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Preaching To The Choir

 

Michael Andrews

 

It is a clear sign of the breakdown of democratic dialog and of useful debate when there is no option left but to preach to the choir.

Sane and intelligent thinkers have little choice but recourse to propaganda, censored facts and preaching to the choir because of two unfortunate conditions.

The first sad state of affairs is that there is no liberal/progressive media left with enough presence to counterbalance the avalanche of right wing, conservative idiocy that dominates the public media,  the public mind and sways public political opinion. Based on the squeaky wheel principle in regards to the dull intellect and limited attention span of the public mind, constant preaching to the choir is required simply to prove that there some countervailing opinion even exists, let alone performs some actual function if the service of changing minds. Without limited exposure offered by preaching to the choir, what remains of common decency, critical thinking and the will to do good would simply evaporate in a cloud of lost hope.

The second, and most disturbing state of the political landscape, is the stupidity of the electorate. The remnants of American democracy is now totally subsumed beneath the oppressive mass of entrenched ignorance and willful stupidity cynically manipulated by the entrenched elite.

The definition of political stupidity would have to include the following traits as they obtain to the  mass levels of the populace:

 

The inability to acquire factual data about the state of political reality. The actual presentation of fact, that is the news industry, has long since ceased to present a balanced view and has opted for radical fascist interpretations of a severely censored subset of factual data.

This is compounded by the fact that the vast majority of the electorate either has never possessed or has lost altogether any and all skills necessary to discover such critical factual data by using their own intellectual horsepower.

 

The actual stupidity of the electorate is reflected in the fact that when presented with the disinformation hurled at them by the media, and even when in possession of countervailing data, they cannot discern what is in their own best interests.

This means they vote against their own best interests and for the interests of the wealthy elite based on pseudo-data presented to them by the wholly owned purveyors of media disinformation.

The obvious revelation is that an intelligent population does not vote itself into extinction for the sole benefit of a predator class.

 

Worse, the intellectual poverty and mental enervation of the electorate means that they have consciously chosen to vote how they are told. They have actually chosen to be a choir which hears only the preacher yelling loudest in their collective ear. Unfortunately the preacher is a wolf and the sheep have been asked to vote themselves into the slaughter pen.

They have agreed to do so.

This is, in fact, exactly the brand of democracy proposed for the Iraqi. The predators know that when presented with the ludicrous ideas of freedom and democracy, the Iraqis will exercise democracy just once and immediately vote themselves into a fundamentalist theocracy; with the concomitant civil war and human disaster to follow.

This is effectively no different than a Christian fundamentalism dominating a pseudo-democracy which is actually run by an elite practicing free market fundamentalism. Ironically enough, we are indeed, offering the Iraqis our same level of freedom and democracy.

 

Michael Moore’s Farenheit 911 has played this weekend to the tune of many millions of clinking dollars. Since dollars and not rational argument are what determines the public mind, perhaps this is a good thing.

Predictably the elite have pronounced it propaganda. And so it is. And, who would know better except the elite who have done nothing but bury democracy under an avalanche of propaganda in monumental, ceaseless tidal waves of propaganda, disinformation and downright lies ever since Reagan.

Naturally, a little countervailing propaganda can only be perceived as a refreshing breeze.

Not that such preaching to the choir will do much good.

The most sinister point the film glossed over is the fact that the house of Saud owns 6 or 7% of the USA.; to the tune of something like a trillion or two plus dollars. Should the house of Saud decide to withdraw such wealth, the US economy would collapse. This begs the question as to who, in fact, is in charge of American policies and agendas. Should the US confiscate, nationalize or freeze such assets, we would be cut off from Saudi oil and the economy would collapse; or, will we resort to another war of imperial conquest; something we are not shy about doing in any case.

On the other hand, if the American economy collapses then the Saudis loose a major customer. We are, for the moment in bed together performing all sorts of unnatural acts.

No wonder the oil producing world can’t wait for India, China and the EU to become major oil consumers. No wonder China and India would rather shift to an economy based on the Euro rather than the dollar.

The rest of world can easily jettison American economic tyranny simply by creating markets and shifting currencies. There is no need for the rest of the world to oppose America in a military confrontation. We will be easily marginalized as a market and as an economic force while the American junta waves flags and its trillions of dollars worth of useless weapons.

Farenheit 911 does effectively and probably unwittingly portray the underlying stupidity factor of the American electorate.

First of all there is the reactions of intellectual nematodes such as Ray Bradbury, squealing about the return of his title. This is ludicrous on the face of it, but the underlying assumption is that Mr. Bradbury wrote his book Farenheit 451 based on the assumption that an authoritarian tyranny would be the result of communism. When it is pointed out in Farenheit 911 that the actual authoritarian tyranny is the illegitimate offspring of a free market fascist regime Mr. Bradbury became irate. No doubt he is befuddled with senility like other well known troglodytes of his intellectual stamp. Mr. Heston comes to mind.

But the whole tenor of the movie is something we have seen before.

One of the more ridiculous reactions immediately following 911 was newscasters asking, apparently in genuine dismay, why “they” don’t like us. The profound ignorance, stupidity and naiveté of such bewilderment is almost beyond imagining.

In the film Farenheit 911 the soldiers stare into the camera in genuine befuddlement and wonder why the Iraqis do not love them when they have only came to help the poor benighted Iraqis by liberating them from something vague and offering them a pseudo-democracy and false freedoms.

Oh dear. Those who have enough historical sense to can reach back an entire 35 years may be able to recall the same litany from American soldiers in Vietnam. It is plainly obvious that the underclass that has been created to be cannon fodder has learned nothing from that little conflict of long ago.

