We’re living in an era of obfuscation or, to frame the matter more bluntly, a veritable blizzard of lies, ones that are difficult to discern, for they are either subtle and insidious, with the truth hidden in back rooms and off-camera, or so bold and brazen, told with such apparent confidence, that even those who know the truth are thrown somewhat off balance. And what truth there be, which is clear to those ‘on the ground’, is suppressed by the media complex – the networks, CNN, Fox, and, even worse, Twitter, FaceBook, Google, YouTube, which should all just be smushed together into an acronym, a la those who deviate from ‘heteronormative’ sexuality, CantGooFookBooble, or something.
Those who get their ‘information’ from such sources are akin to those trapped – voluntarily, we might add – in the bowels of Plato’s allegorical cave, watching images of images, cast by dimly-lit fires, puppets dancing on a primitive screen, controlled by masters who want to control you. And the best way to control a population is not to get into their minds, so they become willing servants. Yes, they have to control the ‘bodies’ of those who resist, even a little, eventually breaking down their resistance.
As one author put it, in trying to explain why things that are no manifestly untrue are accepted as true by a pliant population, ‘great is power of steady misrepresentation’. Great indeed. And what more ‘steadily misrepresents’ than the ubiquitous modern media?
That is why the two primary things that totalitarian regimes seek to control, and whose take-over are themselves a sign of creeping totalitarianism in any society: The first is education, and the younger they get access to our minds, the better. The second is the media, newspapers and radio, and, now the vast ethereal space known as the Internet.
The reason is rather simple: Media and education are the primary means we access the truth, and, as tyrants as far back as Plato have known, it is far easier to control people from within – by domineering their thoughts, even such that they don’t even they’re being manipulated – than from without, using such clumsy tools as armies and police, clubs and tear gas – even if they be there, in full force, as back-up, in case interior control fails in some cases. As I wrote, commenting on Josef Pieper, authoritarian power is most effectively consolidated through control of ‘language’, in all that implies, in what is – or allowed to be – said or even thought.
Over the past few decades here in Canada, the government has gained an almost total hegemony in the educational sphere, from kindergarten to post-doctoral fellowships, almost all of it government funded and overseen by anonymous bureaucrats, hiding behind an alphabet soup of various acronyms: OECTA, EFFTO, OSSTF, PEQAB, AUCC. There are still a few private schools here and there – those free of such state control, or at least of their meretricious purse strings – few and far between, almost all beleaguered and underfunded. There are some exclusive elementary and high schools for the rich and elite, who disdain the inferior public education they keep most firmly in existence for the plebes and hoi polloi.
The minds of almost every Canadian alive and active today – some of those well into older age have escaped – has been almost completely formed by such faceless public agencies, from the dawn of reason until we dawn of eternity.
That’s bad enough. But what of after class hours? And what of their life beyond the halls of academe, into the bright light of what used to be called the real world? What if – perish the thought – some uncomfortable truths inconsistent with the State agenda should somehow find a way into their brains?
Hence, from the totalitarian perspective, news and information must also be strictly regulated, as Orwell presciently warned in his 1984 dystopia. We have a sort of ‘ministry of truth’, a government-controlled information conglomerate,
You may recall that a few years ago, under the aegis of supporting the beleaguered media industry which has dropped precipitously in subscribers – especially newspapers and third on-line editions – Prime Minister Trudeau announced a bailout package to the tune of $600 million, effectively nationalizing, socializing and, yes, ‘Liberalizing’ effectively the entire mainstream media – and the CBC already receives nearly a billion per annum – forcing us to pay for ‘news’ that we neither need nor want, news that will now be dependent – like education – on the support of government, and therefore, likely continue to shape opinions in the ‘Liberal’ direction.
Freedom of the press, as well as education, has been a bedrock of any functioning and free society. As de Tocqueville presciently warned, one of the primary tasks of a free citizenry is to keep their government in check, for power tends to metastasize, to gather ever-more power, and usually not in beneficial directions. The press – which in some way includes all of us, at least as readers, if not writers – should speak, proclaim and witness to the truth, with various points of view vigorously debated in the public arena, while holding the feet of those who wield public authority to the fire – metaphorically speaking. They must not be allowed to hide behind an impenetrable wall of doublespeak.
Chesterton warned of the subtle power of the media complex – and he had no idea of the umbilical ubiquity of the internet and ‘smart’ phones – which does not begin with outright lies and coercive censorship – even if they often get there eventually – but just by ignoring uncomfortable truths, by focusing only on those stories or images that fit their preconceived and dearly held ‘values’, all interpreted for you, free of charge, so you hardly notice. They will decide what you see and hear, what is good and evil, what is important, and what is not, and what it means to be sane, and what, insane, to belong, and to be shunned.
This, dear reader, is unhealthy and incestuous, the government funding media, which in turn supports the government, with the result that the truth that might set us free is hidden and obscured, if not deformed and derided.
Seek out and speak out that same truth, and support as you might those who proclaim it, for our very salvation depends thereon.