The West Is Trapped in Its Own Propaganda

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research

One of the wishes that readers often express to me came true today (May 11). I was on the mainstream media. It was a program with a worldwide reach–the BBC World Service. There were others on the program as well, and the topic was Hillary Clinton’s remarks (May 10) about the lack of democracy and human rights in China.

I startled the program’s host when I compared Hillary’s remarks to the pot calling the kettle black. I was somewhat taken aback myself by the British BBC program host’s rush to America’s defense and wondered about it as the program continued. Surely, he had heard about Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo detainees, CIA secret torture prisons sprinkled around the world, invasion and destruction of Iraq on the basis of lies and deceptions, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya. Surely, he was aware of Hillary’s hypocrisy as she demonized China but turned a blind eye to Israel, Mubarak, Bahrain and the Saudis. China’s record is not perfect, but is it this bad? Why wasn’t the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs criticizing America’s human rights abuses and rigged elections? How come China minds its own business and we don’t?

These questions didn’t go down well. None of the other interviewees or guests thought that Hilary had made a good decision, but even the Chinese guests were not free of the common mindset that frames every issue from the standpoint that the West is the standard by which the rest of the world is judged. By pointing out our own shortcomings, I was challenging that standard. The host and other guests could not escape from the restraints imposed on thought by the role of the West as world standard.

What has happened to the West is that it can see itself and others only through the eyes of its own propaganda. There was a great deal of talk about China’s lack of democracy. As the BBC program was being broadcast, the news intruded that Greeks had again taken to the streets to protest the costs of the bailout of the banks and Wall Street–the rich–being imposed on ordinary people at the expense of their lives and aspirations. The Irish government announced that it was going to confiscate with a tax part of the Irish people’s pension accumulations. It simply did not occur to the host and other guests that these are not democratic outcomes.

It is a strange form of democracy that produces political outcomes that reward the few and punish the many, despite the energetic protests of the many.

Political scientists understand that US electoral outcomes are determined by powerful monied interests that finance the political campaigns and that the bills Congress passes and the President signs are written by these interest groups to serve their narrow interests. Such conclusions are dismissed as cynicism and do not alter the mindset.

While the program’s host and guests were indulging in the West’s democratic and human rights superiority, the American Civil Liberties Union was sending out a bulletin urging its members to oppose legislation now before Congress that would give the current and future Presidents of the United States expanded war authority to use, on their own initiative, military force anywhere in the world independently of the restraints imposed by the US Constitution and international law.

In other words, in the great American “democracy,” the president is to become a Caesar.

15 responses to “The West Is Trapped in Its Own Propaganda

  1. boomerangcomesback

    PCR pretty much drills through the muck to strike the oily deposits hiding underground.

  2. People who believe absurdities can be made to commit atrocities

  3. I post alot to a site called Government in the Lab. I’m Pewtergod there, in case anyone checks it out. One of the things I harp on there is whether this country is really a democracy, or is actually an oligarchy. I don’t really know why I have to argue about this, since the answer seems painfully obvious. One of our discussions there is about whether the revolutions in the middle east will lead to any real change. Several people there talked about how the people there deserve freedom like us in the west. Personally, I found these statements pitifully ironic. At least the people there seem to realize they are living in a cage. Remember Al Gore’s story about the frog and the boiling water? It applies to more than climate change. I think the next discussion I start there will be on the first generation raised on television as an experiment in social engineering.

    • None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
      ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      I went to a public lecture a couple years ago where the professor laid out the theory for how Germany was legally turned into fascism via laws passed. I had to confront the professor who called the US a republican democracy. I cited 6 recently passed bills including the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act (and can’t remember what else). He hit the roof. Then another guy (also older, not a student) called the US a plutocracy and the professor agreed!

      It’s as if he didn’t know the definition, but of course he did. Like most US universities, the propaganda is never ending. (Fuck you, Nova Southeastern U)

      Oligarchy simply means rule by a few. Plutocracy means rule by the wealthy. I’d argue we are not an oligarchy because bureaucrats — of which there are tens of thousands — effectively rule us, requiring nearly every act humans need to perform to survive to be licensed. All of this is done to profit the already wealthy.

      tv… and now it’s underlaid with mind control messages

  4. We need to clarify not only the meaning of “democracy”, but also the meaning of “law”. A “legal” foundation for public or private action inconsistent with legal principle and norms is by definition impossible.
    Particularly in the period since its purported repeal of basic constitutional freedoms in the so-called PATRIOT “Act”, US Congress has shown a tenacious determination to undermine its own authority. Particularly in the course of its purported “legislative” activity since 2001, Congress has repeatedly trampled not only on the documentary source of its power, but on the rule of law itself.
    Following legislative procedure is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for making a lawful exercise of power into valid law. But following legislative procedure cannot render an unlawful exercise of power lawful. By definition, an unlawful legislative action does not produce law. In such cases, it is meaningless to discuss the validity of the purported “law”, because there is no law.
    Congress has been hollowed out. Only an empty shell remains. The ruling plutocracy exercises power without plausible legal authority. The question is: How long can the US people, who (at least in theory) once declared themselves to be sovereign, be kept under media sedation?

