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April 21, 2011

The Falsehood of False Consciousness

Tied for first place as far as "Things that Give Obama Away as a Man of the Left" (Tied with everything else he thinks and everything else he does) is his favorite "explanation" for the public disagreeing with them: That they're ignorant.

This has a long history on the left as the go-to explanation for the public rejecting socialism. The earlier, more Marxist version of the idea was to claim the public had a "false consciousness" imposed on them by a manipulative capitalist media; the public, in this telling, were unwitting dupes, who didn't understand socialism was in their best interest because the corporate masters who control the debate fed them a steady diet of lies. Anything to keep the wealthy and powerful in their positions of wealth and power. Anything to keep the Common Man from realizing he could be his own King.

The same idea permeates that idiot Frank Something Or Other's book What's the Matter With Kansas?, a book which explores the title question -- why are people in the heartland so stupid? Why do they keep voting against their own economic self-interest? Why do they keep falling for the "false issues" like God, Guns, and Gays> (As the left has it.)

And, of course: What will it take as far as our communications to finally pierce the dusty, mouldering clutter of their cramped minds and actually make them understand?

This idea bubbles up time and time again from the left: Malcolm X's quote that "You been had. You been took. Bamboozled. Run amok." (Actually, I think it's just the character Malcolm X in the movie who said this, not in real life, but still: a quote encapsulating the left's basic idea that if you don't agree with them you're ignorant).

And at universities, in the pseudo-sciences, they are constantly attempting to "explain" conservative thinking as a type of cognitive dysfunction. Not willing to give into the faddish and ephemeral? Ah, well, a part of your brain is too small and won't let you sample "new experiences."

Note the normative assumption always packed into these claims: That the conservative brain is "too small" as compared to the liberal brain, defined as normative; the conservative measure represents a deviation away from the assumed norm while the liberal trait is privileged as the norm, or if not the norm, then the ideal.

No pseudo-scientist every finds that liberals have a bigger amygdala (or whatever) and are therefore "too open to new experiences" (a.k.a. too trendy, too faddish, too ephemeral in one's sense of self). None of these guys ever says the liberal trait represents a deviation from the norm or ideal -- no, they're always the norm or idea. It's always the conservative's traits that need to be "explained" as a psychological defect or an actual defect with their physical brain structure.

The political left -- in its many disguises of media leaders, academics, business leaders, and even "forward-thinking" clergymen -- are entirely unwilling to credit the public as having understood the argument -- but, having understood it, rejected it. They are, in short, unwilling to credit anyone but their fellow socialists of having minds that function intelligently, independently, and honestly.

The corporate masters' minds are independent and intelligent-- they set their own evil agenda. But they're not honest.

The left is intelligent, independent, and honest.

But the public? The dupes? Honest perhaps, but slaves in their minds, bound by chains of ignorance, bigotry, and "distractions" (another of Obama's favorite words) that prevent them from actually seeing the world and its truths.

An extraordinarily condescending and elitist position for a President representing The People to not only slip up and mention once or twice, but to keep insisting upon proudly.

What do you think the media would have said if George W. Bush constantly explained opposition to the War in Iraq as based on ignorance?

Think the media would have maybe noticed that condescending slight?

They don't notice when Obama does it for the simple reason that The Truth never strikes one as foul or worthy of objection.

Of course the public is stupid, they reckon. What other explanation could there be? The only other possible explanation is that they have a different set of rational, justifiable priorities and assumptions in their world view, but if we accept that as a possibility, we must also credit their view as equally worthy of the dignity of respect, and we're certainly not going to do that, so the premise fails because the conclusion is impossible.

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posted by Ace at 12:52 PM

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