April 21, 2008

What Nightmares May Come

It's a curious fact of human psychology that we can be looking at something for a long time before the true picture finally becomes clear. For instance, the citizenry of most 'Western democracies' have known for many years that their system isn't perfect; in fact, many people (perhaps most, as they get older) have become rather cynical about politics and politicians. On the surface, then, we seem to be sophisticated to a degree. But, getting below the surface, the fact remains that we have little understanding of just how corrupt and totalitarian our political systems have become.
It finally hit me recently that the utterly perverted and inverted use of language foreseen by George Orwell in his amazingly prescient novel, '1984,' has within these few opening years of the 21st Century, become entrenched in our political apparatus.
Yes, I know that politicians have been lying to us since the dawn of civilization. Yet it was recognized that they were expected to be truthful and when discovered in their lies, shame and apologies were also expected. Today, the problem is that mendacity has infected the political rhetoric like a semantic cancer, wherein the practitioners believe they have some kind of elite dispensation from the rules of normal, truth-based speech. They employ a specialized vocabulary in which things mean the direct opposite of what the word says. Thus, they can speak with full assurance before media interviews, public enquiries, legal proceedings, and what have you, never missing a beat. You want examples? They are legion, especially since 2001 when the art of Orwellian 'doublespeak' or 'newspeak' (as he labeled it) reached new heights in the American sphere.

Think back to '9-11' and the resulting actions termed by the Bush administration as a 'War on Terror.' Despite this being a so-called 'war,' the unfortunate suspects rounded up by US troops and sent to Guantanamo prison were not considered as 'soldiers' by the White House, therefore not subject to the Geneva convention! It makes no sense, except when seen in 'newspeak' terms. The Bushmen vowed to deliver 'peace and security' to the American public; what they really intended was 'war and insecurity.' But because they were using newspeak, they could proclaim their crusade with complete assurance and bluster. In Canada, the Conservative party under Stephen Harper promised to make the federal government open and transparent. No sooner had they taken office when they became secretive and closed to all but tightly orchestrated press releases. The politicians have no shame over these 'apparent' contradictions because they were uttered in newspeak-- If you don't understand the lingo, don't blame them!

The same use of Orwellian newspeak is becoming the hallmark of all institutions of authority and power, such as the police, military, and corporations. Police officers used to speak with media reporters; now they have 'spokespersons' who are fluent in newspeak, and trained to give minimal information to the public. The military, as we know, are masters at doubletalk, and invent all kinds of vocabulary and acronyms to hide the truth of what they really do. Civilian casualties became 'collateral damage;' enemy targets are not killed, they are 'taken out;' detainees are not tortured, they are merely subjected to 'harsh interrogation.' Even real-estate sales agents have not taken the use of newspeak to the lofty heights pushed by military spokesmen. When the PR statements from big corporations assure us that they are dedicated to preserving the environment, to fair wages, and to social responsibility, you can understand that they are planning on moving to an underdeveloped country where there are no environmental laws, where a local fair wage is a pittance in Western terms, and where there are no meaningful laws to protect employees or citizens from corporate priorities.

One writer, Henry Makow, has described the phenomenon in slightly different terms: "Thus, we always must discern between the formal and the informal, the subjective and the objective. Formally, we live in a free society. Informally our "leaders" are dupes and traitors dedicated to our ultimate enslavement. [...] Formally, elections express the peoples' will and desire for change. Informally, elections are required to maintain the illusion of freedom and secure the taxes and bodies needed for endless wars. Formally, they believe in our country. Informally, they are doing everything they can to undermine it so the population will accept world government."

This analysis is perceptive, and is another insight into the use of newspeak as the medium for concealing what he calls the informal (true) agenda from the public. When members of the elite, the presidents, prime ministers, CEOs, the generals, the chiefs, say one thing, what they really mean is the opposite. This is endemic, institutionalized hypocrisy; this is Orwellian newspeak, the argot of the ruling class in the 3rd Millennium. Orwell warned us more than 50 years ago when it looked like literary excess; today we are living the nightmare.

