Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 10 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 16 (26 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   104 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

A Culture of Delusion

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 18   Valuable 18   Must Read 15  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H1 9/27/12

Become a Fan
  (386 fans)
Cross-posted from Paul Craig Roberts


A writer's greatest disappointments are readers who have knee-jerk responses. Not all readers, of course. Some readers are thoughtful and supportive. Others express thanks for opening their eyes. But the majority are happy when a writer tells them what they want to hear and are unhappy when he writes what they don't want to hear.

For the left-wing, Ronald Reagan is the great bogeyman. Those on the left don't understand supply-side economics as a macroeconomic innovation that cured stagflation by utilizing the impact of fiscal policy on aggregate supply. Instead, they see "trickle-down economics" and tax cuts for the rich. Leftists don't understand that the Reagan administration intervened in Grenada and Nicaragua in order to signal to the Soviets that there would be no more Soviet expansion or client states and that it was time to negotiate the end of the cold war. Instead, leftists see in Reagan the origin of rule by the one percent and the neoconservatives' wars for US hegemony.

In 1981 curtailing inflation meant collapsing nominal GNP and tax revenues. The result would be budget deficits --anathema to Republicans -- during the period of readjustment. Ending the cold war meant curtailing the military/security complex and raised the specter in conservative circles of "the anti-Christ" Gorbachev deceiving Reagan and taking over the world.

In pursuing his two main goals, Reagan was up against his own constituency and relied on rhetoric to keep his constituency on board with his agenda. The left wing heard the rhetoric but failed to comprehend the agenda.

When I explain these facts, easily and abundantly documented, some of leftish persuasion send in condescending and insulting emails telling me that they look forward to the day that I stop lying about Reagan and tell the truth about Reagan like I do about everything else.

"Knee-jerk liberal" is a favorite term of conservatives. But conservatives can be just as knee-jerk. When I object to Washington's wars, the mistreatment of detainees and the suspension of civil liberties, some on the right tell me that if I hate America so much I should move to Cuba. Many Republicans cannot get their minds around the fact that if civil liberties are subject to the government's arbitrary discretion, then civil liberties do not exist. The flag-waving element of the population is prone to confuse loyalty to the country with loyalty to the government, unless, of course, there's a Democrat in the White House.

Rationally, it makes no sense for readers to think that a writer who would lie to them about one thing would tell them the truth about another. But as long as they hear what they want to hear, it is the truth. If they don't want to hear it, it is a lie.

Both left and right also confuse explanations with justifications.

When a writer writes about the perils that we as a society face and the implications, it is very discouraging for the writer to know that many readers will not listen unless it is what they want to hear. This discouragement is precisely what every truth-teller faces, which is why there are so few of them.

This is one reason I stopped writing a couple of years ago. I found that solid facts and sound analysis could not penetrate brainwashed and closed minds seeking vindication to keep the mind locked tightly against unsettling truths. Americans want to have their beliefs vindicated more than they want the truth. The success of print and TV pundits is based on allying with a prominent point of view or interest group and serving it. Those served make the writer or talking head successful. I never thought much of that kind of success.

But success as a prostitute is about the only kind of success that can occur in Washington or in the media these days. Those who refuse to prostitute themselves arouse pity and denunciation, not admiration. A couple of years ago an acquaintance from a university in the northeast called me to say he had recently had lunch with some of my former associates in Washington. When he inquired about me, he said the response was, "Poor Craig, if he hadn't turned critic, he would be worth tens of millions of dollars like us."

I replied that my former associates were undoubtedly correct. My acquaintance said that he hadn't realized that he was having lunch with a bunch of prostitutes.

The incentive to speak the truth and the reward for doing so are very weak. And not just for a writer, but also for academics and experts who can make far more money by lying than by telling the truth. How else would we have got GMOs, jobs offshoring, the "unitary executive," and a deregulated financial system? It is a very lucrative career to testify as an expert in civil lawsuits. It is part of America's romance with the lie that experts purchased by the opposing sides in a lawsuit battle it out as gladiators seeking the jury's thumbs-up.

