“Walter Lippmann … described what he called “the manufacture of consent” as “a revolution” in “the practice of democracy”… And he said this was useful and necessary because “the common interests” - the general concerns of all people - “elude” the public. The public just isn’t up to dealing with them. And they have to be the domain of what he called a “specialized class” … [Reinhold Niebuhr]’s view was that rationality belongs to the cool observer. But because of the stupidity of the average man, he follows not reason, but faith. And this naive faith requires necessary illusion, and emotionally potent oversimplifications, which are provided by the myth-maker to keep the ordinary person on course. It’s not the case, as the naive might think, that indoctrination is inconsistent with democracy. Rather, as this whole line of thinkers observes, it is the essence of democracy. The point is that in a military state or a feudal state or what we would now call a totalitarian state, it doesn’t much matter because you’ve got a bludgeon over their heads and you can control what they do. But when the state loses the bludgeon, when you can’t control people by force, and when the voice of the people can be heard you have this problem — it may make people so curious and so arrogant that they don’t have the humility to submit to a civil rule [Clement Walker, 1661], and therefore you have to control what people think. And the standard way to do this is to resort to what in more honest days used to be called propaganda, manufacture of consent, creation of necessary illusion. Various ways of either marginalizing the public or reducing them to apathy in some fashion.”—
In Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, 1992 It’s a movie
“Revealing how little fundamental assumptions have changed, U.S. strategic analysts describe the result of China’s military programs as a “classic ‘security dilemma,’ whereby military programs and national strategies deemed defensive by their planners are viewed as threatening by the other side,” writes Paul Godwin of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. The security dilemma arises over control of the seas off China’s coasts. The U.S. regards its policies of controlling these waters as “defensive,” while China regards them as threatening; correspondingly, China regards its actions in nearby areas as “defensive” while the U.S. regards them as threatening. No such debate is even imaginable concerning U.S. coastal waters. This “classic security dilemma” makes sense, again, on the assumption that the U.S. has a right to control most of the world, and that U.S. security requires something approaching absolute global control.”—Noam Chomsky (via stay-human)
“Non-violent resistance activities cannot succeed against an enemy that is able freely to use violence. That’s pretty obvious. You can’t have non-violent resistance against the Nazis in a concentration camp, to take an extreme case.”—Noam Chomsky (via americandissident)
Significant anniversaries are solemnly commemorated — Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, for example. Others are ignored, and we can often learn valuable lessons from them about what is likely to lie ahead. Right now, in fact.
“The rich and powerful regularly advocate liberalization once they have achieved a dominant position and hence are willing to face competition on a level playing field— that is, one sharply tilted in their favour. The stand is sometimes called “kicking away the ladder” by economic historians: first we violate the rules to climb to the top, then we kick away the ladder so you cannot follow us, and we righteously proclaim: “Let’s play fair, on a level playing field.””—Noam Chomsky (via teleological)
1. The strategy of distraction – The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction which is to divert public attention from important issues and changes determined by the political and economic elites, by the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and…
“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope.”—Noam Chomsky (via crimsonhippy)
While many have been hoping for some kind of tax cut from the fellows running for president, we’ve already been enjoying one. The payroll tax cut that President Obama enacted through The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 reduced the bite taken out of our paychecks taken for Social Security by two percentage points (from 6.2% to 4.2%) . For the average American family, that amounts to about $1,000 per year.
The London Conference on Somalia takes place today. Foreign Ministers from around the world are attending, including both the President and Prime Minister of Somalia. See our coverage and join the debate.
Speaking ahead of the conference the Foreign Secretary said that the aim is to agree a series of practical measures to support Somalia and to help the country get on its feet:
We are realistic - Somalia’s problems cannot be solved in a day, but its people deserve a better future, and our own security requires their country to become more stable.
“The most extreme types, like Murray Rothbard, are at least honest. They’d like to eliminate highway taxes because they force you to pay for a road you may never drive on. As an alternative, they suggest that if you and I want to get somewhere, we should build a road there and charge people tolls on it. Just try generalizing that. Such a society couldn’t survive, and even if it could, it would be so full of terror and hate that any human being would prefer to live in hell.”—Noam Chomsky (via wretchedoftheearth)
“The sign of a truly totalitarian culture is that important truths simply lack cognitive meaning and are interpretable only at the level of “Fuck You”, so they can then elicit a perfectly predictable torrent of abuse in response. We’ve long ago reached that level.”—Noam Chomsky in a letter to Alexander Cockburn (1 March 1990), later paraphrased in Deterring Democracy (1992) p. 345 (via fyeahnoamchomsky)
“Destruction of the environment is not only rational; it’s exactly what you’re taught to do in college. If you take an economics or a political science course, you’re taught that humans are supposed to be rational wealth accumulators, each acting as an individual to maximize his own wealth in the market. The market is regarded as democratic because everybody has a vote. Of course, some have more votes than others because your votes depend on the number of dollars you have, but everybody participates and therefore it’s called democratic. Well, suppose that we believe what we are taught. It follows that if there are dollars to be made, you destroy the environment. The reason is elementary. The people who are going to be harmed by this are your grandchildren, and they don’t have any votes in the market. Their interests are worth zero. Anybody that pays attention to their grandchildren’s interests is being irrational, because what you’re supposed to do is maximize your own interests, measured by wealth, right now. Nothing else matters. So destroying the environment and militarizing outer space are rational policies, but within a framework of institutional lunacy. If you accept the institutional lunacy, then the policies are rational.
