How Aparatchiks Of The DemoPublican Government Mislead The Public

Like their counterparts in the former Soviet  Union,  the  "loyal
Party   members"   of   the   Obfuscating   Class   --  corporate
"journalists,"   media    mouthpieces,   and   corporate/academic
"experts" -- get their  little  extra  rewards  for  serving  the
Corporate  State  as  "Judas  Goats."  But one brave professor is
unafraid to truthfully speak  his  mind.   Is this a trend?  Will
professors become free to think and speak?   Or  is  it  just  an
anomaly?  Or is some local condition, such as atmosphere or food,
behind  the  latest  in  several eruptions of honesty and courage
from Professor Carl Estabrook?

Here is a  partial  transcript  detailing  rare, truthful remarks
originating in the most unlikely place:  the mind  of  a  college
professor.  On November 29, 1997, Carl Estabrook and co-host Paul
Mueth  said  as  follows,  on  their  weekly  program  "News From
Neptune," courtesy of local volunteer  radio station, WEFT. . . .

CARL ESTABROOK:  I had a  strange  argument over the holiday.  At
our Thanksgiving Dinner-table there was  a  long  argument  about
class.   And  an old friend of mine actually put forth the notion
of, "America as a  classless  society."   After which, the dinner
table fell into a long discussion of what was  meant  by  "class"
and  how  that could be defended; and whether the notion of class
was useful or not.
   And it surprised me in  part,  because  there  seemed  to  be,
underlying  the argument, the feeling that, finally, one wants to
buy another bit of  American  mythology:  that, whatever else you
want to say about this society, well, it really is a society open
to talent, it really  is  a  "meritocracy."  [1] Of course, there
are "difficulties" (you always  admit  there  are  "difficulties"
when you make an argument like this), but finally, if people want
to  get out there and work hard, well, they can do okay.  And the
notion of class, whatever  you  mean  by  that, it really doesn't
have much place in a discussion of American society.
   Now that seemed to me to be a triumph of the education  system
once  again.   (You have to be "well educated" to accept nonsense
like this.)  There is  a  refusal  to deal with arguments against
it.  If one proposes, for example, that our society is run  as  a
struggle  between  the very small minority who control wealth and
power in this country and  the  vast majority who rent themselves
to the owners of Capital (and a largish segment in-between  those
two,  that  has  the business of obfuscating what is really going
on.)  This is Gore Vidal's  division:   the fraction of 1 percent
control the 80 percent who have their labor  to  sell.   And  the
other  20  percent  who  have  to  mask  what's  going  on:  your
college-educated  group,  so  to  speak,   whose  job  it  is  to
misinterpret what's happening.
   If you make an argument like that to, particularly folks  from
the  20  percent  [the  elite-schooled obfuscating class], you're
accused of putting forth  a  "conspiracy theory."  (A "conspiracy
theory" is, that there is any self-interested  group  in  society
whose  interests do =not= correspond, and indeed are inimical to,
those of the  larger  society.)   =That=  counts as a "conspiracy
theory" and can be  dismissed  as  soon  as  it's  labeled  as  a
"conspiracy theory."

PAUL  MUETH:  I've heard a number of shows lately, on our sibling
station, that have this  "psychological  analysis" of the current
political situation.  Bizarre, =bizarre= stuff that's going down.
The most recent one was about "political paranoia."  A  piece  of

CARL ESTABROOK:  It was incredibly objectionable.  A fellow named
Jerry  Post(sp?)  from George Washington University, who has been
for years "covering sin  with  a  smooth name" (as the Scriptures
put it):  that is, giving  psychological  accounts  that  justify
American policy.  They have a new book now which says, basically,
if  you're  a critic of American policy on any sort of principled
grounds, or if you  hold  any  analysis =other= than the analysis
that, e.g.  Mack McLarty happens to hold at the moment,  you  are
actually  demonstrating  signs  of  "paranoia,"  that  we need to
understand the psychology behind your dissent.
   An older man called in  on  the  radio to the show and pointed
out: domestic needs that are served by the military budget.   And
this  propagandist from George Washington University said, rather
superiorily,    "Oh,    yes.     You're    thinking    of    'The
Military-Industrial Complex,' aren't you?"   And  then went on to
explain where such "paranoid" thinking might come from.
   I was reminded there was, more than a century  ago:   American
physicians  put  forth  an  account  of  a  condition they called
"dramataphobia(sp?)" Dramataphobia  was  a  "mental illness" that
prompted slaves to run away from their masters.  And it was often
found with  "efasia  ethiopica(sp?)."   Efasia  ethiopica  was  a
tendency  of people of African descent not to do their work well.
To be clumsy and break  things,  you see.  Now these were "mental
conditions,"  you  see.   These  were  "mental  illnesses"   that
accounted  for  the  fact  that  some  slaves ran away from their
   Now it seems to me, what  we  have here is, the direct medical
descendants of the "good medicos" of the mid-19th century are  to
be  found  in the late-20th century, in people like the man we're
speaking of.  They're giving  you  a psychological reason why all
the criticisms of the powers-that-be stem from "mental illness."

