From Truthout by Henry A. Giroux
When lying and deceit become normalized in a culture, they not only serve as an index of how low we have fallen as a literate society, but also demonstrate the degree to which language and education have become corrupted, tied to corporate and political power and sabotaged by rigid ideologies as part of a growing authoritarianism that uses the educational force of the culture, the means of communication and the sites in which information circulate to mobilize ignorance among a misinformed citizenry, all the while supporting reactionary policies. Especially since the horrible events of 9/11, Americans have been encouraged to identify with a militaristic way of life, to suspend their ability to read the word and world critically, to treat corporate and government power in almost religious terms and to view a culture of questioning as something alien and poisonous to American society. Shared fears rather than shared responsibilities now mobilize angry mobs and gun-toting imbeciles, who are praised as "real" Americans. Fear bolstered by lies and manufactured deceptions makes us immune to even the most obvious moral indecencies, such as the use of taser guns on kids in schools. Nobody notices or cares - and one cause and casualty of all of this moral indifference is that language has been emptied of its critical content just as the public spaces that make it possible are disappearing into the arms of corporations, advertisers and other powerful institutions that show nothing but contempt for either the public sphere or the kind of critical literacy that gives it meaning.
Obama's presence on the national political scene gave literacy, language and critical thought a newfound sense of dignity, interlaced as they were with a vision of hope, justice and possibility - and reasonable arguments about the varied crises America faced and civilized. Such practices as Obama compromised, if not surrendered, some of his principles to those individuals and groups that live in the vocabulary of duplicity, the idealism that shaped his language began to look like just another falsehood when measured against his continuation of a number of Bush-like policies. In this case, the politics of distortions and misrepresentations that Obama's lack of integrity has produced may prove to be even more dangerous than what we got under Bush because it wraps itself in a moralism that seems uplifting and hopeful while it supports policies that reward the rich, reduce schools to testing centers and continue to waste lives and money on wars that should have ended when Obama assumed his presidency. Obama claims he is for peace, and yet the United States is the largest arms dealer in the world. He claims he wants to reduce the deficit, but spends billions on the defense industry and wars abroad. He says he wants everyone to have access to decent health care, but makes backroom deals with powerful pharmaceutical companies. Orwell's ghost haunts this new president and the country at large. Reducing the critical power of language has been crucial to this effort. Under such circumstances, democracy as either a moral referent or a political ideal appears to have lost any vestige of credibility. The politics of lying and the culture of deceit are inextricably related to a theater of cruelty and modes of corrupt power in which politics is reduced to a ritualized incantation, just as matters of governance are removed from real struggles over meaning and power.
Democracy is fragile, and its fate is always uncertain, but during the last decade we have witnessed those in commanding political and corporate positions exhibit an utter disregard for the truth, morality and critical debate. The Enron template of lying and deception has turned an ethos of dialogue and persuasion into its opposite: dogmatism and propaganda. In doing so, the American public has been bombarded by a discourse of fear, hate and racism, coupled with a politics of lying that undermines any viable vestige of a democratic ethos. We now find ourselves living in a society in which right-wing extremists not only wage a war against the truth, but also seek to render human beings less than fully human by taking away their desire for justice, spiritual meaning, freedom and individuality.
h/t Agent 99 & Old Uncle Dave
Read the whole article HERE your future and the future of this country depend on it!