The “mask” and one’s “vaccination” status offer a way to identify “similar others” and a way to identify and vilify “those who are different.”
To understand how the intersecting propaganda operations associated with the “official” MSM covid narratives function, it is useful to examine both the larger historical context from which they emerge, as well as exploring specific individual psychological factors at play.
Let’s begin by acknowledging the larger socio/cultural “context” that acts as the “backdrop” for the covid propaganda. We exist globally within a framework of Neo-colonial Western oligarchic dominance that has essentially controlled most of the planet for over 500 years. It is a system that has morphed in important features over time, but it has never lost its ultimate power and control. It has never been “overthrown.”
This Western dominated global system is responsible for fomenting two World Wars during the last century. Those wars and the smaller in scale Neo-colonial blood baths that followed led to the deaths of an estimated 124,000,000 and 215,000,000 people during the past century.(1)
The oligarchic power structures that emerged from WWII engaged in a process of violent repression that continues to this day. Standard operating procedure in the West has been to destabilize and/or destroy literally every attempt by the citizens of “formerly colonized” nations to develop independent paths focused on the domestic needs of their populations rather than serving the needs of Western capital.
Both pre-and-post WWII history is comprised of an endless litany of American, British, French and other Western powers attempting to at all costs prevent the emergence of a more equitable post-colonial world. The types of interventions have ranged from economic strangulation to death squads, torture, invasions, coups, election rigging and unwavering support for “reliable” “pro-Western” dictators.
This same unreformed, unrepentant, Western controlled, oligarchic-run global “system” further solidified power with the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. It has, to varying degrees, integrated former “communist” enemies into the neoliberal economic order though often maintaining an apparently adversarial relationship with such nations. The Western dominated neoliberal neocolonial model continues to hold the entire world hostage to this day, covering its blood soaked behavior with blatant “propaganda” operations that utilize rubrics such as the West’s claimed “respect for human rights,” adherence to a “rules based order,” and “duty to protect.”
Attempts by journalists and whistleblowers to share the truth of routine Western criminality, endless violations of human rights, as well as violations of international and domestic law, are severely punished. The courage of a Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowdon and Julian Assange in exposing Western governments for the criminal cabals they are, rather than being celebrated by Western MSM, are in fact ignored and such truth-tellers are roundly vilified. Vilified by that same MSM which acts as the official public voice for the global oligarchy that literally “owns” those same media.
This is the world we live in. This is the “context” we must consider when attempting to understand why so many otherwise intelligent friends, family, and acquaintances seem so willing to credulously absorb the MSM covid narratives.
No person who is actually informed regarding these historical relationships of power and its abuse could possibly simply default to a position of credulously – “trusting the authority” – of the same oligarchic controlled system of actors who are now “officially” at the helm of the so called “global pandemic.” The question of course is how many people in the West really are “informed” in any meaningful and deep way regarding this history of routine and ongoing Western plunder and mass murder?
Most normally empathic human beings can’t imagine a fellow human being so different from themselves that such a person could think or say literally – that they consider bringing about the deaths of a half a million children as – “worth it.”(2) We can’t imagine such a mind and moral code, though the history of the West demonstrates that such people routinely occupy positions of power and control in our societies decade after decade, and century after century.
This inability of the “normal” human psyche to imagine the depths of amorality and depravity that routinely characterize oligarchic power acts as a powerful “protectant” for that power.
The Western populace by and large can’t bring itself to “imagine” that our betters would lie about matters of literal life and death related to, for example – “the assassinations of America’s top progressive leaders of the 1960’s”(3); “the Gulf of Tonkin war propaganda operation”(4); the “Kuwaiti incubator babies” war propaganda (5); the “Iraqi WMDs” war propaganda (6); the “9/11” false flag (7); the “Gaddafi’s viagra fueled rape camps” war propaganda (8); or the “Assad is gassing his own people” war propaganda (9). This brief and very incomplete list of deep state assassinations and propaganda operations is sadly for humanity almost endless in scope and is of course routinely ignored and/or intentionally distorted by the MSM acting on behalf of oligarchy.
A populace subjected unceasingly to such “official lies,” lies that are not allowed to be challenged in MSM, cannot possibly see and understand the world accurately or develop an appropriate distrust of such “official narratives.” How could such a populace be expected to allow itself the necessary psychic space to even begin to imagine that our betters might in fact be intentionally lying to us about a global pandemic officially projected to kill millions? It is the endless list of smaller official lies that citizens of the West have credulously accepted, or failed to question, that has set the stage for acceptance of this “big lie” that is the MSM promoted pandemic narrative.