PAUL MUETH:  This was the second in a series.  The other one  was
suggesting  that there's something in our psychological structure
that is  primeval,  that  causes  us  to  mistrust  the political

CARL ESTABROOK:  [Laughs] It's called  "intelligence."   Yeah,  I
think  that's right:  once the brain gets big enough, you realize
that you're being had. [2]

---------------------------<< Notes >>---------------------------
[1]  The American "meritocracy," class supposedly based on merit.
The supposed "meritocratic" process is described by Noam Chomsky,
in an interview published  in  Rolling  Stone magazine, May 28th,

  INTERVIEWER:  Do you ever wonder about  the  psychology  of
  these   American  commissars?   You've  written  about  the
  filtering process by which the obedient rise to the top and
  the disobedient end up elsewhere, but I wonder what goes on
  in their heads.

  CHOMSKY:  I don't think it's  that hard to figure out.  All
  the  people  I've  ever  met,  including  me, have done bad
  things in their lives, things that they know they shouldn't
  have done.  There are few people who  say,  "I  really  did
  something rotten."  What people usually do is make up a way
  of  explaining  why that was the right thing to do.  That's
  pretty much the way belief formation works in general.  You
  have  some  interest, something you want, and then you make
  up a belief system  which  makes  that look right and just.
  And then you believe the belief system.  It's a very common
  human failing.

  Some  people  are better at it than others.  The people who
  are best at it become commissars.  It's always best to have
  columnists who believe what they're saying.  Cynics tend to
  leave clues because they're always trying to get around the
  lying.   So  people  who  are  capable of believing what is
  supportive of power and privilege -- but coming at  it,  in
  their view, independently -- those are the best.

  The  norm  is  that  if  you  subordinate  yourself  to the
  interests  of  the powerful, whether it's parent or teacher
  or anybody else, and if you do it politely  and  willingly,
  you'll get ahead.  Let's say you're a student in school and
  the teacher says something about American history and  it's
  so  absurd  you  feel  like laughing.  I remember this as a
  child.   If  you  get  up and say:  "That's really foolish.
  Nobody could believe that.  The facts  are  the  other  way
  around," you're going to get in trouble.

[2]  Besides psychological-sounding attacks on conspiracists, two
other supposed "counter-arguments" are  in vogue nowadays amongst
the "obfuscating class" (mass  media  mouthpieces,  establishment
journalists, "experts," etc.)
   (1)  "If there were really a cover-up, any good reporter would
jump on the story.  Think  of  how  much  money one could make if
these conspiracy stories were true!"  The myth is that an  honest
investigative   journalist  would  be  rewarded  for  efforts  in
bringing out the truth.  But  look what =actually= =happens= when
such rare, honest reporters emerge.  For example, Gary Webb whose
"Dark  Alliance"  story  broke   news   on   CIA   drug-smuggling
connections to a wider audience.  His reward?

  Try calling Gary Webb these days at the  San  Jose  Mercury
  News, and you're in for  a surprise.  After suffering close
  to   a   year's  worth  of  ridicule  from  his  mainstream
  colleagues for his  three-part  series "Dark Alliance:  The
  Story  Behind  the  Crack  Explosion"  (Aug.  18-20, 1996),
  Webb's paper in early June  pulled  him from the story he'd
  been investigating for  two  years,  and transferred him to
  its bureau  in  Cupertino,  California.   There, a recorded
  voice  answers  your  call  with  the  greeting:  "You have
  reached the San  Jose  Mercury  News  West Bureau editorial
  office and the home of the Community Focus Calendar,  birth
  announcements and Lend-a-Hand Volunteer Column.  No one  is
  available to take your call  right  now."   We  wonder  why
  Oliver  North's  career hasn't taken so ignominious a turn.
  (From Chicago Media Watch Newsletter, August 1997)

Other examples of "rewards" for  good journalists who dare trying
to get at the truth are Pierre Salinger (investigating  TWA  800)
and  Robert  Parry  (investigating "October Surprise.")

  (2) Another supposed "counter-argument" in  vogue  amongst  the
obfuscating  class is, "And how did you know about such-and-such?
You found it  in  the  newspaper,  that's how."  Sometimes that's
true:  items are published in the back pages, in obscure stories;
and sometimes the truth even makes it to page one.  =But it's not
emphasized=.  It appears briefly and then is gone.  Nonsense gets
major emphasis from  the  obfuscating  class;  the truth is "just
passing through and excuse the visit."

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