How the U.S. government's disinformation enterprise is destroying liberal democracy. I’m not exaggerating. Read this monumental article.https://t.co/C6ekruYshy
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) August 25, 2023
Here are some excerpts from the (rather long) article RFK is referring to:
It was not enough for a few powerful agencies to combat disinformation. The strategy of national mobilization called for “not only the whole-of-government, but also whole-of-society” approach, according to a document released by the GEC in 2018. “To counter propaganda and disinformation,” the agency stated, “will require leveraging expertise from across government, tech and marketing sectors, academia, and NGOs.”
This is how the government-created “war against disinformation” became the great moral crusade of its time. CIA officers at Langley came to share a cause with hip young journalists in Brooklyn, progressive nonprofits in D.C., George Soros-funded think tanks in Prague, racial equity consultants, private equity consultants, tech company staffers in Silicon Valley, Ivy League researchers, and failed British royals. Never Trump Republicans joined forces with the Democratic National Committee, which declared online disinformation “a whole-of-society problem that requires a whole-of-society response.” …
While there’s no question that the media has utterly disgraced itself, it’s also a convenient fall guy — by far the weakest player in the counter-disinformation complex. The American press, once the guardian of democracy, was hollowed out to the point that it could be worn like a hand puppet by the U.S. security agencies and party operatives.
Kept busy chasing shadows:
It would be nice to call what has taken place a tragedy, but an audience is meant to learn something from a tragedy. As a nation, America not only has learned nothing, it has been deliberately prevented from learning anything while being made to chase after shadows. This is not because Americans are stupid; it’s because what has taken place is not a tragedy but something closer to a crime. Disinformation is both the name of the crime and the means of covering it up; a weapon that doubles as a disguise.
The crime is the information war itself, which was launched under false pretenses and by its nature destroys the essential boundaries between the public and private and between the foreign and domestic, on which peace and democracy depend. By conflating the anti-establishment politics of domestic populists with acts of war by foreign enemies, it justified turning weapons of war against Americans citizens. …
The crime is the routine violation of Americans’ rights by unelected officials who secretly control what individuals can think and say. …
The United States is still in the earliest stages of a mass mobilization that aims to harness every sector of society under a singular technocratic rule. The mobilization, which began as a response to the supposedly urgent menace of Russian interference, now evolves into a regime of total information control that has arrogated to itself the mission of eradicating abstract dangers such as error, injustice, and harm — a goal worthy only of leaders who believe themselves to be infallible, or comic-book supervillains.
It’s a new form of government, thanks to technology:
The first phase of the information war was marked by distinctively human displays of incompetence and brute-force intimidation. But the next stage, already underway, is being carried out through both scalable processes of artificial intelligence and algorithmic pre-censorship that are invisibly encoded into the infrastructure of the internet, where they can alter the perceptions of billions of people.
Something monstrous is taking shape in America. Formally, it exhibits the synergy of state and corporate power in service of a tribal zeal that is the hallmark of fascism. Yet anyone who spends time in America and is not a brainwashed zealot can tell that it is not a fascist country.
What is coming into being is a new form of government and social organization that is as different from mid-twentieth century liberal democracy as the early American republic was from the British monarchism that it grew out of and eventually supplanted. A state organized on the principle that it exists to protect the sovereign rights of individuals, is being replaced by a digital leviathan that wields power through opaque algorithms and the manipulation of digital swarms. It resembles the Chinese system of social credit and one-party state control, and yet that, too, misses the distinctively American and providential character of the control system.
In the time we lose trying to name it, the thing itself may disappear back into the bureaucratic shadows, covering up any trace of it with automated deletions from the top-secret data centers of Amazon Web Services, “the trusted cloud for government.” …
In a technical or structural sense, the censorship regime’s aim is not to censor or to oppress, but to rule. That’s why the authorities can never be labeled as guilty of disinformation. Not when they lied about Hunter Biden’s laptops, not when they claimed that the lab leak was a racist conspiracy, not when they said that vaccines stopped transmission of the novel coronavirus. Disinformation, now and for all time, is whatever they say it is. That is not a sign that the concept is being misused or corrupted; it is the precise functioning of a totalitarian system.
If the underlying philosophy of the war against disinformation can be expressed in a single claim, it is this: You cannot be trusted with your own mind. …
The new one-party state “fortifies” elections:
In February 2021, a long article in Time magazine by journalist Molly Ball celebrated the “Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Biden’s victory, wrote Ball, was the result of a “conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes” that drew together “a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election” in an “extraordinary shadow effort.” Among the many accomplishments of the heroic conspirators, Ball notes, they “successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears.” It is an incredible article, like an entry from the crime blotter that somehow got slipped into the society pages, a paean to the saviors of democracy that describes in detail how they dismembered it.