The same oligarchic families, political structures and economic structures that literally profited from the deaths of millions in the last century have never been dismantled or driven from power. They have not been somehow “reformed” through our democratic structures. They are now planning through their “Great Reset”(10) agenda just how they will retain their power as public unrest and ecosystem deterioration render a continuation of the savage economic neoliberal status quo untenable. We should not be surprised that to them a half-a-million dead Iraqi children are worth it. Given the death count of the past century we should instead ask ourselves if there is literally ANY evil, ANY monstrous actions such people and the amoral institutional structures under their control are somehow NOT capable of carrying out while deeming the mass deaths of faceless others as “worth it.”
Amazingly the same global oligarchy that doesn’t care if you are homeless and living under a freeway overpass, living without food, without basic medical care, without an education, without a job and without any hope for the future – somehow this same global oligarchy expects you and me to believe that they care about us so very much that they just couldn’t bear it if we were to get sick.
They don’t care about poisonous additives and pesticides in our food.
They don’t care about pumping fracking toxins into the water we drink and polluting the air we all breathe for their profit.
They don’t care about an American epidemic of obesity, type two diabetes, heart disease and drug abuse related to endemic structural poverty, inequality and the intentional refusal to allow adequate regulation of toxic and/or unhealthy foods, additives and polluting toxins.
Private equity firms are quietly buying up entire neighborhoods of single family homes at over market value while driving home ownership out of reach of many workers. But simultaneously our global elites want us to believe that they deeply care about you and me, and that they want to be sure we don’t get covid. Needless to say the level of disconnect from reality necessary to believe such nonsense is rather significant. Unfortunately it is a very real level of disconnect from reality that characterizes a rather large percentage of the Western populace.
Many of us have been asking ourselves quite regularly over the last 17 odd months how is it that so many otherwise intelligent people, friends, family and acquaintances seem to credulously believe whatever they are told in MSM about our so-called covid ‘pandemic’? Why, we wonder, don’t they see through the blatantly obvious fear mongering, pseudo-scientific public health measures, and endless MSM propaganda?
For many of us this issue of “credulous acceptance” is at the heart of ongoing frustrations, tensions, family and friendship discord, and even outright anger and “canceling” within otherwise close or genial relationships. One’s perception of the “covid” situation has become yet another place for fragmentation within our societies leading to even yet greater levels of alienation and lack of social cohesion in societies which can bear no further divisions.
To better examine this issue let us look at what I will call – “trust in authority” – for lack of a better descriptor. What is one’s basic orientation to the voice of authority in one’s society? Is one’s default position “credulous trust,” “guarded skepticism,” or “outright disbelief” when faced with the proclamations of “truth” by our “authorities?”
I will use a brief examination of my own journey regarding my sense of – “trust in authority” – as an example here, as through reflection over the last year and some months I’ve come to think that this factor is rather critical in how susceptible our friends and family are to the MSM covid narratives. I wasn’t always, but today I am a clear “outlier” to most Americans in this matter of “trust in authority.”
Earlier in life as part of the Central American solidarity movement in the U.S. I travelled as a human rights activist into three Central American nations where U.S. sponsored counter-insurgency warfare operations were underway, Nicaragua during the Contra war, as well as to El Salvador and two visits in Colombia during those nations’ U.S. supported and sponsored “dirty wars.” Those personal experiences completely and forever altered my perceptions about the nature of “official truth” as proclaimed by our “authorities.”
There is something profoundly different in simply becoming aware of the body count, the “number of dead,” either spoken of or depicted in print, and actually meeting face to face with survivors of those who have been murdered by American supported counter-insurgency operations. There was something profoundly life changing about meeting a poor farmer one day and finding out the next morning that he had been murdered during the night by the AUC death squads of Colombia, and then riding in a flatbed truck with his corpse and widow in order to accompany her to a safer zone away from the area openly and brazenly occupied by these U.S. supported death squads. There was something profoundly life changing in seeing the torture scars on the living, or walking accompanied by survivors through the many small “galleries of heroes and martyrs” in Nicaragua and looking into the faces and eyes of the countless photos of countless victims of the Contra war thus putting a human face to otherwise faceless numbers.
