“A Positively Gorewellian ,” by Mark Safranski, ZenPundit, 6 October 2005, http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2005/10/positively-gorewellian-speech-at-time.html.
“Republican Relaxation,” by Michael Forbush, Dr. Forbush Thinks, 6 October 2005, http://drforbush.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/10/06/republican-relaxation.html.
Two recent examples of Democrat partisans fighting in the logosphere — attempting to win by changing the meaning of words.
First, Mark from ZenPundit fisks l Gore, who wants to redefine “marketplace of ideas” to “what Washington bureaucrats approve.” The first part is by the former Vice President, the latter by the blogger:
“So, unlike the marketplace of ideas that emerged in the wake of the printing press, there is virtually no exchange of ideas at all in television’s domain. My partner Joel Hyatt and I are trying to change that – at least where Current TV is concerned. Perhaps not coincidentally, we are the only independently owned news and information network in all of American television.
It is important to note that the absence of a two-way conversation in American television also means that there is no “meritocracy of ideas” on television. To the extent that there is a “marketplace” of any kind for ideas on television, it is a rigged market, an oligopoly, with imposing barriers to entry that exclude the average citizen.
The German philosopher, Jurgen Habermas, describes what has happened as “the refeudalization of the public sphere.” That may sound like gobbledygook, but it’s a phrase that packs a lot of meaning. The feudal system which thrived before the printing press democratized knowledge and made the idea of America thinkable, was a system in which wealth and power were intimately intertwined, and where knowledge played no mediating role whatsoever. The great mass of the people were ignorant. And their powerlessness was born of their ignorance.
It did not come as a surprise that the concentration of control over this powerful one-way medium carries with it the potential for damaging the operations of our democracy. As early as the 1920s, when the predecessor of television, radio, first debuted in the United States, there was immediate apprehension about its potential impact on democracy. One early American student of the medium wrote that if control of radio were concentrated in the hands of a few, “no nation can be free.”
As a result of these fears, safeguards were enacted in the U.S. — including the Public Interest Standard, the Equal Time Provision, and the Fairness Doctrine – though a half century later, in 1987, they were effectively repealed. And then immediately afterwards, Rush Limbaugh and other hate-mongers began to fill the airwaves.”
Seldom has liberal nostalgia for indirect government and big corporation censorship of news and political debate been so brazenly portrayed as an argument for a free exchange of ideas. This is really something out of Orwell.
Mr. Gore is lamenting the Reagan-era repeal of ” The Fairness Doctrine” and related legal strictures that gave the Democratic Party and the Eastern Establishment elite interests ironclad control over public debate. And well he should, as the Fairness Doctrine was a tremendous built-in advantage for people like himself to dictate the parameters of acceptable public discourse free from any effective competition whatsoever.
Once upon a time ABC, CBS and NBC had an actual oligopoly on television news coverage in the United States, which as I mentioned earlier usually accepted a similar editorial frame for the news as the NYT, sometimes taking a leaf from the Washington Post or a major news magazine like TIME. This stance, which certainly communicated a partisan worldview along with factual news content, was legally defined as being objectively neutral under the Fairness Doctrine. You did not see or hear ” hate -mongers”[ sic] like Rush Limbaugh giving alternative views because a conservative or pro-Republican viewpoint was legally defined as being subjective and partisan, requiring that a station affiliate provide free ” equal time” to “the other side”. TV and radio stations prosper by selling commercials, not by giving free air time to amateur cranks to rebut the hosts of their scheduled programs. Thus there was an enormous financial incentive to muzzle conservative commentary and content. So you didn’t see guys like Rush in the media unless you counted the two minutes of Paul Harvey at 4 a.m. after the morning hog report.
And these corporate behemoths were supplemented by government funded entities like PBS and NPR. High quality broadcasts, certainly. Objective, hardly. Public broadcasting is even further to the Left than the networks despite the fact that a majority of the American public is to the Right of their tax dollar supported news programs.
