It’s been heartening to see in recent days the polls showing the Tea Party and their Republican Party hosts dip to all-time record lows in approval ratings by the American public, following their shameless efforts to shut down the U.S. government and destroy the nation’s credit, threatening another global financial meltdown.
Those polls show the overall approval rating for the GOP down to only 30 percent favorable and the Tea Party at only 28 percent favorable. For a major political party, the approval rating is the lowest since the invention of such polls. Don’t forget, it wasn’t just the Tea Party hard core that voted against reopening the government, it was 162 Republicans.
So all the dissembling, all the outright lying, all the Fox News psywar didn’t work, and that gives cause for hope.
Perhaps the biggest factor in all this has been the Internet and the free flow of ideas (and everything else) it provides. Traditional forms of lying and deception work in closed systems, where the access to a wider range of corrective information is denied to at least enough of the population to make a difference.
Now, however, gramps and granny, even if confined to the bowels of ruby red states, have Facebook accounts and are being exposed to the many sides of arguments – and, oh by the way, they’re not as stupid as lying dissemblers think they are.
The Internet even gets the credit for allowing millions of Americans to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, notwithstanding its opening day jitters. No less than 19 million tried to access it online in the first days. Thank you, Internet!
Tea Partier Sen. Ted Cruz let the cat out of the bag when he said his greatest fear was that once the Affordable Care Act went into effect, people would love it – once the truth of it became widely available, instead of his lies, that is. He was right.
To many observers, the laudatory effect of the Internet began showing up years ago to spell the death knell for mind-bending cults. The recruitment rate for these cults has nosedived because curious people are now able to research what they’re being lured into, reading many horror stories and exposés from former cultists.
When truth and knowledge are provided as alternatives to lies and superstition, most people will go with the former.
There has been a long crusade by agents of the super-rich to use a plethora of means to hold onto their advantages by keeping the masses at bay. Since World War II, the privileged in the U.S. turned nascent intelligence and psywar capabilities from the war against the U.S. population. After the war, that population was mobilized to recover from the Great Depression by striving for greater economic equality, sparking the civil rights movement, the War on Poverty and a robust labor movement.
A window into these psywar operations was provided during the Church Committee hearings in the mid-1970s, but that was only after huge files of the CIA’s covert domestic operation known as MK-Ultra were destroyed.
An MK-Ultra textbook was William Sargeant’s Battle for the Mind: A Psysiology of Conversion and Brainwashing, with the subtitle, How Evangelists, Psychiatrists, Politicians, and Medicine Men Can Change Your Beliefs and Behavior. Published in the 1950s, the book was based on research published during the war.
Sargeant cited two things of relevance here: 1. that the “hell fire and brimstone” preaching of John Wesley in England in the late 1700s deterred the revolutionary spirit that was aflame in the colonies and France from spreading to England, and, 2. the discoveries of the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) about psychological conditioning based on experiments with dogs provided clues to population containment.
These insights were deployed into a wide range of programs aimed at the general U.S. population, including the creation of synthetic cults, the proliferation of drugs, and the mainstreaming of a “sex, drugs and rock and roll” counterculture to divert and derail moves toward greater social justice and equality.
Thus did “greed” come to replace “justice” as the national social mantra in the 1980s. Only now is the Internet helping to break this spell.