Crackpot Centrism


I’m smitten.

Caitlin Johnstone is my new favorite blogger. She’s smart, funny and absolutely fearless. She also writes about the things I’m most interested in–political/economy, foreign policy, and media manipulation. Perhaps because she’s Australian, Johnstone deftly deconstructs US propaganda, following the lead of Noam Chomsky, and fellow Aussie, Alex Carrey, who wrote–Taking the Risk Out of Democracy.

Most importantly, Johnstone is a heterodox writer without a lot of the political-party bias that’s so common in the corporate media. Lately, she’s been calling bullshit on the whole Russia-gate story that the Democrats have seized upon as their means to depose Trump.

“People ask why I’m skeptical of the establishment Russia narrative. I’m skeptical because we’re being lied to every single step of the way by the news media who claim to be helping the public discover the truth. Trump lies because he’s a corrupt billionaire who knows he can get away with it, but that doesn’t make him a Russian agent. The media lies because they’re bolstering the stranglehold of America’s unelected power establishment, and that makes them traitors to our species.”

The corporate media yearns for a political center, a sort of mythical sweet-spot between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party; where cultural issues on the right obscure the Republicans corporate allegiance, while identity politics accomplishes the same goal on the Democrat side.

I call this state of affairs–crackpot centrism–paraphrasing C. Wright Mills.

Crackpot centrism enforces a neoliberal orthodoxy in domestic affairs, where any ideas about the Democrats abandoning Wall Street or  Medicare-For-All are swatted down as crazy left-wing populism. In fact, the corporate media spends the bulk of its efforts defending against any challenge from the left, as their one-sided coverage of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election clearly demonstrated.

Crackpot centrism also ensures that both parties and the corporate media remain fixated on endless wars to maintain the US empire. It’s more than ironic that the one time that the corporate media did praise Trump was in the wake of his cruise-missile attack on Syria, with TV hosts orgasmic over the prospect of more war.

Unfortunately, we’ve been here before. During the first Cold War, C. Wright Mills wrote of a “crackpot realism”, where US foreign policy mandarins evoked national security to disguise the operations of the corporate deep state. “For the first time in American history, men in authority are talking about an ’emergency’ without foreseeable end.”

Right now, crackpot centrism is focused on the dangers posed by Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Both parties warn of the risks to our fragile democracy, with neoconservative Republicans joining forces with liberal Democrats to attack Trump for daring to develop better ties between the two nuclear-armed countries. Unmindful of history, Democrats are engaged in a modern day McCarthy witch-hunt, while finding allies with the CIA and FBI.

Failure to conform to the crackpot centrism is a career-killer in Washington.

All the cool-kids are down with it.

Not Johnstone, who occupies the real center. She views liberals, conservatives, and the corporate media with distrust, while critically examining the evidence.

Here’s Johnston’s mission statement:

“I’ve been quite shameless about the fact that I’m happy to have my ideas advanced by people all across the political spectrum, from far left to far right. I will never have the ear of the US President’s eldest son, but if I did I wouldn’t hesitate to try and use that advantage if I thought I could get him to put our stuff out there. This wouldn’t mean that I support the US president, it would mean that I saw an opening to throw an anti-establishment idea over the censorship fence into mainstream consciousness, and I exploited the partisan self-interest of a mainstream figure to do that.

We should all be willing to do this. We should all get very clear that America’s unelected power establishment is the enemy, and we should shamelessly attack it with any weapons we’ve got. I took a lot of heat for expressing my willingness to have my ideas shared by high profile individuals on the far right, and I see the same outrage converging upon Assange. Assange isn’t going to stop attacking the establishment death machine with every tool at his disposal because of this outrage, though, and neither am I. The more people we have attacking the elites free from any burden of partisan or ideological nonsense, the better.”






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