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Liberals Are Adopting an Old Soviet Tactic: Painting Opponents as Mentally Ill
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After Trump’s shock success, centrists urgently need a narrative that leaves untouched the status quo and its claim to moral superiority

Back in the dark days of the Soviet Union, dissidents risked being locked up – but not, officially at least, on the grounds that they had committed a political crime. In the Soviet regime’s imagination, treason and mental illness were often two sides of the same coin.

Here’s a brief description from Wikipedia of the phenomenon:

The KGB [the Soviet secret police] routinely sent dissenters to psychiatrists for diagnosing to avoid embarrassing public trials and to discredit dissidence as the product of ill minds. Highly classified government documents which have become available after the dissolution of the Soviet Union confirm that the authorities consciously used psychiatry as a tool to suppress dissent.

The weaponization of mental illness by the Soviet Union against internal critics has been described as “punitive psychiatry.”

Vladimir Bukovsky, a Russian human rights activist who spent many years confined to psychiatric hospitals and labor camps, wrote “A Manual on Psychiatry for Dissenters”, together with a Ukrainian psychiatrist, Semyon Gluzman. The pair observed: “The Soviet use of psychiatry as a punitive means is based upon the deliberate interpretation of dissent … as a psychiatric problem.”

The medicalization of dissent was not unique to the Soviet Union, of course. It is a feature of authoritarian and repressive states. An ideological consensus is cultivated in the population by portraying opponents as traitors whose behavior is proof of a mental disturbance or insanity.

Publicizing dissent, and the reasons for it, through criminal trials risks dangerously challenging dominant social assumptions inculcated by propaganda. Instead, the dissenter can be quietly detained for his or her own good without their political ideology getting an airing.

Medicalizing dissent

This is why the growing trend in the West’s supposedly free and open societies towards conflating dissent with treason – and medicalizing its causes – should concern us. It is likely to be a barometer of how authoritarian our liberal democracies are rapidly becoming.

This has not happened overnight. It has been a gradual process that accelerated with the trauma for liberals of discovering that the political system they so revered was capable of spawning a president like Donald Trump. How could the most evolved of the Western democracies – which had defeated the evil Soviet empire ideologically, economically, and militarily – end up electing such a wretch for a leader?

The proper conclusion to draw was that Trump was a symptom of an entirely dysfunctional, corrupt Western political system – one with which liberals had closely identified even when it was being led by the right. (United States politics had thrown up plenty of other clearly lamentable presidents, such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, but none exhibited the same degree of vulgarity and vanity that so troubled liberals.)

It should have been a moment for the scales to fall from their eyes. But that would have meant questioning everything liberals held dearest. So Instead they found other reasons to explain the rise of President Trump.

He had to be treated as an aberration, not the exemplar of a system that had long served people very much like Trump: whether it was the billionaire-owned media, the moneyed donors that had captured both political parties, or the corporate lobbies that deprived the public of proper health care and channeled public wealth into endless, devastating wars that enriched a narrow elite.

What was needed urgently was a theory that would leave the status quo – and its claim to moral superiority – untouched.

The neatest candidate, for those committed to liberalism, or its modern incarnation as neoliberalism, was the idea that Western democracies had become so open, free, fair, and honest that they had developed an inherent vulnerability – an Achilles’ heel – that could be easily exploited by malicious actors. According to this reasoning, liberal democracy was uniquely susceptible to sabotage.

Fake news ‘threat’

From 2016 onwards, the corporate media was awash with warnings that Trump was the product of dangerous new trends: populism, fake news, Russian disinformation, and online bots. These quickly became shorthand for the same supposed phenomenon.

Paradoxically, these “threats” derived from the rapid technological development of unique forms of popular engagement and more democratic media. Social media leveled the media playing field for the very first time, challenging the traditional top-down model in which state and corporate media – the latter owned and controlled by a fabulously wealthy elite – reserved for themselves an exclusive right to decide what counted as news and how news events should be interpreted and assessed.

There was indeed a problem with fake news on social media, even if it paled in comparison to the much more influential and damaging fake news on corporate media. But the real cause of the proliferation of fake news and wild conspiracies on these platforms could not be genuinely addressed by the corporate elites running our societies – and for good reason.

