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comment by tacocat

Basically the insane man with the conspiracy pamphlet shouting in a park in the 90s or earlier had an audience but he didn't have a vehicle for his message outside of the copier at the library. Now he has a mass audience and a vehicle and it turns out a lot of people are really stupid, they just were never exposed to the right level of stupid to make them dangerous

PTR  ·  1044 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    they just were never exposed to the right level of stupid to make them dangerous

I mean, yes. But this type of politicking is not new. The fourth and fifth pages are most relevant.

tacocat  ·  1044 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The stuff he mentions as archaic paranoid style is still around though and added with the new style you get these byzantine conspiracy theories like Qanon. Alex Jones has this ever evolving mythology that he creates on the fly to fit his paranoid worldview. My point being that there's always been an audience for this, we just didn't know how many people bought into the "lizard people are using chemtrails to turn the frogs gay for the benefit of the NWO and illuminati" until the Alex Joneses and David Ickes got a mass media platform instead of remaining on public access cable and self publishing bullshit right into bankruptcy. Where they deserve to be.

PTR  ·  1044 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Right, I'm clear on your point, but where you think no one knew how many people could be duped, I think it's pretty clear someone knew and planned for it. The paranoid gullibility of the American populace isn't an unstudied field, and these media personalities/platforms banked their success on it - make explicit reference to it in the case of Andrew Anglin/Daily Stormer. Like...you mention "Illuminati" right here, but that actually has roots in anti-Masonic paranoia from waaay back (that tie is made in the Hofstadter paper too).

I think we're making the same point. I'm just adding that the buildup to this level of conspiratorial frenzy is a decades-long process that's a pretty well-known and anticipated feature of the American electorate. Also, that the historical efforts and reach of political paranoia were more effective than you give them credit for (i.e. yes, they reached "mass audiences" in the 1800s). The Internet's advent didn't make this phenomena some new strange beast of our age - it's been around, relatively unchanged, for quite a while.

tacocat  ·  1044 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I think it's pretty clear someone knew and planned for it.

That's an incredibly paranoid line of reasoning in itself.

Someone noticed and took advantage of it. Someone being Donald Trump because he's stupid enough himself to buy this shit and politically naive enough not to distance himself from it as the Ron Pauls of the past have done.

PTR  ·  1044 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Lol more like a candid description of Machiavellianism than paranoia, but I hear you. There's a fair bit of hysteria in my views as well. Among friends, I've started ending all my political ramblings with, "...but I'm an extremist, so maybe don't listen to me."

Shit's weird, bud. Stay afloat.

am_Unition  ·  1046 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Combined with record-breaking levels of distrust in longstanding institutions and authority, the flames of which are fanned by the fucking POTUS.

tacocat  ·  1046 days ago  ·  link  ·  

He fans them but they helped him get elected in the first place. There are a lot of unintended consequences like Joe Scarborough on MSNBC putting him on his show for ratings and Rupert Murdoch putting him on his network for the same reason. I'm not deflecting blame, I'm partially deflecting ill intent at money instead of at pure malice. Which isn't all that comforting to me in the end because I still have to trust the mechanism that got us here to undo the damage it did. I just try to find comfort in small victories which might be self delusion in itself