Cognition & Reality

Monday, 2 May 2011

Bin Laden, 9-11 & False Consciousness

Filed under: Propaganda — drtone @ 6:28 pm

The term “false consciousness” has a technical meaning in Marxism. It refers to something like global confusion by members of a subordinate class, a confusion that serves the dominant class. I’m not sure that the combination of muddled ideas, rewriting of history, and misdirected anger regarding the events of 11 September, 2001, fits the Marxist meaning of “false consciousness,” but it sure seems to be to reflect a false consciousness.

Once again, we are to be treated to the flag-waving and chest-beating crap that followed the attack on the World Trade Center. I was sick of it then, and found it scary. I’m still sick of it, and it’s in some ways even scarier that it never went away. The death of Osama bin Laden, a decade after those attacks, has revived the sickening jingoism that led to the America’s disastrous adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. I suspect that the we’re in for weeks of rhetoric about the “war on terrorism,” a maybe worse than that. Who knows?

Let’s face it: This is about Americans, citizens of the most powerful nation on earth, having to see themselves as victims. Why this is ingrained in the American soul is a good question. Possibly, it is an inheritance from the Scots-Irish who peopled the early frontiers of this country, and who already had a long history of victimhood before they landed on these shores. Possibly, it is represents a reversal arising from an unwillingness to accept that our wealth and power derives from centuries of conquest, of victimizing weaker peoples, Native Americans, Africans, Arabs. Inevitably, we have turned those we wrong into the “savages” of our mind, casting them as brutes and barbarians, even as we kill and torture them. In any case, if our self-perception as having been terribly wronged is any kind of consciousness, it is a false one.

As a consequence of this despicable national habit, we have fetishized the great defeat on 9-11 in much the same way the Serbs fetishize the Battle of Kosovo, and with much the same result. We look backward. We blame. We fume and fuss. And hate. It is all based on lies about who the winners and losers are, and about what is wrong with our world.

I’m writing this in response to having heard the attack on the WTC referred to, during the broadcast of a basketball game, as “the attack on America.” That’s the way it’s been processed and homogenized and turned and twisted, finally retrofitted to involve us all in a giant Hatefest. As far as I am concerned, the only good thing the Bush Administration did was to lose Osama bin Laden in the wilderness. Now the Obama Administration has demonstrated its desperation by reviving the whole sick affair. Sad.

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