During the Trump presidency, among the right's favorite self-soothing shibboleths was claiming the left had TDS—Trump Derangement Syndrome.
This was yet-another instance of right-wing self-plagiarism—Conservatives reflexively reject new ideas—but in this case it was self-plagiarism. Just as "Make American Great Again" originally came from 1940, then was successively, um, updated, by Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, Trump Derangement Syndrome originated during the G. W. Bush administration as Bush Derangement Syndrome. (I confess to suffering from some of this. My bouts of BDS were triggered by embarrassment at his often-demonstrated unintelligibility, his frequently articulated inarticulateness and cluelessness. Dubya was the Yogi Berra of Presidents. Although Will Ferrell put the Dubya presidency into perspective when, after the 2016 election, he revived his Dubya impersonation:
The raging, spittle-spewing, internet/Facebook amplified fixation with TDS was Murdoch-fostered, an intended distraction from the Murdoch-anointed candidate’s bad behavior. Spreading the notion of “TDS” was a mental road-grader, a tool for paving the way to the Evil Empire’s favored form of government: Doltocracy. Doltocracy is a mutation of democracy based on the Capitalist belief that most people are easily manipulated mediocrities (which among those attracted to Murdoch media is more often true than not.) The Doltocracy’s foundational premise is that
- a) easily-manipulated mediocrities are a group;
- b) all groups have the right to be represented; and
- c) therefore, easily-manipulated mediocrities (suggested Party name: Mediocritians) should be represented by easily-manipulated government officials.
If necessary, these should be elected if, but better if they’re appointed and, ideally, they should be appointed by Murdochs. [Note: For further reading on representation of mediocrity in government, see the political career of Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska.]
Doltocracy is misinformation-based, and it functions best (from an Evil Media Empire-profit perspective) when led by Murdoch-controllable dictators (elected if strictly necessary, but always Murdoch selected). To prepare the dolts in their audience (i.e. their audience) for manipulation, the Murdoch process begins by inducing cognitive-dissonance (i.e. they blow the dolts’ minds). They accomplish this by running "news" stories that are simultaneously called balanced and fair while being admittedly biased, that are based on blatant lies both big and small, and that contradict long-held-but-poorly interrogated traditions and "norms." Once doltish minds have been initially disrupted, it is then easy to ratchet up their anxiety to reality-distorting levels.
I'm singling out the Murdochs as a matter of convenience; there are plenty of other deep-pocketed, self-entitled Capitalists—I'm looking at you, Elon—and Hillary Clinton's "vast, right-wing conspiracy" was, if anything, an understatement. But this is coming not only from money-addled Capitalists, but also from national governments (okay, that's really a distinction without a difference). Governments, including our own, have been doing this all along citizens of foreign nations and to their own. This has all become way too easy since the coming of the dolt whisperer—the internet worm that has been sighing in our ears. Aided by conspirators both active and passive—Facebook, Twitter—dolt-wranglers have had unprecedented success finding and recruiting us.]
TDS is an example of near-psychosis-level projection—the mental process by which people attribute to others what is in their own minds—that Murdoch et al. have been able to induce in Conservative and evangelicals. The current, most-successful (from a dolt-manipulation perspective), and most-destructive phase began in 2009 when MTFT (Murdoch, Trump, Facebook, Twitter, which sounds like a TV-advertising legal team) began encouraging Obama Derangement Syndrome among their legions. The initial foray was the internet-amplified, not-so-subtly-racist insistence that Obama's presidency was illegitimate because he wasn't born here. (Where? Kenya. Which is in, you know, Africa).
The big lie works by short-circuiting people’s healthy skepticism, but for it to function well does not require a narrow definition of “lie”; it does not necessarily require that a claim be counter-factual. Any potentially skepticism-cancelling concept—whether bizarrely ludicrous or merely nonsensical (Alice in Wonderland comes to mind)—can short-circuit a doltish thought-stream and will accomplish the same cognitive-dissonance-induced reality-distortion field that in turn causes intellectual and emotional disorientation. Claiming to be “fair and balanced” when one is blatantly being unfair and unbalanced causes some minds to become fairly unbalanced.
ODS has recently been repackaged as Biden Derangement Syndrome. [Or “Brandon” Derangement Syndrome. This childish, playground-level dissing coming from the Neo-Adult right is displayed in the micro-passive-aggressive mispronouncing and misspelling of people's and party's names: Biden becomes "Brandon," liberal becomes “lib-tard,” Democratic becomes "Democrat.” Additionally, right-wing politicians and pundits think using poor grammar makes them seem less elite than and more like the common folk they actually despise. This name-calling is, I believe, an unproductive, patronizing tactic that decreases their credibility by making them seem as doltish as their constituents. Without any evidence, I believe it does them more harm than good. For that reason, I encourage them to keep doing it.]
The update of ODS to BDS has manifested in a series of claims about Joe Biden that, as with all these ploys, are intended to induce cognitive-dissonance by invoking out-of-the-norm rhetorical tropes: ageism, racism, misogyny, insensitivity, faith—in government and each other—et al: Biden is too old; he's mentally deficient; the election was stolen.
The latest iteration is an attack on electric vehicles (EVs). The right’s current charge (pun intended) is a concentrated, coordinated campaign against government-backed efforts to encourage electric-vehicle (EV) production. This campaign is more subtle and less-direct then Joe Poopy-pants (yes, that’s an actual right-wing meme). The anti-EV campaign is a passive-aggressive contrivance aimed at discrediting Biden, the bogeyman who is keeping them up at night, by promulgating the (seemingly reasonable) idea that promoting EVs right now is stupid, mindless, disorganized, unsystematic, and corrupt, a plot by evil, green interests to steal tax dollars. In the Conservative telling, EV’s are part of an obvious scam, because it’s clear that switching from ICEVs (Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles) to EVs cannot work: Our country lacks "sufficient electric infrastructure” to charge them. Put an electric infrastructure in place, then, maybe, we can talk. But now? Where’s the plan, Brandon?
Consider: It’s 1908 and Conservatives are objecting to Henry Ford's Model T: "Has Mr. Henry Fudd considered where all those cars he wants to make and sell are going to find gasoline? Our country lacks sufficient infrastructure to fuel all the vehicles that will be produced by 2022. And what's the point of selling cars when there aren't enough paved roads to drive them on? First we have to build enough service stations to provide fuel for all those vehicles, then build the interstate highway. Then, maybe, we can start talking about selling your cars in significant numbers. But now? Where’s the plan, Mr. Fudd?"
Too bad the right doesn't insist on there being "sufficient infrastructure" for their own thinking.