Huge collective psychoses, such as the delusional nightmare known as Trump Derangement Syndrome, resemble the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in at least one way: they both belong to groups of phenomena that have not been well-studied. They each represent rare birds indeed.

If we had enough datapoints to sketch out a "natural history of large scale social delusions," would we see near the end of each episode of the illness a growing exhaustion in the host civilization, such that via rapid historical change the original narcissistic wound, or psychic insult, or trauma gets somehow undone, accompanied by societal and cultural readjustments that accomplish seeming miracles of the return of the "old normal?"

Imagine the changes that might IMMEDIATELY accompany a Biden victory on November 3rd: all the violence just evaporates. All the BLM signage would come down -- nobody really wanted to look at it anyway. The Chinese will kiss and make up. Disoriented citizens, as they shed their long-standing cognitive distortions, will look at each other as if to say, "Whew. What was THAT all about?"

Posted Fri Jul 24 01:34:35 2020

November 15, 2018 ~ 1327 words

Me And The Blue Wave

Voters deprived of good information are helpless to make effective choices. Voters lulled into a false sense of "being informed" are even more susceptible to erroneous data. Would I be taking things too far to assert that Orwell's fictitious "Ministry of Truth" (as in his novel 1984) has now become fact? Think CNN and its "MSM" colleagues. Orwell's knack for historical prescience looms more startling with every turn of the calendar.

During the run-up to the recent election, I consoled myself with this thought: surely the citizens of this great land would never return power to the group now revealed to be guilty of genuinely high crimes, involving the top ranks of the DOJ and FBI leadership, and corrupting some of our major national security institutions (think FISA and NSA). Surely, as I say, such an oversight, such a miscalculation, would be simply beyond the pale for our voters.

Granted, the midterms are not focussed in any preeminent fashion on national issues. On the hustings, the contests are diffuse in their foci, with local and county matters often stirring voters' passions far more than goings-on in Washington D.C.

But still, it would require a deliberate act of short-sightedness not to include in the balance a mandate on the presidency. I lack the expertise needed to quantify the degree to which it was a vote for-or-against Trump, but some of the votes cast must have been intended to record sentiments on that question.

I have a friend; let's call him Fred. We met back in the eighties working at the same business in Massachusetts, and have stayed friends ever since. We try to meet for supper about every two or three months in a local ordinary family restaurant, where they don't really care how long you sit there yakking after you're finished over-stuffing your face.

Fred is a literate fellow. He reads books. His undergrad degree was in math. But he also reads pretty much every day the Boston Globe and the Providence Journal, and he watches cable news every week night. My assessment is that the net consequence of these latter activities is that Fred is convinced that he is well-informed, at least to the utmost possible for an ordinary literate American.

On the phone the other night, while setting a date for our next supper, I asked him if he knew what the acronym "FISA" meant. I then asked him what he thought about our very own FBI marching into a FISA courtroom to apply for a warrant for surveillance of one of Trump's former acquaintances with an application they prepared using a totally fallacious and bogus "dossier." And, had he heard about that "dossier?"

Fred didn't know from "FISA." He seemed to get a little squirmy on the dossier matter, and averred that he didn't know whether he "believed" in it, or the FISA story in toto. I struggled to find a polite way to tell him that those events were now chronicled in the annals of "open public fact," accepted by all who followed the slow unveiling of facts on record in that case. I didn't push it since I lose friends far too easily. But I fear that on the conclusion of our chat that night, he remained in the camp that viewed such claims as "allegations," not facts.

Dr. Ford's testimony in the Senate committee considering the Kavanaugh appointment proved useful after all in this context. When, after Trump (at a rally) summarized it in a bluntly schematic way -- a way that was nevertheless completely faithful to her testimony -- the usual heads began to explode, and he was condemned for "mocking" her. It was soon pointed out that the content of her "evidence" had never been reported to our nation's electorate, not, at least, by all those channels that my friend Fred attends to. How can I not suppose the same holds true in the case of the Carter Page FISA warrants? The vast MSM viewership might never have heard any of the records of that case, so how could they not see it as mere allegations?

A personal aside: due to deteriorating eyesight, I watch no teevee at all. Occasionally I treat myself to a movie using my computer. I mention this to explain why I can't say, "On the cable news stations the facts of these events never were adequately reported."

