How do you fundamentally transform a nation from what it has been to what a clique of ideologues wants it to be? The easiest way is to convince the general population that what the would-be masters want is what the people want. Those seeking to subvert a culture must take a long view. They must realize that this will be a multistage project that will take generations to achieve.
As an example that will strike home and ring true to every engaged American let’s look at how the Progressives have incrementally moved us from the best educated, most politically engaged population in History to a flock of militantly apathetic fans. Couch potatoes waiting for the next game or reality show unaware how our government operates and impatient with anyone who tries to explain it to them. How did they nudged us from the most self-reliant people in the world to a line of people waiting hat in hand for the next transfer payment?
The first goal was the educational system. Capture that and it was possible to raise up generations who either thought as they did or who didn’t think at all. Dumb it down, exchange confused thinking for critical thinking and soon the people who once asked hard questions will swallow easy answers. The best place to start is at the colleges and universities. If you can convince a generation of teachers that the snake-oil you’re selling will cure everything you will soon have them indoctrinating generations that the sickness is really the cure.
A target of particular interest is of course was journalism schools. Once these schools become factories churning out carbon copies it isn’t necessary to have an official propaganda ministry. The journalists themselves will self-censor anything that doesn’t fit the reality they imbibed along with the Kool-aide. Once the editorial boards and the human resource departments are filled with clones none but clones need apply. Today the portals of American media are filled with people who don’t even know someone who is pro-life. They don’t know anyone who sympathizes with the Tea Party. So those on the other side are always the other. There is no understanding or compassion for thoughts and ideas they find foreign and alien even though they represent the thinking of the majority of Americans. So as we cling to our Bibles and our guns the megaphones of the public discourse represent mainstream America as a fringe while holding up a cross section of the Jerry Springer Show or the Gong Show as the new normal.
The next target in America’s transition from a society built upon individualism, self-reliance and innovation into a centrally-planned experiment in utopian collectivism might have been the hardest or it might have been the easiest: capitalism itself.
As layer after layer of regulations entangled the economy there came a tipping point. This was reached when government interference in the economy became the dominant feature. Then business decisions were no longer made because they were right but instead because of how they intersected with government policy. Look at the stock market today. It no longer moves due to innovation or even speculation it instead moves like a marionette to the strings pulled by the Federal Reserve. It reacts to real, perceived or imagined government actions.
No longer do we have Henry Fords or J. D. Rockefellers moving and shaking the economy to build industries. Now we have crony capitalists who use their connections to get sweetheart deals, tax subsidies and bailouts. Too Big to Fail has replaced Laissez-faire and it is no longer what you know but who you know that brings success in America.
The most insidious aspect of this incremental transformation of America is what it has done to truth. Once thought to be an objective reality, in a centralized utopia truth must become whatever endorses and supports the efforts to reach the designated goals. If necessary, good becomes bad, up becomes down and dark becomes light if that is what is required to make the assumptions and conclusions of the planners plausible.
War becomes peace. Inequality becomes equality. Pork becomes stimulus. Stonewalling and taking the fifth becomes the most transparent administration in history and the destruction of the greatest health system ever known becomes affordable care.
As the meanings of words change it becomes increasingly hard to hold an intelligent conversation, because no one is sure what anyone else means. This cannot be viewed as the natural evolution of language. This is a direct by-product of the effort to centrally-plan a society. Since all efforts must be bent to the centrally directed goals all thoughts must be shaped to conform to the politically correct thoughts of the leaders. All other thoughts become suspect and are held up to ridicule.
The prevailing mood of cynicism and the general intellectual climate that this produces brings about the loss of even the meaning of truth. Truth becomes relative. It is wholly dependent upon political considerations as the spirit of independent inquiry itself disappears. Under the constant barrage of the all-embracing central government and their willing allies in the media the belief in the power of rational conviction fades from view and only the official line seems to make sense to those who through either apathy or complacency swallow the party line and march in lock-step from freedom to serfdom.
The desire to force people to accept a creed and to salute the flag is nothing new. What is new is the justification for doing so that lies at the basis of our current round of communal thought control. It is believed by some that there is no real freedom of thought in any society at all. The thoughts of the masses have always been and will always be shaped by what we now call propaganda or governmental advertising by the laws and regulations of the leaders and the example of the upper classes. Those who wish to regiment thought and control opinion act as if since this is so it is incumbent upon them to direct the thoughts of the masses into a desirable direction. Or in other words a direction that supports the movement towards the goals and objectives previously chosen by the central planners.
Incrementally, step by step, inch by inch the highly individualistic descendants of the pioneers have become a mob clamoring for bread and circuses. Dependent upon government for their very livelihood a large portion, perhaps a majority of the electorate, eagerly embrace the thinking needed to justify robbing their fellow citizens through transfer payments to subsidize their lifestyle. Society becomes rigid and any deviance from the proscribed way of thinking is ostracized. Any attempt to break free of the stranglehold of political correctness on the thoughts and opinions of a once free people must be punished. The best that we can hope is that since we have gone step by step and inch by inch eventually, slowly we will turn.
In George Orwell’s classic 1984 it was the thought police that monitored and directed the thoughts of an entire nation. On a smaller scale the sadistic captain of the chain-gang in Cool Hand Luke phrased it this way when referring to people who tried to break out of the system, “You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain’t gonna need no third set, ’cause you gonna get your mind right.”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens