No, this isn’t another twisted, overblown bloated Corporate Media story about how Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is aiming to revive the Soviet Union. There’s already enough emotionalist pearl-clutching in traditional and social media for someone like me to add another log to the dumpster fire.
In fact, this isn’t about them; it’s about us.
The people of the United States.
It’s just you and me.
Now, before anyone loses their collective mind and calls me a privileged non-contributing member of society ( I am typing this at a beachfront house on Bald Head Island) be aware that I don’t own this house-and probably never will. But I get to use it, and get to spend time with my father, who DOES own it (admittedly it is a co-ownership with the bank. And his wife. On second thought I guess that means that SHE owns it…)
But it wasn’t given to him. Not at all-in fact, he grew up on the wrong side of the W-2, and pretty much had to struggle his whole life to make something of himself. And now he has-but he hasn’t forgotten how rough things used to be. To an extent, he still lives in those times-every move is calculated, every decision is planned with the thought that all of this could go away in an instant.
My deep seated dread is that he-like so many of us now-is starting to figure out that it already has. The news reports, as clotted and twisted and sugar-coated (depending on what particular agenda is being pushed) make it difficult to even tell whether the sun is going to come up. But throughout all of the signal-to-noise errors, one thing is becoming abundantly clear: things have changed.
Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I vividly recall the Cold War. A time when the divide between good and evil, between freedom and darkness, was clearly visible and understood. We did the Nuclear drills, the “duck-and-cover”. America fought totalitarianism and corruption behind the iron barrier on behalf of free people all around the world. Even back then, elitists in academia and the media (of which I would later become a member) mocked Ronald Reagan’s ‘amiable dunce’, unsophisticated understanding of world events. A viewpoint that won out in the end when the Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight, much to the dismay of the American left.
Readers who grew up during the Cold War era: Remember how we used to chuckle at photographs and movies of Soviet Union plebeians queuing for bread, shoes, and other necessities? “How can these folks live like this?” We used to wonder as we sat comfortably in our furnished houses, surrounded by food from the local grocery. “How can they put up with a government that allows this to happen?” we asked. “By God, if that was ME I would…(insert posturing comments here)”.
But surprise!-We’ve allowed it to happen here in just over a generation. We were terrified straight out of our freedom and into dictatorial arms by a relentless media campaign (more on them later) about a virus with a 99 percent survival rate. Things like “supply chain disruption” have become the “new normal.” We’re fine with empty shelves as long as we have ‘some food’, Uber Ears still delivers, and our Netflix membership continues to work. Worse, many of us appear to be looking to the government to “solve the problem” yet it is the government that created the problem in the first place.
The heirs to Ronald Reagan’s America should insist that the government get out of the way, not the other way around.
When I think of a free nation, I recall learning about the Soviet regime, its origins, and how the government took not just the means of production but also the communication apparatus. Again, my classmates and I would mock the propaganda from Pravda and other Soviet ‘news outlets,’ oblivious to the bias in the press at the time.
These individuals must be aware that their government is deceiving them, right?
How can they believe what they know to be lies without question?
To be fair to the Soviet people, this was before the internet, and Radio Free Europe was probably the only other news source. At least we had Walter Cronkite-he seemed to lay everything out in about as fair a term as could be had-that made making decisions and drawing conclusions substantially more informed.
For years, the American propaganda press has been highly skewed and left-leaning. The problem was aggravated during the Vietnam War, and the infection spread as radicals took over the newsroom and turned it into the Democratic Party’s de facto propaganda arm. The ‘mainstream’ Corporate Media’s tilt has moved consistently to the left since the Clinton Administration, with unrelenting ‘coverage’ of the Leftist point of view and nothing but elitist disdain for everything else. (before anyone gets cute, I DO, in fact. Suspect that the Right does the exact same thing for exactly the same reasons. Hence my walking paranoia…)
The invasion of Ukraine, inflation, gas prices, Covid-19, riots in support of Black Lives Matter (which frequently don’t have a person of color in sight-it’s like trying to play “Where’s Waldo?”)
The public in the United States is constantly inundated with state propaganda disguised as a “free press.” If you point out their bias, they’ll use the 1st Amendment to justify their actions. “It’s a private company!” they bleat-quite correctly- as they take “helpful suggestions” from various governmental agencies that offer hints as to what they might really enjoy seeing in tomorrow’s headlines. Or worse, offer a tip or two as far as what sort of information/opinions might prove to be “unhelpful-and therefore maybe should be deleted or blocked.
