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Tags conspiracy theorist , Dietrich Bonhoeffer , stupidity

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Old 23rd November 2021, 04:23 AM   #1
Oystein
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Bonhoeffer on Stupidity vs Conspiracy Theorists

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian, Lutheran priest and involved in the resistance against Hitler, which landed him in prison (April 1943) and eventually on the gallows (April 1945, just weeks before Hitler's suicide).

Shortly before his imprisonment, he had written a letter to friends and co-conspirators, in which he mused about the nature of Stupidity, seeing that so many people in Germany, the "Land of Poets and Thinkers". had so obviously become stupid, following, allowing, even encouraging the nazi propaganda and war machine:

http://southsidemessenger.com/bonhoe...-entire-quote/
(If you prefer video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww47bR86wSc )

The key take-away is the observation that stupidity is not the result of a lack of intellectual capacity, but of sociological circumstances affecting one's psychology (bolding mine):
Originally Posted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
[Stupidity] is a particular form of the impact of historical circumstances on human beings, a psychological concomitant of certain external conditions. Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or of a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity.
And:
Originally Posted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power[1], humans are deprived of their inner independence, and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent.
He goes on to conclude...
Originally Posted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
...that only an act of liberation, not instruction, can overcome stupidity. Here we must come to terms with the fact that in most cases a genuine internal liberation becomes possible only when external liberation has preceded it. Until then we must abandon all attempts to convince the stupid person.
The other day, a slightly different choice of quotes from this letter was sent to me via WhatsApp by a good friend, herself a Lutheran theologian (a PhD even) and priest, in the context of commenting on the current Covid situation. It reminded me immediately of my dealings with Conspiracy Theorists, and my spontaneous response was:

Originally Posted by me
Hmmm! Viel Wahres dran! Mir scheint, dass es zum mit Dummheit geschlagen werden ausreicht, wenn man sich die überwältigende Machtentfaltung nur einbildet. Dann ist man aber vermutlich vorher schon dumm! Oder ist für Dummheit empfänglich

[Hmmm! Lot's of Truth to it! It seems to me , that, to be afflicted with stupidity, it suffices if one merely imagines the overwhelming manifestation of power [1]. But presumably one would have been stupid already before. Or is is susceptible to stupidity.]
What I was thinking was that the typical CTist imagines a huge, omnipotent meta-conspiracy - a global government, or a secret group with the super-power to influence many or all governments, regardless of ideology and system. Or more precisely, that some CT leaders imagine this, and their followers by it and all the slogans and memes.

Of course this goes quite the opposite direction from what Bonhoeffer wrote:
According to Bonhoeffer, the stupid people join, follow and support the faction that's exerting actual and overwhelming power.
CTists however pretend they resist that overwhelming power.

Their imagination of course does not stop at imagining the Vast Omnipotent Conspiracy (VOT) - no, they furthermore imagine that their "Truth" will "set them free" and give them the ultimate power in the end - when they bring down the VOT, when there will be lots of executions of traitors.

So while Bonhoeffer realized that the Stupid must first be liberated, the Stupid are easily led to believe that they are already free. In fact, from their vantage point, they could just as easily quote Bonhoeffer and apply his ideas to us debunkers: We must be the ones who collaborate with the VOC, take its money and shill for it, or believe in magic bullets and resistance-free skyscrapers just so, just because "Teh gubernmint" tells us to.

It's certainly true: Many people give up their intellectual independence and responsibility in the face of actual overwhelming power.
But just as easily, people give up their intellectual independence and responsibility in the face of merely imagined overwhelming power.
The latter has, for the stupid, an advantage the former do not enjoy: The stupid can resist the merely imagined power at little cost, for they face no actual oppression!