And look at Congress. The two members of the House who stood up for the Constitution and truth in government will soon be gone. Ron Paul is stepping down, and Dennis Kucinich was redistricted out of his seat. As for the Senate, these thoughtful personages recently voted 90-1 to declare war on Iran, as the sole dissenter, Rand Paul, pointed out. The Senate is very much aware, although only a few will publicly admit it, that the US has been totally frustrated and held to a standoff, if not a defeat, in Afghanistan and is unable to subdue the Taliban. Despite this, the Senate wants a war with Iran, a war which could easily turn out to be even less successful. Obviously, the Senate not only lies to the public but also to itself.

Last week the Pentagon chief, Panetta, told China that the new US naval, air, and troop bases surrounding China are not directed at China. What else could be the purpose of the new bases? Washington is so accustomed to lying and to being believed that Panetta actually thinks China will believe his completely transparent lie. Panetta has confused China with the American people: tell them what they want to hear, and they will believe it.

Americans live in a matrix of lies. They seldom encounter a truthful statement.There is no evidence that Americans can any longer tell the difference between the truth and a lie. Americans fell for all of these lies and more: Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda connections. Saddam Hussein's troops seized Kuwaiti babies from incubators and threw them on the floor. Gaddafi fed his troops Viagra to help them rape Libyan women. Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Change--yes we can! The US is "the indispensable country." America is broke because of food stamps and Social Security, not because of wars, bankster bailouts, and a failing economy. Russia is America's number one enemy. China is America's number one enemy. Iran is a terrorist state. Jobs offshoring is free trade and good for the US economy. Israel is America's most loyal ally. The US missile shield surrounding Russia is not directed at Russia. The South China sea is an area of US national interest. Financial markets are self-regulating.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

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.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Libya - The DC/NATO Agenda And The Next Great War