Fake news, like genuine news, thrives in the more democratic environment of social media only because political and media elites have kept so much real information – information that might make them look less virtuous – under wraps. It is the tight secrecy of Western democracies that has encouraged such variety of news and views, informed and uninformed alike, to proliferate.

Social media “conspiracy theories” are not evidence of how a section of the public has fallen under the malign influence of “Russian disinformation”. Rather they are a sign of how a growing number of Westerners have become so deeply distrustful of their elites and what they are concealing that they are ready to believe almost anything about their depravity, however incredible.

‘Russiagate’ born

There were two other, self-interested reasons for the billionaires and the journalists who work for them to vilify users of social media, painting them as either victims of, or colluders in, “Russian disinformation.”

ORDER IT NOW

First, social media made it possible for the first time to illuminate the inherent weaknesses of the traditional media’s reporting and analyses. Users could highlight what was being ignored or misrepresented, and the glaring double standards at play. Voices that had been disregarded or actively silenced suddenly had visibility.

And second, those offering a mode of critical thinking that has always been impermissible in the corporate media were positioned to question the foundations of the political and economic systems on which the billionaires – and those they employed – depended for their power and privilege.

The foundations of a political system with which liberals deeply identified were being shaken. As a result, a whole industry sprang up to insulate them from the terrifying thought that maybe Trump both personified, and represented a reaction to, something already unwholesome about the US and its values.

And so “Russiagate” was born: the idea that Trump’s electoral success had occurred – could only have occurred – because the US system had been sabotaged from outside and within. Trump must have colluded with the Kremlin to subvert US democracy.

Despite years of investigations, no evidence was ever adduced to support that claim, but nonetheless, it soon had a vise-like hold on the imagination of US liberals.

The subtext was that only those with feeble minds, or perverse and treasonous ideological impulses, could fail to understand that the liberal candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, was far better.

‘Basket of deplorables’

But Trump also provided the perfect opportunity for liberals to start subtly medicalizing their opponents – whether on the left or right. Trump’s narcissism, bordering on personality disorder, was hard to ignore. Those who supported him were therefore readily discredited as a “basket of deplorables” – Clinton’s infamous term for them. (Clinton’s language offered a subliminal message that they were “basket cases” too).

Of course, support for Trump was not the only symptom of the breakdown of the liberal – and neoliberal – order. That consensus was also challenged from the left by Bernie Sanders. He was supposedly a product of fake news and Russian disinformation too. His supporters were dismissed as “Bernie Bros”: a doubly false characterization that they were overwhelmingly male and peddlers of toxic masculinity.

Over in the UK, similar processes were underway. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was disappeared from view (first in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, then in Belmarsh high-security prison) for revealing war crimes committed by the West’s military-industrial complex – or, as liberals preferred to call it, the “defense industry”.

The liberal Guardian exemplified the shift from at first vilifying Assange as a rapist (also, an evidence-free accusation) to portraying him as mentally disturbed: its journalists led the way in spreading fake news that he abused his cat and smeared feces over the walls of what amounted to his cell in the embassy.

The British and US security services knew that by the time they engineered Assange’s seizure from the embassy in 2019, he would fit perfectly the image of the crazed dissident the Guardian had so meticulously crafted. Three months earlier, the CIA had gotten embassy staff to confiscate Assange’s shaving equipment. He was carried out, bearded, disheveled, and pale from lack of sunlight, looking like a mad hermit from Monty Python’s “Life Of Brian”. Or a “demented looking gnome”, as long-time Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore called him.

The actual US charge against Assange, largely overlooked in all the messaging from liberal media like The Guardian, was the true insanity. He was accused of “espionage” for publishing evidence of US war crimes – even though he wasn’t a US citizen, had done none of his work in the US, and had not participated in any act, even had he been a US citizen working in the US, that could realistically be characterized as spying.

Digital gulag

It didn’t end there. Britain had its own version of Bernie Sanders, a left-wing insurgency candidate. But unlike Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn won the contest to become Labour party leader, riding a wave of support from party members that shocked and incensed the Blairite centrists that had long controlled the party. Naturally, Corbyn’s success also infuriated the corporate media.

