July 28, 2009
One of the secret lies of liberal democracy is the dogma of free speech. The word 'propaganda' has obtained over the last six decades a nasty flavor; hence the need to use the word 'communication.' However, as much as everybody in modern society craves to communicate, traditional community ties, or in-group ties, are more than ever before subject to the process of disintegration. It is worth recalling that etymologically the terms "community" and "communication" are of the same origin. But how can one communicate if community no longer exists?
To provide a make-believe image of absolute freedom of speech, the media and
Prince resort to a
hyperbolic language filled with hyperreal metaphors and qualifiers.
This is especially true regarding
the terms ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’. These terms have assumed the
emotional role in rallying political allegiance formerly reserved for terms
evoking nationhood and patriotism. Opinion makers in Europe and
America are not so much concerned with the content of their language, but
rather with the appropriate packaging of the language and its emotional
impact on the masses.
For effective communication a modern politician (or the modern Prince?) is
required to use images with a cheerful setting and a happy ending scenario.
His looks are important too. An aspiring presidential candidate must be
concerned more with his dentures than with his
A well-fitting Armani suit and polished Gucci shoes are far more important
than his IQ. The image is
essential since it does not encourage reflection, but obliterates all
reflection. The hyperreal image on TV screens with all the trappings of
wealth, power, and personal appeal is ideal for propagating new political
lies and, by extension, for instituting horrendous political censorship.
For a European or American politician who aspires to high office, the ritual of repentance has become de rigueur.
Presidential Candidate John McCain visits Jerusalem's Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial
The exception, of course, is President Obama who capitalizes on his Black identity to induce guilt in his audience.
President Obama Speaks at a Slave Depot in Ghana
President Obama Speaks at a Slave Depot in Ghana
Not long ago Europeans were proud of their colonial exploits. Not long ago
the exclusion of the Other (Blacks, Jews, Arabs) was perceived as a normal
thing — typical of human societies from time immemorial. Today the exclusion
of the Other is replaced by the hatred of oneself. Ceaseless
national-masochistic sermons about Euro-American real or surreal crimes bear
witness to a quasi-pathological desire to cleanse oneself of a past that
evokes guilt rather than pride.
Public language must be "soft" and didactic — conveying a self-deprecating
message and requiring the modern Prince to formulate his statements in
the conditional tense — or by using evasive sentences starting with adverbs
such as “admittedly,”
“considerably,” “presumably,” etc. No politician wishes to stick out his
neck by using affirmative sentences that would clearly enunciate his value
judgments or depict his potential foe.
After reading mainstream newspaper editorials, a student of
political semiotics is struck with convoluted locutions such as ‘one
could say, ‘one might say,’ ‘one should consider bombing Iran,’ or ‘help
democracy become transparent in East Timor.’
Such vague locutions provide a safe retreat for the liberal ruling
class, as they signify nothing and everything at the same time.
Political language must be neutral or neutered; it must reflect the desire
for a world of stasis — not of global liberal metastasis. The only
exceptions are modern heretics who must endure the most violent epithets.
Thus the $PLC, a principal
architect and enforcer of modern discourse on race and immigration, likes to
use expressions preceded by the noun ‘hate,’ or followed by the adjective
‘extremist': ‘hate groups’, ‘hate speech’, ‘hate crimes’; ‘White
extremists,’ ‘political extremism', etc. Contemporary politicians and
their media watchdogs love to compare absolute Evil to absolute Good, using
words that are loaded with emotional significance, such as "fascism" vs.
"antiracism": the horrors of the Auschwitz on the one hand versus the
Hollywood-like fantasy of multicultural conviviality.
Nothing new under the sun, as the old Latins used to say. This idea is well captured by the late Christopher Lasch, the best American visionary and the theorist of narcissistic democracy. He noted a long time ago in his book The True and Only Heaven that "Liberals' obsession with fascism ... leads them to see fascist tendencies or ‘proto-fascism’ in all opinions unsympathetic to liberalism."
As much as Lasch was right he was also wrong. Today he would be accused of
"fascist, revisionist tendencies" by
the masters of political discourse — thus giving further credit and
credence to the paranoid liberal mind.
Historically, both the fascist and communist temptations did not drop
from the moon. They were logical responses to the failures of liberalism —
to the "democratic deficit" of the liberal experiment. Therefore one must
not rule out the revival of the fascist temptation, albeit in a new garb, as
a third option in our late postmodenity: If a good man in a village is
constantly and publicly called a crook, he will eventually embody those
accusations. White nationalism, which is on the rise in the US and the EU,
is the logical response to the chaotic policies of the liberal class and its
promotion of all ethnic prides world-wide — except for white Europeans.
In postmodernity, political messages are transmitted by visual images and the sound bite — not the written word. Rėgis Debray, the ex-leftist guerrilla who ascended to high office in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs — and probably the best observer of the perverse nature of liberal democracy, notes that the traditional 'graphosphere' has been completely devoured by the "videosphere." Books and prose are relics; the virtual video message has become omnipresent. It is no accident that a dissident or a violent radical no longer dreams of storming the Prince's palace, but rather contemplates the seizure of the TV tower.
Postmodern political imagery does not reflect the lack of reality, but
rather mirrors the excess of reality. Henceforth any political debate on a
TV screen is not designed to hide the truth, but ironically, to hide the
absence of all truth. Everywhere the media and the modern Prince simulate
fictitious events such as terrorist attacks as if they wish to have them
happen, while at the same time they try to prevent them from happening.
