Information And The Cultural Revolution
Samuel Culper, an analyst at a website called Forward Observer, which is staffed by former military intel officers who try to make sense of what they believe is coming conflict here, posted something really interesting. I will only quote a bit of it, because they charge a subscription fee for this information, and I think they are entitled to earn a living providing the analysis. (A subscriber of theirs forwarded it to me.) You might want to start subscribing now that things have gotten so hot. It’s basically Stratfor, but for domestic instability.
Anyway, Culper says that this past year in American has been a Cultural Revolution carried out as “Fourth Generation Warfare … where the moral and mental planes are the primary battlefields and information is the primary weapon. This is the key to understanding current events and the immediate future of low intensity conflict.”
Nowhere has 4GW been more apparent than what happened after Wednesday’s protest. Over the past two days, politicians on both sides of the aisle, as well as political pundits, have unequivocally and universally denounced the protest. In the corporate world, Disney, UPS, Chase, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, the National Association of Manufacturers, and a host of other organizations released statements condemning Wednesday’s protest as an assault on democracy. (I’ve repeatedly pointed to corporations and their officers blurring the lines between commerce and politics to support ideological causes, which is part of the main effort in the ongoing conflict. The Cultural Revolution has weaponized commercial entities.) There’s been widespread and consistent repudiation of the protest and violence that ensued on Wednesday.
Compare this week’s reaction to that of Floyd’s Rebellion last summer, where the same corporations, Democratic politicians, and political pundits ignored, excused, justified, or encouraged behavior that included far greater destruction and violence. Yet much of society defended that behavior because social justice activists have spent considerable time and resources to develop political, social, and commercial influence. Victimhood is the primary tool used to build a moral position in 4GW. And through the exploitation of victimhood, the social justice movement has been able to reshape the information environment, especially through social media. Ironically, social media is the primary vehicle for shaping the information environment, yet the Trump administration has done very little over the past four years to diminish that strategic advantage. For all the claims of being fascist, the Trump administration has done virtually nothing to stifle the speech and influence of the Cultural Revolution.
Culper goes on to say that everyone associated with Trump will be demonized across society because the Left controls the information battlefield. More:
This is not to say that these reactions are true, objective, or shared by every member of society. Yet the ability to popularize the idea that these individuals are fascists, domestic terrorists, and “threats to democracy” will further isolate Trump supporters’s ability to compete in the information environment. And that’s going to be a characteristic of at least the next two years of low intensity conflict.
Yesterday we saw a coordinated movement of Big Tech against Trump and his closest supporters. Trump himself has been cut off from nearly all forms of social media, and even his e-mail provider cut him off. Big Tech is moving against Parler, the right-wing alternative to Twitter. This is just the beginning. As Culper observes, the culture-war weaponization of corporate America has given the Left a massive advantage. As I have written in The Benedict Option and Live Not By Lies, in a country like ours, when Big Business takes sides in the culture war, the advantage is overwhelming.
(A reader e-mailed last night to say that my commentary in this space this week has featured too much “I told you so,” which I guess is a fair comment, but I would just respond by saying that you, reader, may not realize the extent to which I deal with fellow Christians saying that I’m being “alarmist,” that it’s not really as bad as all that. I’m not trying to take any kind of victory lap here — it’s not a fun position to be in to be vindicated at the cost of your country going to hell — but I am trying to say, “See! I’ve been trying to tell you this was coming. Let’s act!”)
I have been very clear in this space that what the MAGA mob did in Washington was absolutely unacceptable, and that everyone who participated in it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want to see this president impeached, even though he is leaving office later this month, because what he has done must be formally repudiated by Congress. I have been hard on religious conservatives who, after the election, went all-in on “Stop The Steal,” saying that this was madness. It’s all there on the record. These people have brought disgrace to themselves and to our country.
That said, it is instructive to compare, as Culper does, the reaction of the Establishment (my catch-all term for figures in the state, corporate America, universities, media, and other institutions that make up what the neoreactionaries call “the Cathedral”) to last year’s race rioting and Wednesday’s MAGA riot. It was entirely predictable. Last year’s rioters were widely characterized in the media and among the Establishment as victims, ultimately. Nobody sees the MAGA people as victims, only as Deplorables. In my view, rioters, whether white or black, left-wing or right-wing, are deplorable. Violence must be rejected, full stop.
But that’s not how things work in this country.
Universities, media, and corporations responded to last year’s violence as if they had an urgent moral responsibility to embrace a form of de-Nazification regarding race — as if institutions where previously racism was minimal to non-existent had awakened to find themselves all to be harboring aggressive bigotries that must be stamped out. Recently, the National Association of Realtors, a professional organization with 1.4 million members, announced a plan to suppress “hate speech” by monitoring all aspects of its members’ lives. As Real Clear investigations reports:
In what some consider one of the most far-reaching social policy moves in the corporate world, the National Association of Realtors, called the nation’s largest trade organization, has revised its professional ethics code to ban “hate speech and harassing speech” by its 1.4 million members.
