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Hillary Clinton and "The Weaponization of Loneliness"

Updated: Apr 12

I was dismayed, though not hugely surprised, when I saw Hillary Clinton’s recent article at the Atlantic headlined with the exact title of my book, The Weaponization of Loneliness. You can read further about my reaction in this Federalist article, “Yes, Hillary Clinton is a Big Fan of ‘The Weaponization of Loneliness.’

The Weaponization of Loneliness

One purpose of Clinton’s Atlantic article is to promote Surgeon General Vivek Murthy's recent advisory on the loneliness epidemic, which, as I've written, serves as a blueprint for government invasion of the private sphere of life. As author of the 1996 book It Takes a Village –a soft treatise on collectivism--Clinton also presents herself as a forerunner to the advisory.  But another purpose is to set up a propagandistic narrative that positions her political opponents as the only folks who create and exploit social isolation. It co-opts the term "the weaponization of loneliness" to try to do that.

Was Clinton's headline a coincidence, or made up on the fly by an editor? Highly unlikely. A major publication must carefully consider how to title a 3500-word article with Hillary Clinton's byline. My book has been out since October, and its title has been circulated publicly in hundreds of interviews, op-eds, articles, and reviews, all related to my book's thesis about social isolation as a political weapon. In fact, when I first considered the title and googled it several years ago, I couldn’t find it anywhere in print. Numerous interviewers and podcasters have remarked on how unique and compelling a title it is.

So it certainly seems like an effort to co-opt the term and associate it with a high profile public figure on the political Left instead of as the thesis of a lesser known author such as myself. If Hillary Clinton has a thesis for “the weaponization of loneliness” (which she does not) it is 180 degrees apart from mine. I focus on social processes and human impulses and agendas in which weaponized loneliness--and especially the fear of isolation--it is modelled throughout modern history. Clinton's Atlantic article rails against all things “right wing” and then places the blame for our society’s alienation on what she once termed “a vast right-wing conspiracy," featuring villains such as Newt Gingrich, Steve Bannon, “incels,” and Rush Limbaugh.

Hence, Clinton's essay is not an exploration of the process of isolation as a political weapon. Rather, it seems intended to distract from many of her pet policies and programs that actually cultivate loneliness by building dependency on government as well as censoring and demonizing anyone with different ideas. Many of those policies have actually resulted in social fracturing and despair, including family breakdown, urban blight, addictions, attacks on free speech, and now the transing of children. Clinton's Atlantic piece is meant to bury all of that and shift blame. Ultimately, if the invasive programs and policies of the surgeon general's loneliness advisory are enacted, we are bound to see far more atomization and misery, not less.

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