Care about what other people think and you will always be their
prisoner. -- Lao Tzu
Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn't have
to experience it.
Are human rights of less importance to an artist than to other men?...
Who, indeed, should be more concerned than the artist with the defense
of liberty and free inquiry which are essential to his very
creativity? -- Pablo Casals
TO SEE A WEBSITE SET UP BY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY MEDICAL STUDENTS to help visitors distinguish between COVID-19 facts and myths [CLICK HERE]
To read an article in Atlantic Magazine on why the pandemic is so bad in America [CLICK HERE]
TO LEARN ABOUT DISTINGUISHING AMONG NEWS, OPINION AND PROPAGANDA[CLICK HERE]
14 Propaganda Techniques Fox ‘News’ Uses to Brainwash Americans
The good news is that the more conscious you are of these techniques, the less likely they are to work on you.
1. Panic Mongering. This goes one step beyond simple fear mongering.
With panic mongering, there is never a break from the fear. The idea
is to terrify and terrorize the audience during every waking moment.
From Muslims to swine flu to recession to homosexuals to immigrants to
the rapture itself, the belief over at Fox seems to be that if your
fight-or-flight reflexes aren't activated, you aren't alive. This of
course raises the question: why terrorize your own audience? Because
it is the fastest way to bypasses the rational brain. In other words,
when people are afraid, they don't think rationally. And when they
can't think rationally, they'll believe anything.
2. Character Assassination/Ad Hominem. Fox does not like to waste time
debating the idea. Instead, they prefer a quicker route to dispensing
with their opponents: go after the person's credibility, motives,
intelligence, character, or, if necessary, sanity. No category of
character assassination is off the table and no offense is beneath
them. Fox and like-minded media figures also use ad hominem attacks
not just against individuals, but entire categories of people in an
effort to discredit the ideas of every person who is seen to fall into
that category, e.g. "liberals," "hippies," "progressives" etc. This
form of argument - if it can be called that - leaves no room for genu-
ine debate over ideas, so by definition, it is undemocratic. Not to
mention just plain crass.
3. Projection/Flipping. This one is frustrating for the viewer who is
trying to actually follow the argument. It involves taking whatever
underhanded tactic you're using and then accusing your opponent of
doing it to you first. We see this frequently in the immigration dis-
cussion, where anti-racists are accused of racism, or in the climate
change debate, where those who argue for human causes of the phenome-
non are accused of not having science or facts on their side. It's
often called upon when the media host finds [him or herself] on the
ropes in the debate.
4. Rewriting History. This is another way of saying that propagandists
make the facts fit their worldview. The Downing Street Memos on the
Iraq war were a classic example of this on a massive scale, but it
happens daily and over smaller issues as well. A recent case in point
is [Sarah] Palin's mangling of the Paul Revere ride, which Fox report-
ers have bent over backward to validate. Why lie about the historical
facts, even when they can be demonstrated to be false? Well, because dog-
matic minds actually find it easier to reject reality than to update
their viewpoints. They will literally rewrite history if it serves their
interests. And they'll often speak with such authority that the casual
viewer will be tempted to question what [he or she] knew as fact.
5. Scapegoating/Othering. This works best when people feel insecure or
scared. It's technically a form of both fear mongering and diversion,
but it is so pervasive that it deserves its own category. The simple
idea is that if you can find a group to blame for social or economic
problems, you can then go on to a) justify violence/dehumanization of
them, and b) subvert responsibility for any harm that may befall them
as a result.
6. Conflating Violence With Power and Opposition to Violence With Weak-
ness. This is more of what I'd call a "meta-frame" (a deeply held be-
lief) than a media technique, but it is manifested in the ways news is
reported constantly. For example, terms like "show of strength" are of-
ten used to describe acts of repression, such as those by the Iranian
regime against the protesters in the summer of 2009. There are several
concerning consequences of this form of conflation. First, it has the
potential to make people feel falsely emboldened by shows of force - it
can turn wars into sporting events. Secondly, especially in the context
of American politics, displays of violence - whether manifested in war
or debates about the Second Amendment - are seen as noble and (in an
especially surreal irony) moral. Violence becomes synonymous with power,
patriotism and piety.
