When left/liberal fixations fall out of establishment favor, they're re-christened as conservative menaces
In honor of Mencken's famous definition of Puritanism, "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy," I'd like to submit this one pls:
Progressivism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may have an unapproved opinion.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean— neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
-- Alice in Wonderland
One of the great disappointments of my young adulthood (I was a teen during the Bush years) has been watching people who were politically informed, skeptical, putatively anti-establishment progressives in the early aughts becoming by the late teens everything they previously stood against. They have become what they once claimed to hate: hawkish, mainstream media/IC-trusting, anti-populist, and classist. It's right in line with Matt's "what happened to the Democratic voters?" question of a month or so ago.
Our best asset as small-d democratic citizens is integrity and commitment to principle. This involves constant critical thinking and a refusal to follow any party or figure therein blindly. I think that's where the mid-aughts progressives went wrong: they hitched their wagons to Obama and never stopped their starry-eyed attitude long enough to question where he was taking them.
The change in “working class” really is the one I see as most insidious because it demonizes so many efforts to promote workers. For instance, you can not be pro-illegal immigration and pro worker; illegal immigration is a major factor in working wage suppression (the model should be if someone won’t do a job, you raise the wage until someone will; now the model is you hire an illegal to do the work). That’s why even labor organizers such as Cesar Chavez opposed illegal immigration. Now, by using, “white working class” even labor supporters can be demonized as racist and the establishment wins again. There are other examples but to me this is the most insidious for working people, in particular the working poor. Keep it up Matt!
John Judge investigated the Kennedy assassination as a private citizen.
He said "You can call me a conspiracy theorist if I can call you a coincidence theorist."
The phrase "conspiracy theorist" is used as a catch all term to silence anyone who questions the official story about anything.
The term "white working class" gives the politicians a reason to ignore or vilify them. You know, those poor WHITE people aren't worth listening to (the implication being that they are racist because they are white). This is likely because the poor white people remember how the Democrats have completely failed them after supposedly looking out for them for the last generation or two.
Putin Puppet, n.
1. Anyone who'd rather see granny get her insulin than fully fund the Pentagon.
2. A person who doesn't believe Victoria Nuland is God's gift to American foreign policy.
3. Someone who thinks a civilization-ending exchange of nuclear unpleasantries with Russia is a bad idea.
Oh.my.god you thank you Matt! You just answered a question I’ve been sitting here thinking and wondering about since Oliver Anthony’s song came out. Why were typically liberal news outlets so condescending to a working class guy singing a working class song? I’ve read articles about him in the New York Times and by NPR and I just couldn’t understand the general disdainful attitude. As well as the need to foist political views upon him, when he has been clear that he is literally middle of the road. He even says that he thinks it’s funny they played his song at the republican debate because they are the target of his song! Your whole article is so spot on. Thank you for clearing this up for me.
Also can we can get an updated definition of “expert” and “science” as in “listen to the experts” and “trust the science”? Oh how the words have been twisted for the sake of political gain in just a few short years!
Someone who left California’s heinous bs behind only to find out it’s pervasive!
Great topic! Truly is maddening how the past 8 years has been a non-stop temper tantrum by the uniparty over whatever is perceived as a “populist” position or issue. Whether it’s the nobility of big pharma, the patriotic honesty of the CIA, or the principled leadership of Mitt Romney, we’re all expected to have the memory of a goldfish and embrace whatever our anointed leaders happen to find convenient at the moment for their agenda.
God bless you, Matt, for slogging through these videos and stories. I hear 30 seconds of Anderson Cooper and I’m ready to go postal.
The term "conspiracy theory" or "conspiracy theorist" has undergone a dramatic shift in recent years, as it became weaponized in the culture/information war between elites and the unwashed masses.
The classic definition of conspiracy theorist is a person who persistently believes, without any evidence, that a secret cabal is working behind the scenes for some malicious purpose. This is the old picture of the weird guy in his basement wearing a tin foil hat.
The modern definition of conspiracy theorist, on the other hand, has expanded to include anyone who simply doubts or expresses mistrust about any official narratives of the "proper" authorities. It is a gaslighting attack against skeptics, to make them think they are crazy for questioning authority.
To me, the stable and real meaning of "Deep State" refers to the unelected D.C bureaucrats who actually run our Country on a day-to day basis. It makes little difference which political party is claiming to be 'in power' at any one point in time. These federal agencies have been permitted to undertake a life of their own, without true accountability to the so-called 'electorate' which pays the taxes to support their employment. How to deal with this? A few suggestions: i) de-unionize federal employees; ii) drastically cut funding to the bloated bureaucracies in D.C; iii) downsize these bureaucracies and thereby move government back closer to the States and the taxpayers who live there; and, iv) mercilessly cut back on the number of D.C. government agencies, many of which are outdated, repetitive, step on each other's toes, and continue only to try and justify their bloated budgets.
My favourite NewSpeak word is “Top”.
During Covid it was applied mostly to doctors.
“Top doctor recommends extending lockdowns”
“Top doctor says Covid won’t end until we’re all vaccinated”
Interestingly, I’m now seeing it applied to studies and institutions. A recent Politico headline reads “Top review says Covid lockdowns and masks worked. Period.”
I ask, what makes it the “Top”?
Thanks for compiling the Devil’s Dictionary. Reminds me of a great book about the deep state’s foreign interventions - Devil’s Chessboard.
President Eisenhower warned us about the military industrial complex and scientific technological elite in his 1961 farewell address. Modern media would consider him a conspiracy theorist: https://yuribezmenov.substack.com/p/how-to-deliver-a-farewell-address-eisenhower
Please do fascism and extremism. It’s still jarring to me to hear parents asking schools not to show their kids porn described as “extremists.” Also, for several years, when I first started hearing “fascist” being thrown around, I kept thinking, do people know what that actually means? I feel like they don’t...
My contribution: "Wealth Inequality",/"Income Inequality" has transformed to simply "Inequality".
Academics have mostly dropped the "wealth/income" part from, so that today, many if not most writers (at nauseating places like The Atlantic, The Economist , etc) simply say "Inequality".
The implicit, self-aggrandizing assumptions that undergird this change- whether unconscious or not on the part of the speaker- are obvious...and hilarious!!
Animal Farm's 7th Commandment: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”