Sunday, December 15, 2013

Newtown Anniversary Evokes fear that "They're Coming to Get Our Guns"

On the day that Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot point blank in the head, and 19 people were shot and 6 died, the ThinkTank-ocracy's rapid response spin team laid groundwork for the three years that have followed, of preemptive strikes against anyone who might claim any connection between guns and killing. I observed some of this rapid response brainstorming myself.

Two things help to explain the faintness of reaction to several years of more mass shootings than we have seen in several decades.
There is something I have called the "Great American Liberal Hating and Baiting Cult" (GALHBC), and something else I've lately called the Think-tank-ocracy, which have done much to lay the groundwork for this.  The former is the largely self-organizing activity of amateurs whose views are, united only in the fear and loathing of liberals, while the latter unites the work of a bewildering array of nonprofit "research and education" institutions from Bible Colleges to atheistic disciples of Ayn Rand.
  For the GALHBC at work, you might do well to look at a recent posting to Judith Curry's "Climate, Etc." blog on "Pathological Altruism", and more importantly, skim the 459 comments that have accrued (in 6 days 12/9-15 as I write this).
  The ThinkTank-ospere is always coming up with or appropriating neologisms and invented phrases like "pathological altruism" that create the illusion of some new sociological discovery (usually a rebranding of an old idea).  Someone writes a semi-respectable article, which serves as raw meat to start a feeding frenzy by the (GALHBC) such as you see in the "Pathological Altruism" article.  The TTO yearly gives thousands of young people some level of free training at "interns" or paid attendees at conferences.  It makes sure people like Rick Santorum aren't without a (well-paying) job, it finances party discipline in the form, e.g., of "primarying" traitors to the Tea Party.  Besides think tanks it endows chairs in prestigious universities, and whole parallel departments within the university system like the Mercatus Center of George Washington University.  When you read in the National Review "A GWU professor writes...", be skeptical.
  On the day of the Gabby Giffords shooting, I was observing a dear friend but also member of the GALHBC following the news in great distress via social media.  There was much brainstorming on how to deal with this terrible tragedy.  First it was maybe the shooter was a liberal or pro-immigration activist -- because Giffords was supposedly kind of moderate on some issue(s), and the liberals are constantly portrayed as total fanatics.  Later, the discussion settled on "the liberals are going to make politics out of this tragedy", and within hours of the shooting,Exhibits A, B, etc. were being assembled to blame the liberal media for making politics out of it: "so and so is viciously slandering Sarah Palin, saying it's all her fault".  They managed to find some truly stupid statements -- all I remember is their extreme obscurity of the blogger being set up to represent Liberalism's crucifiction of Sarah Palin -- all of a couple of hours after the actual shooting.
 A much better documented instance is found in 'Student Researcher Tracks the Origins of the "Climategate" Name'. , which  summarizes a Journal Article more meticulous than most people would care to read, but it tracks tweet by tweet the Twitter record of the brainstorming that produced the "Climategate" label, without which the story would have sunk like a stone in the sea of news events.
  For several years, I have writing and trying to understand the new political climate with pieces like "My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land", and "On Smart Division of Labour in a Propaganda Enterprise" - which illustrates how third-tier blogs and anonymous emails provide the apparent facts to bolster the claims of Right Wing pundits.  These under-the-radar sources provide the sort of solid, "falsifiable" pseudo-facts that seem to back up the pundits' pithy and memorable but unfalsifiable (because too general) summaries.
  A sort of Leninist manifesto of the "New Right" is described and linked to  in "The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement".  It helps explain how people many drawn into politics for honorable reasons can justify such hard spinning and even deliberate hoaxing.

And reveals one of many bogus stories - this one about seven months after the Giffords shooting, that helped associate any mention of gun control with the image of a totalitarian state "coming to get our guns".

No comments:

Post a Comment