Manufacturing Truth

If you’re one of the millions of human beings who, despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary, still believe there is such a thing as “the truth,” you might not want to read this essay. Seriously, it can be extremely upsetting when you discover that there is no “truth” … or rather, that what we’re all conditioned to regard as “truth” from the time we are children is just the product of a technology of power, and not an empirical state of being. Humans, upon first encountering this fact, have been known to freak completely out and start jabbering about the “Word of God,” or “the immutable laws of quantum physics,” and run around burning other people at the stake or locking them up and injecting them with Thorazine. I don’t want to be responsible for anything like that, so consider this your trigger warning.

OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at how “truth” is manufactured. It’s actually not that complicated. See, the “truth” is … well, it’s a story, essentially. It’s whatever story we are telling ourselves at any given point in history (“we” being the majority of people, those conforming to the rules of whatever system wields enough power to dictate the story it wants everyone to be telling themselves). Everyone understands this intuitively, but the majority of people pretend they don’t in order to be able to get by in the system, which punishes anyone who does not conform to its rules, or who contradicts its story. So, basically, to manufacture the truth, all you really need is (a) a story, and (b) enough power to coerce a majority of people in your society to pretend to believe it.

I’ll return to this point a little later. First, let’s look at a concrete example of our system manufacturing “truth.” I’m going to use The Guardian‘s most recent blatantly fabricated article (“Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy“) as an example, but I could just as well have chosen any of a host of other fabricated stories disseminated by “respectable” outlets over the course of the last two years. The “Russian Propaganda Peddlers” story. The “Russia Might Have Poisoned Hillary Clinton” story. The “Russians Hacked the Vermont Power Grid” story. The “Golden Showers Russian Pee-Tape” story. The “Novichok Assassins” story. The “Bana Alabed Speaks Out” story. The “Trump’s Secret Russian Server” story. The “Labour Anti-Semitism Crisis” story. The “Russians Orchestrated Brexit” story. The “Russia is Going to Hack the Midterms” story. The “Twitter Bots” story. And the list goes on.

I’m not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook, Craig Murray, Glenn Greenwald, Moon of Alabama, and many others). The short version is, The Guardian‘s Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed “Russians”) on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding’s earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on … well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous “intelligence sources.” After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece (employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it.

By that time, of course, its purpose had been served. The story had been picked up and disseminated by other “respectable,” “authoritative” outlets, and it was making the rounds on social media. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, in an attempt to counter the above-mentioned debunkers (and dispel the doubts of anyone else still capable of any kind of critical thinking), Politico posted this ass-covering piece speculating that, if it somehow turned out The Guardian‘s story was just propaganda designed to tarnish Assange and Trump … well, probably, it had been planted by the Russians to make Luke Harding look like a moron. This ass-covering piece of speculative fiction, which was written by a former CIA agent, was immediately disseminated by liberals and “leftists” who are eagerly looking forward to the arrest, rendition, and public crucifixion of Assange.

At this point, I imagine you’re probably wondering what this has to do with manufacturing “truth.” Because, clearly, this Guardian story was a lie … a lie The Guardian got caught telling. I wish the “truth” thing was as simple as that (i.e., exposing and debunking the ruling classes’ lies). Unfortunately, it isn’t. Here is why.

Much as most people would like there to be one (and behave and speak as if there were one), there is no Transcendental Arbiter of Truth. The truth is what whoever has the power to say it is says it is. If we do not agree that that “truth” is the truth, there is no higher court to appeal to. We can argue until we are blue in the face. It will not make the slightest difference. No evidence we produce will make the slightest difference. The truth will remain whatever those with the power to say it is say it is.

Nor are there many truths (i.e., your truth and my truth). There is only one truth … the official truth. The truth according to those in power. This is the whole purpose of the concept of truth. It is the reason the concept of “truth” was invented (i.e., to render any other “truths” lies). It is how those in power control reality and impose their ideology on the masses (or their employees, or their students, or their children). Yes, I know, we very badly want there to be some “objective truth” (i.e., what actually happened, when whatever happened, JFK, 9-11, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Schrödinger’s dead cat, the Big Bang, or whatever). There isn’t. The truth is just a story … a story that is never our story.

The truth is a story that power gets to tell, and that the powerless do not get to tell, unless they tell the story of those in power, which is always someone else’s story. The powerless are either servants of power or they are heretics. There is no third alternative. They either parrot the truth of the ruling classes or they utter heresies of one type or another. Naturally, the powerless do not regard themselves as heretics. They do not regard their “truth” as heresy. They regard their “truth” as the truth, which is heresy. The truth of the powerless is always heresy.

