Friday, October 17, 2008

Speech is not free.

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:14 PM Permalink

The headline in The Guardian reads:
Criminalising dissent
US states are spying on political activists and classifying them as terrorists in order to stifle protest
File that under 'no shit Sherlock.' That's so not news

But is stifling dissent really all that necessary?

See, one of Mr. Vidiot's favorite arguments is to explain to people how we, the people, do not have the right of freedom of speech like the first amendment of the Bill of Rights says. He argues, and rightly so, that the means of communication are owned by the power elite. And since we don't have access to the media, and we can't broadcast our own messages, we are stifled and silenced. That's why we don't have free speech. Speech is only free if there are people to hear it. (And preaching to 10 or so people at the bar doesn't count.)

The airwaves are flooded with the propaganda that the power elite wants you to have. Our print, audio and video 'diet' is chock full of the ideology of the power elite; we identify with them, we think like them, we want to be more like them. "The market is going down because of jitters." "The market is going up because of confidence and good weather." "The market is going down because of the LIBOR rate." "People are homeless because they just lost control of their lives." "They hate us for our freedom."

We are all familiar with the narratives. And what's worse, it's extremely hard to get those little catch-phrases out of your head. It's like, when you grow up with a mom who's a neat freak, and after you grow up and have to clean your own house, you can't help but hear her voice, "But did you clean BEHIND the faucet?"

It's there and there's nothing you can do about it. THAT'S how effective it is. THAT'S how powerful they are. Like your mom shaped your idea of how to clean, the corporate-owned media shapes your idea of how the world works. And they shape it in a way that benefits them.

And the fact that we don't have access to the media, that they spread the information that creates profit for them (When was the last time you saw NBC do a hard-hitting exposé on the chemicals and poisons that GE poured in the Hudson River?) means that we do not have the right of free speech and that we are, for all intents and purposes, slaves. A slave has no rights. A slave has no power. A slave must do whatever the master says. A slave cannot challenge the master. The master creates the slave's world and if he's a clever master, he convinces the slave that he's better off being a slave with him then with someone else or worse, on his own with nobody to take care of him, the helpless and stupid slave. And if he's a brilliant master, he has the slave convinced he's not a slave at all.

So, when some story points out that they're 'stifling dissent', what are they stifling really? A few folks who stand on corners and hold up signs that say "impeach bush"? Is standing on a corner really reaching enough folks to change minds, alter the discourse, create a groundswell? No. Of course not. The corporate-owned media doesn't really talk about those folks and if they did, they'd make those folks look like nuts.

Stifling dissent is done for one reason and one reason only: to fortify the idea that the State is powerful and that the State has control over you, your life and your person. It is NOT, as some would argue, to keep 'dangerous ideas from propagating' for, as we know, those ideas cannot propagate because we, the people, do not have access to the means of communication. Not even the blogs can subvert the dominant discourse. The most the blogs can do is cause them a minor blemish every now and then.

But fear of the State, now THAT'S what makes the system tick. For as long as people fear the State, they will obey the State.

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