Monday, 6 March 2017

The Iraq War, Trump and 'Fake News'.

The Iraq War really was a watershed moment in history in so many ways. The big problem in 2017 , apart from ISIS and the spread of conflict in that region, is the demoralisation of the public sphere, part of the evident decline of the West. Nowhere can that be seen better than in the decline of its media and public discourse.

'Fake news' and its use comes from the fact fewer and fewer really know what to believe or see as true anymore. Instead there is wish thinking and a belief that even if things are not true, then essentially they are true irrespective of those things known as facts which can just be spun this or that way according to bias.

Trump benefits from the environment where nothing seems true or in politics where other politicians are just lying .It means people can just have blind belief in the strong man who will do what is needed to put things basically right again. He appears to stand out as the man who will do 'what the people really want'.

In a sense, Trump's victory represents the ultimate in consumer choice and what Simon Schama calls 'entertainment fascism', though whether Trump really is a 'fascist' is not actually clear. New times require new terms. But certainly it represents despair and a belief that the time for 'over-analysis' must give way to action.

One reason Trump seems 'refreshing' is that he is not Obama, a thinking and analytical President who probably overdid the thinking aloud in public role in order to distance himself from the idiotic George Bush. So instead of carefully spun arguments, there are none from Trump other than giving 'the folks' what they really want.

This is why the daft Russian conspiracy theory is so dangerous for Trump's opponents to use. It could be that he has business contacts or interests which clash with his role as President. He needs to be challenged on this. But it all appears now to be spun as part of a Putin plot to either undermine the US or get it to do Russia's bidding.

Trying to whine about the election result as one thrown or determined by the Kremlin just makes politics about whose conspiracy theories a person wants to believe. Clinton lost because she was a lame candidate to put up against Trump in the circumstances. Russia did not install Trump. The American people did.

'Liberals' or even sane 'conservatives' are having to promote the Russian conspiracy theory to rationalise their case against Trump ( they can't openly say that the people were foolish or deluded ) and because they are struggling to comprehend a frightening new reality they cannot bear and cannot truly believe.
The real danger of this 'strategy' is that it plays into Trump's 'narrative' that because he wants to do what the people actually want, free from 'political correctness, from building that wall to bombing the shit out of ISIS, the sulking and evil sinister 'liberal establishment is out to get him and remove the people's choice.

Opposing Trump is going to be tricky in an increasingly post-literate age based on TV, image and people with limited attention spans who are less and less interested or capable of reading what is actually written in longer articles or bothering to check facts and alternative sources. Consumers want instant news and views.

The Internet has magnified this tendency. Instant news can be disinformation and people choose the news that suits them and claim those that do not 'have an agenda'. Anxiety levels are up and the left has too many shouty types who are more into dehumanising their enemies instead of countering opponents.

In fact, aspects of the leftist or liberal opposition are doing Trump's work for him with their crude slogans and arrogant self righteousness. Some are principled and focused but the Internet has spread intolerance and hatred and magnified it. The media has not helped this by giving too much space to identity politics and faux outrage.

The far-right have now colonised identity politics for themselves and, with the idea of consumer choice, Trump's factless and emotive statements and accusations are identified with by those who feel they were neglected and constantly called bigots for expressing opinions that seemed reasonable, at least to them.

The Jonathan Pie satire on Trump's victory was a consequence of 'pc', shouting people down and saying 'you can't say that', really nailed the contribution identity politics made to Trump's victory. It's not enough to reason or argue: power is just the ability to impose oneself over other oppressors and attack their thought patterns as mere pathologies.

The far-right has learnt. Every attempt to ban or remove comments from Online paper commentary sections for being 'offensive' was a potential vote for Trump. Every attempt to shut people up for having an opinion created a meaner mood. Now too many have thought there is a conspiracy to destroy them.

Trump is the consequence.

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