The Road to Armageddon

American Job Loss Is Permanent

A Story...The Last Whistleblower

Pakistan TV Report Contradicts US Claim of Bin Laden's Death

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
38 people are discussing this page, with 104 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Well, officially, office fires destroyed Building ... by Lance Ciepiela on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 1:08:41 PM
 That's because it isn't just a matter of "wa... by Ad Du on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 3:28:34 PM
The American public is among the most clueless in ... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 6:47:34 PM
 Amazing how wrong you are, I can't believe i... by BFalcon on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 10:58:12 PM
you realize that if the crooks in power said that ... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 10:51:10 AM
 I asked you if you agree that all the taxes ... by BFalcon on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 8:38:15 PM
you did not ask what you claim to have asked. ... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Monday, Oct 1, 2012 at 12:11:19 PM
Do you agree with the proposition that we collect ... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 11:08:18 AM
and yet extremely disheartening, is that OEN has s... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 6:51:15 PM
I am annoyed by people who simply regurgitate disi... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:44:53 AM
To "lower taxes" on the poor, individually makes a... by James Tennier on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 2:24:21 PM
. . to spend and invest?  I was just looking ... by Richard Clark on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 2:55:55 PM
you provide no link to your graph and completely i... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 10:34:01 AM
Corporations don't pay taxes!!!  Like all exp... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:58:25 AM
Mark, I'm surprised to learn that we disagree so d... by Jim Arnold on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 2:06:23 AM
Then there's supply-side economics, which holds th... by Jim Arnold on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 6:30:23 AM
those are two good points to use to illuminate com... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 1:22:43 PM
Mark, sad to say, we've got some fundamental diffe... by Jim Arnold on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 8:05:18 PM
as I pointed out above, it is a fact that taxes ar... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 11:45:45 AM
Mark,Sure, if after paying all the costs of doing ... by Jim Arnold on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 12:52:46 PM
as Shakespeare said 500 years ago, "What's in a na... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Monday, Oct 1, 2012 at 2:39:05 PM
Is that it is NEVER satisfied. No matter what the ... by Kim Cassidy on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 4:15:04 AM
When corporate taxes were last high, the economy w... by Richard Clark on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 2:59:21 PM
I may not be in a handful of people "other than me... by BFalcon on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 10:50:04 PM
but your support for the horrendous and despicable... by trog69 on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 12:18:36 PM
you prefer Soviet style dictators to U.S. style di... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Monday, Oct 1, 2012 at 7:22:22 PM
As usual, dishonest war-mongers and hypocrites put... by trog69 on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 2:41:21 AM
I appreciate so very much your serious attitude to... by BFalcon on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 10:44:40 PM
And it is rampant. People who actually agree are d... by Kim Cassidy on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 6:01:22 AM
 But, in this case, if you mean "supply side ... by BFalcon on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 6:30:08 AM
The point is: screw the economics. I don't care ab... by Kim Cassidy on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 7:24:09 AM
unsurprisingly, you missed the info about the lowe... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 1:34:35 PM
. . the economy grew by leaps and bounds.... by Richard Clark on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 3:03:06 PM
Reagan generally cut income taxes, but when he and... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Monday, Oct 1, 2012 at 3:37:20 PM
Is that we need some taxes for some government act... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 10:58:28 AM
 I never claimed what you said, "only a benef... by BFalcon on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 10:44:47 PM
   Yeah.... very difficult to separate f... by Bob Gormley on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 4:34:11 PM
I believe FOX News is still banned in Canada becau... by Kristine Hoggatt on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 11:14:25 AM
then I assume that all other corporate media sourc... by zon moy on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 11:54:05 AM
I wish! Try watching Sun News Media from Toronto,... by Jim Miles on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 3:30:52 PM
About Canada's truth law?... by BFalcon on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 10:46:24 PM
would object to your analysis of what went down in... by intotheabyss on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 4:40:13 PM
intotheabyss,Thanks for your post.  It's nice... by foggygoggles on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 5:21:41 PM
Absolutely correct! I think Dr. Roberts' reference... by Jim Morgan on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:41:57 PM
Dr. Roberts, you are an exceptional inspiration fo... by Paul McArthur on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 9:27:50 PM
Dr. Roberts, in my opinion, you speak the truth an... by Kyle McDermott on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 9:43:55 PM
9/11 is the best example of all you say. What's wo... by Michael David Morrissey on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 2:46:47 AM
During a discussion of the 9/11 attacks, Chomsky w... by larry payne on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 7:07:18 AM
He was trying to say 9/11 was relatively "unimport... by Michael David Morrissey on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 10:31:20 AM
to discuss what really happened or was he covering... by larry payne on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 3:23:13 PM
I don't really watch Stewart. Just catch clips sho... by Janet Gaudiello on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 10:56:16 AM