So a bright light was shed for me by the "Trump Mocked Ford" alleged incident. The electorate, which I trusted (and need to continue to trust) did not, on Nov. 6th, fall into a perverse spell of crankiness and decide to hand power back to the organized criminals who comprised our "loyal" opposition. It was a data problem: garbage in; garbage out. Simple.


I've been going through two books the last few weeks: the late, irreplaceable Christopher Hitchens' Why Orwell Matters, and Orwell's Such, Such, Were The Joys, a collection of his essays. Hitchens was concerned to raise to a higher profile some facts about Orwell's activity in the Spanish Civil War. I don't have a sense for how well known is the fact that he travelled to Spain during the fighting, and took a sniper's bullet in his neck for his trouble.

Orwell and his wife came near to being arrested by the NKVD while in Spain. Hitchens carefully reviews the details of the NKVD forces then actively sabotaging the Popular Front, the principal Republican contender in the struggle for Spain. Suffice it to say that the details of this squalid episode in Soviet international relations only came fully to light after the fall of the Soviet regime, when NKVD archives in Moscow revealed how closely they had had Mr. and Mrs. Orwell in their sights, having branded them as "pronounced Trotskyists."

What has this to do with Dr. Blasey Ford and the "Blue Wave?" Orwell complained bitterly in his book on the war in Spain (Homage To Catalonia) that nothing like the whole story of that war would ever come out. When he concocted his "Ministry of Truth" for 1984 he was working from direct personal experience of Comintern's methods. Hitchens cites Orwell from that book:

--snip--

"It will never be possible to get a completely accurate and unbiased account of the Barcelona fighting, because the necessary records do not exist. Future historians will have nothing to go upon except a mass of accusations and party propaganda. I myself have little data beyond what I saw with my own eyes and what I have learned from other eye-witnesses whom I believe to be reliable...

"This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. After all, the chances are that those lies, or at any rate similar lies, will pass into history . . . The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, "It never happened" well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five "well, two and two are five."

Hitchens, Christopher. Why Orwell Matters (pp. 69-70). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

--snip--

I don't have much in the way of take-aways from these jottings. Principally, I now know we are in much more trouble as a free republic than I believed could ever be possible. We have a Ministry of Truth whose power and reach far exceeds anything Orwell might have guessed. But perhaps not. Let us be extremely careful when passing judgement on him. Who else was publishing thoughts such as "the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world" in 1938?

Posted Sat Jul 25 14:33:59 2020

My principal efforts since Nov '16 have been. in order of composition:

Mass Insanity

Me And The Blue-Wave

Robert Gould Shaw

Posted Sat Jul 25 14:40:59 2020

I'm like a moth around an open flame with my new theory e.g. that Biden will gain an easy victory at the polls this November simply because the populace is exhausted and wants to take a break. It will not be a "mandate" for anything other than getting the party of mentally ill children to shut up and do some constructive work for the nation -- if they remember how to do that. Here's an email I sent out today that expresses the thing in language that is a little more florid:


From: Bob Bernstein bob@fanatick.org
Subject: Biden stands a damn good chance. Here's why.
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2020 16:27:56
User-Agent: Alpine 2.22 (NEB 394 2020-01-19)

It is of course not the case that Trump has caused much if any of the wave of distress that has had, for some time now, the Republic's bowels in an uproar. But as snarky types (such as academic philosophers, who know only others like them, and their doctoral candidates, read their books and papers) like to say, that claim is "true but unexciting." Unexciting because no one has had any interest in objective historical truth for many many years.

(The courageous NY Times did not propose this as an explicit agenda for "activist journalism" until long after that recreation's ascendance on Grub Street was complete.)

NO ONE cares as to what "really happened" A boring, and much too thorny a question anyway. But even the dullest among us must by now be sensing, even if only as through a glass darkly, that the resolution of the nation's colonic unhappiness would follow IMMEDIATELY on Trump's removal by any means.

The violence would evaporate. The BLM signage -- even that outside Fenway Park -- would come down. Police budgets would be restored. Children and their teachers would excitedly prepare for a return to school in the Fall. It might be months or years before we even again saw the word "mask" in print. And so on.

It's obvious, yes?

-- These are not the droids you are looking for.

Posted Sat Jul 25 20:13:49 2020