“There are a great many people who have a vested interest in maintaining the stupidity of the American public.” (Gore Vidal)
No, this isn’t another conspiracy theory & the elite haven’t exactly been discrete about their agenda of “dumbing us down,” i.e.
“We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” (President Woodrow Wilson)
Yep, another White Supremacist who has been labeled a liberal but is clearly quite another thing. Think about it, who or what institutions would have a vested interest in keeping the majority of the public ignorant & what would they gain from our being ignorant?
The first institution that comes to mind is the most obvious in my opinion & it is the corporate sector.
“In fact, quite generally, commercial advertising is fundamentally an effort to undermine markets. We should recognize that. If you’ve taken an economics course, you know that markets are supposed to be based on informed consumers making rational choices. You take a look at the first ad you see on television and ask yourself … is that it’s purpose? No, it’s not. It’s to create uninformed consumers making irrational choices. And these same institutions run political campaigns. It’s pretty much the same: you have to undermine democracy by trying to get uninformed people to make irrational choices.” —Noam Chomsky
If Chomsky was wrong about the goals of the corporate sector in their advertising, why would the overwhelming majority of corporations spend billions on seducing & distracting their potential customers? It’s crystal clear that corporate America doesn’t give a shit about all the toxic pollution they’ve poisoned our air, food, water, etc. with. And they have absolutely no loyalty to their employees or to America.
They have no moral qualms about closing their factories here in the U.S. & moving to countries where they can pay their workers a couple dollars a day, have no environmental restrictions, & can poison their new, host country’s land, air, water, etc. Yet Trump’s supporters blame it all on liberals & democrats conveniently ignoring the fact that it’s both democrats & republicans who pushed NAFTA through.
I think of all the functions Trump fulfilled as president; none was as important as his role of circus master for the powers that be. While he kept his Duck Dynasty Klan fans amused & distracted, his donors siphoned billions from the U.S. Treasury into their pockets. Once again, Noam is right on the mark;
“Everyone knows that when you look at a television ad, you do not expect to get information. You expect to see delusion and imagery.”
And this is exactly what Trump’s whole life has been i.e. a third-rate actor selling delusion & imagery. He came to power because of a tragic confluence of forces like the Democratic party’s utter spinelessness & the continuous disintegration of tens of millions of Americans’ lives due to the insatiable greed of the corporate elite.
Moreover, because of Trump’s virulent racism, xenophobia, misogyny, moral bankruptcy, & his rhetorical skills, he duped a third of the American public into actually believing that he was going to be their savior.
Of course, if we were a truly enlightened or well-educated public, a Trump would’ve never made it to first base in our political system. Here are a few relevant quotes on the subject of American intelligence:
Furthermore, what’s even more depressing is the fact that Trump supporters are the first & most vocal in their support of stupidity & every asinine & moronic statement that Trump utters only endears him to their hearts even more so i.e. Oh isn’t he cute, he speaks just as stupidly as I do so I know he’s one of us.
Trump’s army of the mentally walking dead are so uninformed & ignorant that they are blind to the fact that it is Trump’s handlers, the corporate elite, who have their boots on their throats & have discarded hundreds of millions of Americans into the gutter homeless, stolen their pensions & their health plans, & could give a shit less about them or their loved ones getting COVID-19 & dying from it.
In my opinion, the overriding & most critically important thing that all true progressives must focus on is how to communicate to the public how the corporate elite are pulling the strings of nearly every politician. Until & unless we succeed in doing this, we may as well be spitting in the wind!
Yes, I’m well aware of what a gargantuan task this is but our lives & our species survival, damn well depend on it. Trump appealed to the extremely ignorant among us because he told people there was nothing wrong with them & they didn’t need to inform themselves, they only needed to follow him. And when I heard Trump telling his people not to believe anything they saw, read, or heard because it was all “fake news,” I was flabbergasted at the gullibility of his followers? Whatever happened to that much touted; All you need is “Common sense.”
Well anybody who had an ounce of common sense would’ve abandoned Trump from day one of his reign of destruction & theft. So clearly, people had better get serious about informing & arming themselves intellectually or else it’s all over & the U.S. will have gone the way of many other “Banana Republics,” like our C.I.A. has helped to create around the globe.
