Let the Games Begin
The political Olympics of innuendo and candidate destruction, our Presidential Campaign, is now officially opened for business. Witch hunting was all the rage in Europe during the protestant reformation. Every significant cultural change in the world has been accompanied by some sort of movement that opposed its development. Politics as usual in Spain during the Protestant Reformation meant the Grand Inquisition, royal corruption and destruction of any drive toward reformist openness of thought.
Now the Reformation appears to have come full circle and is sponsoring its own witch hunts here in our national politics. How else are we to explain the Clinton witch hunt years driven by suspicion of moral weakness? This is now being followed by the Bush II Administration’s current troubles related to its own veracity and integrity. Attacks on integrity have always been as important to political campaigns as they are today, and equally wide spread. But records have never been so complete nor has research been so easy to perform. Political campaigns designed to destroy opponents have become prevalent and particularly virulent of late. The result is doubt in the minds of the people related to any political candidate. This is often countered, on both sides, by absolutist support for any candidate chosen by their party. Any real evidence that might point out the folly of electing that person to political office is lost in the maelstrom.
So what is the cultural change taking place here in the USA that is bringing on this reactionary and vituperative approach to politics? It is neither conservative nor liberal in nature in any true sense of either word. It is the rise of direct involvement in our daily politics by a new class of citizens dedicated to changing our political process to reflect their world views. They are, at the same time, the opponents and the advocates of using the tools of mass manipulation to define our politics. They oppose any use of those tools by their opposites in political thought; while using them to the best effect that they can manage on their own behalf.
Those citizens include members of every movement from right extremists to left wing nuts. They are part of a growing effort by citizens to create order in a political realm artfully riven by the most divisive issues that could be created by experts at mass manipulation. It is the nature of democratic politics that required a science of mass manipulation be created in order to serve the interests of an, as yet, undefined elite. That science now exists and is taking its Orwellian path to power. In the process it is defining the elite classes that will run our society and manipulate the rest of us if we let them prevail. It is the tools that empower that manipulation that are the greatest forces working against the success of democracy. The groups now striving to use them to create a permanent power base will eventually be numbered among the victims of manipulated Democratic processes.
I care not whether you are a Democrat or a Republican you should be alarmed by the nature of this change. The cultural change taking place here is either going to result in a society continuously driven by marketing and the principles of mass manipulation; or it is going to be to a society driven by rational choice that rejects the tools of mass manipulation. The battle has been gradually joined over the last two hundred years here, and elsewhere in the world where democracy has developed. It will probably be over by the end of this new century. The world of Orwell’s “1984”, written in the middle of the last century, bears a strange and awful resemblance to our society today. Particularly in regard to the use of language to manipulate the public and redefine events to mean something other than their actual meaning in the real world outside our perceptions.
There is a real world of events, many of which are beyond our control as the most powerful nation on earth. To deny that, as we have consistently have done since before the Cold War was over, is to require that the tools of manipulation become an intrinsic part of our political process. Reality does exist, however inconvenient that fact may be to those who refuse to recognize it regardless of the evidence to the contrary. It is in the failure to recognize our own errors that the most egregious mistakes of any life exist.
The life of our Republic is no different in that dictum than that of you or I or any of our leaders. We cannot base policy decisions on false premises and then change the premises in order to make the mistaken policy seem right. Not, at least, without abusing the tools of mass manipulation. A policy based on false information such as waging war on Iraq due to the imminent danger posed by the WMD is not true because the man deposed was a monster. It is a policy as untrue as any ever posed by any nation-state in human history in pursuit of a false sense of security based on military power alone. Our democracy cannot stand if we citizens cannot separate truth from untruth and false policies from those that actually carry out the purpose for which they were first proposed.
It is often in the nature of truth to be difficult to discern. We do know that this is true about the war on Iraq; it was posed as a war being fought to secure our safety against the WMD. We are now certain that those weapons did not exist. Some professionals involved in the weapons inspection program, such as Scott Ritter warned us that they did not exist before we went to war. Our leadership ignored that fact and denied its validity. Once it became apparent that they might be proved wrong they used the tools of mass manipulation to change the point of the war to removing Saddam because he was a monster. Inarguably that was mass manipulation at its worst if we are to be governed by the will of the people in this nation in regard to war and peace in particular.
Now we are into another Presidential Campaign and the tools of mass manipulation are being trotted out everywhere in the media. The attacks by both sides will be brutal and it is up to us to determine what is true. Most of us will retire from the field waving our party’s banner and not think about it further. Those who do not vote by party alone bear an awesome responsibility to find the truth among all of that manipulation. Our choice is between the Bush II Administration that has proved its willingness to abuse those tools egregiously and an unknown Democrat. The Bush folks have often used manipulation to attain ends that are not in the vast majority of the people’s interest. The Medicare bill is one grand example of that kind of abuse by those folks. They are opposed by an unknown candidate with little history relevant to us judging how much manipulation that candidate will tolerate in their Presidential Administration. God bless you and keep you all alert during this election to the manipulations by both campaigns, our Republic depends on the outcome.Posted by Henri Reynard at February 9, 2004 12:52 PM