Intellectual cover, side conversations, and the bounds of thinkable thought
Most insightful and incisive of Mr. Chomsky's analyses are his deconstructions of "Western," especially "American" mass communications media. In his book "Manufacturing Consent," and in articles previous and since, he compares the success of propaganda in "free" countries to that of "repressive" regimes, mainly the former "Soviet Union." Whereas the "Soviet" invasion of "Afghanistan" could not have been called an invasion in the "Soviet" media for fear of being sent to a "Gulag," in the "U.S." the various invasions, like in "Vietnam," could not be called invasions because it would be beyond the bounds of thinkable thought. A news broadcaster would not even think of calling "our" various military interventions what they are because it would be outside the parameters of acceptable thought and dialogue.
An example of this self-limiting dialogue occurred this morning on National Public Radio (NPR), when career host Scott Simon interviewed a couple of "Neocons" - supposed ideologues of "Neoconservatism," the intellectual foundation for the Bush criminal regime's "spreading of democracy" through pre-emptive war.
It was surreal, almost a caricature of fake intellectuals talking gibberish, ala Professor Irwin Corey. They at least admitted that the "Iraq" fiasco is a fiasco, but the interview took on the character of a side conversation, with the premise being that "American" intervention is well-intentioned, noble, and ultimately a good thing for humankind. Never mind what actually happens. It's the fundamental benevolence of the "Neocons" that matters.
"American" intervention in "Darfur" was given as a shining example of the benevolence of intervention. Never mind that "we" had to be shamed into "our" weak intervantion, and never mind that the real interest and energy is focused on attacking "Iran." It's the ideology that matters.
At least that is what is intended. Reset the parameters for thinkable thought. Reiterate the cover story that good intentions are the underpinning for all "American" foreign "policy" initiatives. Spread the story on every media outlet possible. As he has shown time and again, NPR's Scott Simon is more than happy to oblige. Below is what I wrote to "Morning Edition" this morning:
Date: November 03, 2007
I listened to this morning's "interview" with the two "neocons," and it left me wondering. What I wondered about was the process that was used to construct such a conversation. "Neoconservatism," now a supposedly discredited "ideology," is no ideology at all. It's full purpose has been to give intellectual cover to a moneyed elite that is motivated by greed, rapaciousness, and a genuine contempt for the mass of ordinary people worldwide. This is the historical character of the tyrant class.
Just as the "Neocon" think tanks are funded to give an academic face to what amounts to sociopathy, NPR has served the same purpose by constructing an "interview" whereby "ideologues" could make a pathetic case for their failed advocacy, which was phony from its inception.
It was almost comical that "Darfur" was given as one last gasping justification for intervention in other countries. The "American" ruling elite had to be shamed into involvement in "Darfur," and the involvement has been tepid at best. It will likely be a sustained involvement, though, because, surprise of surprises, oil is under the ground.
What was most revealing and significant about this "interview" is that the two men interviewed so eagerly accept their role as faux-intellectuals, whores really, for their sponsors, the funders of their "foundations" and their "research." Hmm. NPR is a "foundation" too. Such a meeting of the minds, a harmony of interests. The world's oldest profession thrives in Washington, D.C. The only real question is do you have the same pimp?
Here's some surreal music: Visions of Johanna, Ballad of a thin man, Desolation Row, Just like Tom Thumb's blues, and It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding).
And most surreal of all - Talkin' World War III Blues, a song that is due for a revival, eh, Bob?