Why Ideologies Always Win

Before the end of the cold war ideologues were seen as always the same socialists who had read something in a tiny red booklet or in Karl Marx' The Capital. They reinforce their believes in isolated social groups which we would now call echo chambers. You shook your head wondering how these otherwise smart people couldn't know that their "ideas" are not new. In fact they were tried and tested, and despite the new label, they failed not only in recent times, but throughout centuries.


If you told them that, they would attribute the failure to circumstances. Now, you could sit down with them and explain that the same circumstances don't cause the disaster without the policy or that the idea leads to the outcome for purely logical reasons. You won't.


You may sit down with your loved ones and talk things through, but eventually you will let it go. The reason why religions have so much irrational baggage is that we don't talk things through. We have jobs, a family, friends. Public affairs pass the smartest of us unnoticed. That flying donkey Buraq who talked to Prophet Mohammet...never mind!


Another hurdle is that people can be made to believe that a school of thought always comes as a package, delivered with a book or through the words of a leader. It is easy to debunk an ideology for some disagreement. Many atheists claim that they have found the well of rationality. But do you really scrutinize and sort out all of your believes?


This looks all funny as long as one ideology is not domineering your corner of the world. There is a set of rules which ensure that opposing ideas can co-exist. Make the market of ideas thrive and let it do its magic! Let bad ideas be exposed to criticism! It's a really nice framework, only that, well, we don't "do" it. We let the donkey talk and stifle the voices which we dislike. Only few of us even acknowledge the possibility of being wrong.


But, hey, you make the difference! Yes, you! You still can make voices heard that are oppressed and dispel stupid nonsense. You know that it is long-standing ACLU policy and you sure do it, too. Let's just pretend you do!


How do you get the word out? You notice that something is wrong or at least you notice that people try to get their voices heard and are stifled. You can organize a protest and mobilize all your hundred friends to march through the streets. Your friends have ACLU morals. They may not even agree that something is wrong, but they notice how people who try to say something are harassed, so they all turn up. How many people were necessary to make George W. Bush pull out of Iraq? Maybe you ask your Mom to join in.


You realize that you have to reach more people. You rent some billboards. After you got broke, you notice that your opponents reach so many more people than you. How are they doing it?


They sing! No, really! Kim Jong Un has a state-owned organization that produces nice movies and tunes. ISIS and their mirrors are a bit handicapped because Islam forbids music, but don't worry, they just call them war songs and in love and war Allah allows everything! Sometimes a western entertainment company is just infiltrated a bit. The homogeneous political views among the creative have nothing to do with bullying or have they? It is just that one political view makes people funny, sexy, convincing actors, and, oh, they can sing!


So maybe you decide to do some singing. But where? All the stages are owned by people who just forego your pretty voice and go for Kesha. She has personality in her voice.


Don't we have a free market? If people really like what you have to say and your stella voice, Britney Spears is done, isnt' she? You go to the market place and some cents fall into your hat. Some producer will recognize you, soon, you think. Hm, maybe you put on a pussy hat and a sickle and hammer shirt.


There is another place where your opponent is successful: The internet. Now, that looks good because people who get blocked and whose websites are buried by Google are surely evil people. You heard from them and aren't there points of disagreements? Even if you agree with them in many ways, they use words that are appalling. You will do it differently.


The newspeak dictionary keeps evolving and your brain is not progressive enough to keep track of all the right gender pronouns. If you happen to talk German, all words and phrases could potentially have been used by Nazis. You will learn about that when it is too late. You dog whistle without a whistle and the wrong dogs will find you.


You decide to show solidarity with people who you disagree with. After all you have ACLU morals. Maybe the "enemies" that you are constantly told to hate by people who sing are not that evil.


But you have heard really dreadful things about these people. They are a threat and try to kill somebody. You may have sworn never to believe prejudices after Hitler was defeated. People check accusations against Jews, the socialists, the right, whoever the current enemy in your corner of the world is, also against individuals. That is what we have learnt, haven't we? I mean, that was really the lesson, wasn't it? The opposite is true. For all your life you have been conditioned to believe all accusations against other people and never to question them.


If you do research the actual people who are maligned, you end up with the following results:

  • the accusation is false
  • the situation/words can also be interpreted in a different light
  • powerful people get a pass for the same "transgression"
  • somebody is a gruesome murderer and you remain appalled
  • you question if you share the applied moral (you may approve of what the person did)

How do we decide what is moral? Do we glean it from the bible or do we watch public people being punished for something? Is there even a difference?


You are in really hot water now because of guilt by association. Some in the English-speaking world have noticed that it is morally despicable to smear somebody for other people's actions. However, the German language, for instance, would not even have a phrase for 'guilt by association'. The concept that something is wrong with it is hardly understood, and in many cultures where English is not spoken there is almost no awareness of the problem at all.


