In past posts Dredd Blog has considered the damage that propaganda does to the human psyche (see e.g. Etiology of Social Dementia through Etiology of Social Dementia - 7).
The propaganda has been so bad during the longest wars in U.S. history that even those who fancy themselves as progressives advocate in favor of what was once war crimes (Joe Klein Advocates War Crimes).
In today's post we want to compare secular propaganda with "Lying For The Lord."
That is a religious propaganda doctrine found in both religious denominations that call themselves Christian as well as those that call themselves Muslim, and it is a legal doctrine under current American law which protects lying under the auspices of freedom of speech.
American Propaganda Basics
One of the foundational tenets of American propaganda, the brain child of Edward L. Bernays, is that the government knows better than the people what is good for them:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.(The Ways of Bernays). When Bernays wrote the book Propaganda in 1928, from which the quote is taken, that "invisible government" was in its embryonic form compared to the modern international version it has now become.
Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.
We call the modern form "The International Private Empire" which we discussed recently (see e.g. MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 4 and The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy - 7).
Religious Influence of The Invisible Government
One of the many problems of an invisible government is that, like the invisible man, we can only observe its tracks in order to see where it has been.
In the post Bully Worship: The Universal Religion we discussed some of those footprints, that is, how the military has been influenced by religious concepts that simulate Christianity.
Those religious footprints have been made all the more apparent by the current scandal involving the CIA director who resigned, and the NATO General who has now been dragged into it too:
Although adultery is rarely a criminal matter in the civilian world, it is formally barred under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to which Allen remains subject even as the senior four-star commander of U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.(Politico). Sexual morality is a strong factor in military doctrine expressed as military law, which is a footprint of religion (see also Bible Inscribed on U.S. Weapons and The Dogma of the High Priest In Chief).
Oddly enough, various fundamentalist religious activists want to bring propaganda to science too, even as they declare that climate science is itself propaganda:
What does religion have to do with climate science? Radical religious activists promote the anti-science bills, in part, because they also seek to undermine the teaching of evolution – another issue that supposedly has "two sides", so schools should "teach the controversy". Now, you don't have to believe that Earth was created in six hectic days in order to be skeptical about climate science, but a large number of climate science deniers also happen to be evolution deniers.(America's Theologians of Climate Science Denial). The damage to our educational system (see Agnotology: The Surge) is exacerbated by the failure to teach civics to our students.
What exactly is the theology of climate science denial? The Cornwall Alliance – a coalition whose list of signatories could double as a directory of major players in the religious right – has a produced a declaration asserting, as a matter of theology, that "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming."
It also tells us – on the firm foundation of Holy Scriptures – that policies intended to slow the pace of climate change represent a "dangerous expansion of government control over private life". It also alerts us that the environmental movement is "un-Biblical" – indeed, a new and false religion. If the Cornwall Declaration seems like a tough read, you can get what you need from the organization's DVD series: "Resisting the Green Dragon: A Biblical Response to one of the Greatest Deceptions of our Day."
If they are ignorant of civics they will have no concept about why religion and secular government must not be mixed.
The impact of religion also implicates financial matters as Dredd Blog pointed out in the post Ayn Rand: Patron Saint of The Plutocracy, showing the link between plutocratic/religious perspectives.
The secret government which Bernays wrote about has the same notions that royalty have always had, yes, these sentiments of plutocracy have been around quite a while:
We have reached the deplorable circumstance where in large measure a very powerful few are in possession of the earth's resources, the land and its riches and all the franchises and other privileges that yield a return. These positions are maintained virtually without taxation; they are immune to the demands made on others. The very poor, who have nothing, are the object of compulsory charity. And the rest -- the workers, the middle-class, the backbone of the country -- are made to support the lot by their labor.(Who was Henry George). In 1879, Henry George published a book, Progress & Poverty, concerning that unfortunate economic reality.
We are taxed at every point of our lives, on everything we earn, on everything we save, on much that we inherit, on much that we buy at every stage of the manufacture and on the final purchase.
He indicates that this problem has continued to exist hidden in plain sight, rather than having been eradicated as it should have been.
About half a century after Henry George wrote those words, those ideas were echoed again by an American who noticed the same warmongering plutocracy still in existence in his day:
"We are divided, in America, into two classes: The Tories on one side, a class of citizens who were raised to believe that the whole of this country was created for their sole benefit, and on the other side, the other 99 per cent of us, the soldier class, the class from which all of you soldiers came. That class hasn’t any privileges except to die when the Tories tell them. Every war that we have ever had was gotten, up by that class. They do all the beating of the drums. Away the rest of us go. When we leave, you know what happens. We march down the street with all the Sears-Roebuck soldiers standing on the sidewalk, all the dollar-a-year men with spurs, all the patriots who call themselves patriots, square-legged women in uniforms making Liberty Loan speeches. They promise you. You go down the street and they ring all the church bells. Promise you the sun, the moon, the stars and the earth,–anything to save them. Off you go. Then the looting commences while you are doing the fighting. This last war made over 6,000 millionaires. Today those fellows won’t help pay the bill."(The Universal Smedley, quoting General Smedley Butler). General Butler became aware of the situation only after experiencing it.
But we need not keep on denying reality and history so that we continue to relive these monstrosities of plutocracy.
As it turns out, lying, whether legal under the First Amendment, whether in the name of religion, or whether in the name of government, evinces among other things, a lack of vision.
Vision is seeing things before they happen so that they can be avoided when appropriate.
Otherwise, robbed of reality by lies / propaganda we are bound to live a Groundhog Day existence, repeating painful mistakes over and over.
Worse, those mistakes are relived in the name of fantasy, mysticism, and other impractical notions that boil down to the glorification of lying for the lord or lying for the king.
Why not build and have a reality that is good for everyone and everything concerned?