Postcards from the Edge of Reason lists seven signs that your saviour du jour is just another gatekeeper:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The most reliable sign is the first one, the way that they suddenly pop up out of nowhere and their “incredible rise” is celebrated by the media and accepted unquestioningly by the average conservative. And here are a few additional signs:
- This isn’t their first rodeo. Look into the background of all these manufactured characters and you’ll inevitably discover a previous attempt at becoming a star, from Ben Shapiro’s playing violin on TV as a “child prodigy” to the “modeling” of various female gatekeepers.
- They publish books even though they’re obviously not writers. I’ve written and published more books than most of these “bestselling authors” combined, and I’m not even particularly prolific. The one “popular book” is there to justify their marketing as a relevant intellectual figure.
- They’re poorly read and are usually known to have one major influence, who is the only intellectual figure they ever reference because it’s the only one they can reference. How much Jung do you think Jordan Peterson actually read when he didn’t even bother reading the Bible once?
- They’re connected to other manufactured creatures. See: Jordan Peterson and Andrew Tate.
- They travel a lot. Most genuinely successful people don’t travel that much because their success permits them to live comfortable lives in the manner they prefer. If you’re in LA on Saturday, DC on Sunday, and Budapest on Monday, you’re not successful, you’re an actor working a PR job.
It’s not an accident that these signs tend to point to The Sound of Freedom being a gatekeeper operation. That doesn’t make it a bad thing, per se, especially given the comparisons and context. But it does point to the improbability that enthusiastically anointing those involved with the film as conservative leaders will end well.