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Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Real and the Un-Real

Ontological Crisis,redux.

You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes; only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.
-Orwell, George, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), 256-7

Talk about the “Memory Hole”....
The Soup of Surreality that we've been living in would not be possible without the Bush Darkness.
We've likely always had Cognitive Biases, and Reality Management, especially since the advent of the Cold War...but Bush II...rather, his “Administration”...made it into an Art Form.
Here's Froomkin, in 2006:
It's like remembering a Dream, somehow.
The Admonition, since that time, has been, “Do Not Remember the Oughts”
We are to forget the entire period, from 2000, to do otherwise is to be Unamerican.
This has been the Mantra of the Right, all through the Obama Administration.
Every time we on the Left tie a current Issue to the Bush Years, we are admonished for “Living in the past”...and “Blaming Bush for the problems of Obama”.
It's the Application of Fukyama's “End of History”-Meme, to our perception of Reality.
Without this purposeful Memory Hole, Tea would not be possible.
During the Bush Darkness, the words,”Traitor”,”America-Hater”, “Blame America First Crowd”,and on and on...were used to silence Opposition to the Policies of the Bush Cabal.
Since 06, or so, the Approved Reality has been that “Obama is a Failure”...long before he took office....and even long before he got the Democratic Nomination(Remember, this was the longest Presidential Campaign in History).
Here's another Blast from the Past that no longer exists(in Right-Wing-Land):

=>”The old pro Bartlett, a deliberative, fact-based wonk, is finally hearing a tune that has been hummed quietly by evangelicals (so as not to trouble the secular) for years as they gazed upon President George W. Bush. This evangelical group -- the core of the energetic ''base'' that may well usher Bush to victory -- believes that their leader is a messenger from God. “

Here we see the beginning of Ontological Crisis...the whole “The Sky is Green, Damn You!!!”-Nonsense that we labour under, today.
=>”This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. ''

=>”A cluster of particularly vivid qualities was shaping George W. Bush's White House through the summer of 2001: a disdain for contemplation or deliberation, an embrace of decisiveness, a retreat from empiricism, a sometimes bullying impatience with doubters and even friendly questioners. Already Bush was saying, Have faith in me and my decisions, and you'll be rewarded. All through the White House, people were channeling the boss. He didn't second-guess himself; why should they? “

=>”''When I was first with Bush in Austin, what I saw was a self-help Methodist, very open, seeking,'' Wallis says now. ''What I started to see at this point was the man that would emerge over the next year -- a messianic American Calvinist. He doesn't want to hear from anyone who doubts him.'' “

...and the big, honking takeaway from this article:

“The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.' “

What Arrogance!
What Hubris!!
Here is the Seed for what has come after...from denial of the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming, to what actually happened to the Economy, to the whole ball of confusion and delusion that , somehow, believes that Obama is a Marxist/Fascist/Kenyan Dictator.

Here's another roughly contemporary article...about the Suskind article, and what it means:

a commenter:
”The "we create our own reality" political mentality is an extention of the subrational religious fundamentalist mindset. Believers simply condition themselves to ignore and supress all facts that conflict with their religious worldview --whether on climate change, evolution, absitinence-only or WMD.
The dangerous subgroup consists of those who feel compelled to force external world compliance with their own fantasies --otherwise known as sociopaths.
In Iraq, though, the Bush crowd finally hit the "Pravda point," --as when the old Soviet Daily kept publishing outlandish claims of Communist superiority and the imminent collapse of capitalisim while the Russian masses ossified in breadlines.
At a certain level of cognitive dissonance, most people stopped listening to official pronouncements.
Still, the US press could have (and should have) hastened this awakening by limiting airtime to sources who were clearly known to be nothing more than PNAC propagandists (e.g. Judith Miller, Ahmed Chalabi, William Kristol, Bill Bennett, etc.), and instead given more bandwidth to those who at the time were non-partisan experts (e.g. Scowcroft, Zinni, Wes Clark, Jim Webb, etc.).
Why anyone sought --let alone respected-- the opinions of the Bennet's and Kristol's and Krauthammer's on serious subjects like war and WMD intelligence has yet to be explained. The fact that most of them are still welcome, active "opinion leaders" tells you just how little has changed.
Posted by: Munguza at December 20, 2006 12:46 PM | Permalink

That incredible Credibility that folks like Oliver North, and a million others, continue to enjoy, is truly remarkable.
The Top level of the Bush II “administration” was, almost to a man, a rehabilitated Nixon administration. How is it that the worst offenders from the last 40 years, the worst Liars, the worst that the GOP has to offer, as far as Credibility is concerned, are so Believed?