Here you are, not yet blocked, Google does index you but demotes the content by small bloggers in there search results. You shout into the wilderness. None of what you say goes viral. That's no surprise. You don't try to find people who already think like you, you are here to convince people. Next issue: Platon's cave problem.


Information digest works like music appreciation. Your ear is trained to accept some chords, they may vary only a bit and as much artists think of themselves they basically invent the same sounds again and again. Everything that digresses too much is considered noise by the listeners. If you are not a narcissist and you want to promote an idea and not your person, you produce noise.


You can promote your person by repeating what all the right thinking people say, but this is not what you went broke for with your billboard investments. Because people are only ready to learn incrementally, you find yourself in the position that you have to explain too much at once.


Another psychological barrier is that many people just ignore negative information when it hits them fast and hard. Some people can't accept the death of their loved once. Some people can't accept that other people's freedom is at risk. No changes of the law, disclosure of government surveillance programs, treatment of political opponents, or show of political violence can convince them.


In many places around the world the political climate becomes toxic so fast that you wouldn't even want to put out your name and your face. People lose their jobs, their financial standing, their families and friends because they disagree with the powerful. They are accused of the most horrible things. People believe these things because they are repeated long enough and the donkey still talks.


But why does the market of ideas not work? We are made to believe that it is immoral to use all available sources of information. You avoid FOX News because you were told for years that it makes you dumb and crazy. At the moment we see CNN at the receiving end of the same strategy. What idiot does still watch CNN? What we would actually need is that people have a cursory look at diverse media sources and not be ashamed of quoting them.


Some conservatives say, nah, just found your own newspaper. It is the same road to your pop singer stardom. Here is the thing they don't know: Neither the arts nor the papers are still carried by the market. The number of consumers are dwindling. If they are not bought by the likes of Carlos Slim or George Soros, they are living off their savings. Indeed, to be the mouthpiece of one or more billionaires is their only chance to survive while ad revenues dry up. They don't even try to reach a large audience anymore. They just make sure to be loud enough to drown independent voices.


When Leah Remini was asked why she had believed in Scientology she said something along the lines that Scientology's critics were so uninformed about her former religion. Ideologies shield themselves with arrogance against new ideas. The outsider can't know the vast library of your scriptures in detail be it the hadiths of Mohammet, the writings by Ron Hubbard, or the Marxist drivel. Critics always get something wrong and we are trained to ignore what they get right. We react with arrogance to the most immaterial errors while the donkey's still talking.


A big misunderstanding about ideologies is that they promise a utopia. We need that claim to justify how something so obviously stupid is believed. How was it ever convincing? We need to save our face. If you look into the utopia claim, it does not hold much water. The two schools of thought which most people would see as ideologies are Islamism and socialism. They both don't promise much. Islamists dream up a caliphate on earth. They also say that it was already once established. There is nothing ecstatic to expect. The afterlife is usually described in pornographic imagery. Even sex that lasts forever does not fill the dream of heavens with much color or life. Karl Marx did not give much detail about his goals, either. His presumed utopia is that everybody is brainwashed into being really, really nice, just like the Stepford Wives. In communism we can use that shared public toilet because the dictatorship of the proletariat has tought men to sit.


There is more to say about group think and pressure, but who am I to speak. The donkey's talking.