The “coup de grâce” in such a loss of “trust in authority” and “the official narratives” occurred each time one of the human rights delegations I was part of would “debrief” at the U.S. embassy before returning to the U.S. (once in El Salvador and twice in Colombia). Here at the American embassies is where the grinning pathologically lying jackals, many no doubt who were young CIA in training, would tell us that we simply had “not seen” what we had seen, had “not heard” the testimony that we had heard, that the human rights situation is “improving,” that the torture scars we had seen were likely “self-inflicted for our benefit” (I am not kidding), and that there are “no government sponsored death squads,” among other carefully rehearsed and brazenly dishonest total lies.
Most normally empathic individuals can’t imagine someone so different from themselves ethically that they could think or say literally – that the bringing about the deaths of a half a million children is somehow “worth it.”(2) We can’t imagine such a mind and moral code, though the history of the West demonstrates that such people routinely occupy the highest positions of power and control in our societies. They do so while acting on behalf of the oligarchy, whether that oligarchy was once church and crown during the period of the Holy Inquisition, Crusades and witch burnings, or the uber-wealthy global class and corporations that profited off of two world wars during the past century and that today are at the helm of their massively destructive and rapidly disintegrating neoliberal economic order.
I share my own history, because in spite of my own powerful and profound personal experiences, as I look back I remember that I struggled mightily over a period of almost a decade after my first trip to Central America with letting go of the notion that perhaps all this amoral mayhem, torture and mass murder I had seen first-hand was somehow only related to “a few bad apples” in the CIA, the military and in our government. It took me years to come to terms with the fact that “the whole barrel of apples was rotten,” and that the lies and mass murder were about “the system” (the ‘barrel’ itself) not simply a small number of rogue individuals. In some ways one could say I was dragged “kicking and screaming” to my new perspectives that so very threatened my very sense of grounding in the cultural ‘reality’ I had been indoctrinated into since birth.
This journey of my “loss of trust” in American “authority” involved a very psychologically and spiritually difficult existential crisis that required I relinquish any and all comfort in the thought that those in authority were anything but apologists for amoral mass murder who – without batting an eyelash – could proclaim that a half-a-million dead children were – “worth it.” This sort of “loss of trust” is no small matter as it essentially means having to accept and come to terms with the fact that one is now an “outsider” within one’s own society. As such I had come to perceive the world and global events, including the “trustworthiness” of American “authority,” in a very different fashion than almost the entirety of my family, friends and acquaintances. This journey also demolished my deeper default sense of culturally supported “reality” in which I had been indoctrinated to see the West itself as humane, virtuous and just. Meaning well, in spite of our “mistakes.” To call this loss of my very cultural moorings a profound “existential” crisis would be putting it mildly.
I share these experiences because for me, like many of us who each have our “own story” of “how” we came to this place of “distrust” of official authority, skepticism came quite naturally when the MSM began promoting the 24/7 covid fear campaign. Many of us simply instinctively smelled the odor of propaganda and thus quickly brought to bear both our skepticism and a commitment to educate ourselves rather than simply “trust” the official proclamations.
In my circle of friends and family only one of my friends has had similar human rights experiences as those I have shared. I don’t find it a coincidence that he is my only close friend who disbelieves the official covid narratives. The point being that the rest of my friends, family and acquaintances did not enter into their encounter with the covid narratives with the absolute and complete “distrust” in “all Western authority” that I have now possessed for some two decades. How susceptible to the covid fear-mongering might I have been without that complete “distrust” that characterizes my initial response to any and all “official narratives.” In other words, the impact and influence of covid propaganda narratives can’t be understood in isolation from previous ongoing oligarchic promoted propaganda narratives across other realms that have essentially left most citizens of the West living in a complete fantasy world in which they daily routinely mis-understand and mis-interpret both global and domestic events and the intentions of the oligarchy at the helm.
Like many others who are questioning the MSM covid narratives I have engaged in decades of self-education through reading the investigative work of the many brave researchers who questioned many other government “official truths.” Once armed with such an historical knowledge base and the appropriate skepticism, I was able like many others in real time to question, and be proven correct to question, the “official truths” of any number of government propaganda operations. From the non-existent Kuwaiti incubator babies (5), to the non-existent Iraqi WMD’s (6), to the fabricated Gaddafi’s viagra fueled rape camps (8), to the false-flag propaganda that Assad is gassing his own people (9), to those oh so convenient “Maidan snipers” (11). In other words, the experience of many decades has taught me to assume the government and MSM are lying about any important matter unless I can myself find evidence that would convince me otherwise.
