by Rathaus Gambit
Controlled Opposition are the guys they send to appeal to your sensibilities on Current Thing. They distract the people that might oppose Current Thing by posing as champions of the dissenting faction. They use their positions to deplete the emotional and physical assets of the people that follow them, when those assets may potentially have been used in a meaningful way. Their entire purpose is to keep their followers engaged in the System, and to direct your energy away from real growth, so that their real masters can feed on that energy.
Fortunately, you can identify these people (or projects, etc.) pretty easily once you learn the pattern. Here are the 7 signs:
1. Inexplicable popularity with conservatives.
The first time you heard about Big Conservative Thing was probably someone in media telling you how popular it has already become. No one can explain how, and most likely nobody you know could say they knew anything about it when it was small. Their rise is described as miraculous, or a movement, but the growth was very sudden.
2. Fleecing massive amounts of money off of conservatives.
Gee. With all those resources in one pool, we’ll surely see some positive change, right? Right? Don’t hold your breath, mate. But do expect someone to extol the virtues of “taking stands” and “making statements” and other ways of paying them to tweet things about other famous people.
3. Alleviates the pressure of the current situation by saying, “Something is being done.”
Somewhere, out there. You may have had a bee in your bonnet about some issue, and Controlled Opposition may have even gotten you riled up about it, ready to kick names and all that. Even just listening to someone talk about it was cathartic. Anyway, roll next segment.
4. Offers their entertainment value as part of some vague solution.
This is closely tied in with the last two. One way or another, it always comes back to them leading the way forward. They assure you that you’re all part of something big together. All you have to do is sit back and watch. Meanwhile, when was the last time you met a fellow fan to actually build something together?
5. Leaves the true power of action entirely within the System.
The closest they ever come to offering a solution is to reinforce processes inside the System, or to leave solutions entirely in the hands of System officials. Like suggesting a vote on measures to stop people from cheating the vote, or other random, non-specific examples.
6. Portrays the managers of the system as incompetent, weak, cowardly, clumsy, or even greedy, but never evil and complicit.
This deflects true responsibility from those in power. Worse, it appeals to our natural inclination to say this about leaders we disagree with. But this is all part of the show that starts with politicians saying one thing and doing something else with entirely different results. It looks stupid, because honest people tend to take words at face value. Obviously, there are controlled exceptions to number 6, but it’s always to produce a scapegoat to take heat off the System itself.
7. Irregular ties to suspicious folk.
How many CIA agents do you know? How many criminals? How many billionaires? You may know zero, or a handful. But you probably don’t know many, and you probably haven’t received large sums of money from them, or acted as godfather to their kids. Like all of these 7 signs, it’s about seeing the larger pattern of behaviour.
Controlled Opposition are very, very good at articulating the problem, but not at solving the problem, and this is intentional. They operate like mercenaries convincing you to pick a hill to die on, then offering to fight in your place, for a price. But the other guys are in on it, and some days he comes back down the hill in defeat, promising that it’ll go your way next time. And remember, the mirror image of this is happening to those you know on the left, as well. One guy’s Controlled Opposition is often just another guy’s Big Bad Current Thing.
The answer is to unplug from talking heads, and keep your wallet in your pocket. Go build something with your own hands, with your own friends and family. Follow leaders that stand a chance of getting to know you as well as you think you know them. Leaders with skin in the game. And be leery of anyone attempting to lead you through your emotions, all the more so when they never lead you to a real way forward.
Bonus sign: Outcry!
It often happens that the lady doth protest in a way that’s about as effective, or even more effective, at getting conservatives excited about a thing as the advocates of the thing itself could hope to be. Staged protests are an old trick. And again, these people aren’t dumb.