With the Russian “special military operation” (war) in the Ukraine now seven months old, everyone seems to be upping the ante.
Especially in the propaganda war. Propaganda is virtually always a tool of enemies of liberty. We see it clearly in Ukraine, Russia, and the Fifty States.
As Russia seems to be retreating, losing more equipment and soldiers, and apparently desperate enough to formally annex four different regions, the Western powers are eager to push harder and harder. And Ukraine is eager for this increased support. Hence the need for propaganda: to sell their cause.
Virtually NOTHING we read or hear about the war there can be trusted to be the truth. All the pretty colored maps, all the breathless reports of Russian defeat and Ukrainian victories. None of it. We certainly cannot trust anything coming out of the halls of the FedGov in DC, His Majesty’s government in London, or the idiotic collective government joke in Brussels. Nor for that matter Berlin, Paris, Stockholm or even Warsaw.
And the rumors grow: a recent one is that it was American troops that spearheaded one of the recent Ukrainian victories over Russian forces in the north side of the current battlelines. Yet another is that the announced mobilization of 300,000 reservists by Russia has triggered the flow of millions of Russian citizens to the west: to Belarus, the Baltics, and Poland, and even to the east and south: to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. You can find a dozen different theories on who/what damaged the Nordstream pipelines in the Baltic, most mutually exclusive and all pushed as “the truth.”
Some of these rumors, these claims, are based (loosely) on a bit of reality, but exaggerated. But who can tell? There is a market for such things. Just as the scammers that sell false identification documents, “grey” SIM cards for phones, and false medical exemption papers have a huge market for their “services” – which all too often turn out to be scams about scams!
It is no different in our American domestic scene – political, economic, and social. Propaganda is the tool of choice to push their worldview, to fleece victims, and to gain power and wealth.
In other words, lies, other propaganda, advertising, scams, rumors, and more in Russia and Ukraine and everything connected with the war are something that most (if not all) Americans are very familiar with. From bogus widows of fake Nigerian princes to the latest cure for gum disease. From the ads for “micro-tracked-excavators” for $89 (free shipping!) to Congressman Hank Johnson’s latest cause. (He wants Congress to declare parents who complain about porn in their children’s classrooms as terrorists.)
Our business gets about ten calls a week from “venture capital” firms whose callers (usually with Nigerian or Indian accents) tell us they are returning our call and offering 24-hour (or less) turnaround time on capital approvals for our company – once we send them the last three months of bank statements! On our personal emails, we often get messages telling us that one or another correspondents have had their passports stolen in Turkey or Tunisia and immediately need $200 sent to a third-party address so they can get out of jail. And how many messages and phone calls do we get offering something for free – just pay shipping and handling – only to find that an unauthorized charge has been put on a credit card?
Is it any wonder that here in the States, more and more people push for more and more legislation for truth in advertising, more accountability for political campaign contributions and spending, and more penalties for fake news and scams and the like? “It’s not MY fault that I got taken in by a scammer. The government has to do something about it!”
And so the government does – restricting more and more liberty here at home: less free speech, more regulation of various professions, more reports and procedures. And none of them seem to work; either because (a) the politicians that write and vote for these things make sure that THEY (both the incumbents and their designated successors) won’t be inconvenienced, and/or (b) the work-arounds by the scammers and propagandists are quickly implemented.
So who loses? Ordinary people and businesses. And our liberties. Propaganda is both the excuse and the tactic used to attack liberty and so steal anything they want from ordinary people.
Oh, and please explain to me. Exactly HOW are politicians and government officials different from scam artists, con men, and other criminals?