Tuesday, January 07, 2014

We're All At Risk When We Become Hiveminded.

In a recent opinion piece in Harper's magazine, Thomas Frank explained how the dangers of the hivemind in which we adopt an increasingly narrow, self-reinforcing  conventional wisdom.  It renders us lethargic and indifferent until we finally collapse on the assumption that things will come our way, eventually, due to our inherent goodness and the natural superiority of our beliefs. We must be right because we're all saying we're right.

That's the risk we all take - right, left and centre - getting drawn into these aggregators of right, left and centre-thought.   We immerse ourselves in the hivemind and lose touch with everything else.  We don't see it when we're among our own but it sears our minds when we visit the other guys' aggregators.  How can people be that extreme?  Yet it is only by going into their corral that we can see what they're thinking and, from that, know what we're up against and the full measure of the job that we face.  After all, you can't hit what you can't see.

I'll give you an extreme case, Chris Stirewalt's column from FOX News.  It's painful to read.  It is an unrepentant load of focused lies, spin and propaganda.  Yet it is the face of the rightwing hivemind in America and it's important to have the measure of it.


Lorne said...

My wife sometimes has on the radio one of the right-wing shows, like Rush Limbaugh. When I ask her why she vexes herself with such torturous fare, she tells me the same thing you are asserting here, Mound. I confess that I am not of sufficiently robust constitution to endure such, but you and my wife are absolutely right about knowing the enemy.

The Mound of Sound said...

Trust me, I understand Lorne. Yet it makes clear that these people aren't ideologically hidebound or even stupid. This is calculated, highly deliberate lying. These people work to mislead, confuse and distract. There's a genuine malevolence in their work.

Then again they do provide wonderful fodder for Jon Stewart.,