As I reflect upon the credulous acceptance of the covid narratives by so many that I know and love, I realize that the simple reality is that they do not share my default position because they have not had my life experiences and they have not spent decades engaged in self-education regarding the endless government propaganda operations peddled breathlessly and ceaselessly by MSM. Instead they have relied on that same MSM to inform them and shape their world views. These simple facts make them much more susceptible to the ongoing covid propaganda than I could ever be. I do not know, but I suspect that most of us who were instinctively suspicious of the covid fear-mongering from the very beginning, also shared this default “skepticism” regarding “all such” official narratives. The fact that any challenge to the official MSM covid narratives have often been rigorously censored, rather than simply marginalized as in many previous propaganda operations, has of course acted as yet another serious “red flag” for many of us.
Along with this issue of “trust” in authority, there is an individual psychological factor that I think also is powerfully at play in making so many otherwise rational people susceptible to believing the endless “you’re going to die soon” fear-mongering carried out 24/7 by MSM regarding covid. Ernest Becker’s 1973 book ‘The Denial Of Death’ (12) both expanded upon and synthesized the work of others who had explored the centrality of death and self-esteem in human experience, thinkers such as Otto Rank, Alfred Adler and Norman O. Brown.
“The world of human aspiration is largely fictitious and if we do not understand this we understand nothing about man. It is a largely symbolic creation by an ego-controlled animal that permits action in a psychological world, a symbolic-behavioral world removed from the bound-ness of the present moment, from the immediate stimuli which enslave all lower organisms. Man’s freedom is a fabricated freedom, and he pays a price for it. He must at all times defend the utter fragility of his delicately constituted fiction, deny its artificiality.” – Ernest Becker (1971) (13)
Terror Management Theory – (TMT) (14) evolved out of the attempt by a group of social science researchers (15) to systematically test Becker’s insights, in which Becker postulated that our largely unconscious fear of death was in fact THE fundamental motivator of the human being and was in fact the underlying impetus behind the creation of the intersecting myth systems that evolve to constitute “culture” as the foundation of human societies.
Hundreds of TMT social science experiments have now been conducted which have supported Becker’s thesis. That is that conscious or unconscious reminders of our mortality induce us to unconsciously defend and cling to our basic cultural assumptions, loyalties and foundational myth systems.
Hundreds of variations on these experiments exist, but as a real-life example one might remember how the approval rating of George W. Bush magically and dramatically increased following the events of 9/11. This occurred in conjunction of course with the MSM’s endless fear-mongering in promising more death and mayhem that was sure to follow if we did not agree to whatever civil liberties concessions authorities demanded. Potent “death reminders” at that time included everything from endless replay of the videos of the towers disintegrating in mid-air, to official presidential comments proclaiming that we cannot afford to wait for an attack from other ‘terrorists’ that might come – “in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
Along with these MSM efforts at constantly reminding the population of “death,” both with conscious and unconscious priming, were also the ubiquitous “Orange Alerts,” and “Red Alerts” which functioned as “death reminders” in the same way masks and mask requirement signs, and social distancing signs, on every store and public building have functioned around the covid death/fear narratives. The government connected “anthrax attacks” were of course a not so subtle reminder that death could literally arrive (similar to covid) unannounced at one’s doorstep – so the appropriate position was to – “be afraid, be very afraid.”
In many ways I understand TMT as simply offering a deeper, more subtle, understanding of what has long been understood in the psycho-historical analysis of how oligarchic or elite power operates. Elites effectively frighten their subjects with the fear of death from an enemy in order to mobilize them to fight on behalf of the interests of said elites, or to simply induce the populace to uncritically follow the dictates demanded by said elites.
TMT demonstrates that the activation of such fear of death can occur quite unconsciously through the manipulation of symbols. The fear of death and the stimulation and mobilization of our unconscious fears of death has been shown by hundreds of TMT experiments to short-circuit objective critical thinking functions in pushing people toward uncritically following their societal leaders directives and/or doubling down on their embrace of deep underlying cultural myths they are often largely unaware of consciously.
