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How Does a Paranoid Work? (Dispatches From the Fly on the Wall)

It is true that the more we see some connection in what happens to us, the more we are confirmed in the opinion we have about the reality of our appearances; and it is also true that the more we examine our appearances closely, the more we find them well-sequenced, as microscopes and other aids in making experiments have shown us.

— Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1666

The popular methods of getting into our hearts today are cruel. Wracked by anxiety, fear both natural and imposed, we are open to many suggestions. So much is in doubt, and we’re paranoid, and everyone is searching for some form of truth, a one-way system where everything always remains the same. All we can see are phantoms — monsters swirling in our midst, and anything and everything going wrong with our lives becomes somebody else’s fault.

Take anything you read on social media, randomly — news articles and commercials with blanket political statements; crazy ranting from one of us, a surly voice looking to make itself heard — read all of it and see what people believe.

A study of online persuasion seems in order:

Supposedly Eric Trump, giving fundraising a shot:

  • The dishonesty from the media and their attempt to demean, harass, and slander anything related to my father and his administration is truly mind-boggling.

— first of all, the grammar and sentence structure —

  • They’ll never stop coming after him, which is why we were really disappointed to see that you neglected to help us reach our End-of-Month Goal.

AUGUST END-OF-MONTH DONOR FILE
SUPPORTER: (You!)
END-OF-MONTH DONATION: NONE

— now here we get to the heart of things. Donald Trump is disappointed in us. Take it from Eric Trump — he knows when his father’s disappointed. And there’s that big red NONE telling me that for the past month I have given the Trump campaign nothing —

* We need you right now. It’s going to take EVERY Patriot stepping up if we want to CRUSH Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s dreams of turning America into a BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST Nation.

— so let’s try something: EVERY CRUSH BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST. CRUSH EVERY BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST. BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST CRUSH EVERY Patriot —

* I convinced my father to give you another chance, which is why he’s decided to EXTEND your PERSONAL 700%-MATCH OFFER FOR 1 MORE HOUR.

— wait a second . . . Eric Trump intervened, on my part, to let the President of the United States give me another chance. I get 1 MORE HOUR to EXTEND a 700%-MATCH OFFER! Jesus fucking Christ! What joy has Eric Trump granted me, seeing the prince at his alter who takes me in to see the King! If I give some kind of money then whatever funnelling or money laundering or otherwise efficient and effective scheme, usually barely legal, the lawyers taking care of anything that gets in the way of making money. 700%! Wow. Damn. I don’t want to disappoint the President that a large swath of the nation elected.

* We won’t extend your match offer again. Don’t let the President down.

* Please contribute ANY AMOUNT within the NEXT HOUR and have your gift 700%-MATCHED. >>

700%-MATCH: NOT USED
DEADLINE: 1 HOUR
CONTRIBUTE $5 = $40

CONTRIBUTE $20 = $160

CONTRIBUTE $15 = $120

CONTRIBUTE $10 = $80

CONTRIBUTE $5 = $40

CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT

Please contribute ANY AMOUNT RIGHT NOW and your gift will be 700%-MATCHED.

Thank you,

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Eric Trump

CONTRIBUTE $5 = $40

So I really better get in on this, apparently. It’s a limited-time-offer — I only have the NEXT HOUR to give my money! And I can CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT!

There can be zillions and zillions of dollars offered — I can give them five and it somehow magically transforms into forty! That’s the Donald Trump magic, Eric is telling me. And he hopes you don’t disappoint his father again. Then he’ll be disappointed in me too.

Let’s look at another, real quick, before getting back to belief.

These ads tell us to be outraged. We are supposed to be outraged — you hearin’ what them liberals is sayin’ ‘bout my daddy?

  • . . . slander anything related to my father . . .

Does this make you angry? No matter your side, does something about this make you angry?

“They said what about your father? They really are a bunch of lying jerks — !”

or

“Lookit these lies! Fucking liars always lyin’, and fuck you and how dare you and why don’t you all just go fuck yourselves you fucking fucking assholes — !”

Or maybe you’re just cynical: exhausted. You have given up hope and accepted that everything’s corrupt and what’re you or any of us gonna do about it? Everything’s fucked! And some of them are so goddamn pretentious:

  • Your side isn’t any better. They are all corrupt, but it is a matter of relative scale. You see, Gottfreid Wilhelm Leibniz said that with everything comes nothing. We have everything and so we are nothing. And while we fret and moan and shrug our shoulders, we blame those, on THE OTHER side, they’re the ones who are actually evil. I mean look at the ways those people operate. “Crush all competition! Ruin their lives forever . . . !”
  • Like Leibniz said,
  • as far as we are capable of knowledge we sin in neglecting to acquire it.