A moment's reflection should convince the reader that prolonged use of newspeak is highly dangerous to the health of society. It was the dialect used in Nazi Germany, and we know how that story ended. It was the language of choice in the USSR, and mercifully, merely led to internal collapse and disintegration. However, in both those notorious examples, the elite made the game obvious, with dictatorial suppression of human rights and blatant abuses of power. The people knew it was a giant scam, and discounted every official pronouncement accordingly. The new globalists must have learned something; or perhaps the Nazi and Communist experiments were just part of their plan. Today, they skillfully use newspeak and media 'info-tainment' techniques to baffle the minds of the public and to artfully conceal the malignancy behind their soothing words. Since the primary myth of America is that it is a democracy, and that myth is nurtured from birth to death, the vast majority believes it as they believe in the law of gravity. Thereby, American society, by and large, does not realize that they are being scammed, and even the 'well-informed' don't understand the degree to which their information is, in fact, highly shaped and even manufactured to achieve desired outcomes in public consciousness.

There may still be readers who can't accept the idea that our political leaders deliberately state one thing when they really mean the opposite. To convince those lingering skeptics, let me supply a few examples from recent history-- which I hope most people will recall. In the early 1990's, Western leaders ('G7' at the time) pledged to divert a specified small percentage of their GDP specifically towards the eradication of child poverty-- a noble goal, and certainly one that was quite attainable. Today, hardly 20 years later, all reports are that the rate of child poverty in the G8 has not only not improved, but has shown some further erosion. For years now, western governments have all paid dutiful lip service to the necessity to care for the world environment. Some signed on to the Kyoto Accord, some did not, but continued to announce their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Today, worldwide pollution continues its rise, virtually unabated from the earliest days of public acknowledgement. During the horrendous civil war in Rwanda, despite the fact that the UN had troops on the ground, and capable commanders practically crying for authority to intervene, the UN members sat on their collective and individual hands, watching as 800,000 Africans were butchered. Again, regarding Africa, George Bush, in his inaugural address of the 2004 election, pledged millions of dollars of aid to combat the AIDS epidemic. A noble sounding pledge that astounded me at the time (before I woke to the reality I present here). Four years later, it emerges that, in fact, there were unacceptable strings attached to Bush's offer and essentially no money has been forthcoming. When another civil war broke out in the Darfur region of Sudan, the world community once again showed its utter indifference towards Africa (apart from oil-rich Nigeria) and to this day, has done nothing substantive to end the bloodshed. During the fabricated crisis that led to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006, the UN and notably, the USA, simply sat on the sidelines wringing their hands in mock dismay while the IDF proceeded to destroy the once-viable nation of Lebanon, finally lobbing deadly cluster bombs against the civilian population in frustration. I could go on, but you should get the picture by now. In all these situations, the leaders spouted high-flying rhetoric in archetypal newspeak, had the power and authority to do something; and chose to do nothing. You can't watch this hypocrisy time after time and simply write it off as coincidence or whatever. Make no mistake, this doublespeak is deliberate as is the inaction. One of the principle factors the elite depend on for promulgating their hypocritical statements is the ridiculously short attention span of modern society-- which, in turn, is fostered by communications media that maintain a relentless torrent of 'news' and entertainment to assault the minds of the public.

No society can function in a sustainable healthy manner when there is such a disconnection between its language and the meaning behind the words-- when those in authority are perverting linguistics for self-serving ends. It may take one, or two generations, as with the USSR, but inevitably, the system must collapse under the weight of its accumulated inconsistencies with reality. We are seeing the economic illusion start to unravel, as the true dimensions of its fundamentals demonstrate their contradiction to the glowing depictions of the financial gurus and overlords. Once that key sector crumples, the guano will really hit the fan. As the masses begin to realize the name of this sorry game, they will be very upset and will look for leaders to blame. To distract the masses and deflect the blame, the leaders will resort to the usual tactics-- create an emergency, like a war, or more likely, another concocted 'attack' on American soil. And because everything has to be on a gigantic scale these days to have any lasting impact on public consciousness, you can be sure it will be a terrible event, indeed.