In both cases, Stupidity is a method to cope with feeling powerless in the face of an unassailable power wielder. The benefit to the individual is to relieve the negative feeling by joining the side that will end up "winning":
  1. The collaborator of an actual, evil power stupidly accepts that the evil power is not actually evil but good
  2. The person who merely imagines the evil power can pretend to have a clear path to eventually bringing down that imaginary power before themselves getting brought down

The open question is now: Why does the CTist feel so powerless, when there is no actual evil force in power?
What act of liberation could disabuse the CTist from the notion that they lack power?


---
[1] "under the overwhelming impact of rising power" - the German original is "unter dem überwältigenden Eindruck der Machtentfaltung", which I would translate differently: "Entfaltung" of power is not so much it's "rise" (which implies it increases from zero or low level) and more it's "manifestation". Also, "Eindruck" is not so much "impact" (objective effect) as it is the psychological "impression".
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Old 23rd November 2021, 05:25 AM   #2
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a very intersting and important subject.



Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
The open question is now: Why does the CTist feel so powerless, when there is no actual evil force in power?
What act of liberation could disabuse the CTist from the notion that they lack power?
I think perceived power-imbalance is the result of actual societal inequality: the accelerant for VOC CTs is real-life lack of social, economic, political and educational mobility.
The gap between the belief in the American Dream and the fact that hardly anyone ever gets to experience it anymore is a legitimate reason to see evil forces at work, preventing you from getting as rich as your parents or grandparents did.

The real problem with belief in a VOC is not the belief itself, but the ease with which those in power can redirect to in order to divide and conquer.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 05:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
Of course this goes quite the opposite direction from what Bonhoeffer wrote:
According to Bonhoeffer, the stupid people join, follow and support the faction that's exerting actual and overwhelming power.
CTists however pretend they resist that overwhelming power.
That's not necessarily a contradiction. The most visible conspiracy theory of the last year and a half is the belief system that the 2020 US Presidential election was manipulated in order to prevent the election of Donald Trump. The conspiracy theorists who stormed the Capitol on January 6th were supporting the faction that was attempting to overthrow democracy, yet they believed they were acting in the name of preserving it. The illusion of an overwhelming power was used to try to establish one, by making the illusory threat appear more severe than the real one. It's not that far removed from the imaginary threat of an international and almost unimaginably powerful Jewish plot that the Nazis used to assist their rise to power. It's based in the realisation that "My enemy's enemy is my friend" doesn't require an actual enemy, merely a good enough illusion of one.

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
The gap between the belief in the American Dream and the fact that hardly anyone ever gets to experience it anymore is a legitimate reason to see evil forces at work, preventing you from getting as rich as your parents or grandparents did.
Which explains, to some extent, the Trump cult; he's seen as having found a way to achieve the success that every one of his supporters believe they deserve themselves, and they look on him to lead them into the promised land that he's already found the road to.

Dave
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Old 23rd November 2021, 12:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
...
I think perceived power-imbalance is the result of actual societal inequality: the accelerant for VOC CTs is real-life lack of social, economic, political and educational mobility.
The gap between the belief in the American Dream and the fact that hardly anyone ever gets to experience it anymore is a legitimate reason to see evil forces at work, preventing you from getting as rich as your parents or grandparents did.
Huge wealth inequality and low social security are almost the top two characteristics of the American society, and have been since the inception of the nation. As a matter of fact, upwards mobility may never have been better for some minorities (particularly descendants of African slaves) than today.

So what has changed so fundamentally? What dependence has emerged that makes more people vulnerable to stupidity - if that is at all a correct observation (that more people are stupid today than in the past)?

I propose two candidates, both afflicting the "middle class":
  1. In the past, once you had "made" it - once you had risen to or been born into the middle class - it was straightforward to stay there: Unless you screwed up stupidly, like, got involved with (the wrong kind of) crime or windy speculation, your income and wealth would be more or less be guaranteed to last you to old age. This certainty has diminished - there is no certain way anymore to invest, you can lose your house, your job in ways that people did not fear before. Today, you need to be super-rich to be safe - and the super-rich have more incentive to not let too many into their club.
  2. To become middle class, hard work and courage would suffice in the past. Today, without a good college degree, better a graduate degree, it's hardly possible. Plenty of young people are left behind this way, because good enough education is unavailable to too many.
Oh I am aware that I may be spouting prejudice. What's missing for me is a solid idea what the sociology of CTists looks like. We have a number of threads discussing the psychology of CTists, there is research, there are papers on that. But I am not aware that the sociology of CTism has been analysed beyond counting sexes, ethnicities and education levels. So yes, CTists tend to be male and below college education, but is that it?