He was initially portrayed as a traitor. But soon liberal media like The Guardian were focusing on an entirely concocted charge that Corbyn was either a confirmed antisemite or wilfully indulged a strong antisemitic tendency within the party.

These confected allegations rarely operated at the political level. The subtext once again was that an enemy of the neoliberal order was unhinged, a man in the grip of irrational prejudice and demons he was incapable of slaying.

Corbyn’s supporters weren’t literally being wheeled off to the psychiatrist’s couch – not quite – but the implication was clear: those who voted or campaigned for him, like those who stood by Assange and his right not to be jailed for telling the truth, were a menace to wider society. They needed to be silenced, put in a digital gulag – enforced through algorithmic changes – as a first stage of containment.

They were to be treated as one would deal with a dangerous illness, rather than a popular movement driven by a political ideology or political grievances.

In an initial move to cure society, Trump was hounded off social media platforms even while he was president. Meanwhile, damaging stories that might question the virtue of his liberal challenger, Joe Biden, in the 2020 election were erased from public consciousness through coordination by the traditional and new corporate media.

But the question remained: was digital containment enough?

Pandemic debates

One of the advantages of having power – especially when it is power over narratives – is that the perception of any real-world event can be shaped in ways that serve the interests of power.

That meant that the arrival at the tail end of the Trump presidency of a global pandemic – a cataclysmic moment with biblical overtones – could be used as yet another lens for liberals to interpret the world, and in terms that posited anyone like them as virtuous and everyone else as dangerous or mentally unsound.

The reality was that Covid offered an ideal opportunity to question some of the most cherished tenets of a neoliberal orthodoxy that had had absolute dominion over Westerners’ lives for more than four decades.

  • Was the planet primarily an economic asset to be endlessly exploited?
  • Did the individual have more inherent value than the collective?
  • Should the value of relationships, and virtue, be measured chiefly in economic terms?
  • Ought public health to be at the mercy of profit-driven corporations, from pharmaceutical to food companies?

ORDER IT NOW

None of these questions – pivotal as they are to our survival as a species – came to the fore during the pandemic, the moment when they had the most obvious relevance and topicality. The corporate media made sure to steer the national debate away from questions so incompatible with a world designed by and for billionaires.

Instead, the problem was quickly reduced to a simpler one: Why were a minority of the population not getting themselves or their children vaccinated? What could be done to deal with this irresponsible section of the population?

Almost immediately this became the obsessive focus of media and popular attention. Proof of vaccination became the only legitimate marker to distinguish between the virtuous and disease-free (the clean), and the selfish and disease-carriers (the unclean).

From the outset, there were lots of problems with this distinction. Scientific evidence, even if it was publicly downplayed, indicated that those who had already caught Covid enjoyed a natural immunity that offered stronger protection than that from vaccination. (Notably, until Covid, natural immunity had always been considered the gold standard of immunity.)

The vaccines, it quickly became clear too, had very short-lived efficacy. They offered personal protection against more severe illness, but they did little to stop the communal spread of the disease, as Omicron’s current rampage through heavily vaccinated populations should underscore.

It could not be stated publicly at the time, but virtue was not the main reason to take the vaccine. Selfishness was.

Fortunately for the health of our public conversation, if nothing else, the arrival of Omicron shattered the liberal consensus that passports and social shunning, if not enforced isolation, were the solutions to what were until then being dismissively labeled the “anti-vaxxers” – those depraved individuals who had failed to take three or more shots of the vaccine, whatever their reasons.

Ukraine survey

It would be a grave mistake to imagine that we are anywhere near the end of this trajectory, just because Trump is gone (for now) and the Covid pandemic looks nearly over.

The framework for our current “debates” has been fixed by the billionaires and the liberals who are their willing accomplices. Political arguments have been subsumed by liberal claims to mental clarity and moral superiority. The implication is that the mentally infirm, those susceptible to the influence campaigns of the enemy, need to be dealt with to stop liberal democracy from being subverted.

As an example of the way this is starting to play out in more overtly Soviet-style terms, consider this recent thread on social media by a New York academic who has quickly gained half a million followers on Twitter by pandering to liberals still in shock at Clinton’s defeat in 2016.

Caroline Orr Bueno is described as “a behavioral scientist who researches social media manipulation, online information warfare, and far-right extremism” – ascribing almost all of it, predictably, to “Russian disinformation.”

