Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Weaponizing Ignorance


Judge Royce Lambert said Jacob Chansley's role as a leader among those who went into the Senate chamber and disrupted the electoral vote tally compelled a serious prison sentence. | Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Weaponizing ignorance, a term "accidentally" coined by this rube, has been around since the beginning of time as this age old approach to gain or maintain power works, especially when using the us against them stratagem, often without proof, as man is tribal without question. The art of lying also applies as seen by Ramses altering history with the Hittites or Hitler demonizing the jews. 

His battered troops withdrew from Kadesh, but Ramses wasn’t about to let a little truth tarnish his perceived triumph. On temple walls across Egypt, he ordered the creation of murals depicting him single-handedly defeating the aggressors. In reality, after years of negotiation, Ramses II eventually signed a peace treaty with the Hittites. It was the earliest peace accord whose text has survived.

By using simplistic slogans and monosyllabic words, somebody like a Goebbels can get the public riled up, especially when the people in question are ignorant as it doesn't take much to take advantage of those who lack the education needed for critical thinking, something George Carlin talked about with power and eloquence in his great The Real Owners of the Country riff showing why the weaponizing of ignorance rings true. 

In George Orwell's masterful Politics and the English Language, the manipulation of language to defend the indefensible looms large whereas, in this case, passive and polysyllabic text is used to confuse and bamboozle the public in order to remain in power. 

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements

When one burns books, the weaponization of ignorance becomes personal as seen by what the Nazis did in Germany in 1933 and ... in the US in 2021.  Think school boards and some politicos, right?

Weaponization of ignorance also sums up entries like QAnon, a far right conspiracy movement promoting theories lacking in substance and common sense, some of which were used as rallying cries in the Jan 6th debacle where several people were killed or injured by an incensed mob of Trumpers over the big lie that the reelection of Agent Orange was stolen by Joe Biden & company. 

Since Election Day of last year, the GOP has been in sustained panic. Trump lost handily at the polls in an election that saw him compete for bombast but not technocratic accomplishments. Trump banked on the false belief that loud superseded competent and came up short. In defeat, he decided to claim the election was stolen. Trump tried—with zero success or credibility—to argue the whole affair was rigged and should be set aside. Having exhausted even his most ardent allies, he then urged a mob on Jan. 6 to descend on the U.S. Capitol to force Congress to discard the results. Despite some harrowing hours, that attempt failed too, Congress rejected Trump’s antics and Biden was confirmed the winner.

As for QAnon ...

The return of JFK Jr., like most of what the QAnon conspiracy predicts, is totally bogus. 

The belief that he's still alive and acting as a secret confidant for Trump started in 2018, according to a QAnon expert who uses the pseudonym Travis View. Like much of what the Q followers believe, it began with a post on the anonymous image-board 4Chan. A person calling themselves "R" posted a picture from 1996 of JFK Jr. with Trump. After that, QAnon believers not only thought JFK Jr. was miraculously still alive, they also claimed he'd be Trump's running mate. There are even some people in the movement claiming they themselves are JFK Jr.

Weaponizing ignorance indeed.

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