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The West Is Trapped In Its Own Propaganda

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Hail, Caesar!



One of the wishes that readers often express to me came true today (May 11). I was on the mainstream media. It was a program with a worldwide reach -- the BBC World Service. There were others on the program as well, and the topic was Hillary Clinton's remarks (May 10) about the lack of democracy and human rights in China.

I startled the program's host when I compared Hillary's remarks to the pot calling the kettle black. I was somewhat taken aback myself by the British BBC program host's rush to America's defense and wondered about it as the program continued. Surely, he had heard about Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo detainees, CIA secret torture prisons sprinkled around the world, invasion and destruction of Iraq on the basis of lies and deceptions, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya.

Surely, he was aware of Hillary's hypocrisy as she demonized China but turned a blind eye to Israel, Mubarak, Bahrain and the Saudis. China's record is not perfect, but is it this bad? Why wasn't the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs criticizing America's human rights abuses and rigged elections? How come China minds its own business and we don't?

These questions didn't go down well. None of the other interviewees or guests thought that Hillary had made a good decision, but even the Chinese guests were not free of the common mindset that frames every issue from the standpoint that the West is the standard by which the rest of the world is judged. By pointing out our own shortcomings, I was challenging that standard. The host and other guests could not escape from the restraints imposed on thought by the role of the West as world standard. 


What has happened to the West is that it can see itself and others only through the eyes of its own propaganda. There was a great deal of talk about China's lack of democracy. As the BBC program was being broadcast, the news intruded that Greeks had again taken to the streets to protest the costs of the bailout of the banks and Wall Street -- the rich -- being imposed on ordinary people at the expense of their lives and aspirations. The Irish government announced that, with a tax, it was going to confiscate part of the Irish people's pension accumulations. It simply did not occur to the host and other guests that these are not democratic outcomes.

It is a strange form of democracy that produces political outcomes that reward the few and punish the many, despite the energetic protests of the many.

Political scientists understand that US electoral outcomes are determined by powerful monied interests that finance the political campaigns, and that the bills Congress passes and the President signs are written by these interest groups to serve their narrow interests. Such conclusions are dismissed as cynicism and do not alter the mindset.

While the program's host and guests were indulging in the West's democratic and human rights superiority, the American Civil Liberties Union was sending out a bulletin urging its members to oppose legislation now before Congress that would give the current and future Presidents of the United States expanded war authority to use, on their own initiative, military force anywhere in the world independently of the restraints imposed by the US Constitution and international law. 

In other words, in the great American "democracy," the president is to become a Caesar.

 

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

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We now find ourselves in a situation like that of ... by Marika on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 4:07:51 AM
A Cheap Trick song from the 80's the Dream Police ... by bogi666 on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 4:27:32 AM
I think you think you evaded the issue..You didn't... by bern on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 6:26:45 AM
and several things about it really struck me. This... by Mike Cormany on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 6:55:28 AM
We keep re-electing them. Democrats and Republican... by Nick van Nes on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 7:31:41 AM
Who say's they are re-elected? We all heard of fra... by Debbie S on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 2:40:18 PM
no diffrernt than the anti-common people one man ... by xxx xxxx on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 1:48:34 AM
...Laura Dimon called in the fall of 2007 and aske... by John Smith on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 7:23:21 AM
Com and, called, democracy has more common as one ... by John Smith on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 9:52:45 AM
"The lie can be maintained only for such time as t... by John Smith on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 10:10:07 AM
There are plenty of people that know something is ... by Mike Preston on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 11:04:19 AM
When I lived in Jamaica occasionally I listened to... by bogi666 on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:11:03 AM
Mr. Roberts, I am surprised that you were surprise... by Donald on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 11:10:45 AM
The key to Empire is the shaping of the public min... by Helge Nome on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 1:06:51 PM
If we all put our comments on several sites, inclu... by Donald on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 4:48:19 PM
This is a good idea.... by Paul Craig Roberts on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 4:57:54 PM
switching one set of propaganda for your propagand... by Laura Roberts on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 5:53:08 PM
Pointing out inconvenient facts is not propaganda.... by Pat on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 10:13:55 PM
so huh?... by Laura Roberts on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 10:17:58 PM
I lived in communist Russia for a year (1970-1971)... by Adnan Al-Daini on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 1:49:42 PM
Pointing out facts is not manipulation of mental p... by Marika on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 5:21:51 AM
Your comment assumes that beneath the speech of bo... by Gary Williams on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 11:58:34 PM
I generally object to and dislike people who have ... by Ned Lud on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 3:33:20 PM
Not now not ever. Dimockracy would more accurate. ... by Donald on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 5:20:47 PM
Thank you very much for your heroic efforts to pus... by Pat on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 9:37:54 PM
the program was live radio for one hour, the World... by Paul Craig Roberts on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 9:40:40 PM
PCR's confirmation that he was bounced from the pr... by Lewis Yang on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 10:16:11 PM
Could you please post the name of the BBC World Se... by Marika on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 6:52:19 AM
I believe it was the World Have Your Say program... by Paul Craig Roberts on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 8:02:49 AM
I listened to the "World Have Your Say" program an... by Marika on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 12:56:57 PM
"but the BBC pushed me off the program after 30 mi... by xxx xxxx on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 2:08:40 AM
Please excuse - correction of typo in subject head... by xxx xxxx on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 2:12:40 AM
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the well known Russian no... by Adnan Al-Daini on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 12:01:47 PM
Please keep speaking out as you are doing. You are... by Nancy Lewis on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 7:49:35 AM