It’s no longer Liberal vs. Conservative… It’s reality vs detachment from it.
This is national security threat #1
This morning, while commiserating with our next-door neighbor, regarding the city street crew, breaking our Google Fiber connection to the outside world (writing this while hot spotting from my phone), we also commiserated over the intransigence of most of today’s remaining Republicans, being dangerously detached from reality. This is in no way, a political statement, but factual statement based on my professional experience. I would come to the same conclusion were I discussing how pre-war Germany, the US Confederacy, Communist Russia/ Soviet Union, China and modern India too, became deeply entrenched in the alternate reality of dangerous ideology. In all cases, each succumbed to power-mongers using these fanciful ideologies to take and sustain their immoral power. I will replay some of the most important thoughts of our talk.
For the record, neither of us care at all about party. We are nearly the same age and Midwesterners, who grew up believing in integrity, common-sense and of course… truth. Some may call us grumpy old men but neither of us actually are grumpy. We are simply fed up with one of the two major political parties operating on the fantasy of their conspiracy theories, rather than doing their jobs. This doesn’t mean that I absolve the other side from their occasional deviations from reality as well. The difference is that one side is our most serious national security threat, and the other is not and has steered us out of the self-created devastation, of the last administration.
Today’s TAT covers two major points about this topic:
It’s not just lying by today’s remaining Republicans, it’s their identity talking.
Once set, modifying identity is the rough equivalent of, me being the starting quarterback this season for my long beleaguered but still beloved, Cleveland Browns
My specialty is influence, in support of national security
The core of all of my successes revolves around understanding how humans make meaning, out of all they experience throughout their lives. This is called Narrative.
The US government, even if the right side of today’s aisle was behaving with honesty and contributing, would still be incapable of leading the US out of this severe threat.
It’s not just lying by today’s remaining Republicans, it’s their identity talking.
This is a difficult to explain concept and I will do my best to make my explanation, as succinct as possible. TAT readers are intelligent but understanding narrative, NI/ Narrative Identity is often difficult to fathom. If a rural guy like me from the Midwest can do it, I have no doubt that TAT readers can as well. In fact, you may understand long before our national security community can. This point will be covered in more detail later in teh article.
Hopefully my brilliant colleagues at our Think/ Do Tank, Narrative Strategies will forgive my over-simplification of narrative. I will use an easy-to-understand analogy, before going through the most salient points about narrative.
We all have close family members, friends, co-workers etc. that we can easily predict their behavior by saying and/ or doing things to them, like scare them, make them laugh, confuse them or as is commonly said where I come from, “pull the wool over their eyes.”
I will use bullet-points to keep it as basic as possible.
No individual human interprets what they experience around them exactly the same as another, because their perspective is based on how their minds have made meaning for them, throughout their entire life. This phenomena is called narrative.
No human, not even identical twins are exactly the same in this respect. We all have countless layers to our identity, based on our own unique experiences over the course of our lifetime.
Groups, teams, nations, families etc. all share multiple layers of identity. This is what allows influencers to steer audiences relatively predictably… if they know how to analyze for identity. This is closely held IP/ Intellectual Property within Narrative Strategies.
NI or Narrative Identity is what steers us all, throughout most of our lives, making most decisions for us, subconsciously. Since this identity is created subconsciously over the course of our lifetimes, it is very difficult to dramatically alter in any short period of time.
See this as why that people who reject reality or more pointedly, the reality of those pursuing the most credible of facts, will always reject, truth. This is why that fact-checking alone, is useless in countering ideology, without some sort of powerful trauma or significant, life-altering event.
This is precisely why FOX News has so much control (What the Soviets and Russians call, “reflexive control.”) FOX has spent nearly three full decades, conditioning their audience to be reflexively controlled. Now, like Pavlov’s dog, they are conditioned to accept the words of FOX narrators, of all the false narratives that have become the ideology of the Republican Party. During COVID, FOX viewers literally died due to their lemming-like subservience to far-right conspiracy theories.
Their ideology is NOT conservative, it’s far-right ideology that is compatible with a global movement of far-right oppression. Yes, exactly the same as Russia’s, Viktor Orban’ in Hungary, Hindutva in Modi’s India and so many others.
It’s not just FOX. Now, the entire media landscape of those calling themselves Republicans, have been converted from conservatism to Republicans believing that they are conservatives, while actually voting to sustain, far-right ideology.
A good example of this is here in Texas where our nearly thirty years of exclusive Republican control, now is run by Republicans who call themselves, “conservative” but behave more like the Taliban or Iranian theocrats. They will vote R regardless of what the party does and this is one reason that polls are quite unreliable in the past few elections.
This first section is the hardest… and longest so please bear with me.
The US government, even if the right side of today’s aisle was behaving with honesty, would still be incapable of leading the US out of this severe threat.
I have written on this topic until I have nearly worn the fingerprints off of my fingers. Still, the US national security community ignores true expertise by experienced professionals. They prefer to listen to a whole corps of alleged experts, that have produced little but failure since the end of the Cold War. We lost the peace in Iraq, Afghanistan and so many other engagements around the world. We are losing now to China in influence, we lost to Russian influence during the 2016 election and nearly lost again in 2020. This is just the short list.
As they say in the military community I come from, “you can’t have a world view with your head where the ‘sun don’t shine’.” Yes, I have cleaned this up for public reading.
