Book Review: Trumpocalypse: Consent Factory Essays, Volume I (2016-2017) by CJ Hopkins

“listen: there’s a hell of a good universe next door; let’s go” ~ E.E. Cummings

By Catherine Austin Fitts

As the populist fervor of 2016 (Brexit, Donald Trump, Le Pen) was rolling, CJ Hopkins was blossoming from successful playwright and novelist to essayist and founder of the popular website The Consent Factory. In the process, Hopkins has made quite a splash, documenting the pivot from the war on terror to the war on populism.

Trumpocalypse is Hopkins’ first collection of essays from The Consent Factory. In these essays, published in 2016 and 2017, Hopkins was still making the transition from brilliantly documenting the pivot—from the war on terror to the war on populism—to finding the humor and absurdity of it all. He was still baffled by the conversion of popular culture to a form of cult submission. He was still finding his state of amusement.

I will let Hopkins explain it as he does so well on the eve of the Trump inauguration:

The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.

Imagine this Maginot line as a circular wall surrounded by inhospitable territory. Inside the wall is “normal” society, gainful employment, career advancement, and all the other considerable benefits of cooperating with the ruling classes. Outside the wall is poverty, anxiety, social and professional stigmatization, and various other forms of suffering. Which side of the wall do you want to be on? Every day, in countless ways, each of us are asked and have to answer this question. Conform, and there’s a place for you inside. Refuse, and. . . well, good luck out there.

In openly despotic societies, the stakes involved in making this choice (to conform or dissent) are often life and death. In our relatively liberal Western societies (for those of us who are not militant guerillas), the consequences of not conforming to the official narrative are usually subtler. Despite that, the pressure is still intense. Conforming to the consensus “reality” generated by these official narratives is price of admission to the inner sanctum, where the jobs, money, professional prestige, and the other rewards of Capitalism are. Conforming does not require belief. It requires allegiance and rote obedience. What one actually believes is completely irrelevant, as long as one parrots the official narrative.

In short, official propaganda is not designed to deceive the public (no more than the speeches in an actor’s script are intended to deceive the actor who speaks them). It is designed to be absorbed and repeated, no matter how implausible or preposterous it might be. Actually, it is often most effective when those who are forced to robotically repeat it know that it is utter nonsense, as the humiliation of having to do so cements their allegiance to the ruling classes (this phenomenon being a standard feature of the classic Stockholm Syndrome model, and authoritarian conditioning generally).

~ CJ Hopkins, “Why Ridiculous Propaganda Still Works,” January 13, 2017

By the end of 2017, Hopkins had clearly found his state of amusement, which reaches a state of uproarious brilliance in his second collection The War on Populism: Consent Factory Essays, Vol. II.

Regardless of whether you hunger for ruling-class “pet treats” as you climb the ladder or you have decided instead to embrace a fact-based reality and scramble for income and meaning outside of the official narrative, Hopkins has a rare talent for helping us all understand the universe we share. Michael Ventura once said that we are standing in the psychic storm of our own being. Hopkins maps it for you.

In my interview with Hopkins, which we publish this week, I asked him how he can do this—how he is able to see so keenly into the heart of things. You will hear his answer. Ultimately, this ability is a form of genius that cannot be classified. The ancients would say it is a gift from the Gods.

Check out Hopkins and The Consent Factory. You are not alone. There is intelligent life outside the ruling class cults.

Solari Report:

The War on Populism with CJ Hopkins

Related reading:

CJ Hopkins (Wikipedia)