7. Bullying. This is a favorite technique of several Fox commentators.
That it continues to be employed demonstrates that it seems to have
some efficacy. Bullying and yelling works best on people who come to
the conversation with a lack of confidence, either in themselves or
their grasp of the subject being discussed. The bully exploits this
lack of confidence by berating the guest into submission or compliance.
Often, less self-possessed people will feel shame and anxiety when
being berated and the quickest way to end the immediate discomfort is
to cede authority to the bully. The bully is then able to interpret
that as a "win."
8. Confusion. As with the preceding technique, this one works best on
an audience that is less confident and self-possessed. The idea is to
deliberately confuse the argument, but insist that the logic is air-
tight and imply that anyone who disagrees is either too dumb or too
fanatical to follow along. Less independent minds will interpret the
confusion technique as a form of sophisticated thinking, thereby giv-
ing the user's claims veracity in the viewer's mind.
9. Populism. This is especially popular in election years. The speak-
ers identify themselves as one of "the people" and the target of their
ire as an enemy of the people. The opponent is always "elitist" or a
"bureaucrat" or a "government insider" or some other category that is
not the people. The idea is to make the opponent harder to relate to
and harder to empathize with. It often goes hand in hand with scape-
goating. A common logical fallacy with populism bias when used by the
right is that accused "elitists" are almost always liberals - a cate-
gory of political actors who, by definition, advocate for non-elite
10. Invoking the Christian God. This is similar to othering and popu-
lism. With morality politics, the idea is to declare yourself and your
allies as patriots, Christians and "real Americans" (those are insepa=
rable categories in this line of thinking) and anyone who challenges
them as not. Basically, God loves Fox and Republicans and America. And
hates taxes and anyone who doesn't love those other three things. Be-
cause the speaker has been benedicted by God to speak on behalf of all
Americans, any challenge is perceived as immoral. It's a cheap and
easy technique used by all totalitarian entities from states to cults.
11. Saturation. There are three components to effective saturation:
being repetitive, being ubiquitous and being consistent. The message
must be repeated cover and over, it must be everywhere and it must be
shared across commentators: e.g. "Saddam has WMD." Veracity and hard
data have no relationship to the efficacy of saturation. There is a
psychological effect of being exposed to the same message over and
over, regardless of whether it's true or if it even makes sense, e.g.,
"Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States." If something is said
enough times, by enough people, many will come to accept it as truth.
Another example is Fox's own slogan of "Fair and Balanced."
12. Disparaging Education. There is an emerging and disturbing lack of
reverence for education and intellectualism in many mainstream media
discourses. In fact, in some circles (e.g. Fox), higher education is
often disparaged as elitist. Having a university credential is per-
ceived by these folks as not a sign of credibility, but of a lack of it.
In fact, among some commentators, evidence of intellectual prowess is
treated snidely and as anti-American. The disdain for education and
other evidence of being trained in critical thinking are direct threats
to a hive-mind mentality, which is why they are so viscerally demeaned.
13. Guilt by Association. This is a favorite of Glenn Beck and Andrew
Breitbart, both of whom have used it to decimate the careers and lives
of many good people. Here's how it works: if your cousin's college
roommate's uncle's ex-wife attended a dinner party back in 1984 with
Gorbachev's niece's ex-boyfriend's sister, then you, by extension are
a communist set on destroying America. Period.