In a recent interview, she observed that she had “moderated” her tone on Twitter as her influence has grown:

Because right now so much of what is wrong on the internet is super divisive. It’s hype, and I find that to be not helpful and not productive, and it doesn’t really lead to anywhere good. So I try not to contribute to that cycle.

Contradicting herself moments later in the same interview, Orr Bueno notes of her critics:

I get a lot of attempts to discredit me or my work through various disinformation campaigns, often emanating from people and organizations with direct links to the Russian government.

So what comes next can presumably be discounted as “Russian disinformation.”

Orr Bueno highlights a survey whose methodology is itself troubling. A poll of Canadians on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine breaks down the responses on the basis not only of age and gender but whether the respondent has been vaccinated or not. This is now a relevant category for assessing the public’s views, it seems.

The headline Orr Bueno wants to highlight as evidence of a mental infirmity among the unvaccinated is that 26% of them reportedly support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, compared to just 2% of those vaccinated with three shots.

Her conclusion, dressed up as academic analysis, is that the unvaccinated are either so incapable of rational and moral thought, or such willing dupes of Russia, that they are susceptible to obvious disinformation campaigns.

Skeptical posture

There is a very obvious problem with this analysis, as answers to many of the survey’s other questions demonstrate. We might assess one marker of sanity – or, at least, mental clarity – vis a vis Ukraine as an unwillingness to provoke a World War III between nuclear powers, especially if such a provocation is actually a way to avoid negotiations to achieve a ceasefire.

So how do unvaccinated and three-shot-vaccinated Canadians square up, based on that yardstick? According to the survey, more than three times as many of the highly vaccinated as the unvaccinated want their government to send Canadian fighter jets and troops to Ukraine. Just over half of all three-shot Canadians surveyed appeared ready to start a war with Russia over Ukraine.

It might be reasonable, using Orr Bueno’s approach, to assume that it is therefore the three-shot vaccinated rather than the unvaccinated who are mentally unsound. But I will resist that temptation.

What we need to do instead is consider the kind of influence peddling that might have led so many vaccinated Canadians to promote what looks like an insane policy.

If it is Russian disinformation to think there may be grounds for Russia to invade Ukraine – and taking a wild stab, I suspect some of the respondents may have regarded it as a justified response to Nato expansion – whose disinformation might have encouraged so many Canadians to conclude that joining a war against Russia is a good idea?

The correct inference here is not, as Orr Bueno concludes, that a minority with infirm minds is susceptible to Russian disinformation, but that there are two population groups that have differing attitudes towards established authority and, as a result, have been exposed to different kinds of information.

Those who have taken three shots of the vaccine are more likely to rely heavily for their information on traditional sources of authority. They are what I have called elsewhere “trusters.” They assume their leaders are well-meaning, if sometimes complacent or incompetent, and that they generally seek to act in the best interests of their societies and the world. They consume “mainstream” media largely passively – the very media run by and for the benefit of Western oligarchs.

It is therefore hardly surprising that they were keen to take as many shots of vaccine as the government’s medical advisers told them to, and that many of them also believe it makes sense to launch a war against Russia when so many prominent corporate media journalists are telling them that is what is needed.

By contrast, the unvaccinated are more likely to be drawn from those who are suspicious of their governments and major corporations, as well as the structural forces shaping information on the West’s political processes. These “doubters” insist on maintaining a skeptical posture.

Critical thinking

Were we to do more surveys on this basis, we could probably guess a range of other views likely to resonate with the three-shot vaccinated more than the unvaccinated:

  • That Assange deserves to be locked up for life for revealing US and UK war crimes;
  • That social media should be tightly controlled either by governments or by the billionaires of Silicon Valley;
  • That the class concerns of the “far-left” are actually cover for a deep-seated antipathy towards Jews;
  • And that Nato is a purely defensive organization trying to protect countries from Russian imperialism.

There is nothing in these views that suggests mental clarity or superiority; resistance to disinformation; independence of mind: or even basic critical thinking skills. These just reflect the consensus manufactured by a corporate media that services the interests of the billionaire class. All of these views are useful to those in power and help to maintain the status quo. Which is precisely why these views, rather than others, dominate.

