11/18/2004

THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES AND THE REAL POLITICS OF FEAR - PART 1"

Weblog Entry - 11/18/2004: "November 18, 2004 - MEDIA ALERT: THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES AND THE REAL POLITICS OF FEAR - PART 1"

Medialens Latest News: "The postwar assault on public opinion that followed was itself a version of earlier, business-driven propaganda campaigns. These focused on 'identification of the traditional American free-enterprise system with social harmony, freedom, democracy, the family, the church, and patriotism; and identification of all government regulation of the affairs of business, and all liberals who supported such 'interference', with communism and subversion.' (Carey, ibid, p.27)

Notice that this did indeed involve an attack on 'selfish individualism' as a threat to the moral fabric of American society, as Curtis claims. But this was a concocted rhetorical cover for the real goal - business control of domestic society and foreign resources for the maximisation of power and profit - and was not, in itself, a genuine or motivating concern. To believe otherwise is simply to be deceived.

Noam Chomsky comments:

'Woodrow Wilson's Red Scare was the earliest and most extreme resort to state power in twentieth-century America to suppress labour, political dissidence, and independent thought.' (Chomsky, Necessary Illusions, Pluto Press, 1991, p.185)

'Selfish individualism' was not the problem. Carey fills in some of the detail:

'During 1918 business's most effective weapon for the ensuing confrontation with the unions was public apprehension about the threat to American society and institutions from 'un-American' sentiment and 'un-American' radicalism among the foreign-born... In January 1920 the Great Steel Strike collapsed, with disastrous consequences for the entire labour movement. It had predictably been represented by government and business interests as a Bolshevist revolutionary challenge to American society by un-American foreign-born workers. [...] Thereafter the business leaders of the Americanisation movement could permit a level of public indifference, for they had gained control over the presidency as well as public opinion and had begun the long process of closing the American mind to critical thought.' (Carey, op.cit., pp.62-63)"

But the demonising of foreign enemies did not begin with anti-communism. In 1816, echoing Curtis on al Qaeda, Thomas Jefferson wrote that Great Britain "hated and despised us beyond every earthly object." Britain was not just the enemy of the United States, but was "truly hostis humani generis," an enemy of the entire human race, in classic al Qaeda style. John Adams wrote that Britons were, "Taught from the cradles to scorn, insult and abuse" Americans, such that "Britain will never be our friend till we are her master." (Quoted, Noam Chomsky, Year 501, Verso, 1993, p.25)

Similar propaganda has been used to demonise the menacing Spaniard, the Hun, the native Indian, international drug traffickers, single mothers - whoever happens to be the latest target for vilification. It is a very old and obvious theme of state propaganda, not a relatively recent neocon development, as Curtis claims.

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