Mittwoch, Dezember 28, 2005

Small Break...

As if you haven't noticed, there will be a small break here: but I'll be back on the 3rd with continuation of the Culture of Deception...

Best wishes to all for a great 2006.

Donnerstag, Dezember 22, 2005

Culture of Deception V

As usual, Dr. Sanity says it better than I can.


Delusional Projection.





The critical point for me is that we're not dealing merely with people with problems, but more fundamentally with a denial of truth, denial of reality, of insistence on "that's just your opinion", of sophistry, all based on some sort of ill-defined, sophmoristic relative epistomology, where the insane ravings of a certified loony have, fundamentally, the same weight, the same inherent truth value of any other statement on the subject, whether it be opinion or facts.

Dr. Sanity also makes the point above that this sort of stance is common among children before they begin maturing.  She brings the excellent point that for children (and those within the culture of deception) view reason as a creative process, independent of thinking or perception. It is very closely tied to using their emotions as perceptual tools: let's keep that phrase in mind.

Artists, good ones, are skilled in intertwining their cognitive abilities and their emotions to create their art, to create the emotions that they want to in their viewers. It's part of the skill and the talent: a painting with extraordinary technique but which has no "soul" is an interesting exercise for the art critic, but add the true artist's ability to get the viewer to emote, to experience an emotion by merely viewing the picture, and you've got something that will propel an artist into greatness.

But what happens when all you have is emotion? Then you have a failed artist (and we all know about failed artists: that disgusting Austrian corporal was one) and a political activist.

On previous posts, I've touched on the role that deliberate deception plays in Hollywood. What Dr. Sanity touches on is the abandonment of the cognitive aspect of acting - think of the brilliant and electrically charged performances by, say, Bogart and Bacall, where the sexual attraction is not so much physical as intellectual - for the purely emotive aspect of acting that we see in today's actors.

And. of course, the killer point is this: by claiming that everything is relative - which is self-contradictory, since the sentence itself is an absolute - then the members of the Culture of Deception cannot claim to have the truth behind them, unless they understand truth literally as only emotional truth: of feelings.

Of feeling that something is true.

Not merely this: actively placing emotions at the same level as facts, of subjective opinion at the same level as objective reality.

Fiction writers need "emotional truth", actors need it. Without it artists can't create the emotions that they want to.

But the danger, the critical danger, is when it is elevated to the same epistemological level as objective facts.

Why does this happen? Well, it's fairly simple: the facts are too complex.

I was in Germany during the Nato Double-Track Agreement (move Pershing IIs to Europe to counter SS-20 and offer to scrap them if the Soviets scrapped theirs). I was involved with a German girl at the time and we went to a lecture given by a German professor in Chinese History on what it all meant.

The lecture was so full of inaccuracies as to be absurd, and I, in my ignorance, stood up and pointed out several to the Prof (one of the better bad career moves I've made in my life) when he asked for questions. I had the facts on my side (yes, the US does do EMP testing on nuclear systems and spends a lot of money to ensure that an EMP doesn't cripple communications and weapons), which the Prof acknowledged, but he felt that it didn't make any difference.

My girlfriend of the time (she dumped me shortly therafter: her worst career move, according to my wife) took my back to her apartment that she shared with 4 other students and we all sat and had some wine and talked about the lecture.

And they didn't understand anything about escalation scenarios, about the calculus of deterrence, about the weapons and what they meant. I spent something like 4 hours that evening trying to explain to them the simplest, basic elements of deterrence.

They didn't like it. They felt that the whole thing was just awful. I pointed out that I didn't like it much either, but that it was keeping the peace and was working. They thought that was awful as well.

But all they were doing was emoting and not thinking. And we're talking about two psychology grad students, a PhD candidate in Biology (the girlfriend of the time), and a strange guy who switched from doing a PhD in Philosophy to a MA in political science, economics and philosophy (me).

But back to the Prof. One thing that strikes me now is that he was a damn good Chinese History prof (I still have my class notes and reviewed them while I was reading that recent biography of Mao, and he was pretty good) and knew nothing of what he was talking about, but he felt that it was important to do so. He didn't have the facts, but was using his position to preach. Further, not knowing the facts didn't make any difference : he felt that it was important to protest against the Nato Double-Track decision.

This sort of emotional truth is indeed self-delusion.

