[UMC] *political technologies*?!

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


Serial narration


This “[UMC] …” series of 3-minute readouts on the present climate within the United Methodist Church [UMC] (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (‘reset’ here) (here) (here) (here) (last week), is meant to be generative, not definitive. The expressions I’m using for the project are evolving. “Compatibilism” [and its attending humility (Micah 6.8)] is key to “The 95% solution.” 



Society and Church intersect

I’ve written here about *political technologies* [PT] on numerous occasions (here) (here) (here) (here) (here). This is a good time to recall a five-second piece of audio that states an important and salient fact, especially with American PT:



In the U.S., “a dime a dozen” corresponds to typical Facebook users and doesn’t correspond to key political technologists. Here, “key political technologists” are a sub-group — under the sway of shadowy powers — of those we call social media “influencers.”

PT are the present expressions of hyper-zealous partisans for the purpose of power, profit, and/or other political posturing. The influence of these expressions is extremely oversized as a result of technology (e.g., sorting, polarization, and social media). Let’s back up and outline the notion of PT



U.S. *political technologies*

Obviously, the term “political” is key to understanding the power/control nature of PT.

The notion of “propaganda” is also key to forming a good basic conception of PT. Shaping reality has always been the goal of propaganda and so is most commonly a tool of the powerful and wannabe powerful.

Innuendo and gossip have always played significant roles in propaganda; social media have put those factors on steroids. 

So, the observation that “political technologists are a dime a dozen” recognizes the crucial role of social media in shaping reality in today’s society through the use of propaganda, (e.g., *political technologies*). 

We also learned (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) from Peter Pomerantsev’s book, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible, that Russia was a key innovator in the realm of exploiting propaganda (and, subsequently, *political technologies*) in the work of controlling a nation and society. The title of his book is an indication of how integral a part postmodern-overreach (e.g., “no truth”) and “post-truth” [P-T] play in PT., i.e., the soup in which we swim.



Our chief resource regarding P-T (here) (here) has been Lee McIntyre’s book, Post-Truth. There, we learned about the techniques that, first, the cigarette industry used to deny their product caused cancer, and then, later, the fossil fuel industry used to shape public opinion in favor of climate science deniers and against qualified climate scientists. 



These P-T and PT methods were further developed and exploited in the U.S.A. by The Former Guy [TFG] and his associates (Roger Stone, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Steve Bannon, et al.). The chief residue that we have from TFG‘s machinations is what I — along with others — have called grievance grift. This amounts to hyper-cynical politicians and political organizations using culture war issues to drive their fundraising. Grievance and its accompanying outrage are excellent at separating many in the masses from their money.  



This has been significantly compounded because corporations have realized that polarization is profitable. So, essentially exploiting many politicians’ (and their political parties’) penchant to sort/divide society, big media has monetized the process. Added together in a social media context, we find ourselves in an existential crisis. 



The UMC, a living illustration

Advocate for the Global Methodist Church [GMC] Rob Renfroe is a UM “Traditionalist” who proudly professes his rigid “Incompatibilism.” He made a series of videos (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) (part 5) (part 6) offering his [“Incompatibilism”] GMC pitch, i.e., mostly fear mongering misinformation about the UMC.

Subsequently, Adam Hamilton created a series of videos (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) (part 5) (part 6) (A Future with Hope) that respond to [refute] Renfroe’s claims. 

Can you see the problem?

By simply acknowledging Renfroe’s videos [enough to refute them], Hamilton gives them undeserved credibility and lots more exposure. PT effectively authenticates and broadly distributes Renfroe’s misinformation through the power of Hamilton’s positive reputation and credibility. 

Political technologists “a dime a dozen?”


In our illustration, Rob Renfroe is the one “political technologist” providing the core misinformation and talking points; however, it’s the hundreds, and then thousands, of folks who subsequently forward the misinformation and talking points (like here and here, for instance) who create the real problem, i.e., further sorting and polarization, aggravating things to the point of schism. [I note that Renfroe may be unaware that he’s doing this, as by now many are tacitly-conditioned to this cynical PT methodology.]


Post-truth and *political technologies* are operating within the UMC in this misinformation/refutation interaction between Rob Renfroe and Adam Hamilton
Here’s a snip of the comment I made under the post that got me started on this missive. It’s a fit summary:
Next week: [UMC] Love as structure. [this post 825 words (3-min. read)] 


Your thoughts?

Note: I posted two wishes to social media last Tuesday, my birthday:




12 thoughts on “[UMC] *political technologies*?!

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