Noam Chomsky: Food for Thought in a Reason Starved World

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“The point of public relations slogans like “Support our troops” is that they don’t mean anything… That’s the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody’s going to be against, and everybody’s going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn’t mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That’s the one you’re not allowed to talk about.”  (Chomsky Interview 1992)

Think about it.   Forty-five years ago, as the Vietnam War wound down,  public support was at an all time low as was our opinion of the Nation’s military machine.  Fast forward to the present.  This country’s war machine is bolstered by a highly effective PR (propaganda) campaign that focuses so intently on the individual soldier as “everyman”, that efforts to organize an effective anti-war movement are marginalized at best.  The “Support our Troops” slogan is so enmeshed within the american psyche, attempts to bring any meaningful policy discussion to the table becomes more of a seditious act than a civil right.  How dare we suggest the troops are accomplishing anything less than protecting our rights and securing freedom for generations to come.

“The bewildered herd is a problem. We’ve got to prevent their roar and trampling. We’ve got to distract them. They should be watching the Superbowl or sitcoms or violent movies. Every once in a while you call on them to chant meaningless slogans like “Support our troops.” You’ve got to keep them pretty scared, because unless they’re properly scared and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy them from outside or inside or somewhere, they may start to think, which is very dangerous, because they’re not competent to think. Therefore it’s important to distract them and marginalize them.” (Chomsky-Propaganda and the Public Mind, 2001)

The illusion of choice is great way to distract the american populace.  The american people are given two political parties, each appearing diametrically opposed by philosophy.  In theory, this provides the base from which freedom flourishes.  By supporting one party or the other the people have a voice in government.  In reality, we have two factions responsible for disseminating misinformation, keeping everyone confused and at odds with one another, while the wheels of power are free to chug along with little or no opposition.

…” the issue is whether we want to live in a free society or whether we want to live under what amounts to a form of self-imposed totalitarianism, with the [people] marginalized, directed elsewhere, terrified, screaming patriotic slogans, fearing for their lives, and admiring with awe the leader who saved them from destruction, while the educated masses goose-step on command and repeat the slogans they’re supposed to repeat and the society deteriorates at home. We end up serving as a mercenary enforcer state, hoping that others are going to pay us to smash up the world.  Those are the choices. That’s the choice that you have to face. The answer to those questions is very much in the hands of people exactly like you and me .” (Chomsky – Media Control, 2002)

The unfortunate reality is we can no longer rely on others (we never could really) to ensure our freedom as individuals.  No government entity has any regard for an individual’s well-being.  That same gun barrel, currently praised for ensuring ones freedom, may soon be pointed in a less than comforting direction. 


About Phil

Hi, my name is Phil. I’ve managed to escape the corporate world, rid myself of excess belongings, travel the country extensively in my old Winnebago, and find a new home on a beautiful barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. I define myself as: a free spirit, a writer, a philosophical anarchist, a poet; a lover of nature, a lover of art, a protector of animals, as well as a devoted friend and partner
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