Fatigue Is a Political Strategy

U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order related to American manufacturing in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex on January 25, 2021 in Washington, D.C. President Biden signed an executive order aimed at boosting American manufacturing and strengthening the federal government's Buy American rules. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Do you ever wonder how much fatigue is part of the agenda? 

If you are in my business, you’re used to hearing the same nonsense talking points day after day from the same people, and you learn to more or less ignore it. It’s part of the job, part of what we get paid to do. But for people who have other kinds of jobs and other kinds of lives, one wonders how many times are they going to respond to nonsense such as, “The economy does better under Democratic presidents!” or “Putin didn’t invade Ukraine when Trump was in office!” and things of that nature. The arguments are silly and meretricious, and the people making the arguments often know they are silly and meretricious. Sometimes, you have to respond to them—sometimes I do, because it is my job—but, sometimes it is a waste of time. 

I am not putting myself next to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn here (you know, in case you were wondering) but I often think of something my friend Jay Nordlinger says about him: He almost never responded to critics, not as a moral matter but as a matter of time. Nordlinger quotes the great author’s son, Ignat Solzhenitsyn: “He could have written The Red Wheel or he could have dealt with his critics. He did not have time to do both.” And so, he wrote The Red Wheel. 

I respond to less of the most predictable kind of nonsense than I used to, and I mean to respond to even less of it, because I have come to suspect that fatigue really is part of the agenda—just keep repeating the same nonsense until people get tired of answering it and then pretend you’ve won the debate. I don’t think a fatigued writer is a lot of fun to read, usually. But I’ve also changed my mind about how much it matters. The people who read Epoch Times don’t believe that horsepucky any more than the people who write it do—it is a kind of ceremonial discourse, a form of therapy masquerading as journalism. 

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