People say things like this all the time, online; (this was me, giggly and painfully drunk) those trying hard to sound smart, or those urging themselves beyond the clear and obvious dishonesty they are buying into to still believe they support their nation. Or maybe some of us are just assholes.

Sometimes it’s easier to let someone else, someone from the past, make your point for you.

Gottfried Leibniz was a fortune cookie-sounding philosopher, a tiny aphoristic gospeler who also said things like:

  • Why is there something rather than nothing?
  • Nothing is necessitated whose opposite is possible.
  • It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labor of calculation which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines were used.
  • Nature has established patterns originating in the return of events, but only for the most part. New illnesses flood the human race, so that no matter how many experiments you have done on corpses, you have not thereby imposed a limit on the nature of events so that in the future they could not vary.

A real conservative, this 17th century German mathematician, and an all around genius who boasted of inventing a “hand-cranked calculation machine.” He spat philosophy too, preaching for the early cult of capitalism. He said stupid things —

  • The present is big with the future.

What the fuck does that mean? Big? How is it big? I understand that this translation is probably terrible, but here is still the essence of the thought. Something like “Big things can happen in the future.” Not his finest line.

Leibniz’s vision of God was selfish and weird too. There was something about “monads,” a term which today refers to ordered and organized computer programming, but back when Leibniz thought it up and preached, he considered this certainty of order to be literally part of the human body, a spiritual internal organ, the soul even removable or mended. The monards were spiritually moving parts of a person’s being which guided every thought, feeling, emotion, and action:

  • God, souls, and atoms.

So here’s what Gottfreid had to say about God:

  • It is the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths that distinguishes us from the mere animals and gives us Reason and the sciences, raising us to the knowledge of ourselves and of God…

“ — knowledge of . . . God.” It sounds like acquiring this wisdom (tree of good and evil and all) raises you to a peer of God, knowing everything. No longer needing it.

  • He who does not act does not exist.

Poignant.

There’s this thing that we hear, a sidestep to real conversation:

  • But what about Obama?
    or
  • What about Hillary?
    or
  • There is/isn’t a God.

Some movements have gotten so quick that they’re asking “What about the American Revolution?”

So this is what somebody said, a light puke green post grabbing the passing eye’s attention:

Now this was meaningless to me, so:

  • I get it, you think that Trump never trashed soldiers or the military. it’s false, you say. But why? It sure sounds like something Donald Trump might say. And the Pelosi thing . . . A haircut? She’s a hypocrite, yes. But we already knew that. We all know that Donald Trump lies too. He is a notorious, inveterate liar known for dishonesty long before he ever got anywhere near the White House. He has never gotten over being a fifth grade bully, his power absolute, yet now whose playground insults have lost their value. Which is worse, in your mind? Would you decide to get a good haircut — a public figure, given the chance to do something privately one-on-one? Or would you snarl and sneer and laugh, then play solemn older gentleman when caught. Would you rather someone giving a big tip under the table to a hairdresser, or do you prefer to have the “Commander in Chief” wonder why anyone would ever want to be a soldier. If this does not tell you about love of country when this man puffs out “PATRIOT,” then you despise this nation too, and what it was meant to be.

In response:

  • Nancy Pelosi is a liar, hypocrite, corrupt. Evil 👿 and disgusting.

It didn’t make any sense. Why? Why avoid the big questions?

What I said:

  • This is hardly a response. What about hopeless denial on every side? Like some on the left refuse to see (the bulk of them are gutter cynics), they deny the numerous inadequacies of their chosen leaders. They support while shaking their heads in private. The politicians do the same thing, shaking their heads about the people in private. They know that what they are doing is wrong, but how much damage could it cause, they ask themselves, counting numbers in their heads.
  • Those on the right . . . well . . .
  • Many of them are eels for attention. They latch on and suck every bit of blood they can take before backing off, settling down, and getting roasted. On the right they go straight for the throat, a rattlesnake striking. They say things they don’t believe themselves, and they are convicted by friends and foes alike. They don’t care that whatever they said was wrong: cruel, mean, intentionally harmful. It’s all about winning. This isn’t party politics. It is victory. We vote for winning. Our video game, fantasy sports, radical home team fan culture, wants to win whichever vague and purposeless game we are playing and then sit back, dry off, and watch the chaos coming.

Here was the next response, from a different person:

  • Bingo!!!!!! Get ready cuz election soon! Shit about to go Democratic chaos crazy!

