When political narrative replaces faith, truth becomes heresy
Matt Taibbi September 30
We’ll tell you anything you want to hear. We lie like hell! We’ll tell you Kojak always gets the killer, and nobody ever gets cancer in Archie Bunker’s house… We’ll tell you any shit you want to hear! We deal in illusion, man! None of it’s true! But you people… do whatever the tube tells you… This is mass madness, you maniacs!
— from Network, 1976
After a few days away from the news I watched Network, a movie about a mad prophet whose prophesies come true. Anchorman Howard Beale’s seminal speech described how America could commoditize anything, even the awful truth that its mass media had raised an illiterate populace that followed The Tube as the word of God. “Turn them off!” Beale screamed, just before collapsing in religious fervor, but one eye peeked out to see how his revelation was selling. True to form, even Network made a pile of money and won four Oscars.
Forty-five years later, the film’s predictions still look right, but too optimistic. Back then, a few networks dominated, and the trend was the One Big Lie: the Missile Gap, the Domino Theory, 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Trident. What could be worse? Ambrose Bierce once said there were only two things more horrible than a clarinet — two clarinets. The only thing darker than Network’s dystopian future with television as the national religion is the world we’ve got: two religions.
The last week has been typical of life in the news-as-doctrinal-squabble era. On Sunday, September 19, a freelance photographer named Paul Ratjebased in Las Cruces, New Mexico, shot pictures of U.S. Border Patrol Agents chasing Haitian migrants trying to cross the border. In several photos, the agents appeared to be carrying lengths of leather cord. The next day, a former aide to onetime presidential candidate Julian Castro named Sawyer Hackett tweeted, “Border patrol is mounted on horseback rounding up Haitian refugees with whips,” and “This is unfathomable cruelty towards people fleeing disaster and political ruin.”Continue reading “Taiibi on The News as a Religious Culture War”
Christopher Rufo on what ails America, the parent revolt happening inside schools, and recreating what Tocqueville saw
Here’s the question I had at the end of your film: governments are kind of like the proverbial man with the hammer. What they have is money and government institutions that do things, and so they try to fix problems that those tools can fix. But how do you create family? How do you create community?
I mean the first step is to stop destroying it, to stop kind of deliberately, both intellectually and through public policy, shredding that social fabric, which is what we’ve done for the last 60 years. If you read critical theory dating back to the 1960s, they deliberately say we want to shred social institutions to create instability, so we can then be in a position where we can achieve the revolution.
So in the intellectual lineage of the critical ideologies is a deliberate attempt to undermine institutions like faith, family, local community, self-reliance, et cetera. So the first step is to stop doing that.
And then I think the bigger picture, the thing I’ve thought about since making the film, hadn’t quite gotten there at that time, is the great federal political project for conservatives should be to gain power and strip these ideologies from the federal government, from federal policy, from federal personnel, from federal training, from federal grant making, absolutely strip it. Remove, kind of ruthlessly and relentlessly strip these ideologies from the structures and functions and policies of the federal government.
And then to the greatest extent that we can, redistribute power, money, and authority to the lowest level possible, sometimes to states. So for example, the $1.1 trillion in means-tested benefit spending: divide it by per capita and then block grant it back to the states with no restrictions and let them kind of experiment and go.
Here is the article and the comment section that followed as a cut and paste from Dr. T’s site.
I dedicated my radio show today to this post as a way to illustrate how I defended unassisted childbirth on the internet. This post contains screen grabs from the site if you want to just read my many comments.
I loved listening to this podcast!
As a high censored blogger, it was joyful to hear these four people articulate the facts.
I always think of a certain scene from an old Mel Brooks movie when the topic of the gatekeepers of speech comes up. Here is a clip from the Free Speech Absolutism podcast, which is embedded below.Continue reading “On the Media totalitarians get a good smackdown by Perrino, Khalid, Strossen, and Taibbi”