Saturday, May 10, 2003

The Means of Propaganda

Thoughtful conservatives are self-consciously duplicitous. From their perspective lying is not only permissible, it’s obligatory; and theoreticians such as Leo Strauss, Carl Schmitt, and Alan Bloom have developed an elaborate justification for this position. These ideas have long been in public circulation and yet remain politically invisible. Journalists can’t read anything not printed in block letters in Crayola, and the people at large don’t read much of anything. Resorting to serious arguments is like spelling out the words in front of the children. In any event, overt censorship would be counterproductive since the Guardians themselves need reliable sources of information and analysis. Besides, without the carping liberals, they might get confused and forget that they’re lying. That’s a perpetual danger.

Because they also need the facts, rightists are not necessarily hostile to the Freedom of Information. But the ceaselessly strive to achieve something far more important from a political point of view, a monopoly on the means of Propaganda. They have largely accomplished this goal.

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