Dr. Sanity says it better than I can:

When you live in a world where objective reality is unacknowledged, is it any wonder that from your perspective noone can every prove that what you feel is true, isn't really true? That is why the same distortions and creative fabrications resurface time after time in political discussions these days.

This is critical. Feeling that something is true doesn't make it true, unless, of course, you value, like Mapes does, your emotions, your feeling that something is true, more than reality itself, i.e. self-delusion.

And to bring this back to the Culture of Deception: film makers love this, especially left-wing film makers.

Read this by Ebert. Films aren't about truth, especially Michael Moore "documentaries." Films are about emotions, and Moore's films are agit-prop. I remember seeing Roger & Me and thought that as a film-maker, Moore was brilliant. The problem is that it's not a documentary, but rather agit-prop, and successful agit-prop, since it creates emotions that Moore deliberately wants to inculcate for his own political reasons.

But that's all part of the game of the Culture of Deception: it's not just about deceiving others - the useful idiots of Lenin - but is also about deceiving themselves - the left in the US today - about the world we live in and what it all means.

Montag, Dezember 19, 2005

Culture of Deception - Part IV

The Culture of Deception in modern politics has complex roots. It's actually quite simple, but the roots, of understanding where it comes from and why it has become the culture of the left,, are not so easily understood.

We've seen that Marxism and its illegitimate bastard children (Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism etc) are based on deception: the proletariat doesn't understand its own true nature (false consciousness); without a revolutionary vanguard the masses are too stupid and downtrodden to actually do anything; the revolutionary vanguard must deceive most of its followers and the general public about its true nature in order to take power, which is the only thing that matters.

The political situation in the US, of a mainstream party going off the deep end, is the culmination of decades of slow shifting and turning of political culture from a culture of consensus to a culture of deception. I am, perforce, simplifying all of this to make the point: after all, this is a blog and not a doctoral thesis (and I am increasingly seeing blogging as the first draft of oral history, just as the MSM sees itself as the first draft of history).

Deception has become part and parcel of the political process, but really only on one side of the equation. Why?

Let's take a look at a current issue: Alito.

If you take a look at this, you can see that the issues don't really matter to the left here, as manifested in the judicial activist groups that aim to block his nomination.

The key is that the goal of these activists is to make Alito look like SuperBork, but not based on his actual writings and decisions, but rather based on their need to defeat him for their own political interests. These groups have been spectacularly unsuccessful in the last several years, despite massive fundraising efforts, and they must now prove to their constituency that they can actually do today what they did to Bork in 1987.

I was in DC in 1987, and remember listening to the Bork hearings and following it in the Washington Post. Rarely have so many lies been told in pursuit of so little.

But this is just a smalll example of the Culture of Deception as practiced by the left.

Fundamentally, what the Democrats are doing doesn't make sense to the mainstream. In the middle of a war, call for defeat. In the middle of increasing prosperity and economic growth, call for tax increases. In the middle of the greatest freedoms ever experienced, call freedom threatened. When hard choices must be made - social security reform is a must, people, if you don't want the US to end up like Germany - there are instead insistences that everything is ok.

The Democrats have become, fundamentally, the party of negation.

It's because the Democrats that we all knew and loved aren't there any more. They died with Carter and Mondale. The New Democrats began with Bill Clinton: his point was to get elected, come hell or high water. Clinton's moral problems - which would have made him unelectable if he had been a Republican -  were well known to the party before nomination and election: it didn't matter. It didn't matter to the party if he couldn't control his base instincts (a sure indicator in my book for not being able to properly prioritize his life) because he did well in the polls: it didn't matter, in office, if he perjured himself, used the powers of his office to benefit his friends (TravelGate) and was otherwise fairly corrupt: he was a Democratic President, and for the party he could do no wrong. Clinton, the man, has been one of the worst presidents ever.

And this has been devestating for the body politic. On the one hand you've got political operatives who now know that anything goes. On the other hand you've got a populace that is increasingly appalled by politicians' behavior. These two mean nothing less than an increasing alienation between the political process and the populace as a whole.

Which is logical, given the culture of deception on the left. The left doesn't want to get elected and do good things in office: they want to get elected and never give the power back .

