Thursday, March 3

The Naked American

Why, one may wonder while studying the story of the Syrian war, did Americans get themselves into the position of supporting governments that are big sponsors of Islamic terrorism?

One may ask how but not why. It amount to a Rorschach test to ask why it took Americans a half century to notice that we've been supporting the most dangerous interpretation of Islam and clear enemies of the USA  Thus, the limits of psychoanalysis. When the offense is egregious asking why it was committed is a waste of time for anyone but a board-certified psychologist or district attorney without much hard evidence to bring in a conviction.

Every American news report that discusses the Syrian war at any length inserts the sentence, "The Syrian government claims all rebel groups in the country are terrorists" or similar words. The government's outreach to rebel groups is now too well known to call the sentence anything but an outright lie. But learning why the lie is told wouldn't stop the lying.

Just so, knowing why the American public has for decades avoided delving into the conduct and doctrine of the Saudi rulers won't stop the avoidance behavior.

How, then, to stop the behavior?

When you're certain that people are deceiving themselves the best you can do is state what you see as the truth, in the manner of the child in The Emperor's New Clothes. Mass self-delusion depends on tacit cooperation by all the participants. Refusing to cooperate in the self-imposed delusion recalls to their senses those who don't have a vested interest in participation and are just following the crowd. If such followers are numerous enough, even those most committed to the illusion will drop their pretense.

For those who say they have been refusing to cooperate but the spell still isn't broken -- are they sure that's what they've been doing?  Or have they been stating what they believe is the reason for the delusion and criticizing this?

Yes indeed, the outcome would have been very different if instead of pointing out that the king was naked the child had announced, 'I know why the king isn't admitting he's naked.'

Can you imagine the reaction in today's USA? Within 15 minutes the king's spin doctors and statisticians would present evidence that the child didn't know what he was talking about. Opposition researchers would be activated to examine the child's mental state, his family life and record in school. Political partisans would jump to attack or defend the child's political position -- and by that hour it would be made into a political position. 

Then bloggers, press editorialists, and talk-show hosts would take over. By the time everyone was finished chewing over the issue the king could continue making public appearances unclothed, and with only the most dogged conspiracy theorists left to claim that he was in fact naked. 


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