When I was a boy we were early into a cold war with the Soviet Union. Both in school and through television and newspaper reporting we were informed that the unfortunate citizens of the Soviet Union were misled continuously by inaccurate reporting in their news media. Pravda was mentioned frequently as a state controlled newspaper that had so little truth in it that it wasnít worth reading. Yet, that apparently was all the Soviet citizens had available. Thus, we created Radio Free Europe, etc., to help those poor folks learn the "truth."
Of course, the Soviets also had Radio Moscow, broadcast in English among other languages, so we could tune our short wave radios to that frequency and hear the latest news from the Soviet government perspective. I remember how excited I was that I could tune in that station late at night on my one transistor AM radio that happened to have a fifty foot long wire antenna in the attic of my parentís home. Of course, I was receiving a harmonic frequency, as my simple radio was not designed to receive short wave frequencies, but what the heck, it worked.
I never heard anything from Radio Moscow that had any tangible meaning to me as a boy. All I knew was that the female newscaster was well selected and well educated in sounding convincing, whatever she talked about. What does a kid know anyway?
Perhaps I felt naughty in listening now and then to the "enemy!" Perhaps more to the point I sensed even then that we always needed to hear both (or the many) sides of any story before we could make rational conclusions and then decisions. What is ironic is that I developed that way in my thinking, not as a result of what we were told and not as a result of anything I ever heard on Radio Moscow or Radio Free Europe. No, I developed my analytical discernment from hearing our news media distort truth and by hearing so many "adults" around me in positions of minor power blow smoke out their collective asses about most any subject. Thus I learned two important things: 1) Trust only that which you can personally verify, and 2) Even the adults who loved us as children were frequently full of shit and unwilling to discuss anything of substance analytically and thoroughly. They were ignorant, and unwilling to confront or admit their ignorance, especially in front of children, so they pretended to be all knowing.
Now and then it was necessary for some truth to emerge. At a much younger age, one Easter my mother delivered the awful truth that the Easter Bunny was a fabrication. Oh, my Ö my response after merely a moment of thought was, "I guess that means Santa Claus isnít real either?" She confirmed my statement. A moment later I said, "Then that means Jesus and heaven arenít real either." At that point she said, "Oh, no, that isnít true. Jesus and heaven are real!" Well, put yourself in my place. Once the stocking of deception starts to run the whole thing falls apart. It is no wonder that later as an adult and a parent that I made certain my children were told the utter truth from earliest childhood. Innocence is simply a synonym for ignorance. Innocence is not cute or desirable. Innocence is the precursor to a mind filled with useless garbage, where the ability to discern important facts from absurd claims is destroyed. I wasnít about to let that happen to me. If nothing else, I sought knowledge in the hope of gaining wisdom.
I turned to the physical (industry, construction, and engineering) and scientific/mathematical worlds as the only places I could go and reasonably rely on what I could learn. At least 90% of everything external to those worlds was/is ill-informed, inconsistent or pointless bunk. Of course, the level of ignorance in the general population was so congenitally high that it didnít much matter what they were told or what they said beyond the simplest acts in life. Lack of education, lack of ability to learn, lack of exposure to real life events and media spin all conspired to keep the "adults" ignorant. So, what chance did a young boy have of learning much useful from them? Not much beyond the mundane. At least the few well-intentioned kind adults taught by their words and actions how to live according to the golden rule, and that was valuable, very valuable, for it became the basis of my philosophy of life.
I canít know exactly when it happened, either as a single realization or as the sum of different experiences, but I learned while quite young not to trust the validity of much of anything I heard that I could not personally verify. This was true even from those who meant well on my behalf. To be blunt, I reflect today only a very tiny part of those things impressed on me as a child, at home, in school, in church and for that matter from the media. Thank goodness. I guess I made a terrible mistake in piling education on top of my already discerning mind, for my readiness to doubt and then seek the truth is my self-imposed life burden!
Too often today I feel like a pilgrim in a foreign and depressing land, for intelligent educated truth seekers are in short supply everywhere I have lived, worked and traveled. Too often I have felt like a doctor in an asylum, wondering if there will ever be a cure for human ignorance? Those who promote education, high education, have the right general idea, but high education is beyond the ability of the masses to absorb. Thus the masses are fed garbage in the news and only such information as designed to keep them quiet.
