The latest OUTRAGE came when President Trump said that NFL players who “take a knee” during the national anthem should be fired by the owners of their teams. The result was another nuclear meltdown by a so-called “thinking class” that doesn’t do much thinking but does do a lot of virtue signaling. Programmed by the words “racism” and “white supremacy”, all the talk became the usual stuff you’ve heard from the “thinking” class for years in a hallucinatory blizzard of confirmation bias.
Last year, I mentioned that the “take a knee” stuff bored me. It still does, as it’s basic bitch virtue signaling. I guarantee that nearly all of the people “taking the knee” really have no idea why they’re “protesting.” “Protesting” “social injustice” or whatever other catchphrase is being spread by the mob on twitter is just the mandatory thing to do now if you want to get cheap status from cultural elites. People do it because other people are doing it and because they think that if they don’t do it, they’ll be seen as a benighted rube. I knew the drill when it started and I know it now. I hate the NFL anyway, so it was of no consequence to me.
The firestorm this past week though is a bit different. Keep in mind that I hate the reflexive need in today’s world for everyone to have an opinion on everything, so this isn’t even a post I particularly have an urge to write about. I still really don’t care about the NFL or its players. This is a classic case of what Scott Adams would call a mass hysteria bubble:
A mass hysteria happens when the public gets a wrong idea about something that has strong emotional content and it triggers cognitive dissonance that is often supported by confirmation bias. In other words, people spontaneously hallucinate a whole new (and usually crazy-sounding) reality and believe they see plenty of evidence for it.
And yet, the outsized attention paid to this stupidity this week is insidious in ways that I didn’t at first realize…precisely because so much hyper-inflated attention has been spent on this thing.
As we learned from Pre-Suasion, human attention is limited and precious. Attention can really only be paid to one thing at a time and what is being paid attention to will automatically be considered the most important thing, even when it’s not. This last phenomenon is called the Focusing Illusion.
Keeping attention riveted on vague, good-sounding, and open-ended invitational terms like “social injustice” is smart persuasion for certain parties, but it doesn’t really do anything to make the world better.
Instead, the meltdown over the NFL players “taking a knee” serves to reinforce the creep of a carefully cultivated intellectual martial law: “Pledge your unconditional support for whatever cause du jour we’re promoting or else!”
The Focusing Illusion and the consequences that certain cultural elites try to impose on anyone that strays outside of the particular illusions being focused on (in the form of lost jobs, lower status, etc.) only strengthen the interests of an extra-sovereign plutocratic class that cares nothing for the people on whose behalf these so-called “protests” are happening. This plutocratic insurgency is built on a pyramid and the paupers are the lowest stones. Their only purpose is to serve as victims that give status to their supposed rescuers (who really only care about cheap labor). At no point will any real issues effecting these people or anyone else be addressed.
“Social injustice” and even “police brutality” say nothing at the end of the day. They’re vague phrases that invite imagination and confirmation bias. As such, they give the usual suspects an easy way to look good without doing any real, meaningful work. As such, nothing will get resolved.
For instance, addressing real problems that the NFL players and their media acolytes hint at “protesting” might include passing things like the REDEEM Act, which would more easily allow non-violent offenders to get jobs. The REDEEM Act would disproportionately benefit the minorities the NFL players are supposedly taking a knee for. They could focus attention on ending the War on Drugs, which disproportionately hurts those same minorities and has a lot to do with the militarization of the police that could be a part of the “police brutality” they’re harping about. It could mean bringing attention to economic issues and the need for jobs in general (disproportionately so in minority communities, again), the dangers of the rush to automation, etc.
None of this will happen. Instead all attention will be focused on vague phrases. Part of it is likely intentional, as it allows the plutocrats to continue to reap all the benefits of their activities while abandoning their social responsibilities and dumping their costs onto the public. That’s why these NFL “take a knee” “protests” are more insidious than you might think, at least as of now. By focusing on vague phrases, attention gets sucked from real issues.
Donald Trump will only wind up winning this particular feud. He’ll be seen as defending the cherished symbols of the nation and the people who served and sacrificed for it, so he’ll grow in popularity in every place that isn’t the media. The NFL is already beginning to suffer steep declines in ratings and attendance because of it. 70% of the public is against the “take a knee” stuff. Enterprises like the NFL now care more about virtue signaling than making money, at least in the short term, so I expect the “take a knee” “protests” to continue. If the declines become too steep, we’ll see what happens.
For now it’s not good for anyone except Donald Trump on one side and the plutocrats who can continue on as always on the other…and the virtue signalers realize none of it.
To find out how Donald Trump dominates issues that he can’t lose on, read the second chapter of Stumped.