Monday, December 6, 2021

Propaganda: the Doom of the Western Empire


This painting by Konstantin Vasiliev (1942-1976) celebrates the great patriotic war of 1941-1945 (Вели́кая Оте́чественная война́). It is a good example of Soviet propaganda at its best: sometimes it could produce stunningly beautiful images. But, on average, propaganda in the Soviet Union was primitive and heavily based on censorship, eventually turning out to be unable to keep together the Union in a moment of crisis. In the West, propaganda was much more sophisticated and, for a while, it managed to convince Western citizens that they were told the truth by their governments. That phase is now over and the Western propaganda system has moved to a fully "Soviet-style" censorship system. With this development, the Western Empire may well have sealed its doom: no government can survive for long if the people it rules don't believe in it.


“The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he does not exist.” Charles Baudelaire


I distinctly remember when I was a child and my father saw me reading a small book illustrated with images showing red flags, sickles, and hammers. Worried, he took it from my hands, looked at it, and gave it back to me. "It is all right," he said. "It is our propaganda." 

What I had in my hands was an anti-communist pamphlet of the 1960s, issued by the Christian Democratic party. I remember it well, it was full of images of evil Soviet Communists slaughtering their own dissidents, part of the general anti-communist propaganda in Italy of the post-war period. 

At that time, it was still fine to state openly that something was propaganda. And it was normal in a bi-polar world to be expected to believe in the propaganda issued by one's political side while despising the symmetrical propaganda issued by the other side. 

Things changed over the years. With the Soviet Union spiraling down into a crisis from which it would not survive, its propaganda system revealed its limits. It is the basic problem of censorship: if you have to suppress contrasting opinions, it means that you have something to hide. The Soviet public understood that very well and it maintained a healthy dose of skepticism toward anything that their government was telling them. They still do.  

In the West, instead, the propaganda system evolved into a more and more sophisticated instrument that even managed to elevate itself into a "non-propaganda" system by abandoning censorship. In this way, it managed to convince most people that propaganda did not exist in the West (the devil's finest trick, according to Baudelaire). 

Consequently, Westerners started to believe that their "free press" was providing them with objective and trustworthy information, unlike the state-controlled press of those evil Soviets. That was truly a triumph: still today, the naïve trust of Western citizens in the media baffles the people who lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain. 

But things keep changing, as they always do. The apparent triumph of the West turned out to be hollow. Now, the West faces the same problems that the Soviet Union faced at the time of its demise: how to maintain the cohesion of a large group of states and populations which don't find it attractive anymore to be part of an empire?

One consequence is the return of rather primitive propaganda methods to support the military control of the Western sphere of influence. During the past few decades, the West started using a series of "shock and awe" propaganda campaigns designed to demonize foreign governments, and to open the way for their military elimination. Saddam Hussein was the first victim, others followed. The mechanism is still in operation, although it seems to have become less effective in recent times.

During the past two years, the Western propaganda system underwent a further evolution. Under the banner of fighting "fake news," it started to enforce a pervasive Soviet-Style censorship system over the Web, coupled with the complete government control of the media. Propaganda has become truly all-encompassing and brutal, at present taking as a target for demonization the so-called "anti-vaxxers." 

Why this evolution? Everything that happens, happens for a reason. And it is clear that the West is reacting to a major economic, environmental, and resource crisis. As it happens to all societies in crisis, it reacts by trying to tighten the links that keep the system together. But these "solutions" may well be worsening the problem. 

It is a well-known story, noted perhaps for the first time by the founder of System Dynamics, Jay Forrester. When people find themselves in trouble, they are normally able to identify the elements that cause the problems: the "leverage points" of the system. And almost always they tend to act on these points in such a way to worsen the problem. 

In this case, the evolution of the Western propaganda system into a censorship-based Soviet-style apparatus may temporarily be effective, But, in the long run, is destined to have disastrous effects. Eliminating dissent looks like a good idea by the elites in power, but it has a deadly consequence: it "freezes" society into a rigid structure. Rigid means fragile, as those who work in materials science know very well. In this case, it becomes impossible for society to adapt to new problems except by collapsing: it is the "Seneca Effect."  

Most Westerners have been taken by surprise by this rapid change in the management of a communication system that, up to just a few years ago, glorified "freedom of speech." They seem to refuse to believe in what's happening, even though they see it happening in front of them. They still have to develop the memetic antibodies against propaganda that the Soviet citizens had developed long ago. But, as they are fed more and more blatant lies, eventually they are going to develop a certain degree of immunity. 