“Making death salient by asking people to think about themselves dying (or viewing graphic depictions of death, being interviewed in front of a funeral parlor, or subliminal exposure to the word “dead” or “death”) intensifies strivings to defend their cultural world-views by increasing positive reactions to similar others, and negative reactions toward those who are different. – Ernest Becker Foundation (16)
Those of us who have chosen not to “vaccinate” pose an existential “threat” to the fear-based world-views of those who have credulously accepted the endless – “death is just around the corner if one fails to comply” – narratives peddled constantly by MSM. The “mask” and one’s “vaccination” status offer a way to identify “similar others” and a way to identify and vilify “those who are different.” We who question are now “those who are different.”
If one’s default intellectual position is NOT to simply on all counts initially distrust the proclamations of official authority, than one can assume using TMT ‘theorizing’ that many individuals are now doubling-down unconsciously in support of the official narratives in order to perhaps rather desperately “defend their world-views.” This happens through the triggering of what is referred to in TMT as “mortality salience” (the priming of conscious or unconscious awareness of death). Such “mortality salience” is being promoted constantly by the almost 24/7 barrage of “death reminders” we are bombarded with daily through the MSM covid propaganda.
Through MSM the masses are the target of constant endless fear-mongering about new and infinitely more deadly “variants,” about the “numbers” of the dead, the “numbers” of hospitalized, the “numbers” of “new cases,” the “number” of available ventilators or ICU beds, the images of masks, the images of dead bodies in the streets, in piles, in refrigerator trucks, stories of those “dying” in hospitals who “wish they had gotten the vaccine,” etc. Everything, of course, BUT the images or numbers of those who have died or been harmed by the “vaccines” themselves.
“According to TMT, people need to insulate themselves from their deep fear of living an insignificant life destined to be erased by death. One path to address this fear is to assure themselves that they are part of an important group. This desire to reinforce cultural significance in the face of death often results in displays of prejudice based on the belief that the group with which one identifies is superior to others. In this way, people confirm their self-importance, at least to themselves.” (17)
It is not simply the fear of death, but the fear of death without “meaning” (as Becker maintains) that acts as a powerful, largely unconscious force in human perception and motivation. Could it be that in our modern consumer society, so devoid and barren of any individual or collective “meaning,” that the covid narrative provides such “meaning” for many people in ways that deserve our attention and analysis if we hope to challenge the impact of the official propaganda narratives? Perhaps our efforts at debunking covid propaganda are in some ways frustrated because in doing so we are also challenging the modern human hunger for “meaning,” both “individual and collective,” that otherwise simply does not exist for most people in our modern, highly alienated and ever more fragmented Western consumer societies?
From this perspective, “belief” in the covid narratives may take on an existential or almost religious quality even more so than an intellectual one – making the debunking of fictitious information a much more complex undertaking than we might at first assume. What will those who believe with their whole hearts in the “covid” narratives, and who feel the thrill of experiencing the sense of collective “virtue” of their in-group status, use to “replace” the shattered world-view that would exist should their belief in the covid fairy tales now implode and disintegrate?
For any of us hoping to challenge the covid lies and to thus alter the course of where all of this appears to be going, this is hardly an insignificant question and one that deserves our attention.
Simply writing off and dismissing our ever fearful “covid obsessed” family, friends and acquaintances as gullible, hopeless, or worse, becomes the mirror of the “in-group” vs “out-group” thinking which the covid true-believers reflexively apply to we the unwashed and unvaxed heretics. The heresy that is our “disbelief” will require more than simply “facts” and “the truth” if we are to reach them. It will also require a more nuanced understanding of the “reasons why” so many are caught in a web of fear-based acceptance of the official covid narratives.
Finding effective ways to challenge the popular fear based “acceptance” of the MSM lies and propaganda around covid is critical if we hope to alter the frightening global trajectory that those narratives ominously portend for all of us, regardless of one’s personal “disbelief” in the covid propaganda.
Gary Weglarz retired in 2014 from practice as a clinical social worker. He worked with, and learned from, Alaskan Native peoples who were attempting to heal the damage inflicted by the collective ongoing intergenerational trauma of colonization. Currently he is engaged in research and writing regarding the relationship between past mass trauma in Western societies, and the subsequent colonial violence that has characterized the behavior of Europe and her colonies. He was actively involved in Central American solidarity efforts throughout the 1990’s, traveling with human rights delegations to Nicaragua, El Salvador and Colombia.