Wouldn’t it be a good idea to find out why we always have at least one enemy to guard against and address the situation even if it is entirely their fault, as those in power routinely imply?
For many leaders the most important objective doesn’t seem to be to learn how to get along with everyone fairly. It often seems as if they may want to maintain a segment of society that is disenfranchised and uneducated. They often don’t know how to stick up for their own rights but they do recognize they are getting the short end of the stick for one reason or another. When these people get angry and strike out they can be demonized and the blame for many problems can be put on them.
There are always plenty of people that we have to guard against whether it is a country that wants to go to war with us, terrorists or predators including mass murderers and pedophiles. Finding out the cause for this may not be easy but if we want to avoid having enemies all the time someone needs to try and then get the message across to the public. There are some people that have actually been trying to do this but the Mass Media and the politicians haven’t been doing a good job giving the bully pulpit to the right people. As I have stated before the biggest problem is child abuse. This is true whether it is the abuse that a mass murderer receives before he becomes a monster or the widespread abuse that many children have to go through around the world providing a lot of angry adults ready to fight wars. There are of course many other problems that need top be addressed but this is the most important one.
George Orwell warned us over fifty years ago about this when he predicted that the world would constantly be fighting one enemy or another and constantly switching without acknowledging the enemy has changed. Big Brother always used this as an excuse why the leaders couldn’t tell the public what was going on. They advise the public to just trust the leaders who lead them from one war to another. This wasn’t the result of a gift of prophecy; he just recognized a repeating pattern of history than satirized it in his book. Then the public for the most part forgot much as Orwell described in his book where the public always forgot the stories were changing. There was little or no effort by most of the public to learn from this and when necessary put his description in clearer ways so that the public could understand his message easier.
The most powerful governments and the Mass Media have always been using the enemy Du Jour as an excuse to keep secrets from the public and often to manipulate their emotions for their own purposes. There are some things that they can teach the public without infringing on the secrecy supposedly needed to protect us. This includes the research that many good academics have already done on how child abuse leads to future violence. There is also a lot of work on different ideas on diplomacy including organizations like the Peace Corp, Seeds of Peace, Habitat for humanity, the Marshal plan and much more. A more accurate perception of how the economy is run could also be presented to the public. In many cases the Multi-national corporations that dominate our economy often deal with tyrants that repress their people and the tyrants that they supported in the past have often become future Enemies Du Jour. There is much more the public can learn about how past conflicts have arisen and how future conflicts can be avoided. In many cases it may involve letting the public know what really has been going on in the past in a more organized manner. There are many cases where the US government and other governments have clearly mislead their own people while they lead them into war often based one the excuse of national security which often turned out to be a false premise. This includes the Gulf of Tonkin incident plus the fact that the US government was propping up the South Viet Nam government at the time, the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, The installment of Pinochet, the reinstallment of the Shah of Iran in 1953 and many other cases. These have been reported in many cases by reputable sources and acknowledged by the government itself at times. However that doesn’t mean the message has gotten through to the public or in some cases even to the members of congress. Joe Wilson made a passionate denial of the fact that the USA sold chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein despite the fact that this has been reported in the news on several occasions. If the congressmen aren’t even willing to acknowledge accurate facts how can they be trusted to make rational decisions?
Not only do some congressmen make decisions based on emotional beliefs but so do a large percentage of the public partially thanks to the media demagogues who are constantly leading them on. Instead of trying to get the facts straight the public is routinely encouraged to jump to emotional conclusions and follow their leaders to fight the Enemies Du Jour. There is little effort if any by the Mass Media to focus the attention of the public on the root causes of conflicts abroad and at home and to find rational solutions to them. The Mass Media and the government is using the threat of the Enemies Du Jour as an excuse to avoid accountability and this is a much bigger threat to democracy even than the legitimate enemies.
There is also some doubt about whether the Enemies Du Jour are legitimate enemies in some cases but even if they are the Bush government obviously over reacted so did the Mass Media and the Mass Media is still overreacting. One of the biggest enemies the USA has been fighting is of course Al-Qaeda who is supposedly responsible for 9/11. They are not nearly as powerful as the Mass Media and the government often makes them pout to be with a massive amount of propaganda. These are a bunch of people who have little if any rational education and their base is supposedly in the caves of Afghanistan and Pakistan. There funds were initially provided by Osama bin laden who is or was a millionaire. It’s hard to believe he still has much money if any or even that he had as much money as they claimed before. Keep in mind that during the eighties he was funding the war against the USSR instead of running his business.