14. Diversion. This is where, when on the ropes, the media commentator
suddenly takes the debate in a weird but predictable direction to
avoid accountability. This is the point in the discussion where most
Fox anchors start comparing the opponent to Saul Alinsky or invoking
ACORN or Media Matters, in a desperate attempt to win through guilt by
association. Or they'll talk about wanting to focus on "moving for-
ward," as though by analyzing the current state of things or God for-
bid, how we got to this state of things, you have no regard for the
future. Any attempt to bring the discussion back to the issue at hand
will likely be called deflection, an ironic use of the technique of
by Cynthia Boaz; in TruthOut.org on July 2,2011
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
From Michiko Kakutani‘s NY Times review of Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939 by Volker Ullrich:
• Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who “only loved himself” — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and what Mr. Ullrich calls a “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But Mr. Ullrich underscores Hitler’s shrewdness as a politician — with a “keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people” and an ability to “instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.”
• Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.”
• Hitler was an effective orator and actor, Mr. Ullrich reminds readers, adept at assuming various masks and feeding off the energy of his audiences. Although he concealed his anti-Semitism beneath a “mask of moderation” when trying to win the support of the socially liberal middle classes, he specialized in big, theatrical rallies staged with spectacular elements borrowed from the circus. Here, “Hitler adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners,” Mr. Ullrich writes. He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order.
• Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising “to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,” though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, Mr. Ullrich says, the better “to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.”
• Hitler’s repertoire of topics, Mr. Ullrich notes, was limited, and reading his speeches in retrospect, “it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences” with “repeated mantralike phrases” consisting largely of “accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.” But Hitler virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, arguing in “Mein Kampf” that propaganda must appeal to the emotions — not the reasoning powers — of the crowd. Its “purely intellectual level,” Hitler said, “will have to be that of the lowest mental common denominator among the public it is desired to reach.” Because the understanding of the masses “is feeble,” he went on, effective propaganda needed to be boiled down to a few slogans that should be “persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.”
• Hitler’s rise was not inevitable, in Mr. Ullrich’s opinion. There were numerous points at which his ascent might have been derailed, he contends; even as late as January 1933, “it would have been eminently possible to prevent his nomination as Reich chancellor.” He benefited from a “constellation of crises that he was able to exploit cleverly and unscrupulously” — in addition to economic woes and unemployment, there was an “erosion of the political center” and a growing resentment of the elites. The unwillingness of Germany’s political parties to compromise had contributed to a perception of government dysfunction, Mr. Ullrich suggests, and the belief of Hitler supporters that the country needed “a man of iron” who could shake things up. “Why not give the National Socialists a chance?” a prominent banker said of the Nazis. “They seem pretty gutsy to me.”
• Hitler’s ascension was aided and abetted by the naïveté of domestic adversaries who failed to appreciate his ruthlessness and tenacity, and by foreign statesmen who believed they could control his aggression. Early on, revulsion at Hitler’s style and appearance, Mr. Ullrich writes, led some critics to underestimate the man and his popularity, while others dismissed him as a celebrity, a repellent but fascinating “evening’s entertainment.” Politicians, for their part, suffered from the delusion that the dominance of traditional conservatives in the cabinet would neutralize the threat of Nazi abuse of power and “fence Hitler in.” “As far as Hitler’s long-term wishes were concerned,” Mr. Ullrich observes, “his conservative coalition partners believed either that he was not serious or that they could exert a moderating influence on him. In any case, they were severely mistaken.”
• Hitler, it became obvious, could not be tamed — he needed only five months to consolidate absolute power after becoming chancellor. “Non-National Socialist German states” were brought into line, Mr. Ullrich writes, “with pressure from the party grass roots combining effectively with pseudo-legal measures ordered by the Reich government.” Many Germans jumped on the Nazi bandwagon not out of political conviction but in hopes of improving their career opportunities, he argues, while fear kept others from speaking out against the persecution of the Jews. The independent press was banned or suppressed and books deemed “un-German” were burned. By March 1933, Hitler had made it clear, Mr. Ullrich says, “that his government was going to do away with all norms of separation of powers and the rule of law.”
• Hitler had a dark, Darwinian view of the world. And he would not only become, in Mr. Ullrich’s words, “a mouthpiece of the cultural pessimism” growing in right-wing circles in the Weimar Republic, but also the avatar of what Thomas Mann identified as a turning away from reason and the fundamental principles of a civil society — namely, “liberty, equality, education, optimism and belief in progress.”
