One need not go far to witness a message being communicated in code – to say something that sounds acceptable but, in reality, means something else. It’s a way to utilize the power of communications to deliver a deceitful message in the fog of chaos.
Professor Timothy Snyder, the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University, has written a scathing essay (The American Abyss) in the New York Times Magazine focusing on the reasons behind Donald Trump’s incitement of insurrection that was witnessed in living color during the past week. His essay covers the history of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob, and what comes next.
His main points are as follows:
- Election fraud, as defined by Trump, is allowing votes from black Americans to be counted; and
- Black Americans are not equal to white Americans – and, accordingly, he won the presidential election.
This is racism in its purest form.
He points out that there are two groups within the Republican party – the “gamers” and the “breakers.”
- The “gamers” focus on gaming the system to maintain power – taking full advantage of constitutional obscurities, gerrymandering and dark money to win elections with a minority of motivated voters; and
- The “breakers” strive to break the system and attain power without democracy.
“Post-truth,” he argues, “is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place.”
It’s the effective use of the “analysis skill” by using hypotheses or “alternative facts” (read “made up) to draw conclusions. Remember that information that is not true can lead one to draw conclusions that are either true or false – depending on what the individual who utilizes such an illegitimate logical process wants to conclude.
Such a faulty process, when communicated well, can convince those who prefer easy answers to complex problems to believe that what the communicator wants them to believe.
Professor Snyder says, “Trump employs this tactic and creates mob hysteria based not upon truth or reality, but on passion and fervor. It can incite people to violence – the kind of which we are witnessing today.”
Read the article. It’s frightening – and should be understood by all. Professor Snyder argues that “greater knowledge of the past, fascist or otherwise, allows us to notice and conceptualize elements of the present that we might otherwise disregard and to think more broadly about future possibilities.” He concludes that “Trump’s behavior presaged a coup; this is not because the present repeats the past, but because the past enlightens the present.”
Thank you, Professor Snyder!
Should we be worried? You bet!
As Benjamin Franklin so wisely responded after the Constitutional Convention in 1787 to the question of what kind of government we have, “A Republic . . . . IF YOU CAN KEEP IT.”
Put on your critical thinking cap and work toward saving our constitutional republic!