This is the core of Democratic rage against President Bush and the Republicans, the core of the hate that boils from people that compare him to Hitler, de-humanize him (McChimpy), who are reduced to abusive language when they talk - nay, rant - of politics. They were in power so long that they think that it is their fundamental right to execute it, to use it, to perpetuate their hold on society.

Donnerstag, Dezember 15, 2005


This is so mind-boggling good that I had to share it.

The retired Israeli General Moshe Yaalon is right, but let me expand briefly.

Iran is doing not merely Israel a favor, he's actually going to do everyone a favor: he is actually saying what politicians in the Middle East (excluding Israel) actually think, without dissemblement and without hiding, without deception.

It's part of the Culture of Deception that on the one hand has been endemnic to Arab culture for time immemorial, and on the other hand has been inculcated in the training that all of these countries and politicians received, directly or indirectly, from the SovUnion during the cold wars: deception as an art form, of hiding behind civility and statesmanship whilst plundering and exploiting their own countries, as well as funding terrorism, indeed of creating terrorism in order to permanently bedevil Israel and the United States.

Don't think that the Soviets didn't create terrorism? They knew the ultimate uses of terror, subjugation and virtual enslavement. Why do you think that Stalin is so admired in the Arab world? It's not because of his moustache.

We now know today that East Germany was a haven for terrorists during the Cold War, not merely the purely European versions like Red Army Faction and Red Brigades, but also significant training for many middle-eastern terror groups, not the least of which was Carlos. East Germany provided Libya with the logistics to bomb that night club in Berlin: it was all designed to weaken the west.

And the end to the Culture of Deception is starting to take place: the Iraqi election being held today is more monumental than we can imagine for the region.

Mittwoch, Dezember 14, 2005

Iran and Catastrophe

We've all read what Ahmadineschad, the leader of Iran, has said about Israel, not only that it should be eliminated from the map, but also that Israelis should be relocated to Europe.

Let's step back a moment to understand what is going on.

First: Iran was, is, and probably will be the local regional power. It's the largest player in the region. It also has a long history of imperial glory, one that has been abstracted nowadays to a sense of resentment that things are not today as they once were. This is a key problem not only in Iran, but elsewhere as well.

Iran wants to be handled as an equal, it wants to be taken seriously as a business partner, as a regional power, as a political power.

But what does this mean? It means that Iran should take the same place in the political world as, say, France or Germany takes; that it no longer be considered a developing country, but rather a mature country that other countries listen to out of respect, because what it says is important. That its politicall views have as much importance as, say, France or Germany, or for that matter Portugal.

This is what Iran wants, it's been an undercurrent of Iranian politics for the last several years. What Iran wants is for the West to cease to ignore it's desires - eliminating Israel as the core problem in the Middle East  - and to give Iran its due as a country with a long cultural history that is the regional power.

Of course, there's very, very little chance of this happening. Iran for the West (and by this I mean Europe) right now is a convenient source of oil and a place to sell goods.

What are the implications of these issues?

Simple. First, Iran wants nuclear weapons. As far as they are concerned, they are the only reason that Iran will gain respect from the West: not so much as their ability to build them (that's a technical problem, one not to be discounted, but nonetheless "merely" an engineering problem) as far more the ability to use them. Not that they necessarily will: after all, neither Pakistan nor India have used their nuclear weapons, despite conflicts, since both know that nuclear weapons are political weapons and sometimes more of a hindrance than help.

And today (this post has been incubating for the last two days) we see that Iran is now calling for a investigation into the Holocaust.

This is what will be the norm when Iran has nuclear weapons: of demanding to be heard and demanding to be listened to regardless of what it is they are saying. I remember a university colleague when I was working towards my philosophy doctorate in Germany from Iran with whom I had a number of, shall we say, interesting discussions. He was intelligent, was an excellent debater. But we ceased being able to have discussions once he returned from a vacation in Iran and had gotten religion: from that point on, he viewed me as a tool of Satan for not being one of the true believers. He was not merely annoying, but downright insulting about it: how can anyone intelligent, according to him, not be a Muslim? I'd had enough of similiar discussions where I did my undergraduate degree in philosophy from the theists, the worst of whom was a converted atheist who found Aquinas and converted to Roman-Catholic with a vengeance, ultimately divorcing his wife and abandoning his children to become a priest.

