February 13, 2015

The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on.

This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies:

government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.
{10} Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.
-- Vaclav Havel "The Power of the Powerless" (1978)

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Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 13, 2015 12:51 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

JolĂ­n. At first, I was reading it in a hurry, thinking "oh, ok, just another Americano enumerating the dominant progressive zeitgeist here in the USA".
Then I let my eye wander for just a second, and saw the attribution, Vaclav Havel.

Posted by: John A. Fleming at February 13, 2015 5:53 PM

I'd modify Mr. Havel's essay in one way: in the US at least, you are expected to believe the prog-nazi propaganda, not just behave as though you do. The Czechoslovakia of the 1960s and 70s where Havel wrote most of his plays had grown cynical, with apparatchiks simply protecting their perks and power. The US left seems to have retained a higher percentage of true believers.

Posted by: waltj at February 13, 2015 8:41 PM

What is it about your site that attracts all the ugly spammers, Gerard?

Posted by: Jewel at February 15, 2015 2:21 PM

I don't always know, Jewel, but this item seems to have attracted them. I've expunged them and then I'll turn off comment in a day or so.

I think that not having all of my items to spam they simply pick a reacent open one and let fly.

Posted by: vanderleun at February 15, 2015 2:49 PM