Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Lying Whom Into War?

Four years ago today, Colin Powell knowingly lied repeatedly to the United Nations, thus irrevocably damaging not only his heretofore stellar personal reputation but that of the United States to this day. Justin has set up his Day of Shame project to commemmorate this.

As my contribution I wanted to repro most of my post from February 6, 2003, which I'm pretty sure was in response to the Powell propaganda:
Heaven knows there's enough propaganda of all sorts floating about this society to make just about all of us susceptible to some of it some of the time. And this particular administration (as many administrations before it) has a lot of veterans who excel at obfuscation and outright lies, buddies who own the media to reinforce those lies, etc. So no, you can't really blame a heck of a lot of Joe and Jane Q. Publics out there for believing what's fed to them. Not many people have the time or inclination to seek out information. And many of them are comfortable believing what they believe, and don't like their mindset challenged...

But it's the nature of many-to-many discussion that people with differing beliefs will encounter one another, so if you are one of those "my country right or wrong" folks and you find yourself in a discussion with a "the world isn't all black and white" person, it can appear to be an "ignorant versus informed" deal when actually it's probably more like a "provincial versus big picture" one. I don't think of provincialism as ignorance at all, I think of it as a comfort zone into which people retreat. It's like folks who "find religion" later on in life, I don't consider them suddenly delusional and irrational but just ordinary folks seeking comfort. It is a scary world out there, and it helps many people to believe Big Brother or God only has their best interests at heart or represents Truth. Provincial? Sure. Ignorant? I wouldn't say so.
So I think that's worth considering when throwing about "you should have known better" accusations at bloggers or candidates or whomever.

One of the better responses to the project comes from D. at Lawyers, Guns and Money.