re: We the People: manipulation vs. democracy


Richard Moore

Bcc: FYI

We the People: manipulation vs. democracy
Related cartoon by Ben Garrison:
Sue Stubenvoll wrote:
Hi Richard
  Interesting ideas as usual.
 ‘We’ is also used as a way to make someone’s own views appear more important or better supported than they really are by using ‘We’ to imply endorsement from a large group, e.g ‘In Detroit we feel it’s time we cleaned up our rivers’. The un-ratified ‘we’ is used to imply majority or extensive support without justification. In conjunction with a peripheral proposal it slips through and may become accepted.
  On the other hand ‘We’ can also be used as a response elicitation mechanism as in ‘In Detroit we support abortion’ – looking for endorsement or rebuttal for a more contentious view.
  Unfortunately, your conspiracy theories in this email do you no credit, neither does using your, otherwise, interesting discussion chain as a party political broadcast. ‘We’ would prefer you to stick to your subject! J
  Happy Barracking from Sue

Hi Sue,
You suggest that I stick to my subject. This list has always dealt with the same three subjects:
     1) How does the world really work?
     2) What can we do to change it?
     3) Why don’t people think for themselves?
1) One of the ways the world works is by means of a phony political system, which keeps us divided amongst ourselves, enabling elites to maintain their control. Political parties provide the means of keeping us divided, as illustrated in the cartoon. 
2) We cannot change things until we overcome this divisiveness, and it is in our communities that we have some hope of finding our common cause as We the People. Dynamic Facilitation is one process that works very well at helping diverse groups of people find their common cause, and learn to work together despite their differing viewpoints. 
3) Mass propaganda aims to prevent us from thinking for ourselves, by giving us the illusion that our opinion about large-scale issues matters. It doesn’t matter. We are presented with a planned-out menu of issues, from gay rights to health care, and then the two parties, on cue, take opposite positions on each of the issues. We then scramble to support one of the parties, and elites keep right on running the world — a world in which the presented issues are not of primary concern. 
In the posting, I was illustrating these principles in terms of current events. By presenting an interpretation of events that is different than what the media presents, I’m hoping that might encourage people to think. Sometimes it works, but mostly people stick to whatever ideas make them feel comfortable.
Being social animals, we tend to find comfort in agreeing with our chosen herd. When the herd is bombarded by mass propaganda, that pushes us into agreeing with the propaganda. That’s how the We principle can work against us, which was the central point of the posting. 
You suggest that the posting was a ‘party political broadcast’. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, as I was arguing equally against both parties, and the whole party system. My guess is that you were looking for a way to reject the ideas that were presented, and name-calling was all you could think of. Similarly with referring the ideas as ‘conspiracy theories’. That seems to be a favorite among the liberal herd, easy to toss out when folks don’t really have any arguments against the ideas. Name calling is a simple way to avoid thinking and retain comfort.
Sharon Almerigi wrote:
Well said Richard. Although I think Obama has done a few good things.
Michael Moore made some good comments about the difference between the Reps and Dems on the Nov. 3rd show of Democracy Now. If you would like to hear it, here is the link.
Thanks for your continued thoughtfulness.

Hi Sharon,
Michael Moore’s position, in the video, is that Obama is making a tactical mistake by seeking to compromise with the incoming Republican surge, that instead he should stick to his guns regarding his own well-meaning policies. Like so many people, Michael just can’t allow himself to accept the fact that Obama is a total liar, that his ‘well meaning policies’ exist in rhetoric only. If McCain had been elected, and if he did exactly everything that Obama has done, then liberals would be up in arms against his horrible policies. Herd mentality is a very powerful and dangerous thing. 
In fact, neither Bush nor McCain nor Obama have anything to do with policy. Their job, and their only job, is to make speeches. It is easiest to see that in the case of Bush. Could you really have imagined Bush sitting around the table at a National Security Council meeting, debating serous policy with his professional neocon staff? Obama is no different, even though he has a higher IQ. We live in a very different world now, than in the days of an FDR, Truman, JFK, or Nixon, who actually were participants in decision making, for good or ill.
Peggy Conroy wrote:
  Way worse than all the yap you hear on cable, read in most media, etc. and even you didn’t mention in the context of “we” is the fact that the military was never mentioned in the last campaign because there is no draft which made it a “we” the last time such insanity as Afghanistan was foisted upon the world to enrich the slime of the planet. Viet Nam protests in the streets, due to the draft, is all that stopped the charade  then.
My brother just got back from being imbedded in the Afghan air force (he’s a Vietnam Vet)….the entire military activity over there is insane, stupid and spending billions which nobody in our political system even notices????? We have a bought media, a bought govt. so if one can find a tiny local niche to survive in until the country wakes up, that’s our only hope. It probably never will till China starts importing Han Chinese to take over our land like they do in Tibet!
 A disgusted voter,
Peggy Conroy
West Chazy, NY

Hi Peggy,
The military is just one of the real issues that played no role in the campaign. No real issues were mentioned at all. Campaigns today are all about appealing to emotions, mostly negative emotions about the ‘other herd’. 
I must take exception to the notion that protests ended the Vietnam War. The war lasted exactly as long as it was planned to last, and the protests had no effect whatever. John Judge tells the following story. His mother was a secretary to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time of the JFK coup d’etat. The Sunday after Kennedy was shot, she was called in to type a memo. The memo said that the Staff should prepare for a war that would last ten years and involve 50,000 US casualties. And that’s exactly what we got. The purpose of the war was to shift the US economy to being primarily an arms-manufacturing economy, as it still is today.
Given all these dynamics, there is no way the country will wake up as long as it continues to travel in herds. Unless we shift our attention to the local, we are lost.