Forwarded as received

They rail against the fabled mainstream media. But then forward me articles from the Daily Mail. They say social media has freed the masses from submitting to the MSM propaganda machine and believing its lies. But then they forward me YouTube videos that are pure make-believe. They chorus to the refrain, “It’s Islamphobia, it’s Islamophobia”. Then rejoice in an article published by supporters of the hard right.

Social media, they claim, has created a generation capable of thinking for itself instead of believing mainstream media lies. But all the evidence so far suggests that this is patently untrue; a generation now simply believes the lies they read on social media instead, forwarding every random claim without compunction, without fact-checking or pause for thought. Propaganda has been replaced with propaganda. Lies with lies.

Where is the freedom of speech, someone demanded to know yesterday, incensed that Facebook had banned a particularly virulent purveyor of lies. I said I didn’t care. We all have the physical ability to lie as much as we like, but it isn’t a right; in our tradition, lying is haram. But it is too late, for the rampant lies have been thoroughly imbibed all over, by men and women who willingly embrace alternative realities which confirm their own biases and preset conclusions.

So it is that someone announced yesterday, mid-conversation, that there is no lockdown in London and that they continue to regularly meet with friends. Why? Because the litany of clippings and videos that appear on a slab of glass in the palm of their hand have, I suppose, convinced them that their version of reality is the truest. Which may be what my wife’s friend’s husband thought too, but he is now on a ventilator in intensive care.

The sheer stupidity of people now embracing far-fetched theories which totally contradict medical practice and all that is known about the workings of cells, viruses and antibodies is perplexing. A people instructed to use their intellect, who claim to be thinking for themselves at last, are now found mimicking idiots. What a total failure of education, as even presumed scholars partake in this festival of ignorance.

To speak of the mainstream media is in itself evidence that you are not thinking for yourself, for what is this thing? In the UK, we have an array of media organisations, representing different political agendas and interests. We have high quality investigative journalism and the gutter press. We have news channels owned by private media moguls, independent stake holders and governments, domestic and foreign, funded by advertising, taxes or the goodwill of benevolent dictators. Some news publishers specialise in making up stories to stir up division and hatred, to benefit billionaires. Other news publishers strive to get to as close to the truth as is humanly possible, striving diligently to inquire and hold to account those with power at home and abroad.

Ah, but no. We rail against the mainstream media, while sharing every article from that media which confirms the agenda we wish to affirm. So the Washington Post if it pleases us, the Daily Mail if the argument is right, the Spectator if it builds our case. And if not, then Dr Somebodyorother, speaking out against the lies of the mainstream media on YouTube, to adoring admirers holding out against the onslaught of the Bilderberg blueprint for a totalitarian new world order, and now yet another generation of messianists, recycling the statements that proved erroneous last time they were employed, five years ago, a decade ago, twenty years ago, in 1979, and 1948, 1916 and 1883, back through centuries and millennia.

Our new consciousness, which is not new at all, will lead us down avenues well trodden, over and over through time. It was prevalent enough even two thousand years ago, that James the just wrote of it in his epistle to the Hebrew followers of Christ: “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by the tiniest spark.” Our new consciousness is just the old in a new form. In place of the wagging tongue, now the forward button, still telling tales like the ancients before us. Still we will set fire to the world. Forwarded as received.

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