Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Power of Ideology


The conclusion of the Fort Hood murder trial, the New York City Mayoral Race, and Medical Marijuana, three seemingly unrelated recent news stories do have a common thread. They all illustrate the power of ideology to create a fantasy world divorced from reality.

Many years ago when I was a teacher at a small college in Connecticut, a fellow history faculty member was working on his PhD dissertation in the field of modern Chinese history.  The subject of his dissertation was an examination of the newspapers and periodicals read in China during the time of Chairman Mao, the Communist dictator.

In his studies he found that periodicals read by ordinary Chinese contained largely factual articles about life in America of about the same kind that could be seen in then popular American magazines like Life and the Saturday Evening Post. On the other hand, the journals read by the Communist party leadership and intelligentsia contained the most blatant propaganda and outrageous lies. Apparently, the party leadership believed that it was only necessary to brainwash themselves in order to achieve their goals. It was only through their own ideology that they would see the rest of the world.

In similar fashion the American political, intellectual and cultural elites have been brainwashing themselves for years. The main print source has been the esteemed New York Times with the influential Washington Post running second. Other large city newspapers especially in blue states usually adhere to the party line.

Let’s look at these recent stories. The Army officer who killed 12 soldiers and one civilian while wounding many more at Fort Hood in 2009 was finally convicted of murder last week. From the outset it was clear that he was an Islamist fanatic but the NY Times steadfastly followed the lead of the Department of Defense in calling his rampage an act of “workplace violence” instead of an act of Moslem terror. Why?

The mayoral race in New York City is also providing examples of political ideology at work. Not one candidate in the Democrat primary will dare to support the so-called “stop and frisk” policy that the NYPD has used so successfully over the past few years to make the City one of the safest of the Nation’s largest cities. Despite the facts and the overwhelming evidence a NY judge has ruled that the policy involves “racial profiling” and is therefore unconstitutional. In the name of civil liberty the judge has overruled a policy that has led to the confiscation of thousands of illegal guns and kept many thousands more off the streets. Statistics also show that thousands of lives have been saved as the murder rate has dropped dramatically. Most of these lives have been saved in the black and Hispanic areas where violent crime is most prevalent. None of the mayoral candidates will support Mayor Bloomberg’s appeal of the judge’s decision. What is the objection?

The mayoral race also demonstrates another aspect of the prevailing ideology. A self admitted sexual exhibitionist had the lead until recently when repeated acts of exposure have finally caused his ratings to dwindle. Still, he advertises himself as the one candidate tough enough to save the city. Since the time of President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky it has been a staple of the prevailing ideology that someone’s private life has nothing to do with his or her ability to lead and govern. This didn’t help former Presidential candidate John Edwards when he cheated on his wife but New York Democrats like Anthony Weiner and Elliot Spitzer are apparently ok. For myself, I could never understand why voters would trust a man to care for them when they have cheated on their wives. Typically, in these cases the wives are asked to stand by their man in the interest of the greater good. Only an ideology completely divorced from reality can explain it.

Liberal Connecticut also supplies another good example of ideology triumphant over reality. The State is in the process of implementing a recently passed medical marijuana law. My local newspaper has championed this cause and headlined the case of an elderly woman whose eye disease has been seemingly helped by marijuana. Never mind the fact that granny would have to smoke a joint every hour on the hour to match the effect of surgery for her glaucoma, what about the other obvious dangers. Marijuana is a much more potent carcinogen than cigarette smoke. One joint is the equivalent of 20 cigarettes when it comes to cancer. Nevertheless, the current ideology holds cigarette smoking in contempt but marijuana is the choice of many intellectuals and entertainers. Cigarette smoking is banned virtually everywhere but popular entertainers can show up on TV openly endorsing recreational pot smoking in the same way that entertainers of old did for cigarettes and alcohol. Realistically, smoking marijuana is much more dangerous than smoking cigarettes.

Only ideological brainwashing can make someone abhor the use of cigarettes but cheer the use of marijuana. After all, cigarettes are made by big bad tobacco companies while marijuana is grown by the common man. I am not in favor of banning Marijuana but if Justin Bieber were to show up on SNL smoking an ordinary cigarette, just imagine the public outcry.


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