The bogeymen of the left —"hate
groups" and "extremists" — appear to be nowhere near the horizon. Yet, as
was the case in the ex-Soviet Union, they must be reinvented over and over
again in order to provide legitimacy
and solid funding to groups like
the $PLC who love to dress up in the
apparel of “tolerance” and “humanity.” Everything is
stage-managed as if everything were true.
What we are witnessing today in the West, in all spheres of official political discourse, is a gigantic display of lies — far worse than in the notorious totalitarian despotisms of the 20th century which the postmodern liberal pretends to abhor.
In his recent editorial in the quarterly
Elėments (summer 2009), under the
title "Une époque de basses eaux” — literally translated as
"An epoch of low tide," or loosely and metaphorically as "Stalemate
Alain de Benoist gives us a
bleak picture of the forthcoming darkness:
In the catalogue of the ephemeral and the superficial, images and noise are
following one after the other. Their goal is to capture attention and
distract, and to make us think about other things, or more precisely, to
make us cease to think altogether. The insignificant becomes a general rule.
What comes to mind is the world depicted by the Wachowski brothers in the
In the movie everybody takes for real what is actually inauthentic;
everybody is manipulated from the very moment he imagines himself to be
free. Never have people thought
to be able to do what they wish, yet never ever have they been subject to so
many regulations. In fact they
do not really know what they desire because it is the system that formulates
The biggest victory of the system is to have persuaded everybody not of its
qualities, but of its fatal character. The system does not claim to be
perfect; it claims that there are no other alternatives. Hence, if one
cannot dream of a better world, then there is nothing that can be done.
politics follows the same hyperreal lead. There is no longer any need to
await disasters or the proclamation of a state of emergency, since they are
constantly evoked and artificially provoked —creating thereby the genuine
feeling of a state of emergency and impending disasters and
setting the stage perfectly
for a judicial or police clamp down. The security checks that one
must endure at all airports in the West inevitably give the feeling of a
creeping state of emergency. Depictions of catastrophic images on fictional
television drama shows inevitably influence people's perceptions of real
catastrophic events. The image no longer follows reality; it precedes
reality. Modern politics is the show of hyper-reality — as witnessed for the
first time during the recent ex-Yugoslav and Iraqi wars, which were getting
bloodier and bloodier the more they were shown on TV.
The Books of the Dead
The same applies to modern historiography and to the sudden surge among Third World nations for the resurrection and beatification of their dead. The more dead they manage to hold up as icons of Western evil the better able they are to affirm their own ethnic identity. One of the best theoreticians of political hyper-reality, the late Jean Baudrillard, describes Auschwitz "not as a site of annihilation, but the site of dissuasion" (The Evil Demons of Images, 1988, p. 24). It is no longer a site of suffering; it is a site of deterrence and didactics, designed to be the ultimate symbol of postmodern Western culture as psychotherapy for Europeans.
The Jewish narrative regarding the "singular" and "unique" historical event of the Holocaust has already given birth to similar "singular" and "unique" narratives among other peoples, notably Armenians and (ironically) the Palestinians, with dozens more nations waiting in the wings.
Diversity obliges. Soon our postmodernity will be forced to open up post-graduate studies on political necrology or (more precisely) political necrophilia, as more and more groups clamor for their forgotten real or hyperreal dead. However, political necrophilia carries its own dangers for groups that see themselves solely through the lens of victimhood. In attempting to avoid the repetition of disaster, the Jewish narrative of "never again" does exactly the opposite: By focusing solely on a decontextualized event of persecution, it runs the risk of failing to rationally comprehend Jewish history — with unforeseen consequences.
Almost thirty years ago, Baudrillard wrote memorable words to illustrate the
metastasis of liberal democracy:
The energy of the public sphere, the energy that creates social myths and
dogmas is gradually disappearing. The social arena turns obese and
monstrous. It grows like a mammal and glandular corpse. Once it was
illustrated by its heroes but today it refers to its handicapped, its
weirdos, its degenerates, its
asocial persons — and all of
this in a gigantic effort of therapeutic
strategies fatales, 1983) (Fatal
The system puts forward the transparency of evil by parading images of evil in the form of maladaptive individuals. The ruling class and its mediacracy need to display the proof of their power by showing that those who transgress the most basic values of the multicultural zeitgeist are psychologically deranged — literally insane. Proverbial ‘revisionists, 'bigoted anti-Semites,’ and ‘Nazi pseudo-scholars,’ are cherished demon images of liberal democracy. They need to be constantly put on exhibition in public places — like wayward Puritans of old — in order to lend further credibility to the eroding system.
17th-Century Puritan in the Stocks
Americans and Europeans are constantly put on false alerts by the media
about pending terrorist threats. The invocation of terrorism is often
fictitious, yet it engages the media machinery in a gigantic show of lies
and mendacity. The purpose of the negative imagery is to scare the masses
into submission. In a world that encourages narcissism and extreme
individualism, one is not only the victim of the image. One becomes the
image himself at the price of deforming his own tragic reality.
Tom Sunic www.tomsunic.info; http://doctorsunic.netfirms.com/
)is an author, former political science professor in the USA, translator and former Croat diplomat. He is the author of Homo americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age ( 2007).