Random Thoughts on Lies and Fantasy

Monday, August 08, 2005 at 03:49 PM

We're living in a strange time in America.  Science is bad, faith is good; workers are bad, owners/management are good; jobs are disappearing, but unemployment is down; Iraqi and Afghani insurgents become more and more deadly, but only because they are losing so badly.

What strikes me is that for a populace to buy these views, there must be two things going on simultaneously: (1) People with power and control are lying through their teeth, and (2) the populace is too comfortable with fantasy to be able to see through obvious lies.

I understand the people in power lying part.  They do that everywhere.  And the more secure the power, the greater the lies they seem to feel comfortable telling.  But how do you explain the populace buying into what amounts to a self-serving fantasy of the powerful?

To make it all the stranger, we live in a country with a populace that gets a relatively decent education, and which sends a healthy portion of its citizens to college.  Among the "advanced" countries, is this just an American thing?  Off the top of my head, I don't remember Europe being this bad off.  Canadians seem harder to fool than we are.

I can come up with the following for an explanation:

  1. For many years after World War II, we've indulged the presumption that we are a classless society, in the sense that we're all in it together, without the class warfare that has "plagued" Europe.

  2. Since Ronald Reagan, the upper class has felt safe to resume the unavoidable class war between the powerful/rich and powerless/poor (I place his firing of the air traffic controllers as the turning point).

  3. At the same time, the right wing has successfully built a large network of electronic and print propaganda outlets to continually direct attention away from the resumption of that war, by harping on the supposed dangers of the "culture war."

  4. At the same time, the resurgence of fundamentalist religion has produced a large portion of the population willing to see God vs No God as the major battle, hence extremely reluctant to buy into the idea of a class war (after all, both sides in a class war would have lots of religious people on their side--how could religious people be the bad guys?).

  5. The existing government, both Republican and Democratic branches, are top heavy with people from the powerful/rich side of the battle.

  6. Government by its nature tries to prevent public panic, so it almost always lends its weight to the side saying everything will be alright (hence the government deceptions on outsourcing's magnitude and effect).

  7. Producing a vacuum of power on the part of the powerless/rich in the class war, preventing any strong, believable voice to oppose the powerful/rich.

  8. Which is currently being filled by the likes of Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, Coulter, etc., who all position themselves as being from the "common man" segment of America, when they actually are from the fairly affluent professional class (that describes, Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Coulter; Hannity shields his actual background so well that I can't get a feel for it--of course, he's shielding it, which makes me think there's a reason).

Any way, that's what I came up.  I'm interested in what other people who post to this site think, both about whether my description is valid, and what to do about changing it.