Lovelass and Others

Sep 7, 2020

2 min read

Glugging Kool-Aid

Attach an electromyography machine to your leg and it records the fact that the calf muscles are constantly engaging to keep you standing. You don’t notice, but your feet and ankles make constant minute adjustments all the time. On a graph these fluctuations in activity seem to belie instability. Based purely on the graph, it might seem like you are on the verge of falling over. You are not.

The mainstream media is one large electromyography machine connected to the government. Crowded around it are an army of reporters and commentators recording and analysing every minute fluctuation, reversal, and vacillation by the government. Swept up by their own self-importance, journalists pride themselves on carrying out this public service. Dutifully holding the government to account on the public’s behalf. Liberal journalists in the US have recently started referring to themselves as the “resistance”. In the clamour to create headlines, words like “resistance” along with “crisis”, “scandal”, “exposure” and “outcry” have been virtually drained of meaning.

Cognisant that power is less capricious, more inveterate than the day to day operations of government — the left should have little truck with this. Unfortunately however left journalists, leaders and spokespeople are increasingly resembling their liberal counterparts. Engaging in much the same electromyographic analysis, resorting to the same hyperbolic declarations and vaingloriously taking credit for every apparent government backpedal.

The fact that we are routinely swept up by the spectacle of the news cycle I suspect has more to do with desperation than naivety. What the left prizes, above all else, is hope. For the last five years this hope has been invested in the figure of Corbyn — henceforth relatively mundane political events seemed to take epochal significance as we fought tooth and nail to improve the prospects of a once in a generation opportunity. For a brief period after the election this was replaced with tough love and realism, only for it to give way again to glugging Kool-Aid. It’s as if hope crushed we have to tell ourselves we are stronger and more effective than we are lest we give up the fight entirely.

Propaganda always used to work by making government seem more powerful than they are. Today both liberals and the left — although for different reasons — acquiesce with propaganda that makes government seem weaker than they are. The results may be no less malign.