What Orr Bueno and liberals like her are doing is subtly pathologizing those who dissent, just as the Soviet Union did more brashly. They are suggesting a mental infirmity among those who refuse to accept what the political and media class – and the billionaires behind them – declare is true.

The pathologization of dissent is not going away. It will intensify as neoliberalism faces crisis after crisis and social polarization grows. Those who claim to be liberals defending democracy will soon be only too ready to snuff it out.

(Republished from Mintpress News by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. diva says:

    Duh.

    • Replies: @lydia
  2. In the Soviet regime’s imagination, treason and mental illness were often two sides of the same coin.

    This is another tale of anti-Russian bullshit. Most of those “dissidents” were sick in the head indeed.

    Vladimir Bukovsky, a Russian human rights activist…

    For example, this Russian human rights activist was a pedophile. And besides, a lot of other Russian “human rights” defenders are either homosexual, or eccentric to the point of being freakish.

    “The whole affair is Kafkaesque,” Mr. Bukovsky said in an interview. He insisted that he was the victim of a noxious form of an old K.G.B. trick, the fabrication and planting of compromising or illegal material.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/world/europe/vladimir-putin-russia-fake-news-hacking-cybersecurity.html

    Bukovsky was a pervert, and he did what all of them always do – he said that “the regime” was to blame, and that he had done nothing wrong. However, the investigation proved that he lied.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-38291431

    And then there is another victim of the brutal regime, Valeriya Novodvorskaya. She also spent many years confined to psychiatric hospitals. Here she is, with a banner which reads:

    “You are all stupid! I alone am intelligent, in a white coat standing here, looking beautiful.”

    • Replies: @Wielgus
  3. Anon[159] • Disclaimer says:

    Of course they do.

    Why?

    Because Liberals are just Jews writ large, and the CCCP until 1953 was Jews in charge.

  4. anonymous[389] • Disclaimer says:

    CIA’s original attempt to pathologize dissent was “conspiracy theory,” and it’s still a thriving industry of third-rate academics running cheesy studies to prove that awareness of US crimes of state is a trait of some sort.

    Unfortunately for the criminals of Langley, the trait is not psychological or behavioral but more like Ortega y Gasset’s habits of mind. Not everybody is willing to fit into CIA’s subject mass.

    Voters are susceptible to CIA’s indoctrination with us-and-them ideology. Just polarize a party dupe and he’ll reject unfamiliar facts or logic as inimical ideas of the left or right. But disillusioned partisans are prone to unauthorized open-mindedness. Both of the synthetic factions hate the government – they just blame the seamless continuity of CIA predation on the other party. Since the US as a whole degenerated into terminal kleptocracy and state failure, that evident bipartisan continuity is the weak link of CIA indoctrination.

  5. Bro43rd says:

    “West’s military-industrial complex”
    West’s military-industrial-murder complex…fify

    Yes but Jonathan, why won’t you address the big pink elephant in the room. He gets it kinda right but dances along the edges, never honing in on the real problem. The paradox of statism, if only we can elect the correct people to govern us then everything will be peachy.

    • Replies: @Kali
  6. Mentally ill calling others mentally ill.

  7. dimples says:

    Cook is a lefty trying to come to terms with the fact that leftists are scum. It’s quite a dilemma!

    • Replies: @Thomm
  8. Thomm says:
    @dimples

    Cook is a lefty trying to come to terms with the fact that leftists are scum. It’s quite a dilemma!

    Yes. The fact that he refers to rigid leftists as ‘liberals’, as if this is still 1999, is a dead giveaway.

    • Replies: @mulga mumblebrain
  9. Altai says:

    It all comes back to immigration. The average progressive liberal from the upper middle and even middle classes now is unable to understand that limiting immigration or enforcing immigration laws as legitimate. It is simply evil.

    So when all those voters in the great lakes Mid-West voted for Obama twice and then voted for Trump, it broke something in them and no source of information acceptable for them (The vast majority of people do not read alt sources of news or views) would tell them anything other than their sense of moral revulsion was correct.

    So then how to explain how does people voted twice for Obama and Democrat their whole lives and then for Trump? They weren’t Southern Evangelicals afterall.