John G Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:09pm
Utpal Patel Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:16pm
I don’t believe people think the ideology they follow will lead to utopia.  In addition, I don’t think belief in a religion is the same thing as belief in an ideology, as you allude to in your concluding paragraph.  Socialism is an ideology and socialists recognize that not everything would be wonderful if we all became socialists.  The same is true for capitalists. 
The reason I know socialism is the wrong ideology to follow is because it’s wrong to force people to follow a particular ideology.  In other words, socialism doesn’t work if some decide they prefer capitalism, all must become socialists or it fails.  In capitalism a socialist is free to find people to cohabitate with and become socialists.  So as a capitalist I have no problem with a Kibbutz or Omish Settlement, as those people should be free to live however they damn well please, just don’t force your way of life on me.    
John G Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:43pm
Patel doesn't understand socialism or capitalism. He actually thinks he is a capitalist.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 7, 2017 - 5:05pm
Patel: The claim that ideologies are about utopias usually comes from outsiders and people who talk about it ex-ante. People don't realize that they are caught up in something because they search for clues like a strong belief in a utopia that does not need to be present. Aggression against dissenters is a stronger cue.
Religion is also an ideology. As long as one is not domineering all thoughts they are fine. India has less experience with it because Hinduism is an umbrella over a variety of schools of thoughts. No faction was ever strong enough to domineer all the subcontinent and destroy the opposition.
Jeff Jackson Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:10pm
The ideology that insists that you stop thinking and blindly follow that particular ideology is the wrong ideology from the beginning. I love all of the defenders of the Marxist societies that insist that the failed Marxist society wasn't Marxist enough. It was a great class, "Modern Political Ideologies" where a lot of this was debated. The text was pretty cool, with a lot of real extremists views that were filled with holes you could drive a tank through.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 1:38am
Your problem, Jackson, is that you think your partisanship and your belief in the propaganda you are bombarded with is real.
You're a mid controlled zombie.
America is not a force for good in the world.
It kills on an industrial scale as an every day occurrence/business.
Black and brown people are every bit as capable as you of running their countries and forming democracies. You are no smarter than anyone born outside the arbitrary borders of the USA.
Every foreign leader who doesn't do as the US dictates is not a communist or Marxist out to destroy America or its allies. The US has no allies. It has vassals.
Socialism has been a raging success in most instances.
Reading Marx and understanding capitalism does not render one a Marxist.
You are NOT a democrat and you ARE a racist.
Orientalism and American exceptionalism are racist positions and you have expressed both repeatedly.
Saint George Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:13am
Skidmark-john-g shills for Russia and Palestinian terror groups. Who are your compliance officers, skid mark? Do tell.
Curious minds want to know.
Ari Silverstein Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:11am
I think John g summed this article up nicely when he wrote "what ?" From the very beginning, I was totally confused as to what point you're attempting to make.
Exactly when is "before the end of the Cold War?" Why not just say before the Cold War or after the Cold War or during the Cold War?
What ideologues are you talking about? Whoever they are, there is no need to target all ideologues.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 8, 2017 - 10:04am
Ari: Thank you for your feedback! I did not expect to have produced "noise" already meaning having left the orthodoxies too much already, but here we are.
My phrase 'before the end of...' was unhappy. I should have written 'during the Cold War'. I hope that isn't already in the way of understanding the text.
What ideologies I'm talking about? Yours! And mine! The common traits of ideologies and the framework in which they can operate without bloodshed.
Why we need to target all ideologues?
You have asked a question in the Debt Explosion Threat that I may help answer. Why do liberals believe that debt doesn't matter? It was a response to my discussion with John G who doesn't see himself as a liberal. I don't want to offend him, but I want to use him as an example (he will kill me).
If you talk about liberals, he will look over his shoulder. The same is true for most socialists and Islamists and almost all other ideologues. I could name you some other people here. John G is only an example (G-d be with me).
I was asking John G for a link to an article that outlined public debt = private savings. He gave me this. The article doesn't explain it, but it explains John.
The first sentence is:
In MMT, a distinction is made between ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ transactions.
So the following text is true 'in MMT'. It's the ideology you have never heard of and won't tackle successfully if you speak about Bernie Sanders instead. There are many like MMT. Bear with me.
What the article does is introduce terminology without a reason. No scientist ever introduces terminology without reason. Who does it? Esoterics, Scientology, Karl Marx ...
This is a 'trait' of an ideology. I give you a second one.
The article had the phrase 'endogenous money' in it. I went to the Wikipedia article. It is headed with caveats. So I went to the discussion site. Some dude, only identified by his IP but apparently an adherent of John G's ideology claims that 'central banking papers ... conclude that the money multiplier does not function at all'. I followed his first link. The first paper says in the small print that it is not a 'central banking paper' but the opinion of two employees not endorsed or rejected by anybody. So we have a claim to authority backing and some pseudoscience and where have we seen that before. Right, everywhere!
