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A continuing theme on Scott Adams’ blog is to challenge oneself to come up with more innocent explanations for events that otherwise lend themselves to conspiracy thinking. For example, Scott challenges us to consider whether the 17 mistakes all made in the same direction in the FISA application process to surveil the Trump campaign can have any explanation other than conspiracy? To be clear: “Conspiracy” involves a plan and coordinated action in pursuit of that plan. This is different from bias.
Scott Adams, as I understand his commentary, is floating the idea that federal agents did act in a biased, but not conspiratorial, fashion. (At least until the Durham investigation reveals any single large conspiracy or multiple small conspiracies taking advantage of other people’s bias.) We all have our biases, but they become dangerous problems when they become the basis for state action. So even if you rule out a conspiracy, it remains important to understand the source and development of certain forms of bias that can infect state action.
Scott even goes so far as to say that the source of the bias that led to the Russia Hoax was the feedback loop between the media and the government. Remember, a clap requires two hands. If you wave one without contact with the other, there is air movement but no sound. So it was that whatever scheme the Clinton/DNC came up with to smear and defeat Trump (or presumably any other Republican rival that emerged) would have no effect unless picked up and publicized in the media. Once the media actually responded to the provocation an echo chamber was established that amplified and intensified the desired feelings of fear and loathing.
This was the start of the “hive mind” — the alignment of thinking and (when opportunity arose) action. Like cranking up the power on an electromagnet, people with strong bias were fused to the narrative and people with weaker biases were drawn closer to cooperation and consideration of actions previously thought unacceptable. This is the dynamic of mobs: from discontent to rumor; to shouting and to force.
Although the Russia hoax was a particularly pernicious and consequential event, it is by no means sui generis. We have seen this on a smaller scale and with lesser national impact: the Covington boys, the Duke Lacrosse case, etc. In each event, an echo chamber was created to crowd out dissent and alternative narratives that led to a hive mind and mob action. When government officials are inclined or induced to promote or cooperate in a given action or set of actions, the consequences to society are grave, to say nothing to the devastation of individuals for which no monetary compensation can provide repair.
Humans being humans, these events will continue to arise. But we can limit their consequence to the broader society by fidelity to our constitution and its due process protections for individuals. (No, contra Representative Quigley [D-TX], hearsay is never better than direct evidence, even if in a given case a particular specie of hearsay may be more credible than a given piece of direct evidence.) This becomes ever more important as our cultural institutions are under “hive mind” pressures. It may not be a conspiracy, but it is a mob mentality that our government cannot be permitted to embrace.
The Deep State is actually a form of “hive mind.” The solution to the “hive mind” problem is to attack the echo chamber that supports it. And this is what Trump is doing to great effect. But is he just creating an alternative echo chamber and a competing “hive mind?” Is it just Godzilla vs. King Kong? For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Events will give us the answer. Pray that we like it.Published in