March 18, 2007

Little big lies

I agree with Hitler that the power of "the big lie" is that the lie is so colossal that no one would believe anyone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

A couple of elisions that make my eyeballs bleed:

"Climate change is more dangerous than terrorism." Maybe, maybe not. The issue is the materiality of manmade climate change.

"Stem-cell research should be funded by the government." Maybe, maybe not. The issue is the morality of killing foetuses to obtain the cells.

These little big lies have the merit of slipperiness and a kind of lazy deniability. For discriminating minds it's hard to credit the mental sloppiness of the swallowers of these lies, but you can fool a hell of a lot of the people a hell of a lot of the time when you're spinning a web they want to get caught in. Fuhrerprinzip, scapegoatism, feminism, abortionism, hedonism, it-takes-a-village-ism, catastrophism and scientism succeed because they are ego-syntonic, they denote impulses consistent with self-conception.

What then must we do? Well, what we are doing. The World Wide Web allows truth and lies, science and scientism, to parade their beauty side-by-side before the whole human race. Little lies, big lies, little big lies - their facelifts, their cellulite, their sagging bums are mercilessly projected onto a giant screen and contrasted with the fresh good looks of simple truth.

Instance the Manmade Global Warming scam which recently peaked around Oscar time. The UN's decree that the debate was over has provoked a pushback that has publicly destroyed the scam's credentials. Imagine a virtuoso confidence trickster, revelling in his technique as he beguiles his grinning marks, who suddenly realizes the word "liar" has been pinned to his back, his toupee has slipped and his flies are open.The scammers are re-grouping, probing for a re-configuration of the scam that has more stickability, but "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!"
"Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists - and politicians - must trade (normal) truth for influence."
3/10, I'd say, for a delicious recasting of "the" truth as either "normal" truth or "post-normal" truth, but "post-normal" suggests "post-modern" and "post-modern" won't stick these days. Maybe "paranormal" truth or "my" truth, as in "my truth is I'm a gay American".

Anyhoot, my Screwtapian ways with words aren't the real issue. The real issue is this: the spinners of little big lies need to control the World Wide Web itself. Governments must rescue the apparatus from US hegemony so that the minds of starving Africans and of our children and of starving African children cease to be infected with American consumerist trash and theocracy. Unesco would be a suitably democratic Lord Protector of the world's thought channels. The BBC (re-branded as The World Broadcasting Corporation) would be a suitably expert instrument for Philosopher Kings and then a Philosopher Fuhrer to shape information and ideas for the greater good. Then the little big lies can be consolidated into one big big lie - Liberalism, A Convenient Untruth - which is a ripe and rotten host for another big big lie - Islamofascism, An Incovenient Untruth.