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
The real problem with belief in a VOC is not the belief itself, but the ease with which those in power can redirect to in order to divide and conquer.
David Rogers alludes to that - I'll answer when I answer him.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 12:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
That's not necessarily a contradiction. The most visible conspiracy theory of the last year and a half is the belief system that the 2020 US Presidential election was manipulated in order to prevent the election of Donald Trump. The conspiracy theorists who stormed the Capitol on January 6th were supporting the faction that was attempting to overthrow democracy, yet they believed they were acting in the name of preserving it. The illusion of an overwhelming power was used to try to establish one, by making the illusory threat appear more severe than the real one. It's not that far removed from the imaginary threat of an international and almost unimaginably powerful Jewish plot that the Nazis used to assist their rise to power. It's based in the realisation that "My enemy's enemy is my friend" doesn't require an actual enemy, merely a good enough illusion of one.



Which explains, to some extent, the Trump cult; he's seen as having found a way to achieve the success that every one of his supporters believe they deserve themselves, and they look on him to lead them into the promised land that he's already found the road to.

Dave
The most baffling aspect of this Trump cult, to me, is, that the Stupidity is strong particularly among high ranking politicians - governors, senators, representatives, ...

How did these stupid people get there?
-> Money bought them. And districting keeps them.

Most US elections are decided in the primaries, because most offices are locked to one party. So who wins the primary? -> Overwhelmingly the candidate who can spend the most money. Who decides which candidate gets to spend the most money? -> Those who donate the most money, the super-rich.

There is a class of only a few tens of thousands of Americans who decide all the important primaries with their money. One in 5,000 Americans has access to that circle, the other 4,999 are truly powerless.

None of these problems are particularly new, but I have a feeling that they are nearing critical mass, where they quickly solidify into a terminally toxic web of injustice.

The USA needs to realize that a two-party system is no longer viable, as it devolves more and more into a patchwork of elite-run one-party systems.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 12:55 PM   #6
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For myself, John Lennon sums it up with brevity and percision:

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still ******* peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

So you have people expressing their opinion about everything and nobody cares, to be frank, so they gain traction by refusing to have the vaccination or wear a mask, etc. For me, the mind of an anarchist epitomises stupidity, it is their way of feeling 'individual' in a world of seeming conformity. They rationalise their total selfishness by coming up with theories that lays blame on others. For example, we supposed to 'rage against the machine'....that there something out there that makes us dull conformists. We can laugh when we see teenagers 'rebelling' - "That is SO unfair!" - but in anyone over the age of 20, it is sad. At sixteen, spitting on the products of record artists who've 'sold out' is kind of cute but in a 30-something, just stop it.

Bonhoeffer, and I have read his book, is about making choices and having values and principles. So instead of handing over your life choices to 'group think' - them versus us - you need to take responsibility over your own life choices.

IMV the biggest conspiracy theorists today are the mass media press: you only have to read the comic, the DAILY EXPRESS and chuckle over their daily battle to 'humiliate' Sturgeon or the EU or show the French who is boss. It is pathetic but people really do swallow this dreadful rubbish.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 01:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
In both cases, Stupidity is a method to cope with feeling powerless in the face of an unassailable power wielder. The benefit to the individual is to relieve the negative feeling by joining the side that will end up "winning":
As a life-long Raiders fan, I feel seen.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 02:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
...
So you have people expressing their opinion about everything and nobody cares, to be frank, so they gain traction by refusing to have the vaccination or wear a mask, etc. For me, the mind of an anarchist epitomises stupidity, it is their way of feeling 'individual' in a world of seeming conformity. They rationalise their total selfishness by coming up with theories that lays blame on others. For example, we supposed to 'rage against the machine'....that there something out there that makes us dull conformists. We can laugh when we see teenagers 'rebelling' - "That is SO unfair!" - but in anyone over the age of 20, it is sad. At sixteen, spitting on the products of record artists who've 'sold out' is kind of cute but in a 30-something, just stop it.
Where do you see teenagers rebelling? That's so... I don't know, 1970s?

