Tuesday, April 11, 2006

the men behind the curtain

...never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.*

Especially for principled conservatives, this barnburner from scientist/sci-fi author David Brin:
...A deep flaw - perhaps the most tragic in human nature - makes delusional hallucinators of us all, blinding our eyes to any evidence that runs counter to our favorite dogmas.... Even more urgent is the need to find excuses for our side, our team, our tribe.

... In much the same way that liberals felt torment over disowning the monsters on "their side" [ in 1947], so we now see decent conservatives writhing and twisting, like pretzels, in order to make excuses for rapacious kleptocrats, incompetent thugs, moronic armchair warriors, cynical spin doctors, conniving feudalists and screeching fanatics.

Are they truly loyal to such monsters?

...for the most part, top conservatives have either bought into the madness, or else grit their teeth and excuse it, by pointing to a strawman caricature of liberalism...

I do not believe that "decent conservative" is an oxymoron. I know plenty of them.
What appears to be an oxymoron is "courageous conservative." Find me more than a few with the guts to stand up for both their principles and their country...

From Bill Watson, managing editor of the Pocono Record:
A truly useful media would be finding out what is going on right now within the Bush administration to create the next huge crisis, the one that will force us to back this president yet again, past the seemingly immutable "no third term" amendment. It really doesn't take much imagination to take the pattern demonstrated so far and project it into a scenario that attempts to keep this group in power, either by putting us in a war so consequential we have no choice but to back the president, or creating a crisis that justifies imposition of martial law. It apparently does take more imagination than a lot of folks in the media have.
...Never are the people in authority so dangerous as when they are weakened. Everybody thinks Bush is toothless because his poll numbers are falling. It's actually the most dangerous thing that could happen.


Russ Steele said...

If you are looking for a "Big Lie" example look at the left and their global warming campaign. Disregard the facts and scare the hell out of people with a computer model that cannot even replicate the last 200 years, yet can tell us the global temp in 2100. Note how the press keeps telling the same lie over and over.

Anna said...

um, Russ, 2 things:

1. On the topic of my post -
Do you think that principled conservatives should be standing up and repudiating this administration?
(which as David Brin points out is not conservative by any stretch of the imagination)

2. As for global warming, a couple of points:
a) it's a bit of a red herring in the context of this post, and
b) the overwhelming majority of scientists believe that it is occurring and that the human influence on it is substantial. If you want to keep getting informed otherwise via (industry and hugely wealthy ultraconservative funded) outlets like the Heartland Institute, ok; but keep in mind that it is essentially a PR outlet, whose purpose is to lead you to a preconceived conclusion.
See Mark Kleiman (via BDL):
========= start Kleiman =========
Is there any hope of getting the press to distinguish between
(1) the original "think tank" [the RAND Corporation plus] comparably respectable universities-without-students (Brookings, the Urban Institute) where real social scientists (and real natural scientists, engineers, mathematicians, historians, and policy analysts) do real research and analysis looking for real answers to real questions and
(2) faux "think tanks" (Heritage, Cato, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) set up for the purpose of providing "studies" in support of pre-determined ideological points?

The distinction isn't hard to make. If you have to read the report to know the conclusion, it's a real think tank. If you know the conclusion as soon as you know the topic and where it was written, you're dealing with a phony.
A real think tank...would be delighted to have a scholar of ... quality around, no matter what conclusions he reached. A phony think tank will tolerate a real scholar, but only if his conclusions fit the organization's preconceptions.
========= end Kleiman =========

(BTW, I enjoyed meeting you and Ellen last weekend)

Anonymous said...

Uhhhh, the RAND Corporation is about as tied into the military and military contractor world as you can get. Your RAND vs Cato comparison in terms of defining for the rest of us what a 'REAL' think tank is doesn't wash.

PS. You might want to check out who was Chairman of the Board at RAND during most of the 1980s.

Anna said...

Anon, welcome; but please adopt a pseudonym.

so who was Chairman of the Board at RAND? URL?
(please don't make me do all the work, I'm too far behind already)

Anonymous said...

"so who was Chairman of the Board at RAND? URL?
(please don't make me do all the work, I'm too far behind already)"

He's now SecDef.

Anna said...

"Anon... please [indulge my latent fascist tendencies and] adopt a pseudonym."

thank you.