Having had such dramatic demonstrations of the failure of elite dictatorships, why, one wonders, would anyone want to go back and do it again? Especially in this modern age when the misuse of military technology could have virtual catastrophic consequences on a global scale. (Indeed, we have the capacity to destroy our race, in the extreme.) The whole concept is insane, fraught with destruction, death, and chaos. Partly because of the convolution of language, the protagonists in question really believe that their utopian ends justify whatever means can be devised to attain them. When evil is presented as good, ongoing war as peace, ignorance as happiness, murder of 'enemy' civilians as justice, invasion as liberation, predatory capitalism as democracy, and so on and on... then what else can anyone expect, but chaos? And in the sick minds of the globalists, chaos is the desired, unavoidable path to final order, as their motto 'Ordo ab chao' optimistically proclaims. One can find various plausible, psychological explanations that attempt to account for why patently crazy ideas are embraced and promoted by a certain segment of power-mad individuals. It's difficult, but they try to rationally analyze decisions and actions that, to any sane observer, make no sense, defy reasonable notions of human decency and preservation of the common good... including that of the mad elite themselves. Yet, most of these explanations leave one still pondering how supposedly 'intelligent' human beings could pursue courses of action that can be predicted to be ultimately self-destructive. The Bible offers what I regard as a credible explanation when it refers to 'the mystery of iniquity.' In other words, this kind of insanely destructive behavior has no rational basis-- its cause is a mystery.

I'd like to conclude on an optimistic note... But any student of history knows full well that what we are seeing is part of a cyclical process-- the waxing and waning of civilizations, the 'rise and fall' of empires, the ebb and flow of human progress. It's obvious we are nearing the zenith of an historical expansion. Most of our cycles are not sinusoidal-- i.e. smoothly rising and declining, but rather 'sawtooth' in profile-- exhibiting an increasingly steep rising phase and followed by a sudden and abrupt plunge as the bubble bursts. What the latest collapse is going to be like, we cannot predict. There are numerous possible scenarios, most of them not very pleasant. As the chaos increases, the idiom of newspeak will demonstrate its bankruptcy of meaning. People will finally 'get it;' but by then, it may be too late.

Goodbye to Common Sense

Once upon a time-- before TV talking heads, and the commercialization of thinking-- people had what was commonly called common sense. You younger readers have probably never heard of it, so pay special attention. By common sense, everyone understood that we were referring to things that were self-evident, patently true from our shared, everyday experiences in life. For example, you don't let your kids stick fingers in the electrical outlets; that kind of thing. But there was much more to it than those kinds of avoidance of negative physical consequences. If someone was in a bad relationship, they could go to a close family member and get reasonable advice based on common sense. We didn't need a guy with a Ph.D. to tell us it would be wise for an abused wife to leave the abusing husband. Or, if we saw an event with our own eyes, we could draw conclusions without the input of a multidisciplinary team of experts to 'interpret' the details for us. In fact, most people felt fairly confident that they could make reasonable judgements about life on their own.

That was the old days, before the demise of common sense. Today, things are different. We don't 'need' common sense any more... or so it seems. Instead, we have 'specialists' who appear on TV and spare us the agony of exercising our mental muscle tissue. It can be for the most personal of problems-- witness the popularity of (for ex.) 'Dr. Phil,' who drags people's dirty laundry before a rapt audience in the studio and in broadcast-land, and tells them what they need to do with their sorry lives. The 'Ann Landers' newspaper advice column has mutated into the television arena in a big way, and the copyrights are now worth multi-millions.

In the sphere of news and current events, we can similarly rely on the eager TV mega-casters to relieve us of any need for our own thinking abilities. The daily news comes packaged with video imagery, computer graphics and maps, and the essential, color commentary. Make no mistake; every story that makes it on the national news is edited and prepped in some ways to achieve a desired end. Wherever live video is not available, 'canned footage' is inserted to provide some kind of visual association with the reporter's voice-over commentary. Sometimes it's almost humorous to see the obvious, often stretched use of whatever old, stock images could be discovered on short notice to supply a measure of imagery to go with a story. It's decidedly less humorous, tho, when the media moguls manipulate the elements that constitute a news event with the clear intention of manufacturing opinion. As the telemedia industry has matured, and its fantastic potential recognized, this molding of public perception has become the entrenched norm. As ownership of media outlets has become concentrated, both across media types, and within one medium, it has become easier for the abuse connoted by the practice of manufacturing consent.

Of course, news stories have always had to be edited to meet the requirements of space or time available, local priorities, public sensibilities, and so on. What some viewers don't fully understand is the degree to which the stories they are fed have been constructed, fabricated, to create a desired impression in the minds of the audience. Reporters themselves will admit that there is no such thing as 'objective reporting;' every person brings a unique angle to the event under scrutiny. True. Yet most reporters have an innate sense that they should provide two sides (at least) to any interpretive story, and should interview several people with differing perspectives, and should provide the background details and data related to the story in an unbiased manner. And probably that's what they do, at least for their editors. After that, their job is done, and now it's in the hands of the real news-makers, those who package the news for us.

