Common Sense Is the Best Antidote for Propaganda
Philosopher Hannah Arendt sheds some light on the “Twitter Files.”
Annie Holmquist author
Here is a reprinted article that was published in Annie’s Attic on December 30th. It would be a great start to the new year. What I wish for everyone is the ability to think and to do so with common sense:
The holiday season brings lots of joy, cheer, and family time … and for those in the journalism industry, a slow news cycle. That tradition changed this year, however, thanks to Elon Musk, whose release of the “Twitter Files” has managed to spice up holiday headlines a bit.
For many, the Twitter Files underscore long-held suspicions that media, politicians, and tech social platforms were doing their best to obscure the truth about certain topics, including Hunter Biden’s laptop and the FBI. Shortly after Christmas, COVID and its accompanying mandates and issues joined the ranks of Twitter Files revelations, showing yet another area where elites at the top tried to push the narrative they wanted, rather than allow various theories and opinions to be freely discussed.
“Twitter did suppress views,” journalist David Zweig wrote in his Twitter File report for The Free Press, but Big Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft also played a role in controlling the narrative, as did both the Trump and Biden administrations. The latter administration in particular, Zweig writes, seemed to work off the mantra, “Be very afraid of Covid and do exactly what we say to stay safe.” In doing so, they suppressed many expert voices and opinions, even when those voices disseminated information that was perfectly legitimate and verifiable.
In essence, the COVID Twitter Files demonstrate that there was clear propaganda afoot, “information” (or lack thereof) “especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view,” as the dictionary tells us. And allegedly all in the name of science.
Unfortunately, such “obsession with science,” philosopher Hannah Arendt explains in The Origins of Totalitarianism, often goes hand in hand with propaganda and totalitarianism. Indeed, “totalitarianism appears to be only the last stage in a process during which ‘science [has become] an idol that will magically cure the evils of existence and transform the nature of man.’”
Yet such science is not characterized by factual truth. “Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies,” Arendt writes, “their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.” This explains why leading experts who criticized the official COVID narrative in the last few years—such as Martin Kulldorff, a medical professor at Harvard—were condemned and censored, even when they referenced the CDC’s own information, various scientific papers, or established medical practices. Facts don’t matter when propaganda is the goal, only power does.
Many of us saw this happening over the last few years and shook our heads in disbelief, wondering how in the world such clear facts could be continually suppressed and supplanted by propaganda. The secret, Arendt writes, is repetition:
What convinces masses are not facts, and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system of which they are presumably part. Repetition, somewhat overrated in importance because of the common belief in the masses’ inferior capacity to grasp and remember, is important only because it convinces them of consistency in time.”
In other words, if Twitter and every other media and political mouthpiece tell us that COVID vaccines work and masks are effective and lockdowns are necessary again and again and again, then who are we to doubt? Indeed, it must be our own lying eyes that are seeing the facts wrong. (No wonder “gaslighting” was the 2022 word of the year! The constant repetition of information that clearly didn’t add up led all of us to think something was wrong with our mental state!)
https://annieholmquist.substack.com/p/common-sense-is-the-best-antidote This article was originally published at Annie’s Attic.