How Belief Systems Crumble

Human belief systems are fascinating things. Whether they last a lifetime or whether they are demolished and rebuilt every few years, they all share some things in common.

A belief system is ordinarily built from many separate pieces, like a house made of bricks. Ultimately, it becomes very strong and not just a group of bricks – but a structure on which the people living in it rely. If a single brick is undermined, or even a couple, the structure stands (I hope I’m right about this, not being a builder). The structure stands until enough bricks are removed that it collapses, or until someone takes a wrecking ball to it.

There’s also something known as a keystone, which is: “1. the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place 2. something on which associated things depend for support ”

Removing a keystone – if a person has a keystone within his or her belief system – can cause a system to collapse in a fairly sudden and dramatic manner. I think that, during my own change process, both things happened – a slow accruing of evidence as well as some more sudden and important revelations (my change story contains some examples of each, but here’s one of the latter). Another person who had a “keystone” change experience was David Horowitz, a far left activist whose change to the right was originally sparked by learning that certain leftists he thought were decent were actually cold-blooded killers.

Most people’s belief systems are very very recalcitrant to change, and some are even impervious to it. In the latter cases – which I think are quite common – every small brick that might be removed from the edifice is almost immediately replaced with another brick, making the structure about as strong as before. Maybe even stronger, because it’s withstood many challenges. That’s the function of propaganda – to suppress the truth if it undermines the preferred narrative, but if the truth gets out, to immediately change the subject and come up with a new story to replace it. Then when that’s challenged, there’s another story and another and another for people to use to shore up anything that might be crumbling .

Shoring Up a Failing Belief System is an Unending Chore for the Propaganda Regime

We are familiar with propaganda regimes from the study of Stalin’s USSR, Hitler’s Nazi regime, Communist China, and other totalitarian regimes. But we are becoming more intimately acquainted with propaganda regimes at close hand, as “tech media” closes ranks with mainstream old media to censor any voices not singing in tune with the echo choir.

Today’s dominant “woke ideology” rules North America and Europe, with dissonant voices shut out.

As if out of a dystopian novel, though, the woke ideology has nonetheless become the unifying creed of the American ruling class. That ruling class, which extends from public sector bureaucracies to the Fortune 500 to Hollywood to Silicon Valley and sundry others in between, has in recent years universally come to imbibe, promulgate and disseminate the core tenets of wokeness.

What’s more, that universality often takes the more insidious form of cross-institutional collusion: As Matthew Schmitz put it in a Tablet essay last September, “Governmental authorities and corporations now coordinate in enforcing the dictates of the new secular progressive faith.”

The Face of the New Propaganda Regime

This totalitarian ideology is being taught to children and youth in schools from K-12 and in universities everywhere. It is being crammed down the throats of workers in corporations large and small, and is the measuring stick that determines whether professors are given tenure, whether government workers are hired and promoted, and whether Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other “new tech” outlets will permit a person to have a voice in today’s busy marketplace of ideas.

People who survived and escaped communism would willingly tell the free western people what is being offered to them by their “betters” in the 1% and by the government-academia-media complex that does the bidding of the new ruling class — even if it has to lie, cheat, steal, or kill to get in position to do what is necessary. But the propaganda regime is careful to censor things and people that do not fit the narrative. There are thousands of stories every day that could be told that contradict the popular narrative. But the woke coalition regime keeps those things suppressed. You are only supposed to hear the things that shore up the official belief system. Otherwise it might collapse, and then a lot of people might have to answer for their actions.

The elite level planners of the ruling class have learned their lessons from the best that history has to offer. But the cannon fodder at the lower levels is something else again. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them out there, and they are indoctrinating your children and the children of your friends.

There are certainly some high-profile left-liberal defectors from the woke ideology’s institutional “long march.” Former New York Times editor Bari Weiss, for instance, has become something of a one-woman cottage industry in calling out the execrableness of “critical race theory,” the widespread media gaslighting with respect to the true identity of anti-Asian hate-crime culprits and other woke excesses. There are many others, such as Caitlin Flanagan and even popular HBO host Bill Maher. But in their present condition, left-liberals are too outnumbered and too ill-equipped to take on the wokesters themselves.


Glenn Greenwald is another leftist who is not afraid to call out the woke on their lies and hypocrisy. But there are not enough of them, and there is a limit to what they are capable of seeing, immersed as they have long been in a system of brainwashing. Still, it is good to see occasional signs that even on the left, logical thought is not entirely dead or surrendered to the “woke.”

The best inoculation against ideological indoctrination, is a broad exposure to a wide range of ideas, philosophies, and ideologies in one’s youth — as soon as one learns basic logic and the logic of common fallacies. It is not enough to learn logic and basic fallacies. One must work through dozens and dozens of examples from the real world — preferably examples from one’s own experiences.

Today’s young people are not allowed to pass through that vital, mind-empowering process. Instead, all the forces of the ruling classes along with the government-academia-media-corporate complex are united in the attempt to keep their minds restrained within the accepted narrative.

What will it look like when today’s dominant slapdash ideology crumbles into dust? It will not be pretty. And since it will not happen uniformly across time or space, there will be conflict. Best prepare yourselves for that.

Chinese Demolition

The interesting thing about the alignment of the planets and stars, is that as inevitable as a power transition may seem when one studies the portents, everything changes and transitions to something else eventually. A lot of people are modifying themselves to fit into a system which is not going to last nearly as long as they think.

This entry was posted in Cognition, Ideology, Philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Belief Systems Crumble

  1. info says:

    Communist China so far appears to be keeping a lid on things with their social credit system and unlike the former Soviet bloc destroyed opposition through mass murder of the cultural revolution.

    And let 1000 flowers bloom where Mao lured out all his ideological opponents before slaughtering them in the anti-rightist campaign.
    Which other dictators would no doubt want to learn from

  2. Craig says:

    The thing that really bothers me is that half the people in the country (U.S.) so easily dismiss and assign nefarious motives to the other half. It’s as if everything about the right side of the political spectrum is illegitimate, unworthy of even the slightest consideration. Conversely the right-side sees conspiracy around every corner – and why wouldn’t they? Every institution in control of every aspect of American life has been captured by the left. Anything contrary that even slightly pokes its head above the leftist waterline is immediately and overwhelmingly drowned in baseless rhetoric and delegitimized. There is no give and take, no real debate or actual compromise. The left is relentless and can never be satisfied. The right is supremely guilty of being pathetic and that may well be the key to why things have unfolded as they have.

Comments are closed.