Now, why do liberals believe debt does not matter? Because they go down this or that rabbit hole, reading awkward books which introduce pseudoscientific vocabulary, develop newspeak etc. They invest time and ressources. A lot of time and ressources. Can we admit after having invested so much that we are wrong?
I would have loved to spark a discussion on where other people identify common traits of ideologies without going into the details of the ideologies themselves. See what is dangerous and what is not and why. But I fear that I have just produced noise again.
John Minehan Added Sep 8, 2017 - 10:50am
This from Taleb may be helpful or this from Samuel Adams: "It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."
Dino Manalis Added Sep 8, 2017 - 11:25am
Some ideologies tend to circulate, but we have to be open to new ideas and not become fanaticized by any single ideology!
Leroy Added Sep 8, 2017 - 11:50am
Maybe I don't fully understand the article but the way I interpret correctly, essentially, it is difficult to have a voice if you don't have a platform from which to speak.  You need a Bible, Koran, or manifesto.  If so, I largely agree.  The Libertarian party is often accused of being a party without a platform.  It has a few, basic tenants but no platform.  Consequently, as a party, it has been unsuccessful.  Too many kooks in the kitchen.  Many agree with most Libertarians, but I would never vote for the Libertarian party.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 8, 2017 - 11:53am
Minehan: Thank you John. To sum up the argument for the others. The majority accommodates ideologues who are only a minority simply because the effort to do so is not seen as high. This makes the entire group displaying traits of the radical minority.
I may add:
For the individual in the majority this can also be true when other individuals have to pay a huge price. There is an upcoming web series by Pamela Geller on how the Islamization already imposes censorship on the western world.
Dino: Yes, repetition is very important. Sometimes it's covered by using different words for the same things.
Yoder: Yes, literature is a reflection of the culture of the time and ususally embodies a good deal of ideology. Books have fallen out of fashion. I have used the allegory of people who sing.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 8, 2017 - 12:22pm
Leroy: I would rather make the argument that ideologies spread because nobody needs to read the entire library/platform.
The tenets are served bit by bit through arts and media. I describe the dangers when ideologies become monopolies and turn to persecution. What can you do when you see that all of the elites in your country become like-minded? How much time do you have? People are not aware how Kabul or Teheran looked in the 60s. Women back then would have never thought that they would dress up like they do today. We are sitting on a high horse if we believe this could not happen to us.
Make no mistake, libertarians are excluded from the public discourse. Artists that are libertarian don't make it too Hollywood, do they?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 1:27pm
Ideologies help people not to use their brain, shut up common sense and be part of a group......
Whatever system and -ism people fight for, they don't realize that a COMBINATION of different ideas is the only thing that will be accepted by a majority.....
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 8, 2017 - 1:34pm
Stone-Eater Friedli: This is good, but aren't ideologies always an amalgam of previous schools of thought? Islamism e.g. takes some aspects from Islam, combines it with a strong victimhood culture that was present in many other ideologies (e.g. the Nazis) and has probably some regional cultural influences like FGM.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 8, 2017 - 1:36pm
all: The article talks a lot about how an ideology goes mainstream and the few available options to stop it. Ideologies can become mainstream thought. The Nazis were not fringe, people believed what Stalin said etc.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 2:15pm
Yep. Take the Zeitgeist and adjust the -ism accordingly :-)
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 8, 2017 - 2:20pm
Hitler, Stalin, Moe, etc. used force to bring their ideology to power.  What do you think preventing free speech is about.  If you stop the opposition from speaking you win.   Antifa is thugs using force to stop opposition speech.   ISIS uses force to stop opposition of Islam for centuries.  Conversion by the sword.  All you need is over 10% of the population that agree with you and to cow tow the government from suppressing your movement.  
What do you think is happening in Europe and America.  They are trying to get sufficient strength to take over the governments and the government has cow towed to them already.    In America Democratic local governments have been documented helping or at least not enforcing the law and letting the thugs rule the streets.   Europe has areas, no go zones which are areas where the government does not enforce their laws.  That is against the will of the people and those government officials should be charged and brought in front of the judicial system and dam sure voted out of office.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 8, 2017 - 3:23pm
Thomas Sutrina: Violence is a huge factor. I saw pleas for anti-free speech laws right after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I have never heard somebody speaking in favor of blasphemy laws before. They were dead paragraphs before and are enforced now. The anti-free speech law $130StGB is now regularly used as if "refugee" is an ethnic group (it is justified with the Nazi history).
I also observe that much emphasis is put on surveillance, computer viruses (e.g. German state computer virus Staatstrojaner), thought control (censorship), police raids of apartments for trivial reasons, but very little police protection is there when conservatives try to speak.