It's in what used to be the 'cutting room' (in the days of film), now the computer screen, that stories are made and news-casts assembled for broadcast. It is here that the crafters of public perception do their work, tuning and assembling the components of the stories in a way that creates the desired feelings in the emotional centers of the viewing audience. You have to put aside pathetic belief in 'the integrity of our media,' and wrap your mind around the reality that the media are businesses-- big business. It's all about money, in the end, and the handmaiden of money, power. (I could say a lot more on this subject, but will leave it for another time.)

The obvious question is 'What has this to do with common sense?' Alright; I'm glad you asked. Over the years, since the dawn of TV, there has grown increasing awareness of the power of television to make people see the world ('reality') in a particular way. That power could have been used to raise the consciousness of the masses (yeah, sure)... but instead, has been used to pander to the lowest drives of human nature, in the interests of immediate commercial gains. Television has the ability to bring events from a far-off part of the world almost instantly to our awareness, and keep us informed, even educated on what is going on elsewhere. Instead, it is used to make us believe certain things about the world that may be quite distorted or false. Some readers may find it too hard to believe that this manipulation is conscious, deliberate, and orchestrated. That's understandable; it's a natural outcome of your full conditioning by society thru the education system (of which mass media are an integral part, in the minds of those who pull the levers of power). If any innocent soul needs a textbook illustration of exactly the kind of manufactured consent I'm talking about, they need only cast their memory back a few years ago, to 2002. That's when the American media machine revved up the war-drums and prepared a broad path for GWB and his hawks to send the US military might into Iraq (without even declaring war, which would have required House approval). Anything was possible in those fear-charged days; some editorials even condoned the use of torture. As the old adage goes, in war anything is permissible.

Again; what's my point, one may ask. The pivotal point in that sorry episode is that there was virtually no sign of common sense anywhere to be found. There surely were some voices of sanity, even in the Exited States; but their cautious counsel was almost totally ignored by the mainstream media, and where given slight shrift, was roundly denounced as unpatriotic, or some such nonsense. The news machine relentlessly trumpeted the now-discredited 'evidence' of WMDs; demonized Saddam, the former US ally; vigorously waved the Stars and Stripes at every occasion; and of course, produced unending interviews with the famous talking heads who supplied all the necessary reasons why the invasion was necessary and justified. It was a classic snow job of monstrous proportions; it was the updated and upgraded, modernized version of Nazi propaganda. And it worked. Well, it worked for a while; long enough for tragic damage to be unleashed on a country that had nothing to do with '9-11,' and no connection with Al Queda. Common sense was ignored, belittled, and condemned as un-American. And yet, amazingly, a great many people, even in that barrage of powerful, chauvinistic propaganda, managed to retain their skepticism of the so-called evidence, and to oppose the mad dash to the invasion front. Common sense does not disappear that easily; it is a God-given faculty, like conscience, that is hard-wired in our brains... until enough re-programming is exerted to subvert it.

Another premier example exists in the events of 9-11-- the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in NYC, and the attack on the Pentagon in DC. Whereas the war on Iraq required weeks of prior media conditioning, the pivotal events of 9-11 were arranged weeks in advance and then executed in one, paramilitary, psy-operation. This will one day be recognized as the grandest instance of mass hypnotism or illusion ever performed. Using the same techniques as the famous illusionists (like David Copperfield, etc.) combined with the classic, cynical methods of psychological warfare and disinformation, the masterminds of Sept-11-01 pulled off the greatest 'false-flag' hoax attack in history. Why do I state this with such definitive authority? Because the whole sequence of events absolutely defy common sense... and yet the official 'explanation' has been accepted and promoted by the mainstream media, and their dogged endorsement has, in turn, led many ingenuous viewers into similar acceptance. In this acquiescence to duplicity, the media are clearly complicit; their believing viewers merely gullible.