More from the comments:

“Back in 1957, Henry Kissenger -- then a brilliant, iconoclastic young Harvard scholar, with his eventual career as cynical political manipulator and, later, as crony capitalist still far in the future -- published his doctoral dissertation, A World Restored. One wouldn't think that a book about the diplomatic efforts of Metternich and Castlereagh is relevant to U.S. politics in the twenty-first century. But the first three pages of Kissinger's book sent chills down my spine, because they seem all too relevant to current events.
In those first few pages, Kissinger describes the problems confronting a heretofore stable diplomatic system when it is faced with a "revolutionary power" -- a power that does not accept that system's legitimacy. ... It seems clear to me that one should regard America's right-wing movement -- which now in effect controls the administration, both houses of Congress, much of the judiciary, and a good slice of the media -- as a revolutionary power in Kissinger's sense. That is, it is a movement whose leaders do not accept the legitimacy of our current political system. [pp 5-6]”-Krugman,(The Great Unravelling )

That right there is one of my beefs...the continued usage of the word,   "Conservative” to describe a group of groups of people who are anything but “conservative”'s an important part of the Crisis.
My Lyin' Eyes say that the whole Reagan Economics Debacle has been a failure...that it's Assumptions never had any bearing on Reality.
My Lyin' Eyes also regard the whole “War on Terror” as a Stupid Idea, from the beginning.
My Lyin' Eyes, from the evening of 9-11-2001, saw the great Existential Danger that the Rhetoric and Memespace of that day would present to the country....from Torture, to Hyper-Surveillance to the Manichean, Black and White Weltanshauung.
My Lyin' Eyes have been accurate and Truthful, it turns out....So the Right hasDoubled Down on the Surreal.

We have allowed the Right, and their Crazy Worldview to Win...
We have Tacitly accepted their version of Recent History....even though most of us remember it much differently than what the RW Narrative still insists is the “Truth”...This confuses me.
Where is our Spine?
Now we have a whole Party, and all of their Base, believing things that are Demonstrably False....that do not comport with Objective Reality.
Surreality and Belief, trump Facts and Reality.
As I've said before, Hard Core Tea appears to be a mere 20% of the general population, at best...although they have a lot of coat-tail-riders who pretend to agree with them, because they fear losing their position.
That's changing...the rest of the GOP is trying to abandon Tea...but, so far, have been unable to put the Monster back into the Barn.
Reality must be made to intrude upon the Myth.
My Cassandra Hat firmly in place...I predict that Ted Crazy will be the Republican Nominee in the 2016 Presidential spite of...even BECAUSE OF!!...whatever insane thing he does and says, in the intervening years.
I further predict, that if he … hook or crook...Wins the Presidency.....that we will descend into Chaos.
This sounds like Partisan Hysteria....but I don't care.
I was on the money with so many things, during Bush II....sadly, before my Blog....
I was on the money with the rise of Tea, and the Mainstreaming of Dominionism...
The only prediction I made regarding Bush II that I got wrong(really wrong, it turns out) was that there wouldn't be a 2008 Election...that some new Emergency would serve to keep the Neocons in power.
It sure felt likely to me, and to many others, at the time.
I am predicting, now, that Ted Crazy will be the continuation of what Bush II accomplished.
If he “Wins”, we'll see Darth Cheney and the Gang, somewhere in the shadows, behind him.
We'll see the whole coterie of Reagan and Nixon and Bush II back in influential positions...even John Yoo and Alberto the False will likely make a comeback.
The most insane and intolerant "Christians" will likely be waving their arms before Ted the Warrior, ecstatic and glassy eyed.
That's where the broadest Trendlines lead me....and it's fucking terrifying.
I've all but given up on Local Political Activism...Local Dems know where I am, if they ever decide to come down from the Hills....and I reckon that the rest of Texas will have to change dramatically before this Bloody Red District can be moved to the center, even.
But make no mistake...we ain't out of the woods, yet.
All that's lacking is a Disaster of sufficient proportions, and the Nascent Leftward Swing will abruptly end.

The Messianism of Lil' George was, indeed, something to behold.
The things that leaked out, like the last half of the Suskind article, were very worrying for us “Reality-Based” folks....
But Lil George has nothing on Cruz, when it comes to Messianism.
A look around the news, just in the last month, is enough proof of that.
Cruz, and his Dad(!!)...plugged onto a resurgent and rehabilitated Sister Sarah (anointed), and Paul Broun(“from the pit of hell...”), and a whole host of similar personages...are poised to capitalise on this aspect of American Right-Wing Land.
To the Hyper-Religious, the world looks pretty dark...Satan is after them, and Obama really is the Anti-Christ. They view themselves as an embattled Minority, however ludicrous that seems to us.
They feel persecuted, when they don't get every jot and tittle of what they desire...and they see their power slipping away; Queers, and Brown People, and “Secularists”....those pesky Scientists, too....have pushed the True Believers into a corner, herded them into a Concentration Camp of the mind....and they are as Terrified of Us, as I am of them...
Because one of the most important lessons of history, is that a small group of Fanatics, if given enough Kool Aide, and space to holler, and organise, can wreak Havoc on the World.
These folks must be kept away from Power.

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