Moreover, this soldier is too simple minded to recognize or to admit that he is not their to help Iraqis, he is there to help himself. The vast majority of the cannon fodder are only there as mercenary soldiers coming from an economically depressed underclass who were swindled into selling their hearts and minds, and more to the point their young and dumb bodies, into indentured military slavery by a cynical, lying, cheating and self-serving elite economic class. The soldier is only correct in his diagnosis of having been screwed. What the dismayed soldier should be upset about is misdirected to say the least. The same confusion reigned supreme among Vietnam Vets, and so, no wonder the message about the reality of wears of imperial aggression has not been passed down to the succeeding generations of cannon fodder and economic cattle.

Mr. Moore makes effective use of what is supposed to be an average American mom, who began as a flag waving, brain dead jingoist until she ships her son off to Iraq in a berserk frenzy of self righteous patriotism and then, amazingly enough, is astounded to learn that her son has been killed. At which point she is shocked; shocked she tells us to learn that her son and other sons actually die in wars of imperial aggression and solely for the benefit of predators who actually lied to her and to her dead son about the reasons and facts that took us to war in the first place.

Now, although she is still brain dead, she is also shocked and irate.

This does not bode well for the illumination of future American moms and their cannon fodder sons. It is not as if she and the class she represents, both now and in the future, have learned to think. She has merely redirected her limited intellect and rage toward a different target. Worse, she has chosen to be irate at the symbol, the Bush junta, rather that the underlying forces that it represents. The very next generation of American moms will gleefully ship their sons and daughters off to wars of imperial aggression in the same berserk frenzy of patriotic jingoism.

Then Mr. Moore presents the Grand Idiot himself. Mr. Bush informs us that “they” do not like us because we are free. Apparently we are so ludicrously happy, so joyously free living our best of all possible lives that the entire rest of the word has simply succumbed to a fit of jealous rage. Of course Mr. Moore is pointing out the irrational stupidity of Mr. Bush’s explanation for why the majority of the rest of the world does not like us. The sad fact is, the American public is so stupid that they do, in fact, believe this to be true. This does not bode well for the evolution of an enlightened and benign American electorate.

The most dangerous threat to the well being of the majority of the world’s population turns out to be the average American’s delusional belief in America good will and innocent intentions.

Finally Mr. Moore draws our limited attention back to the befuddled soldier who, in simple naiveté and in simple-minded trust,  realized the he has been sold down the jingoist river and Mr. Moore asks will they ever trust us again. The huzzah of moral outrage deafens common sense with gut wrenching and anguished “No.”

But the truth is, of course the very next crop of economically depressed mercenaries and cannon fodder will fall for the very same con game and the berserk frenzy of brain dead jingoism.

After all, it only took five years from the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, for Mr. Reagan to once again engineer mass historical amnesia and reinstitute the military, and militaristic solutions to further the agenda imperial aggression and economic predation all over again.

That is the moral and intellectual attention span of the American electorate. Their moral outrage and deepest revelations last just about five years. Not even a single generation is required to instill convenient historical amnesia.

 

Revelations, no matter how profound, and conversions, no matter how deeply felt, do not create the ability to think and do not replace intellectual skills or moral and ethical foundations.

They simply change the direction in which an automaton’s mind points.

 

I have to agree with Mr. Moore response when presented with accusations of preaching to choir or of creating propaganda with a skewed presentation of censored facts.

So what.

When the difference in the magnitude of large scale human suffering on a global scale is dependant on the manipulation of simple minds, then preaching to the choir and propaganda are exactly what is needed.

Mr. Moore’s goals are not related to the fact the same scenario is likely to repeat itself in the very near future; Mr. Moore’s goals are to get rid of devil we are saddled with now.

As for propaganda, censorship, skewing of facts, lies and preaching to the choir; naturally the elite junta objects to the use their most effective weapons against them.

In an age of overwhelming stupidity, propaganda is critical thinking.

 

The idea of changing a swing vote based on debate and persuasion is a hopeless task based on the assumed existence of a semi-intelligent segment of swing voters who are able to respond to rational debate. Such a segment of swing voters does not exist, and the swing voters who do exist are no longer intelligent enough to determine their own fate without close supervision.

Catering to the swing vote is exactly analogous to voting for Kerry. It will change nothing in the long term slide into catastrophe. The optimists chose to hope that Kerry is lying to get elected and will then behave as a savior. This sets aside the ethical implications of what it takes to get elected in order to do good. The realist merely assumes a Kerry win is at best a slowing down, or a pause in the downward slide and in that pause a miracle might occur.

Miracles do happen, but the tend is downward nonetheless.

Because catering to the swing vote implies some level of critical thinking and effective debate that does not exist, the downward trend will always exist.

In reality and over the long run, the same stupidity factor will apply; the swing vote will vote how they are told. That is they will vote as instructed by the loudest and most hysterical voice, instilling the greatest fear, who creates the most ominous boogey men, who is most the frequently heard with the most simple minded message closest to the election.

 

In which case, preaching to the choir is the least we can do.

On the other hand, to water down the reality, to dilute the message, to make conciliatory concessions to the forces of stupidity, greed and brutality, to compromise with idiocy, to pollute intelligent discussion by pandering to hysterical jingoism, and to neuter effective debate in order to cater to entrenched stupidity does not now, and does not ever favorably effect the outcome of critical elections, and it does not now, and does not ever raise the level of discussion: it always lowers the level of public debate, renders effective remedies useless, and degrades the general IQ to the level of the least and most ineffective common denominator.

 

The single greatest threat to democracy is stupidity.

 

If all that stands between you and Armageddon is the good will and intelligence of the American electorate let me say, good luck.

 

Michael Andrews

28 June 2004