And that's the basic problem: no government can exist for long if the people it rules don't believe in it. That was the doom of the Soviet Empire and it may well be that the Western Empire has sealed its own doom by destroying its free press system of which it was justly proud. Without an internal method to critically evaluate the government's decisions, huge mistakes -- even deadly ones -- are unavoidable.

What form the doom of the Western Empire will take, and how fast it will come, is difficult to say. We may just remember Seneca's statement that "increases are of sluggish growth but the way to ruin is rapid." 



On this subject, see also Simon Sheridan's "The Twilight of Narrative"  and Franco Bifo Berardi's "Rassegnatevi" (in Italian)

58 comments:

  1. Excellent as always, my dear friend.

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  2. Simpler narratives for more complex times inevitably fall apart. The real solution -- develop complexity and empathy in your people -- is always a threat to the powers that be.

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  3. When I was young, a friend of mine who was several years older than me spent several months in England. When he returned I asked him about his personal experiences with Englishmen. He said: "They are incredibly stupid.". I was shocked. I always thought that Englishmen are clever people. But my friend immediately explained: "They believe everything they read in the newspapers and hear on TV."

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    1. Typical. In my experience, the Russians still think in this way and they may well be right.

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  4. Ugo, are you aware of what Mattias Desmet says? According to his theory, mass formation and hypnosis are exactly the same. There are several interviews you may find worth listening to. Here is the one with Chris Martenson : https://www.peakprosperity.com/mattias-desmet-on-mass-formation/

    "You have to participate. You have to accept the vaccine. You have to respect social distancing because if you don't. You lack citizenship, showing us solidarity. So this is the most crucial thing, always in mass formation. So that's the real reason, the real reason why people buy into the story, even if it is utterly absurd. Is not because they believe in the narrative. It is because the narrative leads to the new social bonds. That's the very reason. And then there is a fourth advantage. All the frustration and aggression can be directed at an object, and that object is the people who, for one reason or another, do not want to participate in the mass formation. "

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    1. So many things in the Web! I didn't know about Mattias Desmet. One more discovery. Anyway, propaganda uses several strategies, Western propaganda is mainly about intimidation. Then, they also exploit mass hysteria, but it is not common: they know it is a short-lived phenomenon. In this case, yes, they whipped up a very nice phenomenon of mass hysteria. But this phase will soon be over: Westerners are unable to keep being excited for long about something. Keeping them excited requires more and more efforts -- eventually it will be too expensive. At that point, however, the bureaucratic structures of mass control will be impossible to remove. It is perfectly parallel with what happened in Russia: a lot of excitement about Communism at the beginning, then the government settled to a bureaucratic structure that eliminated all dissent.

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    2. "Western propaganda is mainly about intimidation."

      You are absolutely right about that. Even when you see Western TV shows about tourism and travel, when it is about Eastern countries, the real message is not "how beautiful the cultural diversity is", it's always "look how poor and uneducated these people are, if you don't allow us to manipulate you, you will become like these poor and uneducated people". The western propaganda message is always intimidation in function of control.

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  5. You may be right. If the phase of mass hysteria is soon over, then we have a chance now to do something. Speaking (like what you are doing here) is the most important. The communists did not have the Internet, they just had to control the newspapers to control the narrative. This is different now. You and Gail Tverberg, Orlov, Martenson and many others, you help us and we can speak to the others because we are not isolated, we use our own arguments but they are backed by your articles and posts and the huge resources of the web. There is no fatality. Every single day, I talk to my colleagues and friends, unsuccessfully but hopefully in the long term there will be some effects. A last quote from Desmet:
    "I think we we do not only have to speak for ourselves, we also have to speak for the people who believe in the narrative because in the end, it will be clear that they need a dissident voice and and and that without this dissident voice, the system will close and will become radically self-destructive."

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    1. In the Soviet Union they had a lively system of "samizdat" (self-published). It was equivalent to what we are doing with our blogs. The beauty of of the Samizdat system was that the very fact that communication was heavily censored gave it value. That is, people considered the samizdat data more reliable than the government-controlled media. It is a question of inflation, in the end. What is very abundant is also cheap. In our case, the powers that be had found a nice trick to de-evaluate information they didn't like. They made it freely available to everyone, while branding it as "fake news" (or "conspiracy theories). It worked: people just couldn't believe those "fake news" not anymore than they would accept Monopoly money for payment. But now, things are changing. If you risked to be arrested for carrying Monopoly money cards in your pockets, you would think they are very valuable. I think the PTBs made a huge mistake, but it will take time for its effects to be visible.

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    2. I would say one more thing: not only they made available "real" information but they also created their own conspiracy theories so that they could debunk them and say : "look, those people are really stupid, they believe anything". Alex Jones is a caricature and there are more subtle examples of this vicious method. Mixing half truths with half lies makes almost impossible to distinguish what is reliable. The Powers that be managed to organize and use a false opposition for their own profit which is, I must say, a great accomplishment.
      In France Didier Raoult promoted early the treatment with hydroxychloroquine and Zinc, even before he had seen any patient! He became much popular with videos on YouTube and people loved to watch that kind of druid talking to them with simple words. Later he published some studies obviously weak if not falsified and the healthcare system deservedly condemned him. It is now impossible to talk about this treatment. This is self censorship by fear of being ridiculed. Good job.

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    3. So true. In comparison, the old Soviet censors were low level numskulls. Just think of the story of the "controlled demolition" of the WTC. A masterpiece of disinformation.

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    4. To Thierry: That is exactly how I see Alex Jones. By airing the dirty laundry of TPTB and mixing it with absurd bullshit, the educated upper middle class or "professional class" reject everything he said out of hand. It is a brilliant strategy. What is horrendous and true, and what should have them up in arms, is dismissed the moment it is linked with Alex Jones.

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  6. A passage in Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival has stuck with me since I read it many years ago: "While methods differ sharply from more brutal to more free societies, the goals are in many ways similar: to ensure the ‘great beast,’ as Alexander Hamilton called the people, does not stray from its proper confines. Controlling the general population has always been a dominant concern of power and privilege…Problems of domestic control become particularly severe when the governing authorities carry out policies that are opposed by the general population. In those cases, the political leadership may…manufacture consent..."

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    1. And yet, Chomsky has been swallowed by the great beast. https://nationalpost.com/news/world/noam-chomsky-says-the-unvaccinated-should-just-remove-themselves-from-society

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    2. Come on, get something less weak before stating this from Chomsky. There is no context, no audio, no text of what was literally said…
      And actually even you might say the same thing, as an advise. Isn’t it what is implied after the discussion about how minorities can survive extermination?
      You hurt my feelings!

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    3. I guess I could have looked for the video by myself before asking in anger. :)
      Thanks.

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    4. Sorry for your feelings, Anonymous, I didn't mean to hurt you! Chomsky may have a more nuanced position than the one that comes from the link I posted. It was just the first I stumbled upon. But, in my opinion, Chomsky understood nothing of the pandemic. https://www.inquisitr.com/6495861/noam-chomsky-says-anti-vaxxers-have-responsibility-to-isolate-t.

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    5. Sorry, Marty, I was a little hasty, too, in posting a link without checking it more thoroughly.

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    6. They have absolutely "got Chomsky" with this pandemic. The video of his statement of position is enough.

      Not like he's been of relevance in media anytime recently, except when he gets trotted out before US elections to say that the Democrat candidate is the lesser evil.

      As described in the comment thread above... maybe he's been controlled opposition all along. Would be a damn shame as "Manufacturing Consent" is of absolute relevance to Western political history, not to mention the present moment!

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  7. I am not sure if its only the Western Empire which has a problem and even less sure if COVID is really relevant. What I am sure of is that here in Switzerland intensive care units are again filled up with COVID patients, mostly unvaccinated and that almost all COVID deaths are unvaccinated. ICU-nurses leave because of overcharge and burnout, other patients cannot get adequate treatment. While therefore quite a number of people have reasons for misgivings towards anti-vaxxers COVID will not be the end of the world. The real danger to empires Eastern and Western alike comes from the accelerating climate/resource/hunger catastrophe. Pertinent information is suppressed by the plutocratic-industrial complex which guides media, politics, IPCC and COPs to maintain the status quo by half-truths, false promises and omission of the worst possibilities like rapid loss of arctic ice with rapid warming of the arctic sea and massive methane release. This very much reminds of the position of the German governments during the first and the second world war, where propaganda maintained false hopes for final victory although defeat was already clear in 1916 and 1942 respectively.

