Saturday, December 12, 2009

so-called radicalization

Of course the propaganda machine is so powerful and ominpresent that it can be difficult to breathe,

not to mention say what one means...

But let us take as an example recent talk of "radicalization"

At my local coffee shop, while waiting for coffee, I commented on what was then displayed on CNN

"And what made Obama become radical? Now there's a question."

If we use words as they are defined in, say a dictionary, then the idea that you can attack any country you
want to further your ends is a very radical idea. It is, that is to say, a very extreme idea.

It is extreme to use violence when it is not in self-defense, but only to pursue self-interest.

(Strictly speaking, you could argue with me that American imperialism is the status quo, and any attempt
to oppose it would be, by definition, "radical". In that case the question becomes whether being radical
isn't a good thing. I think that in the current terms of debate being radical is presupposed to be bad.)

However, if we use the word "radical" and "radicalize" as it is currently used in discussion on CNN and
other sources of propaganda, that elementary point won't be made.

The United States has no justification for occupying Afghanistan. But the opponents of that occupation are
dubbed "radical" and "radicalized".

So words can mean what you want them to. If you oppose the wishes of the empire, you are a "radical".

I don't believe, however, that my audience at the local coffee shop understood what I was saying.

They live in a peculiarly American dream-world where listening is short-circuited by dismissal.
My words must have seemed to them to be mere "cynicism" or faux cleverness....

(Is such short circuiting really peculiarly American? Well, I think on the topic of war and peace it is.
My friends outside the United States seem to have clearer views about the reality of war.
The sensitivity I refer to is usually recognized in official declarations and it is trivialized and/or
criticized. We hear about Europe's pacifism, described as something regrettable, indicating a
failure to be realistic. This was present in Obama's recent Nobel speech.)

the propaganda machine is powerful

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