crooks in charge pulled Maher off of the air for q... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Monday, Oct 1, 2012 at 7:33:32 PM
I think fear is a good motivator. And there are va... by Michael David Morrissey on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:06:30 PM
figure people out.  I have a name for my game... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Monday, Oct 1, 2012 at 7:31:13 PM
Says the commenter who has had two others complain... by trog69 on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 2:47:25 AM
An anonymous troll using two anonymous accounts to... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 2:09:39 PM
"...he flatulates, deflecting from his hypocrisy, ... by trog69 on Thursday, Oct 4, 2012 at 8:15:59 AM
One of the classic knee-jerk reactions is to assum... by Barton Kunstler on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 8:26:01 AM
As someone who works diligently to become ever mor... by Jack Flanders on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 9:43:20 AM
" a business that has been absorbed by the finance... by Bob Gormley on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 5:09:14 PM
SPOT ON, JACK. LOVE YOUR OPINIONS... by Ted Rosa on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 8:55:14 AM
              &... by Lance Ciepiela on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 10:22:11 AM
Indeed, there is no winning in Afghanistan.  ... by Sara Cope on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 10:46:34 AM
The war got the poppy fields blooming again and pr... by larry payne on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 12:57:50 PM
the pipeline from the ME into China through the Ky... by Tommy Wright on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 1:43:49 PM
TOO BAD SO MANY DIED...ALEXANDER THE GREAT WON BY ... by Ted Rosa on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 9:01:49 AM
unfortunately, it only touches the surface of the ... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 10:54:49 AM
PCR wrote: " Leftists don't understand that the Re... by Kristine Hoggatt on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 11:12:43 AM
 'The writer's greatest disappointments are r... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 11:41:18 AM
Mr PCR writes now as  if he and people like h... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 11:55:02 AM
What I meant about having given up trying to figur... by Michael David Morrissey on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 12:53:28 PM
Are you or me or PCR  just having fun for our... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 5:46:11 PM
thinking the people on Capitol Hill are the good g... by larry payne on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 6:21:49 PM
My guess is the military (duh). No one else could ... by Michael David Morrissey on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 5:37:49 AM
Who gave the military the access to place the demo... by larry payne on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 7:32:23 AM
The US military does not operate as a "joint" oper... by Michael David Morrissey on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:18:38 PM
in attacking Iraq. That qualifies as a joint opera... by larry payne on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:51:56 PM
military follows orders such as Cheney's stand dow... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Monday, Oct 1, 2012 at 7:37:28 PM
How would they know? They were not involved. why d... by Paul Craig Roberts on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 6:27:23 PM
70+ pages of end notes. It is not just opinion, bu... by intotheabyss on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 6:46:57 PM
The claim that Reagan Admin interventions were abo... by Jim Arnold on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 4:48:43 AM
Since the current motto on our money is such a Lie... by Ed Lytwak on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 11:43:20 AM
I never understood the fall of Rome, now I think I... by Dan Baron on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 1:54:48 PM
I've supported you for a long time, when your view... by Joe Giambrone on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 2:06:35 PM
why do so many ideologues who have no knowledge of... by Paul Craig Roberts on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 6:31:31 PM
Too many know what happened in Central America for... by intotheabyss on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 6:51:11 PM
what about the alternative?  Would a Soviet s... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 12:37:55 PM
PCR or your lying eyes? I would love to hear Mr. R... by trog69 on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 2:58:26 AM
Right wingers hail Ronnie Raygun as a "conservativ... by James Granger on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 5:35:45 PM
Craig, I believe you.  ... by Cynthia Drozd on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 5:54:11 PM
As a Reagan appointee, perhaps Roberts should be e... by Gary Aguilar on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 11:29:33 PM
Finally, Roberts is mum about Reagan's primary rol... by Gary Aguilar on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 11:30:52 PM
Reagan boys' 'folies' made for an interesting read... by Ted Rosa on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 11:11:03 AM
I want to thank you for this article. You said a m... by Kim Cassidy on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 3:35:49 AM
is that PCR is right about 9/11 and all that it en... by Michael David Morrissey on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:10:21 PM
American educational institution curriculum should... by Daniel Penisten on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:31:35 PM
Excellent article______but many Americans still be... by jean labrek on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 3:40:21 PM
Roberts is an Apologist for Reaganism and Reaganom... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 12:09:49 AM
"The real truth is that the actual agenda of Reaga... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 12:18:30 PM
Your ideas are replicated by many scientific, psyc... by Gregory Patin on Sunday, Sep 30, 2012 at 1:55:09 PM
See here.... by Michael David Morrissey on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 2:24:52 AM
work, Michael, but I think that most people are so... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 2:23:38 PM
I enjoy your exchanges with others here, because I... by Michael David Morrissey on Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012 at 4:52:33 AM
I just received my Florida absentee ballot. I have... by Michael David Morrissey on Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012 at 1:56:10 PM