–the above review was recommended by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns
It is an easy thing to triumph in the summers sunAnd in the vintage & to sing on the waggon loaded with cornIt is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflictedTo speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wandererTo listen to the hungry ravens cry in wintry seasonWhen the red blood is filled with wine & with the marrow oflambs . . . ––William Blake
It is in the darkness of their eyes that men get lost.
“Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is
unconsciousness.” ― George Orwell, 1984
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
— T. S. Eliot
To experience pain is to have certainty; to hear about [others’] pain — is to have doubt.
Diana Chapman Walsh, PhD is President emerita of Wellsley College, Senior Advisor to Stanford University’s Center for Innovation in Global Health, life member emerita of the MIT Corporation, co-founder of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, and former board member of the Mind and Life Institute, the Broad Institute (chair), the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the State Street Corporation and Amherst College. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former professor and department chair at the Harvard School of Public Health. She answers the question “Who does the climate crisis askme to be?”:
THE NEW YORK TIMES: Federal Report Warns of Financial Havoc From Climate Change
A report commissioned by President Trump’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued dire warnings about climate change’s impact on financial markets.
Firefighters extinguished hot spots in an area destroyed by the El Dorado wildfire near Yucaipa, Calif., on Monday. Credit…Cindy Yamanaka/The Orange County Register, via Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A report commissioned by federal regulators overseeing the nation’s commodities markets has concluded that climate change threatens U.S. financial markets, as the costs of wildfires, storms, droughts and floods spread through insurance and mortgage markets, pension funds and other financial institutions. “A world wracked by frequent and devastating shocks from climate change cannot sustain the fundamental conditions supporting our financial system,” concluded the report, “Managing Climate Risk in the Financial System,” which was requested last year by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and set for release on Wednesday morning. Those observations are not entirely new, but they carry new weight coming with the imprimatur of the regulator of complex financial instruments like futures, swaps and other derivatives that help fix the price of commodities like corn, oil and wheat. It is the first wide-ranging federal government study focused on the specific impacts of climate change on Wall Street. Perhaps most notable is that it is being published at all. The Trump administration has suppressed, altered or watered down government science around climate change as it pushes an aggressive agenda of environmental deregulation that it hopes will spur economic growth.
The new report asserts that doing nothing to avert climate change will do the opposite.
“This is the first time a government entity has looked at the impacts of climate change on financial markets in the U.S.,” said Robert Litterman, the chairman of the panel that produced the report and a founding partner of Kepos Capital, an investment firm based in New York. “Rather than saying, ‘What’s the science?’ this is saying, ‘What’s the financial risk?’”
The commodities regulator, which is made up of three Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by President Trump, voted unanimously last summer to create an advisory panel drawn from the world of finance and charged with producing a report on the effects of the warming world on financial markets. The initial proposal for the report came from Rostin Behnam, one of the panel’s two Democrats, but the report is written by dozens of analysts from investment firms including Morgan Stanley, S&P Global and Vanguard; the oil companies BP and ConocoPhillips; and the agricultural trader Cargill, as well as academic experts and environmental groups.
It includes recommendations for new corporate regulations and the reversal of at least one Trump administration policy.
“It was shocking when they asked me to do this,” Mr. Litterman said. “This is members of the entire community involved in financial markets saying with one voice, ‘This is a serious problem, and it has to be addressed.’”
A senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while the full commission had voted to produce the report, it has not yet voted to endorse its findings. “It doesn’t represent the position of the C.F.T.C. and is not an official government report,” the official said.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a conservative research organization, who served as economic adviser to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said: “This was initiated by the Trump administration. It is the only document of its type.” He added, “If you’re denying this exists, you don’t ask for a report on it.” The Republican chairman of the C.F.T.C., Heath Tarbert, acknowledged the risk of climate change, but he noted that the report also detailed what the regulators called “transition risk” — the financial harm that could befall the fossil fuel industry if the government enacted aggressive policies to curb carbon dioxide pollution. “I appreciate Commissioner Behnam’s leadership on convening various private sector perspectives on the important topic of climate risk,” Mr. Tarbert said in a statement. “The subcommittee’s report acknowledges that ‘transition risks’ of a green economy could be just as disruptive to our financial system as the possible physical manifestations of climate change, and that moving too fast, too soon could be just as disorderly as doing too little, too late. This underscores why it is so important for policymakers to get this right.” Some of the authors of the report acknowledged that if Mr. Trump is re-elected, his administration is all but certain to ignore the report and its recommendations. Instead, they said they saw the document as a policy road map for a Joseph R. Biden Jr. administration.
Mr. Biden’s climate policy proposals are the most ambitious and expensive ever embraced by a presidential candidate, and most of them would meet resistance in Congress. But even without legislation, he could press forward with regulatory changes. Lael Brainard, a Federal Reserve governor who is seen as a top contender to be Treasury secretary in a Biden administration, has called for financial regulators to treat climate change as a significant risk to the financial system.
The report’s authors acknowledged that the Trump administration is all but sure to ignore the report and its recommendations, seeing it instead as a policy map for a Joseph R. Biden Jr. administration. Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times
In calling for climate-driven policy changes, the report’s authors likened the financial risk of global warming to the threat posed by the coronavirus today and by mortgage-backed securities that precipitated the financial crash in 2008. One crucial difference, they said, is that in the case of climate change, financial volatility and loss are likely to be spread out over time, as they hit different regions and markets. Insurance companies could withdraw from California in the wake of devastating wildfires, and home values could plummet on coastlines and in floodplains. In the Midwest, banks could limit loans during or after extended droughts that drastically lower crop yields. All of those problems will be exacerbated by climate change, but they are unlikely to hit all at once. “Financial markets are really good at managing risk to help us provide credit, so that the economy can flourish,” said Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, an editor of the report who served as senior official at the Treasury Department during the Obama administration. But, he added, the system breaks down “when it’s no longer able to manage risk, when it’s invisible, it’s not captured by the price of stocks.” “That’s what we saw in the financial crisis of 2008, and it’s as relevant now on climate change as it was then on mortgage-backed securities,” he said. Among the first of those risks already pervading the markets, the report’s authors say, are falling home prices and rising mortgage default rates in regions where wildfires and flooding are worsening. “Climate change is linked to devaluing home values,” said Jesse Keenan, an editor of the report and a professor of real estate at Tulane University in New Orleans.
“If in your town, your house is devalued, that makes it harder for your local government to raise money,” he said. “That’s one set of risks that could lead to a contagion and broader instability across financial markets.”
Extreme weather could cause swings in agricultural commodity prices, the report warns, and climate-spurred market volatility could afflict pension and retirement funds, which invest across a range of asset classes.
“Climate change is one of the top three risks to our fund,” said Divya Mankikar, an author of the report and an investment manager at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the country’s biggest public pension fund “We pay pension and health benefits to over two million current and former state employees. So the payout is decades out.”
The report makes several concrete recommendations for inoculating the financial system against potential harm.
It emphasizes the need to put a price on carbon emissions, which is often done either by taxing or through an emissions trading system that caps carbon emissions and allots credits that polluters can buy and sell under that cap.
The report calls for the reversal of a proposed rule being put forward by the Trump administration’s Labor Department that would forbid retirement investment managers from considering environmental consequences in their financial recommendations.
“If there’s any class of investors that should be thinking about the long run, it’s retirement funds and pension funds,” said Nathaniel Keohane, an author of the report and an economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy group.
The report suggests that the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a Treasury Department-led body created in the wake of the 2008 crisis, incorporates climate risks into its annual report and its communications with Congress. It suggests that the Federal Reserve and other major financial regulators join international coalitions that focus on climate threats.
