We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Are We Too Dumb for Democracy? The Logic Behind Self-Delusion

by Stephen Dufrechou from AlterNet.

Although the article contains some important psychological insights, they are hardly new. It is clear that in the US, educational institutions are used to create a firm ideological foundation in its citizens to prepare them to accept uncritically any information that promotes the interests of the ruling capitalist class, and likewise to reject other information. But when this isn't sufficient to support war policies, more dramatic measures are used. Read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.

President Franklin Roosevelt was well aware that US citizens were intent on staying out of another European war (WWII). He very much wanted to enter the war, and I won't speculate here as to why, or argue about the merits of US involvement. But he knew that it would take an attack on the US to bring us into the war. Thus, while doing everything he could to support England, and constantly saying to the American public that he didn't want war, he set about luring the Japanese into attacking the US. See this. Read Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor by Robert Stinnett.

Shortly after WWII, the China Lobby wanted a war against Red China and other hawks wanted a rollback of Communist influence on the Korean peninsula. After unilaterally establishing South Korea, they pursued very aggressive policies against North Korea until the latter was provoked into a war. Read at least volume I of The Origins of the Korean War by Bruce Cumings.

Then the Empire builders were intent on escalating the war in Vietnam. Conveniently, the Gulf of Tonkin incident was arranged to get the American people behind the effort. See this, this, and this.

In the 1990s the neocons in the US were intent on expanding the Empire into the Middle East, but they were well aware that...
A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American allies.

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is
likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor. 
["Rebuilding America's Defenses" from Project for the New American Century]
On Sept. 11, 2001 the twin towers were attacked and the stage was set for the US adventures into Iraq and Afghanistan. See this, this, and this.