Everything is allowed, every style is wearable, all music has fans. What could a teen possibly rebel against?
The other day I read an article on blue jeans - I think it was the NYT. Where the author observes that it's hard to know which style of jeans is "in" right now - they all are, and none constitutes a rebellion anymore.

Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Bonhoeffer, and I have read his book, is about making choices and having values and principles. So instead of handing over your life choices to 'group think' - them versus us - you need to take responsibility over your own life choices.


Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
IMV the biggest conspiracy theorists today are the mass media press: you only have to read the comic, the DAILY EXPRESS and chuckle over their daily battle to 'humiliate' Sturgeon or the EU or show the French who is boss. It is pathetic but people really do swallow this dreadful rubbish.
Pathetically agendous press goes way back.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 02:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
What's missing for me is a solid idea what the sociology of CTists looks like. We have a number of threads discussing the psychology of CTists, there is research, there are papers on that. But I am not aware that the sociology of CTism has been analysed beyond counting sexes, ethnicities and education levels. So yes, CTists tend to be male and below college education, but is that it?
One needs a political sociology of CTists, specifically focusing on the mechanisms of radicalisation, of changing political allegiances and the willingness of CTist coalitions to make common cause with factions they might have previously rejected because of the shared delusion they do agree on.

The 9/11 Truth Movement at its height was quite youthful, strongly male, and strongly anti-Bush, i.e. 'leant Democrat', and it unsurprisingly dissipated with the election of Obama at the end of 2008. But many Truthers were exposed to or targeted deliberately by the far right, and if they did not simply grow up, a number of them shifted to the right, as was clearly the case with some of the main mouthpieces like Alex Jones, who had ridden on the movement's coat-tails in the mid-2000s.

There seem to be quite a large number of Obama-to-Trump voters who had not previously been exposed to CTist nonsense but who via Facebook fell down rabbit-holes during the 2010s, and who were seemingly not content with supporting Trump, but who then embraced QAnon.

QAnon appealed to an above-average number of evangelical Christians due to its apparent narrative structure, promising apocalyptic resolution and righteous justice, to the point where it seems more akin to a millennarian cult than a mass conspiracy theory claim. And indeed, the dead-enders in QAnon are acting exactly like cultists by now:
https://www.thebulwark.com/the-twist...k-jr-s-return/

All large CTs attract supporters from diverse sections of a society/culture and indeed can appeal transnationally, but within any society/culture that then produces a certain coalition.

The 2020s seem 'different' because there is a shifting smorgasbord of diverse conspiracist ideas, espoused by a significant faction of US society, some of the CTs being echoed in European societies.

The common denominator behind this current kaleidoscope is exposure to the CTist ideas, which basically means: algorithms are increasing the sum total of Stupidity in the world.

Whether it's the Daily Express, Putin's troll farms, a hitherto marginal far right party or 'alternative medicine' grifters jumping on anti-vaccine bandwagons to sell their quackery, algorithms drive everything, creating new sociological coalitions as a result.