I wanted to ask, but the fly buzzed on, what was meant by “Democratic chaos.” I believe that they are being merely partisan, but isn’t it possible that they mean the collapse of Democracy as a whole? Or are they one of those smug intellectuals on the right who prefer to define us as a Republic, a parliamentary controlled nation, those on the majority side setting the rules for everybody else. They see it as Party Rule exclusively (Donald Trump, a useful idiot?, saying awful things and enjoying ripping society apart. Or maybe not. Perhaps he is simply an efficient dirty-dealing business guy, paying people off to earn a greater fortune.) — but for the people who will be around after the ringmaster goes, the supporters of a Republican government, really only want to have partisan bandits keeping everyone else in check — letting them live and giving them occasional surprises. These partisan delinquents come in every stripe and shade and color. They come for all viewpoints, and from the highest to the lowliest fashion statements, swasticas and hexes and fuck the police message-wear on parade. Hipsters’ sarcastic commentating, or those violently crazy followers of Q or Z or 666 or whatever. Partisans fester everywhere, and in a time of trouble these groups gain massive recruitment. It really is like joining an army, or a cult. And yet the tragic deconstruction of even this cultish perception is equally damned down as yet another conspiratorial lie:

  • You guys are the cult! You Libs — you retards need to get your dick out of your ass and see just how far your radical hategroups like Antifa and BLM, terrorists all. You’re either a retard or even stupider if you believe all of those trump is racist lies!

It is a general response, one version or another; this same tired old song:

  • You stupid trumpsters! Ha! You guys are losers and you’re so fucking stupid if you think that asshole is going to win. And you white nationalist racist assholes are the real problem. Black Lives Matter! Say it! Only White Assholes lives don’t matter anymore!

Some like to talk about history, about the Confederate States of America. For the past four months your fly-on-the-wall has been hovering around a great deal of just-prior-to-the-civil war history. There are some fascinating parallels between then and now, and several are recognizable and truly frightening, but that is a horror story for another episode. The point is that the reduced topic of this discussion, this ignorance of history, is about the destruction of statues, of both traitors to the nation and otherwise. This, strangely, has become a passionate distraction. Standing for the flag. The national anthem. Living in a world that’s free to do whatever the fuck you want to anyone.

All idolatrous missions like this, empty gestures pretending that they’re somehow saving history (have you ever looked at a statue, walked away, and feel that you’ve learned anything you didn’t forget within the next few steps? And of course such things go too far:

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The study of history, my passion:

  • It is about more than the Confederacy today, as it is perceived (with the coming partisan civil war the loser will no doubt replace the greedy and soulless 19th century south as the new definition of misguided ignorance.
  • Yes, these people are fucking stupid, the idea of a memorial to anything their anathema. Some people don’t care anymore — tear it all down! This comes on every side of the socio-political spectrum. It doesn’t matter who it is — Martin Luther King or Tupac Shakur. If nothing else these will be defaced as a perceived justice to the stupid white and black people in America, to the stupid thoughts in all of us. We no longer consider what we’re tearing down. Civilization is unraveling, a real Renaissance/Reformation age of man, whole new social philosophies and principles taking over the world. Do not make this partisan because people are stupid. That would make you stupid too.

So they talk about statues. And not the social issues that at first inspired the rage, the uninformed vipers embracing random destruction, outraged gun-toting, hoping desperately they can find somebody to kill:

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Of course looting plays a part:

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Images plastered everywhere as partisan bullets:

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Nobody says this except foolish revolutionaries, but you wouldn’t get that from this report. Everything is wide-spread — America is under siege! Tucker Carlson is preaching to the masses, an evangelist of the new religion.

Of course:

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Extreme, absolutist views are being supported. The stupid things people do and say, blind opposition to people they refuse to hear:

  • Donald Trump would never say anything against the military I won’t even listen to the fake news he is a brilliant man who loves America and loves his military more than anything the best president we’ve ever had he will be reelected God has put him here to save America from the disgusting Democrats.

and

  • Trump says nothing worth hearing. Why would I bother to listen to that racist?

Such silence breeds internal rage, or the indifference that allows people to believe in anything. They hear things and debunk, dispute, call it a threat or transform it into something far more devious and complicated than its original intention.

