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Forum Post: Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, 1992

Posted 1 year ago on Aug. 9, 2012, 7:20 a.m. EST by flip (5058)
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Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits, in the classic formulation. Now, it has long been understood, very well, that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist, with whatever suffering and injustice that it entails, as long as it is possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can. At this stage of history either one of two things is possible. Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests, guided by values of solidarity, sympathy and concern for others, or alternatively there will be no destiny for anyone to control. As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole, and by now that means the global community. The question is whether privileged elite should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must -- namely to impose necessary illusions, to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena. The question in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured; they may well be essential to survival.

7 Comments

7 Comments


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[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6276) 1 year ago

One of my favorite documentaries. Great speech at the end!

Watch the whole thing here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AnB8MuQ6DU

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20531) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

Who can argue with that? Only fools and one percent lackeys . . .

[-] 1 points by flip (5058) 1 year ago

there seem to be many of those types here. on the ows website of all places - this is correct but can't seem to happen in the greatest country on earth! - "the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole"

[-] 2 points by ZenDog (20531) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

Some of that reaction may stem in part from fear. I know that personally, when I hear rational social planning . . . I suspect I might be hearing a kind of advocacy intended to bring about social change that is devoid of humanity; that quality that makes us human, that may be said to be something less than rational.

Forced sterilizations - some took place in Vermont under UVM Professor Perkins urging of eugenics policy - these were based on reason, weren't they?

The process of herding large groups of people through the train station, encouraging them to pile their belongings and leave them behind, they would get them later; and board the train bound for Treblinka, Dachau, Sobibor . . . .

these were very carefully rationalized, to the smallest detail

[-] 1 points by flip (5058) 1 year ago

i certainly understand that fear but i do not think that is why the wealthy fight so hard against any rational running of the economy etc

[-] 0 points by ZenDog (20531) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

nope, I agree. Reason and rationality are slippery ideals - through careful rationalization one can lose all sight of reason . . .

[-] 1 points by flip (5058) 1 year ago

i am hopeful that some sort of real democracy can avoid the problems we have had in the past - i am not sure we will ever find out since we are a long way from real democracy