Friday, February 10, 2006

Ignorance is Power

Buckle your safety belts, strap on your helmets and keep your arms and legs inside the blog at all times - we're going to do some linking today.

I came across an obscure bit of news this week that got me thinking about the root cause of some recent events. You guessed it, I read about the premiere of a new Venezuelan telenovela (soap opera) called "Amores de Barrio Adentro" ("Love Inside the Neighborhood"). (Just hit "Cancel" if you get a window asking you to print, OK?)

It's a "Romeo and Juliet"-type story of lovers from different walks of life; a young, working-class, pro-Chavez ("Chavista") woman and a well-off, politically "neutral", young man who attends the same University. As you can probably guess from the character descriptions, the show is blatantly politically skewed toward the pro-Chavez point of view. In fact, (emphasis mine)
[Screenwriter Roman] Chalbaud, an icon of the filmmaking and theater worlds in Venezuela, said the series "reflects on screen what everyone wants to see: the truth about the revolution and the lies of the opposition" – a reference to Chavez' peaceful [Although Chavez was deposed once briefly and came back AND participated in two failed military coups in 1992 - Robo] social revolution and the broad opposition movement that has worked hard to remove him.

The title of the program itself is similar to the name of the Barrio Adentro (Inside the Neighborhood) plan launched by Chavez in 2003 to bring primary health care to the slums and poor neighborhoods, in which some 10,000 Cuban doctors have taken part, living and tending to patients in the country's shanty-towns.
To say nothing of the fact that the show has been produced by a state-run TV network and the premiere was attended by the vice-president. There are four private TV stations in Venezuela all of which (surprise!) campaigned against him. They show anti-Chavez propaganda disguised as entertainment.

TV is the opiate of the masses; there's a reason I call it "the idiot box". If you only get your information from your television these days, you are setting yourself up to become a sheep to be herded where ever the loudest, most colorful, most repetitive voice wants you to go. It wasn't always this way, people used to be responsible about their use of television, but it has become the refuge of the empty-headed.

This got me thinking about information. Chavez has a lot of popular support, as do all socialist leaders, because they pander to the largest group within the population - the working class. They promise handouts and a better life and usually deliver on misery, but no notices until it's too late and the country has been run into the ground. If the people who support leaders like this had access to information they might make more responsible choices about their government. Socialists, Communists and other leftists (ahem) need to feed the populus favorable information in order to gain or maintain power. So they control the media, and what can and can't be said. They keep their people in a flag-waving, populist zone in a closet under the stairs, preventing any unfavorable information from reaching them. If you want people to obey, you have to keep them stupid. Check out this headline from a "fair and balanced" Venezuelan news service: "Evil and terrorism against Venezuela began with one man: George W. Bush"

This isn't exactly a revalation, I know, but I feel it needs to be put into words. Why else would Fidel Castro be so upset about the Christmas display at the American embassy in Havana? I suppose the ambassador's effort to reach out to dissidents there might have something to do with it. I love how the Bush Administration seems to do things just because they know they'll piss someone off.

These petty thugs and greedy bureaucrats who have found themselves running countries must oppress people and make them glad of it if they want to stay in power. That's one big reason the U.N. was pushing for control of the Internet and not much news gets out of China. That's why bloggers are muzzled in Iran. And oh-by-the-way, it looks like relations between Cuba and Iran are warming up. Should this surprise anyone? I see these alliances forming between people who choke all dissent and I seem to be the only one whose eyebrows are raised.

It's not as though Europe is any better. England isn't free; the Queen could disband Parliament any time she feels like it. The BBC is state-run, of course. People in all European countries self-censor in order to avoid provoking the anyone who might be provoked, or being censored by the state. It's damn near a miracle that the Danes got the stones to stand by the printing of the Mohammed cartoons. There are even some freedom-loving publications that continue to print them to show what insatiable, bloodthirsty savages the people who control Islam and many Islamic nations are.

My assessment of this situation, based on what I think I know about autocracy, is that the participants in these riots that one might consider ordinary people have been incited to publicity-whoring violence by people using them to for their own selfish ends. They have been starved of multiple independent sources of information, or the ability to decide for themselves what they think about anything at all, and suddenly they are fed information presented in a certain fashion, in the context of the brainwashing they've received for thousands of years. Yes, they're pushed to violence, led there like hogs to the slaughter.

These kind of populist messages, anti-Christian, anti-Bush, pro-liberal agenda garbage are readily available to those who would like to delude themselves with it right here in America, too. Look at the Oscars, the Golden Globes, see who nominated and that'll tell you all you need need to know. The good thing is that our free market takes care of this nonsense. Who watches PBS? Nobody, but it remains on the air with the help of your pledge (but mostly tax) dollars.

So remember: Kill your TV!

Interesting Times: Around The Horn
Interesting Times 1.5
Interesting Times


Blogger Lone Pony bloody well said...

Tried to comment on this earlier but apparently I was having cookie problems.

I like the title Ignorance is power. Maybe that's why I became a teacher. So many in power want to keep their people ignorant. Shame. Thanks for the link.

11 February, 2006 16:44  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

Well, if nothing else, at least I can come up with snappy titles!

I'm digging you attempts at understanding Islam. Personally, I view it as I view all religion - a way to control people's behavior, because of the inability of those in charge to trust people to behave themselves. Then it mutates into getting believers to bend to your will and do your bidding. I know you'll disagree, Becky, but I believe that religion is one way of fostering the ignorance required to keep people dependent upon those who seek and hold power.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

11 February, 2006 21:22  

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