Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What We Want

Number Six: Where am I?
Number Two: In the Village.
Number Six: What do you want?
Number Two: Information.
Number Six: Whose side are you on?
Number Two: That would be telling. We want information… information… information.
Number Six: You won't get it.
Number Two: By hook or by crook, we will.

[Introduction to every episode of The Prisoner]

     I’d never thought that would be the opening theme to an essay...before today. Even more fantastic, I find myself – for the purposes of this diatribe, at least – in the position of Number Two.

     Perhaps you do, too.

     We want information. We want it rather badly – badly enough to listen to just about anyone who claims to have it. However, it must satisfy certain criteria:

  • It must be timely.
  • It must be complete.
  • It must be unadorned.
  • It must be referenced.
  • It must be unbiased.

     Those are the characteristics of high-quality information. It would constitute “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” It would be very valuable. Yet it’s not that easy to come by. The demand for it is what’s given rise to the “independent journalists” of the World Wide Web.

     You’d think, given the venerability of our journalistic institutions – the ones I’ve taken to referring to as the Media That Once Were – their owners, operators, and legworkers would have grasped the requirements long ago. The obvious desirability of high-quality information “should” have given rise to an enduring supply of it. Yet that seems not to be the case.

     Actually, it’s worse than that. The Media That Once Were are currently embarked upon a campaign to discourage Americans from seeking high-quality information. The “fake news” gambit is about nothing else. But what’s truly stunning is how open media panjandrums have become about it all. Tucker Carlson gave the matter some consideration, and came away with the following assessment:

     Voters knew more info about a candidate because of the Russia hack. Are people really arguing that we should've been less informed?

     Yes, Tucker, they really are saying exactly that, which is something more Americans should know.

     The sole thrust of every complaint about the election that’s originated on the Left since November 9 is this: We wuz robbed. The Democrats want Americans to believe that the election was somehow stolen from their candidate. If they can’t contrive to reverse the result, they’ll settle for delegitimizing the candidate who won. Accordingly, we’ve been treated to all the following:

  • “Comey threw the election to Trump.”
  • “It was the white racist vote that did it.”
  • “Voting machines were tampered with.”
  • “The Constitution is wrong; the president should be chosen by national popular vote.”
  • “It was Russian hacking.”
  • “It was fake news from right-wing sources.”

     Were any of the above, or any combination, to take hold in enough minds, the incoming Administration would be badly hobbled by adverse public opinion. That, of course, would suit the Democrats and their ideological affiliates just fine. But note that the losing candidate:

  • Can claim no accomplishments of her own;
  • Is personally unlikeable and verifiably corrupt;
  • Is probably too seriously ill to function as president;
  • Referred to the victor’s supporters as “a basket of deplorables;”
  • Bragged about herself and asked “Why am I not fifty points ahead;”
  • Ran a badly targeted campaign that utterly ignored the heartland states;
  • Ran on her gender and demonized her opponent rather than address policy.

     All of that was a matter of public record. No exertion of the Media That Once Were could have suppressed it. Moreover, The aggregate seems more than enough to defeat her, even were this not an “anti-Establishment” campaign season. And down to defeat she went.

     But Hillary Clinton’s worst inadequacies were well known to the electorate well before she threw her hat in the presidential ring. Her promoters and supporters were aware of all of them. Given that she had so many negatives as a presidential candidate – and let’s not forget that she behaved throughout as if the honor of becoming the first woman to serve as president was hers by right – why did the Democrats select her to be their standard-bearer?

     Could it be that a serious political disease afflicts the entire Democrat Party? Is that something else we’re not supposed to learn?

     In an infamous 1965 essay, Marxist theorist Herbert Marcuse wrote:

     The whole post-fascist period is one of clear and present danger. Consequently, true pacification requires the withdrawal of tolerance before the deed, at the stage of communication in word, print, and picture. Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger. I maintain that our society is in such an emergency situation, and that it has become the normal state of affairs. Different opinions and “philosophies” can no longer compete peacefully for adherence and persuasion on rational grounds; the “marketplace of ideas” is organized and delimited by those who determine the national and individual interest. In this society, for which the ideologists have proclaimed “the end of ideology,” the false consciousness has become the general consciousness – from the government down to its last objects. The small and powerless minorities which struggle against the false consciousness and its beneficiaries must be helped: their continued existence is more important than the preservation of abused rights and liberties which grant constitutional powers to those who oppress these minorities....

     Withdrawal of tolerance from regressive movements before they can become active; intolerance even toward thought, opinion, and word; and finally, intolerance in the opposite direction, that is, toward the self-styled conservatives, to the political right – these anti-democratic notions respond to the actual development of the democratic society which has destroyed the basis for universal tolerance....When tolerance mainly serves the protection and preservation of a repressive society, when it serves to neutralize opposition and to render men immune against other and better forms of life, then tolerance has been perverted.

     That essay, fifty-one years old today, is the basis for every claim emanating from the Left about “fake news” and any notion associated with it.

     They really do want us to know less; to be exposed to less diversity of thought and opinion; to be compelled to feed at their teats. That we want exactly the opposite is the deepest of all the thorns in their flesh.

     Food for thought.


brinster said...

This all reminds me of a line from Firesign Theater's "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand me the Pliers." George Tirebiter says at one point, "and you can believe me, because I never lie, and I'm always right."
At the least, all this is designed to weaken the Trump presidency; forcing him to step down would be a bonus.
Evidence? Who needs evidence. Jill Stein proved to be a joke. Trump actually gained votes in Wisconsin, votes in Detroit were invalidated, thus dropping Michigan from a recall, and a judge in Pennsylvania stopped the recount.
Since that didn't work, pantsuit implied "fake news" was one cause for the Trump victory. Was O'keefe exposing the DNC thuggery fake? Were the Podesta emails fake? Were it Nixon, reporters would have been on this like flies on s***.
And now, the Russians gamed the election. Right, of course.
These people never stop. We shouldn't either.

syd B. said...

I think I understand the Dems' strategy and reasoning with this curious horsesh!t festival they are conducting. The hardcore supporters (donors) have been left both bewildered and frustrated with the devastating defeat to, of all people, Donald Trump. The party does not want their faithful to be frustrated. Alas, the idea that the election was stolen, not lost. They are looking down the road and want to take steps now to ensure that their support (money) remains, so as to take back control from those bastard, hoodwinking Republicans.

The problem with this strategy is that it was the left's lies and optics driven governance that allowed someone like Donald Trump to succeed in the first place. More of the same seems like a poor direction for a failing political party. The fact that they have reinstated Fancy Nancy Pelozi as party head would suggest that they haven't learned much from this election. Probably a good thing for the country.