    • Clarify? after they’ve gone to so much trouble to distort meaning and instill toleration for double-speak? Their mindless machine spews on day after day- while the few sentients around try to hang on to clarity.

      In old Chinese philosophy it’s said “the strong turn resolutely against the weak.” It’s time we returned the favor.

      • Thanks for the Chinese proverb. It sets the right tone.
        Yes, clarify. Marshalling the organisational resources required to direct power requires a clear language which accurately and reliably refers to concepts, prepositions and relationships. It can’t be achieved in Newspeak.
        The ruling elite is not inherently powerful. Its few members are, however, organisationally very skilful. As John Kenneth Galbraith wrote back in the 1980s, in our time organisation is the main source of power, and conditioning is the primary mode in which it is exercised. His analysis is still truer today than when he wrote it. The resources the elite marshals in order to wield power are the abilities, skills, intellects and surplus productive capacity of hundreds of millions of people. From the perspective of our individual lives, we the people more or less willingly submit to this arrangement, surrendering our own power to the elite even though it has become obvious who the elite is, and that the elite (via intermediary organisations) uses our power against us.
        An effective resolute turning against the elite cannot be accomplished by privately-owned firearms and violence. To be fair, you didn’t suggest that this was so. I mention them because these ideas are recurrent themes at COTO. They might have a role to play, but they aren’t the key.
        An effective resolute turning against the elite can be accomplished by turning off the flow of our power to the elite. The more sharply, i.e. simultaneously, this can be done, the less possibilities the elite will have to respond. It’s the Shock and Awe principle the US military uses to destroy nations: disrupt all vital systems simultaneously, and a nation – unable to divert its processes over alternative routes – is quickly paralysed.
        What does this mean in practice? Stop using currencies issued by private reserve banks, create local economies which are self-sustaining and resilient, quit working for and refuse to provide information to government and destructive corporate organisations …
        The method isn’t new. Gandhi called it passive resistance. Like the elite’s abuse and oppression of the mass of people and the earth, passive resistance requires discipline, determination and organisation – and it is known to work.

        • You’ve nailed it! Frustration often prompts us to violence, or at least verbal abuse and anger. All this accomplishes is to identify us to the elite for squelching.

          Leaders like MLK and Gandhi get eliminated quickly these days. I’m convinced that music and related arts are what can best be used to spread the word and buoy the spirit of sovereignty we need.

  5. Are you suggesting that a plutocracy isn’t a form of tyranny?
    “This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is
    organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner
    if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ”
    So Hitler and Stalin had the right idea all along. By the definition you give, these were obviously smooth functioning democracies. And I certainly feel Goldman Sachs and Fox News are qualified to determine how we should think and feel. They are heading us smoothly into extinction.

  6. RTW, Bernay’s definition of democracy was worthy of the doublespeak in Orwell’s 1984. That he worked for the Wilson admin. during WWI comes as no surprise, as they gave us the Sedition Act of 1918. A proper education is what most people are lacking, not someone else to tell them what to think.
    While Hamilton would have agreed with Bernay, Jefferson certainly wouldn’t.

    Thomas Jefferson: ‘Information is the currency of democracy.’

  7. Really? How interesting. I’ve heard that quoted a thousand times.
    How about:
    “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.”
    Or:
    “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.”
    “Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.” And:
    “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
    Thomas Jefferson
    In any case, I believe I skimmed over your other post too quickly (there has just been a huge amount of commentary on this story!) You were not implying that plutocracy was a necessary or commendable state, merely that it has always been a fact. I agree that there has never been a real democracy, but I don’t think there never will be.

  8. I sincerely apologize for not reading more carefully. All of your posts on this have been quite excellent, and I didn’t even notice that you were the one who wrote several others, all of which were commendable and showed considerable knowledge and intelligence. Myself, I am still trying to dislodge foot from mouth.

  9. the BBC is partly funded by the US State Dept. the so called public funding via the tv license is a myth,most of that cash ends up with off-shore bankers ,mi5/6 to fund covert ops or with the tavistock institute. even big uk newspapers reported that the (illegal) council tax is used not for public services but to buy DU ammunition.the problem with the west and its infantile propaganda is that the authors seem to have read only edward bernays and josef göbbles

  10. Pingback: The Proliferation of Illegal Wars Erodes American Values « lisaleaks

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