Saturday, January 29, 2011

Promotions and punishments

Commenter Brian M asks: Is it mere propaganda, or do editorial pontificators really believe the piffle they rewrite?

Whether or not they believe what they say, we mustn't lose sight of the fact that in any system of concentrated power there are penalties and rewards for saying some things versus others.

We learn this at a very young age; and, for most of us, knowing the difference between what will garner us one versus the other is a more necessary survival trait than establishing "what we believe" as a matter of individual preference.

As individuals, we are dependent, whether it is on "good grades" or the employment prospects they imply, in order to "make something" of our lives; it can't very well be accomplished by thinking whatever you want, and acting accordingly -- at least not without the legitimating consent of external institutions.

In consequence, unequal societies are populated by those whose private thoughts to whatever degree diverge from their public acts, leaving them vulnerable to depression or despair; or whose lives are spent without any independent sense of self at all; or who, lastly, bear the full penalty of thinking unsanctioned thoughts when they are expressed as public acts.

It follows from this that editorial writers who are retained in highly unequal societies will fall either under the first or second description.


Brian M said...

read this over at Ioz, too...

Just wanna say that you remain one of the most rational, yet humane commentors out there. Keep up the excellent work!

JRB said...

Thanks for the inspiration in this case, Brian.