For example, while it may be personally comforting for some of us to tell ourselves that we know the truth about certain subjects (e.g., Russiagate, 9-11, et cetera), and to share our knowledge with others who agree with us, and even to expose the lies of the corporate media on Twitter, Facebook, and our blogs, or in some leftist webzine (or “fearless adversarial” outlet bankrolled by a beneficent oligarch), the ruling classes do not give a shit, because ours is merely the raving of heretics, and does not warrant a serious response.

Or … all right, they give a bit of a shit, enough to try to cover their asses when a journalist of the stature of Glenn Greenwald (who won a Pulitzer and is frequently on television) very carefully and very respectfully almost directly accuses them of lying. But they give enough of a shit to do this because Greenwald has the power to hurt them, not because of any regard for the truth. This is also why Greenwald has to be so careful and respectful when directly confronting The Guardian, or any other corporate media outlet, and state that their blatantly fabricated stories could, theoretically, turn out to be true. He can’t afford to cross the line and end up getting branded a heretic and consigned to Outer Mainstream Darkness, like Robert Fisk, Sy Hersh, Jonathan Cook, John Pilger, Assange, and other such heretics.

Look, I’m not trying to argue that it isn’t important to expose the fabrications of the corporate media and the ruling classes. It is terribly important. It is mostly what I do (albeit usually in a more satirical fashion). At the same time, it is important to realize that “the truth” is not going to “rouse the masses from their slumber” and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly “wake up,” “see the truth” and start “the revolution.” People already know the truth … the official truth, which is the only truth there is. Those who are conforming to it are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.

And this is why The Guardian will not be punished for publishing a blatantly fabricated story. Nor will Luke Harding be penalized for writing it. Luke Harding will be rewarded for writing it, as he has been handsomely rewarded throughout his career for loyally serving the ruling classes. Greenwald, on the other hand, is on thin ice. It will be instructive to see how far he pushes his confrontation with The Guardian regarding this story.

As for Julian Assange, I’m afraid he is done for. The ruling classes really have no choice but to go ahead and do him at this point. He hasn’t left them any other option. Much as they are loathe to create another martyr, they can’t have heretics of Assange’s notoriety running around punching holes in their “truth” and brazenly defying their authority. That kind of stuff unsettles the normals, and it sets a bad example for the rest of us heretics.

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CJ Hopkins
December 3, 2018

CJ Hopkins Summer 2018 thumbnailDISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to support it, please go to his Patreon page (where you can contribute as little $1 per month), or send your contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our staff up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian novel, Zone 23, which we understand is pretty gosh darn funny, or any of his subversive stage plays, which won some awards in Great Britain and Australia. If you do not appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to write him an abusive email, please feel free to contact him directly.

15 thoughts on “Manufacturing Truth

  1. Great satire, although it will strike many as a bit harsh. They will prefer to dilute it with copious lemonade or tonic water, and maybe cool it down with some ice.

    But it’s still terrific satire – and that’s the truth!

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  2. Great !

    You understand that the truth of any story is irrelevant. All that matters is what is published. Doubt if your fellow alternative types will get it.

    Here’s the story. ’12 Russian hackers gave the DNC emails to Julian Assange and he published them’. That’s all that matters to Joe the Barista.

    Assange claimed (implied) Seth Rich gave him the emails and Wikileaks offered a $20,000 reward for “information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.” This is what makes Assange a hero to the alt media crowd.

    My view is that Wikileaks turned in Rich and he was murdered by the intelligence community, allowing the Russians to be blamed. That’s a view formed before reading the huge quantity of material on the case which is now impenetrably dense. No one will ever find their way through that.

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  3. From 2000 to 2016, the U.S. suicide rate among adults ages 16 to 64 rose 34 percent… U.S. teen suicide (10-17) up 2006-2016 up 70%… each day 20 U.S veterans suicide… Fentanyl– Facts, bah, who needs ’em. Let’s watch a Loads o’ Laughs™ propagandist pander to an oligarch.

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  4. Your essay reminds me of why I miss living in France, where agree or disagree I often had friendly public political discussions with strangers where we might disagree, but shared our thoughts openly. Here in the U.S. everyone, as you point out, is aware that any dissent from the “official story” is heresy, and most people seem to self censor due to perhaps even the unconscious fear of what it means to be a “heretic,” or the more dense simply mindlessly and rabidly defend the official story as if their life depended on it, always ready to go to battle to defend the wealthy and powerful.

