Propaganda’s Waste Product: Betrayal

The pain of betrayal… – Fuel for the journey

The U.S. economy is in shambles as the Covid19 virus continues to ravage cities and rural places across the country. Millions are out of work, many losing hope that they’ll ever get back to the way it was before the virus, before Donald Trump. The “how” of this is self-evident, but the “why” is disguised by layer upon layer of propaganda that has been fed to America over the last forty years. If you’re able to get far enough away from these trees, so that the forest becomes visible, it’s pretty easy to see that this has happened to us, because the right is obsessed with making the rich even richer.

That is its only cause.

Any government individual, program, or policy that existed to provide a check on the power of the super rich has been severely reduced or eliminated. The dangerous isolation of the nationalism that has arisen has made us a laughing stock in a global community that includes business arrangements with foreign powers. Bringing in cabinet members from the very industries they are designed to oversee has taken authority away from a government designed to keep an eye out for mischief within the private sector.

Our world is a mess, and we know it. Now, we stand at the edge of new beginning, assuming the chief author of this mess is shunned by American voters. Trump will (rightly) be the whipping boy for all of the palpable anger in our midst, but there’s another actor in all of this that will take center stage as we try to manage our way out of the chaos we feel, and that’s how we prevent this from ever happening again.

We’re going to have to find a way to trust each other again, for our entire way of life depends on it. And, before we can get there, we have to deal with the propaganda campaign that led us here in the first place. The first amendment has been so abused as to have had its teeth completely removed through a calculated series of lies and other fallacies that have successfully created a narrative within which a politicized press can function as mainstream.

Most people understand that propaganda is skewed information, a.k.a. lies, in a form designed to fool people into believing a certain way and acting on it. It is highly pejorative in our world, because nobody likes to be thusly fooled and manipulated.

And, the discovery that one has been duped leads to an angry and justifiable defense: profound feelings of betrayal. Betrayal is a powerful waste product of propaganda, and its nature as a long-lasting emotional response is sufficient to change the world

Betrayal leaves behind all sorts of ugliness that impacts our social and cultural lives. An academic paper in the National Library of Medicine describes betrayal thusly:

“Betrayal is the sense of being harmed by the intentional actions or omissions of a trusted person. The most common forms of betrayal are harmful disclosures of confidential information, disloyalty, infidelity, dishonesty. They can be traumatic and cause considerable distress. The effects of betrayal include shock, loss and grief, morbid pre-occupation, damaged self-esteem, self-doubting, anger. Not infrequently they produce life-altering changes. The effects of a catastrophic betrayal are most relevant for anxiety disorders, and OC D and PTSD in particular.”

Betrayal begins with trust, and once that is broken, it becomes a long-lasting influence on those for whom the trust was revealed to be foolish in the first place. Those who’ve been so broken aren’t likely to give themselves over to such manipulation in the future.

“Stab the body and it heals,” wrote famous Japanese Geisha Mineko Iwasaki, “but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime.” Or, as Arthur Miller noted, “Betrayal is the only truth that sticks.” This lasting legacy is why propaganda is a fatal wound for those manipulated, and this will come to light in the years ahead, as people grapple with the full extent of the political manipulation of the late 20th Century and early 21st Century.

The white evangelical church, for example, has betrayed its members in adding politics to the gospel, and that’s not going to end well for anybody. The church has given up its rightful place as salt and light in the community in order to obtain a Supreme Court they believe will have their backs in perpetuity. Rather than let God work through them, these deceived ministers and pastors have cast their lot with the super rich and the bearing of false witness in order to get what they want for themselves. The court is now 6–3 in favor of big business and corporations, but starry-eyed Christians think it’s all about them, abortion, and their “religious freedom”.

This is a betrayal of the first magnitude, and repentance and pleading for forgiveness are the only way out. This is unlikely, however, because these propagandists are soundly yoked to the rich and powerful. Nevertheless, it’s not something the church will get over anytime soon.

When the church plays the end-times theme, rest assured there’s a string attached, and it’s directly tied to the business model of the church, for its core competency rests in producing a herd of well-behaved denizens. The truth is that nobody knows the day or time of the end, and to postulate its nearness has been the propaganda of religious charlatans for centuries. After all, if the end is near, then its necessary to assure one’s place in the afterlife, for the saving one’s own ass for eternity has been the self-centered nature of Christian evangelicalism from the beginning.

The deals cut between these church leaders and their political puppet masters were made in dark, secret places, behind closed doors where nobody was watching (see Anne Nelson’s powerful book Shadow Network for some light on the subject). The high calling of caring for the poor and the afflicted has been replaced by a licentious thirst for power, riches, and influence under the sun. As Jesus said about such, “They have their reward,” which ought to send shivers down the backs of those under their counsel.

Propagandists will head for the shadows when discovered, as the 52 Republican Senators did after ramrodding a pro-big business advocate to the Supreme Court earlier this week. The GOP has always stood for the rich, and it’s amazing how many of those barely making ends meet have voted against their own interests in favor of alignment with the wealthy. How could this possibly have happened? Through the lesser of two evils fallacy and propaganda that positioned the GOP as having all the right answers for everybody, especially those poor unborn babies that socialist-liberals were killing left and right.

Did the Jews feel betrayed by the people of Europe who remained silent as they were marched to the Nazi death camps? Do the people dying of the lung complications brought on my smoking feel betrayed by the big business of tobacco? Do Palestinians feel betrayed from guarantees made to them in the beginning regarding Zionism? Do Native Americans feel betrayed by white invaders? Then there are the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church, both guilty of the most heinous forms of abuse and betrayal.

