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Propaganda Wars and Dumb Ideas about “the Government”

August 7, 2009

Propaganda make the world go around, not truth. We actually have people on Medicare and Medicaid opposing the proposed health care plan in the US, people who are suggesting that the government should also keep its hands off Medicare and Medicaid (this link is priceless). According to one talking head on CNN,

If you like the post office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they’re run well, just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government.

Next thing you know they’ll be suggesting that we should not let the government control the government. In fact, they might go so far as to suggest that the demos should run the government, rather than whoever is running it now. Maybe we should elect representatives, so that it’s us who’s running the state, rather than them.

Yes, that’s sarcasm folks. My new goal for the next six months is to make fun of people who think the government is some alien force, entirely independent of the demos.

There are, of course, gaps between the demos and their elected representives and appointed bureaucrats, but those gaps do not constitute two completely alien and opposed forces.

It’s funny, I don’t really remember people talking about “the government” as an alien entity until a black man was elected. Maybe a white man in charge makes the government seem like part of “us,” but a black man in charge makes the government seem like a “them”?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2009 10:47 am

    “It’s funny, I don’t really remember people talking about “the government” as an alien entity until a black man was elected. ”

    You don’t?
    I never heard anyone speak of the government in any other way. My parents always said “the NHS is ours” “Royal Mail is ours” “the BBC is ours” (and before the privatisations other things too) but those things were not the government – the government ran them for “us” who owned those things. The government was an alien entity who probably ran them badly, but it was better that the government ran “our” things badly than that private people ran them for themselves and we did not benefit at all.

  2. larry c wilson permalink
    August 7, 2009 10:54 am

    I’m now 66 years old and I never remember a time when some one wasn’t complaining about the government’s inability to run things properly.

    As for the election of Obama and the nomination of Sotomayor, it has just riled up the white supremacists of whom there have always been more than we wished to admit.

  3. John permalink
    August 7, 2009 1:18 pm

    In the previous eight years, at least, we haven’t heard much from right-wingers about the evils of government. The Department of Homeland Security, a global war, torture, No Child Left Behind, and domestic surveillance were not examples of big government gone mad, yet universal healthcare is just a step away from fascism.

    This just reminds me of the scene in “Life of Brian” where the leader of the anti-Roman group asks his comrades, “what have the Romans ever done for us?” Then they go on to list all these things that the Romans did in fact do for them: the aqueduct, sanitation, roads, irrigation, medicine, education…

  4. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    August 7, 2009 1:29 pm

    John, what you’re saying there is exactly what I had in mind. I think Larry is right: people have used this language before now. But I think you’re right that it was, at best, extremely muted during Bush’s reign.

  5. August 7, 2009 1:40 pm

    Most rightwingers I know were opposed to all of those things:
    The Department of Homeland Security, a global war, torture, No Child Left Behind, and domestic surveillance.

  6. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    August 7, 2009 1:50 pm

    Sophia: really?! I didn’t know any right wingers opposed to those (except maybe No Child Left Behind). How could Bush and co. have generated support for these things if everyone on the left and the right opposed them?

  7. Abigail permalink
    August 7, 2009 3:22 pm

    “It’s funny, I don’t really remember people talking about “the government” as an alien entity until a black man was elected.”

    I heard it a TON during the Bush years, just mostly from other factions. Remember the 9/11 Truth movement?

  8. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    August 7, 2009 3:48 pm

    Abigail, I remember a bit of that, but still don’t remember talk about “the government” being as pronounced as it is now.

    In any case, it’s not a point I want to defend. I’m totally willing to admit that I could be wrong about this.

  9. August 7, 2009 4:50 pm

    Not all people on the right are neo-cons. I used to subscribe to American Conservative (a Pat Buchanan and Taki Theodoracopulos production) for a while (before the election when it got all boring, since I don’t care about American elections and mostly read it to delight in the funness of Americans who wistfully discussed how “monarchy would be better but how can we make it happen in America??” -although it supported Obama more than McCain, but kind of had mixed feelings about Palin, and was enthusiastic for Ron Paul).

    I never met a rightwinger who is into the whole Bush-Cheney thing. Obviously you are right they must exist, but I figured they were all computer illiterate (and possibly actually illiterate).

    I mean I’ve watched fox news, but its such an obvious farce, no-one on that channel believes what they are saying. It’s some crazy weird game for them, I can’t understand exactly what they gain by it (perhaps it is as simple as money, but… if there really are people so willing to sell their souls for mere money I am quite shocked tbh)

    Its folks like Irving Kristol that scare me though.

  10. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    August 7, 2009 4:59 pm

    I know several people who watch FOX religiously and take it extremely seriously. You won’t find them so much on the East coast or the West coast—although they are there too—but in the midwest there’s tons of ’em.

  11. August 7, 2009 6:17 pm

    @ Sophie

    To build on what missivesfrommarx says, many people in the U.S. watch FOX News because they believe the “reporters” on the network are the only ones who report the “real” news. If you are correct, I’m glad to hear that very few Brits (even right-wingers) give any credence to FOX News.

    As to your statement about never having met a right-winger who is into the whole Bush-Cheney thing, again, if you’re right, I’m glad to hear that there is very little support for their agenda in the U.K. In the U.S., I think there are many right-wingers who would still strongly support Bush, as evidenced by the number of “W” stickers that I still see on people’s cars.

  12. bradcorban permalink
    August 12, 2009 7:06 pm

    Interestingly, I remember laughing (and sometimes beating my head against the wall) at the insane hypocrisy of right-wingers decrying ‘big government’ even DURING the Bush years, when the government got loads “bigger.” Surely there’s a quote somewhere of Bush insulting ‘big government’ while he was actually the president….. I’d put money on it.

    But as for the “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while (or at least since I watched the Daily Show this morning). I had to post a link to that article as well.

    There must have been something in the white house water during the Reagan years, because those people are dumb and insane.

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