By Mike Whitney
"“The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim”. Gustave Le Bon;”The Crowd”
In researching the Bush administration’s manipulation of public perceptions, I came across an interesting summary of the State Department’s Philip Zelikow, who was Executive Director on the 9-11 Commission, that greatest of all charades. According to Wikipedia:
“Prof. Zelikow’s area of academic expertise is the creation and maintenance of, in his words, ‘public myths’ or ‘public presumptions’ which he defines as ‘beliefs (1) thought to be true ( although not necessarily known with certainty) and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community.’ In his academic work and elsewhere he has taken a special interest in what he has called ‘searing’ or ‘molding’ events (that) take on transcendent’ importance and therefore retain their power even as the experiencing generation passes from the scene….He has noted that ‘a history’s narrative power is typically linked to how readers relate to the actions of individuals in the history; if readers cannot make the connection to their own lives, then a history may fail to engage them at all.” (“Thinking about Political History” Miller center Report, winter 1999, p 5-7)
Isn’t that the same as saying there is neither history nor truth; that what is really important is the manipulation of epochal events so they serve the interests of society’s managers? Thus, it follows that if the government can create their own “galvanizing events”, then they can write history any way they choose.
If that’s the case, then perhaps the entire war on terror is cut from whole cloth; a garish public relations maneuver devoid of meaning.
Wikipedia adds this about Zelikow which may help to clarify this point:
“In the Nov-Dec 1998 issue of Foreign Affairs he (Zelikow) co-authored (with the former head of the CIA) an article entitled “Catastrophic Terrorism” in which he speculated that if the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center had succeeded ‘the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America’s fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet atomic bomb test in 1949. Like Pearl Harbor, the event would divide our past and future into a before and after. The United States might respond with draconian measures scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects and use of deadly force.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_D._Zelikow)
That was written in 1998!?!
As Zelikow presciently implies, the post 9-11 world depends entirely on “public myths”; fairy tales invented by society’s supervisors which perpetuate the illusion of democracy, freedom and the rule of law.
So, how does this apply to Karl Rove?
There are only two weapons in the imperial tool-chest; force and deception. I expect that the anticipated Democratic landslide will be preempted by massive voter fraud accompanied by some type of “searing event”; that way the fantastical outcome of a GOP victory can be neatly folded into a larger and all-pervasive “myth”.
As we have been reminded many times: Reality no longer matters; only the perception of reality. The power of myth reigns supreme. "