Deradicalization impossible when politics become entertainment

Bread and circus is a way to pacify people. When rightwing people return tired from work many just want to relax by switching off all thought processes when watching a Hollywood movie or playing a game. This is escapism from the real world. And it worked, until the gaming and entertainment industry decided to let LGBT content, libertine material and excessive vulgar swearing become part of mainstream tv series, games and movies. This alienates culturally conservative people who still are the majority on a global level. Among them are two kinds of individuals:

1) the true believer, the genuine idealist, and/or 2) persons like me for example who like to relax with some “braindead” movies and games from the American coastal states but stop enjoying it when this superficial entertainment becomes just bad taste when containing lame swearing, libertinism, product placements or brand reminders, and “subtle” woke political propaganda, cf Primetime Propaganda by Ben Shapiro or read this article here from The Independent.

When 1) and 2) stop watching movies and quit games – for ideological/religious reasons or simply because they feel that libertine woke entertainment is empty, meaningless, tacky and a waste of time, an insult to their intelligence and aristocratic taste – the result is that they get bored. The latter is dangerous. Bored hackers for example are dangerous because the discomfort of boredom tempts them to get adrenaline kicks by doing illegal hacking. The same psychological dynamic happens when you take away the entertainment from cultural conservatives. 1) and 2) will leave libertine woke entertainment behind and instead find meaning and kicks by getting involved in what the Establishment defines as “radical rightwing politics”.

The goal of good entertainment is to enjoy it as long as possible. You hope that a good movie never ends. When radical politics become entertainment the primary psychological goal is not to win a conflict but instead enjoy the adrenaline of a good fight. Nietzsche said that it’s not a good cause that justifies a war but a good war that justifies any cause.

Deradicalization is impossible when conflict resolution leaves the deradicalized individual in a state of boredom. He then rather return to the conflict, and continue it, just for the kick of it: to provoke, to troll, to do anything in politics that is exciting, taboo and illegal, because that’s where the adrenaline is.

It’s too easy to provoke the libertine woke Establishment. You can just say the n-word and risk jail:

Norway’s Supreme Court sentences 50-year-old woman to 36 days of prison for hate speech

It’s catnip, a magnet drawing bored rightwing individuals, when it’s that easy to become a rebel, cause drama, get online attention, and enjoy the adrenaline of social conflict.

Continuing a hopeless but exciting fight is better than boredom.

Cultural conservatives like me are in a win-win situation. Either the entertainment industry returns to creating movies and games that both moderate liberals and moderate conservatives enjoy. Or we get our entertainment through politics. Politics today is so interesting that it has the same entertainment value as anything produced by Hollywood.

When rightwing militant activism becomes entertainment – political extreme sports – the libertine woke Establishment has no leverage when saying things like: “We don’t negotiate with terrorists” or “We’ll never surrender, we’ll never give into the demands of rightwing radicals”. This kind of posturing has no effect, because the underlying psychological goal of entertainified politics is to keep the conflict going, just for the kick of it.

Don’t surrender the Capitol, because trying to storm it, again and again, is fun.

Here I’m only talking about one single but very important aspect of political activism, namely one of the underlying psychological motives that often drive rightwing radicals, which is the excitement of it all. This, of course, doesn’t exclude more serious ideological and/or religious convictions.

The corporate dilemma in the Great Game of international politics

The New York Times reports that corporations today don’t know which political group they should satisfy when both woke activists and Trump supporters threaten to boycott them. Here is one example of this dilemma:

Inside Corporate America’s Frantic Response to the Georgia Voting Law

“Companies like Delta are caught between Democrats focused on social justice and populist Republicans. They face major political consequences no matter what they do.”

I’m not going to get into voting laws here, but corporations have a relatively easy choice in the conflict about the presence of libertinism and LGBT in the mainstream culture:

Corporations may get some bad press when libertines and LGBT activists complain about corporations returning to the old model of letting all left- and rightwing minorities exist freely in subcultures instead of allowing them to enter the mainstream popular culture.

But libertines and LGBT activists are not militant, as long as they have the same judicial rights and legal protections as all other citizens in a constitutional democracy.

On the other hand we have cultural conservatives who become radicalized when being exposed to libertinism and LGBT in mainstream entertainment (because they view it as propaganda, an existential threat to one of their core values, which is the traditional family structure).

Radicalized conservatives can become rightwing extremely dangerous activists because 1) use of chem/bio weapons is kind of a rightwing “tradition”, as seen in WW2, the Tokyo subway or in Syria for example, and 2) the fourth industrial revolution and all the dozens of major actors in Cold War 2 make it easier for domestic rightwing terrorists to create or acquire a weapon that may start a new pandemic if a lethal virus is released in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle/Bellevue.

Libertines and LGBT activists are not a national security threat. But if corporations and Western governments don’t depolarize the culture war by returning to moderate liberality and moderate cultural conservatism, in the tradition of Locke/Mill and Edmund Burke, which constitute the two main pillars of constitutional democracies, you now risk chem/bio attacks. Because morally insane rightwing activists are today a potential threat to humanity. Because if you are a religious fanatic blinded by disgust which neutralizes empathy it’s actually entertaining to get a master’s degree in microbiology (in a developing country) and exciting to create a synbio weapon, cf games like Plague Inc.

CEOs and statesmen however should not view the culture war as a game. They should be responsible, the enlightened grown-ups in this conflict, before we get a manmade pandemic. After 2020 this black swan event is a real possibility, according to Bill Gates, though multiple highly lethal but relatively containable outbreaks on the American coasts are more likely. So, dear liberals, please take the culture war seriously, for no other reason than the fact that cultural conservatives are starting to view it as a real war:

Why we are at war

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