Listen to a reading of this article:
My research has led me to conclude that there's an elite conspiracy to enslave us all and turn us all into brainwashed automatons mindlessly enacting the wishes of our rulers in a cruel dystopia built by the powerful, for the powerful.
Haha, just kidding. That already happened.
Step one is learning that the mainstream consensus worldview is a lie, and that we've been fed power-serving propaganda since we were children about our society, our nation, our government and our world. Most people haven't even made it to step one yet.
Step two is getting clear on how we've been lied to. A lot of people who make it past step one get mixed up here. Many fall for dopey right-wing narratives about Jews ruling the world, globalist pedophile cabals, elite conspiracies to make all our kids transgendered or whatever, because their ideology prohibits them from clearly seeing the real underlying dynamics of capitalism and the empire-building of their own government. They place far too much emphasis on things like vaccines and the future of transhumanism being used to someday create an Orwellian dystopia, because their worldview prohibits them from recognizing that we're already living in a power-serving mind-controlled dystopia.
Others simply don't go far enough in extracting the mainstream worldview from their minds and don't inquire deeply enough into what's really true. Plenty of self-identified socialists and anarchists still buy into bogus mainstream narratives about empire-targeted governments, or still buy into to the power-serving dynamics of party politics. Step two takes a lot of hard, sincere, intellectually honest work sorting out fact from fiction.
Step three is learning what to do about all this, and beginning to take action. This means working to spread awareness of what's really going on and helping others to make it through steps one and two, because the only thing that ever leads to lasting positive changes in human behavior is an expansion of consciousness. The more people make it to step three, the more people there are to help wake up everyone else.
Without the US military who would protect the world from hobby balloons and natural gas pipelines?
It sure is interesting how Russia is the only nation in the world that's pushing Sweden to release its findings in its investigation into the Nord Stream bombing, while an American UN official is urging "restraint" about investigations into the incident.
The US empire's responsibility for the Nord Stream bombing is going to become one of those open secrets that everyone knows but nobody officially confirms, like Israel's nuclear arsenal (which just as an aside Sy Hersh also helped expose).
Free speech is meaningless and worthless if you don't use it to oppose real power. In western "democracies" the majority of people are so effectively propagandized into speaking in alignment with the interests of the western empire that they may as well be taking orders on what to say at gunpoint.
In totalitarian regimes you say what your rulers want you to say because they physically coerced you using the threat of violence. In "free democracies" you say what your rulers want you to say because they psychologically coerced you using propaganda. The end result is the same.
Reagan once joked about Soviets thinking they are free because they're allowed to criticize the US government as much as they like, but really that was just projection. Westerners think they have free speech, but they never use that "free speech" to criticize the tyrannical empire they live under.
Free speech is held as an important human right because it helps the people put a check on power. If you're not using it for that, you may as well not have it. Your speech is only free insofar as you can criticize real power, and insofar as you actually do so.
The reason I often use the phrase "the political/media class" is because it's all one class, one social caste. They're not actually separate in any meaningful way.
Whenever I talk about the hundreds of military bases the US empire is circling our planet with I always get people saying "We only have all those foreign bases because those foreign governments want us there for protection!"
Yes, yes I'm sure it's got nothing to do with the fact that the US subverts, impoverishes and destroys any weaker nation that refuses to facilitate its military interests. Foreign US military bases are "protection" in the same way extortion payments to the Mafia are "protection".
Foreign governments don't allow US military bases on their territory to protect themselves from their neighbors, they do it to protect themselves from the US.
One of the strangest things the mainstream worldview asks us to accept is that the US government (A) should be the leader of the entire world and (B) wants to be the leader of the world solely for righteous and beneficent reasons.
Anyone else who wants to rule the world gets called a megalomaniac. We all grew up watching movies and shows about evil villains who want to rule the world. Yet the mainstream worldview asks us to accept that the US government wants to rule the world because they want to promote freedom and democracy.
It's easy to see the flaws in other countries, cultures and societies. It's much harder to see the flaws in our own.
It's easy to see the problems with other political parties and ideological factions. It's much harder to see the problems with our own.
It's easy to see how other groups are propagandized. It's much harder to see how our own group is propagandized.
It's easy to see how others are misguided and delusional. It's much harder to see how we ourselves are misguided and delusional.
The further away from ourselves we look, the easier it is for us to find fault. But it doesn't benefit anyone for us to find problems in the distant other. The closer to home we look, the more good we can do with what we find.
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Look at Ed Snowden and Julian Assange.
Make no mistake - The Empire recognizes free speech is its enemy.
This is a very thought provoking article; all your articles are. I'm much older than you and embraced all the illusions until I took a critical thinking class and the layers of the onion began to erode. I've made it through steps one and two completely, but solutions are evading me. Engaging with the brainwashed is so difficult for me, plus I lack sound solutions.
If one has a basic concept of human nature, the solutions become more daunting. I wonder if anyone, even you Caitlin, could resist the heady thrill of power. It seems to me that throughout world history there has always been the oppressed and the oppressors. Even those who have the best intentions succumb eventually to power. And a huge proportion of people want to be told what to do and think. Even if a magic hand could present us with a clean slate, how long before someone would attempt to muck it up? And how many would be willing to stop the mucking?
Perhaps other readers have the answer; I do not.