‘The Masses Have to Be Won By Propaganda’ - How Fear and Victimhood Are Weaponized
Part of the Bette Dangerous ‘Fight Fascism’ toolkit series
I am really proud of members of the Bette Dangerous community. I see you out there on social media calling American traitors on their bullshit, exposing the fascist tactics they are using and how they are promoting Kremlin-propaganda while selling themselves as patriots. Warms the heart, really.
As we grow this flock, I want to make sure our new members have access to the ‘fight fascism’ toolkit series. It is very critical to note that the techniques being used by the extreme right are very effective - as well as insidious.
The smart set often wants to cast these people as clowns - and that is dangerous, and I would posit, even irresponsible.
I had to explain to a woman from Canada today that the reason people do not see how badly the Russian Federation has infected America is because Trump detonated one of the 4-Ds of Soviet-era propaganda - dismissiveness.
‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ was effective propaganda. It made people like me who doggedly investigate the Russian attacks and infiltration into America look like conspiracy theorists. I never for a single second doubted my work - there was too much evidence of its accuracy - but it made it difficult to reach the masses.
Trump had Russians crawling up his pant leg, but he would deny, distort, distract, and dismiss.
A Russian asset that people thought was a legitimate president was telling them there was nothing to see here - telling them they didn’t need to believe their eyes and their ears - telling them that people like me who fight for truth for a living were the problem.
I often return to Jason Stanley’s How Fascism Works as the bible for how to beat this stuff.
I have been thinking a lot about the utility of fear and victimhood - two of the most powerful fascist tricks.
Recall, how Trump launched his 2016 presidential campaign by denouncing Mexican immigrants as rapists. That should have been the end of him, but it was not.
He engaged the fascist trope of othering - making people fearful of the other - in this case, Mexican immigrants. Stanley relays a 2017 story in his book about social media hysteria about Syrian refugees raping a five-year-old girl in Idaho - an incident that never occurred. Moral panic was created about the sexual dangers of refugees, based on false reporting.
The anti-immigration rhetoric that was central to the Trump campaign parallels the tactics of “Russian propaganda outlets, which spread fake news stories about Middle Eastern immigrants raping white women in Europe,” wrote Stanley.
The reason extremist members of Congress keep heading to the border for photo ops is to stir up fear against immigrants - a classic fascist tactic. The in group, out group.
“Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda,” wrote Hannah Arendt.
It becomes very easy to spot the fear being sold on a regular basis.
Currently, Lauren Boebert is selling fear - fear that American children will be sent to fight the war in Ukraine.
She is a professional propagandist, much like her Congressional colleague Marjorie Taylor Greene who has been selling that other fascist trope - victimhood.
It should be obvious to all by now that Greene is a dangerous propagandist - everything she does and says serves the Kremlin agenda.
She told a sad story about how she was victimized by the left at a restaurant - which quite frankly, is as it should be. She spends her days spreading stochastic terrorism - she is such a clear and present danger to American democracy she should never be able to eat in public without being verbally chastised by good samaritans. She is the same woman who trolled Parkland shooting victim David Hogg, and who spewed QAnon conspiracies.
Last week, George Santos - who is officially under a congressional investigation for ethics’ violations - went on a Kremlin-propaganda show and…
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Bette Dangerous to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.