If one reads our NSS/ National Security Strategy, not one threat can be addressed effectively without the ability to “ethically influence” different audiences. Still, the same old worthless doctrine and concepts dominate DoD doctrine and the doctrine of much of our national security community. As that I have addressed this often and at length, I will include a couple links below, to full and detailed analysis of our “critical vulnerability.” I use this phrase intentionally because it has a very specific meaning within the Department of Defense. What’s worse, is that those who claim expertise and have been paid billions of tax dollars over the past few decades, are still being paid to fail.
The US National Security Community has left us a critical vulnerability in US national security. (truthaboutthreats.com)
A Five Point Strategy to Oppose Russian Narrative Warfare (truthaboutthreats.com)
Without a core, shared, national identity, there is no national security. (truthaboutthreats.com)
Combat ineffective, the rusted, broken hulk of US Influence Operations (truthaboutthreats.com)
We not only need to get what we paid for, but we need to do it soon, due to the immense level of experience our adversaries are getting by learning in the field. The US does very little of this work in the field and even if we did, the successes are with few exceptions, quite minor and in my opinion, overstated dramatically. The current defense contractors we currently spend a fortune on, have a forty-year record of failure and are incapable of correcting their errors in any meaningful way.
For an example of this inability to self-correct, I use the following:
New military doctrine (JP 3-04) for influence operations, asininely termed IA or Information Assurance and its companion guidance called, “Strategy for Operations in the Information Environment” another asinine term, along with well known defense contractors like RAND, mention the word narrative ad nauseam but never demonstrate an understanding. In so many ways, contractors like RAND have done great work for the nation but this is one area that they profit from expensive and mostly useless contributions.
To paraphrase military-speak in doctrine, a “critical vulnerability” is a weakness in our operations that, if an enemy takes advantage of it, could be disastrous for us.
It’s not just the Pentagon and IC/ Intelligence Community also. The FBI and DHS have the primary responsibility for protecting our homeland and they are even worse off than DoD and the IC. Neither know how to protect US citizens from the combination of foreign adversarial influence or that of domestic extremists corrupting the identity of our citizens. Both communities believe that tech is the answer and they are dead wrong. Tech can be a very important supporting tool of influence but, it will never protect the nation from what’s going on between the ears of our fellow citizens. Again, listening to failed expertise is at the root of those failures.
So, let’s get right down to conclusions.
Our biggest threat to our national security is the threat from influence that keeps our nation divided and unwilling to unify against common threats. Russian attacks on the minds of Americans awarded Putin a US president that would do his bidding for him. He nearly succeeded and will eventually, if we continue chasing false promises, concepts and listless, ineffective solutions from failed experts.
The US is unwilling at this point, to stop the madness of investing our hard-earned tax dollars prudently to fix the gaping hole in American national security. In US government-speak, this is called, “waste, fraud and abuse.”
These failures allowed an entire political party to succumb to the greed of politicians parroting the propaganda of our most dangerous adversary.
Putin will go but unless real changes are made at home and abroad, we will have to wait a generation or so to stabilize the American public. Even waiting will not solve the problem of what most know as “brainwashing.” I only use this outdated and inaccurate term to make my point. Even if we deal with far-right ideology, what about what China is selling or other extremist movements?
Don’t forget that much of what we see out of today’s GOP is a carryover from the issue of slavery, endorsed by WCN/ White Christian Nationalism, carried into the Civil Rights era. This extends to immigration issues as well. Social exclusions are part of identity that are most hard to correct, even when they lie dormant for a few generations.
Russia, power-hunger GOP politicians and now, nearly half of America is settled on the house-of-cards conspiracy theories that have replaced, principled conservatism. Together, they constitute our most dangerous threat to American democracy. Most Americans who’ve succumbed to this conditioning by immoral influencers like Brad Parscale, Cambridge Analytica, before their demise, Facebook and the right-wing media machine pumping out more dishonesty every minute of every day, are also victims, converted to “enemies of democracy.” In their hearts, they believe they are patriots while that the truth is the precise opposite. January 6th proves this point.
No one likes that they’ve lost family, friends and fellow citizens to this mental illness, but it is, what it is. The question now is how to help our fellow citizens to recover. We can disagree over policy but as the title starkly declares, we’re at war over reality, not policy. Far-right ideology has replaced conservatism and for the sake of the nation, we must work on cures, not conflict with our fellow citizens. As mentioned earlier in this piece, our identity controls so much of what we do, subconsciously.
The core of our solutions must be narrative-centric campaigning to restore the actual identity of all American citizens, not the fake patriotism of today’s GOP. This is where resiliency and unity live in patriotic hearts. We as a government, talk a great deal about resiliency but to date, no one, individual, government agency of national defense contractors knows what to do about it. If we stay on this errant path for long, democracy fails and with it, the sacred values so many US service-members fought and died to keep. I refuse to stand down in this fight. Our grandchildren deserve what our founders intended, not what MAGA and worse plan for us, in their subservience to their false, un-American ideology.
I thank everyone for their patience if you’ve read this far. These ideas are difficult to explain easily. I simply hope that I’ve brought a little more clarity, to this potentially lethal threat to American democracy. We my friends, can and must be the solution.
All my best to everyone,