Facts, Lies and Propaganda

“the 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” – Alex Carey

Great quote. I found it at a very interesting website, talking recently about the elephant in the room. Cute cartoon.

But it made me think how lucky I am to have had a father who taught me very young how to tell the difference between propaganda and facts.

The first step is to not believe it just because you like it. That’s the whole point of propaganda — to make you like what they want you to believe. The key is to figure out, as I have said many times, the difference between a fact, a lie, and propaganda. It’s not always easy to find the facts, mostly because they want you to believe there aren’t any. But once you get past that and find the real facts. You don’t have to believe anything just because _______ says it is so. And more importantly ___________ can’t control you by making you believe that you want to do whatever they want you to do.

After that your personal power — your ability to accurately evaluate your own available choices and choose your own life for yourself — will skyrocket.

Connect to Reality

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If you are as tired as I am of listening to hype based on opinion based on wishes, you probably want a source for real, well considered factual information about the important political realities that politics can not change. I always recommend Earth Policy Institute. There is a link on this blog; Lester Brown’s book is available free at the web site. It’s not one of these “sendmemoney and I’ll tell you what you want to hear” books.

Lester Brown has been collecting data for 40 years, in a serious, scientific approach to analyzing what really is happening in the earth ecosystem, so we will have the information we need to deal with it, and it is available to everyone.

Or you might want to attend his presentation in Houston on the 28th. I’m not promoting; I think the book is fine, probably has more information, and that is free and easy.

Ask New Orleans

Why would we prefer to ARGUE without facts, rather than check to see if real facts are available.

When the issue is hurricanes — or global warming — or overpopulation — whatever we believe will only change one thing, and that is how we behave. Either we face the facts — or we don’t.

Opinions about facts do not change the facts. Gravity exists, hurricanes exist, global warming exists, overpopulation exists. We can not make-believe these kinds of things away, and the whole point of science (not technology, but science) is to KNOW what are the facts so we can find a way to survive. The function of politics should be to respond to known reality in a way that will bring the greater good to the greater number of people. That’s the only power that politics or technology actually have.

Politics and technology have no power to change facts; only how we respond to them.

Ask New Orleans.

When it turns out I was right, remember what I said

What amazes me in this new country I am trying to understand, is the number of people who believe (whatever) just because they want to believe it. It is amazing, the people who are capable of discussing, comparing and thinking about their opinions — interminably — without ever checking their facts. I always wish I could stick around and find out what happens to these folks when they find out that whatever it was they believed — that the earth, the solar system, weren’t paying attention. That the universe runs according to a set of rules that are not too difficult to understand, that some people spent our lives discovering, and the rules won’t change just because someone doesn’t want to believe in them.

If our personal power is based in the number of choices we have available to us, I think we should check the facts. We are far more likely to get whatever we want if we understand the parameters before we decide what to believe.