    This lack of public space to speak and share with each other leads to the sense of isolation that characterizes American society today. We’ve all been reduced to a bunch of “individual skin-encapsulated egos” (to quote somebody?) who manically bounce off of each other like amoebas and paramecium in a single drop of water in only totally superficial and meaningless types of interactions, having reduced our worlds and our horizons to the smallest of all possible denominators – ourselves.

    PS – I see you’ve picked up a regular troll. Consider that a compliment and a sign of your own heresy.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I wish I could think of a less clichéd way to praise a writer and his work as “a breath of fresh air”, “refreshing”, etc. But for the moment, I can’t. So take the clichés, and I’ll move on to something more elevating.

    I’m reminded of Francis Bacon: “What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant. Same word near every time I read you. The truth about the truth so true I want everyone in the world to read it, think about it, share it and do their little part to spread any heresy in contradiction to the official power sanctioned truth.

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    1. Greenwald is a lot more dangerous than Luke Harding. You only have to be very stupid to believe Greenwald is an honest journalist as opposed to very, very stupid to believe Luke Harding is the same. This is the little dude was was given by a quarter of a billion dollars by deeply NSA and CIA connected Pierre Omidyar. Something Greenwald knows about, claiming that Omidyar’s intelligence activities are irrelevant.

      “More worrying still are Pierre Omidyar’s role in this saga. That this billionaire co-founder of eBay is suddenly so concerned with the state of journalism that he is willing to drop a quarter of a billion dollars purchasing the services of the very man who is sitting on a trove of tens of thousands (or more) NSA documents is odd, especially considering that Omidyar’s record on civil liberties and his network’s connections to the NSA and Booz Allen Hamilton are enough to raise serious red flags about his new venture.

      As principal shareholder and chairman of eBay, Omidyar controls eBay’s child company, PayPal. PayPal has recently made headlines for prosecuting the so-called “PayPal 14,” the hacktivists who staged a virtual ‘sit in’ in protest of PayPal’s decision to cut off Wikileaks’ funding by organizing a Denial of Service attack on PayPal’s website. PayPal was co-founded by Max Levchin (an Israeli immigrant), a dedicated NSA supporter.”

      https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-secrets-for-sale-and-the-snowden-affair-the-greenwaldomidyarnsa-connection/5364393

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  7. I absolutely love your writing. You have the ability to craft complex, richly-textured sentences filled with perfectly-appropriate word choices. Sentences that are easily-parsable and accessible to normal humans. Or at least someone of base-level literacy such as I. In short, I am a fan.

    At the risk of your deeming me both tendentious and querulous, I have only two objections to this piece: your placing the ending period for a sentence inside of an interior quote (contested, I know, but now you know my position on this important matter); and falling prey to the degenerate (current? where have I been?…) trend to lable the subjunctive mode as the subjunctive “mood”. Laugh if you must.

    All the best – R. Caldwell

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  8. And this is why I try to avoid the word truth. Truth is a value judgement, and everyone is able to make any value judgement they like. I don’t like being rained upon. Someone else may well like being rained upon. The differing value judgements are significant: but neither negates nor proves that it is raining. Truth is completely different to accuracy. Whether it is raining or not is not a matter of truth, it is a matter of fact. Whether it is good or bad that it is raining is not a matter of fact, it is a matter of opinion: truth is concept for the pretence that opinions are facts.

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  9. As long as we don’t move on to the “even atoms are mental constructs, so is feee will, and maybe the universe is 12-dimensional” level, that is Truth, I am convinced that truth exists.

    I am convinced for example that it is true that my ex wife asked me €5500 to pursue a dream of hers, covertly used the sum for other things, and reacted to my fury when the whole thing surfaced by leaving, shocked as she was at how angry the ultra-rude man who seemed so kind when she was in love-love-love (the 4-6 months hormonally cycle that’s called “love” as regards primates).

    I assure you, CJ, that I was robbed of that sum by her. (Yes, I know she believes in a shame-shielding version of the events, and if the thing was discussed on her Fakebook group they’d agree with her and hers would be the truth there. But that there is no room for truth in groups or even single minds does not mean truth doesn’t exist in any mind).

    It is true that I read a book by the title “Zone 23”.

    That France won the last World Cup.

    If you moved to the speculative plan where these things are not true, then “you”, “I”, the élite, the élite’s power, The Guardian, would all be not true, I mean non-existent. I don’t think that is where you want to set the discussion. If you don’t set it there, there is a fraction of minds in which, to an extent, truth exists.
    Certainly it can’t exist in politics and society and social sciences and wherever majorities are involved…

    Like

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