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    1. "What I am sure of is that here in Switzerland intensive care units are again filled up with COVID patients, mostly unvaccinated and that almost all COVID deaths are unvaccinated."
      I am interested. How can you be so sure ?
      Did you check yourself on site, or did you see this in the media ?

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    2. I happen to be a physician and having worked in intensive care I still get inside information which confirms the official statistics: At the moment Switzerland still can make do with shifting patients from overloaded hospitals to others with free beds. But if the epidemic continues this will give way to a general overcharge already before the end of the year and then the dreaded consequence will be that somebody will have to choose whom to treat and whom not to treat. May I add that experts and insurances did expect such an epidemic since many years while authorities sadly neglected these warnings in Switzerland and the UK. But all this has not much importance, because it will not cause anybodys doom while the climate/resource/hunger catastrophe has already begun, is accelerating and will indeed cause everybodys doom. I am very impressed by Prof.Peter Wadhams, emeritus professor of phyics in Oxford and expert of arctic ice who says that the loss of arctic ice will impair harvests in temperate zones (a pertinent example being last summer) and release methane from permafrost which will accelerate all this, leading to catastrophe perhaps within years. And as Prof.Bardi told us here not long ago civil unrest and revolutions are just nine meals away.Therefore I'm not sure if its time well spent if we discuss the merits of Vaxxers and Antivaxxers on our sinking Titanic.

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    3. Dr Fierz, do hospitals in Switzerland get bonuses for each covid patient? I am told these bonuses in many countries can be quite substantial. How do you think this affects the covid admissions in general?

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    4. Reimbursment in Swiss hospitals is calculated according to a most complicated tariff which should reflect the actual workload and complexity of each case. This said as a COVID-patient you only land in an ICU if you have insufficient breathing and need artificial ventilation. This depends on O2-saturation and not on any rewards. Moreover COVID-patients need 1.5 or 2 times more manpower than other patients. Many people have no clue how it is to work in a fully occupied ICU with many ventilated COVID-patients. Its just unbearable and the nurses leave one after the other, which is now limiting capacity.

      Anyway what importance? The world rapidly nears the Seneca-Cliff in form of the environmental/warming/hunger catastrophe and all these COVID-discussions only serve to direct the attention away from this incomfortable fact. This is what I wanted to say. I have not much interest in COVID and the related paranoias.

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    5. But you do not answer me. Do the hospitals receive across the board a much greater reimbusement for covid vs non-covid patients, unrelated to actual disease progression in each case? And if they do, how does that affect the incentives for admission?

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    6. Well dear Anonymous. Lets first face the fact that I am not anonymous but open about my identity and country. Second you may doubt it but all my life I was not very interested in tariffs, but in patients, their personalities, stories and complaints and mostly how to improve them in a most efficient and cost-effective way and I chose to work with similarly minded collegues. High quality work attracts customers and reimbursment in this country is good enough that it did not influence the choice of the best and most simple and efficient treatment. Now the Swiss hospitals are paid by lump sums according to a system related to diagnosis and complexity of the case. You can google the tariff under SwissDRG. Of course a COVID-patient who has to be ventilated artificially will be in the most expensive group. But to conclude from there that they are ventilated because of money is a conspiracy theory. It is all the more incredible because - as said - nurses are now leaving the ICU's and therefore the monetary gains to be made there becomes smaller. And I have to say that the many intensive medicine physicians I met in my life are among the most capable and respectable collegues. As you can imagine a hospital will speedily throw out any ICU-physician who is unable to save its most ill patients. COVID-overcharge of ICU's in this country is a sad reality and you can see alarm cries by the individual responsible physicians almost every day in the media. But I had to learn in medical school that paranoid ideas are not accessible to rational reasoning of material proof and I am prepared to accept that.

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    7. I am curious if your medical boards/authorities/advisors are censoring information about ivermectin, Vitamin D, etc. If they are punishing doctors for suggesting use of such things. I understand you may not personally believe in such interventions but there are others doctors who do. I am curious how they are treated by the hospital and administrators. Thank you sir.

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    8. Thank you for your response, Dr F. I am the anonymous who asked you about extra monies, not the one who asked about other treatments. I am normally identified more openly in disqus and other fora, but as I am pretty active in expressing non-PC opinions, I am growing uneasy about it in today's political climate. Unlike you, I don't belong to any political power block, and if the "machine" chose to grind me underfoot, nobody would defend me.

      I see in your response you've already made up your mind about all sorts ideas I purportedly believe in, simply because I asked a question. Not a fair approach to your fellow commenters, is it?

