The middle sized lie

by fp on April 1, 2010

in Democracy,Propaganda,The Wealthy

For the last two weeks I’ve kept a browser tab open, a link to The Lies of Karl Rove by Melvin Goodman. Here’s how it begins:

Joseph Goebbels, the leading propagandist of the Third Reich, believed in the power of the lie; the greater the lie, the greater the power. Goebbels would have loved Karl Rove’s “Courage and Consequences: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight,” a pastiche of lies, fabrications and distortions designed to rehabilitate the record of the Bush-Cheney years.

Comparing Rove to Goebbels and–by extension–comparing George W. Bush’s America to the Third Reich is a mundane exercise. It’s clichéd. Trivial.

Cheney, Big Bad Bush, Bad Boy Bush, Rove, Limbaugh, AT&T, Monsanto, ExxonMobil, Blackwater… O’Reilly, Hannity, Palin, Glenn Beck… the teapartying brown shirts and the Congressional Republican bloc… there are many points of entry to a discussion of American fascism, the wealthy elite, and the corporate state.

I don’t want to get into the tedious name calling, full frontal “I-can-prove-that-Rush’s-a-fascist-toadie” thing here. If you don’t already agree that Rupert Murdoch, Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity and their faux news ilk are the living incarnations of Goebbels, Lord Hawhaw and the rest of the Nazi propagandists just bail out now. If you really can’t see the ultraconservative business-first journalism alliance with crackpot sectarian Christians and global corporate interests as the iceberg that’s bearing down on our unsinkable ship of state at flank speed, if you just don’t get it that a whole generation of poor black men is behind bars already keeping the suburbs safe for Leni Reifenstahl revivals, that the food we eat is licensed by monopolies that are propped up by governments too weak or too poor to confront the idiocy of patenting the genes of a living organism–if you don’t see all that–then the concern I want to bring to the surface today will be puzzling, boring, or both.

The fascists among us have chosen to attack the identification of their obscene political and economic preferences with a lie. They’ve chosen to confuse the people who have been deprived of even a basic sense of recent history by re-wiring the cold war propaganda machine that did so much to support the arms race from 1946 to 1990 and to recharge the batteries of fear with rhetorical nonsense and scary music. Rush Limbaugh, the living clone of Lord Hawhaw himself, calls the Obama administration “Marxist, socialist, fascist….” The fear and confusion that el Rushbo and his imitators have generated with this kind of broad brush name calling provides a perfect medium for culturing the disease of mob rule. It also obscures a broad understanding of just who are the real fascists.

The commonplace metaphor identifying the destruction of the World Trade Center with the Reichstag fire struck a little too close to home for the fans of the Bush foreign policy. In 2009, Bush, Cheney, and Rove took their final bow on the stage of American electoral politics. Actually, it was less of a bow than a rush offstage while being pelted with rotten tomatoes. Anyway, their departure was problematic for their supporters. With a Democratic congress and Chief Executive, how could the wealthy elite continue to consolidate wealth and project power? Agitation was called for, subversion, even a revolution led by a modern day Joan of Arc, some boreal beauty from the northern frontier if such could be found.

The propagandists of right wing media have given the ill educated mob of Christian fundies and alienated racists a rationalization for breaking windows and shooting a few abortionists. The hyperteloric “Hutaree” crackpots are only the scum that’s boiled to the surface today. The rendering process continues, and there will be more and different dregs settling out as the Murdoch keeps the kettle boiling. Will Sarah Palin be up to the task of forging an iron fist from these militiamen, or is there perhaps another even better suited for the role?

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{ 10 comments }

Bill B. April 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm

You’ve said what I’ve been thinking, and said it very well. Thanks!

fp April 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Thanks for the comment! It behooves us to speak out.

Pam Lakatos April 3, 2010 at 10:59 am

This is a great read. Have sent the link to everyone I can think of! I actually smiled for the first time today. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone in a country that seems to have gone crazy. Now if I can just convince myself that my nightmares will not come true.

fp April 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Pam, thanks for the compliment and the comment. For a really great read that forecasts a future where many of our nightmares come true, try Margaret Atwood’s http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/aug/29/margaret-atwood-year-of-flood” rel=”nofollow”>The Year of the Flood. I only mention it because it’s what I’m reading today. There’s plenty of apocalyptic fiction to go around, but of course the truth is even stranger.

eddie April 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm
eddie April 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Year of the Flood
Hope this link works better. Thanks for the read.

fp April 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Damn. I’m sorry these links are screwed up. Have to get under the hood and see what’s wrong with the comments system.

Doug Alder April 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Damn Frank that’s what I’ve been trying to say for 8 years now – I’ll just close up shop and let you take it from here – much better than I could. Well done!

If you don’t already agree that Rupert Murdoch, Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity and their faux news ilk are the living incarnations of Goebbels, Lord Hawhaw and the rest of the Nazi propagandists just bail out now. If you really can’t see the ultraconservative business-first journalism alliance with crackpot sectarian Christians and global corporate interests as the iceberg that’s bearing down on our unsinkable ship of state at flank speed, if you just don’t get it that a whole generation of poor black men is behind bars already keeping the suburbs safe for Leni Reifenstahl revivals, that the food we eat is licensed by monopolies that are propped up by governments too weak or too poor to confront the idiocy of patenting the genes of a living organism–if you don’t see all that–then the concern I want to bring to the surface today will be puzzling, boring, or both.

damn that’s fine writing, straight and to the point but with a nice subtlety, me I’m too impatient and just tell hem they’re too effing stupid to give a damn about and would they please do me the favour of going away and not returning (and if at all possible to remove themselves from the gene pool) :)

fp April 13, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I like your approach too, Doug. But if we’re ever going to
turn the corner toward socialized medicine then we’ll need them for the tax base. And seriously, it’s a sad and somewhat scary truth that a lot of people voted for McCain/Palin. Some of them must be worth the effort, the heavy lifting required to shift the rock they live under and bring them into the light of day.

Doug Alder April 14, 2010 at 8:43 am

Just a guess Frank but given their approach to life and society (me first, me me me, gimme) I’d almost be willing to bet that there are far more physically unhealthy people on the right than there are on the left so even though they would be part of the tax base they may use far more than their share of that socialized healthcare

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