Yet tragically, tens of millions of Americans cling to the belief that a smooth-talking used car salesman, a political outsider, can magically make the corporate elite bring back those fairly decent paying jobs they once had. Yeah right!
Corporations like all businesses or I should say, the overwhelming majority of them are in business for one thing & one thing only i.e. to make as much profit as is possible & ethics rarely concerns them. So, no way in Hell are the corporate cockroaches going to move their companies back to the U.S. where they’ll be forced to pay more than starvation wages, adhere to environmental regulations, pay their fair share of taxes, etc.
Our dreams of economic justice, fairness, equality, etc. will only come about through our united & continuous push back against the corporate behemoths & getting the money out of politics should be our primary focus for the foreseeable future.
Tragically, because we’ve become so dumbed-down generally speaking & corporate propaganda has been so steady in its decades long efforts to keep the public distracted & uninformed, and due to the never ending war of the “Christian” authoritarians against our government, many, if not most of the public have forgotten that no, our founding fathers were not pious, religious believers & warned of the dangers of allowing the religious to dictate our personal beliefs i.e. tell us how to live our lives down to the smallest details.
Unfortunately, due to the never-ending war of the elite against the poor, they have largely succeeded in brainwashing a very large segment of our population into hating everything & everyone with the slightest whiff of being a liberal.
Liberalism was one of the key concepts of The Enlightenment but in Trump land, liberal has been turned into a dirty word & a key reason why so many Americans are either destitute or damn close to it is the fact that the divide & conquer strategy of the power elite has been so successful.
Here’s a brief reminder of what true liberalism is & I’ll be the first to acknowledge that many who claim to be liberal or progressive, are the farthest from it.
Liberalism was another idea of American Enlightenment thinking. It is the belief in human rights and freedom. Liberalism was rooted in practical unity and embraced by dealers in Northern Europe. They were completely public to the free exchange of ideas and therefore causing them anti-authoritarian. They have consistently supported a part of the government that allowed them freedom of expression and movement.
During the enlightenment age, liberalism became a distinct movement which made it popular among western scholars. The main idea of this concept was to completely vanish absolute kingship, traditional conservatism, representative democracy, and hereditary privilege norms. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/6-main-ideas-of-the-enlightenment/
You see, my imaginary reader, a major wake-up call hit the supposed “conservatives” in America when the New Deal programs were passed after the “conservatives” i.e. the bankers, Wall St. crowd, the titans of business, etc. had caused the crash of the U.S. economy. And ever since, they have sworn to dismantle every single program that F.D.R. established & guess what, they have come very close to succeeding in their heartless agenda.
I sometimes wish that I had a photographic memory so every time I hear the same old bullshit propaganda about how liberals have destroyed America, I could rattle off lists like the one I’m about to share to remind people of many of the wonderful things liberalism has given us:
- The GI Bill
- Endangered Species Act
- Environmental Laws
- The Space Program
- The Peace Corps
- The Civil Rights Movement
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Family & Medical Leave Act
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Americans With Disabilities Act
- Freedom of Information Act
- Women’s right to control their reproductive future
- Allowing citizens to view their own credit records
- The Internet
- Balancing the federal budget
- The Brady Bill (5-day wait on handgun purchases for background checks)
- Lobbying Disclosure Act
- “Motor-Voter” Act
- The Voting Rights Act
- Unemployment Insurance
- Food Stamps/WIC
- Social Security
- Peace between Israel and Egypt
- Peace between Israel and Jordan
- The Department of Education
- The Department of Energy
- The Department of Transportation
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Labor Laws
- The Marshall Plan
- Winning World War II
- Food Safety Laws
- Workplace Safety Laws
- The Tennessee Valley Project
- The Civilian Conservation Corps
- The Securites and Exchange Commission
- Women’s Right to Vote
- Universal Public Education
- National Weather Service
- Product Labeling Laws
- Truth in Advertising Laws
- Morrill Land Grant Act
- Rural Electrification
- Public Universities
- Bank Deposit Insurance (FDIC)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Public Broadcasting
- Supporting the establishment of Israel
- The United Nations
Sadly, because propagandists know that it doesn’t matter how big a lie is or how absurd their claims, all they need do is just keep repeating the lies ad nauseam & the general public will eventually accept it as truth or fact. They’ve been waging their propaganda war in this context as I said, at least since the New Deal & in some respects, for even longer than that. And they learned the importance of repetition from none other than Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s right-hand man & the Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany.
