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Thursday, December 22, 2011

This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies.

The recent editorial in the Virginian Pilot Pointless fight over light bulbs is a great example of ideological lying. In seeking to deny people the ability to buy incandescent light bulbs, the editors turn reason inside out and truth upside down.

The initiative to outlaw the incandescent light bulb was both a bald faced example of crony capitalism and an act of cheap grace on the part of lawmakers.  But it turned out not to sit well with most people.  The old light bulb was a commodity that cost less than a dollar and could be made cheaply. Light bulb makers like GE, Philips and Osram Sylvania could not make much profit, so why not lobby to have the old light bulb outlawed so they could sell us bulbs that cost 5 to 50 times more? Legislators, in turn could line their pockets with campaign contributions while pretending to be champions of the environment.

It turns out that the new, more expensive, replacement bulbs were neither as long lasting, much more hazardous and gave off a harsher light than the bulbs we were used to.   But “the people who know better” at the Pilot once again tell us to shut up, sit down and do as we’re told. And then they tell us that repealing the incandescent bulb ban is like mandating buggy whips or coal shuttles.

That much of an inversion of logic could not possibly be attributed to stupidity. It brings to mind this quotation by Vaclav Havel:
The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.
The editors of the Virginian Pilot would be right at home in any totalitarian regime where truth is a lie. This editorial is not even the worst example of stretching truth past the breaking point, it’s a typical example of lying in what these people believe to be the “greater truth.”  The Virginian Pilot is not just one of the major polluters of the earth via tons of newsprint discarded daily, but it pollutes the civic discourse.   And it does not even have the excuse of government imposed censorship.  Like a cancer, it kills reason because it can.

UPDATE:  Thanks for the link Glenn.


F said...

Very well said. But I presume their editorial will be read by tens of thousands of people who will not sagely while your post will be read by fewer than ten thousand. How can the common man redress the imbalance that we currently live under v-a-v the mass media?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Ayn Rand write a book with this theme?

Anonymous said...

Havel reads like he was paraphrasing Orwell, doesn't he? No surprise there, since Havel lived what Orwell wrote about.

Anonymous said...

Also stated nicely and succinctly in Frederich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. Orwell was a friend of Hayek's and proofed The Road to Serfdom's manuscripts, then wrote 1984. Central planning always comes at the cost of the truth.

David N. Narr said...

This is exactly why I quit taking The Pilot

David N. Narr