These old glory days for which Mr. Gore so obviously pines can be described as many things but a “marketplace of ideas” isn’t one of them. Unless your idea of a marketplace is the old Soviet GUM department store. Returning the FCC to a role of a media GOSPLAN would be a utopia for Gore and Al Franken – who can’t seem to make their dream of an all-liberal station format competitive with Rush Limbaugh without the heavy hand of the state to tip the scales.
What Gore seems not to realize is that this media echo chamber he lauds fatally undermined the ability of the Democratic Party to actually wage a battle of ideas the same way having the ref on your side undermines the playing skills of a basketball team. The intellectual edge is dulled by a recourse to shutting up opponents instead of debating them. The information feedback loop is corrupted which is why liberals who won’t read anything to the Right of Paul Krugman wake up dazed on election day to find Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush re-elected and their guy rejected by an enormous geographic swath of the nation. Deliberately cultivating cognitive dissonance is a dumb political survival strategy
My own contribution is much shorter, because I do not have Mark’s powers of concentration or logic. Fellow blogspiriter “Dr. Forbush ” and have been having a conversation over the meaning of security. Like many in the Democrat Party, he shies away from national security and attempts to talk about some broader form of “security” which involves Hurricane relief. But the Orwellian bit still stands out:
So, to make things clear here, when I advocate for the poor to have a safety net for when they loose their jobs and are inflicted with an illness I am advocating â€œrelaxation and ignorance.â€ But when the wealthy want to make sure that their ignorant friends get plum jobs with high pay and low skills required that â€œrelaxation and ignoranceâ€ should be ignored.
But, this was in response to the idea of security being a feeling of being safe without fear. And to this I also received a comment saying “Security as a feeling is useless!” I have updated my post to include the definition of security for those who are only familiar with the financial market definitions of the word.
My dictionary says that security means:
1) Freedom from risk or danger; safety.
2) Freedom from doubt, anxiety, or fear; confidence.
To this I need to reply, Security is only a feeling. Either you feel secure, or you do not. The absence of security is fear. When you feel fear, then you take measures to change that which results in a feeling of security. For those who hold the narrow definition of security to imply military might equals security I believe that your fear must be focused on the world powers being out to get us. Or, if police security is your focus you must be overly concerned with the criminals taking over the city. The wealthy have every right to think this, because the top 1% of the wealthy control 80% of the worlds wealth they pass that wealth down to their children and grandchildren and there is little hope that the majority of people will ever break into that top 1%. The American idea of meritocracy is a good talk, but it doesnâ€™t play out in real life. Just look at the extensive cronyism in the Republican Party. If the majority of the worlds population actually realizes this they may use force to rebel like they did in Russia and China. However, if a more peaceful and political way to alleviate these inequalities through a true meritocracy actually come to fruition more of the poor will find their way to wealth and the wealthy will actually need to work to support their lifestyle.
Security is only a feeling? Forbush is citing a secondary definition while ignoring the first. More importantly, he warps language.
Since coming to UNL, I have met many people, including
- At least one lost a family member killed by Communist terrorists
- At least one who lost a family member killed by anti-Communist terrorists
- At least one who lost personal friends to al Qaeda/anti-American attacks
- At least one who lost a colleague to an al Qaeda in Iraq/anti-UN attacks
- At least one who lost family members to Nazi concentration camps
- At least one who lost family members to Soviet concentration camps
At its heart, security is not a feeling: security is not dying.
When Mayor Bloomberg has New Yorkers watch out for terrorists on the subway, he is increasing security (by reducing the chance of death), not decrease it (by increasing alertness).
When Forbush says “security is only a feeling,” and the rest of his logospheric spiel, he is saying that in a choice between two worlds
Those people are still alive, and Those people are not about to be killed
We worry about their safety
Those people are dead or about to be killed
We don’t worry about their safety
Forbush would say World B is more “secure,” because it has the “feeling of security.”