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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Griper Blade: Taking Exception to the Concept of "American Exceptionalism"

I've been watching Adam Curtis' four part BBC documentary, The Century of Self, which you can watch here. It's a fascinating, but depressing, look at the history of propaganda and public relations. To boil things down about as much as you can, it tells us how a group of powerful people came to the conclusion -- based on now discredited psychological theories -- that democracy was deeply flawed. The reasoning was based on a belief that the vast majority of people were irrational and had to be guided by an enlightened elite or democracies would devolve into mob rule, which in turn would lead to fascism or communism. The average person, the thinking went, was not persuaded by rational arguments and had to be influenced in their decisions by emotional arguments. Put simply, you are dumb. You're basically nothing more than a clever monkey and, if left to your own devices, you'll eventually wind up throwing your feces at random people on the street.

The problem of course, was that this was entirely wrong. People weren't incapable of understanding rational arguments, what was happening was that many of the arguments put forth by this ruling elite weren't very good. These were simply political disagreements, but the flawed thinking of the time would have it that everything a person did had a psychological basis. So a logical, rational disagreement with a political argument was seen as a symptom of a mental illness that nearly all human beings shared. You didn't disagree because you'd come to a different conclusion based on the set of facts put forth, you disagreed because you were insane -- just like everyone else who hadn't been "cured" of their inherent mental illness.

I don't want to get too far into the weeds with this -- if you're interested in all this stuff, you can just watch the documentary yourself -- I just want to lay down the background to what is happening right now. This all exists right now. There is a would-be ruling elite in America -- an unholy alliance between the corporate and the governmental -- that believes that you aren't rational, that you're incapable of logic, and that you must be tricked into making the right decisions. If you doubt that, explain to me why a majority of voters in the 2010 elections believed things that simply were not true. There's a concerted effort to get people to vote based on fear, because there are those who believe you're not capable of rational thought. Propaganda appeals to emotion, not logic, so whether its true or not is irrelevant...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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