I also see a radio Ruanda-like media that is very hostile. I see anti-Semitism on the rise again. There was a book that the elites classified as anti-Semite and conservatives bought in defiance. Hardly anybody, not even the NYT recognized, that it pandered anti-Jewish conspiracy theory BS (Finis Germania).
SE Friedli rightly said that the zeitgeist is taken to become a domineering ideology in many cases. Hitler won an election. Lenin's power grab was not violent (I stand corrected).
The divide and conquer/rule thing is a big risk, too. That's why I really want a neutral discussion on ideologies as such to sharpen our focus. We point fingers at one another.
I'm at a point where I don't see much difference between Merkel and some Islamists (they come in different shape and color). We allow people who are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood into the highest ranks of our government (CAIR in the US, Huma Abedin has ties, Aydan Özoguz in Germany has). I see Islamism rather incorporated into an authoritarian regime rather than taking everything over in a pure form.
We have this utter media control by a very few people (A video about the US). German state TV/radio is the largest of the world. The propaganda machine has an annual budget of more than $9.6 billion. Outside that, Merkel's close friend Liz Mohn controls the largest publishing conglomerate in the world, Bertelsmann. Bertelsmann controls a sizable portion of the US publishing industry, too. Springer, also a major publisher, is controlled by Merkel's friend Frieda Springer. They own much of the scientific publications relevant in the US. Until a year ago it was expected Merkel would be "challenged" by her own minister Sigmar Gabriel in the general election. This was too obvious so they took an EU beaurocrat, Martin Schulz.
I ask generally about ideologies because I don't want people to look at this through a partisan lens. My first post here was about a crack down on the autonomous left. Ideologues don't accept ANY independence.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:03pm
It seems you've never been to Europe. No-go zones ? Of course that exists. As in the US. Do you really think I could walk the streets in some areas in LA, Detroit or Chicago at night unharmed ? I lived in the US and felt unsafe in Pleasant Hill, CA in 1980.
You're a victim of propaganda, sorry.
Europe has areas, no go zones which are areas where the government does not enforce their laws
Ah-huh. We try to calm the situation without using martially armed SWAT teams who resemble soldiers in war. And did you ever ask youself what the CAUSE is that so many people are sinking into crime and despair ?
Keep couch-potatoing, pal.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:05pm
Thanks. You know what you're talking about. Very good replies !
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:07pm
BTW: So, wie du schreibst, nehme ich an, du verstehst Deutsch ;-)
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:11pm
Ideologues don't accept ANY independence.
Yep. Blinded by the Light - Manfred Mann's Earth Band (the title just fits LOL)
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:12pm
Stone-Eater Friedli: Danke!
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:17pm
Bitte :-) Stets zu Diensten, mein Freund !
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:20pm
I think that the German elections are truncated right from the start as were the French ones. The goal is simply to keep Europe "in line" with the US in order to keep the Russians under control, or better, let NATO finish its goal to encircle them. That's the big fuss about NK and Iran. Because they're "en route" to that....
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:28pm
BTW2: What fits is the announcement of Trump to "punish" all countries who deal with them - means China. Because China is the last part of the chain around Russia which can't be "reformed" that easily...too big, and well, the US has a big debt there. So the question is:
What will Russia do ? Will the Chinese give in or will they go along with Russia and enforce BRICS ? Because the biggest fear of the US is that the oil/$ binding could be broken by them -> Venezuela.....
All that blather about -isms and ideologies are a blender for the people. It's the economy, stupid LOL
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:30pm
Sorry, by dealing with "them" I meant NK. I guess I was getting too far with my thoughts. But ALL is connected, finally...in mind and action.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:56pm
Stone I live near Chicago, about 40 miles from down town.  And my in-laws for decades live on the south side.  The police go into every neighborhood any time they want.  And they do not go in force.  So that is not a NO-GO-ZONE.  
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 8, 2017 - 6:09pm
I just deleted John G, but I represent his voice without insult. He believes his MMT is not an ideology.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 6:50pm
Please explain how maths and accounting analysis = an ideology.
John G Added Sep 9, 2017 - 12:32am
Are you Dutch, Goldstein? Israeli?
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 9, 2017 - 4:12am
John G: Math and book keeping terminology is proper to make an argument. It does not replace an argument. You can use it to make your case. You just don't make your case. Economics is not just maths. Maths is the language to describes your take on the situation. It is a mean.
All of us follow a number of schools of thoughts. That is the most neutral term I can think of at the moment. We observe that some become brutally inforced. We associate the word ideology with a school of thought that seeks dominance. They share characteristics.
I don't want to go into MMS in this thread. I stand corrected, but there is a lot of smoke and mirror game involved. You make extraordinary claims and that is fine but your strategies (repetition, aggression, not making your case with arguments) bear some resemblence to schools of thoughts that are much more nefarious. It is these traits that I want to talk about at this point.
John G Added Sep 9, 2017 - 4:53am
You've claimed that MMT is 'ideology'. But you can't explain why.
MMT is mathematical analysis of the monetary system.
I'm not making any extraordinary claims.
You are. 
You string a lot of words together that mean nothing.
You can't make your case so you resort to lying.
