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Truth as Treason

From the "Heads I win — Tails you lose" BushCo playbook, wherein their masterful framing of the issues creates nothing but win-win scenarios for themselves (and, consequently, lose-lose scenarios for the reality-based community) comes this apposite excerpt from Noam Chomsky's book Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies:

To confront power is costly and difficult; high standards of evidence and argument are imposed, and critical analysis is naturally not welcomed by those who are in a position to react vigorously and to determine the array of rewards and punishments. Conformity to a "patriotic agenda," in contrast, imposes no such costs. Charges against official enemies barely require substantiation; they are, furthermore, protected from correction, which can be dismissed as apologetics for the criminals or as missing the forest for the trees. The system protects itself with indignation against a challenge to the right of deceit in the service of power, and the very idea of subjecting the ideological system to rational inquiry elicits incomprehension or outrage, though it is often masked in other terms...

A challenge to the underlying patriotic assumption is virtually unthinkable within the mainstream and, if permitted expression, would be dismissed as a variety of ideological fanaticism, an absurdity, even if backed by overwhelming evidence -- not a difficult task in this case...

Case by case we find that conformity is the easy way, and the path to privilege and prestige; dissidence carries personal costs that may be severe, even in a society that lacks such means of control as death squads, psychiatric prisons, or extermination camps. The very structure of the media is designed to induce conformity to established doctrine. In a three-minute stretch between commercials, or in seven hundred words, it is impossible to present unfamiliar thoughts or surprising conclusions with the argument and evidence required to afford them such credibility. Regurgitation of welcome pieties faces no such problem.

...According to this "propaganda model"...the media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner suportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly...

One prediction of the model is that it will be effectively excluded from discussion, for it questions a factual assumption that is most serviceable to the interests of established power: namely, that the media are adversarial and cantankerous, perhaps excessively so. However well-confirmed the model may be, then, it is inadmissible, and, the model predicts, should remain outside the spectrum of debate over the media. This conclusion too is empirically well-confirmed. Note that the model has a rather disconcerting feature. Plainly, it is either valid or invalid. If invalid, it may be dismissed; if valid, it will be dismissed. As in the case of eighteenth-century doctrine on seditious libel, truth is no defense; rather, it heightens the enormity of the crime of calling authority into disrepute. [em. mine]

It's this last sentence I find most fascinating, for I think it gives insight into not just the "propaganda model" of mainstream media that Chomsky discusses, but accounts for much of the mentality behind BushCo's supporters.

BushCo is wasting no time, now that he has his "mandate." It seems the Stalinist purges have already begun, and the thought police are gearing up. The gulags and forced drug treatments will be arriving shortly.

Here's one of my first posts, an oldie but goodie that seems particularly apt: The Loss of Authority's Face and the Coming Hot War.