I have had an interesting couple of days where I have had different threads and unexpected comments and messages that are worth mentioning, so here it goes.
I get messages from people, and someone made an interesting indirect comment reminding me how insular and incestuous Canadian journalism happens to be. It’s true, and I remember when I was a Canadian correspondent for Presstime magazine in the late 1990s’/early aughts, and I was at a industry function where someone who was the head of a Canadian journalism organization made the comment that he was surprised that I got to write for NAA’s publication, when you would “expect” some Canadian editor or publisher to hold that lofty title.
Why would they? There is absolutely nothing inherent about the position that would have required that because other people who wrote articles for Presstime were journalists the same way journalists write for every other publication.
But that’s not what he meant. I wasn’t there because of nepotism or cronyism. I wasn’t part of an incestuous network of the usual gang of idiots; so how the hell did I get a job that, in Canada, would have absolutely been reserved for someone who was part of that stagnate clique?
Answer: because I have talent and the ingenuity to put my resume in to a US publication where that degree of cronyism didn’t exist; thereby bypassing the xenophobic structure of the journalism back in my own country.
Most of my credentials rest with US publications, and when it comes to my books, my publishers have either been from the US or the UK. Aside from the fact that Canadian publications and publishers don’t pay anywhere near what the other two nations pay their writers, the truth is that if you are going to hedge your bets and put in the most effort with the best pay-off, do it with publications with a bigger audience, better pay, and more merit-based filters. It’s not as if I have never written for Canadian outfits, but the traditional “harder markets” were just easier to deal with in my case.
There are rigs in place because the structure of thought dictates that these rigs are normal.
And that happens to be the Canadian way.
Just look at Canadian politics.
Rachel Notley is the premier of Alberta. Her was was Grant Notley.
Doug Ford is the premier of Ontario. His father Doug Ford Senior was an Ontario MPP. Doug Junior ran against Caroline Mulroney whose father was a prime minister and Christine Elliott, whose husband was a prominent federal cabinet minister.
Even our prime minister’s daddy was a prime minister.
I liken it to people looking for established names as if they were luxury brand items, but people are not shoes or cars. The one after it is not a replica of the one before it.
People in Canada have a Zero Risk mindset, and the heuristics are based upon this kind of rule of thumb-thinking, always looking for a “sure thing.”
But I would in no way say Canada is proof that there is a conspiracy afoot. We have nepotism and cronyism not because of some vast and diabolical conspiracy, but because citizens make no demands, and look for “sure things”, consistently confusing provenance and quality goods with human behaviour.
I remember when the Jive Turkey was running for prime minister, and people who decided to vote for him had a narrative set. When I asked about his profound lack of experience, the answer I always got was since he “grew up” with a politician father, he, by some miracle of intellectual osmosis would have to be up to code.
I would nod and ask would they feel comfortable if their surgeon or criminal lawyer assigned to them didn’t bother with a degree, license, or experience, but had a mom or dad who were surgeons and lawyers. Usually, an alarmed, “No!” told me everything I needed to know about their thinking. In their drive for Zero Risk, they will take a 100% gamble, yet don’t see it unless you place their own logic in a proper context.
Throw in Appeal to Authority and the Confirmation Bias, and what you have is the recipe for cronyism to flourish.
There is no conspiracy. Cronies stick together, yes, but if outsiders put their foot down and give resistance, then the clique no longer exists. Fresh blood comes in, circulating and creating a flexible structure, and people who thrive through rigs and stagnation can’t build walls and fences, keeping out people who have new ideas, better talent, and different approaches. If you want true diversity, then you have to stop taking gambles, and learn how to take risks.
But for those who thrive in rigs and cronyism, they are terrified at the prospect, so they do what all lesser talents do: try to villainize outsiders and label them in order to discredit them from the get-go.
Conspiracies happen and frequently, and people often go to jail because of them. These conspiracies aren’t from a Bond movie, however. Conspiracy to commit murder is common enough. Also common is conspiracy to commit fraud, especially when it comes to fleecing the elderly. Less common is conspiracy to commit forgery. Price fixing is also an example of a conspiracy, and in Canada, we saw bread being at the centre of such an accusation. We have anti-trust laws for a reason.