The facts of 9-11that fly in the face of common sense are too legion to enumerate here; yet to illustrate what I mean, I will cite just a few of the most egregious examples; (and think about them). To accept the 'official explanation' for the events of that date, the onlooker is expected to believe that: - in the busiest, most populous corridor in America, not one, not two, not three, but four commercial aircraft, could be hijacked and fly freely in airspace over some 22 military airbases... and be unopposed over the space of 1.5 hours, even after all non-military flights had been grounded by civil aviation authorities; - after the first two towers were hit, not one military interceptor could find its way to either of two more known hijacked airliners, in the almost one hour they were airborne; - altho steel and concrete skyscrapers have been built since the beginning of the 20th century, and altho not one has ever collapsed due to fire, on 9-11 three massive skyscapers (WTC 1, 2, and 7) were reduced to piles of rubble... by fires; - as the tallest towers in the world at their construction, the WTC towers were designed and built to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707 (closely equivalent to a B-757), yet on 9-11 both towers were destroyed by collisions with aircraft; - altho it wasn't hit by anything more than 'debris' from the two towers, WTC building 7 mysteriously collapsed into its own footprint in what looks exactly like a controlled demoltion... but was explained as collateral damage; - while containing 110 floors of office equipment in a massive cage of steel-reinforced concrete, the two buildings were reduced to piles of dust powder and a few big fragments... by nothing more than 'fire that caused metal failure;' - altho the scene of the crime of the century, all the physical evidence was cordoned off, cut up, sold, and transported away... before any impartial investigators ever got to examine the rubble; - the appointed investigation committee knowingly overlooked key evidence, important testimony, and independent research (all of which they admitted later) in order to arrive at a pre-ordained conclusion.

That's what I mean by common sense and the utter disregard for it in the government-media phantasmagorical explanations for 9-11. Virtually no part of the story makes any sense when held to the dimmest light of examination by unbiased examiners. But that's the rub-- the media are not unbiased. Not only do they cling doggedly to the fairy tales fed by the Bush government, but they heap scorn and ridicule on critics-- no matter how qualified-- who question the official lies. This wall of denial is no accident of media inertia; it is a concerted strategy, developed at the highest and invisible levels of media ownership and influence, and permeates down thru the ranks of the 'mainstream media' outlets, both in print and electronic. Citizen reader, welcome to Orwell's future.

The denial of common sense has now carried over into many other areas of life. One of the basic areas where corporate propaganda trumps common sense in a deadly way is in health and nutrition. In the days of common sense, people would know that if you take out the fibre and nutrients from food and then add preservatives, colors and other chemicals, that the end-product may be edible, but not necessarily food. They would know that breathing the smoke of a burning, stinking weed must be bad for the lungs, if nothing else. They would be suspicious of a system that jocularly prescribes pills as the quick cure for whatever ails you, and radical amputations for diseased body parts. But, we've had three or more generations raised on the confident assurances of specialists that all of these things are perfectly safe and there's nothing to worry about. All of this despite the plain fact that medical treatment itself has become a major cause of death.

Western nutritionists have publicly fretted for years that vegetarians aren't getting enough of those vital proteins to be healthyÉ oblivious of the evidence that whole societies in other parts of the world manage to be strong and healthy with little or no meat in their diet.

After a generation of television viewers, and increasingly violent program content, a few observers began to posit a connection between societal violence and TV programming. How about that? It is well known that people-- especially young people-- in developed countries spend huge blocks of time per week in front of the glow-screen. McLuhan told us decades ago how TV was a passive ('cool') medium that bypassed our critical faculties to deposit impressions directly in our minds. It should've been a 'slam-dunk' connection, right? Well, no way, when the media giants debunk any attempt to implicate their industry in affecting viewer behavior, deliberately or not. And all that denial while they rake in billions of dollars from advertisers who, apparently, believe they are, indeed, affecting the behavior of viewers towards buying their products. Once again, common sense is eclipsed by expert testimony from co-opted investigators ready to sell their souls for research funds.

When the US is running a massive trade deficit and the war in Iraq is costing billions of dollars annually (and we're into year 6) yet the president drops federal income taxesÉ where is the money coming from? Common sense would tell us that it must be borrowed, and one day 'someone' (and not the politicians) will have to start paying it back. Yet the Bushites and corporatists assure the public that there's nothing to fret about, this is all new economic magic.

I could go on; but by now, I think the reader gets the point. More than get it, tho, I hope every reader will start to question the blandly confident pronouncements from the experts who are paid apologists for the industries that so generously fund favorable research. Question all those news stories that innocuously steer your thinking towards support for government policies, especially those that promote 'peace and security' by imposing ever-greater controls on our lives. And for Americans, especially those media stories that promote war on this or that present danger as the only solution possible. Common sense as a common human trait may be struggling for survival in an age of corporate expert spin, but every individual has the capacity to revive and nurture their God-given faculty of natural judgement and discernment. As they say: use it or lose it!