It's time for a sordid confession.
For most of my life, probably up until the last 15 years or so, I tried to manipulate everyone around me. Parents, siblings, friends, girlfriends, wives, kids, everyone was subject to it. When I talked to people, I would color the facts, omit details and use language designed to get you to do what I wanted.
It never occurred to me that your free will mattered. My unspoken, foundational assumption was that I knew best for everyone. Bending your will to mine was just what I did. It was as natural as breathing. I'm a strongly-typed ENFJ. The Personality Page site gives a great summary with this warning.
ENFJs are people-focused individuals. They live in the world of people possibilities. More so than any other type, they have excellent people skills. They understand and care about people, and have a special talent for bringing out the best in others. ENFJ's main interest in life is giving love, support, and a good time to other people. They are focused on understanding, supporting, and encouraging others. They make things happen for people, and get their best personal satisfaction from this.
Because ENFJ's people skills are so extraordinary, they have the ability to make people do exactly what they want them to do. They get under people's skins and get the reactions that they are seeking. ENFJ's motives are usually unselfish, but ENFJs who have developed less than ideally have been known to use their power over people to manipulate them.
Last night, we had dinner with friends who are family without the blood connection. We were talking about how none of us trust the experts and authorities any more. Two of us were on the political right and two on the left. Each had stories of catching members of the Elite in lies and how they despaired of what the rampant dishonesty implied. It wasn't until this morning that it occurred to me what's been happening.
At the dinner table last night, the other three all came from the skilled worker class. One of them had a college degree, but he got it later in life and spent most of his career as a mechanic. I represented the professional class. I have an advanced degree and have been paid quite well to Think Big Thoughts.
We, the professional class, have grown to see ourselves as above the common folk. Skilled workers are unfit to make their own decisions. We must make sure that they choose the things we want them to choose. We know better. It's my past life of manipulation writ large upon the American culture.
That's why we only get one side of racial issues. It's why the CDC mixes gender theory with practical, medical advice. It's why Wuhan Flu statistics are never put in context with other risks in life or age groups.
Superiority-born manipulation also explains why heretics from within the professional class are silenced online and driven out of any positions of influence. It can be lethal to a manipulation to have a reasonable, opposing view presented. Hence this kind of madness.
I'm not discussing the motives behind the manipulation, only that it's happening. When I reflexively practiced it, my own motives were usually benign. I never was out to get something from you, I was there to help you, you ignorant peasant.
I posit that the collapse in trust is happening because the manipulation has become so all-consuming and so pathological that it's turned clumsy. We can see the mistakes and the contradictions in it. Finding those contradictions and trying to suss out what they mean has been an obsession of this blog for years.
There's nothing more damaging to a manipulator than to be revealed as a charlatan and have your victims discover that you're doing your best to drive them to a particular decision or point of view. When they realize that you see them as inferiors, they grow to despise you. You lose their trust and, for all practical purposes, you can never get it back.
Perhaps just as bad is to be revealed as an incompetent. Not many people are willing to be led around by an imbecile. Well, our professional class has run up a $30T debt, lost wars, turned the dying embers of racial grievance into a conflagration, poisoned our children with gender madness and on and on and on. They're clearly imbeciles, but they keep trying to manipulate us.
That's where I think we are right now - the collapse of the manipulations.