Caitlin Johnstone: We think this dystopia is normal like people in abusive relationships think it’s normal


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COMMENTARY: By Caitlin Johnstone

Westerners who don’t appreciate the extreme dysfunctionality of Western civilisation are like someone in an abusive marriage who hasn’t yet recognised that there’s a problem, or someone who had a violent and chaotic childhood who still thinks their home life was basically normal.

All of us understand that there are problems with our society, and most of us understand that a lot of of those problems are severe. But few Westerners really get just how bad it is.

How pervasively diseased it is.

In reality, we are living in a profoundly sick dystopia that is built on a foundation of human corpses and fueled by an endless river of human blood. Our news media are propaganda services, our entertainment is brainwashing, and our mainstream culture is social engineering, all built to keep us turning the gears of a vast globe-dominating empire.

There’s a widespread assumption throughout the Western world that while things might not be perfect our society is certainly much better than what people experience in a nation like China, smugly believing ourselves to be a free society full of free thinkers and free people in contrast with those unfortunate thought-controlled communist conformists.

In fact, Western civilisation is one giant thought-controlled conformity machine where people’s minds are shaped by mass-scale psychological manipulation far more effectively than anywhere else in the world, exactly because Westerners don’t know this is happening and believe they are free.

We think this dystopia is normal.    Video: Caitlin Johnstone

Western minds don’t like to be told this, because it goes against everything they’ve been trained to believe about their nation, their society, and their world. Obviously we are much freer here than those poor saps to the east; here in the west we are free to choose between 197 flavours of frosted breakfast cereal and 20,000 different superhero movies.

We are free to choose between voting for warmongering capitalist authoritarian Democrats or warmongering capitalist authoritarian Republicans. We are free to sell our labour at a fraction of the value it generates to any exploitative ecocidal employer of our choosing.

We are free to think whatever thoughts we’ve been trained to think by our education systems, mass media, and Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation. We are free to speak our minds, which have been shaped and conditioned to serve the interests of the powerful and never to say anything that falls outside the Overton window of acceptable opinion.

Sure there are outliers in the margins, Westerners who’ve slipped outside the matrix of thought control and have gained the ability to traffick in unauthorised opinions  –  if you’re reading this you’re probably one of them. But our numbers are deliberately kept too small to have any political consequence, and if those numbers start getting too big for comfort we immediately see influence ops to sow division and confusion and herd people back toward the mainstream flock.

Sure we in our small numbers are free to voice unauthorised opinions on marginal platforms where we can’t have much impact  –  we’re free to dig a hole in the ground and whisper whatever we want into it, too.

The single biggest obstacle to our freedom in the West is our widespread belief that we are free. Until we collectively realise we’re human livestock being continually herded into our respective gear-turning stations to keep the imperial juggernaut trudging ever forward on the world stage, we’ve got no chance to break free and bring the whole abusive system crashing down.

Until this is seen we’re like the wife who thinks it’s perfectly normal that her husband controls all her finances and dictates every aspect of her life, and who’d be shocked and angered if anyone tried to tell her that this is what an abusive relationship looks like. We’re like the man who insists he had a happy childhood despite remembering a lot of body trauma and screams.

The truth is all around us  —  we’re marinating in it 24/7/365. But we can’t see it, because it’s all we’ve ever known. We’ve been conditioned to think that this murderous ecocidal mind-controlled dystopia is normal, and we can’t imagine it being any other way. The prospect of ending it can actually feel scary and intimidating, just as it can for someone who’s thinking about fleeing an abusive relationship.

But real freedom is just on the other side of that fear. All we’ve got to do is become sufficiently conscious of what’s really going on here.

Caitlin Johnstone is an independent Australian journalist and poet. Her articles include The UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society. She publishes a website and Caitlin’s Newsletter. This article is republished under a Creative Commons licence.

Cafe Pacific Publisher
Cafe Pacific Publisher
Café Pacific's duty editor.
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