Not so long ago, talk of a “deep state” was enough to mark a person as a dangerous conspiracy theorist to be summarily flagged for monitoring and censorship. But language and attitudes evolve, and today the term has been cheekily reappropriated by supporters of the deep state. …
The deep state refers to the power wielded by unelected government functionaries and their paragovernmental adjuncts who have administrative power to override the official, legal procedures of a government.
But a ruling class describes a social group whose members are bound together by something deeper than institutional position: their shared values and instincts. While the term is often used loosely and sometimes as a pejorative rather than a descriptive label, in fact the American ruling class can be simply and straightforwardly defined.
Defining the ruling class:
Two criteria define membership in the ruling class:
First, as Michael Lind has written, it is made up of people who belong to a “homogeneous national oligarchy, with the same accent, manners, values, and educational backgrounds from Boston to Austin and San Francisco to New York and Atlanta.” America has always had regional elites; what is unique about the present is the consolidation of a single, national ruling class.
Second, to be a member of the ruling class is to believe that only other members of your class can be allowed to lead the country. That is to say, members of the ruling class refuse to submit to the authority of anyone outside the group, whom they disqualify from eligibility by casting them as in some way illegitimate.
Clinton, Bush,and Obama ok, but Trump not ok:
Faced with an external threat in the form of Trumpism, the natural cohesion and self-organizing dynamics of the social class were fortified by new top-down structures of coordination that were the goal and the result of Obama’s national mobilization. In the run-up to the 2020 election, according to reporting by Lee Fang and Ken Klippenstein for The Intercept, “tech companies including Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, Wikipedia, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Verizon Media met on a monthly basis with the FBI, CISA, and other government representatives … to discuss how firms would handle misinformation during the election.” …
What do the members of the ruling class believe? They believe, I argue, “in informational and management solutions to existential problems” and in their “own providential destiny and that of people like them to rule, regardless of their failures.”
As a class, their highest principle is that they alone can wield power. If any other group were to rule, all progress and hope would be lost, and the dark forces of fascism and barbarism would at once sweep back over the earth.
While technically an opposition party is still permitted to exist in the United States, the last time it attempted to govern nationally, it was subjected to a yearslong coup. In effect, any challenge to the authority of the ruling party, which represents the interests of the ruling class, is depicted as an existential threat to civilization. …
The end of mere censorship:
In Germany [Google] recently unveiled a new campaign to expand its “prebunking” initiative “that aims to make people more resilient to the corrosive effects of online misinformation,” according to the Associated Press. The announcement closely followed Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ appearance on a German podcast, during which he called for using artificial intelligence to combat “conspiracy theories” and “political polarization.” Meta has its own prebunking program. In a statement to the website Just The News, Mike Benz called prebunking “a form of narrative censorship integrated into social media algorithms to stop citizens from forming specific social and political belief systems” and compared it to the “pre-crime” featured in dystopian science-fiction movie Minority Report.
Meanwhile, the military is developing weaponized AI technology to dominate the information space. …
Their “democracy” is nothing like the old democracy:
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich responded to the news that Elon Musk was purchasing Twitter by declaring that preserving free speech online was “Musk’s dream. And Trump’s. And Putin’s. And the dream of every dictator, strongman, demagogue, and modern-day robber baron on Earth. For the rest of us, it would be a brave new nightmare.” According to Reich, censorship is “necessary to protect American democracy.”
To a ruling class that had already grown tired of democracy’s demand that freedom be granted to its subjects, disinformation provided a regulatory framework to replace the U.S. Constitution. By aiming at the impossible, the elimination of all error and deviation from party orthodoxy, the ruling class ensures that it will always be able to point to a looming threat from extremists — a threat that justifies its own iron grip on power.
A siren song calls on those of us alive at the dawn of the digital age to submit to the authority of machines that promise to optimize our lives and make us safer. Faced with the apocalyptic threat of the “infodemic,” we are led to believe that only superintelligent algorithms can protect us from the crushingly inhuman scale of the digital information assault.
The old human arts of conversation, disagreement, and irony, on which democracy and much else depend, are subjected to a withering machinery of military-grade surveillance — surveillance that nothing can withstand and that aims to make us fearful of our capacity for reason.
The ruling class rather tires of old-fashioned democracy, simply because they cannot win elections fairly. The vast majority of the electorate is not in the ruling class (oddly enough). At any one time, the ruling class buys off some identity groups (e.g. blacks) with promises of extra privileges and money, but even so they can never get enough votes. So they need to misinform on an industrial scale, to trick us into voting for them. And as a last resort, to rig the voting machines.
Enter Trump, now a quad-indicted criminal:
This mugshot tweet by Trump went viral, now downloaded 221 million times.