John G Added Sep 9, 2017 - 4:57am
Are you Dutch, Goldstein? Israeli?
John G Added Sep 9, 2017 - 5:08am
There is an upcoming target="_blank">web seriesby Pamela Geller on how the Islamization already imposes censorship on the western world.
Oh that says it all about you.
Yuck. I feel dirty having tried to engage you.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 9, 2017 - 5:15am
John G: I gave you a definition of what makes us characterize a school of thought as an ideology. It is one that uses tactics that we know from Stalin, Hitler, Ron Hubbard and others. I laid out how your school of thought shares SOME of these tactics and characteristics. This is called an argument.
Asking people about their personal background to prepare ad hominem attacks is not an argument. It is a problematic tactic. So we have another one: Ad hominem attacks.
And yes, claiming that government spending is a saving is not a widely held position. It is an extraordinary claim (could still be right).
John G Added Sep 9, 2017 - 5:16am
Yeah good one, Corey.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 9, 2017 - 6:13am
40 miles isn't exactly a suburb ;)
Bill Caciene Added Sep 10, 2017 - 5:59am
I don’t understand very much of this article but one passage that had especially confused me was your thoughts on the media.  Nobody I know is taught to believe it’s “immoral to use all available sources of information?” Liberals avoid Fox News and conservatives avoid CNN, it’s called bias. Even those that are consumers of what the media is offering are guilty of feeding their bias by focusing on their preferred choice in biased media. I would also add that thanks to the internet people have a far more diverse set of media sources than the past.  Rather than the big three, they use this diverse group of sources to fill their knowledge base and quote on occasion. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 10, 2017 - 6:42am
Bill Caciene: I'm writing from Europe where the problem is more pronounced. Actually everybody is constantly shamed for quoting the wrong media. This shaming is a punishment that installs a moral. A good person does not watch xyz.
In the Nazi era xyz was the BBC. In today's Germany ALL internet sources that are not directly linked to the state or to major news corporations who have products in print are demonized. Germans are told by various large news corps and state TV programms again and again that they may not "trust YouTube", no matter WHAT is on YouTube. Information "from the internet" is frowned upon.
Try to show a liberal friend some footage of Sean Hannity's show, something that is irrefutable! Does he talk about the content or does he dismiss it because "only hateful, asinine bigots watch Hannity"? A good person does not watch Hannity. The bias thing would explain some mild preference, but you can see a much stronger reaction from people.
Bill Caciene Added Sep 10, 2017 - 6:51am
Europe is a far more liberal place than America and you sound like a conservative.  Accordingly, what you’re experiencing is simply more evidence of what I’m talking about.  After all, Europe has access to pretty much the same media as we do here in the United States. I should also note that conservatives are often guilty of the very same shaming of liberals and their choice in media.  You even did it when you bashed CNN and the BBC.   
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 10, 2017 - 7:02am
Caciene: Yes, I keep it neutral. I was given the Hannity example because you are a conservative and will have an easier time to recognize the matter in a different group of people.
We don't have the same access to media. Not at all.
Bill Caciene Added Sep 10, 2017 - 7:05am
We can all turn the channel, subscribe to a different newspaper or type a different website into our computer. 
"I keep in neutral"
C’mon, we all feed our bias and that’s why people like us watch Fox News and liberals stay with CNN and the BBC. 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 10, 2017 - 7:23am
What I notice here in Switzerland is that people still read the same stuff that suits their POV, as before. It only changed from print to online for many. Although I have a lot of (mostly younger) friends who watch KenFM on youtube, Der Nachtwächter, Alles-Schall-und-Rauch, etc. etc. I read/watch all of them but there also one has to analzye in order to not get pushed into one direction....
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 10, 2017 - 7:24am
Caciene: You give me a hard time.
What point does it have for me to watch FOX? Can you show me what channel tells me what Angela Merkel is doing wrong? Can you name me one newspaper, one radio show, one TV show or one website that critizes Merkel (and not just about her refugee mess)? One that would be accepted in the larger population? ONE!!! We don't even have RADIO (they only play music or are run by the state).
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 10, 2017 - 7:43am
Stone Eater Friedli: The only one I've heard of so far is KenFM. It is like InfoWars. People are easily shamed when talking about this one. I would also know some smaller websites. However, as it stands, they are 'the internet' and are therefore not accepted as sources in any meaningful debate.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 10, 2017 - 8:38am
Stone,  America police do not have No-Go-Zones and if a city had one Chicago would be a good candidate.  Some judges have applied Sharia law and were condemned for doing so.  If that is continuing it is not reported.  Just this year a doctor cutting women genitals is charged as is the hospital and the parents of the girls and other children of the two families have been removed for them.  They to are charged.  
Living 40 miles from Chicago means I am still at a distance where people commute to work.  I did for one job.  Not to Chicago itself but to a northern suburb when I lived on the  North West side.  
My father-in-law worked right off the lake on land that was part of the Chicago exposition of the late 1800's.  He worked with residents of the Black Ghetto.    And I have a police officer son-in-law.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 10, 2017 - 2:04pm
However, as it stands, they are 'the internet' and are therefore not accepted as sources in any meaningful debate.