And far too many of our fellow citizens are eager to provide cover for them.
Surely these people are aware that they are being duped?
I mean, the proof is right in front of their eyes, right?
Anyone experiencing such deja vu from something written previously in this missive?
You can be pigeon-holed or labeled a conspiracy”theorist” if you bring up valid issues from legitimate sources, or use deductive reasoning that contradicts the narrative. It should be noted that the difference in a tin-foil hat wearing nutjob’s opinion and actual reality appears to be only a matter of around 6 months.
The Soviet government compelled obedience and bolstered it with lies (“alternate facts”, if you will) . Misinformation has been utilized by authoritarian Leftists at all levels of government to compel individuals and corporations to comply. At least, that’s what I tried to do. The story is repeated by social media algorithms, providing a nice dopamine boost to the masses for following the State’s orders.
On tap is mindless self-righteousness, as some sanctimoniously “protect” the minority fringes (that usually didn’t ask for protection anyway,a s they are well aware that a cost is ALSO coming with it) at the expense of the huge majority.. .
(I have a few “trans” friends-all they want to do is get through the day, take off those bloody leg-killing hip-destroying back-crippling high heels, and sit on the sofa with a beer and hate the Cowboys just like any other decent person would do).
So, how did we end up becoming the new Soviet Union, the one we used to scoff at as we shook our collective heads depreciatively?
What brings us here?
You’re an average American (it’s a guess). You go to work, pay your taxes, raise your children, and attend their athletic activities. On weekends, maybe hoist a few with the fellas (or females). When you get home at night and turn on the television, you’ll notice the same story on every network, even your local news. It’s been broadcast on the radio.
You grew up with (your favorite news source here), thus you use social media to follow that station or numerous ones. You put your faith in them. The most amazing thing is that the very same story with the exact same headline is being shared on social media by outlets from coast to coast. Because social media algorithms track what you’ve liked and clicked, they feed you similar content to keep you online. every one of your buddies does the same, as “cognitive dissonance” becomes a living force.
You become aware of alternative information sources. You, as a thinking human being, investigate some of those possibilities. You could notice something that contradicts what your ‘reliable’ news sources are telling you. The problem is that such trusted ‘news’ outlets portray alternate sources of information as (ironically) biased; a “sales” pitch, if you will.
Slanted. “Propaganda from the right wing” (again, the irony is lost). Conspiracy theories are popular. When you share an article from one of these sources with your friends, the vast majority of them mock and scorn you, the source, or both. Never mind the article’s facts; it’s far more vital to shame you and impugn the source, lest the information spread and throw the narrative into disarray. As a result, you delete the post and unfollow the other sources of information.
And the cycle continues, as you brainwash yourself further and further into the fantasy world-it’s easy, as long as you don’t acknowledge any other legitimacy in front of the “alternative”.
And it’s similar to the old
Frog in hot water” story-drop a frog in hot water, and he will jump out. But put it in cold, and heat it slowly, and he’ll never realize that he is on his way to being boiled alive. Until he actually is.
Side note: I did this as a science experiment back in school-frogs did not like the warm water (c’mon, I wasn’t going to hurt a frog; I was not one of those kids that wanted to know what a frog was made of by way of using a pointy stick).
When the water hit around 100 F (barely warm, at least to use), he vacated the premises unharmed.
Another little chestnut: frogs bite.
But there is reason to be optimistic: while the threat is genuine, our unique experiment in self-government has survived. She has lived through wars and revolutions. She lived through the Great Depression. She lived during the Cold War. And she will persevere. Because the truth is slowly but steadily leaking out. Every day, the story is questioned. Parents are reclaiming their children’s school boards. To topple professional politicians, citizens are running for political office in growing numbers. New social media platforms are cropping up to fight the censorship of alternative viewpoints on social media.
Do not be fooled: this is a new Cold War, a Cold Civil War. It’s an information battle. The distinction between good and bad guys is as distinct now as it was during the Cold War. And it will be won by the good guys—those who always err on the side of liberty. We are unable to do anything else because we are Americans, and this is a significant distinction. That is something I firmly believe in.
Ronald Reagan once observed during the Cold War that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is all up to us. Too many of us have allowed ourselves to deteriorate into what we once thought was inconceivable. The political structure and attitude that we thought were dormant have resurfaced right here in the United States of America.
We’ve been summoned once more to put a stop to it.
Alternatively, we can become what we fought so hard to avoid-assuming that hasn’t already happened, of course.