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    9. Anonymous, I understand your position, but please do not accuse Lukas of being "unfair." He has answered your question according to his viewpoint, and that was perfectly fair. The debate is sufficiently nasty on the socials, please avoid this kind of exchanges.

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    10. Anonymous, I understand your position, but please do not accuse Lukas of being "unfair." He has answered your question according to his viewpoint, and that was perfectly fair. The debate is sufficiently nasty on the socials, please avoid this kind of exchanges.

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    11. Hello Ugo Bardi. I read his reply as somewhat condescending, suggesting "conspiracy theory" and "paranoid ideas" behind my question. Nowhere did I attack his person. Nor would I.

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    12. Well, you said that his approach was not fair. I intervened just to note that we should keep the discussion within the normal rules of courtesy. Then, it is OK.

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    13. Thank you Dr. Fierz,
      I am very ignorant of medicine, so I rely on those trained in the science. I have some technical background, but it falls far short of the level such as Dr. Bardi. Hence, I give more weight to his insights, especially in the physical sciences, than I do most others. So, when I read an observation from yourself about the ratios of cases and severe cases involving COVID, I suspect they should be given a high level of credence.
      My sporadic reading of internet comments has demonstrated the following pattern to me: 1. Show me that being vaccinated lowers the risks of COVID!.
      Ok, here is the data of hospitalization/ deaths/ etc
      2. Well, how are you sure that data is accurate? (insert reasons for doubt here)
      In other words, no amount of data you may present will convince them of either their accuracy or validity.
      It appears to me that the act of opposing vaccinations has morphed into a subset of an overall ideology. Ideologies are, by definition, impervious to facts that do not support it. I have some thoughts as to how we have gotten here, but they are based on informed reasoning and speculation, not any data or study driven information. It would also be too lengthy.
      Stay safe.

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    14. Fresh figures from Switzerland's covid deaths (old people die, it's the same story since the beginning of times):
      Office fédéral de la santé publique OFSP
      .

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  8. Yes, we are immersed in an ocean of propaganda. But it seems the "anti-vaxers" are also propagandists--while presenting themselves as "anti." They appear to be "entrepreneurs" who, like the worst propagandists, don't care if those listening to them live or die.

    I refuse to read or listen to "anti-vax" as it all has the tone of smoking addicts on oxygen defending their habit.

    The propaganda of the "Evil Empire" makes more sense--protect yourself from this new and unknown danger by reasonable steps--masks, vaccinations, social distancing--as imperfect as these are.

    It saddens me that writers I used to respect--such as Tverberg, Iliargi, Martenson--have gone way outside their areas of expertise--and promote anti-vax positions. This undercuts all their previous work, in my opinion.

    I no longer visit their sites.

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    1. All very true about being disappointed when people you respect start coming out with opinions or positions you don't respect. But no individual is perfect, every human has to try and make sense of the world. And it is very hard in any "normal" social interaction to totally avoid saying anything that is wrong or unfounded. So I guess what I am saying is not to ignore or abandon one person because they say something foolish or dangerous, but to keep an eye on them with cynicism in case they once again say something insightful or interesting.

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    2. It seems to me that most so called "anti-vaxxers" are not really "anti" something but just want to be left alone and not more or less forcefully injected with a more than less experimental drug.
      "Anti-vax" is just a simplistic category created to stimie dissent and that fits well in the current propaganda trends.
      Indeed, I dare say that usage of simplistic categories, by replacing thinking by demonization, is at the root of current propaganda.

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    3. It is very "human" for an "expert" in one field to begin assuming expertise in another field they actually know very little about. Often they have admirers that believe everything expressed by their "guru."

      This happens all the time! "I don't know" seems to be the hardest words for any human to say.

      The internet, in my opinion, exaggerates this process. The person who has created the website is "entitled" to control the discourse. It is "their platform." Take it or leave it!

      I have observed how this process develops into "echo chambers." In my opinion, it is a waste of time to "dialogue" in such a situation. Any objection to the mob voice is moderated away.

      The trouble with "dipping into" these sites is that one is exposing oneself to a toxic field. Not just a few different opinions.

      Thank you, Ugo Bardi, for offering this platform in which has allowed me to express my unhappiness. I have taken, and continue to take, pleasure in your work!

