Fighting “evil” with “propaganda”

The trouble with intelligent progressive people is that we don’t believe in absolutes. No sane smart person can say that EU is perfect, that Hillary using a private email server is a non-issue, that there’s no corruption in current government of Ukraine or that current regime in Russia is pure and complete evil. The problem is that the other side has no issues with stating the opposite in the most absolute terms.

As a result, if you feed all the information to a clear unbiased but not very curious and investigative mind, your balanced reasonable intelligent argument will sway them 10 points in one direction, but their loud unapologetic lies told with a straight face and without blinking will move the needle by 30 points in the opposite.

As a result we have Brexit, president Trump, Russia annexing part of Ukraine and instigating war in the other parts, etc. All with popular support of the reasonably intelligent parts of the population.

Last week while at a global conference in US, I had conversations with several fairly liberal Russian friends. In a very textbook case of whataboutism they point to cases of lies and propaganda from the Ukrainian side. Many accuse our Baltic media and governments in spreading FUD about Russia. If you try to respond soberly and in the most unbiased way possible, you sort of have to agree with them. Except if you do, the propagandists on the other side win.

I don’t really want to live in a black-and-white world with no shades of grey. But it seems that there’s no other way at this stage. You either dial your beliefs to 100 and play their game or they win.

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