One factor in accelerating this process is the stripping away of context, both deliberately and as an intrinsic feature of the algorithm-driven internet. This explains why formerly left-leaning and liberal types end up making common cause with the right and even far right, sometimes not caring at all about this and sometimes having shifted to the right themselves.
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Last edited by Nick Terry; 23rd November 2021 at 02:54 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 23rd November 2021, 03:17 PM   #10
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This came across my feed today:

The 5 Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

https://news.clearancejobs.com/2021/...man-stupidity/

Quote:
No one captured the essence of stupid people quite like Italian economist Carlo Cipolla, whose 1976 short essay, The Basic Laws of Stupidity, redefined how we view the duller knives among us. Like General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord – whose own exploration of human stupidity is equally remarkable – before him, Cipolla’s tongue-in-cheek observations on the subject proved as clever as they were humorous.
The thing left out of this conversation is the cultural component. Some ethnic communities and cultural regions are prone to CT, and some, like the African-American community, for good reason having been victims of a long list of real conspiracies. Russians and French people tend to be hard-wired to automatically suspect some hidden power is behind whatever the troubles of the day may be. In the case of 9-11 Truth the first CT book was written by a Frenchman. The anti-GMO crop movement also started with right-wing parties in France. Belief in CT is immune to economic status.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 06:47 PM   #11
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It's the tragic flaw of human societies. We stick with our own when push comes to shove.
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Old 24th November 2021, 01:22 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Nick Terry View Post
One factor in accelerating this process is the stripping away of context, both deliberately and as an intrinsic feature of the algorithm-driven internet. This explains why formerly left-leaning and liberal types end up making common cause with the right and even far right, sometimes not caring at all about this and sometimes having shifted to the right themselves.
Is there another parallel there to 1930s Germany? My understanding, which may be erroneous, is that Hitler infiltrated the left-wing German Workers' Party, more or less took it over, and introduced a flavour of nationalism to transform it into the far-right NDSAP; was there a similar transformation of views taking place among its supporters?

Dave
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Old 24th November 2021, 01:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Is there another parallel there to 1930s Germany? My understanding, which may be erroneous, is that Hitler infiltrated the left-wing German Workers' Party, more or less took it over, and introduced a flavour of nationalism to transform it into the far-right NDSAP; was there a similar transformation of views taking place among its supporters?

Dave
No.
The DAP started out fully anti-Semitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-Marxist.
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Old 24th November 2021, 02:00 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Nick Terry View Post
One needs a political sociology of CTists, specifically focusing on the mechanisms of radicalisation, of changing political allegiances and the willingness of CTist coalitions to make common cause with factions they might have previously rejected because of the shared delusion they do agree on.

...
The common denominator behind this current kaleidoscope is exposure to the CTist ideas, which basically means: algorithms are increasing the sum total of Stupidity in the world.
...
Thanks for your insightful post...

...which doesn't mention power (real or imagined), the yielding of responsibility to power, and the need for liberation.
Do you disagree with Bonhoeffer - or me, at least with regards to CTists - that stupid people need some act of external liberation?
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Old 24th November 2021, 02:14 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
This came across my feed today:

The 5 Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

https://news.clearancejobs.com/2021/...man-stupidity/
Cipolla - or Leonard's take on Cipolla - seems to be at odds with Bonhoeffer's theory on stupidity: According to Cipolla/Leonard, "Some people are stupid. It is what it is. As Cipolla asserted, “the fact remains that [you] will always have to deal with the same percentage of stupid people” everywhere you go.", whereas Bonhoeffer claims that people are made stupid by adverse circumstances.

The point of agreement however is this: "Law #5: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person." Or, as Bonhoeffer put it: "Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. "


Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
...Russians and French people tend to be hard-wired to ...
Urrr... beware!?

Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
Belief in CT is immune to economic status.
I tend to disagree - economic security (i.e. not the level of economic wealth, but the level of trust a person has that it won't diminish in the foreseeable future) lends a level of freedom, prevents some fears and the motivation to project blame.
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Old 24th November 2021, 02:52 AM   #16
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no doubt some people might be stupid.

But most people just don't like to think hard if they don't have to.
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Old 24th November 2021, 04:30 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
No.
The DAP started out fully anti-Semitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-Marxist.
Oh well, one more thing I learned in school that I need to forget.

