Author's Note: This plays on the snopes conspiracy theory. George Soros, like the Koch brothers to the left, is an all-purpose boogeyman. The "theory" here is a giant web of conspiracy nonsense with a bunch of pop-stars thrown in down at the bottom of the map.
The reason a lot of people don't like snopes is because their world-view is founded on a bunch of conspiracy theories and, well, lies. When someone fact-checks them it's seen as an insult. Of course there's the scramble to try to prove snopes wrong about this or that--but the fact is that they're (a) right far more often than not and (b) the people trying to prove fact-checkers wrong are always silent about blatant lies that "help their side."
If you aren't believing snopes, you're a living in a fantasy construct. This story plays to that condition.
Source: "Haha. No. It's a think-tank. There have always been some public facing operatives--but all that research? That takes money. Talent. Guidance. At the top it's George Soros--but there's a lot more to the story."
RTN: "Can you tell us the story?"
S: "Sure. Back in the 90's, I guess, the game was changing. There were all these websites springing up. There weren't blogs yet--or YouTube, thank-God. We might've lost control. No--it wasn't all there yet but we saw it coming. Where there used to be a few channels of information, the system was becoming decentralized. Fragmented. The narrative was in danger."
RTN: "Can you explain 'The Narrative Was In Danger'?"
S: "Sure. Everything you hear from . . . the state. TV. Radio. Newspapers, especially. All of that is a story. It may or may not be the truth. When you pay the speakers, you get the speech you pay for. You hold the leash. That means it's your story. That's "the Narrative."
"With all this stuff going on with the Internet, the ability to tell that story was damaged."
RTN: "How does Snopes fit in?"
S: "Well, back then we were starting to define what the military calls the 'Information Battlespace.' It's like, all of the data people have access to and how we can restrict it so they only see our version? How you control opinion. Stuff like that."
So we get this prospectus from one of our planning groups--a Think Tank itself, really. It's called THE USE OF HUMILIATION IN PUBLIC DISCOURSE."
RTN: "Woah--wait. What? Humiliation?"
S: "Right. Exactly. I actually can show you part of it. The name of the organization was called 'SNIPES' at the time. I guess that was too 'on the nose.' " (laughs).
He accesses files on a secure smart-phone.
One of the most powerful negative emotions a human can experience is . It is tested as the longest persisting impact moreso than sadness, fear, or pain. Any time a person makes a statement of belief they are making themselves vulnerable and exposed. The goal of SNIPES [an early name for the organization that was later changed] is to not only refute a person's worldview (correct or not), but provide a tone and tenor that presents the speaker as stupid, easily duped, and unsophisticated. The subtext of the SNIPES citation is "You were too foolish and stupid to even begin to check your facts and so you are a baby, spouting nonsense."
This interaction will drive subjects with wrong-class worldviews to either silence themselves or, preferably, go to SNIPES first, in order to verify their own knowledge.
RTN: "So their goal is to embarrass you?"
S: "To humiliate you. By being this group that tells you you're wrong and stupid, they become the force that tells you what it's okay to think. You go to them first. It's abusive--but it's effective. We have a number of players in that space, really.
He shows us part of a huge picture:
S: This is part of our investor prospectus. You could get k--you could get in a lot of trouble for showing it. But let's zoom in to the part you're interested in:
S: "There--see? So there are a number of Info-Battlespace management arms--but the one that's really interested in humiliating you is Snopes. The others are drier, really. You can also see some of the Social Control Levers. This is how we corral votes. It's how we stage riots. Get you fired if we don't like you--or whatever."
RTN: "So Snopes is just . . . part of this huge machine?"
S: "Yes. And it isn't always lying. It doesn't have to. Sometimes it tells the truth. It's just that when you get political or off message? Then it tries to hurt you. Take the example of someone who figured out a tiny piece of it. The think-tank hires some of the most liberal pieces of garbage you could imagine. Go to their site and see how they hit back."