Interview by Yifat Susskind, August 2001”—Noam Chomsky (via malthusiancynicism)
Noam Chomsky is perhaps one of the most well-known and quoted intellectuals alive. A Professor of Linguistics at M.I.T. and a notable Anarchist, Chomsky is one of my greatest influences. This is a link to his official website where you may find a list of his published books, various articles, debates and so forth.
In 1949, China declared independence, an event known in Western discourse as “the loss of China” — in the U.S., with bitter recriminations and conflict over who was responsible for that loss. The terminology is revealing. It is only possible to lose something that one owns. The tacit assumption was that the U.S. owned China, by right, along with most of the rest of the world, much as postwar planners assumed.
The “loss of China” was the first major step in “America’s decline.” It had major policy consequences. One was the immediate decision to support France’s effort to reconquer its former colony of Indochina, so that it, too, would not be “lost.”
Indochina itself was not a major concern, despite claims about its rich resources by President Eisenhower and others. Rather, the concern was the “domino theory,” which is often ridiculed when dominoes don’t fall, but remains a leading principle of policy because it is quite rational. To adopt Henry Kissinger’s version, a region that falls out of control can become a “virus” that will “spread contagion,” inducing others to follow the same path.
In the case of Vietnam, the concern was that the virus of independent development might infect Indonesia, which really does have rich resources. And that might lead Japan — the “superdomino” as it was called by the prominent Asia historian John Dower — to “accommodate” to an independent Asia as its technological and industrial center in a system that would escape the reach of U.S. power. That would mean, in effect, that the U.S. had lost the Pacific phase of World War II, fought to prevent Japan’s attempt to establish such a New Order in Asia.
The way to deal with such a problem is clear: destroy the virus and “inoculate” those who might be infected. In the Vietnam case, the rational choice was to destroy any hope of successful independent development and to impose brutal dictatorships in the surrounding regions. Those tasks were successfully carried out — though history has its own cunning, and something similar to what was feared has since been developing in East Asia, much to Washington’s dismay.
“Paul Ryan is called a conservative, I’m not talking about him. I’m not talking about Gingrich, i’m not talking about Reagan, i’m not talking about Fox News. These are not conservatives in any traditional sense. They’re radical statists”—
Product Details: Paperback: 432 pages Publisher: New Press, The; 1 edition (May 1, 2012) Language: English ISBN-10: 1595586229 ISBN-13: 978-1595586223 When the historian Howard Zinn died in early 2010, millions mourned the loss of one of our foremost intellectual and…
‘George Orwell coined the useful term “unperson” for creatures denied personhood because they don’t abide by state doctrine. We may add the term “unhistory” to refer to the fate of unpersons, expunged from history on similar grounds.
The unhistory of unpersons is illuminated by the fate of…
This is very interesting (but not very high resolution).
What’s very sad is that 89 people have been cleared for release, but are still at Guantanamo bay (at least at the time this infographic was made).
An additional 46 prisoners are detained without adequate evidence. The US won’t release them because they have a hunch that they are too dangerous. What sort of shitty excuse is that? If you think they are dangerous, you would’ve seen some information that would lead you to think they are dangerous. If not, then let them go.
From the 1970s, there has been a significant change in the U.S. economy, as planners, private and state, shifted it toward financialization and the offshoring of production, driven in part by the declining rate of profit in domestic manufacturing. These decisions initiated a vicious cycle in which wealth became highly concentrated (dramatically so in the top 0.1% of the population), yielding concentration of political power, hence legislation to carry the cycle further: taxation and other fiscal policies, deregulation, changes in the rules of corporate governance allowing huge gains for executives, and so on.
Meanwhile, for the majority, real wages largely stagnated, and people were able to get by only by sharply increased workloads (far beyond Europe), unsustainable debt, and repeated bubbles since the Reagan years, creating paper wealth that inevitably disappeared when they burst (and the perpetrators were bailed out by the taxpayer). In parallel, the political system has been increasingly shredded as both parties are driven deeper into corporate pockets with the escalating cost of elections, the Republicans to the level of farce, the Democrats (now largely the former “moderate Republicans”) not far behind.
A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, which has been the major source of reputable data on these developments for years, is entitled Failure by Design. The phrase “by design” is accurate. Other choices were certainly possible. And as the study points out, the “failure” is class-based. There is no failure for the designers. Far from it. Rather, the policies are a failure for the large majority, the 99% in the imagery of the Occupy movements — and for the country, which has declined and will continue to do so under these policies.
“The prime target was South Vietnam. The aggression later spread to the North, then to the remote peasant society of northern Laos, and finally to rural Cambodia, which was bombed at the stunning level of all allied air operations in the Pacific region during World War II, including the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this, Henry Kissinger’s orders were being carried out — “anything that flies on anything that moves” — a call for genocide that is rare in the historical record. Little of this is remembered. Most was scarcely known beyond narrow circles of activists.”—Noam Chomsky (via americataboo)