The Real Matrix Is … Still Real
The most popular piece I ever wrote for an online site continues to be “The Real Matrix,” my 7-part debut on NewsWithViews.com. The day it appeared I was inundated with email, including requests for reposting on other sites, etc. The series won me radio interviews and speaking invites, one of them at a national meeting all-expenses-paid, and an offer of print publication I regret passing up to this day (I wanted to add back a couple of sections I’d deleted because of the length, started tinkering, added still more material, the project snowballed, and a year later had a manuscript of over 150,000 words that was collapsing under its own weight).
“The Real Matrix” triggered useful and informative correspondence. I still get occasional favorable email about the series, which I added to more recently, but the new installments did not generate as much interest. I had more planned, but the material was bogging down, and it was clear, especially with the rise of Donald Trump, that the editor and readers had other priorities. So, for that matter, did I.
The problem is, “The Real Matrix” is still, well, real: one of the pre-eminent facts of life in Anglo-European civilization, and all other places around the world that have adopted the forms and slogans of modernity (“liberal democracy,” “the liberal global order,” “economic integration,” “free trade” or “liberalized trade,” “the global marketplace” or “market capitalism” or “consumer capitalism,” etc.).
What was “The Matrix”? To save time I’ll let Morpheus, the main character of the most important film of the 1990s, tell you:
Now obviously, I don’t think there’s an AI controlling our perceptions. The film presents an superb allegory, however. What is “The Real Matrix”? Not artificial intelligence — not yet, anyway! — but the encirclement of the ordinary person, family, community, etc., from their earliest school days up through adulthood within a fantasy world created by four kinds of institutions: mainstream media, other corporations (especially the private Federal Reserve which has owned the economics profession for over a century now), the federal government obviously (which hasn’t been truly federal since 1865), and academia. The primary purpose of this fantasy world is the same as that of the film: to keep the general population under control and ignorant of the fact.
Let’s look at specifics. Within the fantasy world, there’s very little inflation (less than 2%; never mind the rising cost of nearly everything relative to stagnant wages); real unemployment isn’t much over 4% (never mind the additional 18% or so of the working-age population that isn’t working and isn’t counted); the U.S. and other Western powers really are democracies and not plutocratic oligarchies; globalization has been a “free market” process which, given time, will make us all prosperous; and Donald Trump won the election because members of his campaign staff colluded with agents of a hostile foreign power.
Within this fantasy world, there may be political and economic elites — “one percenters” (it is more like point-zero-one-percenters) — who everyone agrees have been the main beneficiaries of the globalized New Economy, but there are no “conspiracies.” If you believe in “conspiracy theories,” or that modern history has been directed, you are irrational and paranoid. Never mind the obvious contradiction between this denial and the claims embodied after the final semicolon in the previous paragraph, or the conspiracies that turned out to be real.
Within the fantasy world, the economy recovered under Obama’s and the Federal Reserve’s guiding hands, and is now strong — look at how the Dow rose steadily and now sets new highs every few days, with 6.2 million unfilled job openings (although we aren’t told how many of these jobs — assuming they exist — are part-time, and what percentage pays under $25K/year). In the fantasy, the U.S. is not spending itself into oblivion, drowning in debt, and on the verge of bankruptcy. It is militarily powerful, although it hasn’t won a war decisively in over half a century (I am, of course, not counting assaults where there was no enemy worth speaking of, such as Grenada in 1983, or no one able to fight back at all, as in Panama City in 1989; and then there’s Afghanistan 2001 and Iraq 2003 which turned into unwinnable quagmires).
Within the fantasy world, both major parties’ mainstreams are knowledgeable, level-headed, and pragmatic — not hopelessly corrupted by money, intellectually bankrupt, and borderline incompetent — even if the widespread perception of these latter helps explain how Trump, never having held political office, was able to defeat 16 other Republicans handily despite furious opposition by the GOP mainstream; and how Hillary Clinton received her party’s nomination only by colluding with the DNC, as the leaked Podesta emails demonstrated.