This is what we will have to listen to if Iran gets the bomb: the absurd theories and speculations about the world and everything that comes from intelligence unguided by logic and empiricism. And we'll have to listen to it, since they've will insist that we do so: that is the point of the rhetoric coming out of Teheran.

And he seems to be getting the attention that he wants. The problem is that he will find that the attention he will be getting is not the attention that he wants: it will, rather, be the attention paid to a snarling dog.

One of the basic tenets of diplomacy is that sometimes diplomacy fails: in that case, diplomacy is the art of saying "Nice doggie" while feeling around for a big stick.

It's gonna take a big stick for this one.

Culture of Deception - Part III

Let's take a look at this quote (from here):

'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.'

While this sounds like the beginning of a sophmore or junior paper on metaphysics or the sophists, it isn't: it's, of course, Pinter in his Nobel Prize speech. What is more important is this from the same source:

Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.

This is where the opinion becomes pathological. Here is where the madness begins.

First of all, I agree with Pinter: politicians are interested in power.

But that is not the entirety of the situation. Politicians, good ones, do things with their power: bad ones merely revel in it, horrible ones become consumed with it.

The "truth" that Pinter speaks of here has no objective or empirical basis: it morphs directly into his opinion, consistenly Marxist in its theme, that postulates that only by keeping the population ignorant and deluded, denied the fundamental nature of their existence, can politicians remain in power. That is, after all, the Leninist goal in developing the communist society.

Which means that if they are in power, they are as Pinter postulates. Per definition: there is no other way. But Pinter and the Marxists/Leninists/Maoists/whateverists are projecting their own culture of deception to subsume all other possible uses of power.

The Culture of Deception is not merely deliberate misleading: it is more fundamentally pathological when it becomes a way of life, of a sort of reverse false consciousness. This is how it becomes a culture, how it becomes, as it were, the manifestation of a poltical/social group.

Let's take a look, as I have briefly touched on in a previous post, of one of the core problems in the Culture of Deception: the use of disbelief in creating beliefs. While this sounds at first contradictory, it makes sense, just as taking something apart to see how it works makes sense.

This is where the Culture of Deception takes its fundamental form: the arts. Any work of art is the expression of an artist's perception of reality. As such, the greater the degree of abstraction, the greater the role of the artist in getting their perception across to you, the viewer: truly great artists achieve this transparently, i.e. you don't need to have a Master of Fine Arts degree to understand Picasso's Guernica. His message, visceral message, comes to the viewer and bangs them upside their heads. Other artists are more subtle, others more devious. But in any case any work of art, as a representation of a perception, of a perceived world, requires an act of disbelief, implicitly, in the viewer, that the work of art is, as it were, the reality of the artist, rather than merely a technical representation of an object. Thus a perception, an image, being it inchoate or otherwise, becomes "real".

Not as the thing itself, but as the work of art.

This is especially true, of course, of movies. Movies, moving pictures, are just that: individual images are flashed to the screen so quickly that the eye is fooled, the eye is deceived into thinking that it is seeing actual movement. When watching a movie, a good movie, you are drawn into the experience, the message of the film. I remember a seminal event in understanding what makes a good movie when I saw Die Hard (the first one) with my friend Joan in New York one hot summer day a long time ago. We went to see it in Times Square, largely because it was so damn hot and we both love movies.

The crowd was the usual New York Times Square mixture: about as mixed a bag as you will ever see. I don't need to discuss the dynamics and plot of the movie, I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. But there is a scene at the end of the movie where a terrorist (made harmless, of course, as a common thief with extravagant trappings) apparently rises from the dead and is about to deal death and mayhem, but is shot by the cop who has had troubles ever since he shot someone in the line of duty. The crowd went wild: they were so involved in the "reality" of the film that there was a physical reaction to this denouement, to this crowning and redemption of a troubled soul by conquering evil.

Of course, it's just a film. But to create such a "reality", where the mind play along with the movie, requires a suspension of belief, or rather disbelief. We "know" that what is up there on the silver screen isn't reality, but we choose to suspend our critical facilties and "get into" the movie. If anything, this is what makes a great movie: the ability of the moviemaker to get you to believe, for instance, that Wookies exist, that laser swords go "hmmmmm" when activated and that spaceships make sounds when they fly by.

But there is something wrong in Hollywood: the act of disbelief has spilled over into reality.