Conspiracy theories, now a pejorative because of all the clashing ones bouncing off each other today, and all the suggestions slivered out by public figures out of every belief, or maybe for their own amusement, are rampant. There have always been crazy ones and there have always been a number with a tabloid kernel of truth that might go much deeper than originally suggested. Some of them are even true. But:

Q:

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*

A counterpoint:

  • They have the cure for COVID and they always have because they INVENTED it in labs with their Russian masters! Trump is using this, spreading fear, making everybody nuts because it knows it’ll make his fans go nuts — giving them warrior minds, a battle for whatever type of freedom they want. Just wait until a few days before election day when Trump releases a “cure.” Oh, they’ll flock to him like the messiah they already see him as. But what about the million people he murdered throughout the world? Or, since he and his “thugs” don’t care about the rest of the world, what about the almost 200,000 in the US! Just wait, just wait — Trump is going to use how scared everybody is and how racist he is and how much he doesn’t care about anyone to try and get himself elected again! VOTE!!!

Crazy shit. Or maybe you believe one or the other — maybe both, as the QAnon post is pretty vague other than

  • Your President needs you.

Are we even sure that Q considers Donald Trump is president in the reality they live in?

The word “patriots” is, of course, not one reserved to any partisan ideology, no matter how much they have always tried since selling leadership to the public began. Fighting a divided war within a single nation one claims to love isn’t patriotism. It is treason, destroying your society in order to rebuild it from the ashes; taking up arms against your neighbors.

And so our leaders, either seeing or desiring such a future, take up arms themselves:

The Trump Campaign asking for more money:

  • The Liberals are funneling money to their candidates at an alarming rate to try and take us down. They think they can intimidate us with their MAXED-OUT contributions in the hope that they can buy their way into the White House. They couldn’t be more wrong.
  • They may have Silicon Valley and HOLLYWOOD ELITES, but I’ve got something better. I have YOU.
  • It’s the MOB, THE MEDIA, THE HOLLYWOOD ELITES, THE DEEP STATE and THE SWAMP vs. YOU. Let’s remind them that AMERICA IS NOT FOR SALE. This is YOUR COUNTRY NOT THEIRS.

This ad, so dire, the MOB and THE DEEP STATE and THE SWAMP versus me? It openly calls for division, YOUR COUNTRY NOT THEIRS.

And why do they always destroy the movies? Not the hollywood folks or the mouthy actors and athletes and singers — they do fine and work their hardest. But why do the stories get ruined? Here’s me and my father:

Me, a phone call:

* I really think the Lakers are gonna win. LeBron is going to get one with his third team.

Dad, his mind made up on everything years before:

* I won’t watch basketball anymore. Those guys all hate America. I’m glad they’re rich enough to take a day off.

Me, as usual, aggressive and annoyed when talking with my father:

* Some things aren’t about money. It doesn’t matter that they’re rich. They know that people look up to them. This is what they believe. They are trying to set an example for their fans, just like all the politicians you see on the news.

Him, annoyed too, talking down to me like the little boy I guess I’ll always be:

* Well that’s what Jared Kushner said and he’s pretty smart —

Me, reverting to character:

* Why would you think that?
* What?
* That Jared Kushner’s smart.
* Well . . . he went to good schools and he speaks well . . .
* Plenty of stupid people go to good schools. I went to a good school. Plenty of people were stupid.

There was a pause, a beat

Dad, maybe a little confused:

* I . . . well I have to go . . .

And yet they continue to ask for money:

* I want to give you something.

* I’ve been thinking back on my first (but not last!) term as your President, and I came across some photos. One in particular stood out to me, and when I saw it, I immediately knew that I wanted YOU to have a copy of it.

* But, I didn’t want to send you JUST a photograph of me — I wanted to make it unique. So, I told my team to put together a list of my TOP supporters so that I could give them a personalized, signed photo.

BIG NEWS: YOU WERE ON THE LIST TO RECEIVE ONE OF THESE ICONIC SIGNED PHOTOS.

* I only have a few of these photographs left, and I really want YOU to have one. Claim yours NOW before they’re gone.

* Just contribute at least $75 TODAY to claim your PERSONALIZED photograph signed by yours truly. >>

CONTRIBUTE $105

CONTRIBUTE $95

CONTRIBUTE $85

CONTRIBUTE $75

CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT

Thank you,

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Donald J. Trump
President of the United States

CONTRIBUTE $75

Look at those prices! A limited edition signed picture of Donald Trump? And I can have one! Let me see. Seventy-five dollars is the minimum and I can get the picture but I wonder if he’d think I’m cheap and never offer me these collectable souvenirs again. Maybe I should give more. I can CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT.

