Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Manipulated Mind

Today I had one of those mercifully brief conversations via email with a poor fool who claimed to be in the army. He could barely put a sentence together and most of his accusations were on the level of a fifth grader shouting insults to anyone within hearing distance. My first inclination was to dismiss him as too stupid, too uneducated, too enamored of slogans and sound bites to be what he claimed to be. But then I remembered this article by Fred Kaplan I read a few months ago called Dumb and Dumber. Here's an excerpt:

"In order to meet recruitment targets, the Army has even had to scour the bottom of the barrel. There used to be a regulation that no more than 2 percent of all recruits could be "Category IV"—defined as applicants who score in the 10th to 30th percentile on the aptitude tests. In 2004, just 0.6 percent of new soldiers scored so low. In 2005, as the Army had a hard time recruiting, the cap was raised to 4 percent. And in 2007, according to the new data, the Army exceeded even that limit—4.1 percent of new recruits last year were Cat IVs."

I realized then he was probably a charter member of the lowered standards club, and when he began to spout "war on terrah" programmed responses to me I realized he was just another tool of the puppet masters he didn't have a clue were controlling his strings. If he was halfway smart enough (unlikely) to Google the phrases he was lamely trying to type, he'd see how they were spread around to people like him like shit on a cornfield.

One person who did bother to type in some phrases was Dr. Danielle Allen who tracked down the origins of the Obama chain mail that falsely accused him of being a radical Muslim. According to an article in the Washington Post An Attack That Came Out Of The Ether, Dr. Allen reached a virtual dead end until she typed certain syntactic phrases in Google that seemed to repeat in the chain letter and Internet postings:

"Poring over these early articles on the topic, Allen noticed what she thought was an important pattern. In each instance, someone had posted the articles on the Free Republic Web site, prompting a discussion involving the same handful of people, with several expressing a desire to spread the word about Obama's supposed faith."

The Propaganda Machine method used by Fascists, Nazis, and run of the mill petty dictators in Banana Republics, the Pentagon and other tyrannical organizations, do very little of the leg work themselves. They put the word out in someplace where the frenzied do their feeding, and then they let the uneducated and deluded minions, like the "soldier" who quoted slogans to me today, spread their propaganda for them.

But in order to do this effectively, they have to keep the messengers in a state of constant fear. Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine is excellently reviewed by Chris Barsanti's Brave New World.

"Believers in the shock doctrine are convinced that only a great rupture-a flood, a war, a terrorist attack-can generate the kind of vast, clean canvases they crave. It is in these malleable moments, when we are psychologically unmoored and physically uprooted, that these artists of the real plunge in their hands and begin their work of remaking the world." (from The Shock Doctrine)

The article describes how effective tools such as economic distress caused by gas prices, increasing food prices, and the home mortgage meltdown are when used by those who want to control and manipulate the population. When you take away the safety nets, the ability to survive, you are left with terrified and confused human beings who are looking for any way out of their horrible situations, anyone to blame for the sudden and inconceivable reality they are now forced to live. By taking away the familiar, the comfortable, the necessary, such manipulators send these organisms into shock and thereby control them the same way one controls a lab rat with electric shocks.

And it's usually based on greed and financial gain. If enough people who could make a difference choose to ignore disasters such as Katrina, eventually they and their buddies can go in and put up expensive beach front condos where the poor were literally washed away from. They don't even bother to justify it. Just as the Fascists saw themselves as entitled to rule over the masses because of some privileged delusionary mindset, and just as the Nazis and their belief they were the master race allowed them to kill millions of people, these neo-bastards don't consider those who die to make them rich worthy of a moment's thought. They can't be shamed because they have no shame. They can't be made to care because they have no conscience. It's all about the money and the power that comes with it. They laugh at tools like the soldier who spouted the propaganda they wrote for him. They'd kill him as easily as swatting a fly no matter how good a puppet he was for them.

Propaganda and the creation of convenient and stupid political human tools to spread whispering campaigns are as old as the first politicians running for office against each other for a chance to feed at the public trough. As Bill Shunas writes in Fraggin':

"For forty-four years, Cold War propaganda held sway in this country. It had a large role in allowing politicians and corporations to have their way in domestic and foreign affairs — even if their way had nothing to do with the Russian or Chinese menace. For all practical purposes the menace mainly was an excuse for corporate America's efforts to secure markets and raw
materials in other countries and feed at the defense industry trough at home. If the standoff with the Soviet Union hadn't existed, then they would have liked to invent it."

Barsanti's article ends with the following chilling paragraph:

"It would be nice to think that (Milton) Friedman and others like him were and are just the ivory tower deep thinkers of repute, that like Marx and Engels, they don’t deserve criticism for the evil done in their name. It’s hard to believe that, though, once Klein brings up the case of Orlando Letelier. In August 1976, Orlando Letelier (one-time Chilean diplomat, at that point
working for an American progressive think tank) published an essay in The Nation, “The Chicago Boys in Chile”, which included a charge that Friedman personally shared responsibility for Pinochet’s crimes against humanity, that there was “an inner harmony” between the free market and unlimited terror. A month later, as Letelier was driving to work in Washington, D.C., a bomb planted in his car by a member of Pinochet’s secret police exploded, killing Letelier and a colleague. Today there’s a memorial commemorating the location of the assassination, a physical testament to the “inner harmony” that threatens us all. "

No comments: