28 May 2007

What IS The Truth?

“The truth is — and we Americans don’t like to admit it — that authoritarian societies can work.”
- Rupert Murdoch.
Eric Alterman weighs in on Rupert's WSJ bid:
The frightening thing about Murdoch’s brand of journalism is that he does not merely weight his editorial pages to the right; he purposely corrupts the news pages as well...

If Murdoch did not use a media product to promote his larger business interests, it would certainly be a first.
Alterman's article focuses on the rabid rightwing madness of the WSJ editorial pages. He cites Ben Bagdikian, founding dean of the Journalism school at the University of California at Berkeley:
“Executives and stockholders really do want to know the unpleasant truth about corporate life when it affects their careers or incomes. At the same time, however, most of them are true believers in the rhetoric of free enterprise, whose imperfections and contradictions are standard content in The Wall Street Journal. By reporting critical stories about realities in particular industries in the in the news columns, but singing the grand old hymns of unfettered laissez-faire on the editorial pages, the Journal has it both ways.”
And so we come back to the question perpetually presented by the BushWorld agenda: does reality even matter?
Objective reality can be maddeningly frustrating sometimes, but it teaches us valuable lessons which help us grow as spiritual beings. We learn to understand and tolerate the differing viewpoints of others. We follow the road rules, remember our manners and generally obey the laws of the land because we understand the potential for chaos if everybody were to behave too selfishly. From all this, we develop a sense of right and wrong, good and bad, even good and evil.

Of course, not everybody respects or appreciates these lessons in co-operative altruism to the same degree...
And again we go back to that famous neocon quote:
''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
Those who choose to believe in the magic of BushWorld cannot be dissuaded from their believing by mere, inconvenient facts. As Josh Marshall says today:
We're so far deep into this mess that sometimes I believe we're past the point of argument. You look at the evidence and you either see it or you don't.
By way of example, here's an ABC story about a new Creationist Museum in the USA:
The museum teaches that the Earth is barely 6,000 years old and that God created dinosaurs and humans at roughly the same time.
Whacky Yankees, right? But the man behind the museum is a former Queensland science teacher!

Again I ask: what has become of us?
In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?