There are plenty of these:

  • If you’ve been thinking about buying one of our ICONIC Trump-Pence 2020 Flags, now is YOUR chance.
  • In honor of America’s hard-working men and women this Labor Day Weekend, President Trump authorized us to put a limited supply of these flags on SALE for only !
  • He requested we ONLY reach out to his TOP supporters with this information so they can take advantage of this exclusive offer. All you have to do is contribute ! we’ll send you one of our Trump-Pence 2020 Flags.
  • Supplies are extremely limited. Don’t wait.
  • Please contribute $35 $25 IMMEDIATELY and we’ll send you one of our ICONIC Trump-Pence 2020 Flags. >>
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A sale! Ten whole dollars off and I can have that pennant to hang on my wall or fly from a pole outside my house for only twenty-five dollars? How about two!

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This ad effectively targets both our paranoia and our partisan patriotism and outrage.

  • American Way of Life.

But what is the American Way of Life, and why isn’t this answer known? And what is the Trump campaign offering?

  • Together(ness)
  • the American Dream

Those are the concepts not capitalized.

FIGHT(ing), DEFEND(ing), PROTECT(ing) and PRESERVE(ing) things. Like something is out to get you. Fighting them off. The world has grown predatory, and if we could only claw into the past when things seemed safer, and we were tirelessly in the womb, back to the 1980s, for example, when coming billionaires were taking over the world in any cruel way and destroying each other.

Imagine you’re a billionaire — a greedy person who has acquired as much as possible without thinking about who gets hurt. You have to be that way to earn your fortune. Many of these drastic success stories approach their comfortable aging in repentance — founding charities, giving back, trying to help, yet still getting accused of doing shady things behind their charities, a CORPORATE ELITE that sometimes really does steal from the needy. Such people, those with half a heart, approach retirement realizing they have more than they could ever need, no matter how broken the outside world may become and how much is lost.

Not Donald Trump. He wants more. It has always been about more with him,

Donald Trump, running for President:

  • My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy. I’ve grabbed all the money I could get. I’m so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States. I want to grab all that money. I’m going to be greedy for the United States.”

He said that in 2016. He says we want to grab hold of everything and keep it and defend it and kill if we have to so somebody else doesn’t get their hands on it. Possessiveness. We want that money grabbed out of someone else’s hand, given our cut, and we’ll deal with the consequences later. We’re tough, right? I am protecting my bank account.

This has turned us into monsters.

From a loyalist pro-Trump newsite:

  • Black voters matter… and based on these latest tracking polls, Trump’s current approval among likely Black voters is through the roof and more than sufficient to see victory on the horizon …

This is the tagline on an email I received from WND.com, a hard-right conspiracy website. It promotes itself as Christian. It features other headlines like:

  • Rush Limbaugh calls out Washington Post column for threatening America.
  • Doctors’ group: HCQ-hoarding FDA care more about power than Americans’ lives.

or, for fun:

  • Who’s for lunch? Meet the most likely predators to eat humans.

This last one, considering the publication, which once promoted Alex Jones’ Infowars enthusiastically, is rather troubling considering the general apocalyptic tone of this tabloid rag. Jones once said:

  • I’ll admit it. I will eat my neighbors. I’m not letting my kids die. I’m just going to be honest — my superpower is being honest. I’ve extrapolated this out and I won’t have to for a few years, because I’ve got food and stuff. But I’m literally looking at my neighbors now going, I’m ready to hang them up and gut ’em and skin ’em, chop ’em up. You know what, I’m ready. My daughters aren’t starving to death. I’ll eat my neighbors.

Yet there’s always more destruction, more paranoia that nothing is fair and nothing is as it seems and that some amorphous entity, a force of nature preying on people’s minds is trying to control us — to change everything —

* Why does Facebook keep blocking my posts?
* They’re trying to control free speech.
* They’re in the pocket of the Chinese!
* Or the Russians.
* They want Trump to lose and they’re doing everything they can to —
* Or they want him to win.

The coming election has already been destroyed, the worry over the virus, the mutual exploitation of our fears —

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There is too much uncertainty; too much doubt. No one believes that either side will be fair and I might as well go out and load or buy a gun and get ready because it’s coming and oh God I can see it coming because they’re all cheating and they’re both cheating and the other side is cheating WORSE and NO ONE’S IN CONTROL and EVERYTHING is chaos Chaos CHAOS and I will BATTEN THE DOORS and LIVE IN A CAVE downstairs and EVERYTHING IS MINE and MINE and MINE and MINE and IF YOU COME FOR ME and TRY TO COME and GET ME I’M GONNA SHOW YOU BECAUSE I CAN SHOW YOU BECAUSE BECAUSE BECAUSE . . . i know things . . .

And this is how a paranoid works.

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