( – promoted by buhdydharma )
I see things in wholes and in parts at the same time. We are each part of the Kollective Krazy of this time. Tea Baggers are examples of millions of Mad Hatter Tea Parties. We are not in the realm of reason — Marx would never have foreseen that Lewis Carroll would be the great thinker of our age.
Since WWI there has been a conscious and concerted attempt to control the minds of the American people. To rule in a democracy requires that minds be controlled and programmed–there is no alternative. Naturally, that is what has happened. We are so used to it we normally don’t see it. We have to get out of our normal consciousness to see it–I think most of us here know this from having a long experience of being on the outside looking in.
I believe there is no hope at all for anything resembling the ideal view of a Constitutional Democracy ever flourishing in the USA. That period is over never to return. I suggest we adjust to that reality and try to build something relatively sane for our family and friends. I think life will go on but we have to get rid of the hope that anything can stop the march towards the clearly discernable neo-feudal order. There is simply no force in society that can help us at this time. American intellectuals and progressives have given up on integrity, reason and courage and are as much corrupted by konsumer kulture as the Tea Baggers — perhaps even more so.
First let’s examine the reality of our civilization such as it is. If we look at the average American’s view of the world — and I don’t mean just the outside political world and the facts about it. I mean the way we view our everyday world. We are stunningly ignorant how things actually work. How many people know how their cars work? How many people understand computers or their operating systems? How many people understand where their food comes from? How many people know how their own bodies work? I mean their musculature, their endocrine system and so on. How many people can build a shelter or even repair the basics in their house? My point is we know very little about the essential things that make up our daily lives (I’m sure you can think of more things). But we know a lot about trivial facts about obscure movies, past contestants on American Idol, sports stars past and present, personal lives of “celebrities” and so on. Even fundamentalists who claim to live by the Bible are stunningly ignorant of the Bible — I’m often dumbfounded (I read the fucking book) at the outright lies that preachers are able to get away with. Not to say that all fundies are ignorant fo the Bible or haven’t read it just that the major part of their religion emphasizes trivial issues (Biblically speaking) like abortion and homosexuality and ignore bigger issues like social justice and Jesus’ main teachings, particularly his parables.
We can laugh at the evangelicals as being incredibly stupid (they mostly are) but what about the rest of us? Do we actually know more than them? Do we actually know the basis of leftist philosophy? The answer is often no. Like the evangelicals we just have emotional positions about war, poverty, social justice, sexual politics, immigration etc. If I go on DKOS and say that 9/11 was never investigated using normal methods like, for example, using forensic evidence to establish facts and so on — I would be banned from the site. But what I said was factually correct. If I were to go on DKOS and say that if illegal immigration is illegal then the law ought to be enforced I would get and have gotten a furious tirades about me being a racist etc. The fact is if there is a law it should be either enforced or eliminated or you should come right out and say that the law ought not be enforced — like I do when I look at drug laws since I believe all drugs should be legalized — I don’t believe that just because I like drugs (I really don’t care one way or the other about them) but because I have a reasoned argument for the legalization and free availability of all drugs with some restrictions which I would be able to articulate.
But things don’t work that way in our country. No one is asked to clearly articulate anything not on leftist blogs, not in government, not (most sadly of all) in intellectual disputes where sophism is all-pervasive.
How did this happen? How did the oligarchy (yes there is an oligarchy and we better start finding out who these people are and how that system works) manage to destroy the minds of several generations of the American people? Here’s my list:
- Public Schooling: the curriculum is based on a model established in the late 19th century. It focuses on creating a compliant population easily enlisted into factories and willing to comply with authority. It encourages an approach to knowledge that has little or nothing to do with our daily lives or what we really need to know to function as human beings. It encourages isolated and unrelated facts as being “education” – that approach has nothing whatever to do with education. It encourages passivity in the face of these established facts and, with some wonderful exceptions, does not encourage discovery and unfettered discussion or even knows what the term “dialiectic” means. Most glaringly, the public schools system almost totally ignores social science research and developmental psychology as well as common sense. For example having children sit at desks through much of the day, particularly boys, is utterly insane in the early grades or really anytime. I can go on and on about this because I’ve raised four children. Worse that all that is that public schools have failed to deal with the mind-control techniques and assault or reason that are contained in the medium of television.
- Television: it provides a kind of artificial sweetner effect. It fools the brain into thinking that we are living when in fact we are plugging into a matrix that has two goals: (1) to manipulate our minds to spend money on things we clearly don’t need (otherwise we would not have to be persuaded); and (2) keep “the people” misinformed so that they do not question authority, i.e., the power-elite who run TV stations and cable networks. In addition TV encourages us to adopt a very shallow view of reality, i.e., things are shown out of context and the trivial is not divided from the important and essential. The way to get audience is to appeal to not only the lowest common denominator (in any given demographic) but to the lower parts of our brains. This would be natural since the whole point of TV is to manipulate brains-the rewards are simply to great to not want to do that.
These two public institutions that determine, largely, the information we receive both present the world as a confusing buzz of unrelated facts and subject matters that change by the hour. The bell rings and time to move to a new class in a subject that has absolutely nothing in common with what preceded it; or, change the channel from a woman crying because some soldiers killed their children to a comedy show with a laugh track and then move to a sporting event and so on. This gives a very warped view of reality that is unquestioned because we lack the cultural tools to examine issues. So is it a surprise that the Health Care Reform “debate” was not in any way shape or form a debate. Practically none of the facts related to the issue were brought out by anyone because the solutions to the crisis in HC we face would easily flow from those facts and studies. As would the solutions to any of the major problems we face from the climate change, the drug war, to education to terrorism, to crime, to the financial crisis. The solutions to those problems are all inherent in the facts and studies that surround them. Yet these easy and relatively painless solutions are never considered. I repeat NEVER considered. Because, quite simply, they interfere with some segment of the oligarchy which is an increasingly precarious assemblage of very different forces. This is where we need to focus.
The left should reconstitute itself as a segment of the population that wants to use facts and reason to solve collective problems/issues. We don’t have to be socialists we just have to start with that. We should also be spending more time trying to figure out how the oligarchy works and what forces are at work. Learning this would enable us, collectively, to have some way to be effective, i.e., to know where the soft spots are to be able to make changes happen–but that is assuming we can create a genuine community. It only takes a few thousand — we could do it.
In the meantime my suggestion is to stop worrying about trivial issues whether it is American Idol, the latest sex scandal, or the fate of HCR.