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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Admitting you’ve been bamboozled is the hardest part

The older boomers can’t admit that they’ve been swallowing a pile of lies for at least the last thirty-years.  The old school GOP voters who gave George W. Bush to victories in the white house believed that he was a straight-shooter religious man and not a connected member of the elites fully committed to building a global ‘New World Order’ with weak national borders.  They read the Weekly Standard and the National Review and turned the corporate empire building propaganda of Fox News into a business success.

The old school liberal voters believe that the New York Times, the Economist, the New Yorker, the Atlantic and most television news are the kinds of sophisticated unbiased news sources that signal how intelligent you are.  They even treat ‘The Daily Show’ as something more than the daily two-minutes of hate for whomever the executives want to virtue signal against when they bond with their adult children.

Now with the maturation alternative media, everyone should know better.  You can look up connections between the Bush clan, the GOP and wealthy foreign governments who prosper with the spreading American empire.  You can look up the credentials of the paid pundits who try to hide their shilling as news in those ‘sophisticated’ publications that UMC professionals love to leave on their coffee table for public viewing.  You can follow these journalists and pundits on twitter, you can read about their collusion with the GOP and Democratic party. You have more access to ‘The truth’ than most had a generation ago.

Why do they cling to their world view?

Before you reject your old world view, you have to admit to yourself that you were lied to.  You have to admit to yourself that you believed the lie, you identified with the lie.  Powerful people were manipulating you for their own ends and you, uncritically, believed it because that’s what people you aspired to be like were doing.

Who falls for scams?

They always say that anyone can be manipulated by a scam, but we all know that’s nonsense. We all know people who fall into new scams every six months oblivious to your blotting out the dream with logic.  Other folks never get hoodwinked in the first place, never forgetting that anything too good to be true is nonsense.  People who buy lies for a decade are dumb people, the politically naïve, the intellectually unsophisticated, the uncritical dupes and clueless idealists. Today, everyone wants to feel like they’ve got the inside scoop, and above the petty messages thrown out by the regime. We look down our nose the kind of people who uncritically accept what their supposed masters would tell them.  

Surely you can't be one of them.  You went to college, you saw through the corruption of Nixon you're just being doom and gloom.  They hope you'll stop questioning the world view that makes them sophisticated in their own minds.

But the lies were too big.  It’s a painful hit to the ego to admit that you’ve been successfully lied to, bamboozled, hoodwinked, long-conned.  You have to stare into the abyss and admit that you’re really no smarter or better informed than those prole denizens in Podunk that you love to condescend too.  You’re not smarter, you just read propaganda with a greater patina of literary sophistication.  You believed that a guy quoting the bible meant that he actually cared about those who care about it.

Take out the true believers on either side, and the squishy middle that makes up the population of cuckservatives and old-school liberals who still look fondly on the Kennedys are early Baby Boomers.  For all the bile that's spewed at them from alt-right blogs, they’re not bad people... mostly.  They raised their kids, they worked at jobs they thought were important, they took part in the culture.  Eventually, the effort it takes to suss out the real narrative in elite con jobs probably exhausted them and they settle into whatever the conventional wisdom was when they were young adults.   They also witnessed pea post war America and thought it was just an inevitable state of being, not a myriad series of choices.

The philosophers and gadflies of the alt-right who are pouring sulfuric acid over the foundations of these lies are younger.  Except for a few exceptions (Steve Sailer, Ann Coulter, Derbyshire etc.) they’re people who were born in the late 60s to the early 80s. They’re old enough to have witnessed the last days of a unified America with some vestiges on a national culture and have experienced Universities as their parents may have recognized them.  

They’re young enough to have witnessed the fragmentation and decline and have observed how memes that made for common humor when they were teenagers are no beyond the pale. They’re young enough to have seen the lies form and old enough to recognize that they were lies.

The big stumbling block that the mainstream boomers have is the realization that the world they knew, orderly and white, is gone.  The lessons about navigating your path to success are mainly obsolete, the lessons they taught their children about finding your own path are a generation out of date.  To accept that they’ve been lied to is to accept that they’re just as clueless and out of touch with the current zeitgeist as their own stodgy parents at the same age.

They resist that dawning realization even harder because, being narcissistic boomers, they have to protect the source of their own pride before anything else.   I do expect a lot of them to make that transition over time, but they’ll need a justifiable rationalization to do so without losing face.  Expect to hear your boomer parents start to talk about not really paying attention to the talking heads that are perpetually on in their households.  They’ll start mocking the more egregiously asinine Sunday column from formerly respected opinion makers.  They’ll even start dipping a toe in the more palatable corners of the Dark Enlightenment.

But they won’t just come out and admit they’ve were sold a fraudulent bill of goods that they enthusiastically believed in.  That would be too big a hit on their precious egos in what they thought would be the peak of their lives.  Despite parroting its' cliches, they’ll slowly lose faith in the message of the Cathedral over time as they witness their children with overpriced degrees go nowhere in a disastrous job market.  They’ll start to give faint support for candidates like Trump couched behind potential denials, using sentences like ‘I don’t really like him, but…’ to only imply the implosion of their zeitgeist.

And maybe that’s the best that anyone can expect.  The X-ers who make up the alt-right may have their own period of cognitive dissonance in twenty or thirty years time.  The intensity of today’s intellectual battles will fade as one side of the other make a complete victory, but it’s hard to let those old battles go and re-orient yourself to a new set of enemies, a new battlefield, a new set of lessons to absorb and pass on.

Almost no-one admits they bought into a lie whole heartedly, but they’ll make the admission over time if you pay close attention.

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