Cognition & Reality

Friday, 5 November 2010

Ignorance Is Strength

Filed under: Propaganda,Wilhelm Reich — drtone @ 10:42 am

I usually don’t comment here on politics. My other blog, long neglected, is for that. As I have said here and elsewhere, I have been abstaining  for the past year or more from the habit, begun when I first learned to read, of following politics closely. Nevertheless, one cannot help noticing what has been going on in our country of late, nor can one help noticing the parallels to the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1920s. At that time, Wilhelm Reich saw a direct connection between political repression and psychoemotional repression. I write now in that spirit.

We are seeing the perfection of the science of propaganda, as originally devised during World War I and carried to great heights by the Nazis, by the Italian Fascists, and of course, on the other end of the political spectrum, by the Stalinists. In the last couple of decades, the Right wing in this country has achieved a new level of competence in the realm of propaganda, as we saw dramatically demonstrated in the 2004 election and again in the election season just past.

The Right has consistently been on the wrong side throughout history, as measured against current values, having opposed desegregation, child labor laws, Social Security, and equal rights for women. They’re still hopping mad about the income tax. It never seems to occur to them that, in spite of these many “handicaps,” the United States became and remains the most powerful political, social and economic entity in the world today and possibly in all history.

The people we’re dealing with now, who have established a place on the national stage unimaginable 30 or 40 years ago, when they occupied the far right fringe, are not interested in government or governing. They win whether they get anything done or not, because it’s in their interest to make it appear that government does not work. For example, they won the Monica Lewinsky thing, even though they ostensibly lost, because they win any time people in Washington look like a bunch of clowns. It’s their MO. They just won the House on the weakness of a national economy that they more or less deliberately drove to its knees when they were last in power a few years ago. They know that self-fulfilling prophecies are the best prophecies of all.

The new leaders in the House, John Boehner and the rest,  have already proven that they don’t mind looking foolish. They don’t have a program, not only because their whole show is based on racism and other forms of hatred that don’t need a program, but also because they don’t believe in government. They believe in the Bible or they believe that people who do believe in the Bible will support them in dismantling government, a dismantling that serves the few who are willing to use the many to achieve their aims.

Orwell said it all when he attacked the purveyors of propaganda in 1984: “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery” and “Ignorance is Strength.” It’s the last that has our country by the balls. One can hardly help sneering at Sarah Palin’s uninformed approach to the world. There is a strong–and quite dangerous–tendency to dismiss her as an ignorant rube who can’t act because she doesn’t understand how things work. As I’ve said before, however, the people who like Sarah Palin do so precisely because she is ignorant, just like them. They are threatened by education, expertise and the other products of a progressive, centralized society, those things that Palin explicitly rejects and implicitly does not grasp. And the people behind Palin like her because they believe they can control an ignorant cunt of her ilk, and they are probably correct in so thinking, although whether they are is anybody’s guess. They might be making the same error liberals do, taking her ignorance for a weakness. Ignorance is, after all, strength.

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