Within the fantasy world, affirmative action and the intellectual cult of diversity are legitimate policy responses to a systemically racist, sexist, and homophobic America. All white males have privilege, and dislike diversity engineering because they are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. Open borders and free migration do not just help the economy but put us all on a path to a multicultural Utopia where all races and religions blend smoothly with one another. The sexes are interchangeable not merely because “whatever a man can do, a woman can do,” but because we’ve learned from academic feminists that gender is a social construct. Biology, which posits two sexes based on one’s chromosomes, is infected with “androcentric” bias and “misogyny,” and so is inherently biased and not to be believed.
Corporations support such views. A 28-year-old Harvard-educated Google engineer with classical liberal leanings named James Damore penned a 10-page critique of the cult of diversity which millennials brought from academia to the tech world. He opined that the absence of politically correct female-to-male ratios at Google is not explained by sexist bias or other cultural factors, and that critics of the obsession with percentages should not be “shamed” for it. He argued that lack of parity results from men and women having different psychologies and biologically rooted inclinations, identifiable in a general sense because they range across cultures even if there are exceptions worth seeking out (some women are very good coders or computer scientists). Damore’s doubts about diversity were lukewarm at best. He didn’t deny that sexism exists. What he contended is that efforts to recruit more women to work at Google or in the tech industry generally had to take psychology and biology into account, and “If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem.”
A quite reasonable and even-toned perspective. Damore’s statement was attacked in left-leaning tech media, however, as an “anti-diversity screed.” Google summarily fired him.
A search for a new job and sometimes a new line of work may be the price of exercising free speech regarding the cult of diversity, especially out on the Left Coast. It is not just leftists who are in the grip of fantasies, though. I’ve encountered libertarians online who defended Damore’s firing, saying he’d become toxic, and bad for business. Besides, corporations can fire whoever they want, for whatever reason, can they not? Employment is voluntary, after all; if you don’t like the policies where you work, get a job somewhere else; and it’s Google’s property in any event, etc., etc. If all that is true, and employees are to be loyal flunkies, seen but not heard from, never criticizing corporate policy (i.e., policy made within vast and quite real power asymmetries), then ironically, were libertarians in charge we could still forget about living in a free society in any sense I’d recognize, which surely includes free speech.
In the Real Matrix, the Internet is a highly decentralized medium. Anyone with minimal know-how can put up a functional website, right? And blogs are now so easy to create that grade-school kids have them.
As with the other cases, the Internet’s decentralization is appearance. It is one thing to put up a site or blog, and quite another for it to be visible on the Web. In the Desert of the Real, a handful of corporate actors control the Internet which was originally conceived within the bowels of DARPA, deep inside the Deep State. These corporate actors essentially control the Internet: to some extent how information flows on the Web, and for that matter, the software and hardware itself.(*) Google is the most obvious. Others include Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and a few others. Google’s is the most popular search engine. Recently, Paul Craig Roberts reports, Google revised its search algorithms, ostensibly to combat “fake news.” This has resulted in diminished web traffic to “alternative” sites, i.e., news and commentary sites (“left” as well as “right”) not affiliated with, or connected to, mainstream media corporations. Facebook has initiated related policies.
“The Real Matrix” — the original seven installments — was visible in my sense. It garnered hundreds of emails. My email count had been falling off, but has recently dropped precipitously. An article I publish now is doing verywell if it garners a dozen emails. It is true that the Internet is much larger and more cluttered, and that there is far more competition for busy readers’ attention. As with publishing during the final decades of the last century, the Internet saw a shift to celebrity garbage and an increased focus on bottom-line considerations. Mainstream news sites, moreover, began making it easier for users not to have to think by simply presenting videos. With rare exceptions (like the video above) my stuff tends to require readers to engage written English.
What could be called the dumbing down of the Web does not really explain the relatively sudden diminished traffic that large numbers of “alternative” sites have recently experienced, however.
Google, which is basically a monopoly, indirectly controls web traffic, as its algorithms determine what rises to the top in searches. There’s more to this than selecting keywords. Leaving the technicalities aside, a search engine can ensure that sites dealing with disapproved topics (e.g., “conspiracy theories”) will not appear near the top of web searches. With busy people usually not looking past the first page or so that comes up in a search, links to unwanted information are simply never seen. I would go so far as to say that Google should be broken up, although with its usefulness as an information aggregator for the Deep State, I am not holding my breath. The tech leviathans I named are all in bed with the Deep State, as are the media corporations that preceded them. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding himself.(**)
And then there are “Prop-Or-Not” type ploys. In that case, the Jeff Bezos (Amazon) owned Washington Postpublished the article that triggered the “fake news” meme as well as spotlighted the Russians-hacked-the-election hoax. The former backfired badly. Trump, his own command of media being what it is, turned the meme to his advantage.
The “Prop-Or-Not” article displayed the subtle authoritarianism necessary to maintain the fantasy world. It cited an organization no one had ever heard of, and offered no names or credentials or anything else to establish its credibility. We were clearly to take its authority on faith. If it wasn’t credible, it wouldn’t have appeared in the Washington Post, right?
The “Prop-Or-Not” site is here. Study it for yourself. Do you see any identifiers there, any indication of who these people are or why we trust them? All I see is, “The Prop-Or-Not Team,” which doesn’t exactly clarify matters. The site links to bylined articles of which they approve: also unhelpful. One of the things I discovered is that it features a downloadable app that works — are you sitting down? — with the Google Chrome browser, to identify putative “fake news” sites by tagging them during searches. Nothing like a little well-poisoning!
There is, of course, bogus stuff on the Web, and no one ever said otherwise. Tech PTBs have no control over who puts up websites or posts on them — yet! But they can seed the Internet with disinformation designed to throw researchers and readers off track — or sometimes perhaps just to plant the suggestion in casual viewers’ minds that “alternative” media is by nature low quality and unreliable. This may be why we’ve seen — again just over the past couple of years — a surge of online “flat earthism,” especially on sites like YouTube (also owned by Google) where anyone can create a channel anonymously and upload gosh-gee-whiz videos. Anyone includes CIA, NSA, and other outfits not exactly in the truth-telling business, posing as neo-flat-earthers. Stuff about the Clintons being disguised reptilian space beings belongs in the same category.
These are the most important features of the fantasy world that is the Real Matrix, a product of as much control over information by globalist corporations as they can muster. Result: the majority, including those who identify with, work for, or are sufficiently influenced by dominant institutions, remain “plugged in”; the minority of us who have “taken the red pill” and awakened in the Desert of the Real can be depicted as kooks, cranks, quacks, tinfoil hatters, conspiracy theorists, racists, sexists, homophobes, transphobes, xenophobes, Islamophobes, white supremacists, anti-Semites, pro-Russia progagandists, or whatever weaponized word or phrase best fits the moment. The point is to ensure that as many people as possible believe the fantasy world is the real world, so that the globalist / superelite route to a technocratic, corporate-controlled world state can continue with minimal disruptions.
For decades the U.S. has been the major obstacle to this goal, with its Constitutional republican form of government and a significant fraction of its population suspicious of concentrations of wealth and power. Arguably, we have seen a brand of economic warfare against this population, manifesting as stagnant wages and increasing amounts of contingent and precarious employment, as well as with the combination of open borders policies, financialization, and redistribution of wealth upwards. The Trump administration has concretized doubts that had been gathering for years about globalism, doubts shared by supporters of, e.g., Brexit, and about the motives of many so-called “experts” especially in economics but hardly limited to that. Trump ran for president on promises to Drain the Swamp and put forth an alternative that would halt the economic warfare and reverse the nation’s economic and cultural decline.
