Ideological Cleansing in an Age of Propaganda

During the Civil War in the former Yugoslavia, there was a PR-spawned and media-happy buzzword used to describe the fighting: ethnic cleansing. The term was meant to show that the region had become intolerant of other ethnicities: an area that had mixed groups would were rushing to “purify” the region.

We don’t use the term anymore despite other international conflicts. It never actually caught on: once the optics front was won, the term faded from our lexicon.

Except the concept itself is alive and well, and thriving on various communications platforms, from legacy media to social media.

There is no tolerance. There is no diversity. There isn’t even plurality.

It is Us versus Them.

With no notion of in-between whatsoever.

It is an ideological war going on, and one with the mental maturity of a spoiled and indulged two year-old in soggy underpants. Suddenly, there is no skepticism, looking at evidence, rationality, or case-by-case examination of the facts. It pure, seething, and manipulative propaganda from both the Left and the Right, nullifying both schools of thought in the bargain.

On the one side of this little game, are men such as Tony Robbins who has decided #MeToo is a bad thing, and everyone who has claimed to have experienced workplace terrorism is doing it for self-serving reasons. There is no looking at facts. He issues an opinion as if it were divine decree, and that’s that.

Anyone who disagrees must be removed from our space because they are defective — and less than human. Hence, ideological cleansing seems like a moral and rational choice. Of course, it is irrational cowardice: we fear our beliefs will crumble; and so, we build fortresses so that we do not have to perceive the reality and truth of our weaknesses. If we do not face it, then perhaps it does not exist.

The irrationality doesn’t stop there. The Atlantic decides Donald Trump — the man who beat journalists and won the White House — is still too stupid to have his own ideas; so naturally it is not his experience with institutions that makes him skeptical of them — he is just a hapless and passive conduit of the 1970s.

But the New York Times opines that it is a good thing that the Denver Post is skeptical of the institution that owns them, and there is not a chance those editorial writers are a mere vessel of the decade they grew up in.

Hedge funds are bad when they own decaying newspapers and have to deal with plunging readerships and advertising revenue, but hedge fund owner Madeline Albright is just fine when she writes an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, openly plotting to “stop Trump before it’s too late” — that’s up to the citizens of the US to do at the ballot when the next election comes.

Ms Albright, you may have gotten away with those barbaric games with the Serbs, but your disgusting notions of ideological cleansing are off-putting to say the least.

But in an Age of Propaganda, people behave like robber barons: greed it good, and we must buy up as much ideological property as we can to dominate the marketplace of ideas. Monopoly of thought seems like a foolproof plan: if no one objects, then truth and reality of our ideological flaws cannot possibly exist.

Except, of course, they do exist. You cannot cleanse away truth or reality. It is the reason empiricism is essential as is the never-ending search for facts: there is always a flaw that must be discovered and dealt with. Our theories must always be tested as the world changes and expands. Not everyone’s life requirements are alike, and no, one ideology does not fit all.

Journalism was supposed to prevent propaganda from overtaking publicity discourse, but then it became infected and spread the disease, corrupting ideological and political debate to the point it has become useless.

There can be no right answer when the goal is ideological cleansing. It nullifies every argument on either side of the linear divide.

It is the reason why an alternative to journalism is needed: in a world filled with fanaticism, political atheism brings common sense back into visible reality, tearing down narrative, and exposing facts, no matter how upsetting those facts happen to be.

People with billions of dollars to their name are now openly clamouring for a civil war during prosperous peace times. This is no longer moral or rational thought. It is fascism.

And there is no hack or solution from either side of the line in the sand. A map is needed, but one the ignores the narratives and finds the facts to chart a productive route to better — and more emotionally stable places…

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