Monday, January 24, 2011
The Rabbit Hole Paradox -- The Pervasiveness of Propaganda
This post is something of a continuation of the two posts I've done this year on the absence of critical thinking skills among huge numbers of Americans, even among some who might once have had such skills.
The relentlessness of propaganda, especially since the lawless installation of the Bush Regime following the 2000 election*, has done a remarkable job on ordinary Americans' ability to tell fact from opinion and to rationally consider options.
[Note: *For those who really can't tell, my use of the term "lawless installation" is an opinion, an informed opinion to be sure, but it is not a fact, in that there was allusion to the 14th Amendment in the SCOTUS ruling that put Bush in the presidency. That "one time only" clause, you know. However, I'm well aware that I use the phrase "lawless installation" as a propagandist would, deliberately obscuring the line between fact and opinion.]
Since the 2000 election and the dispute over the results, the pervasiveness of propaganda -- much of it simply false, but a good deal of it "kinda sorta true, if you look at the question from the proper perspective" -- has increased to the point of practically overwhelming even the most basic rational facts.
We saw it during the recount, when the "sides" argued their case in the public square, doing what lawyers do -- which is to advocate the interests of their clients -- whether on the assumption the public knew what tactics lawyers use or not is unknown.
But then there was the "disappearing protest" at Bush's inauguration. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington to protest the usurpation* and managed to stop Bush's motorcade briefly, but there was essentially no news coverage of this protest at all that day. Most Americans had -- and have -- no idea there even was a protest. That's Propaganda by Omission, something our major -- and some of the minor -- media has become expert at.
Propaganda surrounded the installation of Bush to the point where it was not even permitted to discuss the disgust many Americans had for what was happening. Online, especially, almost all discussion that involved arguing against the installation was shut out of the mainstream media. Where it was allowed, on the fringes, made the issue "irrelevant." As we were ordered to celebrate the "peaceful transition of power."
In fact, celebrations of all things Bush were the command of the day, every day, in most of America's media. We would have huge tax cuts, responsible budgeting, extraordinary economic growth. Paradise would ensue. Anyone who expressed doubt was just a bitter whiner who needed to get over it. Some were traitors.
Down the Rabbit Hole?
Absolutely. This was the state of affairs in the Public Square right up to the attacks on Sept. 11, when all the previous propaganda efforts went into sheer hyperdrive.
It hasn't stopped to this day, and in fact, the pervasiveness of propaganda has expanded, very much in line with the famous "2+2=5" signs in Orwell's 1984 (which, FWIW, are based on real signs in Moscow during the first -- or second -- 5 Year Plan, the import being that Soviet Comrades could accomplish the goals of the 5 Year Plan in four, if they really put their backs to it.)
This is a very dangerous and ultimately unsustainable path, but one we can't seem to get off of.