Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Devices of Contemporary World Leaders: cheap virtue and political fantasy

One of the most troubling features of our times is the deliberate manipulation of information, which places the media in compromising positions. The media is blamed when in fact various interested parties are deliberately using the huge power of the modern media to forward their own interests. In virtually every case the issue is not the truth but the control of “truth” so as to control vested interests.

It is sickening to see a Democratic Congress, for no reason in particular, decide to condemn the Armenian genocide just now (why now?) and then, since the Turks are rattling their saber over the matter, backing down. It is not truth or uprightness or virtue that drives this behavior, merely the search for more reasons to justify their existence. Cheap virtue is the coin of politics.

The same seems to be operative among the Republicans, some of whom have now gotten the global warming religion, creating a problem for the rest: If enough of the party would just get together on this issue, perhaps they could stop global warming from taking place after all [!]. Mind over matter.

The crisis in Darfur, information on which is likewise controlled by interested parties, remains deadly; real people are being really killed while, in the mean time, some officials publicly wonder if Sudan even cares about the crisis. A member of the African Union says that “people are now becoming very skeptical” about whether the government is “interested in peace.” Really? After so much brutality against Sudanese civilians, he thinks maybe the Sudanese government is not serious about protecting their own people. In fact, for the governments of the world to acknowledge what is taking place, that will constitute an obligation, a responsibility that hardly anyone out there, out here, wants to face. It can cost real money, perhaps the lives of their own folks as well as those of the locals. Again we note the ancient wisdom: "Men loved darkness because their deeds were evil; they would not come into the light lest their deeds be exposed."

It is not truth that the world lives by, but myth, and whoever controls the mechanisms of mythical promotion has all the advantages. So what we get from our leaders is cheap virtue and political fantasy.

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