The truly intelligent are not threatened; in fact, they are found among Democracy's most staunch defenders. Rather, it is the dull of wit who are threatened by truth. Unable to win with reason, the Bush regime wages war on truth with lies and propaganda. Failing even that, Bush has made truth itself illegal. He need only 'deem' you a terrorist to shut you up for good.
For the record, it was on May 9, 2007 that Bush gave us a clue that upcoming elections may be canceled and that he has no intention of leaving the White House. It was on that date that Bush signed a National Security Declaration granting him the power to declare a national emergency in case of war, suspend Congress and dismiss the Supreme Court. It was Margaret Atwood who called George W. Bush, the greatest threat to world peace. What Atwood didn't mention was that Bush derives his power from a deliberate and well-planned attack on truth by way of language. George Orwell predicted it and his works remain the textbook example of how governments manipulate people by first manipulating their language.
If all else fails, a totalitarian regime can merely make the telling of truth a crime. Traditionally, the names given those truths which threaten a corrupt or tyrannical state are treason or sedition. A young United States experimented with the Alien and Sedition Acts which gave President John Adams the power to imprison or deport aliens upon the mere suspicion that their activities posed a threat to the new national government. To his credit, Adams made no use of them but neither did he rebuke the Congress for having passed them. George W. Bush has done worse. He has simply arrogated unto himself the power to 'define' one a terrorist upon any criteria. It need not be an overt act. It need not be treason as defined in the Constitution or some 400 years of common law. It is a criterion overly broad and on its face ludicrous: Bush need only 'deem' you a 'terrorist' and you are one. Orwell's classic cautionary tale, 1984, describes a fascist, totalitarian government spying on its own citizens, denying reality, exploiting a fictional enemy in a perpetual war. Orwell's Big Brother tried and succeeded in re-writing History itself. In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, in It Can't Happen Here described the dictatorship of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip who resembles George Bush. In both fascist states, all was done in order to maintain the regime in absolute power. The lesson of 1984 is less about the state itself than it is about the individual. When state's are absolutely powerful, the individual ceases to exist as an autonomous entity. Philosophically, individuals robbed of the ability to exercise free will are denied person hood; theologically, those individuals are thus robbed of their very souls.
In order to acknowledge the collapse of Soviet Communism and the failure of fascism to reemerge as a potent political force, I ditched Orwell's oppressive totalitarian state in favor of an entertainment-fueled nihilism in which dimwitted citizens frittered away their lives watching web TV and working at slightly overpaid jobs to buy worthless junk ... on web TV, natch. Where Orwell envisioned endless rows of soldiers marching in perfect unison to the strains of the Two-Minute Hate, I saw a world where nations had been replaced by trading blocs and the objects of hatred were the immigrants in our midst.The images from 1984 are seared into our memories --big brother, the telescreen, the grotty bedroom, the cubicle, the memory hole, the drab gray existence, the rat cage. But 1984 is as much about language. It is more than a mere sub-text. Language, in 1984, is the means by which Big Brother creates an alternate reality. It is only in the 'alternate reality' that Big Brother has power. Big Brother is really the Wizard of Oz, an illusion, an image on smoke. If millions suddenly deny the illusion, the lies, the bullshit, Big Bro is finished. The bad news is that, like the cowardly lion, we dare not challenge the great and powerful Oz.
