Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Imperial Naivete of the American Public

The nation's premier corporate profit engines / social media giants are the ideal platforms for undermining the U.S. via the sowing of disintegration.
Whether it's stated or not, one source of the inchoate outrage triggered by Russian-sourced purchases of adverts on Facebook in 2016 (i.e. "meddling in our election") is the sense that the U.S. is sacrosanct due to our innate moral goodness and our Imperial Project: never mind that the intelligence agencies of all great powers (including the U.S.) meddle in the domestic affairs and elections of other nations, including those of allies as well as geopolitical rivals-- no other great power should ever meddle with U.S. domestic affairs and elections.
In effect, meddling in the domestic affairs and elections of other nations is the raison d'etre of all great power intelligence agencies:
Our outrage is based on Imperial Naivete: the naivete of a public lulled into a warm and fuzzy sense of moral superiority based on the notion that we only go to war to save the good and punish the evil, and if we meddle in other nations' domestic affairs and elections, we're only doing so for their own good.
If we weren't a kindly, generous Empire, we'd let them go down the drain without trying to set them straight.
And since people tend to react poorly to Imperial meddling, we have to do it real sneaky-like using our alphabet agencies (CIA, NSA, et al.) and Alphabet itself (Google) and all the other tech giants so beloved by financial analysts agog at their immense profits and power.
There's another aspect of Imperial Naivete: the American public naively assumes that their Imperial Project is so god-like in its powers and prowess that no other great power should be able to meddle in our domestic affairs and elections.
In other words, we're outraged to be vulnerable to any blowback, any intrusion, any meddling.
We implicitly or explicitly reckon that its our Imperial right to, say, blow up a wedding party in a destabilized nation we're "helping," killing dozens of innocent attendees, all on the off-chance we might nail a bad-guy who happened to be in attendance.
If he survives the slaughter, well, we'll blow up the next wedding party he attends.
That is to say, there are no limits on our execution of power because we're morally superior and this grants us carte blanche on everything from undeclared war to slaughtering wedding parties to manipulating (meddling) in every other nation's domestic affairs and elections.
This is broadly defined as "protecting our interests," which just so happen to extend into every nook and cranny of the globe. There are no corners of the planet that are not of interest to the Imperial Project.
The great irony in all this is the 2016 meddling was so easy and cheap, thanks to Facebook and the rest of America's Big tech / Big Data quasi-monopolies. As I explained in How Much of our Discord Is the Result of the "Engagement" Advert Revenue Model of Social Media? (October 24, 2017), Facebook's model for generating outsized profits is tailor-made for arousing conflict, discord, disunity and Balkanization.
The reality is Facebook is just too tempting a tool to sow division and conflict.In effect, other powers would be fools not to exploit Facebook et al.
Meanwhile, the stock market analysts love all the profits Facebook reaps. I hope you discern the irony: the nation's premier corporate profit engines / social media giants are the ideal platforms for undermining the U.S. via the sowing of disintegration.
And the social-media / corporate media addicted U.S. populace is also tailor-made for meddling: a populace addicted to its mobile phones, social media and divisive mainstream media is the ideal populace for those seeking to disrupt and fragment.
So let's go back to the offending adverts purchased on Facebook in 2016. It seems that the purpose of those campaigns wasn't necessarily to elect Trump but to sow conflict and discord in the U.S. populace.
I'd say if that was the goal, it's working frightening well. Meanwhile, we laud our tech overlords and spend an ever-increasing number of hours on news feeds, threads, social media, search and corporate-owned media.
Maybe the real problem is our own naivete about our Big Tech / Big Data corporations. Poking thumbs in other people's eyes is immensely profitable--not to the nation being torn apart, but to the Big Tech / Big Data /Social Media -Marketing corporations we are addicted to.
In loving social media and mobile telephony, we're loving our servitude and our vulnerability to meddling.
Many thanks to G.F.B. for illuminating these issues, which are unexplored by the mainstream media (no surprise there...).

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