Edward Jay Epstein knows his Hollywood. Especially this Hollywood. This is not what Hollywood wants you to see, nor does it want you to understand that Hollywood is first and foremost about business, the business of deception.

Here, for me, is the money quote(s):

Since Hollywood is an industry dedicated to perpetrating illusion, its leaders often assume they have license to take liberties with the factual elements that support the movies they make. This practice is euphemistically described by marketing executives as "pushing the reality envelope."
The way in which Hollywood crosses the boundary between the make-believe and the real world takes myriad forms. It can range from a studio creating a fake corporate web site, as Paramount did with the Manchurian Global Corporation for its remake of The Manchurian Candidate, to counterfeiting a film critic, as Sony Pictures did with the non-existent "David Manning." It's a given that studios will alter the off-screen lives of stars, as in the case of the unmarried actor Raymond Burr, whose official biography included two imaginary dead wives and a dead child. There's also the common practice of scripting fake anecdotes for stars to recite on talk show, as, for example, Lucy Liu's vivid description of her co-actress Drew Barrymore clinging to the hood of a speeding car going about 35 miles an hour without a safety cord during the making of Charlie's' Angels: Full Throttle.

The industry, after all, derives much of its wealth and power from its ability to get audiences to suspend their disbelief in movies and television programs—even so-called "reality" shows. Further, to realize their full profitability, these illusions must be convincing enough to be sustained in other products—such as videos, theme park rides, games, and toys—for years, if not decades. So pushing the reality envelope is seen by the entertainment press and the players themselves as just part of show biz. It's second nature, so to speak.

The key is the assumption to have license to take liberties with the factual elements. In other words, in order to make a successful movie, or even better yet a successful movie franchise, it's okay to deceive. Not only is it okay, it's second nature: it is the culture of deception.

And this is where the crossover into politics occurs.

This underscores the increasing nature of Hollywood mythology: the demonization of the banal, of the everyday. The Root-Of-All-Evil corporation has become Ming The Merciless because Hollywood panders to their liberal causes and doesn't want to offend anyone. That's why about the only safe bad guy is the businessman:

For sci-fi and horror movies, there are always invaders from alien universes and zombies from another dimension, but for politico-thrillers the safest remaining characters are lily-white, impeccably dressed American corporate executives. They are especially useful as evildoers in foreign-based thrillers since their demonization does not run the risk of gratuitously offending officials in countries either hosting the filming or supplying tax or production subsidies. The "Mission Impossible" franchise replaced the Russian and Chinese heavies that populated the TV series with, in Mission Impossible 2, a Waspish-looking financier who controlled a pharmaceutical company that unleashed a horrific virus on the world in the hope of cashing in on the antidote. Here, as in other movies in this genre, businessmen's killings are not just figurative. Unlike other stereotype-challenged groups, CEOs and financiers, lacking a connection with the studios' outreach programs, have become an essential part of Hollywood's new version of the axis of evil.

This means, of course, that this resonates in the public image as meme, as theme. It might not be quite conscious (there is no such thing as the sub-conscious or the "unconscious": consciousness is always consciousness of something, as Descartes so ably showed: there is only thematic and non-thematic consciousness, where non-thematic consciousness is where you're not really paying attention.)

It is this manipulation of reality, of turning that which you think you are getting into its opposite (the eytomology of deception, of di ceptere) that
is the manifestation of the Culture of Deception.

And its influence on politics is greater than we think. And definitely greater than we fear.

Dienstag, Dezember 13, 2005

Culture of Deception - Part II

But back to the point in question: the culture of deception.

Looking at what passes for the left nowadays, there is one red thread which is visible throughout left politics, polemics and punditing: deception. Not only do the left view politics from the center and the right as being deceptive ( i.e. policies are not designed to achieve goals, but rather are the tools of capitalism, etc.), but the fundamental thrust of left-wing politics is that centrist and rightist politicians are being deceptive. The entire "Bush lied, Blair lied" meme is based on the idea that politicians are actively misleading, actively lying and being deceptive to the voters in order to reach some nefarious goals, be it Halliburton's profits or some sort of political glory.

It's now reached the point where it's no longer simply a political tool to attack opponents: the very core of the leftist critique of modern civilization is based on the premise that the elected politicians are lying to us, can only lie to us, and must lie to us in order to achieve their goals. Deception for leftist critics is the core of conservative thought, conservatives cannot "be" any other way than deceptive.