Dave
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Old 24th November 2021, 05:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
Thanks for your insightful post...

...which doesn't mention power (real or imagined), the yielding of responsibility to power, and the need for liberation.
Do you disagree with Bonhoeffer - or me, at least with regards to CTists - that stupid people need some act of external liberation?
The question is whether CTists are genuinely stupid or merely disorientated, and how they might previously have made sense of the world, including how they relate to economic and political power.

Plus how power is understood. Over on the coronavirus/vaccines conspiracy thread, at least one CTist is hyperbolically inflating the threat of government healthcare interventions like vaccine mandates as 'totalitarian' or 'authoritarian'. We have seen antivaxxers worldwide violate Godwin's Law almost constantly, invoking the Nazis and Holocaust at every turn. Some of this is expressed in terms of imagined victimhood with hysterical comparisons with the Yellow Star, concentration camp numbers, and so on.

What is lacking from CTists is the ability to objectively analyse real power, rather than hysterically comparing the current powers-that-be (economic, political, cultural, international) with the Nazis, Satan or some other imaginary demon.

To that extent, the CTists of today do compare somewhat with Germans of the 1920s/1930s who were making quite stupid hysterical claims about the imaginary power of Jews worldwide.

But Germans in the 1920s/1930s were more realistic about the potential power or threat of international intervention via the economy or militarily, as well as the potential power or threat of a communist revolution. Today's right-wing hysterics freak out over Big Bird and other manufactured nonsense.
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Old 24th November 2021, 07:34 AM   #19
W.D.Clinger
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Originally Posted by Nick Terry View Post
But Germans in the 1920s/1930s were more realistic about the potential power or threat of international intervention via the economy or militarily, as well as the potential power or threat of a communist revolution. Today's right-wing hysterics freak out over Big Bird and other manufactured nonsense.
Bonhoeffer's opinions were undoubtedly influenced by his experience of living in his time and place. His opinions have value, but are not the last word, and do not entirely explain the stupidity we are experiencing today.
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Old 24th November 2021, 07:39 AM   #20
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I was just musing about what the difference is between today's Republican and Democratic parties. Specifically, whether there is an emerging power in the GOP with an overwhelming impact that makes too many voter, members, office holders even, stupid and irresponsible - something with no apparent equivalent in the Democratic party.

And this popped up in my mind:

Movements.

Starting with Gingrich's "Contract with America" and the general conservative movement (or perhaps going back to Reagan), we have seen increasingly bizarre conservative movements, that more and more challenged the traditional Republican constituency, from the rise of the neocons to various "Truth" Movements to the Tea Party to the Trump take-over of the party to Qanon.

Populist movements used to be a lefty thing while conservatism was still the rule. The past 30, 40 years: Clinton and Obama became lonesome presidents on their own accord, Biden merely represents an old, lowest-common-denominator establishment. We had the Occupy movement, okay... and perhaps the Bernie-crowd. But those failed to challenge the party.

With a proper Movement come slogans, memes and unlikely but inspiring leaders, and togetherness, shared emotions - and the temptation to stop thinking.
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Old 24th November 2021, 10:25 PM   #21
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
With a proper Movement come slogans, memes and unlikely but inspiring leaders, and togetherness, shared emotions - and the temptation to stop thinking.

Thoughts good, slogans bad! Thoughts good, slogans bad!




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Old Yesterday, 12:45 AM   #22
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Members of any military are encouraged to unthinkingly hate the enemy, especially in war times.

It makes them more likely to kill any enemy possible and further the cause of thier commander.
The upper ranks not only feed them bad information about the evil baby eaters and inhuman monsters they must stop but take away any penalty in killing.

The trump movement wasn't far off this model as if fearless leader could spout racist garbage it must now be ok to act on deep rooted racism.
Throw in a heap of fear mongering that a certain skin tone may lose dominance in numbers and now one MUST act.

Except the trumpist has no immunity to his illegal acts and can be called on to answer for them. This is where stupidity stepped in and burned so many.

