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We Remain Free, Free to Live in Ignorance

Profile photo of Jim Pease 37 By jpenergy
September 3rd, 2012

50 or so questions with no good answers and no nuance is a sad measure of  human understanding, nice try but not one question was in fact my opinion except by some very vague over view. A pundit’s eye view either you are this or you are that. I believe many things among them Life is complex and everyone likes to define you but refuses to be defined by you. Nice you let people rant and espouse their personal demons, facts are pesky so they can be made to dance nicely is the hand of gifted spinners. does this make truth? No, only to those who have chosen to abandon the responsibility of accountability follow the lead  of pundits.

I stopped having faith in our system decades ago, as many others have as well. The truths we held to be self-evident , such as “ All men are created equal have evolved into arguments over at what moment life begins, perhaps  knowing the fleeting moment of inception is the last moment of true equality.  From that point forward society will judge and deem according to the subtle dictates of birth and means.

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” Abraham Lincoln.

How long has that been a quaint outdated notion?  Since World War 1 ended or World War 2,  even before?  In Propaganda (1928), Edward Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. “  Edward Berays was one of the most influential men of the 20th century according to Time Magazine  and perhaps even that is understatement. Bernays uncle was Sigmund Freud, Bernays successfully used Freud’s theories to sell himself to big corporations such as Phillip Morris Tobacco and others of the great corporate and political entities to sell products, policies and propaganda to do exactly as he said.  This lends me to question when did the truth cease to matter and profits become the new truth?  In the 1920s, working for the American Tobacco Company, Edward Bernays sent a group of young models to march in the New York City parade. He then told the press that a group of women’s rights marchers would light “Torches of Freedom”. On his signal, the models lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the eager photographers. The New York Times (1 April 1929) printed: “Group of Girls Puff at Cigarettes as a Gesture of ‘Freedom'”. This helped to destroy the taboo against women smoking in public. Cancer rates soared, but so did profits.

“Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.” Thomas Jefferson

In 1954 Bernays worked for the United Fruit Company and its subsidiary, Chiquita Banana to help over throw the Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala,  this to keep power over the large tracts of land they  claimed in Guatemala at that same time  Chiquita Banana began a huge ad campaign to sell more bananas in the US.  Bernays also worked with Alcoa Aluminum to convince Americans there was a benefit to Fluoride in water, so Alcoa could sell the byproduct of Aluminum production rather than have to pay to dispose of it.

Often he used method called Tie-in, using ads that refer to a (paid) article in another publication to give seemingly corroboration to the claims made in the first ad. Often he would direct these methods over several media types and outlets making it seem like it was commonly accepted knowledge rather than clever advertising or propaganda. Other times he would use interested Think Tanks often sponsored by the corporations to verify the f actuality of his claims. These methods made Bernays and those after him wealthy and powerful men, but the society suffered and continued to decline under the weight of lost trust, lies and manipulations. It also stands to reason that with these methods in constant use across all media, we may be slaves to these men we have never heard of.  We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested. Most people will not accept the idea that they’re not in fact free, to accept the dictates and manipulations of profit seeking politicians and their corporate sponsors who seek power over all in mind also body is their freedom. The Tie-in method has now become standard operating procedure for both business and political policy and ad machines.

I believe the 2nd law of thermodynamics stated in simple terms; all things degrade over time due to the various influences exerted upon them. This law applies to everything heat, bananas, steel or humans. Native peoples expressed this as, “Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky”. Even those constants are ever changing as they react to influences. With humans whatever the influence is there usually expediencies that come into play, in all human interactions unlike the physical world that has no emotions.

We remain free, free to live in ignorance and to substitute comfort for freedom, free to be manipulated and to have your whole narrative by which you judge decided for you.  Most cannot perceive of a world without all of that.

 

3 Comments to “We Remain Free, Free to Live in Ignorance”

  • Profile photo of cincinnatus cincinnatus says:

    PS… Yes, the Semantic Differential scale can be very unforgiving, and its black-or-white methodology is rarely reflective of our shades-of-grey thinking about political issues. This averages out over the course of the PIQ Score test, certainly, but yes… it makes for some hard choice along the way.

  • Profile photo of cincinnatus cincinnatus says:

    What Bernays discovered (or “invented,” your choice) is the influence equivalent of enriched uranium: used benevolently, it provides electrical power for homes, schools, business, and hospitals. But it can also be used to build society-shattering weapons (whether that’s good or bad depends on your point of view.)

    No doubt the linkage of “paid” messaging (PR) incorporated alongside “traditional” messaging (news) resulted in a powerful tandem… whether used for the attainment of private or public good.

    When a news article about an earthquake also contains a plug for the Red Cross, good things can happen (donations, volunteerism, etc.) Alas, when a “news” article containing unverified medical information about a new wonderdrug appears, someone gets hurt… while someone else gets rich.

    The bigger issue is the prevalence and pervasiveness of media in all its forms. The days of the stalwart news editor applying the highest ideals of journalistic standards to defend his readership from mistruths is pretty much dead (and indeed, maybe Bernays’ fingerprints could be found at the crime scene.) But the bigger issue is the fact that anyone with a computer can reach — and influence — billions of people using blogs, bulletin boards, news distribution services, and even just the “Comment” section of any news website.

    Bernays was well aware that his creation could be used for the advancement of unsavory causes. That’s why he devoted his last years evangelizing the need for licensing of those engaging in the practice of public relations. Whether that was borne out of his desire to see his wunderkind evolve into a good social citizen, or an attempt to “get the genie back into the bottle,” we’ll never know.

    But the genie is out. And it’s up to us all to question the “news” that is presented to us, weigh it against other sources, and ultimately form our our opinion.

    Good post, JPenergy.

    • Profile photo of Jim Pease Jim Pease says:

      As humans we have our bodies and little more than the collected knowledge or what we think is knowledge that we have accumulated in our experiences across the span of our times. If through clever marketing we are under constant manipulation and have been all our lives then we have no true knowledge only what we are sold and managed by the machine of society. Corruption is inevitable as the society gains such power over the individual. No greater slave exists than the slave who thinks he is free, troubling questions arise from asking these thing or ignoring them.
      “Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.”
      ― Adolf Hitler
      Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.
      Benito Mussolini
      The merger of corporate interests with the Government in the USA has a long history but power of corporate interests has never been greater, the FED and other powers control every aspect of human fiscal endeavor either directly or indirectly. We seem a managed asset no longer critical to outcome of the forces who maintain the power.
      It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.
      Douglas MacArthur
      We are expected to get in line and never question the power only accept the outcome but never ask for accounting of policy. Americans develop the mind of a mushroom kept in the dark and feed constant manure how can they ever gain potential. Perhaps it is the inevitable consequence of our conceit that the nation suffers and teeters on the brink. Propaganda rather than deductive reason, Comforting myth rather than inconvenient truth, inculcation rather than education.
      Enlightenment is dead..
      I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way.Thomas Jefferson

      Just some questions that beg to be answered in this age of 5 corporations controlling 95% of the information available, and the dubious and suspect value of many well used sources. the manufacture of consent opens a moral and ethical Pandora’s Box of horrors, are we free or do we just not know better?