--Ted Rall, Why Bush Is Addicted To Perpetual War
The "official language" is Newspeak, remembered for its slogans: war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is Strength. A classic newspeak word is "doublespeak" which describes how both the Bush administration and the sycophantic news media have empowered Bush by perverting language. Homeland Security for the unlawful and omnipresence of Big Brother itself, operation Iraqi freedom (originally called Operation Iraqi Liberation, or OIL) for a war of naked aggression, war on terrorism for a perpetual war which, on its face and by definition, cannot be won. Wars are fought between armies representing nations. There is, therefore, NO war terrorism. Nor was there a war on drugs, a war on crime, a war on porn, a war on annoying gum chewers, a war on drunks, a war on sin, bestiality, queers, or any number of annoying things against which a military, an army is completely and utterly useless. The War on Terrorism is GOP code for global police state or police action. Like Reagan's War on Drugs or the war on porn, the war will take just as long as the GOP finds it necessary to maintain themselves in power. The most glaring use of Newspeak is the invention of what I have chosen to call "focus group phrases" because they are invented, full cloth, in a focus group. "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is just such a phrase. "911 Deniers" is another. "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is designed make a lazy populace forget that the war was begun upon blackhearted lies about WMD. "911 Denier" is designed to shift the burden of proof from Bush to prove his own stupid 911 theory for which there is not a shred of evidence or proof. The Bush administration has used up several ex post facto war rationales --none of them true! "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is merely the latest in a string of such nonsense. They use it because it tests well and saves the news media the trouble of describing the real situation which defies summation simple or simple-minded words. Indeed, Orwell understood as few have the power of language and in, 1984 the "tool of power" is language. Language empowers the all-powerful party which dictates the nature and use of language. The institutions of state maintain their power by exploiting the power of language to shape the nature of thought itself. That is, in fact, the protagonist, Winston Smith's, job. Examples abound in the Bush administration. The Bush regime's use of the phrase "Total Information Awareness" very nearly gave the game away. In response to criticism, the regime stopped using the name "Total Information Awareness" to denote their program of widespread domestic surveillance. But that does not mean Bush stopped spying on you, invading your privacy, violating your Constitutional right to be safe and secure in your own home. "Total Information Awareness" is no doubt called something else, a name designed not to attract the attention of the media, a less scary name to lull the "folk". Orwell is, of course, most famous for 1984 but his great essay on politics should also be required reading. [See: Orwell: Politics and the English Language.] Orwell explores how politicians explore language to accrue absolute power.
As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier -- even quicker, once you have the habit -- to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for the words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious.All who have read Orwell's essay on how easily politicians debase the language for nefarious purposes have recognized in the Bush administration the very techniques that Orwell warned us about.
--George Orwell, Politics and the English Language
The White House saw September 11 as a golden opportunity. The first catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil sparked an unprecedented case of leadership projection: desperate for protection and answers (why do they hate us? can we kill them before they kill us?), Americans wishfully compared Bush to FDR and Churchill. Approval ratings hit 92 percent. But Bush's political advisors knew that peaking early wouldn't guarantee reelection in 2004. Bush's father had been turned out of office just 20 months after the Gulf War ratcheted his score up to 91.The Bushies have lifted their reelection strategy straight out of "1984," and not just by creating ominous-sounding agencies like the Office of Homeland Security, the supposedly-closed Office of Strategic Information, and a "Shadow Government." As in "1984," the Bush regime tolerates zero dissent --a two-party system in name only has been distilled to one in which only Republicans express acceptable opinions. And an absence of follow-up attacks has been met by endless alerts, advisors and empty hysterics in the name of security, most recently culminating with Tom Ridge's much-mocked color-code warning system.To be fair, it is not only politicians but bullshit artists who have made us vulnerable to tyranny. This has been done by dumbing down the language and, thus, our ability to think critically. Until Bush, even Republican "Presidents" paid lip service to the Constitution.
--Ted Rall, Why Bush Is Addicted To Perpetual War
“"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."”Sinclair Lewis wrote It Can't Happen Here and, in it proceded to show just how it might and, perhaps, has and in pretty much the way both Lewis and Orwell predicted. The characteristics of the fascist state so vividly described by both authors are to be found in abundance in Bush's fascist regime. That millions are in denial is merely evidence of the truth that is denied. A quote from Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here":
—Sinclair Lewis, author of "It Can't Happen here!
"Senator Windrip has got an excellent chance to be elected President, next November, and if he is, probably his gang of buzzards will get us into some war, just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going." – page 20, It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair LewisClearly —Orwell and Lewis not only warned us, they predicted very precisely how it would be done. As Shakespeare would have said: "All is true!"So --why didn't we listen? Because this nation has a fierce anti-intellectual streak which at its best make us independent but at its worst makes us stupid!Here's the searchable version in its entirety:
Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership, Global Issues, Updated: January 02, 2009Subscribe
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