The report also suggests that bank regulators should roll out a climate risk stress testing pilot program. Such stress tests, which assess how bank balance sheets and the broader system would fare in bad climate-related economic scenarios, have been under development in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.
The authors also recommend that another financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, strengthen its existing requirements that publicly traded companies disclose the risks to their bottom lines associated with climate change.
Coca-Cola has noted in its financial disclosures that water shortages driven by climate change pose a risk to its production chains and profitability. But many other companies “just check the box” on that requirement, Mr. Keohane said.
Such disclosures should also include the risk to companies’ bottom lines posed by future policies designed to mitigate climate change, such as taxes or regulations on carbon dioxide pollution, which could hurt fossil fuel producers.
“If carbon risk is priced, this will add cost to the oil and gas industry,” said Betty Simkins, a report author and professor of finance at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. “But they need to be prepared for this. It’s better for the companies to disclose the risk and be as financially fit as possible.”
Climate Change and Financial Markets A warming planet carries huge economic risks.
Climate Change Poses Major Risks to Financial Markets, Regulator Warns June 11, 2019
Climate Change Poses ‘Systemic Threat’ to the Economy, Big Investors Warn
July 21, 2020
Climate Change Could Blow Up the Economy. Banks Aren’t Ready.
Jan. 23, 2020
An earlier version of this article misstated the role that Jesse Keenan had in a report commissioned by federal regulators overseeing the nation’s commodities markets. He was an editor of the report, not an author.
Coral Davenport covers energy and environmental policy for the climate desk from Washington. She was part of the Times team that received Columbia University’s John B. Oakes award for distinguished environmental journalism in 2018. @CoralMDavenport•Facebook
Jeanna Smialek writes about the Federal Reserve and the economy. She previously covered economics at Bloomberg News, where she also wrote feature stories for Businessweek magazine. @jeannasmialek
A version of this article appears in print on
Sept. 10, 2020
, Section B, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Federal Report on Finances Warns of Climate Havoc
Throughout history, human beings … have been making the same mistakes … Why do we keep repeating ourselves? Mankind is in a desperate situation. How can we break out of it? Let’s think about this, that’s all I’m saying. That’s not pessimism. To avoid the subject and not face it directly is what I would call pessimism. — Akira Kurosawa
If you see things as they are here and now, you have seen everythingthat has happened from all eternity. All things are an interrelated
oneness. ––Marcus Aurelius
…I see the Past, Present & Future existing all at once/ Before me.
Thucydides wrote the following about the Civil War in Corcyra 427 B.C. in The Pelopponnesian Wars:
To fit in with changes in events, words, too, had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a party member; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action. Fanatical enthusiasm was the mark of a real man . Anyone who held violent opinions could always be trusted, and anyone who objected to them became suspect….It was equally praiseworthy to get one’s blow in first against someone who was going to do wrong and to denounce someone who had no intention of doing wrong at all. Family relations were a weaker tie than party membership since party members were more ready to go to any extreme for any reason whatever.
...the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is
easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and
denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to
danger. It works the same in any country. --Herman Goerhing.
Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power
to make you commit injustices. --Voltaire
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do
nothing. --Edmund Burke
What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish. This is bad for everyone; the majority lose all genuine taste of their own, and the minority become cultural snobs. — W.H. Auden, “The Poet & The City”, p. 83
In all technologically “advanced” countries, fashion has replaced tradition, so that involuntary membership in a society can no longer provide a feeling of community. –W.H. Auden, “Lame Shadows”, p. 410
A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members
believe laws are being bought and sold.
--Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissent in
Citizens United, January 21, 2010
“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink” ― George Orwell, 1984
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” ― George Orwell, 1984
“In a way, the world−view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.” ― George Orwell, 1984
“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” ― George Orwell, 1984
“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.” ― George Orwell, 1984
“How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?“
Winston thought. “By making him suffer,” he said.
“Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but MORE merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy – everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution… There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed.” ― George Orwell, 1984