** UPDATE **
To clear up any misperceptions about what I wrote below: I mean no criticism of Western Rifle Shooters Association. Far from it. The site is a news aggregator, one of the best around. It doesn’t peddle fear porn, but it links to some people who do. As do I. We both think it’s important to link to all kinds of information, both alarming and reassuring.
My major beef is with sites that predict the occurrence of dire events within a specific time frame, then turn out to be wrong, and never have to account for their failure. Some sites that predicted hyperinflation no later than 2010 are still predicting it. It’s always going to happen within the next six months. When it eventually does happen, it won’t prove that they were right. You can wake up every morning and predict a major asteroid will strike the Earth tomorrow. Eventually there will come a day when a major asteroid does strike the Earth. But that won’t mean you were right.
And no, it’s not like a weather forecast. Weather forecasting is well understood to be an inexact science, subject to stochastic indeterminacy. Both the forecaster and the audience know that. But the doom-mongers who make specific predictions about dire events that will occur within a specific time frame make those predictions from a position of assumed inerrancy. And then, when they turn out to be wrong, they just move on to the next one, never revisiting their error or attempting to explain it.
On the other hand, I have no quarrel with writers who simply state what they think is most likely to occur. “I think X will probably occur, and here’s my reasoning. But it’s also possible that Y will happen; I just think it’s less likely, for these reasons.” And, if they’re wrong, they acknowledge it, and try to figure out where their logic went astray.
That’s the honest way to deal with the inherent stochastic nature of future events. But it doesn’t tend to generate as much eye-bulging fear in its audience, which makes it less profitable.
WRSA’s response is here.
A few weeks ago Vera, who is a long-time and regular commenter at Gates of Vienna, left this comment on the news feed:
I don’t know where to post this, WRSA now mostly posts stuff without discussions underneath, so I’ll post it here. They have been an amazing resource all these many months of madness. But lately, I am having a hard time following. They seem to have bought into the mainstream narrative of scaring the crap out of everybody, all the time. If there has been a day of late when some mushroom cloud did not feature, I haven’t noticed. And NC Renegade is the same. Endless stories of bloggers and others who have made a career out of screaming doom at all and sundry.
THIS is alternative media?!? If it bleeds, it leads? If it scares you, we’ll hit you over the head with it until kingdom come? I am revolted. MSM works hard to keep the panic going. Why are “our people” jumping on that bandwagon, have you asked yourselves?
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
I replied to her with this:
Yes, scaring people 24/7 seems to have become a major tactic used by the Empire. For that reason, I think it’s not a good idea to join in with all the hype about whatever the current doom might be.
Doom may indeed descend upon us. Who knows? But major alternative media sites have been predicting imminent doom since at least 2008, when hyperinflation and financial collapse were said to be imminent. They were all wrong back then by at least fifteen years. Why should we believe them now?
My advice: “Be patient and watch calmly.” Plus: “Keep Occam’s Razor close at hand.”
Since then I’ve thought a lot more about the issue.
For many years it’s been obvious that the populace is being professionally scared. By that I mean that the government, major corporations, and the media deliberately contrive to frighten the general public. Agents of the state act in collusion with private interests to gin up fear among the citizenry in order to serve their own purposes. It’s a well-established principle of authoritarian and totalitarian governance that frightened citizens are easier to control and manipulate.
In recent years we’ve been subjected to a barrage of fear porn on various topics, beginning with the “pandemic” in early 2020. The scary stuff is delivered serially, with each new frightening topic emerging in the media just as the previous panic begins to wane. First COVID, then when that started to fade, monkeypox. Then came the danger of nuclear war. And through it all was woven the perennial favorite, “climate change”, the fear of which is supposed to make us give up the internal combustion engine, live in “smart cities”, and eat the bugs.
The Powers That Be seem to be keeping their options open on various other scare stories, such as UFOs or new, improved pandemics. There’s obviously a need to hold a frightening new crisis in reserve, ready to be trotted out when needed.
There’s no denying that the legacy media are deliberately pounding their audience with fear porn, day after day. But Vera is right that the alternative media are doing the same thing, albeit with a different set of preferred scary topics. Hyperinflation, mandatory vaxing and/or chipping, transhumanism, and the abolition of cash are among the most popular frighteners. And the alt-media occasionally overlap the MSM on some fear-inducers, such as the possibility of nuclear war.
The media agents of fright, whether mainstream or alternative, rely on the short memories of their audience. I remember when the climate fright first got going, back in the early to mid 1970s. But before we were told to be scared about “global warming”, the fearmongers wanted us to lie awake nights worrying about a “new ice age”. They’re hoping we’ve forgotten all that, but the archival records are available for anyone who cares to look them up.
The PTB are also hoping we’ll forget the terrifying predictions which laughably failed to come true. The coming eco-dystopia in the 1980s, for instance — John Brunner was one of its most notable proponents in The Sheep Look Up — never materialized. Pollution didn’t kill all marine life in the 1990s. The world’s oil reserves weren’t exhausted before the year 2000. Lower Manhattan still isn’t underwater, thirty or forty years after the first alarming predictions were issued.
We’re not supposed to remember any of that stuff. And I’m pretty sure most people don’t remember it. But I do.
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