Sunday, December 16, 2007

Orwell forgot something.

I read an article today discussing some military personnel who have been editing wikipedia and posting pro-military propaganda on the internet.

This implies a lot.  Firstly, we seem to now have people paid by the government to spread propaganda that makes them look better.  It implies that they're trying to appear as if they're regular people and not employees of an interested party.  Anyhow, the correlation with the Ministry of Truth in "1984" is obvious.  We now officially have people whose job it is to spread the official line to the world as if it's some independent voice of reason and honesty.

Aside:  Wow, blogger is terrible with Safari.  I can't even cut and paste into my text box here.

Well, one of these people who work for our very own "Ministry of Truth" had his name leaked, and has since received death threats. His commanding officer is outraged, and feels that the soldier should not have to face these threats for merely doing his job.

Let's take a final step back before I get to the real meat of this post.  If doing your job is to spread propaganda to influence public opinion here in the US, then you're a worthless piece of shit.  There is an unwritten rule that our government shouldn't be lying to us, and shouldn't be trying to persuade us with this sort of tactic.  Feel free to con Iraqis into siding with you through social pressures and propaganda, but not us.  People rightfully feel outraged when they find out that we're being conned, and their only recourse is to issue empty death threats.  That's their plea to the guy in question to stop trying to mislead them.

All of this made me rethink 1984.  I think that George Orwell forgot something of great import: another ministry dedicated to doing the job that Michael Moore and the Loose Change guy do these days.  I guess I'll call it the "Ministry Of Wolf Calling."

The idea is that the conspiracies are so poorly researched and thought out that only the dumbest fraction of the world believes them.  To the rest, they serve as a call to arms against yet another nonexistent wolf.  Over time, this numbs them to the idea that the government is capable of lying to them at all, and they tend to believe what is says just a little bit more.  By calling them liars in such an absurd manner, you're actually demonstrating that you're the liar (or idiot) an that the agency in question is honest.

So, what am I thinking?  You need two to play this game.  First, you pay people to spew propaganda.  Then, pay (or take advantage of morons who will do your work for free) others to say that you're a liar, but in such a way that their incompetence makes you look better than before the accusation.

Every time you're challenged and it turns out to be false, people will believe you just a little bit more.  That's a tool that I think we need to use more often.

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