Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Quick Litmus Test for Propaganda

So, you think you live in a democracy? 

Okay, America, let's forget for a moment that none of the exit polls matched the final tally for the 2016 Presidential election. Let's forget that the candidate who won this year's popular vote will not be serving in the White House come January. Let's forget that we pretty much all knew we lived in a Banana Republic back in the 2000 presidential election when the son of an ex-CIA head was put in office by the decision of the Florida supreme court where his brother was the sitting governor. 

Those points can be argued very unsatisfying results. So how do we proceed? The world is in free-fall: Brexit, the Middle East, the EU, austerity, market crashes, military coups, etc... 

Chaos seems to be closing in, not just for us, but for the world at large. What do we do? What can be done? Well, in order to pull out of the global tail-spin we're all in we're going to have to employ some serious Critical Thinking to accurately determine our circumstances.

How did we get into this mess? I believe it starts with propaganda. A lie. An institutionalized sanctioned theft, perpetrated on the many, for the benefit of a few. So, how do we determine our level of propaganda? Let's pick a simple example to determine whether or not we can place any stock in the integrity of a country we have been taught to love and honor. We want to believe we live in a democracy. We want to believe our leaders have the welfare of the people (at home and abroad) at heart...but we must never blindly assume that to be the case. 

Apple Inc is America's most successful company. Yet, the profits and success of Apple are based on slave pool labor, off-shored jobs, resources taken from vulnerable countries at under market value and the over-charging of its customers by way of exorbitant annual fleecing in order to keep up with ever-changing upgrades. Also, the personal computer was developed by taxpayer funding at MIT then privatized when it was handed over to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak - a business model of public funding leading to private profit. Which is not "free-enterprise". It's taxpayer subsidy, in other words, corporate welfare. This is an endless toll-booth model for consumer/taxpayers who have to pay out two or three different times...all while the rich get richer.

Apple is the opposite of what most citizens consider to be "American values". Yet, it is the shining example of the success and viability of Capitalism. We are propagandized daily into accepting what is demonstrably not true, then peer-pressured into to turning a blind eye to our own hypocrisy. 

The .01% bilk the working class then call it capitalism and the illusion of a democracy makes it seem as if we are choosing our fates when in reality we are complicit in our own enslavement, and sadly the enslavement of others.

There are more and probably better examples, obviously, but this was a small example of a vast disconnect. It seems as long as Steve Jobs gives an inspiring commencement speech he can go down in history as a capitalist hero...regardless of Apple's corporate crimes.

Much like the genocide that our Founding Fathers wrought while simultaneously composing the U.S. Constitution: proof that as long as you put together some pretty words (mostly borrowed from indigenous people and French philosophers) you can pretty much get away with anything.

Critical Thinking is a tool that can, if correctly applied, get us beyond the flowery (but meaningless) words that fool otherwise caring people into remaining complacent in the face of injustice. And that being the case, I suggest we start employing this tool, that is, if we hope to gain a modicum of social balance, integrity or economic justice in our currently not-so-bright future. 

At least, that's the way it seems to me,

Sharee Anne Gorman