    The answer is they went ‘crazy’. Everyone who then seemed to disagree with the ‘blob’ was then the same, they were a tainted outgroup because they had no idea that these dissidents or perspectives even existed. They still think Iraq was invaded ‘for the oil’.

    It was Trump’s aversion to another US shooting war in Syria that led to the idea of him being ‘Putin’s puppet’ from the neocons who were flipping out over the Russian counter intervention in Syria. I kept seeing all these progressive liberals hysterically calling Trump a Russian stooge but when pressed could not articulate just what the dire Russian plot was about. (Did Russia risk war with the US in order to enforce immigration restriction in the US?) They didn’t like the idea of a war with Syria either but it didn’t matter, Putin became a great evil, a kind of psychological release and projection for why Trump was elected. It wasn’t legitimate! It was foreign interference! All so they could sleep at night without having to examine the cognitive dissonance of why real working class life-long Democrats would vote for a guy with a political monopoly on popular trade and immigration policies.

    So now after over 5 years of grooming from neocons who fed them the ultimate rationale as to why Trump was simply illegitimate they had grown to hate Putin and see him as a kind of avatar of Trump, the cause of Trump! And he too was ‘crazy’, Putin was crazy and madman and thus couldn’t be negotiated with and had no legitimate grievances against NATO.

    With liberal progressives and neocons both gunning for Putin a peaceful solution to the problem was gone. Putin lost all trust in the US and felt he had nothing to lose and no other option.

    The great US plan to ‘protect’ Ukraine from Russia and ensure it’s territorial integrity has gone great so far, first they lost Crimea and will likely lose significant parts of if not the whole Donbass without any US soldiers marching in, almost like the US isn’t actually prepared to defend Ukraine but is prepared to provoke a war between Ukraine and Russia. The neocon plan to isolate, pin-down or neuter Russia (Ideally through regime change and the installation of a Yeltsin-like oligarch) so they can rain more destruction on Syria, Lebanon and eventually Iran without any interference, however, has gone great.

    I can only sincerely hope that all this newfangled concern about respecting international borders and the evil of war has been so saturating, with every possible leader for a generation chiming in that it can’t be walked back and that they may have unintentionally painted themselves into a corner in future. But I have a feeling that this mobilisng frenzy only happens when social media outrage has a feedback loop with MSM outrage and that MSM ‘permission’ and ratcheting is needed to produce this. I fear we won’t see this the next time Israel is up to something or the US brings ‘Democracy’ one 600lb bomb and murderous proxy group at a time.

    To merely criticise Putin for his invasion without challenging the neocons who seek to make things worse is to condone all of this ultimately.

  10. Kali says:
    @Bro43rd

    Yes but Jonathan, why won’t you address the big pink elephant in the room. He gets it kinda right but dances along the edges, never honing in on the real problem. The paradox of statism, if only we can elect the correct people to govern us then everything will be peachy.

    He’s taking his time about it Bro, but step by tiny step he does seem to be shedding some intrenched beliefs.

    I do think he’s getting there. On the slow train.

    Next stop, Avalanch Pass! ☺

    With love,
    Kali.

  11. Anon[289] • Disclaimer says:

    A healthy society functions well because it has a consensus among its members.

    The left has been trying to create its own societal truth and consensus, but they have a fundamental problem in that their own so-called truth is grounded in fantasy and lies. The left wants a world that is utopian, not one grounded in reality.

    The conflict we see today is simply a battle between two different world views, conservative reality versus liberal fantasy.

  12. Wielgus says:
    @Here Be Dragon

    The second line of her inscription says “and you are not undergoing treatment”. Her description of herself as beautiful is a triumph of self-confidence over reality. Inspiring in a way…

  13. bert33 says:

    Former East Germany had ‘paragraph 13’, general purpose administrative condemnation of an individual as a ‘problem citizen’, in the US we have the DSM-V. Both are tools for dealing with people who think in inappropriate ways. Hey, kids, it’s not just China….

  14. What was needed urgently was a theory that would leave the status quo – and its claim to moral superiority – untouched.