But “conspiracy” is also a trigger word and a propagandistic one. When someone wants to dismiss someone’s accusations of collusion, or even disagreement, suddenly, the person is painted as a loon and a “conspiracy theorist.”
I just across such a case on Wikipedia where someone with multiple Ivy League degrees was labelled a “conspiracy theorist” without a shred of proof. The person isn’t making wild accusations about Illuminati groups —they are disagreeing with a mainstream patriarchal narrative that I happen to know is wrong. That isn’t a “conspiracy theorist.”
I have written to Wikipedia to ask about it, and got a long, but not an entirely satisfactory reply, and it is something that I am pursuing, and will write more about it later. There have been many radio personalities and authors who exploit the persona of a conspiracy theorist, but the term itself is a real form of propaganda.
Whenever a certain Establishment group want to deflect attention away from their inbred incompetency, they slap the label of “conspiracy theorist”, and then hope the little Middle Class people will brainlessly parrot the label.
Most times, the Labellers banks on mass laziness and complacency to keep a status quo — usually a label that creates both a false role and a false narrative that constricts thinking, stigmatizes and belittles the target with both ridicule and fear.
This is a monster out to make trouble! They are ignorant, and insane! Don’t believe them!
The Catholic church successfully played that gambit on children for decades. You had little boys and girls who were repeated molested and raped by the clergy, and instead of being believed by their own parents, police, and courts, they were labelled as liars and troublemakers.
And as we know now, those young children weren’t conspiracy theorists. They were victims.
Labellers are a very wicked form of propagandist: they try to cut criticism off at the pass, spinning a narrative that questioning them is an act of insanity, bitterness, and evil.
Labellers take advantage of the accuser’s emotionality, which is a normal and healthy reaction to being consistently constricted or even harmed. The problem with their argument is that emotionality isn’t irrationality — but the lack of emotions is a red flag that the person may have an Anti-Social Personality Disorder.
Or at least is overplaying their hand with a mask.
That’s why we always need facts.
Labellers try to hide facts at all costs. They will use other phrases other than “conspiracy theorist.” There is always “disgruntled employee”. Well, yes, employees often become disgruntled if you fuck them over. It is akin to calling a rape victim a “hysterical female” after she’s been assaulted and using that distressed state as “proof” that she isn’t a reliable source.
And yes, “hysterical female” is also pet insult of Labellers. Women, who are often discriminated against are rightfully upset that they are being screwed and denied — the agitated state is often evidence of the claim’s veracity.
Whenever we are presented with neatly prepackaged labels, the point isn’t to accept them, but to question them. We don’t accept or dismiss, but then start asking questions. Often, just challenging the label as we ask for verifiable evidence for its usage is enough to prove the label is nothing more than a propagandistic ruse used to hide anything from incompetence to illegal rigs.
Labellers bank on people’s fear and aversion to risk to dismiss inconvenient information that may negatively impact their home sales or promotions. It works until there is one too many “conspiracy theorist”, and then a scandal erupts. Or one too many “hysterical females” come forward and we have #MeToo.
Then all hell breaks loose with those some Zero Risk people howling, how could it happen?
Easy. It wasn’t conspiracy, but complacency. We avoid challenges, confrontations, and debates. We try to stifle diverse points of views and new and untested commodities or ideas. When we fear change or challenge, we allow stagnate and inbred methods to infest society, creating the perfect environment for bad and corrupt practices.
The solution is to keep asking questions as we demand real and concrete answers.
It is the reason why journalism failed: they stopped asking hard questions. They stopped answering hard questions of themselves. The end result is that we are living in a factual void right now.
It won’t last. We have had spells where propaganda dominated because those who were supposed to ask questions became Labellers. As problems mount, they infest and then destroy those comfy “space spaces” and the monsters that we hid under the bed and swept under the rug come to life to terrorize us.
It's never a foregone conclusion. We can’t blame “conspiracies” for our own failings and fears. That’s on us — not on some Them or make believe Bond baddie.
In other words, we are the heroes, victims, or villains of our own story — it all depends on how much risk we take — and how much we gamble…