Wednesday, October 16, 2019

They Don't Brainwash the Sheeple Like They Used To

The way that "brainwashed" is used in this tweet, and by many other people from all over the political spectrum, annoys me.  The notion of brainwashing went viral during the Korean War, as a horrible thing that the Chicoms and the North Korean Commies did to Our Boys whom they held prisoner for no reason at all, just invading their country.  The scare was bogus, but the idea was useful, though almost always it's applied to other people, the brainwashed sheeple who swallow whatever lies the Mainstream Media ram down their throats.

Strictly speaking, brainwashing is supposed to be done in a totally controlled environment, such as a prison camp for captured enemy soldiers.  In such a place, the information the victim is given can be restricted by his or her captors, and he or she can be held in isolation, which breaks down the ability to resist.  (Which is why solitary confinement is regarded as torture when it's done by our official enemies, though not when we, the good guys, do it.)  Despite the power of such a situation, it's not clear that such brainwashing was ever very effective.

The corporate media do not have that kind of power, nor are their audiences as isolated as POWs.  If an American encounters only one side of an issue, it's because he or she chooses to.  True, many people do choose to, but they aren't being held captive by Evil MSM, they have the cell door (as it were) locked from inside.  (Another pet peeve of mine is people who confuse "manufacturing consent," the Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model of Media, with brainwashing.  It's really the opposite, but more on that another time perhaps.)  And even before the Internet came along, there were abundant alternatives available to the corporate media, and nobody was going to throw you into a lightless cell for using them.  If people didn't use them, and most didn't, it wasn't because they were brainwashed.  And if you did turn to alternative sources, sensible moderate people would caution you that you needed to listen also to the "other side" - as if they ever did.

Perhaps the crowning irony, which indicates that Retired Man is less free of media control than he likes to believe, is that despite decades of media propaganda on the evils of Socialized Medicine, most Americans consistently favor some form of government-run healthcare (the private insurance lobby's term of art, picked up by their beneficiary Pete Buttigieg), just as they consistently hold other opinions that are Truly Politically Incorrect according to the all-powerful mind-controlling media: higher taxes on the rich, say, or less military spending.  I've noticed that most liberals and progressives who denounce the Sheeple for opposing these commonsense policies seem to accept the corporate-media line that they are unpopular, when in fact they are quite popular.  So who's brainwashed here?