Of course, this is projection. Dr. Sanity has a great blogspot: here is where she clearly makes a convincing case that the behavior of the left is tantamount to a pathological defense mechanism. Let's not get into the details, since that's now what I want to handle here, but suffice to say that pathological defense mechanisms are motivated by past needs, include a severe distortion of reality, and impedes and distorts emotions, rather than channelling them constructively.

Like Dr. Sanity, I want to try to understand what is motivating the visceral hatred that the left displays, since I cannot for the life of me understand their version of reality, so far removed from my perception of the world. Not that I am necessarily the benchmark for understanding the world - far from it - but I cannot see their "reality". Again, Dr. Sanity points out the fundamental problem here : while she and I see President Bush as a perfectly normal guy, almost the epitome of normality, the left goes berserk just by mentioning his name. I've seen this in colleagues at work; I've seen this on innumerable blogs; I've seen this with acquaintances and friends (and have had friendships end because of it), and it's a huge problem with relatives here in Germany, in Austria and in the US. There's even a term for it: Bush Derangement Syndrome or BDS.

But that's peripheral to the Culture of Deception. What do I mean by the Culture of Deception?

Simple: the left is a Culture of Deception. Marxist ideology is a culture of deception; left-wing environmentalism is a culture of deception; the Democratic Party today, with Dr. Dean in the DNC, is a culture of deception. And this culture of deception cuts two ways: not only are these poeple decieving about what their political goals are, but more fundamentally they are deceiving themselves, not only politically, but morally and ethically as well.

I don't want to say that people on the left are doing this deliberately: many are, but I postulate here that we are facing as well a fascinating and also disturbing development of what can only be viewed as a massive manifestation of pathological behavior.

Now, just like Dr. Sanity, I am not saying that anyone who disagrees with me must show pathological behavior: the more opinions in politics, the better it is for a country. But where the pathology develops is when opinions and speculation - for the politically active, after all, political opinions must manifest themselves in speculation as to the nature of things, much as metaphysics enthralled the educated in the medieval period, with long and heated discussions on philosophical positions about the nature of things - are mistaken for truth and facts.

And not merely mistaken, but pathological when the opinions and the beliefs that underlie them replace the empirical reality.

And the core of the problem is not merely that the left are deliberately deceiving the public: they are, more fundamentally, and this makes it pathological, deceiving themselves.

Like I said, projection: the fact that the left is based on deception has led, logically, to the left believing its own deceptions.

But more in Part III

Montag, Dezember 12, 2005

Culture of Deception - Part I

It's been quiet here not merely because I'm busy with work (which I am), but also because of some writing that is taking longer than I had hoped.

So I'm going to break this down into several parts.

There is a Culture of Deception in the West. Not only in the US, but in Europe - if anything vastly more so - as well.

What is the Culture of Deception?

It is the deliberate use of deception, of active deceiving, as a fundamental part of cultural life. Not only political culture - where it is perhaps the most destructive - but in virtually all aspects of cultural life.

Let's start with what deception is. It is the use of deceit, the fact or state of being deceived. It is a misleading falsehood, an illusory feat. Latin roots: de cipere, is, of course, an i-stem third conjugation verb which is rooted in capio, which means to take or capture, and the de- prefix means to remove. Now this sounds like a contradiction: that which is taken is removed. But that is exactly the point: what deception entails is the act of removing that which you think you are taking, much like the slapstick routine of having someone pull a package from under the arm of someone who has just received it. The poor sap is oblivious because he is being distracted and realizes that his package is missing far too late and ends up buying the package from the person who took it from him a second time, setting up the punch line of it being stolen one more time at the end of the skit.

Eytomology of the word besides, deception is of course closely related to the act of misleading; of ambush; of betrayal; of disloyalty; of boasting; of lying; of tricking; of pretense and of appearance (in the sense of camouflage). And one of the synonyms is sophism.

I think it should be clear now what I mean by deception: it is, as is so many english words, multivalent, i.e. has multiple meanings within a range of definitions that ultimately point to the same act.

Deceit, so closely related, is also relevant: it is deliberate and misleading concealment, false declaration, artifice, it has the quality of being fraudulent, a misleading falsehood. Deceit more often than not relies on collusion.