Know why ? Because the people participating there are reflected and intelligent people. No slogan repeaters. Historians and journalists which were sacked because they dared to have a differenciated opinion.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 10, 2017 - 2:07pm
America police do not have No-Go-Zones and if a city had one Chicago would be a good candidate
Of course not, the way they are armed ! I rather mean no-go zones for the regular guy, But it is a sign of the situation in a society when cops have to be armed the same way as soldiers are....
John G Added Sep 10, 2017 - 7:40pm
I wonder how the author of this piece would describe his overarching ideology?
I bet it wouldn't be ethno supremacist zionist hater.
Saint George Added Sep 11, 2017 - 2:47am
Socialism is an ideology and socialists recognize that not everything would be wonderful if we all became socialists.  The same is true for capitalists.
I'd put it somewhat differently.
"Statism" is an ideology, one of whose practical manifestations is in the economic arrangement called "socialism." There are other forms statism can take, too: a pure monarchy, for example, is statist.
While statists of all stripes probably admit that "not everything would be perfect" under control of a central authority like the state, all statists — fascists, syndicalists, monarchists, socialists, communists, etc. — agree on one salient point: in their view, things are inherently perfectable, even if only incrementally over time, by means of greater state direction over the choices of individuals.
The opposite of the ideology of statism is the ideology of "liberalism" (in the classical sense, not the modern one), whose clearest manifestation is in the economic system of capitalism. While classical liberals freely admit that "not everything would be perfect" under decentralized control of individuals pursuing their own goals, purposes, and self-interests, they also agree that things can never, in principle, be perfect because human beings — including those (especially those!) who work on behalf of the state — are flawed, and that while things can always be incrementally improved, they are inherently "non-perfectable", especially by means of coercive intervention by a central authority.
John G Added Sep 11, 2017 - 4:57am
Like capitalists could survive without the state.
Boring libertoonian drivel.
John G Added Sep 11, 2017 - 4:58am
Drivel from a regime change and war promoter mind.
Says it all about libertoonians.
Liars and shills for the oligarchy.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 11, 2017 - 12:16pm
St George: 'Control of a central authority' or concentration of power in the hands of a few unites regimes, cults, esoteric gurus and so on. I may add here that some on the right also fail to understand that the legal form of the all-controlling organization is irrelevant. It may be a church, a state, a cult, a cartel of corporations. I think Carlo Slim, for instance, owns an obscene portion of all companies in Mexico, is most likely linked to multiple drug mafia clans, and holds much control over the New York Times. To seperate his power from the official government is not that easy. Another factor is that governmental organization start to call themselves private or super-national (e.g. the EU is a nation state). The two largest churches in Germany, the Lutherans and the Catholics in Germany, are officially a hybrid between a state and a private entity. The line is blurred. In other words: If a king privatizes and rents back a torture chamber, his actions are still unacceptable.
You make a second good point. The incremental improvement is supposed to come at a cost, namely giving up power to the authority. The end game is claimed to be freedom, but strange enough on the way to it we are supposed to give up everything. I think some communists believe that after socialism all states will be disbanded and we will live in harmony without authority for evermore.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 11, 2017 - 1:18pm
Chicago has NO-GO-ZONES for the residents, Stone.  When you children are shot inside their homes because the gangs are shooting are other gang members they see.  
That is different then the Muslim neighborhoods were those that follow Islam are in no danger.   These that are lesser humans, non-Muslims are not safe because they are lesser human and can be killed or lied to without a penalty.  This has been true since the 800s.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 11, 2017 - 1:34pm
Thomas Sutrina: It is not really the topic of the thread, but I way in on it. Muslim areas are not safe for Muslims, either. It is like black on black crime in the US. I think SE Friedli is correct that the no-go-areas in Europe and the US are comparable.
They are both there for the same reasons: too much immigration and too little support for the police. It is more of a by-product of the overall center-left ideology (and leftists run the large cities). The state is given ever more power while it is cut on the very levels where it is needed the most. And I think that you are right that by having less police on the beat they embolden the violence of their street thugs. At the same time they sabotage investments in the neighborhood and create dependency on the state by the impoverished citizenry.
Melina Ahl Added Sep 11, 2017 - 5:15pm
Gosh, what a crock of shit. You implied that socialists are also Marxists, which is so wrong it isn't worthy of correcting. Neither diametrical opposites have ever had any power in the world and ever will.
As for ideologues, only right-wing ones win. That is how the world works: you will just have to get used to it.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 11, 2017 - 5:35pm
HAHAHAH. Now, I've heard it all. Stalin is not socialism, Mao is not socialism, Pol Pot is not socialism....Karl Marx is not socialism.
John G Added Sep 11, 2017 - 5:56pm
Stalin is not socialism, Mao is not socialism, Pol Pot is not socialism
Did the workers control the means of production?
Karl Marx is not socialism
You should read some Marx before commenting in future.
Saint George Added Sep 11, 2017 - 6:26pm
Like capitalists could survive without the state.
LOLzZZ! What a fuck-all!
