News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thou shalt lie. And lie. And lie, lie, lie.

Not too long ago, a politician caught in a lie was sure to lose an election. And politicians were very reluctant to accuse others of lying. A lie was considered the ultimate depth of human betrayal.

After eight years of assault on credibility by the Bush administration, with the war on Iraq being the big jewel in its imperial crown of deceits and deceptions, it is clear that lying is no longer considered an offense. The political faction that rails the loudest against Marxism and accuses the left of flirting, if not embracing, despotic communism, now practices one of the fundamental devices for obtaining control and exercising complete authority over people. It is the process by which people are conditioned to accept and be controlled by lies.

We constantly refer to George Orwell's writing, particularly 1984. as containing a warning which is being made true. At this point, we know that we do, indeed, live in a time when state-created lies are what rule us and a majority of citizens have decided that accepting those lies is a patriotic duty.

Many people think Marxist government is a matter of a state-determined economy. That is, in fact, only a superficial aspect of what Marxist theory is about. The basic philosophic premise of Marxism is called dialectical materialism. In theory the philosophy states that the material world is the only reality. All ideas and thoughts originate in material things; the material world is not shaped by ideas and thoughts. The dialectic is described as when a thesis is met with an antithesis, or opposing force, which produces a synthesis. As translated into political theory, dialectical materiaism is about controlling and reshaping people to do as the state dictates and to eliminate any opposition and words or thoughts might lead to opposition. This is the thesis that Orwell demonstrated in 1984. By controlling the physical environment in which people live, one can control the factors that determine their behavior and, thereby, control their behavior. Such obedience according to Marxist doctrine is achieved by conditioning.

Behaviorism is the official psychological theory of dialectical materialism. Most people who have had a high school or college psychology course will remember Pavlov's dog. Pavlov rang a bell every time he fed the dog. After a time, the dog associated the bell with food, and Pavlov could make the dog salivate simply by ringing the bell. This idea that organisms could be conditioned to do what one wanted extended into the physical sciences also. A Soviet scientist name Lysenko was assigned to find a way to grow wheat in Siberia. Operating under the conditioning principle in dialectical materialism, he kept planting wheat in the cold soils of Siberia under the assumption that as wheat tried to grow in that climate, it would eventually be conditioned to withstand the climate and produce a strain which could thrive. In the meantime, American scientists, including some at South Dakota State University in Brookings, were using genetics to select wheat strains that did well in cold climates and produced a species of wheat that thrived in our northern growing zones. Lysenko's effort was a dismal failure.

However, Marxist behaviorism had somewhat more success with human beings. Conditioning contains factors of fear and intimidation,as well as rewards for behavior that does what the controllers want. Humans respond to what is called negative reinforcement. If their fears are appealed to as what will happen to them if they do not obey but will be rewarded by being allowed to llive if they do, the less skeptical and analytic people will conform and accept the dictates of those who would control them as their duty to follow. This is the premise developed in Orwell's 1984.

It is the principle by which Marxists tried to control people in the Soviet Union. The problem was that many people were like Lysenko's wheat seeds. They developed doubts that the propaganda they were fed each day to condition them were true. They saw evidence that it was not true when they saw what was happening in Europe, America, and parts of Asia. Those doubts and a resistance to being conditioned brought about the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.

And so in the election campaign of 2008, we have what columnist Paul Krugman has termed "a blizzard of lies." Numerous stories in The New York Times, The Columbia Journalism Review, and other newspapers and magazines have noted that despite the many stories from fact checkers that assertions by the McCain campaign are proven to be untrue, the campaign just keeps making them. It is done so as the same kind of tactic with which George W. Bush kept repeating that we had invaded Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda which were proven not to exist. If you repeat the falsehoods persistently and play to people's fears and prejudices, a good many people will accept them and behave accordingly. So John McCain's campaign has adopted the same kind of brainwashing that he was subjected to in the Hanoi Hilton. It works. As it did in the election of 2004. On some people. And for some time.

The question is whether a majority will recognize the lies and resent being lied to. Or are the American people so conditioned by the operant conditioning through the media that they are content to live the falsehoods?

We'll see.


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