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Charms of Naomi: The Mystique of Mass Hypnosis
September 14, 2014
by Jay Taber
Hypnotic induction — getting a person into a trance or state of increased suggestibility — during which critical faculties are reduced and subjects are more prone to accept suggestions, might help to describe the current fascination with Naomi Klein. While the popularly-expected cultural rituals of celebrity worship in America are familiar to anyone who watches television or reads People Magazine, its application to social media has become a powerful new tool of social engineering by Wall Street. The process of influencing a mass audience to respond reflexively to induced prompts — like marching in parades or flooding financial districts wearing the color blue — requires looking beyond the civil society fad of I-pad revolution, and examining modern social “movements” as cults. Icons like Klein are as interchangeable as Hollywood starlets, but mass hypnosis of social activists by Wall Street titans using foundation-funded NGOs is a troubling development.
When Klein and McKibben herded thousands of college students across America to fight climate change by forcing their schools to divest in fossil fuels, no one stopped to ask if that would make any difference. Using the emotive force of the idea of divestment as people power — based on an intentional association with its use in South Africa and Palestine — 350 inducted hypnotic behavior that omitted any critical judgment. The fact that apartheid was opposed by a combination of boycott, divestment and sanction by national and international institutions in support of armed insurrection was lost on the climateers. Instead, they were hypnotized into believing that colleges selling back fossil fuel shares to Wall Street (where unscrupulous investors could then make a killing) was part of a magical social revolution. The same could apply to the nonsensical demand to end fossil fuels.
The mystery of the KXL distraction, revealed by Cory Morningstar to be a choreographed hoax funded by Warren Buffett, is yet another example of hypnotic behavior absent critical judgment. As noted by Morningstar, the KXL protests and hoopla promoted by 350 made it possible for Buffett to develop an oil-by-rail empire, now threatening communities across North America with bomb trains, like the one that devastated the town of Lac Megantic, Quebec in 2013. As a diversion calculated to lessen effective opposition to fossil fuel export and over-consumption, seductive energy tales and celebrity-laden photo-ops in front of the White House substituted for popular education and political organizing. By the time Klein’s followers figure out they were duped into being Buffett’s pawns, he and his friend Bill Gates will have made a fortune shipping Tar Sands bitumen and Bakken Shale crude. For the present, the climateers have taken up poster-coloring and holding hands.
Klein’s aura, meanwhile, has taken on a life of its own. Having memorized her mantra This Changes Everything, climateers and other devotees are now all abuzz over her mesmerizing campaign against capitalism. No one asks how that meshes with Klein’s 350 being the darling of Warren Buffett and the Rockefeller Brothers, but suspension of disbelief is nothing new to Klein groupies. As gullible left-wing media begins yet another social media gossip fest over how far left the new incarnation of rhetorical revolutionary fervor might go, 350’s Blue Team and other Klein followers double down on dubious diversions. As Klein and her colleagues work feverishly in creating cover narratives that lefties can flog as insightful op-eds to coincide with the never-ending anti-capitalist revolutionary historic Rockefeller-financed 350 events, it is hard to avoid comparisons with George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in his novel, 1984.
After the groupie chatter and celebrity banalities of climate week subside, trite starlets like Klein will carry on with their Wall Street-backed charades. The question is whether their adherents will reject the fantasy world of vapid luminaries become famous by stating blatantly obvious platitudes, or continue to be wowed by their cult-like mastery. For now, the hoax endures.
[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal, and a featured columnist at IC Magazine. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]