the american hostage situation
stockholm syndrome is not a basis for government
there is obviously quite a lot of discussion going on about the biden speech that is coming to be called “the red sermon.”
i’m really not sure why anyone is surprised.
it was very much of a piece with the lead up.
i do not think there as been a speech like it in living memory. a hectoring, accusatory president just tried to vilify and other his political opposition while ascribing danger to democracy to them. it was inflammatory and divisive in a manner i have never seen in america.
consider the possibility that it was meant to be, not as a call to lustral assault on freedom, but as a form of manipulation.
lots of ink will be spilled today about impending purges and ill intent, but i’d like to take this in a somewhat different direction because i fear that the firestorm is a feature here and not an accident.
consider the possibility that focusing on this:
instead of this
is the problem.
ask yourself which one you really want to be “america.”
because it’s kind of obvious, but this game is so pervasive that we keep getting it wrong.
the modern age is an attention economy and those things upon which you spend yours will grow and flourish.
and this may easily be turned against you by those who would manipulate and weaponize outrage.
unreasonable searches and seizures, wild claims, insane disavowals, outlandish misstatement and accusation: it’s all theater, all part of the game to grab and hold attention and to shift focus.
it’s a gambit to put you on the back foot and make you play on their field and within their framings, ever responsive to incendiary incentive and invective.
they select and set the issues to goad you into abandoning any positive agenda of your own to respond to their attacks.
they call you names.
they make you believe that the world is bad, that the world is wrong, that the world is broken.
and if you don’t accede they just goad you harder.
it’s the age of provocation as politics.
and this cannot be the way.
consider the possibility that the american dream is alive and that 80% of america is totally fine apart from being trapped between warring gangs of government whose incessant shaking of the jar is nothing but a calculated attempt to stir us into fighting one another that they may continue to dominate discourse and rule us for fun and profit.
consider the possibility that all these calls to anger and action and othering are merely misdirection way from the walls of an ever encroaching cage.
the sisyphean conjuring of cavalcades of hobgoblins with which to alarm and enrage us until we demand “saving” generates a kind of stockholm syndrome in which our captors start to appear liberators, even friends.
and if you’re not careful, pretty soon you’re robbing banks for them and feeling righteous and loved.
the perpetual negative focus on problems and maladies and outrages prevents the emergence of positive plans and projects. and no one wants to stop it. the depredations of one side are fund raising gold for the other. both thrive from this game. it is we the people who suffer under under this outrage economy: there is no path to progress, only an endless fight over who gets to vilify whom and why you need team X to defend you from team Y.
it’s a prison gang protection racket and the effects of living in such a world soak bone deep.
you will forget freedom and learn to fear it.
you will learn not only to love but to need the chains that you have fashioned for yourself.
fooled by the vertiginous phantasmagoria of falling sold to you as “protection” and “leadership” you lose sight of the fact that even if they do manage to push you off the roof, you’re quite capable of landing upon your feet.
and therein lies the answer.
we do not need them and the monsters from which they sell us salvation are not real.
we are not at war with one another, our government is waging war against our liberty.
your enemy is not the freedom of others to do as they will nor your own ability to do likewise: it is the people who would pit you against your friends to divide and to conquer and to make their rule appear not only needed but inevitable.
this is the shabbiest of tricks, especially as it’s one they teach you to play upon yourself.
but the reality is something altogether different.
and so if we we would thrive in the attention economy, we must spend our attention more wisely.
we must focus on our own flourishing and not upon those who bait us.
they are not reality.