Fearless Leader failed to give his dullard army any such protection a soldier gets and probably doesn't care as long as enough donation money rolls in to maintain his lifestyle.

The price of not thinking can be big.
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Old Today, 12:53 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
I was just musing about what the difference is between today's Republican and Democratic parties. Specifically, whether there is an emerging power in the GOP with an overwhelming impact that makes too many voter, members, office holders even, stupid and irresponsible - something with no apparent equivalent in the Democratic party.
I don't want to derail this thread, but I disagree. Just one of many examples is the recent defunding of the police movement supported by the Democratic party.

My experiences in conversations, with people of declared liberal ideologies and people of declared conservative ideologies, is the overwhelming majority are more centrist than extreme, but it is the more extreme stances that get the publicity and party support. I firmly believe that a trusted person, regardless of party (may need to be 3rd party to get nominated), with an even-handed agenda, could win the next presidential election in a landslide. Anyway, rant over. Carry on.
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Old Today, 01:04 AM   #24
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defunding the police is not an extreme stance - not doing so is.
With many cities using up half their budget on the PD, with crime rates lower than ever before, it makes no sense to spend so much resources on something with so little ROI.
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Old Today, 05:09 AM   #25
Oystein
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Originally Posted by MBDK View Post
... I firmly believe that a trusted person, regardless of party (may need to be 3rd party to get nominated), with an even-handed agenda, could win the next presidential election in a landslide. ...
Didn't happen last November - the respected, moderately-right candidate won, but hardly by a landslide.
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Old Today, 11:39 AM   #26
Bubba
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
For myself, John Lennon sums it up with brevity and percision:

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still ******* peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

So you have people expressing their opinion about everything and nobody cares, to be frank, so they gain traction by refusing to have the vaccination or wear a mask, etc. For me, the mind of an anarchist epitomises stupidity, it is their way of feeling 'individual' in a world of seeming conformity. They rationalise their total selfishness by coming up with theories that lays blame on others. For example, we supposed to 'rage against the machine'....that there something out there that makes us dull conformists. We can laugh when we see teenagers 'rebelling' - "That is SO unfair!" - but in anyone over the age of 20, it is sad. At sixteen, spitting on the products of record artists who've 'sold out' is kind of cute but in a 30-something, just stop it.

Bonhoeffer, and I have read his book, is about making choices and having values and principles. So instead of handing over your life choices to 'group think' - them versus us - you need to take responsibility over your own life choices.

IMV the biggest conspiracy theorists today are the mass media press: you only have to read the comic, the DAILY EXPRESS and chuckle over their daily battle to 'humiliate' Sturgeon or the EU or show the French who is boss. It is pathetic but people really do swallow this dreadful rubbish.

Absolutely true, (with one important exception, see below).




I can personally validate the OP, with this Real Life Example:

My crew and I will not be swallowing recent fake testimonies and bogus rulings (cover up), allegedly crushing the so called Russia Hoax.

We have the truth. It was not a hoax. Trump was and still is working for Putin!

Rachel Maddow proved it again just the other day, debunking the cover up.

Our faith in in Rachel is unshakeable.

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Old Today, 12:02 PM   #27
Bubba
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
I was just musing about what the difference is between today's Republican and Democratic parties. Specifically, whether there is an emerging power in the GOP with an overwhelming impact that makes too many voter, members, office holders even, stupid and irresponsible - something with no apparent equivalent in the Democratic party.

And this popped up in my mind:

Movements.

Starting with Gingrich's "Contract with America" and the general conservative movement (or perhaps going back to Reagan), we have seen increasingly bizarre conservative movements, that more and more challenged the traditional Republican constituency, from the rise of the neocons to various "Truth" Movements to the Tea Party to the Trump take-over of the party to Qanon.

Populist movements used to be a lefty thing while conservatism was still the rule. The past 30, 40 years: Clinton and Obama became lonesome presidents on their own accord, Biden merely represents an old, lowest-common-denominator establishment. We had the Occupy movement, okay... and perhaps the Bernie-crowd. But those failed to challenge the party.