My world of things physical and scientific was and is reliable, for unrealistic dogma is the antithesis of those worlds. The only thing that counts is provable and obviously useful results, time after time. Opinions matter only as long as they reflect provable reality, and even reality is seen to be fluid with increases in human knowledge. The world outside of those domains is to me mostly unreliable even though some bright people exist in that world. The best try to form and mold society into a productive peaceful entity. They are vastly outnumbered. Most simply opt for what history shows to be brutal control.
Finally, I get into the meat of this article. What a hell of a long preamble! The simple fact is that last evening my wife happened to select CNN with Wolf Blitzer discussing events and background information about Libya and Mohammar Gadhafi. I seldom see anything on CNN anymore as I discarded that "Pravda of bullshit" a long time ago. Spin is the activity of that organization and they are certainly not alone. But I took the time last evening to confirm the timelessness of public misdirection. So let me begin with some observations that cover not only CNN but also background on our lives and the actions of our country and recent speeches by Obama and others.
One might reasonably ask Ö if the things you said in your preamble are true, John, then why are you bothering to even write this article? If it is a timeless reality that the ignorant masses will remain ignorant and be led to their periodic demise by ill-intentioned or non-quantitative messianic and ultimately foolish leaders then why do you care? All I can say is that my sense of fairness is violated and that we, even given our historical lack of much knowledge, could have and can and should and must do better on behalf of those less fortunate than ourselves. It is all about the golden rule, the only real and fundamental law and value system that has any meaning at all. It is because we are all part of the human species that we are obligated by enlightened self-interest to make our world sensible and considerate for all Ö a place to enjoy life! That does not mean anarchy or total freedom to do anything, but it does mean we can develop humanity holistically and also support our environment.
Okay Ö now for a few hard realities. The theme of Obamaís speeches of late, and the other dissembling, refer to Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Iran and Iraq and Afghanistan as areas with citizens crying out for democracy. The issue would appear to be the overthrow of despots in favor of our form of government Ö with the implicit thought that by so doing and so becoming that the peoples of those nations will prosper compared to how they have lived under the rule of the despots.
What utter bullshit! The issue is not and has never been the subject of democracy. The relevant issues are a lousy global economy and inability to feed the people as a net result. Of course the people are going to riot when they are poor and hungry, especially if this reality is one that has come upon them recently and one that is different from their recent historical success. It has nothing to do with despotism.
The entire world, with a few exceptions, is economically unstable, and the Middle Eastern countries are simply the first to collapse in a poor economic environment. Our issue is truly oil, not democracy. Our concern is oil, not the citizens of the Middle Eastern countries. We are first class liars from our President on down.
Now to make a special point Ö If the wealth retained by the despotic leaderships in the Middle Eastern countries is bad, then how is it that there was no rioting until the economies started collapsing globally? And how is it that in our Democracy that our common citizens are losing so much ground to the wealthy? Democracy is not the issue at all, for if we have democracy and we are in the process of failing, just somewhat behind the weakest nations in terms of when it will happen, then the real reasons for disaster have to be identified and addressed honestly.
Such is not the case in the news or in any speeches aired that we are allowed to hear. Welcome to Pravda! Oh, I forget Ö we in the USA have been there at least since I was born! Actually, I know better. Manufactured consent began with Woodrow Wilson, as part of conning the public into supporting WWI.
Spin Ö it matters not what word or words we choose to use to describe lying and misdirection. The only thing that matters is that we need to go backwards, if possible, to regain our status economically, and to regain something somewhat closer to the formal definition of democracy. Or perhaps we can go forward with the elimination of the sources of our problems, globally. The rule of the wealthy despots in the USA hasnít worked towards world peace and human fulfillment. We have to eliminate the bastards here as well as in the Middle East and elsewhere, or we will starve also. They are in government and especially business Ö large businesses. It is a matter of time until we fail like the poorer countries, and not a very long time either. We have to act while we can to stave off that ugly fate.
Hereís my spin, so I can be just as bad as our "leaders." Wow, Iím so happy! Life is great! I can hardly wait to do my part! Tell me what to do! (Bow-Wow Ö Ruff!)