By Caitlin Johnstone
I was just watching a gaggle of blue-checkmarked narrative managers attack progressive commentators Katie Halper and Briahna Joy Gray on Twitter for platforming antiwar journalist Rania Khalek on the grounds that Khalek is an “Assadist”, which is imperialist for “someone who opposes western imperialism in Syria”.
At no point do any of these narrative managers bother to address the actual things these women were discussing together or why anything Khalek was saying in their video conference was wrong. They do not feel the need to do such a thing, because they have this label, “Assadist”, which they can pin on one of the speakers and thereby reject one hundred percent of her work and one hundred percent of the people who give her a platform from which to speak. They feel no need to address the arguments, because they have a label which they all agree means they can completely un-person someone who opposes western regime change agendas in a specific region.
There are many such labels that are used to exclude people from positions of influence and power for simply disagreeing with the official doctrine of status quo oligarchic imperialism in any way. “Assadist” is one of them; it allows someone to be completely marginalized from platforms of significant influence without anyone ever needing to admit that they’re simply depriving anyone of a platform who criticized the way the US power alliance used proxy armies and propaganda campaigns in a campaign to topple Damascus. “Kremlin asset” is another, as are “conspiracy theorist”, “tankie”, or “[insert imperialism-targeted leader] apologist”.
In reality, these labels are interchangeable with the word “heretic”. They mean “Someone who disagrees with the mainstream consensus religion of oligarchic imperialism”.
In ages past people would be excluded from positions of influence and power if they did not belong to the dominant religion in that place and time. If you were a Jew living in the Holy Roman Empire, for example, the door would be closed to you from ever holding a position of power or influence over the mainstream population. In the same exact way, those who do not espouse the mainstream orthodoxy of continual military expansionism and status quo politics are cut off from major positions in politics and media using the modern-day equivalent of the “heathen” label. It’s a very old dynamic adapted for a new world.
Oligarchic imperialism is the new dominant world religion. It is the scripture that everyone reads from. It is what shapes our culture. It is what holy wars are fought over and acts of terrorism committed for. It’s what power is built around. It’s what you’re branded a heretic for rejecting. It’s just as fake as any other religion, just as crafted toward the advantage of the powerful as any other religion, and just as dependent upon blind faith in insubstantial narratives as any other religion. But it lets its adherents feel smug and superior to people who believe in those primitive older religions.
Adherents of the old dominant religion used to read the Bible; adherents of the new dominant religion read The New York Times. Adherents of the old dominant religion used to go to church on Sunday; adherents of the new dominant religion go to Hollywood movies. Adherents of the old dominant religion fought in the crusades; adherents of the new dominant religion kill families with drones and Tomahawk missiles overseas. Adherents of the old dominant religion used to burn heretics at the stake; adherents of the new dominant religion imprison journalists and deplatform “Assadists”, “Putin apologists” and “conspiracy theorists” so their ideas don’t infect the rest of the flock.
These labels exist because if mainstream platforms admitted that they refuse access to literally anyone who disagrees with status quo oligarchic imperialism, they would have to admit that they are not the objective arbiters of absolute reality they portray themselves as being, but are in fact propagandists for a very specific belief system. That they are not tasked with the responsibility of reporting the news, but with promoting the doctrine of the new dominant world religion. That they aren’t news reporters, but high priests.
Religion isn’t disappearing, it has just changed its form. The world has become too small for widespread belief in omnipotent deities creating the universe in six days and controlling all our affairs, so now people tell new fairy tales about a liberal world order which must be preserved by a beneficent superpower and its allies. In reality it is nothing other than propaganda for a murderous, tyrannical theocratic empire, of just the sort once presided over by Rome.
Western imperialism is worse than every single issue the mass media are screaming in your face about on any given day. It is without exaggeration worse than 100 percent of those issues. If people could really grasp the horrific nature of imperial warmongering, the wars would be forced to end. It is the job of the imperial high priests to prevent this from happening, which is why they use dismissive labels to marginalize anyone who might be inclined to remind you of this.
In a murderous, tyrannical theocratic empire, the only sane position to hold is that of heresy and apostasy. Hopefully one day mankind will open its eyes to reality and require no blind faith in any artificial belief constructs of any kind.