Newsflash: Prosperous Propagandists Thrive on Exacerbating (Even Justified) Alarm


Propagandists thrive on alarm, and on the fear and anger that come from that alarm. It hardly matters their ideology, although one can usefully note which ideologies and social classes are more likely to perpetrate, or to fall victim to, the more pervasive and manipulative propaganda.

I thought of this as I was considering the many worries I have about my society and my family, worries that have me wondering whether All of Human Civilization, if not also Terrestrial Ecology, Is Going to Come Crashing Down Around Us All Any Second Now.

Home troubles, school troubles, neighborhood troubles … right on up to national and international political troubles, all seem to be getting worse, on a curve with a rate of increase similar to the information and technology spirals that should have, but have not, made so much better.

Luckily, marital troubles do not enter into this for me. My wife and my relationship with her are wonderful, and being with her is a remarkable oasis in all of this. So is mathematics. So is the wonderful world of novels. So is my per-visit music job, and the High Church music it gives me the opportunity to sing.

But back to propagandists and propaganda:

Many a persuasive politician, prosperous pastor, or prevalent pundit in popular mass media wants to sound the alarm. Many paying these people plenty have an interest in sounding the alarm to rouse us from our sometimes societal inertia in the face of all of the awfulness that, plainly, we have been able at least to start to see without their help at all.

In the era of the Radical/Religious Right and of Trumpism, the alarms have been sounded on both sides. Even during a pandemic, “both major sides/parties” have been quick to warn us that the abuses of “the other side” threaten to crumble into ruin all that is precious to us, including America as we know it. Again, one side does appear to have a disproportionate amount of objective data justifying its views on these matters, but still: The propagandists are cranking out alarm, exacerbating anger and fear, at a … frightening(!) and distressing(!) … rate.

I would surmise that if we did not see or feel or think that everything was all that bad, if we were not at such a critical point in history, at least in our own minds …

… the merchants of ideas and ideologies, the marketplace of commodification of ideas and attitudes … the forces, in the end, of Corporate Personhood and its corruption of our moral philosophy since time immemorial …

… those fat-cats would have a harder time profiting so obscenely off of all of us.

Be a true Culture Jammer. Question everything … including the need to question everytbing.

And do not forget to breathe.

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