We are supposedly trying to defend against people with box cutters shoe bombs and other primitive devices. This is supposedly adequate to justify the secrecy and the obsession with the war on terror. I don’t dispute that terrorists are a problem but keeping the public in a constant state of panic and shrouding most of the activities of the government in secrecy isn’t the best way to solve the problem. Like any other problem the best way to solve it involves finding the root causes of the problem and preventing them. In this case the root causes of the problem is that these people come from parts of the world with little or no rational education available to them instead they have a massive amount of religious indoctrination forced on them. Another part of the problem is that they really are being oppressed by both their own governments and in most cases other governments often with the help of multi-national corporations. In many parts of the world the multi-national corporations are extracting the resources of third world countries and providing little in return to the local residents. This includes little or no effort to educate them. Without a good education and when they see that their resources are being shipped abroad is it any surprise that they are angry at the western governments.
Also in many cases they are fully aware that western governments have propped up past tyrants and supplied weapons to their enemies. One of the most obvious cases is Iran and Iraq where not only did the USA pop up the Shah in the fifties but in the eighties they provided arms to both sides of the war with Iran keeping it going and many of the common people paid the price. When Sadam Hussein attacked Kuwait, a rich country, the USA stepped in and made promises but then when Sadam attacked the Kurds and other Iraqi’s the USA abandoned them. What they need to solve this problem is mainly more education for the public and better democratic opportunities. Lethal force should be at best the last resort not the first. In most cases the education needs time to take effect so this has to be a long term commitment. The most important thing the military can do is to protect the schools and other social institution until the countries are more stable. This may not seem like it should be our responsibility to many but when you consider that USA corporations and governments are partially responsible perhaps it should be especially if the USA continue to claim they are fighting for democracy. Also in the long run it will be cheaper to educate the public than to fight one war after another. This I very similar to the idea that if you educate a single child right the first time when they are little kids it is easier than to wait until they are troubled teens and try to reform them. It will just be on a larger and more complicated scale so people have to stick with it longer.
The Obama government isn’t doing much better as far as I can tell. Obama seems to have taken a few small steps and promised to do more but he could do much better. If nothing else he could use the bully pulpit to educate the public much better about the causes of these problems with the help of many academics that have studied any given subject. Then he could do much more to advance diplomatic and educational programs around the world hopefully with the support of the public at home and abroad once they understood the subject better. The problem is that he was put in a position to win the presidency with the help of donations from the same multinational corporations that are part of the problem.
No high profile politician can gain national office or statewide office under the current system without the support of money that can only come from the supporters of the multinational corporations. In the long run we need a better system where the control of the elections and the media is reformed. This doesn’t mean more censorship when it comes to reforming the media but less. In the past the Mass Media has had the bully pulpit to stand up for their right to free speech then they have used it to drown out everyone else’s right to free speech. We need a system that enables the scholars that have studied any given subject and the common man to have more influence over what the Mass Media presents to the public. In order for the common man to know what to do with their right to free speech they need better access to a good education that isn’t distorted by indoctrination from the Mass Media.
In the short term we need a better grass roots effort to educate the public with or without the help of the Mass Media and as the public becomes more educated they will understand how the enemy du jour is being used to manipulate their emotions. This can be done in many ways and I suspect that in some cases it is already happening but the Mass Media isn’t reporting on it so many members of the public don’t know about it; instead many of them are being led by demagogues like the ones who seem to be organizing the tea parties including Dick Army. Organization like Free Press and Vote Smart as well as many anti-war organizations can do a lot to educate their members. Also more can be done to organization like Wikipedia to organize information so that the public can understand it if they can overcome the opposition by some people within Wikipedia that are resisting this. I have written more about that on another page cited below.
If Obama or the Mass media do more to educate the public about this in the right way fine but they can’t be trusted to continue to do this in the future. If they could be trusted to do this they would have done it long ago instead of praying on peoples emotions and demonizing the enemy du jour.
First posted on Tripod on 12/16/09
For links to Free Press and Vote Smart see the following
For more about how Wikipedia can be reformed check Wikipedia out for yourself or read the following:
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