With a proper Movement come slogans, memes and unlikely but inspiring leaders, and togetherness, shared emotions - and the temptation to stop thinking.

Bernie absolutely challenged the Dem party. He had the votes. Thats why they pulled every possible dirty trick to defeat him.

Occupy was also a threat to the establishment. Hence it of course was stealthily undermined with COINTELPRO* type tactics.


* Do you happen to know whether COINTELPRO was discontinued, or merely re-named ?

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Old Today, 12:56 PM   #28
carlitos
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Originally Posted by Bubba View Post

Our faith in in Rachel is unshakeable.
The quote button is the one that says "quote" on it.

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Old Today, 02:52 PM   #29
dann
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1) It is striking how materialistic the thinking of this pastor:
Quote:
[Stupidity] is a particular form of the impact of historical circumstances on human beings, a psychological concomitant of certain external conditions. Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or of a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity.
In fact, this idea is almost Marxist:
Quote:
Es ist nicht das Bewußtsein der Menschen, das ihr Sein, sondern umgekehrt ihr gesellschaftliches Sein, das ihr Bewußtsein bestimmt.
Aphorismen.de

2) It is also remarkable that he thinks that "external liberation" is a prerequisite for overcoming stupidity:
Quote:
...that only an act of liberation, not instruction, can overcome stupidity. Here we must come to terms with the fact that in most cases a genuine internal liberation becomes possible only when external liberation has preceded it. Until then we must abandon all attempts to convince the stupid person.
Again, it sounds almost iike when Marx describes what needs to be done to overcome religion:
Quote:
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

3) However, Bonhoeffer is an idealist when he implies some kind of pre-existing "inner independence" that people give up on:
Quote:
it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power[1], humans are deprived of their inner independence, and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances.
I think that this is his way of idealizing democracy during the Weimar Republic. He seems to forget (and to want to forget) that the German masses helped Hitler become a rising power, just as much as the QAnon cult helped Trump gain power - and would like to do so again. He also forgets that people in Germany weren't exactly free before Hitler came into power. They just had other masters, democratic ones, the rulers of the Weimar Republic, to whom they were subservient much the same way they were to Hitler later on. And he forgets that the masses who helped Hitler gain power desired to be subservient to him much the same way that QAnon believers and other Republicans nowadays desire to be subservient to Donald Trump (again).

The German masses were disgruntled nationalists, who believed in Hitler's ideas of a magnificent nation ruling a magnificent race, and like their warlords who had lost WW1, they were disappointed with the outcome of that war: Revanchism

The American masses who go for Donald Trump are disgruntled, too, but their kind of revanchism is slightly different. Their ideal is the American Dream. They think that the USA is all about using the opportunity to get rich, get the girl and live a life like Trump's. They are disappointed that reality turned out to be different from their ideal, and they are blaming the Libruls, who are giving all the imaginary riches that they themselves feel entitled to to inferior races, illegal immigrants and homosexuals. In their world of make-believe, they actually think that Trump will help them get the riches that they are entitled to by putting all their inferior compatriots in their place, primarily by reinstating true American values: Xmas and a racist and creationist agenda in public schools.

It is no wonder that their favourite of idea of Trump sees him as a warrior riding a brontosaurus, spearheading his loyal QAnon army to a victorious battle against the undeserving. Even the people who no longer really believe that Trump will make them richer still stick to him because at least he helps them keep the dream alive.

USA is currently a live reenactment of Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream.


ETA: And in the meantime, billionaires are supporting both Republicans and Democrats and laughing all the way to the bank.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old Today, 04:32 PM   #30
Bubba
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Quote:

Our faith in in Rachel is unshakeable.


Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
The quote button is the one that says "quote" on it.

Sorry, those were my words.

But if it helps, here ya go:


Quote:
"...Our faith in in Rachel is unshakeable..."

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