a nationwide nervous breakdown since 9/11.
A nation of people suddenly broke,
the market economy goes to shit,
and they're threatened on every side
by an unknown, sinister enemy.
But I don't think fear is a very effective way
of dealing with things - of responding to reality.
Fear is just another word for ignorance."
Hunter S. Thompson
Those who want safety at all costs are clamoring for,
This is all part of the Deep State's master plan.
We're being conditioned like lab mice to subsist on a steady diet of bread-and-circus politics and an endless spate of crises.
Caught up in this "crisis of the now," the average person has a hard time keeping up with and remembering all of the "events," manufactured or otherwise, which occur like clockwork in order to keep us distracted, deluded, amused, and insulated from reality.
As investigative journalist Mike Adams points out:
Professor Jacques Ellul studied this phenomenon of overwhelming news, short memories and the use of propaganda to advance hidden agendas.
All the while, the government continues to amass more power and authority over the citizenry.
When we're being bombarded with wall-to-wall news coverage and news cycles that change every few days, it's difficult to stay focused on one thing - namely, holding the government accountable to abiding by the rule of law - and the powers-that-be understand this.
Yet as John Lennon reminds us,
In other words,
Much like the fabricated universe in Peter Weir's 1998 film The Truman Show, in which a man's life is the basis for an elaborately staged television show aimed at selling products and procuring ratings, the political scene in the United States has devolved over the years into a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize, propagandize and control a population.
This is the magic of the reality TV programming that passes for politics today.
As long as we are distracted, entertained, occasionally outraged, always polarized but largely uninvolved and content to remain in the viewer's seat, we'll never manage to present a unified front against tyranny (or government corruption and ineptitude) in any form.
The more that is beamed at us, the more inclined we are to settle back in our comfy recliners and become passive viewers rather than active participants as unsettling, frightening events unfold.
Reality and fiction merge as everything around us becomes entertainment fodder.
We don't even have to change the channel when the subject matter becomes too monotonous. That's taken care of for us by the programmers (the corporate media).
"Living is easy with eyes closed," says Lennon, and that's exactly what reality TV that masquerades as American politics programs the citizenry to do:
As long as we're viewers, we'll never be doers.
Studies suggest that the more reality TV people watch - and I would posit that it's all reality TV, entertainment news included - the more difficult it becomes to distinguish between what is real and what is carefully crafted farce.
"We the people" are watching a lot of TV...
And reality TV programming consistently captures the largest percentage of TV watchers every season by an almost 2-1 ratio.
This doesn't bode well for a citizenry able to sift through masterfully-produced propaganda in order to think critically about the issues of the day, whether it's fake news peddled by government agencies or foreign entities.
Those who watch reality shows tend to view what they see as the "norm."
This holds true whether the reality programming is about the antics of celebrities in the White House, in the board room, or in the bedroom.
It's a phenomenon called "humilitainment."
A term coined by media scholars Brad Waite and Sara Booker, "humilitainment" refers to the tendency for viewers to take pleasure in someone else's humiliation, suffering and pain.
"Humilitainment" largely explains not only why American TV watchers are so fixated on reality TV programming but how American citizens, largely insulated from what is really happening in the world around them by layers of technology, entertainment, and other distractions, are being programmed to accept the brutality, surveillance and dehumanizing treatment of the American police state as things happening to other people.
The ramifications for the future of civic engagement, political discourse and self-government are incredibly depressing and demoralizing.
This is what happens when an entire nation - bombarded by reality TV programming, government propaganda and entertainment news - becomes systematically desensitized and acclimated to the trappings of a government that operates by fiat and speaks in a language of force.
Ultimately, the reality shows, the entertainment news, the surveillance society, the militarized police, and the political spectacles have one common objective: to keep us divided, distracted, imprisoned, and incapable of taking an active role in the business of self-government.
Look behind the political spectacles, the reality TV theatrics, the sleight-of-hand distractions and diversions, and the stomach-churning, nail-biting drama, and you will find there is a method to the madness.
How do you change the way people think?
In totalitarian regimes - a.k.a. police states - where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used.
In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.
Even when the motives behind this rigidly calibrated reorientation of societal language appear well-intentioned - discouraging racism, condemning violence, denouncing discrimination and hatred - inevitably, the end result is the same:
Labelling something as "fake news" is a masterful way of dismissing truth that may run counter to the ruling power's own narrative.
As George Orwell recognized,
Orwell understood only too well the power of language to manipulate the masses.
In Orwell's 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes."
In this dystopian vision of the future,
The mottos of Oceania:
Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary.
Where we stand now is at the juncture of Oldspeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted).
Truth is often lost when we fail to distinguish between opinion and fact, and that is the danger we now face as a society. Anyone who relies exclusively on television/cable news hosts and political commentators for actual knowledge of the world is making a serious mistake.
Unfortunately, since Americans have by and large become non-readers, television has become their prime source of so-called "news."
This reliance on TV news has given rise to such popular news personalities who draw in vast audiences that virtually hang on their every word.
In our media age, these are the new powers-that-be.
Yet while these personalities often dispense the news like preachers used to dispense religion, with power and certainty, they are little more than conduits for propaganda and advertisements delivered in the guise of entertainment and news.
Given the preponderance of news-as-entertainment programming, it's no wonder that viewers have largely lost the ability to think critically and analytically and differentiate between truth and propaganda, especially when delivered by way of fake news criers and politicians.
The bottom line is simply this:
A populace that cannot think for themselves is a populace with its backs to the walls:
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America - The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, it's time to change the channel, tune out the reality TV show, and push back against the real menace of the police state.
If not, if we continue to sit back and lose ourselves in political programming, we will remain a captive audience to a farce that grows more absurd by the minute.