I was raised in New Jersey as a liberal Democrat but by the time of Obama's candidacy, I was skeptical. I was only 19, though, and I couldn't quite figure out why. I didn't vote. When chants of "YES WE DID!" erupted outside of my college dorm room on Election Night 2008, I shut the windows and went back to bed.
I spent most of the Obama years in New York and then Los Angeles, but I was not political. When 2016 came around I didn't trust Hillary at all either. I ended up voting for Donald Trump, and on Election Night I was barhopping in the Tenderloin in San Francisco. As much as I enjoyed that, I was unsure about it at the time. Now I know it was the right choice.
You see, Donald Trump helped me understand just how evil and deceptive the Democratic Party has become (and perhaps always has been—after all, we're talking about the party of slavery and the Ku Klux Klan).
Before you start huffing about all the bad things the Republicans or whoever else have done, just hear me out. Democrats have talked endlessly about Trump for the last four years but it's evident they haven't looked inward. Let's do that now.
Lies, all lies
Politics is a dirty game and it's well known that lying is often involved. There are many ways to lie. Some are straightforward, like deliberately underestimating the cost of a piece of legislation or misstating an opponent's position to make it weaker.
Some lies are fuzzier, like choosing to highlight or ignore certain facts of a subject that you're reporting on to promote a certain interpretation in your audience.
And then there are some really big lies. The Democrats' most powerful and most sinister strategy involves reversing the meanings of words to make some truly giant whoppers. If you learn one thing about the Democrats, make it this.
Psychological warfare in two dead-simple steps
Let's say you have a proposal most people would find odious and you want to get people to support it while deflecting criticism. First, turn the discussion over what you're doing upside-down using subversion. Then, blame your opponents of doing what you're actually doing using projection. You can use either step alone, but they're most effective when combined. Let's see how they work.
Step 1 - Subversion
Call the thing you are proposing the opposite of what it is. There can be some creativity here. For example, a bill which makes it harder to start new taxi companies might be called a Taxicab Competition Act. A policy which introduces racial bias in hiring decisions at a company might be called "affirmative action", or part of a campaign to promote "social justice" in HR (instead of calling it "racial discrimination" or even just "racism").
You can subvert really big ideas too. Consider a scheme in which an elite shifts as much of the society's wealth as possible to itself by:
- Continually raising taxes as high as the people will tolerate (but make sure to leave some loopholes for your friends) and distributing the money by awarding plush government jobs, pensions, and contracts to the elites and the companies they own
- Reducing business costs by moving jobs and factories to lower-cost jurisdictions or eliminating them altogether with automation
- Depressing wages for the jobs that can't be shipped away by allowing mass illegal immigration
- Protecting real estate values by preventing development
This will make the elites unbelievably wealthy but will eventually result in an economy strangled by stratospheric cost of living, high taxes, and an overgrown and inefficient government in charge of crumbling and congested infrastructure. The middle class will have mostly left or fallen into poverty, leaving an underclass of the working poor, the homeless, and those entirely dependent on government. Of all the money supposedly invested in public services, most was given to insiders or just wasted, so the services are lean, there aren't enough shelters, and tent cities are ubiquitous.
Sound familiar, Californians? Of course it does. And how did they get you to vote for it?
They told you they were going to use the tax revenues to give money to the poor and provide a safety net and public facilities that would push everyone towards economic equality. That California was in a post-industrial global information age and manufacturing was history.
They said it was compassionate to allow illegal immigrants to flood the state, and that borders were outdated and racist. That regulations on development were just about the environment and totally not a way to NIMBY more housing or create barriers for politically-unconnected developers.
They recruited celebrities and turned them into party elites, useful idiots who told you the same lies the politicians did, but actually believed them.
They told you religion was outdated so they could teach you right and wrong. They told you California was the envy of the world, that you were on the right side of history, bravely riding the arc of progress as it bends towards justice.
They told you things were getting better all the time. They turned the news into propaganda and made sure you were distracted by hedonism and pop culture so you wouldn't notice that they were getting worse.
When things really started getting bad and the underclass they'd created rose up, they embraced the mob as it smashed up their cities and hoped they'd be destroyed last.
They sold you utopia, but left you with a civilization in ruin.
...Okay! Ready for step 2?
Step 2 - Projection
Accuse your opponents of doing the thing that you're actually doing, even if it doesn't make sense. Democrats do this ALL THE TIME, and it can be super creepy.
For example, as the mainstream American press tore itself apart in June with one woke purge after another (as Matt Taibbi put it: "It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind"), this was what the increasingly-discredited Washington Post had to say about the most-watched man in cable news, if not all of television:
Nice projection, WaPo.
Here's a leftist on Twitter who ostensibly is talking about Trump supporters, but none of it makes sense for them. It all makes sense as his own feelings though:
How about an obvious cultist calling me a cultist in a comment section?
To take a more serious example, President Trump has expressed a preference for in-person voting (with the ability to request an absentee ballot, as usual) for a variety of reasons, but the gist is that it is the most likely method to give a clear winner on Election Night, while mass mail-in voting could take weeks to tally and has far more vectors for mistakes and abuse (no matter what the legacy media says -- use your head, it's obvious).
Democrats have claimed that he is trying to rig the election, and that he won't accept the results if he loses. Hmm, the guy who wants a trustworthy result on Election Night is the one trying to undermine the election? This smells like projection.
Sure enough, you see things like Nevada Democrats ramming universal mail-in ballots and ballot harvesting through the Assembly in an overnight party-line vote during an "emergency" legislative session. Now in Nevada, a battleground state, every voter on the rolls will be mailed a ballot ahead of the general election, despite widespread issues with the ballots in Clark County's all-mail primary earlier in the year. As if that weren't enough, the bill also allows ballot harvesting and weakens signature matching for ballots.