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    4. There are two possible hypotheses for what's happening: a) the government is trying to help us and b) the government is trying to enslave us. The beauty of this situation is that there is no way that you can determine whether a or b is true by logic, facts, or anything like that. It doesn't mean that it is a Schroedinger cat-like situation, where both a and b are true. It is a pretty normal situation in which either a or b is true. It is just that we cannot determine the truth: how would that be possible? To prove "b" we would need to see on TV Albert Bourla, (the chairman of Pfizer) Bill Gates, and Tony Fauci, and hear all three confess their crime. Yeah, sure. But even admitting that it could happen, would you believe that the 2D shapes you saw on screen are the actual, real, flesh and blood Bourla/Gates/Fauci? Do you remember the video cassette miraculously found in a cave in Afghanistan where Osama Bin Laden accuses himself of having organized the 9/11 attack? Was he the real Osama Bin Laden? How would you know for sure? -- Symmetrically, hypothesis "a" can't be really proven except by proving that "b" is impossible

      And so? I don't know. What I can say is that there is nothing wrong in creating an "echo chamber" providing that you don't exaggerate in removing the external noise. A group of people who are sincerely interested in finding the truth can develop a credible narrative. Then, it can be compared with other narratives. Not that you can arrive to certainty, but I think truth can be at least approached at a not so long distance.

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    5. History proves that "b" is always the case. In our present situation there is no need to be a medical expert in order to see that the official story is full of holes and lies. No need to be an expert to notice that huge number of real experts do not agree with the simplistic official narrative, and how nastily they are being silenced, blackmailed, censored, ridiculed... the dishonesty and the double standards of the official media are more than obvious. Obvious are also patterns of a well designed, centralised propaganda machine. No need to be an expert to see how Europe turns into a soviet-type totalitarian dictatorship. No need to be an expert to know that obliging everyone to get a "vaccine", invented just a few months ago, is insane. No need to be an expert to realize that changing irreversibly your genetic code is a pretty serious move, a challenge (or should I rather say "offence"?) to the mother nature and a) such an intervention must be considered extremely carefuly in advance, b) nobody should be forced to do it unwillingly. No need to be an expert to see that medicine is only a pretext for advancing an agenda which has nothing to do with our health. Etc., etc.

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    6. The probability that the hypotheses b) "the government is trying to enslave us" is true is much higher. It's perfectly normal that when resource scarcity becomes the problem the authorities try to use more propaganda. It's because in the times of abundance there is enough goods to be offered to public as form of bribe while at the same time ruling classes can keep most profits. In the times of scarcity some (or most) of the goods must be taken away from the public and these goods must be replaced with propaganda narratives. But this process always ends in the same way - collapse. At some point people notice that stories, no matter how well conceived, can not replace goods.

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    7. Hello Ugo and Ivan,
      I think a more plausible narrative is c) Government tries to stay in power.
      To imagine that they are trying to enslave us is IMHO an overestimation of the competence and capabilities of the elected "leaders".
      I think they are even more confused than us, since they have an overfull schedule and are bribed/influenced/entertained by more lobbyists than we can count, all with a different story.
      I think they are lost and in panic and trying to survive in their positions, making up statements and claims as they are meddling along.
      Of course the "official story" is full of wholes, but I see it as a sign of incompetence, rather than an evil plan. See e.g. Hanlon's Razor https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor

      This is just another case of the Cipolla's model of stupidity, as was explained clearly in this excellent blog in August this year. https://thesenecaeffect.blogspot.com/2021/08/human-stupidity-explained-our-paper-on.html

      The consequence, if c) is true, is that we have to build local resilience and reduce our dependency on government systems. I am trying to do that.

      And I suspect that it is useful also if a) or b) or d) happens to be true.

      Goran

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    8. In this situation "the government" cannot "stay in power" without enslaving us. It is as simple as that. So, b) and c) fully coincide. No matter how incompetent governments are, they know it, and they will do their best to fulfil b) anyway. See, we have the worst possible scenario - stupid and corrupt governments with evil plan.

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    9. Well, yes, but "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice." And some of the "stupidities" are getting awfully hard to attribute to mere idiocy.

      I am looking at a) the government wants to help us stay healthy, b) this is not about our health but about power and wealth, and c) this is about actively harming our health. I no longer believe it's a), do believe it's b), and am dismayed to find myself leaning more and more toward c) as well.

