American Samizdat

Monday, December 18, 2006. *
People who seek and hold power over others aren’t influenced for the good by public discourse. They mine it for leverage, seek ways to direct it towards things supportive of their programs and mine it for trendy, effective rationales. Public discourse is a vehicle for their psychological warfare. The first step is always getting people to consider something patently ridiculous as worthy of serious attention. Social Security, for example, is now under attack by Charles Rangel [D-NY] and Robert Rubin , the Clinton administration Secretary of the Treasury. They know their arguments are bogus. They want them to be taken seriously, and discussed seriously, so that elements of them appear in the received wisdom columns in the newspapers. Eventually, enough people will accept that there must be something wrong. Why would people be talking about it so much if there weren’t?

One might well ask how anyone could know that such things are psychological warfare, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s because the designers of the campaign explicitly say so. They’re proud of it, they think it’s good and a good thing to be doing. When someone says he’s going to do something and then verifiably takes steps to do it, you’re not going to get much better proof. People like that aren’t going to be swayed by debunking. At best, they’ll be forced to change their perception management tactics. They’ll be swayed when 20 or 30 percent of the labor force refuses to show up for work. They’ll be swayed when they lose privileged access to crony networks. The “lesser evilism” votes harvested by cretins like Rangel aren’t persuasive. Every counter-argument, no matter how well explicated, becomes a waste of effort if the last step of it is affirming the shreds of legitimacy he’s gained through formalized, circumscribed democracy.

The programs offered by Spartacus and Lohmann offer much more scope for achieving something positive. They’re fairly modest, goodness knows.
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:20 AM
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