Hillary Clinton and her powerful media affiliates seem to have co-opted the title of my book, “The Weaponization of Loneliness,” for the purpose of repackaging their propagandistic narrative against Trump voters and freedom of speech. In her recent conversation with Rachel Maddow, Clinton spoke of “the weaponization of loneliness” to vilify those who disagree with her, portraying them as villains responsible for the crisis of America’s polarization and loneliness epidemic. The springboard for that interview was Clinton’s recent 3500-word essay in the Atlantic, headlined “The Weaponization of Loneliness.”
Most of Clinton’s interview with Maddow was a giddy chit chat over the latest rollout of indictments against President Trump. Clinton interjected the term “weaponization of loneliness” to blame her usual suspects of deliberately sowing all of the division and distrust America is experiencing. Her article is a cataloged enemies list that includes anyone skeptical of the handling of the 2020 elections and anyone who doesn’t blindly trust our institutions and government.
She also uses smears like “alt-right” and “conspiracy theorist.” As I’ve written, such polarizing name-calling has always been a staple of those who want to shut down conversation, isolate those who disagree and enforce compliance with increasingly bizarre demands. By relying so heavily on demonization rather than substantive analysis of America’s current crisis of isolation, Clinton herself is practicing the weaponization of loneliness on an amplified scale.
The Actual Thesis
“The Weaponization of Loneliness” represents my thesis which was decades in the making. The resulting book is a multi-faceted deep dive into the history, the science and the culture behind the phenomenon of social isolation as a political weapon. There is a process by which we go down that rabbit hole. It’s urgent for Americans to become conscious of that process, to become far more aware of how vulnerable we are to having our fears of ostracism exploited by bad actors. We are losing our freedom because of that fear.
Ponder how so many people are manipulated into joining dangerous cults. Also consider the phenomenon of Stockholm syndrome, whereby the isolated captive bonds with the captor out of a sense of dependency and despair.
How do such things happen? First, human beings have a primal terror of social rejection and a corresponding urge to conform to the demands of authority. Anybody who seeks power — whether a gaslighting partner, a toxic boss, a cult leader or a totalitarian dictator — can exploit this fear to achieve their goals.
There is a “machinery of loneliness” operating in our society that isolates us and destabilizes our relationships. The “machine’s” three main components are identity politics, political correctness and mob agitation.
Identity politics serves to erase us as unique individuals by assigning us group identities as either oppressor or victim. Political correctness induces us into self-censorship by threatening us with ostracism. Mobs can take different forms, but they enforce all of the above. Other components include propaganda, political censorship, the criminalization of comedy, snitch culture and much more. Demonizing labels (such as “bigot!” “anti-vaxxer!” “transphobe!”) along with political censorship play a huge role in stoking that terror.
The tyrant’s big prize in this game is to control the private sphere of life, our web of relationships of family, friends, faith and community. Tyrants have always targeted that sphere because that’s where people get their inner strength. It’s rich with knowledge, conversations, ideas and influences. If that sphere is captured, we become atomized, a condition leading to our demoralization and a loss of strength to resist tyranny.
These methods and goals are not new. As a student of totalitarian systems, I noticed how social isolation was critical to all tyrannical rule through modern history. A few examples are the Jacobin mobs of the French Revolution, the brutal war on private life in Soviet Russia, the Nazi’s brutal regime of identity politics (dubbed “racial hygiene”) and Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China whereby mobs of Red Guard youth inflicted violent struggle sessions on any perceived political enemy.
All of the above point to a process of the weaponization of loneliness. By contrast, Clinton uses the term simply to demonize her political opponents. If you disagree with her, you are “sowing dissension.”
Clinton often complains that people don’t trust the government enough. Seriously. But government policies over the past many decades have actually cultivated isolation by encouraging government dependency, contributing to family breakdown and undermining free speech and freedom of association, among other ills.
The COVID mandates literally enforced our isolation and deceived us into thinking it would only last a couple of weeks, not years. How can reasonable people trust a government that forces them to choose between an experimental injection or their livelihood? Or that brutally separates them from dying loved ones? Or that instructs them to snitch on their neighbors? Yet Clinton is allied with all such policies and demands trust.
All the tactics of the weaponization of loneliness are right there in Clinton’s Atlantic article and Maddow interview: the psychological projection, the use of a huge media monopoly to enforce a narrative, the constant deception and the claim that free speech should be suppressed under the guise of protecting us from “misinformation.”
How do people keep falling into these traps? And how do tyrants get away with it?
My answer is that human beings have not yet developed a conscious enough awareness of the process. We don’t appreciate how much our fear of ostracism dictates what we say, how we act and with whom we associate. Tyrants have always harnessed that fear to pit us against one another.
That’s what the weaponization of loneliness really means. If we don’t put checks on that process, we can’t sustain civil society or healthy communities. Instead, we get government-controlled pseudo “Hillary-villages” where our speech, our ideas, our families and our associations are regulated. If you read the surgeon general’s advisory that Clinton promotes in her Atlantic article, you can easily detect a blueprint for building them.
In sum, Hillary Clinton’s use of the title “The Weaponization of Loneliness” is beyond weird. It transcends academic theft because she has such a mammoth censorship-industrial complex at her disposal. This gives her and her base a good chance to drown out a thesis that I believe can really help Americans build the awareness they need to escape that trap. I can only conclude that the term has been hijacked because it builds awareness of how the propaganda we’re constantly fed is used for silencing, dividing and conquering.
Stella Morabito is the author of The Weaponization of Loneliness: How Tyrants Stoke Our Fear of Isolation to Silence, Divide, and Conquer. She is a senior contributor to The Federalist where she has written extensively on the social fallout of propaganda and group think.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.