So what is the Culture of Deception? Culture is what now must be understood. The first definition that you run across is that it is the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, belief systems and all other products of human work or thought. That is not what I mean, since this is for the word culture alone, not in a compound word. It is rather the predominanting attitudes and behavior that charachterize a group or organization.

The Culture of Deception won't, here, have simply one meaning: there are too many aspects of this Culture that need to be analyzed.

First of all, there is a Culture of Deception deeply rooted in Marxism and its analysis of the world. Second, there is a Culture of Deception deeply rooted in political life. Third, there is a Culture of Deception deeply rooted in the Arts. Fourth, there is a Culture of Deception that we see today. This last Culture of Deception is the critical one, since it undermines and is actively destroying Western Culture, and we, like the frogs in the cooking pot, aren't aware of it until we're well on the way to being cooked.

This is the first part: the Culture of Deception deeply rooted in Marxism.

The core here is the Marxist "analysis" of false consciousness, of human delusion, basically, of people betraying their class by failing to understand the true nature of their existence. You can describe it this way: that material and institutional process delude the proletariat to the true nature of capitalism, driven largely by a commodity fetish: social relationships are reduced to value relations between things, i.e. that money and goods can have an inherent value unconnected to the people involved and that this results in the people involved - usually some nonsense about exploited workers and exploiters - are ignorant of their true relationships and therefore alienated from their actual social relationships.

I put that "analysis" in scare quotes because it really isn't analysis, but instead a blatant attempt to seperate reality from empirical experience. One of the core elements of Marxism is its belief that things are not as they appear, but rather people are kept enslaved by social conventions and outdated concepts like family and nation, and that reality is actively hidden from us, the downtrodden, by those interested in keeping power over us.

I'm not a Marxist, far, far from it, and have massive disagreements with this concept. But that's not the point.

The point is that Marxist thought is based on deception. First: that the proletariat is too stupid to know that they are being oppressed; second: that the revolutionary vanguard (OK, this is Leninism, but that's hairsplitting...) must need be deceive the bourgoisie from the true revolutionary goals of the vanguards' politics so as to be manouevered into positions where they lose their ability to withstand the revolutionary vanguard; third: the developing socialist society after the revolution may be deceived in the name of pursuing the goals of the revolution and fourth that deception and duplicity are not merely useful, but rather are fundamental tools of the revolutionary vanguard to achieve their goal, which is, of course, the attainment of complete and total power to be used ruthlessly to keep said power.

The Soviets were experts, if not masters, of the art of deception. One way to get some one to spy for you is to make him believe that he's not spying for you, but rather for someone else: false flagging in the jargon. False flagging was used extensively in Europe for agents of influence, and included many journalists who didn't think they were talking with trained KGB specialists, but rather Ivan from the Trade commission who is just trying to understand why we think the Soviets were so evil. But it wasn't simply about false flagging and misleading people to get them to do what you want them to do: the KGB were experts in betrayal.

Betrayal is a difficult theme. Betrayal, like Judas betraying Jesus, means not merely lying or telling the cops on someone. It is the deliberate negation of a loved one, be it a country or a person. When you betray someone, you know that you're doing wrong, but you have an overriding reason for doing so that reflects a deep, deep inner conflict that cannot be resolved. This is not merely true for people who betray their lovers, who betray their country in the West for money or misplaced ideology, but also for Soviet defectors to the West. I've known several during my days in DC (long story that one) and while they were convinced they were doing the right thing, it was really hard for them: betrayal is not undertaken lightly (not even betrayal of a loved one), but is a sign of how human we are, by choosing to negate something in order to save other values. Betrayal comes when an ethical situation comes up where the decision maker sees only zero-sum games ( i.e. things become black and white) and employs an ethical calculus, internalized and non-thematically, to resolve the inner conflict.

But it breaks with the past. A partner betrayed cannot trust the betrayer; a defector will ultimately not be trusted by those to whom he defects (see what happened to Philby after he absconded); a politician in abandoning a party and joining another one may not retrace his steps. Betrayal is not reversible.

The point here is one that I don't think too many will disagree on: the fundamental tool of Marxism in dealing with non-marxists is deception, of deliberately misleading outsiders as to the goals of Marxism. Not merely as a mean to an end, but as a reflection of the fundamental nature of Marxism in dealing with non-Marxists.

