Stepford Citizens

The Soviet State Machine used the word Truth [Pravda] for its state propaganda official newspaper, which of course was full of lies, some so crudely obvious that it provoked ridicule rather than fear in Cold Warriors. In those days, we believed the Russians (and Chinese) were Stepford Citizens with a zombified civic life, believing anything and everything they were told after so many years of colossal lies about the obvious. Turns out, the opposite happened, the Soviets, at least, believed nothing they were told, even the occasional real truth that slipped by, and became political nihilists. They may be going back to this by accepting Putin just because he is one of the sloviki, Strong Men, indeed the Capo di Capi of sloviki, without bothering to listen to his lies. [The very brave public protests against the sham Mikhail Khodorkovsky conviction offers some hope that this is not yet entirely true.]

As I am embarrassed to remind myself, Ben-Gurion, about sixty years ago, said the then USSR and USA would come more and more to resemble one another in the next fifty years. I guess we have.

And in at least two vital issue fields, the economy and the Military Occupations (“Wars”), the Democrats have bought into much of the GOP substitution of pretexts in place of honest policies.

Over the last twenty-five years or so, we have seen negative campaigning becoming the norm, with the result that people think all elected officials, whom they prefer to call “politicians” are either crooks or liars or both.

We have seen the creation of junk science, which has reduced the scientific enterprise in the public sphere to a shoddy rivalry among PR projects. We have seen anti-intellectualism become a quasi-religion.

So here we have the latest installments. Anybody real mad about it? Or are we the new Soviets?