9.12. Now what?
First, the nice young lady above is Lori Harfenist of The Resident. I imagine a lot of people, whether they lived in NYC in 2001 or not, share her view that fretting about conspiracies is redundant, while allowing that a generally corrupt government is likely. I wonder if she actually does look at things that way, given how she characterizes suspicion of the government, and I wonder what she and Bob from Pacifica would make of each other's views.
As you may have noticed, I closed the comments on Rob's 9.10 post, "Riding old 9/11". For now, comments still aren't moderated. I'd prefer to avoid that, and I don't want to have to reprimand anybody, regular visitors especially. I regard all the persons who participated in the previous comments as regular visitors, and feel all are due respect, and need to offer it in kind.
Over at A Tiny Revolution, Bernard Chazelle posted "Everything's a Lie" discussing some the same issues Rob and the commenters touched upon below, in Rob's post.
But here's the funny thing. People don't seem to mind [i.e.the lying] very much. This is pure Hegelian alienation: the acceptance that some creatures, by virtue of their function status, are normatively alien from us. They may do things (lie, kill, steal) that no one else would be allowed even to consider. Normative is the key word here, because they can't just do anything. They are strict norms of conduct they must abide by. So a senator who steals a stamp may go to jail, but if the same senator pushes for a billion-dollar bill to favor a baby-killing (military) industry that will make him mega-rich once he leaves office, that's fine. He can go on and give speeches about taking on the baby killers. If a president lies about his intern's extracurriculars, he gets impeached. But if he lies about a bogus threat and bombs the crap out of the Sudan, that's OK. So it's not true that anything goes. The modalities of lying have to be accepted. It's what you might call a normative alienation. See the division of labor: they get to lie and the little guy doesn't, but the little guy gets to approve the norms and they don't. This applies not just in politics but across all modes of power.
Here's part of what I wrote over at ATR:
I don't know if Walter Mondale was uniformly honest, I imagine he wasn't. But he was honest about the possibility of raising taxes, and got walloped in '84. Bill Clinton promised everybody that he would be a warm, huggable kind of conservative-- essentially-- and was wildly successful.
I'm lying myself, because that's not what Clinton said in '92, but a more accurate description of how he refashioned himself in '95.
If regular readers of lefty blogs all sit on their hands and stay out of the 2010 midterms, I'm guessing this will reduce turn-out by 1 or 2 percent at the most. If those same blog readers go and vote for whoever among 3rd party candidates make the ballot-- even if it's libertarians-- then presumably 3rd party candidates might poll at 1.5 to 2.0 percent nationally, instead of 0.5 to 1.0 per cent.
But some liberals would blanch at the thought of doing this, in part out of fear that the TV talking heads would spin it as support for social security privatization. (But most who think of doing it but decide against it, I'd wager, would only stop themselves because of the thought that it might mean the republican might get in or stay in.)