Lying, Truth-Telling and the Social Order
By Lonnie Brown, lbrw@swcp.com

It might be interesting to consider this from the perspective of what Noam Chomsky calls Plato's Problem versus Orwell's Problem.

Plato's basic question, according to Chomsky, is--"Given so little to go on, how is it we know so much and function so well so quickly?" Chomsky applied this question to the study of language and came up with his Universal Grammar among other insights.

Orwell's basic question, again according to Chomsky, is--"When so much of the BS is right out in the open, why is it that we know so little about it. Why don't we see what's right in front of our eyes?"

For example, a casual recapitulation of the tone of newscasts concerning the former Yugoslavia over that past few years is very revealing. When the US is not planning to become involved, atrocities from all sides are reported. When the US and NATO decide to go in and kick some ass, suddenly the Serbs are the bad guys and everyone else innocent victims whose rights must be protected. Not to excuse the Serbs or blame any of the victims, but it's interesting, no?

Another example, one for which the almost all of the formerly classified documentation is now a matter of public record, Vietnam. In 1962 the US Air Force began its direct attacks against the rural population of South Vietnam, with heavy bombing and defoliation, as part of a program intended to drive millions of people into camps where, surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, they would be "protected" from the guerrillas they were supporting, the "Vietcong," the southern branch of the former anti-French resistance--the Vietminh.

Replica Watches  Replica Watches

We would call this "aggression," an invasion," when conducted by some official enemy. How many references do you think you will find in mainstream US journalism or scholarship to a "U.S. invasion of South Vietnam," or "U.S. aggression" in South Vietnam. In the official US version of history, there is no such event.

Carlos and company also addressed these two questions, but in ways that, in retrospect, tended to place one's attention "over there, on the horizon," rather than "right here" where the battle is.

In dealing with the former problem, Plato adduces reincarnation and the ideal forms, Chomsky (limiting himself to this question in reference to language acquisition) postulates hardwired (though extremely flexible) syntax, and Carlos points to the Spirit, Silent Knowledge.

In dealing with the latter--well, Plato didn't so much deal with the latter as use it to his advantage (only my opinion). Orwell and Chomsky point to double-speak, and CC says it's the flyers.

Given that list, let us recognize that many of us have reactions, relationships, allegiances with some of these ideas and antipathy toward others and put them aside for a moment.

The question is how is it we're so easily fooled, what are the alternatives, and how acceptable are they?

How (retrospectively) is such astonishing subservience to any doctrinal system (and this includes the system that says that one will cease to function properly at any arbitrary age...60, 70, 90, 110...) achieved?

One way is to define the debate in terms that never question the system's basic assumptions. So, in the Vietnam example, as things in Southeast Asia began to turn sour, the debate that developed in mainstream circles pitted the "hawks" against the "doves". The hawks believed that with sufficient dedication the war could be won. The doves felt that it probably could not. The question of should never arose.

"If even the critics tacitly adopt the doctrines of the state religion, then who can reasonably question them?" --Chomsky

Fortunately, we are not limited to choosing between the fucking social order and the...well, anyone else with a vested interest in appropriating our ability to choose.

Perhaps we'll have to find inspiration in something other than belief. Is that John Lennon I hear singing in the background?