No one ever said that a capitalist economy under an ideology of classical liberalism would be stateless. Go spike yourself at the bottom of a Turkish toilet, illiterate-skid-mark-g. You're an embarrassment even to other radicalized socialist blockheads. The other, literate-skidmark-g, must be shaking his pin-head in something resembling shame (assuming he actually has a conscience, which is questionable).
Saint George Added Sep 11, 2017 - 6:33pm
The incremental improvement is supposed to come at a cost, namely giving up power to the authority.
That's actually not what I meant by "cost."
I meant "opportunity cost"; making clear to individuals that if they want "X", they have to give up the acquisition of "Y", since resources are scarce in relation to unlimited wants, and they simply cannot have both "X" and "Y" . . . at least, not under current conditions of technological knowledge. Since a classical liberal society respects and enforces the civil institution of private property (including intellectual property), each individual is free to evaluate opportunity costs for himself. When the state owns everything, the opportunity costs are still there but they're hidden from individuals under the Big Lie that they can whatever they want, need, and desire "for free".
John G Added Sep 11, 2017 - 6:55pm
"When the mobilization began, the U.S. was still struggling to emerge from the Great Depression. Most households had scant savings to spend on War Bonds, and could hardly afford the burden of higher taxes, so the idea of taxing and borrowing their money to pay for the building of a great war machine was not even a viable option. Nor was it necessary. Instead, the sovereign government simply issued the U.S. dollars, by fiat, as it needed them to buy materials and pay wages: It declared the dollars into existence—and then it paid those dollars to the American people to build the ships and planes and guns. In the historical narrative by professor Klein, we never encounter someone saying, “Sorry, Mr. Roosevelt, we need to sell another billion dollars in War Bonds before we can build that new aircraft carrier.” That conversation just doesn’t come up. By the time 1941 rolls around—and especially in the months after the Pearl Harbor attack—mobilization has pushed the economy to virtually full employment: Millions of previously unemployed people (including women who’d never before been in the workforce) were suddenly pulling paychecks as engineers, technicians and machine operators."
John G Added Sep 11, 2017 - 6:56pm
Saint George Added Sep 11, 2017 - 7:41pm
That's actually not what I meant by "cost."
I meant "opportunity cost"; making clear to individuals that if they want "X", they have to give up the acquisition of "Y", since resources are scarce in relation to unlimited wants, and they simply cannot have both "X" and "Y" . . . at least, not under current conditions of technological knowledge.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 12, 2017 - 8:35am
Shared on FB and LI. Very good article !
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 12, 2017 - 12:46pm
St George: I misunderstood you. You didn't actually use the word cost. I was using it to describe what I understood as your position. It was that the promise is large enough to make people give up their freedom and more power to the authority.
You meant that deception hides the opportunity cost by e.g. controlling the media. Hope I have it right this time.
Dave Volek Added Sep 12, 2017 - 4:50pm
I think a first-year psychology textbook summed up a good part of your article quite well. I will paraphrase:
"People tend to seek media sources that support their own particular beliefs. When they encounter a media source that is contrary to their beliefs, they find ways to dismiss that media source."
In other words, people don't want to be challenged that much.
Dave Volek Added Sep 12, 2017 - 5:17pm
John G.
There's some WB writers/contributors I have been avoiding for I just don't like a toxic attitude. You are one of them.
I almost glossed over your clip about "Mobilization and Money". But I'm glad I didn't. It was a very interesting article. 
I didn't do well on my last macroeconomics course, and monetarist economics was the reason. It is a complicated topic.
However I did realize that governments did have quite a few tools to deal with debt that even the world's biggest corporations don't have. It is on my academic bucket list to take a similar course again.
Monetarism is a very complicated topic. It is not obvious to me at all.
If you have a passion for teaching the world about monetarist economics (and the world could use more knowledge on this topic), you are losing students.
Tone down your rhetoric. Accept that what is obvious to you may not be obvious to others.
John G Added Sep 13, 2017 - 4:45pm
Saint George Added Sep 13, 2017 - 9:03pm
Not to worry, Volek.
Skiddy-g has never taken an economics course — macro or micro — in his life.
John G Added Sep 14, 2017 - 4:47pm
Monetarism is a very complicated topic. It is not obvious to me at all.
Monetarism is nonsense. Friedmann was a charlatan spreading intellectual fraud for banksters, particularly David Rockefeller.
The role of monetarists (and Austrians) is to complicate, confuse and misinform the public and the political class.
Saint George Added Sep 14, 2017 - 6:03pm
Keynes was a monetary crank propagating mercantilist notions long exploded since the days of Adam Smith. He contributed nothing to economic theory except to revive the inflationist rubbish of John Law, whose policies in the 18th century crashed the Bank of France, and with it, the entire French economy at the time.
That he was also a pedophile is well-known (he kept a sex diary about his exploits) but far worse — and far more revealing about his politics — is the fact that he was an avid supporter of eugenics, even presiding for a few years over the activities of the Eugenics Society in London during his membership with the Bloomsbury Group.
Hayek knew him well in the 1930s since they both taught at the London School of Economics, and claimed in a series of videotaped interviews from the 1970s that Keynes knew less about economics than anyone else he had ever met.
No wonder that others who also know nothing about economics seem to admire Keynes. Birds-of-a-feather, I suppose.

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