I am not, as I’ve repeatedly noted, privy to what occurs behind the scenes. So I do not know, but only suspect, that Trump is being set up by Swamp denizens whose resources and capabilities he greatly underestimated — or believed he could play. David Stockman — author, contrarian, past Office of Management and Budget Director under Reagan, and one of those who foresaw the likelihood of a Trump presidency — now predicts that the Trump administration will be destroyed by its enemies, that Trump himself will be increasingly isolated, and finally forced from office within the next calendar year: possibly as soon as next February, he recently told a Vancouver audience. This will amount to a Deep State coup. Stockman worries over Trump’s recklessness. He wonders whether his constant use of Twitter like a stick poking the Swamp critters is a good idea, comparing it to “waving a red cape in the face of the already enraged establishment bull.” Stockman indicts Trump for being “so undisciplined, naïve, out-of-touch, thin-skinned, unfocused and megalomaniacal that he is making it far easier for the Swamp critters than they deserve. To a very considerable extent, in fact, he is filling out his own bill of indictment. Moreover, he is totally clueless about how to manage his presidency or cope with the circling long knives of the Deep State which are hellbent on removing him from office.”
That is to say, media savvy alone won’t save Trump’s presidency. It might be worth noting, in closing, that a potentially calamitous debate over raising the debt ceiling is now just weeks away. If this Congress proves as incompetent at that as they’ve proven to be at “repealing and replacing” Obamacare which mainstream Republicans have prattled about for seven years now, the Dow bubble will likely pop and end the party on Wall Street with stunning abruptness, as it did in 2008, but with economic fundamentals considerably worse today than they were then (the Desert of the Real economy never truly “recovered,” after all). Many of us would have preferred someone else at the helm just now, with things coming to a head and much at stake, but circumstances did not allow us to pick and choose. I surmise that if Trump goes down, whatever the circumstances (impeachment over the Russia hoax, possibly following the economic debacle Brandon Smith is predicting which will be blamed on Trump, or by invoking the 25th Amendment and declaring the president “unfit to serve,” which has never been tried), the ensuing chaos may well ensure a Swamp victory and a return to the path towards a corporate-controlled world state if the masses remain within the fantasy world of the Real Matrix until it is too late.
Author’s Note: if you believe this article and others like it were worth your time, please consider making a $5/mo. pledge on my Patreon site. If the first 100 people who read this all donate, my goal of just $500/mo. would be reached in no time! And if we’re honest about it, we all waste that much money each day.
Telling the truth can have negative consequences. Around this time last year my computer was hacked — it wasn’t the Russians, either! Repeated attempted repairs of the OS failed, and the device gradually became unusable. I had to replace it off-budget.
This is also an attempt to raise money to publish and promote a novel, Reality 101 (a globalist technocrat speaks in a voice filled with irony and dripping with cynicism). Promoting a book means, in my case, the necessity of international travel which is not cheap.
I do not write for an audience of one. I write for you, readers of this site. If you believe this work makes a worthwhile contribution, please consider supporting it financially. I am not a wealthy person, and unlike the leftist groups I criticize, I do not have a George Soros funneling a bottomless well of cash my way.
If I reach the above goal of $500/mo., I may be able to speak at an event in your area (contact info below). On the other hand, if this effort fails, I am considering taking an indefinite “leave of absence” beginning later this year to pursue other goals. To sum up, these are your articles (and books). I don’t write to please myself. No one is forcing me to do it, as sometimes it brings me grief instead of satisfaction. So if others do not value the results enough to support them, I might as well go into retirement while I am still able to enjoy it.
(*). I invite those who see technological change generally as a response to “market forces” to ask themselves two questions. (1) Do they really believe Microsoft releases a new edition of Windows every two years or so, along with the other upgrades this requires, because of “market forces”? (2) If by some chance they are using an old and venerable computer running, say, Windows 98 because they happen to like the earlier editions of Windows (and because computers lasted much longer back then), but for some reason need to have it serviced, I invite them to contact Microsoft and see what happens. (Obviously I agree that some technological development responds to actual created market demand, as people do respond to incentives and promises of convenience.)
(**). While researching this section I learned that in 2015 Google quietly created a subsidiary for itself called Alphabet Inc., then the two “reversed roles” when Alphabet’s key players (who were, of course, Google’s key players) created a second subsidiary, a dummy corporation, and merged it with Google. What this means is that now an even larger and more shadowy concern technically owns Google along with 11 other corporations whose activities range across venture capital, energy, so-called smart cities (“urban innovation”), smart homes, health care, research into self-driving cars, and — interestingly — artificial intelligence.