Caitlin Johnstone: In A World Ruled By Propaganda

As primates whose survival depended on social cohesion, being rejected by the tribe would mean almost certain death, so it was necessary to conform. But we don’t live in prehistoric times anymore.


One of the worst mistakes you can make when formulating your understanding of the world is to begin with the assumption that the truest and most accurate position must lie somewhere near the center of the two major political perspectives you see laid out all around you.

It’s a mistake not only because assuming that the center position must be the best one is a type of fallacious reasoning known as the middle ground fallacy (the correct position between “Drink a gallon of bleach daily for good health” and “Drink zero bleach daily for good health” is not “Drink half a gallon of bleach daily for good health”); it’s also a mistake because the entire framing arises from a situation that has been artificially engineered by the powerful.

It’s a well-documented fact that the rich and powerful pour vast fortunes into manipulating the political and media landscape in ways that serve their interests. Their control over the news media and Silicon Valley tech platforms is used to set the agenda and influence public perception by determining what issues will receive attention and which won’t in ways that preserve the political status quo they’ve built their empire upon, thereby shrinking the Overton window of acceptable debate down to a very narrow spectrum whose outcomes can’t threaten their interests in any way.

We just discussed this dynamic with regard to U.S. aggressions against Russia and China; the Overton window is being narrowed to a debate between which U.S. enemy should be the target of the most imperial aggressions, with voices who advocate detente with both countries finding no platform in mainstream politics or media.

This is what Noam Chomsky was talking about when he said “the smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

People assume there must be truth in the mainstream worldview because so many others are invested in the mainstream worldview, when really the only reason that worldview is mainstream in the first place is because so much wealth and influence has gone into making it mainstream.

In reality the assumption that the truth exists anywhere in either of the two mainstream political viewpoints promoted by the managers of the western empire is an example of the bandwagon effect, which describes the cognitive bias in which humans tend to take on beliefs, behaviors, styles and attitudes solely because that’s what the people around them are doing.

This bias would have had evolutionary advantages early on in our development as a species. Back when our evolutionary ancestors were prey for prehistoric carnivores, it was a survival advantage to start running for your life if you saw other members of your tribe running, even if you personally didn’t see what they were running from.

As primates whose survival depended on social cohesion, being rejected by the tribe would mean almost certain death by predation or starvation, so it was necessary to conform in whatever ways prevented that rejection from happening.

But we don’t live in prehistoric times anymore. We live in a civilization with a highly complex information environment that is being continually manipulated away from truth and accuracy and toward the advantage of powerful people who rule over us. If you go along with the herd, you’ll be deceived.

In truth the so-called “centrists” or “moderates” of our world are really violent extremists, because they support the most murderous and tyrannical power structure on our planet, and are only regarded as moderate because they sit in the mid-range of a completely artificially created spectrum. A perspective that is actually sane will be about as far away from their perspective as you can get.

Because the majority of people have been duped by propaganda into espousing mainstream political perspectives, those with an accurate read on things will necessarily be a small fringe minority until that dynamic changes. As long as your entire civilization is structured around deceit-based perspectives which serve the powerful, going along with the crowd will prevent you from forming a truth-based perspective that serves human interests.

So you’ll have to get comfortable rejecting mainstream orthodoxies, dismissing mainstream media, and shunning mainstream politics, because those things are all inseparably interwoven with the matrix of deceit by which our rulers have pulled the blindfold over this civilization.

This won’t be a sign that you’re out of touch or a kooky crackpot or some snobby hipster who rejects all things mainstream out of a pathological need to be different, it will be a sign that you are seeing things clearly.

This can set you apart from your tribe at times; as Terence McKenna said, “The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.” But we can still find each other online, so we’re never really alone, and the cost is definitely worth it.

The sincere pursuit of a truth-based perspective is ultimately the surest path not only toward a healthy society, but toward lasting happiness as an individual as well.


Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on Facebook, TwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

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