Summary: This is the sixth in a series about the Right in America. The first five conveyed disturbing information, but the comments confirm what the op-ed pages tell us, that most Americans see nothing extraordinary with our current political system. Some consider us exceptional in a good way, some see our system as broken. Few see the dysfunctionality that has grown so deep in it. This is more of the Oz phenomenon discussed in an earlier post. The oddest thing is not that I see things like Flying Monkeys; it is that other people see just squirrels. Let’s try again, and look at two surveys of American’s beliefs. Do you see strange and wonderful creatures? Until we see the weirdness, we cannot start to fix it.
- Our situation did not just happen
- Significance of these findings
- The first poll’s disturbing findings
- The second poll’s disturbing findings
- Other Posts in this series
- For More Information
- The two reasons to vote Republican
(1) Our situation did not just happen
Today we will examine highlights from two surveys of the American people, with their strange discoveries.
But first, a reminder that extraordinary changes seldom just happen to a society. The New America now emerging from the corpse of the Republic-that-Once-Was results from patient and skillful investments by conservative plutocrats in people and institutions. Their success is earned, no matter how you feel about the result, just as Mother Nature doesn’t care what kind of plants sprout from well-tended fields — addictive drugs or valuable foods. Here are some of the key documents planning our future.
- The Powell Memorandum: Sent by Lewis F. Powell, Jr. on 23 August 1971 (2 months before his nomination to Supreme Court) to Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr., Chairman of the Education Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Titled Attack On American Free Enterprise System, it outlined a strategy for large corporations to rollback much of the New Deal reforms on business.
- The article creating the mythology of tax-cuts as the magic elixir: “Taxes and a Two-Santa Theory“, Jude Wanniski, National Observer, 6 March 1976 — Until then the GOP usually opposed tax cuts.
- Project for a Republican Future: a memorandum to Republican Leaders from William Kristol about defeating President Clinton’s Health Care Proposal, 2 December 1993
We see the results of their execution all around us. The lavishly funded think-tanks: CATO, Heritage, the Hoover Institute. The conservative academic institutions, such as the U Chicago Economics team and its satellites. The web of organizations that locate, recruit, train, and support people from the grassroots, such as the Young Republicans. The SHAME PROJECT biographies show how this network works. They have invested in people and reaped a thousand-fold.
(2) Significance of these findings
All the things described above, with leaders willingness to lie for the cause plus massive spending over several generations, yields the results you see below: a substantial part of America believes things that are obviously not so. Totally believes, beyond the hope of education. Perhaps only generational change will create the possibility of reform, and only then if our plutocrats can be prevented from repeating their indoctrination with upcoming generations.
People with such beliefs are ideal shock troops for our plutocrats, easily motivated into supporting extreme causes — as the Tea Party Movement has successfully shifted the GOP further to the Right. The political effects we see in today’s news, as they hold the Federal government hostage — threatening a long shutdown and even default if their demands are not met. If this works to a significant degree, further actions will follow.
(3) The first poll’s disturbing findings
From Democrats and Republicans differ on conspiracy theory beliefs, a survey by Public Policy Polling, 2 April 2013.
#8: Do you believe President Barack Obama is the anti-Christ?
This is a nice next step from the “Is Obama not a US citizen” and “Is Obama a Moslem?” questions, whose weirdness we have become accustomed to.
Q9: Do you believe the Bush administration intentionally misled the public about the possibility of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to promote the Iraq War?
While an important question, there is no conspiracy involved in the usual sense of the term. Governments do many secret things (at least, our government does), which are ordinarily not considered conspiracies.
(3) The second poll’s disturbing findings
From Republicans are more likely to subscribe to conspiracy theories about the government, a survey by Public Policy Polling, 2 October 2013.
#1: Do you think the Obama Administration is secretly trying to take everyone’s guns away?
#6: Do you think the U.S. government has engaged in the assassination of political leaders who tried to spread a political message they didn’t like, such as Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others?
Large segments of both parties believe this. Independents are less likely to believe this. Interesting, somewhat odd pattern to this disturbing question. I’m in the “not sure” box to this as a general question (i.e., has the government done this, not specific to MLK Jr?).
#9: Do you think that a group of world bankers is slowly eliminating paper currency until most banking is done electronically, and then will cut the power grid so that most citizens will not have access to any money and will be forced into worldwide slavery?
#11: Do you think Barack Obama is secretly trying to figure out a way to stay in office beyond 2017?
#13: Do you think Muslims are covertly implementing Sharia Law in American court systems?
(4) Other Posts in this series about the Right in America
- The key to modern American politics: the Right-Wing Id Unzipped, 15 February 2012
- A harsh clear look at the history of the Republican Party, 22 September 2013
- Conservatives show us their thinking, not well glued to reality, 30 September 2013
- Most of what Democrats say is wrong about the Republicans’ recent actions in Congress, 1 October 2013
- What are the odds of violence from the Right in America?,
2 October 2013
(5) For More Information
How do people come to believe this incredible things? See the posts listed on the FM Reference Page Information & disinformation
Some posts about successful propaganda:
- Successful propaganda as a characteristic of 21st century America, 1 February 2010
- More propaganda: the eco-fable of Easter Island, 4 February 2010
- Can Obama turn America into something like Zimbabwe?, 22 February 2010
- A note about practical propaganda, 22 March 2010
- About the political significance of the conservatives’ health care propaganda, 23 March 2010
- The similar delusions of America’s Left and Right show our common culture – and weakness, 26 March 2010
- Programs to reshape the American mind, run by the left and right, 2 August 2010
- The easy way to rule: leading a weak people by feeding them disinformation, 13 April 2011
- Facts are an obstacle to the reform of America, 20 October 2011
- Our minds are addled, the result of skillful and expensive propaganda, 28 December 2011
- More use of the big lie: shifting the blame for the housing crisis, 29 December 2011
- Understanding our political system: the how-to guide by its builders, 7 October 2012
- Who lies to us the most? Left or Right?, 25 February 2013
- We can see our true selves in the propaganda used against us, 14 May 2013
- A nation lit only by propaganda, 3 June 2013
- The secret, simple tool that persuades Americans. That molds our opinions., 24 July 2013