Thursday, August 31, 2017

Part 3 - The Damage: Conspiracy Theory Mindset

This is an ongoing series about the damage that Donald Trump is doing to the United States on a daily basis. It is being done on request by a Trump Supporter.

The Rule: As this is being done by request, The Omnivore has a rule: Trump-supporters (and other readers for that matter) cannot simply stipulate that a point made by The Omnivore is wrong because of its source or The Omnivore's bias--if they are going to disbelieve a point they must provide affirmative evidence. The Omnivore expects this to be "the hard part" for Trump Supporters. That is intentional.

Part 3: Conspiracy Theory Mindset 

The conspiracy theory mindset, in a nutshell, is this:
The mainstream voices are lies. The Truth is that powerful forces are clandestinely conspiring against you to hurt you. There will never be evidence to prove this--but you can see it in the shadows of things all around you. Do not trust your leaders.

The break down looks like this:

The damage that Trump-Voters  have done to America on this front cannot be minimized: The election of Donald Trump has created a surge in the apparent credibility and mainstream reach of conspiracy-theory voices. To put it in X-Files terms: The Conspiracy is, for Trump-Supporters, No Longer A Theory.

Getting people like Mike Cernovich, Alex Jones, Jim Hoff, and others who traffic in conspiracy and prey on their readership more audience and louder voices is horrific. It is one of the ways Trump is "Tearing the Country Apart." What does that mean?

The Conspiracy Mindset--which Trump not only enables--but encourages (wire-tapping the White House tweets, 3MM illegal-voter conspiracies, etc.)--does a lot of bad things.

  1. People make decisions based on obviously false data or get taken for a ride (Buying Hannity's dodgy gold certificates).
  2. People believe in threats that are not real (Sharia law being enforced) and not in threats that are (Climate Change).
  3. Real news gets ignored in favor of fake news that feels better.
  4. Conspiracy Theory inflames fear, hate, and other things. It feeds the worst of us.
All of these are bad--but The Omnivore wants to focus on one more: Conspiracy Theory Mindset acts like an Immunization System Disease Against Being Manipulated.

People in the Conspiracy Mindset--which Trump has increased and embraced--are easier for bad people to manipulate. To take advantage of. Let's look at that.

There are forces that want to divide us--potentially for profit (conservative media has made bank on it). Potentially for strategic advantage. Conspiracy Theory is not, itself, inherently divisive but it is a powerful carrier wave for divisive messages. For example:
This is bullshit--but conservatives will believe it because they are susceptible to it. Liberals are too--but Liberals do not have a conspiracy monger in the White House.

Here We Go--CNN Is Faking On-Air Rescues
Nothing escapes the Conspiracy Mindset. People who are being told that CNN is #fakenews and are total liars (by the President) are going to fall for this stuff. It's absurd--but it's going to happen--and grow. 

The Omnivore will say this again: Trump's position as POTUS makes his conspiracy-mindset more influential, powerful, and pervasive than anything the liberals conspiracy forces can field.

If you believe the Mainstream Media is conspiracy minded? Well, you're fool--but please: show your work.

The Russians Love Their MAGA Too

Let The Omnivore introduce you to Hamilton--this is a site that tracks what Russian propaganda bots are saying / amplifying. Here are some examples:
Last Week

This Week
It is not hard to figure out what Russia wants us to be talking about. The fact that Russia seems to be promoting pro-Trump messages--and anti-antifa messages--should make you very cautious. Russia is not an ally. They want to destabilize us. They want to weaken us. So why are they doing this?

The reason they are doing this--promoting Trump and talking (badly) about antifa--is because doing so is a way to split us. It requires two components:

  1. Rally Trump Supporters--especially in an Us vs. Them manner.
  2. Portray antifa as the premier threat--that is: to show The Left as an existential threat to America.
This requires conspiracy theory. Trump enables this attack. He does so powerfully 

The Omnivore is not suggesting that Trump is colluding with Russia propagandist to sow discord in America--no, he doesn't have to. Trump's behavior by itself is an engine of conspiracy-theory driven discord that Russia exploits. Why?

The Omnivore Tells You THE TRUTH

This next part is going to be a little hard for the Constant Reader Trump-Supporter to follow--so The Omnivore is going to be blunt and explicit:

Nazis (and attendant right-wing fascists) are NOT an existential threat to America*.

Let's review that--because The Omnivore heard your jaw drop: Nazis--by themselves--without something powering them--are a domestic terror threat. They are dangerous individually (especially as it leads to lone-wolf / disturbed-person violence)--but they are not a . . . "big deal."

Do you understand, save for that asterisk there is no reason to be especially concerned about nazis. That's an issue for DHS and law enforcement. The Omnivore is telling you to stand down. Breathe. It's not that big a deal.

Got it? You felt shivers, right? How could The Omnivore say that??

Let's do one more--that you won't like, Constant Reader.

Antifa is NOT an existential threat to America.

Hmm. There's no asterisk. Why not? Well, let's just stick to the meat right now--antifa does a lot of property damage. They dress scary. They attack people--some who came for a fight--but a lot who didn't. They see Trump-supporters--even non-violent, well meaning ones, as nazis.

A lot of them are bad cry-baby anarchists. If you live in a liberal town--Berkeley or Seattle--or are at a right-wing demonstration, there is reason to worry about anfia--but even there, their violence is limited and sporadic. Tens of thousands of people came to Boston. There were around 30 arrests. One of them was for a Trump-supporter carrying (illegally) a concealed gun.

Antifa is not a big deal. They are asshole noisy kids (or too-old-to-be-kids professors with bike-locks)--and they have attacked people who should not be attacked--and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law--but they do not represent a growing, looming threat to the democratic process.

Sorry--but the don't.

* Unless They Hold The White House Or Get Support From The President Or The Justice Department Or Something. Something Crazy Like That. Then, Yeah--We Should BE CONCERNED.

Oh, crap. There's that asterisk.

Russia knows that if it can make antifa appear as an existential threat--and this is done by taking small violent encounters and amplifying their ubiquity--and amplifying lies about them (showing images that are either doctored or not from America or not from current events pitched as current events) they can make their subjects believe that America is in danger from antifa and that the White House's weird relationship to nazis is now a culture-war issue: You better be on the side of the White House, Trump Supporters.

The right's susceptible to #fakenews and Trump-Supporter's susceptibility to #fakenews in particular is well documented. Russia is exploiting this. Trump is enabling it.

Thus, every day, he hands gifts to our enemies and does damage to America.

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