The sweeping prohibition applies to association members 24/7, covering all communication, private and professional, written and spoken, online and off. Punishment could top out at a maximum fine of $15,000 and expulsion from the organization.
NAR’s decision, allowing any member of the public to file a complaint, has alarmed other real estate agents, and also some legal and ethics experts, who say the hate speech ban’s vagueness is an invitation to censor controversial political opinions, especially on race and gender. While that’s not the association’s stated intention, the skeptics say their fears are justified by the hyperactive “cancel culture” online that has jettisoned hapless workers for posting “all lives matter” and objecting to gay marriage.
“The dam has broken and other organizations will look at this,” predicted Robert Föehl, a professor of business ethics and business law at Ohio University.
“If this is good for real estate agents, why not attorneys, why not doctors?” Föehl said. “They’re going to be pressured to do what NAR has done. And that pressure is going to be very real, because what organization wants to argue they should allow hate speech by their members?”
Among those caught up in the uncertainty are real estate agents who are Christian preachers or Sunday school teachers, or anyone who expresses traditional religious views on gender and sexuality that are out of vogue in some circles today.
“We’re getting a lot of people asking about whether or not they can say that they are against gay marriage,” NAR staffer Diane Mosley said during an online training session on Nov. 30. “Specifically, if they can back it up with Scriptures, or say it in a sermon.”
Read it all.This amounts to a blacklist. The Woke NAR’s campaign against Evil is so intense that it even wants to hold its members responsible for private speech. We have to hope that it doesn’t hold up in court, but we should expect this kind of thing to sweep across the professions. The Reichstag fire that happened at the Capitol on Wednesday is going to give far more impetus to these measures. Any Realtor who has ever said anything favorable about Donald Trump online ought to be worried about his or her job now. What organization wants to argue that its members should be allowed to express support for the people who invaded the Capitol?
All of this was foreseeable, by the way. I was writing about it in this space as far back as 2015, when Big Business smashed the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I’m not a seer of any sort, but I knew back then — and wrote in this space — that the liberty of people, religious or not, to dissent from progressive beliefs on homosexuality was suddenly in danger from corporations.
And Republicans did nothing. Neither did Donald Trump.
When he came into office, he had a Republican Congress behind him for two years. Where was the legislation to protect speech and religious liberty in the face of corporate policies? When did he even talk about it in any meaningful way? Well, he’s going now, and on the way out, he arranged for the Democrats to take over Congress, and he and his followers have given the Left carte blanche to treat all of us as hostes humani generis — enemies of the human race. I get the phrase from Justice Scalia’s Windsor dissent:
To defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence— indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.
At this point, it’s meaningless to focus on the woulda-coulda-shoulda. We are past that now. I received this e-mail overnight from a professor who is a Christian. I slightly edited it to protect the reader’s identity:
I’m [a science and technology] professor at a research intensive university. The soft totalitarianism of which you speak is spot on. It is not a far-away possibility but a movement that already has most of our institutions in its grip. It is here. Although I should be getting my tenure in a few months, I doubt even it will protect me should I question the EDI religion, the rapid decline in standards, the harm we are actually inflicting on students by validating their every grievance. I’ve peered behind the curtain in my own field. Are they true believers in today’s societal delusions? Some definitely are. Many are careerists, who will say and do whatever is necessary. Most operate out of fear. They are terrified of students, of bad publicity. And as we acquiesce, the woke mob gains more and more ground. None of this will be easily reversed, if ever.The sad thing is, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We want to fight back, but the conservative movement has become as toxic, identitarian and, frankly, idiotic as the woke left. I am not willing to give up reason and truth so that I can defeat my enemies. And what if this cohort of the New Right wins and becomes our cultural icons? Is this really what we want? Emotion-driven, culturally illiterate, ahistorical blowhards? The cure is nearly as bad as the disease.I fear for our future. I have three children. I am pretty convinced that my two boys will not have the same opportunities as those growing up one or two generations ago. I worry any one of them will fall into the nihilistic, deconstructionist world view that is brainwashing most young people today. It is not out of the question that our governments may institute a social credit system, making me choose between my conscience and more freedom/opportunity for my children. I see this authoritarianism coming from a newfound love for control amidst the Covid-19 pandemic (I am NOT a denier) and an overreaction to the tumultuous Trump years. My wife and I want to take our family and run for the hills.
[H]e understood that the spiritual trials awaiting believers under communism would put them to an extreme test. The charismatic pastor preached that only a total life commitment to Christ would enable them to withstand the coming trial.
“Give yourself totally to Christ, throw all your worries and desires on him, for he has a wide back, and you will witness miracles,” the priest said, in the recollection of one disciple.