntyre. In the modern era the use of these tactics was first honed to an art by the tobacco industry when the links of smoking to lung cancer were published in the 1950’s establishing a clear and incontrovertible link.

    The same tactics used by the tobacco industry were then further honed by the oil industry and the Koch brothers to confuse the public successfully about anthropogenic global warming. These tactics have been refined over the years and there seems to be a playbook now that is trotted out when needed.

    The Post-modern and Post-truth age has been upon us for decades now. Much of the US and world now live in flatland. Flatland for those unfamiliar, is the Post-truth place where hierarchical structures of truth don’t exist. Basically, everyone believes there is no truth except their own. Vast numbers of the population believe they can determine what is true and what isn’t by listening to pundits and reading whatever seems pertinent on the internet. They don’t need elitist scientists or investigative journalists to tell them what is true. So, in this place there is no hierarchy of knowledge, thus the term flatland.

    What happens in Flatland? Basically the loudest and most persuasive voice comes to dominant because truth is only what each person believes and usually whatever they heard last that made sense is their current reality. In Flatland people like Trump who seem so confident and make emotional sense will dominant. And, using Twitter, Facebook, the compliant right-wing news (Fox, OAN, Newsmax) it was easy for Trump to amplify his message until it seemed like everyone was saying the same thing. So, these opinions and ideas that have no basis in facts became accepted by millions as true and unassailable.

    It is really hard to summarize Flatland in a couple paragraphs and it has taken me years of reading Ken Wilber, Lee McIntyre and other great thinkers to understand it enough to write the paragraphs above which don’t really do it justice. Finally, it makes enough sense to me which allows one to see the world in a new way and understand how millions can believe things that have no basis in fact.

    That was my motivation. I saw so many friends and family take up positions and beliefs in things that made no sense. Facts and reason bounced off them like food on Teflon. Understanding Post-truth gave me a way to understand what before just seemed like a world gone mad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for writing!
      A very thoughtful reply!
      I’ve just answered your comment to next week’s post (part 7) and my response there also speaks to your remarks here.
      I was going for a two-fer on it with one reply. 😉

      Like

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