And then there's Hillary Clinton saying that the race will be close, so Biden should not concede under any circumstances. Hear that? Not an inch!
Now, after months of posturing and war games and election undermining by Democrats, we're treated to this gem in the Atlantic hypothesizing about what will happen if President Trump refuses to concede the election, as if he's the first one to float the idea that the election is going to be contested.
It should be fun seeing how this post ages.
But the most relevant example of all in recent history is also one of the easiest to spot (Americans are waking up en masse as I write this): racism and Black Lives Matter.
Why Black Lives Matter is a racist movement
There's a conversation in our society lately that goes something like this:
Democrats: Black lives matter!
Republicans: ALL LIVES MATTER!
Democrats: See? There go those racist Republicans again! Oh look, they're all white too, except for that token they've got there. Figures.
Have you heard something like this and had it not quite sit well with you? Remember that feeling, it's a strong clue that you're in the presence of totalitarianism.
What is racism?
First let's define "racism". There's some room for debate and technical nuance, but I'd claim most people have understood it to mean roughly any belief, action, or system that puts race at the center of how it treats people. Let's apply this common-sense definition to the example above.
Is saying "all lives matter" racist?
Let's start with the "Republican" statement, because it's simpler. "All lives matter" is a statement devoid of racial content. There is no particular movement behind the phrase, but the statement is typically offered as a response to "black lives matter", and the subtext is roughly: "we don't think you should divide people up based on race". It seems clear there's no racism here. If anything, this is anti-racism.
Is saying "black lives matter" racist?
How about the "Democrat" statements? Well, just saying that black lives matter isn't really racism on its own: it's not a claim that black lives matter more, or that only black lives matter.
(Of course, it could do more to exclude those possibilities, perhaps "black lives matter too", which would actually better emphasize the point that they feel black lives are undervalued relative to others, but I think the vagueness reflects a deliberate and sinister decision to be divisive.)
Then again, just saying "black lives matter" isn't saying very much. Almost everyone agrees with that statement, and society already pushes anyone who wouldn't out to the margins. So let's read more deeply. Since the statement is typically uttered in support of the movement Black Lives Matter, let's see what BLM is all about.
Black Lives Matter, the movement
We see that "Black Lives Matter began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism" and is now a global movement "committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive."
Despite the uplifting social justice language, the issue is obvious: BLM is a movement which views every issue in terms of race, intended to advance the interests of people of a particular race. There are unsatisfying attempts to ameliorate this, such as "we work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people", but that just crystallizes the issue. You can advance black people by advancing all people, that makes sense. But BLM is telling you that by advancing black people, you advance all people.
Well, shit. Black Lives Matter is starting to sound like a black supremacy movement.
After all, imagine if rural and Rust Belt whites upset about the fentanyl crisis and industrial decline (which disproportionately affect them) started spelling White with a capital W and formed an organization called White Lives Matter to "work vigorously for health and hope for White people and, by extension, all people".
That wouldn't go over well. One obvious question: why make it about race? Can't we just work to overcome police brutality or improve access to healthcare or renew industry? And wouldn't that be more effective, since it would reach out to people of all races affected by that issue?
The answer, of course, is that we could do that and it would be more effective. But Black Lives Matter is not about police brutality, at least not primarily. They've told us as much. It is about advancing black people, just as an organization called White Lives Matter instead of focusing on a specific issue would obviously be about advancing white people.
The privilege of the "oppressed"
So why is Black Lives Matter okay under the leftist rubric when clearly a White Lives Matter movement would not be? The answer, of course, is that in this leftist grievance politics framework, under the heading of critical race theory, privileges and penalties are assessed to intersectional groups based on the amount of oppression those groups have faced or delivered in the past. It's okay to form an organization called Black Lives Matter which advocates for racial privileges for black people because black people have historically been oppressed in our society, the thinking goes.
Under the new woke order, a new status hierarchy is formed. A straight black "cismale" may be oppressed by whitey, but he's still an oppressor of women and anyone LGBTQ. Moving up the intersectionality totem pole, more and more ideological purity is assigned to each group. For example, our straight black cismale still has plenty to feel guilty about (he is, after all, perpetuating the patriarchy just by his mere existence); but a black queer transsexual is about as pure victim as it gets.
These rare beasts are the new high priests and priestesses of the wokerati religion, and under the leftist doctrine, virtually any tyranny committed by them is justified, even righteous, as long as it's directed sufficiently down the totem pole. If in doubt, straight white men are ALWAYS permissible targets.
In short, BLM gets away with racism by promulgating a system that creates a new hierarchy of status and privilege for identity groups corresponding to how much oppression they're deemed to have received and doled out under the old order. Clearly, the argument goes, black Americans have faced more oppression than white Americans (who are fundamentally oppressors: white supremacists by default, basically) and therefore Black Lives Matter seeking to boost black people is legitimate, but an organization called White Lives Matter seeking to boost white people would not be.
Politics and culture can be pretty confusing, particularly when you're in the presence of totalitarians who try to shift meanings around and call things other than what they are. In particular, as we've seen, calling something its opposite (subversion) is a particularly potent tactic, especially when paired with accusing one's opponents of what one is doing themselves (projection).
If you feel a pang that something is backwards—for example, you're really having a hard time seeing how "All Lives Matter" is a racist sentiment, or you're scratching your head while being told that capitalizing "B" in "Black American" but not "w" in "white American" is social justice—don't ignore it. That's what the totalitarians are counting on. When times are bad enough, just recognizing good from evil and saying so out loud is revolutionary.
And if somebody, particularly on the political left, is making strong accusations against you and you know they aren't true, maybe their accusations are actually unintentional confessions.