The Problem With Monetizing Extremism

It has been interesting watching the news cycle spin over the past couple of weeks.

Apparently, the state of Virginia has gone in the space of a single year from a land of hope and enlightenment to a cesspool infested with dangerous White Supremacists.  Why?  Virginia voters elected Republicans to the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General after having gone strongly for Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential election.  None of this, of course, could be a result of the unpopularity of both Democratic Party policies and of Joe Biden himself, his approval rating standing at a dismal 38% in the latest national polls.  We are instead supposed to glare at one another with suspicion and whip up racial hatreds with more mandated racial sensitivity training at schools, businesses, and colleges across America—because Democrats have lost elections.

Italy recently announced that an intensive analysis of deaths in that country attributed to the Coronavirus found that only 2.9% of those who died did not also suffer from other serious and life threatening diseases or health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, or heart disease, and this immediately led to news reports that questioned the true lethality of this virus, which is already well known to have a survival rate of over 99% for those under the age of 70.  Italian health authorities hastened to the microphones to insist that the information they had released regarding the relationship between pre-existing conditions and Coronavirus deaths was being misinterpreted (although the facts seem plain enough) and sternly warned citizens against drawing any obviously logical conclusions for themselves.  Meanwhile, here in the land of the free and home of the brave, the Biden administration continues to force experimental vaccines upon Americans by any means necessary and refuses to reconsider their own misleading fear mongering concerning the actual dangers of the Coronavirus for those who are not old and already ill.

Finally, it is almost too wearying to bring up the wild claims about our imminent extinction due to global warming.  The recent climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland attracted thousands of ecologically-conscious attendees who travelled there on pollution-belching jet airplanes.  Apparently, not one of these passionate eco-warriors had ever heard about the carbon-zero benefits of a Zoom meeting.  Very strange.

However, their lovely sojourn in Scotland was not in vain.  Between bites of cheese and sips of wine, they focused on a new demon in the fight against climate change: farting, belching cows.  Apparently, the methane our bovine brothers emit is a grave threat to our planet, which dovetails nicely with the elite agenda to convince us to eat bugs instead of hamburgers for the protein we need to survive.  Uninterested in eating a mealworm patty for lunch?  Well, prepare for your demise, you bad, bad planet haters—and, by the way, have fun trying to afford heat for your home this winter, you suckers.

Sigh.

The lack of connection between reality and rhetoric is now a daily feature of life in America, and many commentators—myself included—have noted the disappearance of reasonable and thoughtful discussion throughout our divided nation.  However, what is more interesting is to drill down a little deeper in order to determine the causes for the extremism that now dominates our beliefs and discourse.  

In case you haven’t already noticed, this is it: There’s lots and lots of lovely money to be made by churning up unending controversy, riling up our emotions, and ignoring pesky contradictory evidence.  This is the underlying reason for much of the division that now racks our nation and ruins our daily lives.

The big bucks to be made by rooting out illusory racism, acting as a stooge for shameless authoritarians and Big Pharma profiteers, or shilling for a renewable energy industry that runs on a steady supply on public money and tax breaks now drives all manner of individuals, pressure groups, media outlets, and businesses to advocate for more hate, more governmental control, and more fear.  

To even hint that the problems they profess to solve with their inflammatory rhetoric are less earth shaking than advertised might cause the gusher of money that sustains them to dry up, which would crush the incredibly lucrative hustles and careers of many consultants, commentators, media pontificators, politicians, entrepreneurs, authors, academics, regulators, and bureaucrats.  Therefore, those holding dissenting opinions are rigorously removed from public view.

Take the recent Virginia election results, which the mainstream media presented as an example of America’s problem with White Supremacy.  If this is so, it is also the case that the great state of Virginia is home to what must be America’s most outrageously incompetent White Supremacists.  

Although it is unarguably true that Virginians chose a white male as their next Governor, they also decided to elect a black woman who was born in Jamaica as their next Lieutenant Governor and their state’s first Latino Attorney General.  How could the Commonwealth’s many, many racists have made such an egregious mistake while they were filling out their ballots?  The peculiar silence regarding this point has been deafening.

Unfortunately, the lack of actual supporting evidence in this instance—as has happened so many times before—is unlikely to slow down those whose livelihoods depend on insisting that racism is everywhere we look.  The few bizarre explanations the Woke race baiters have offered to justify their unshakable beliefs that Virginia voters are irredeemably racist are both risible and ridiculous.

What is true is that there is very, very big money to be made by haranguing guilt-ridden liberals about their White Privilege, and fat six-figure paychecks for only an hour or two of ranting to a captive audience about systemic racism are not uncommon in the bizarro nation we live in today.  I have a suspicion that many of America’s leading journalists and cable news commentators would be rendered all but mute if they were unable to attribute every problem facing our nation to racial hatreds, baseless charges that often fail to bear up under scrutiny.  