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    10. Goran,

      You are right that the government tries to stay in power. But what could be the reason that anybody wants power in the first place? What could be the reason that anybody wants to do such dirty job of ruling others? You are absolutely right that ruling people is extremely difficult and risky, so there must be some motivation for them. Well, that is almost always some kind of profit, usually, but not exclusively, material profit. Contrary to what most people believe, you don't have to be very intelligent to rule the mass. It only takes determination and very simple ability to recognize simple public reaction to different propaganda stimuli. There were some very instructive posts by Ugo about Mussolini. He is the prototype of modern politician, except that in his case everything was too obvious. Modern propaganda allows politicians to do the same things but their motives are hidden in better way. The camouflage is better.

      Like Anonymous I think that option b) and c) are complementary. Stupidity and pathological ambition go hand in hand. Modern technology allows politicians to manipulate the mass in more efficient way. The politicians have the false impression that with technology they can do anything they want. And that belief is their Seneca's cliff from which they will fall.

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    11. Hello Ivan,
      Thanks for this perspective.
      (I also need to apology, I misspelled the word hole as whole above...)

      I resonate with your wording: "The politicians have the false impression that with technology they can do anything they want."

      This belief is blinding them (and many of us) to the reality of limits to our current civilization's reach.
      Exhortations are not observations.

      Indeed, the errors will keep growing until the Seneca cliff makes us all tumble.

      A very concrete example of this has been the last two weeks of "economic" news in the newspaper that I still read (#4 in The Netherlands), about the "temporary record inflation of 5.2%". "Experts" from banks and universities say that it all comes from the shipping crisis and lock-down effects. Nobody talks about the fact that ECB has tripled the M1 monetary base since 2015. That the money-printing enriches us in the owner classes. That salary-slaves and pensioners and renters suffer, while rentiers party on like there is no tomorrow.
      Nobody seems to want to talk about the reality, just shift the blame to someone else. Seneca is waiting, just around the corner.

      Thanks,
      Goran

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    12. "What could be the reason that anybody wants to do such dirty job of ruling others?"
      Threats and blackmail, perhaps? Raise someone with some ugly methods (bribery and corruption, or worse) so he or she can get much candies. Then you have all you need to make him/her your puppet. You perfectly know that politicians are not the rulers, don't you? But no, this must be another conspiracy theory.

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    13. Lee B,
      I believe the old expression " God save me from the man who has read only one book" is very applicable to the internet. We, (I am guilty of it) fall into the false sense of expertise after reading a few articles on subject x,y, or z. Especially when we lack the foundational background that most areas of knowledge require to have a true understanding of its complexity.
      I am a big believer in general knowledge (which also requires years of diverse reading and thinking),but recognize its limitations when dealing with the details of advanced complex subjects. The internet has created legions of us who have an inflated understanding of our wisdom.
      I seldom meet people any more whom I would describe as well read. (but they can explain the stock market trends in detail

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  9. LeeB, using the word "antivaxx" just shows how much you have been hypnotized by the official propaganda. The people you talk about are not "antivaxx" they just try to explain how the stupid reactions to the pandemic has nothing to with health and everything with control. This is what Ugo is trying to say with his own words. What you call vaccines are not vaccines, if they actually were we would be not in this situation. Go back reading Gail and comment if you disagree, she always answers and she debates respectfully with her readers, whatever their opinions are.

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  10. Great article. I've lived in a socialist country (back in the sovet times) for some 20 years, long enough to know that everything you've written is true. Congratulations!

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  11. For the anonymous who used the term "philistine" to define another commenter, could you please rewrite your comment in a gentler way? Thanks

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    1. This "gentler way" is in fact part of the perversion destroying the West. I haven't used the word "philistine" in order to ofend. This is the exact name of the phenomenon. Should I substitute true names with politicaly correct euphemisms? Don't think so. Would you prefer to live in a sterile synthetic world? If so, be happy - you almost have it now in the West. But it will not last long, because it's empty and weak. Confucius once said: "when words lose their meaning people lose their freedom". Excuse my bad english.

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    2. Yes, "philistine" is not an offence, of course. It is just to maintain the discussion pacate (not necessarily polite). Confucius was wise, but also Sun-Tzu was, and he said that the best general is the one who doesn't need to fight battles.

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    3. If the battle has already begun, avoiding it means not wisdom, but betrayal.

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    4. That's not what Sun Tzu says!

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    5. Well, then Sun Tzu is wrong in what he is not saying.

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  12. It has been said that the photocopier was the catalyst for the fall of the USSR. Non censored information spread.

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