Sunday, August 31, 2014

Oedipus In The 21st Century-- The Primrose Path To Democracy's End

By Without Shoes Correspondent Ben New
You know, to say democracy is struggling in America is almost a cliché today and we are tempted to shrug and move on about our personal business when we see evidence of this or hear someone speak up about it. I suggest however we have unwittingly already lost this age old conflict. There is no denying that in nearly every society throughout human history, there have been people who have tried to constitute themselves as an aristocracy by imposing an internalized psychological condition of deference that crushes people's minds often employing the destruction of reason and logic, replacing it with a marginally tangential skewed version of reality and deference. Democracy, despite any faults one may find in it was the only solution to emerge to prevent the domination of society by the few sociopaths who believe they have 'divine' theochristic rights to rule over the rest of us.

 The alternative to democracy, unless and until something 'better' is imagined, is always some form of totalitarianism, an aristocracy, or an oligarchy of some kind. Alternatives to democracy have always led directly to tyranny.
I'm sorry to report that our nation (and many of our political allies in the world are following suit, walking down the same path to the proverbial slaughterhouse) simply isn't a democracy at all any longer. In an unknowing Oedipus-like scenario, you and I have been inadvertently duped into inglorious ignominy. It is we, our generations {the ones alive during the last 35 years or so}; that will receive the blame and shame in history for this contemptible disgrace because it's happened on our watch.

We now live in a completely faked managed democracy.
A deception where the illusion is maintained on the surface, while a sort of inverted totalitarianism conjoins economic and state powers.
We have become a society of politically uninterested and submissive pawns, with self proclaimed elites eager to keep us that way and the tools to accomplish this.
 In this "managed democracy"  the public is shepherded, It is not sovereign. Corporate power no longer answers to any type of state controls.  Although today's America may not be morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states in the past like Nazi Germany,  but clearly unchecked economic powers combined with state powers has its own unnerving pathologies that do in fact align with the goals of fascism. (Fascism was defined by Mussolini, who coined the term as a bundling of state and and corporate [economic] powers). It's always a minefield to bring up fascism as it becomes a tired banality and is so often misused, but it would be a mistake of the highest order to ignore the similar dynamics at work in this scenario.
We simply can't intellectually or realistically avoid it.

 Myth makers alone dominate today's politics as the quest for an insufferable, impossibly self-defeating, ever-expanding economy combines with the deplorably perverse attraction to endless indefinable war on obliquely indefinable "terror".
This is the diagnosis of the condition.
 What is the solution?
This is a brave new world...though in a sense it's the same old struggle.
The difference is the self proclaimed Pharaohs of today have finally found the method that keeps them hidden from plain view while dismantling democracy on a staggering scale quite effectively.
None of this relates to the past. The "left -right" political dynamics of the past are completely irrelevant, and have been for some time. It's just a prop on the stage.
It's bait to get the people who do get involved away from the real mechanisms and further divorce the rest of the population from the process.
Sure, the product on the left or right will throw their supporters a bone once in while.
So voting does matter to a order to get a bone or scrap that the real powers don't care about. But in the big picture, on serious matters of policy that truly have impact in YOUR world, you and I will have no say whatsoever.
That's a fact.
The solution may not be a political one at all actually.
In a machine that is powered by wealth and mythology alone, unless you have endless supplies of cash to pay the piper, you will hear no music.
However you CAN teach people how to deconstruct the myths.
Teach logic

Actual democracy requires that a good majority of citizens be capable of logical thought.
Starting with the Greeks, logic has been taught in a fairly narrow way. Logic of course, does include syllogisms, but it also includes a great deal of savoir faire about what actually constitutes a good argument and conversely a good counterargument... as well as a good counterargument to that. In a sense, it's like visualizing a 3 dimensional map of the arguments.
Our existing curriculum regarding "critical thinking" is generally weak. And I propose this is not incidental.
(It's well known that people with reasoning skills are much harder to manipulate.)

It's become another banal cliche to lambaste public education, the truth is there are far more triumphs than failures and the quality of one's educational experience is very localized, as each district has it's own set of socio-economic problems to contend other words there is no blanket solution, no magic political bullet to solve the issues that need improvement in general education. However one ingredient in the curriculum that is missing in action and needs to be addressed across the board is teaching logic. And the first thing to address in teaching logic SHOULD be close analysis of irrationality.

 Understand that I'm not suggesting that the purpose of reason is to petition authorities more effectively, rather it's to disarm their obfuscations and myths, to help others cut through the darkness of deception. Education about logic is critical to this.
Reason is not merely the property of the elite. That is part of the myth, part of the deception. This notion is sold as part of the package that deprives the common people of the capacity to engage in democracy. Reason, itself; is the tool that dismantles this hybrid tyranny we face.

You may argue that politics based on reason tilts the playing field in favor of the elite. This may be historically true, however as I said earlier this is a brave new world and the dynamics of the past are irrelevant. In the past only those who could afford to purchase advanced education would have access to the knowledge and history of logic. This MUST not be the case anymore, as there is nothing esoteric or terribly difficult about critical thinking and it can be taught to everyone, in fact it would likely improve the overall ability to perform better in all areas of academics, including testing. I would also respond that politics based on money has tipped the field far more drastically and dangerously. The reality is that democracy needs the citizenry to be educated, and the skills of reasoning are the most basic foundation of democratic education. Democracy simply can not function in any other way. Aristocratic rule is not reinforced by the use of reason. The reality is quite the reverse: in order to dominate society, the would-be Pharaoh must simulate reason, and pretend that their deception is itself reasonable when it in fact is not. How many pundits, George Will and Thomas Sowell come to mind; make their living by saying illogical things in a reasonable tone of voice? We will be subjugated and dominated unless the great majority of citizens can identify just how this trick works. Maybe you can't afford to buy your own senator, lobbying firm, or political party...but you can teach others about logic. Especially the young. Because it will take time to thwart the last 35-40 years of dismantling democracy, and the torch is passed to the young. Their role is critical and the consequences couldn't be more momentous for the survival of civilization.

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