The use of propaganda to take the place of serious journalism is perhaps the greatest national propaganda betrayal of modern times, for in crying “fake news,” professional manipulators representing the political right have planted just enough false evidence to make it stick. There is little argument that this false witness was milked by the GOP as a way to maintain their influence over those being manipulated. It’s very hard to craft sound bites that disprove this particular piece of propaganda, because the press has been the thorn in the side of the ruling elites for at least the last century.

There are those who will argue that Donald Trump was the bad actor in all of this, and that once he’s gone, everything will be tickety-boo. However, Trump would not be President were it not for the secret labor of those wishing to overthrow the checks and balances that governed the engine of big business. This included the dominant role of white evangelicals in playing the religious liberty card ad nauseam while trying to force the culture into submission under their watchful eyes.

The church provides a colorful side show that draws attention away from greed of the one percent. Who cares, for example, that the rich are oppressing the poor when the lives of the unborn are at stake?

Finally, I have to say that, as a student of the Bible, God is not at all impressed with those who practice propaganda in order to gain worldly power and influence. This was the oppressive sin of the Scribes and Pharisees that Jesus railed against at every turn. Old Testament prophets would look across the ravages of Covid19 and insist it was a response of God to sin, but that is completely lost on people today. Today’s God is the same One we’ve always had, and, trust me on this, He is NOT happy with what has been done in His name repeatedly over the last 40 years.

As surely as I’m sitting here at my computer, God is judging this behavior, for He has no place with the propaganda of today or the betrayal that some will doubtless blame on Him. If betrayal has any redeeming quality, it’s that it can be a powerful motivator for change.

And that’s where we are today.

The Silk Stockings and Their Businesses

If you’ll look beneath the surface, you’ll find that the entirety of Donald Trump’s policies and positions deal with the ownership and management of business and industry. Even social issues that appear to be otherwise actually cloak a pro-business narrative. His dream Supreme Court is nine individuals who ALWAYS advocate on behalf of the business community. Climate change is about the fossil fuel industry. Racism is about businesses being forced to comply and how to avoid some of the responsibilities of wealth. The border is about business people supporting them with jobs legally. Business would love more of these people in the country, because they’re cheap labor. However, they would need to be here legally.

The grand narrative of this group is that the people who own and operate businesses drive the freedom to create wealth, which is the top rung on society’s ladder. Not only do these people create jobs, they also fund the community chest, which is all they deem necessary to “help” the poor and afflicted among us. Reagan called this “trickle down economics,” a reference to how essential it is to prop these people up by making it ever so much easier for others to prosper. In this sense…

  • Anything that manipulates the hiring and firing of employees from the outside — like government rules and regulations — is considered a blockage to profit. This includes the racist idea that non-whites make lousy employees. Affirmative action is decidedly anti-business.
  • Anything that was brought into being by representatives of those employees — a.k.a. organized labor — is an affront to the freedom to profit. This includes the 40-hour work week, minimum wages, and employee benefits.
  • Any and all regulations that interfere with the businessman’s right to profit are evil at core and therefore suitable for discarding. This includes, but is not limited to, global warming, clean air and water, the dumping of waste, working conditions, and many more.

What’s different about Trump in these matters is that he makes no attempt to hide his belief that he is the undisputed ruler of the business community. By aligning his policies with business, foreign policy becomes the central driver of America “ruling” the international business world. Spy activity envelopes foreign business on anything that might challenge America’s business “right” to rule everybody. A war with Iran is a business war, an attempt to better boost the Middle East on behalf of American business interests. Trump uses the language of war for everything from the United Nations to NATO. “America First” means American business interests first.

Remember that Trump simply gave these people $2 trillion in tax cuts and certain Republican Senators now want to give them more. Where did Trump get that money? He borrowed it, and WE are now the dumb debtors.

Small business owners are highly susceptible to these kinds of “support,” which is understandable. But what about the everyday people. Why do they support management? The reasons are many, including management’s support for the proLife community and, by association, evangelical Christianity, but even that is insufficient to get these people on board. There’s a strong sense of “they have to be right, because look at them” and “if I support them, they’ll support me.”

Nope. Sorry. It doesn’t work that way.

In the South, the textile industry was the first to abandon the U.S. for cheaper foreign labor. The rural people who worked for generations as a part of the industry (because they were close to the cotton the industry needed) heard over and over again about how THEY were responsible, because they assumed they could “run” the businesses as employees, including the high cost of paying American employees. These people feel now that perhaps “they” shouldn’t have chased the industry away by demanding fair wages. Guilt is a powerful motivator, especially when your family is starving.

The GOP has long been the party of the haves, and I helped change that through The 700 Club. By painting the impression that the prosperity gospel was the key to wealth — not time and chance — we moved a great many people to the Republican Party, where evangelicals and party operatives mixed and found common ground to pursue, especially as regards abortion, religious liberty, and promiscuity. These Christians were more than happy to let the Grand Old Party have whatever they wanted on behalf of business in trade for their support for causes that evangelical charlatans could exploit to build their ministries, their churches, and especially, their pocketbooks.

I honestly don’t see this ending unless their opponents are able to paint a more accurate picture of how evangelicals are pawns in their mission, players who sacrifice their own well-being in the name of belonging to “God changing the culture” through their alliance with the GOP. It’s a powerful driver of policies designed to benefit ONLY the wealthy and their wannabes. At the core of evangelicalism is the self-centered desire to save one’s ass from an eternity in hell, and few escape its ability to manipulate politically.

After all, once you’ve identified those selfish at core, it’s easy to lead them to selfish interests across-the-board, and that, my friends, is the very center of Republican Party dreams. Teach them that culture is about them, and that God wants them to prosper, because they’re “His kids,” and you will have them for life.

The creators of jobs don’t really care about the jobs; they care about power, and they’re always lusting for more.