Sunday, November 4, 2018

"False Flagging" Has Jumped the Shark

For the longest time, "false flagging" has been the mainstay of conspiracy theorists. It comes in two forms. The first is based on the idea that the government carries out shootings, terrorist attacks, and so forth in order to politicize the results. Think "the CIA perpetrated 9/11 so they could launch a war in the Middle East," or "the government faked the Sandy Hook school shooting so they could argue for gun control." The second form is when everything from pranks to full-out attacks against a particular group are carried out by members of the same group in order to make the other side look bad. Think "liberals are perpetrating hate crimes against groups they support to blame them on conservatives."

Every so often events of the second form happen, but usually more on the level of vandalism or pranks than flat-out violence. And the reality is that these are pretty easy to spot with even a cursory investigation since the vast majority of people, and especially people who think they are being clever by faking attacks, are not criminal geniuses. Most of the time tragic events are exactly what they appear to be, not some sort of smokescreen or ruse. Last weekend it came out the man who sent bombs to Democratic politicians, Democratic donors, and the "fake news media" at CNN turned out to be a hardcore Trump supporter.

Because of course he was. Democrats are not out there sending bombs to themselves, any more than Republicans are. The whole idea is just stupid. And, thankfully, it seems like we may have finally hit the shark-jumping point for false-flagging. After a flurry of nonsense from Republicans about how the bomber was probably a Democrat, the truth came to light and slapped the whole thing down.

Leading the charge, as usual, was Alex Jones’ Infowars, which posted shortly after the bombs were reported a reminder that Jones had predicted several months ago that “the media would be targeted for attacks that would bolster the narrative that President Trump is inciting violence.”

Ostensibly mainstream conservative pundits joined in the skepticism, including Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs, who tweeted: “Fake News—Fake Bombs; Who could possibly benefit by so much fakery?” He deleted it later, and replaced it with a tweet saying: “Fake News had just successfully changed the narrative from the onslaught of illegal immigrants and broken border security to ‘suspicious packages.’ ” Likewise, popular radio host Rush Limbaugh theorized: "How about a day like this? How about a day like this where you create a scenario where it looks like the mobs are on both sides? It looks like the Republicans have a mob, too, or at least an 'insaniac.' There's some Republican out there sending bombs to decent, good Democrats and media people — former Democrat presidents and the harmless people at CNN.”

Fellow radio host Michael Savage opined, “it’s a high probability that the whole thing is set up as a false flag to gain sympathy for the Democrats... and to get our minds off the hordes of illegal aliens approaching our southern border.” The idea ran even wilder as it spread to more extreme venues. Turning Point USA’s Candace Owens tweeted: “I’m going to go ahead and state that there is a 0% chance that these ‘suspicious packages’ were sent out by conservatives,” she wrote. “The only thing ‘suspicious’ about these packages, is their timing. Caravans, fake bomb threats—these leftists are going ALL OUT for midterms.” She, too, deleted it later.

After several more violent attacks over the last week and a half, it hopefully has become clear to reasonable people that these aren't groups of people being attacked by "the government" or faking attacks against themselves. The truth is that the vast majority of these events are exactly what they appear to be - hate crimes being carried out by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other reactionaries. What this has to do with Augoeides is, first of all, a lot of these folks hate occultists just as much as they hate minorities, so those of us who are out as magical practitioners need to be careful. Second of all, for an effective magical practitioner there's no room for the sloppy thinking that characterizes false-flag conspiracies.

The "Oliver Stone" analysis of finding conspiracies by asking "who benefits?" is a poor analytic method. It assumes a level of determinism in the world that doesn't exist - even magick is, after all, influence and not control. In fact, individuals and groups often benefit from actions they had nothing to do with, and are sometimes harmed in the same way. Conspiracy theories seem to be popular with people who resist this basic truth, and don't want to accept that more than anything else the world runs on luck and chance. But isn't that why we practice in the first place? We understand this principle and devote ourselves to the study and practice of the only force we know of that can directly manipulate odds.

To elaborate a little further - while it is true that intelligence agencies do engage in covert operations from time to time, that's not exactly what I'm talking about. Such operations are few and far between, and their effectiveness is debatable. What is sad and lazy is when no critical thinking whatsoever is applied to any event, no matter what it is, Alex Jones fashion - "every event with outcomes that displease me are false flags." Saying that every time requires no reflection, no thought, and no analysis. It's closely related to arguments like "everything I don't like is Marxism" and "everything I don't like causes every other thing I don't like." Only an idiot would consider any of those investigation or analysis.

And that's what I mean when I talk about the false-flagging that has hopefully now jumped the shark - the reflexive reduction of anything discomforting as some kind of hoax. Any person, movement, group, or whatever that is incapable of self-reflection and self-criticism stands a good chance of becoming a danger to everyone around them, and that's what I think and hope people in general are starting to realize.

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