    The neatest candidate, for those committed to liberalism, or its modern incarnation as neoliberalism, was the idea that Western democracies had become so open, free, fair, and honest that they had developed an inherent vulnerability – an Achilles’ heel – that could be easily exploited by malicious actors. According to this reasoning, liberal democracy was uniquely susceptible to sabotage.

    Interesting. This pathologizing of dissent dovetails nicely with the ((Jewish)) agenda to censor “anti-Semitism.”

    This is all about ((Jews)), Zoglodytes, and their psychotic agenda. It’s ((Jews)) and their stooges who are mentally ill to the point of criminal insanity, and who are projecting their crimes and diseases onto their opponents ‐‐ even “opponents” as comprimised and innocuous as Trump.

    These ((Jews)) are returning to their Bolshevik modus operandi, but thick-headed or compromised Cook is still pretending that somehow Bolshevism and Neoconservatism/Neoliberalism are opponents.

    He must be a died-in-the-wool useful idiot or a true believer communist. Is there a difference?

  15. “They are suggesting a mental infirmity among those who refuse to accept what the political and media class – and the billionaires behind them – declare is true.”

    That was always the view of Thomas Szasz about “mental illness”:

    Obviously people do exist with physical brain damage which can cause them to act weirdly.

    However, most folks traditionally called “mentally ill” did not fit that criteria.

    “Mental illness” in any society is what the elites say it is–that is why the elites can never be declared mentally ill–at least until guillotine day.

  16. This is a “good” tactic, calling your opponent mentally ill. But there was an even better one that communists used, to wit, simply ridiculing and making fun of them. This is what conservative voters should do to the left and far left wing. Just make light of everything they do to the point of demoralizing them. It is especially effective against the left, because they are already convinced of their “intellectual superiority over conservatives.

  17. Heymrguda says:

    The problem with mr. cook and others like him is that they still believe in the old shibboleths that the left is tolerant and anti war. The truth is the left has never been tolerant and antiwar except when the situation suits them.

    The left was all for us getting into WWII. Anybody opposing it was branded a fascist and traitor. We dropped two atom bombs on civilians in a country trying for months to negotiate a surrender — the only country to use them. All we’ve heard from the left is excuses. Oh yeah man we had to do it.

    The left of course did oppose the Vietnam war, often in the most divisive way possible, when a more rational approach, that might have involved broad segments of the US population instead of just the youthful counterculture would have been more effective. Instead it boiled down to us versus them. I remember it well. There was little, if any, resistance to the Iraq war either.

    Now we get to the present war and we see the spectacle of Sean penn, among the most left wing celebrities out there, appearing on Hannity’s show to argue that going nuclear should be on the table.

    I realize the right has not always been the example of consistency, standards and morality, but I can still recall all the self righteous sermonizing I heard during the Nam years and, when I look at the Ukrainian war it’s hard not not to feel bitter about it.

  18. Public school brainwashed millennials were openly mocking their conservative elders just a couple years ago by calling them “boomers” as a derogatory slur. Those same youngsters now have grand mal conniption fits when we flipped the script and now call them “groomers”.

  19. The author mistakes the mistake of seeing Boynie Sanders as genuine. He is a stooge, designed to lead young voters into a cul-de-sac, then roll over, twice, as the elite candidate steals the nomination. An evil of bastard, in my opinion. As for the rest, ‘liberal fascists’ are the worst specimen of the genus Homo ever known. Vicious, deranged, hypocritical, narcissistic, vengeful and simply very, very, nassty.

  20. @Thomm

    These are NOT true ‘Leftists’ ie socialists and egalitarians. They are liberal fascists turned totalitarian, ie a branch of the Rightwing Authoritarian Personality menagerie.

    • Replies: @aldasfail770
  21. @mulga mumblebrain

    Once again Mumblebrain deflects blame away from his precious leftists and tries to project that blame onto the Right.

    The classic “not real communism” fallacy. Not real liberals this time. These people that mumblebrain makes excuses for still want your children to become trannys against your will, supports neo nazis in Ukraine a fake made up country, supports pedophilia, supports censorship, and locking up political opponents. If they are not “real liberals” then they sure are identical to them.

    Like others have said this ain’t 1999 anymore and we are now very close to the point where we start putting leftists like you against the wall. There will be no mercy, no debate, no forgiveness, just swift justice.

    • Agree: SBaker
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