Amnesia and anger: one is the problem, the other the cure.

Summary: There is no need for complex solutions to produce political reform in America. We have the machinery. We know our peril as the Republic dies. We need only find the spark within ourselves that will produce action. I recommend anger. We have much to get angry about. Here we look at our leaders’ lies. They lie because we let them. We believe their lies, learn the truth, then forget the story. It’s a FAILure to learn or even react. Anger can short-circuit this process. Anger is contagious, like all flames. Read this and pass it on.

“Anger is easy. Anger at the right person, at the right time, for the right reason, is difficult.”
— Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics, book IV, chapter 5 (slightly paraphrased)

“Telemachus, now is the time to be angry.”
— Odysseus, when the time came to deal with the Suitors. From the movie The Odyssey (1997)

A hand for our leaders
Let’s give our leaders a hand.

We have been emasculated. Our political leaders — of both parties — flagrantly cuckold us, flaunting their allegiance to the 1% without even attempting to conceal it. We react to this ugly truth in a commonplace fashion, with the dreamtime (to use Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s concept). We pretend not to see. We pretend not to care. We tell ourselves that it doesn’t matter. We pretend amnesia, as if we don’t remember. Just as a cuckold fears his spouse will leave him for her more attractive new friend, we fear that our leaders will betray us.

Just as spouses drift away from each other once their trust is broken, we less often work the political machinery of the Republic — not even voting. We have less confidence in its institution and leaders. In both cases the response makes the fear more likely to happen.

Trust
Demanding truth is the first step to rebuilding trust.

There is another way to respond. We can get angry and hold our leaders to account. Let’s start with something easy: let’s punish them when they lie to us. We have not done so for generations, so now they lie to us frequently. Why not? Look at this list of lies, documented in last month’s Why do we believe, when the government lies to us so often?  Notice that all of our wars for 50 years have been justified by lies. That’s quite a record, one of which we should be ashamed.
Charlie Brown falls for the Football scam, again

  • Eisenhower lies about the U-2 (1960).
  • The Tonkin Gulf Incident (1964).
  • Our 1st war in Afghanistan (1979+).
  • Libyan hit teams in America (1981).
  • Iran’s nukes (1984-now).
  • The shooting of Iran Air Flight 655 (1988).
  • Iraq’s atrocities in Kuwait (1990).
  • President Clinton lied, a lot (e.g, 1998).
  • Our 2nd war in Afghanistan (2001).
  • Saddam’s link to Al Qaeda (2002).
  • Saddam’s WMD’s (2002).

It’s sad that we’re so gullible, believing lies from liars — again and again. It’s bad that we don’t respond when we learn that they lied to us. Now for the worse news: many American still believe these lies. We’re like the marks of highly skilled con men who refuse to press charges; we find self-deceit less painful than admitting we were fooled.

It need not be like this. This cannot continue, if we wish the Republic to survive.  Let’s break the cycle at the vulnerable step.  Let’s get angry and punish leaders who lie to us. We can vote out elected officials, demand that political appointees get fired and that civil servants get punished.

It’s the easy first step to rebuilding our confidence in the Republic’s machinery. We hold elections every two years. Let’s start with 2016. America has many good people. Let’s put some of them in office. Vote “no” on liars.

Danger: Angry American

For More Information

See all posts about anger, about our amnesia, about propaganda, and about reforming America and the steps to political change.

Posts explaining why our leaders lie to us so frequently:

  1. Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations.
  2. The secret, simple tool that persuades Americans. That molds our opinions.
  3. Why do we believe, when the government lies to us so often? When we change, the government also will change.

A few posts about anger as a political tool to reform America:

  1. Now is the time for America to get angry.
  2. In “Network”, Howard Beale asks us to get mad and do something. He’s still waiting.
  3. A simple thing you can do to start the reform of America: get angry.
  4. How can we arouse a passion to reform America in the hearts of our neighbors?.
  5. Should we risk using anger to arouse America?.

Truth in society

8 thoughts on “Amnesia and anger: one is the problem, the other the cure.

  1. I don’t think our republic can be saved. I think it’s too far gone. I suspect it will break apart at some point, and it’s going to be a terribly bumpy ride in the meantime.

    1. Tin,

      I believe that is quite premature to say before we have even tried to save the Republic. That sounds to me like an excuse to avoid the risk and effort.

      Fortunately our forebearers did not have that attitude, undertaking challenges far greater than those facing us.

    2. I appreciate your optimism, I really do. In some ways I wish I were still an optimist. But I have read history, read about the collapse of other complex societies, (and simple), and I simply think the writing is on the wall. I still vote, though it does nothing. I still remain politically active, though it runs me afoul of the corrupt lawmakers. I still believe we can get through this without bands of outlaws roaming the streets. I don’t, however, believe this country will get through this in one piece.