Many media paychecks, book deals, tenure decisions, and grant applications are dependent on a national racial narrative that spreads the very hatreds the Social Justice Warriors claim they are battling.  As long as so many in America prefer to blame others for their own failures, systemic American racism will serve as a handy excuse for individual shortcomings and the inevitable inequities of a world that does not—and never will—hand out brains, initiative, and good fortune in equal measure.

Our Covid craziness is another example of money leading the discussion.

The moment that the government began paying what amounted to a bounty—in the form of hundreds of billions of dollars of crisis funding—to states reporting lots of Covid-19 deaths, we could rest assured that no public official was going to question whether this was a grave health crisis deserving the most extreme and, for the lucky few, most incredibly lucrative interventions.  

Moreover, the skyrocketing wealth of billionaires, Wall Street gamesters, Silicon Valley mega businesses—and the extraordinary and obscene profits of pharmaceutical companies—have all been paid for with the abject misery visited upon Americans by government officials and agencies working hand in glove with those reaping the richest rewards.  

During the course of this pandemic, which crushed the household incomes of the average American, the collective wealth of our nation’s richest individuals and families increased by over a trillion dollars.  Are we to presume that this financial windfall for the super rich was just an accident, and are we supposed to be grateful that we could all do our small part to help America’s financial elite have yet more money to pass on to their children?  

Any rational and reasonable person would be asking a lot of questions about just what has happened to our country over the past year and a half, but these questions are today entirely unwelcome and actively suppressed by media and governmental censors working with all the zeal of medieval inquisitors.

The many problems with the efforts to explain unprecedented government handouts to individuals and state governments, unjustifiable government control of our daily lives, and unwarranted government requirements that force experimental medical treatments on Americans are almost too numerous to list, but they all trace back to one obvious cause—the pursuit of the Almighty Dollar.

And speaking of the Almighty Dollar, the trillions of dollars that Democrats are demanding that we spend to combat climate change should be a sure sign that the grifters of government largesse are busy creating their fantasy sustainable America—a financial one, that is—for themselves with the help of more government borrowing and spending.

We are, of course, told by our betters that global warming is settled science, but this is likely true in only the same manner that Biblical scholars were once all certain the earth was created in 4004 B.C., and no doubt regarding this supposedly irrefutable truth was permitted to be discussed.  

Today we are all tyrannized by a priesthood of academics whose livelihoods and funding are wholly dependent on never, ever questioning the orthodoxy that is causing cash to rain down upon their heads.  The professional echo chambers that they inhabit have produced an intellectual monoculture that is both self-reinforcing, rendering it immune to contrary opinions, and self-regarding, which results in a derisive dismissal of those who live their lives outside their smug circle of absolute certainty.

Has anyone noticed how many previous predictions of catastrophically melting glaciers and submerged cities based upon the settled silence of global warming turned out to be completely wrong?  Al Gore’s famous 2006 eco-scare documentary entitled An Inconvenient Truth has turned out to be laughably wrong regarding its predictions of environmental collapse, but for even more outlandish pseudo-scientific certainties, one can easily use the Internet to look up the supposedly settled science that justified the performative fear surrounding the first Earth Day in 1970.  Our continued existence must be an affront to those learned environmentalists who a half century ago confidently predicted that we would all be dead by now.  There is a very good reason that the doomsayers now prefer to work with timelines that stretch into the very distant future—we just aren’t dying off fast enough.

Of course, these inconvenient facts are a mere annoyance to those scientists who are today chasing tenure and grant funding.  All that is needed to keep the cash coming is a united front and media outlets that need scary stories to attract readers and viewers.  The more extreme and outlandish the predictions, the more lovely money to be had.  Global warming fanaticism has turned out to be a great career path for homegrown hucksters whose ancestors once had to travel the American frontier in covered wagons selling snake oil.  

The clear and unmistakable differences between those who do the difficult and largely thankless work of ensuring the responsible stewardship of our planet’s resources, which no sane person disagrees with, and the tenured doomsayers and End-of-the-World alarmists making buck on our fears and credulity is obvious—but largely ignored.

Extremists have throughout human history always attracted acolytes and admirers because they offer absolute certainty to humans who crave it.  The worst of these are the cultists preying upon the frailties of their followers—the Jim Joneses who plague civilization and demand that everyone drink their poisoned Kool Aid—but there are many gradations of those who abuse our trust and cause great harm to others.

Perhaps we are more vulnerable to the lies of these hucksters because so many of us have been stripped of the comforts of both religious faith and pride in our nation.  Perhaps this problem is worse because globalized, instantaneous communications provides a bigger megaphone to the unbalanced and unscrupulous among us.  Perhaps efforts to make us more compliant by making us more afraid have simply succeeded all to well, which is both depressing and likely true.

Whatever the reasons, we can be certain that foolishness and fakery will flourish as long as there is money to be made by fomenting fear and hatred.  This is the sad reality we live with today, and we put the mental health, economic strength, and social welfare of America at grave risk by allowing ourselves to be led to ruin by extremists fattening their bank accounts at our expense

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.