More soon...

Mittwoch, Dezember 07, 2005

Charming, but naive...

In today's Handelsblatt there is an article about Airbus' deal with China for 150 A320s. The deal is unique because Airbus makes the commitment to do the final assembly in China, not in Europe. McDonnel Douglas tried this in the 1980s and failed, since the Chinese partner (Shanghai Aviation Industrial Corporation) wasn't able to provide the quality that McDonnell Douglas needed. But the real fear is technology transfer and the loss of jobs.

According to the paper, Gustav Humbert, the boss of Airbus, discounts these problems. He insists that it won't be a problem, since Airbus will retain control of their technology: Airbus will set up a new company in China for this purpose and will retain a controlling interest to avoid reverse engineering and the creation of a Chinese competitor, that last from Noel Forgeard from EADS, the parent company of Airbus.

After all, the Germans are protecting against technology transfer as well: the sale of 60 ICE-3 trains with end assembly in China is protected as well, since the train's software will still come from Germany.

Charming, but naive. Incredibly naive. Mind-boggling naive.

All that these companies are doing is CYA for when the shareholders come in 10 years' time and ask "Who the hell sold the Chinese this technology? My investment is now worthless! Who can I sue?"

When the Chinese reverse engineer the software for the ICE-3, they'll probably rewrite it so that there are fewer bugs. Maybe then the airconditioning will actually work in the summer.

Dienstag, Dezember 06, 2005

Caught In A Time Trap...

If this is real, and I don't think there is any reason why it isn't, then the Democrats have two major problems.

1) The party is now completely beholden to historical revisionism. When the Democratic Congress bowed - not to public opinion, but rather to their left-wing who was claiming to make that public opinion - out of financing the South Vietnamese, in the middle of the largest armored assault since the Battle of Kursk in WW2, they abrogated the responsibility that the US held to South Vietnam. Those are the historical facts. To claim that Iraq is the same as Vietnam is to ignore the massive differences, not the least of which is the lack of a heavily financed sanctuary for the OpFor. If anything, the ONLY similiarity between the two is that US forces are there fighting: not even the forces are the same (draft vs. volunteer), and that US troops are dying.

2) The attempt to create historical parallels between Nixon and Bush. There are parallels? Nixon, let us remember, left office one step ahead of an impeachment because he authorized his political operatives to break into the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex in order to dig up dirt he could use against the Democrats and to learn their strategy before they took it public. Is Dean accusing Bush of doing this? No: he is accusing Bush of not telling the truth and when it did, of tellling it selectively in order to go to war. I don't have the time or the inclination to tell y'all how wrong this is: suffice to say that this is hairsplitting at the very best and designed not to find out the truth of the matter, but rather to abdicate responsibility for their actions.

Why are these problems?

Because the Democrats are caught in a time trap. Their formative years, the cognitive parameters that they operate within, is focused almost exclusively on Vietnam and Watergate. They have become victims of their own mythology, propogated so long over time that there is no critical thought left within the party. They are nothing without these two events: that is why they cannot but return to their own mythology about both eras.

And the key point is that the Democrats - and I speak here of the party as a whole, not individual 'crats - are worse than irresponsible: they are actively and deliberately abdicating their responsibility for their actions by claiming that they would've could've should've instead of bearing their responsibility. It is the abdication of an entire political party for their actions in the past.

And it fits into the pattern of the abandonment of the South Vietnamese in the face of a massive attack from the North. And to do what Dean wants to do is nothing less than the abdication of the responsibility of the US to give the Iraqis the chance to get out of the hell that was Iraq for the last 30 years. That is the responsibility that the US took on when it toppled the former regime.

And abdicating that responsibility would make it impossible for anyone in the region, if not the world, to take the US seriously. If that is what the Democrats want: let them say it . But instead they will simply try to attempt to recreate their mythology instead

All I hear is crickets.

Sonntag, Dezember 04, 2005

If Wishes Were Fishes...

While nothing much has been posted here recently, it doesn't mean nothing is happening.

Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of a forecasting round, which saps all energy, intelligence and will to life from any sensible person. Add to that an impenetrable head cold and pounding sinuses (sinusii?), and that's why I'm spending my time on Mitrokhin, interdependencies and sleep.

But watch this space for more on the culture of deception and just what the blazes is happening in the world...