    3. Tin,

      Let’s put this in a broader context.

      Most social metrics of dysfuncationality — crime, illegitimacy, etc — are falling. Most economic metrics — exports, trade balance, strength of the currency, GDP, unemployment, etc — are improving. Today we have no existential military foes.

      We have problems (only the dead have no problems). Most notably our citizens have lost interest in working the political machinery that runs the Republic. Accordingly others are taking over, and of course are running it in their interest. Rising inequality is an obvious result.

      Unless checked, this will likely lead to a new political regime. But the forms probably remain the same, and people will insist that nothing has changed.

      “I suspect it will break apart at some point, and it’s going to be a terribly bumpy ride in the meantime.”

      I will take the opposite bet to both of your forecasts. I see the smooth sailing ahead of a tightly run ship carrying sheep.

      (1). There is near-zero evidence that the US will break apart. In fact it continues to integrate more tightly as regional cultures fade and national institutions grow stronger. Not just in government, but almost everywhere. Boy Scout National HQ (and its national elites) gain power over local Councils. We see this everywhere.

      (2). A bumpy ride? This trend happens because we have decided to be sheep.

      Citizens give governments a bumpy ride, and we have from the Whiskey Rebellion to the race riots and draft protests of the 1960s. Now we do nothing but small scale peasants protests ( (e.g., Ferguson) and street festivals (e.g., the Tea Party and Occupy movements).

      Also, the increasing surveillance and oppression machinery of the State makes “bumps” by sheep even less likely. The shepherds are vigilant and powerful.

  2. Let us attempt to reconcile your statements with each other, FM. How does “Let’s get angry and punish leaders who lie to us” mesh with “the increasing surveillance and oppression machinery of the State makes “bumps” by sheep even less likely?”

    It seems to me that you either have to believe that the slothful American people can rise up against the “increasing surveillance and oppression machinery of the State” or they cannot.

    Tin argues that the propaganda and surveillance machine you have eloquently described in so many articles is too powerful. I must regretfully say that I agree with him. The key issue for me is that in the current communications/ideology paradigm it is far easier to infiltrate and destroy grassroots political collaborations than it is to build them and it is easier to buy political power than it is to build it.

    I would gladly give my money and energy to a cause I thought would make a difference. I can prove this by showing my donations for Obama in 2008, which, as you predicted, didn’t end well. This has made me sadder but wiser. I can vote all of the lying scumbags out of office but I can also predict they will be replaced by other, smarter, angrier lying scumbags who will work to make sure that I can’t successfully do that again. There is no limit to the number of lying scumbags seeking office but there are considerable barriers to successfully getting elected to any office, especially a national one, without becoming a lying scumbag.

    Isn’t there a military axiom to the effect that wars are usually decided before they are declared? That is what has happened here. Starting a political fight right now would cause one of two outcomes, either you’d become another useless statistic (occupy wall street anybody?) or you’d have to start a 4G war in the US.

    “Today we have no existential military foes.” I fear that you are not doing a good job of reading the minds of our leaders. You said “Citizens give governments a bumpy ride,” which is true but is something our leaders seem to greatly fear and are increasingly willing to kill to prevent.

    None of what I say above is an indication that the new leaders are going to have an easy time of things though. Their primary problems will come from their nature; they are greedy and can overreach themselves. They value displays of force but ignore their own weaknesses. They do not, in large part, agree with each other so splitting their ranks should be fairly easy.

    I do not think our new leaders are wise enough to hold what they have spent so much time and effort to acquire but I do not think that now is the time to fight them. Unless somebody has another Teddy Roosevelt hidden away somewhere.

    1. Pluto,

      “It seems to me that you either have to believe that the slothful American people can rise up against the “increasing surveillance and oppression machinery of the State” or they cannot. ”

      There is no conflict.

      1. “Let’s get angry and punish leaders who lie to us” — A recommendation, based on humanity’s core capacity to change, to renew ourselves. We are the phoenix.
      2. “the increasing surveillance and oppression machinery of the State makes “bumps” by sheep even less likely” — A linear extrapolation from current circumstances.

      If you fall into a drunken stupor at the wheel of the car while driving at high speed I will loudly tell you to wake up and avoid an accident. That doesn’t mean that I’d bet that you would.

      More specifically, this was my reply to Tin Hat’s belief that the USA was going to break apart. I said that this perilous trend occurs “because we have decided to be sheep.” That is, the death of the Republic is in that sense incomparable with a “bumpy ride”. Sheep are easy to rule; citizens give their rulers a bumpy ride. Revitalizing the Republic — “let’s get angry” as a first step — would put us on a new and bumpy path. It’s an inherent possibility, albeit with not even slight signs of this today.

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