Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Lest we forget politics

Communication theory says you can't tell people what to think but you can tell people what to think about. Keep Americans focused on the masters playing the politics, and you pretty much guarantee tyranny, fascism, misery, and all the rest.

Whether you're tuned to FOX News, MSNBC, CNN, or even NPR, watch any talking head; hear any radio shock jock. Really pay attention. Listen to inflection. Observe body language.

Every single last one of these scoundrels tells us what to think about. Any dissenting view or alternative thought is thoroughly excoriated. The few intelligent, principled people who break through the din find themselves thoroughly trivialized.

"Oh, come on," spews the scoundrel. "The American people know that's a bunch of malarkey."

And the American people listen.

Mass media belittle the free market of ideas, all the while proselytizing the free market's virtues. The talking heads scold us for thinking beyond the parameters.

Is it a conspiracy? No. That would be too simple, albeit, intriguing.

The system merely perpetuates its thought hegemony by being the only official, "OK" thing to debate. The powerful and not so powerful alike have championed free markets and unbridled capitalism with blood, sweat, and tears.

We look up to them and buy into their system. We need bigger houses, more money and power, faster and bigger cars, and careers that let us write the best titles in front of our names.

We invest all our energy into playing the game that we fail to recognize is only a game. The last thing we want is to concede that something we have championed is not working. To admit this would be to admit our folly.

That hurts, and it never plays well.