Furthermore, every time I hear a Trump fan call themselves conservative, I want to yell in their face, you don’t have a fuckin’ clue! To explain what Conservatism is, it’s perhaps easier if I highlight what it isn’t?
- Powerful and continuing nationalism
- Disdain for human rights
- Identification of enemies as a unifying cause
- Supremacy of the military
- Rampant sexism
- Controlled mass media
- Obsession with national security
- Religion and government intertwined
- Corporate power protected
- Labor [sic] power suppressed
- Disdain for intellectuals & the arts
- Obsession with crime & punishment
- Rampant cronyism & corruption
- Fraudulent elections
No, my friend, these are not conservative principles but are in fact, the early warning signs that a society is approaching fascism, you know, Italy, Germany, & Japan in pre-WWII and which America joined the rest of the world in fighting against.
And I’m sure that any of our veterans still alive from WWII must be so disillusioned & ashamed of what America has become under this tin-pot, wannabe dictator, Trump. For those Trump supporters who have spit on the memory of their fathers & grandfathers by supporting a pseudo-fascist like Trump, you should be deeply ashamed of yourself & spend the rest of your life trying to atone for your crimes.
Again & again we must bring it back to our flagrant anti-intellectualism which again, the powers that be have been promoting from the beginning of our nation’s history. I could go on & on & on in my analysis of our political, social, environmental, & economic crisis but this brief overview will have to do for now.
In conclusion, the corporate media also plays a very significant role in keeping the public ignorant by manipulating public opinion, repeating the corporate/political lies, & most glaringly, the billions in free advertising they gave Trump before he was elected & all through the last four years of chaos & insanity.
But without a doubt, the overarching forces of the corporate multi-nationals are the key factor in our march like lemmings blindly following the Trumps of this world over the edge into the abyss or the death of life itself!
Here are a few more quotes that I hope may inspire you to take back your rights as a free citizen of this world or simply a human being. But first, I have a challenge for you, the next time your family member or friend starts with their litany of how evil “liberals” are, demand that they reject, not use or accept any of the protections, etc. that liberals have brought us that I listed earlier.
The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity – much less dissent.
There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party…and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.
Our only political party has two right wings, one called Republican, the other Democratic. But Henry Adams figured all that out back in the 1890s. “We have a single system,” he wrote, and “in that system the only question is the price at which the proletariat is to be bought and sold, the bread and circuses.”
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”
“The more you can increase fear of drugs, crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all of the people.”
Does this last quote remind you of anyone you know?
P.S. My next essay will be an “Intellectual Self-Defense Course,” inspired by my friend, mentor, & intellectual hero, Noam Chomsky.
—Rob DeLoss, Gold Beach, Oregon Jan. 14, 2021
*one week before that happy day when we see Trump’s fat ass wandering off into the weeds of his golf course, cheating as he usually does because he’s a colossal narcissist & spoiled rich brat.
I started this essay claiming that no, this isn’t simply another conspiracy yet here is a truly troubling but revealing snippet of how the wealthiest men of their time directly interfered & played a huge role in the shaping of public education policy & practice in America. Think about it, do you believe this was because of their altruism? Do the super wealthy become so rich by genuinely caring about their employees? Or could they have interfered because they wanted a hand in preparing their ideal workers i.e. docile & domesticated? This is from John Taylor Gatto & his books on our public education system are an education in themselves.
“Between 1906 and 1920, a handful of world famous industrialists and financiers, together with their private foundations, hand picked University administrators and house politicians, and spent more attention and more money toward forced schooling than the national government did. Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller alone spent more money than the government did between 1900 and 1920. In this fashion, the system of modern schooling was constructed outside the public eye and outside the public’s representatives. Now I want you to listen to a direct quote, I have not altered a word of this, it’s certainly traceable through your local librarians. From the very first report issued by John D. Rockefeller’s General Education Board — this is their first mission statement: “In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into men of learning or philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters, great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, (he’s really covering the whole gamut of employment isn’t he?) statesmen, politicians, creatures of whom we have ample supply (whoever the pronoun we is meant to stand for there). The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in an perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way”.
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