Re: War Support Ebbs (almost a rant)

From: jeff davis (
Date: Sat Nov 10 2001 - 22:39:25 MST

--- Anders Sandberg <> wrote:
> This thread reminds me a bit of Anton's syndrome.
> I have noticed how many Americans simply don't
> understand and can't
> notice when their reality doesn't fit the reality of
> the rest of the
> world.

Their ***perception*** of reality doesn't fit that of
the rest of the world because the information which
gives rise to that perception isn't the same. Also,
they are mostly only aware that the rest of the world
has some problem or disagreement with *America* but
lack exposure to the details, the *facts*, which
underlie that disagreement.

The whole world is flummoxed by the horseshit fed them
by media spinmeisters. Each country and culture has
its own. Remember how the Serbians seemed to be in
complete denial about the circumstances in Kosovo? It
would be very easy to think that they were in denial,
but it's only denial if you have access to the truth
and then deny it. While there is almost certainly a
large degree of personal responsability, in the form
of a willingness to believe, despite an intellectual
awareness of the universal prevalence of propaganda,
the larger part of the problem is the simple lack of
unspun truth. I didn't personally read the Serbian
press, but I can guess with a pretty high degree of
confidence that it reported the Serbians as the good
guys and the Albanians as the bad guys. (And who am I
to say what the truth actually was, since *our* press
has, IMO, an equally abysmal record re spin-free
truthfulness.) Most people haven't the skills, the
time, or the inclination to go digging out the truth,
by, say, looking at all the different spin versions
and finding a way to reconcile the differences.

I probably would have passed this by without comment
except that I heard that pattern of speech --in this
case writing, actually--which is part of the problem:
one says *Americans* think such and such, and one says
*America* does such and such, but the brainwashed
Americans who have a good-faith misperception of
reality--the vast population of deeply decent
Americans--are not the power elite who do the doing--
inflict American foreign policy on the world beyond
American borders. And while the power elite probably
largely internalizes--comes to believe--its own
propaganda, they have vastly more opportunity to see
the real truth, prior to fucking the world on behalf
of the moneyed interests and in pursuit of their own
little share of the spoils.


Now look at the broad nouns and pronouns below, which,
due to lack of specificity, coarsely attribute
actions, attitudes, intentions, and beliefs to vast
numbers of people who, in reality, are simply
misinformed, and fail utterly to assign responsibility
to the genuinely responsible.

> The perceived hypocricy and
> arrogance of

*the US*

> is
> due to this - while from an


> perspective
> many actions make
> sense, they are widely perceived as hypocritical
> (such as supporting
> many non-democratic governments) and arrogant (when
> getting involved in
> far-flung geopolitics). When

*the americans*

> then
> react with
> incomprehension that


> nice intentions are so
> horribly
> misinterpreted, this in turn is interpreted as even
> more arrogance -


> don't even care to understand the views of
> others!

Don't get me wrong Anders. This is not a criticism of
your personal use of language--take a look at my first
paragraph; I do the same thing-- but rather an
observation of an almost universal problem associated
with speaking about people in large groups, and in a
context of responsibility for actions which are, in
fact, executed by very distinct, separate,
(potentially)identifiable individuals.

I want a world where those who act with power are
under a microscope, unable to hide in a crowd of
innocents, naked to the truth, and who will
automatically and inescapably be held responsible for
their actions.

 Best, Jeff Davis

 "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                       Ray Charles

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