The Government Lies

Research Paper #2

 

 

America: Land of Free Indoctrination since 1776!

 

            America was officially noticed as its own sovereign nation in 1776, when established by a constitution that has implemented certain rights to the people. However currently, how many of those rights are still for the people? We must analyze how the government has taken control over the people. Government has become powerful and controlling by instituting patriarchy, democracy, capitalism, and hegemony. Hegemony has become the way in which we think and act as American citizens under government indoctrination. America has been successful in gaining control of citizen thought by using hegemonic tools like public education, media, and mind control methods like newspeak. Hegemony is defined by the American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary as “the predominant influence of one state over others.” Hegemony is used by America Ideologically in representing American patriotism. Examples of these ideologies that serve this function include the divine rights of kings, Marxism-Leninism, and social Darwinism. All acted to legitimize the rule of specific elites in certain societies and helped those elites maintain power. Some hierarchical societies rely more on violence, others rely more on ideology. The United States relies more on ideology, although a certain degree of force can be used when determined necessary. Why are certain fundamental principles of ideological hegemony are never questioned like capitalism, private property, the state, imperialism and many others? I hope to address some issues on these ideologies and how they indoctrinate us today. The people that do question these things and criticize the government have little fear of jail time or harm as long as their voice remains marginalized. As long as the vast majority continues to believe in the system then marginalized voices can help hegemony because it makes the system accepting of all criticisms.

            Media is a main outlet for hegemony and its ideologies to flourish in American society. Within media are three models the liberal bias theory (which is not promoted by the media but is evident at times), fair and objective model (model promoted the most), and the propaganda model (which is often talked about but is evident a lot in media). Media attempts to give the voice of the marginalized for a certain amount of time, but they don’t last as long as the dominant voiced media sources. This is seen when you analyze television shows like In Living Color, Martin, Roc, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. These shows used aesthetics like referring to people like Malcolm X and eating soul food (the fox network and the revolution in black television). These marginalized voices were exploited to make some money but were not kept for the long run because of the marginalized voices in these shows. Media has been in a conflict of interest because of corporate ownership and government control of its media outlets.

      Government control and hegemony is evident in media news shows which focus on reporting what the government wants people to hear. An example of this control is seen on March 2n of 2004 on PBS’s news hour with Jim Leher when he asked Christian Parenti whether bombings in Iraq would make the American job there harder. Parenti responded “I would think so. I would think that we have to look at some of the deeper causes as to why there’s so much frustration. Why are Iraqis so angry and willing to point the blame at the United States after this sort of bombing? A lot of it has to do with the failure of meaningful reconstruction. There still is not adequate electricity. In many towns like Ramadi there wasn’t adequate water. Where is all the money that’s going to Halliburton and Bechtel to rebuild this country? Where is it ending up? I think that is one of the most important fundamental causes of instability, is the corruption around the contracting with these Bush-connected firms in Iraq. Unless that is dealt with, there is going to be much more instability for times to come in Iraq” (www.fair.org/activism/newshour-parenti.html).

     

      Two days later Jim Leher issued an on-air apology for the comments that Parenti made on the show, claiming that the discussion on Iraq was not as balanced as our standard practice and said though Parenti’s comments are not factually inaccurate but were deemed biased and not “fair and balanced.” However in September of 2002 Donald Rumsfeld claimed that Iraq in 1990 had plans for invading Saudi Arabia, which was shown to be a lie more than a decade ago but Leher did not attempt to correct Rumsfeld’s factually inaccurate statement. There was no apology for the lack of balance in this argument which was proven false, but yet illustrates how balance has been used as a tool for limiting thought that goes beyond the liberal-conservative spectrums. Another example of government ideological control over media is portrayed through the viewing of the internet. We are taught to be weary of the internet because anyone can put information on it factual or not. We are taught this in school and media however television, radio, and newspapers don’t always promote the facts as well which I already stated with Rumsfeld’s comments. The only real qualification to put something on these main media outlets is to have money and power. Skepticism and critical thinking should be applied to everything not just things read on the internet. America and hegemony want you to be more critical of the internet opposed to television because the internet can be means of getting the truth out from a poor man’s perspective and that is not the dominant force behind America. The wealthy are the dominant force, they want you to follow television and radio because it carries the governing thought. It is ridiculous to think that because someone is rich they carry more knowledge than someone who is poor. Most Americans tend to think that way and don’t even know it, because they have been hegemonized and the most lucrative way that America does this indoctrinating is through the education process.

 

            The education system is a system set up to from every individual into a group thinker and a believer of whatever America wants you to believe the education system is used to make us all obedient and prepare most of us for a job that will benefit the ruling class. Education is also used to educate the future ruling classes by ruling classes; the wealthy teach the wealthy. The beginning of primary education, what some call “youth concentration camps,” does not encourage individual thought. Primary education encourages us to be naive and submissive to what a teacher advises us. The whole structure of primary school is to train students to obey authority. School is like any other hierarchical structured organization, with hundreds or thousands of students and making them subordinate to a much smaller number of faculty and administration. Children are nothing more than a raw material that is subjugated by rank or grade and is processed to become respectable citizens. A respectable citizen is seen as someone who does not question hegemony and the socio-economic system which America strives on. Obviously children who are taught to obey authority at a young age will be more willing to obey authority as adults as well. America’s school system is perfect in accomplishing the goal of socio-economic theory to prevail in many ways because it prepares student to obey the will of few teachers and administrators, as adult workers obey the will of a few bosses and few capitalists.

    The school structure promotes emotional and intellectual dependency. Students are dependent on the teacher to decide what is to be learned and how it is to be learned. Students do not question things themselves or take control over their own intellectual development instead their opinions are biased towards what the teacher thinks. Students are thus trained to allow others to do their thinking for them, which is well suited to a society in which a small minority (rich) dominates the majority.

     Education is used not only to socially structure American children, but it also is used to form the sense of American patriotism. This is clearly obvious when you look at how history is taught. History is warped and biased towards reinforcing the dominant socio-economic order. Racism and anti-racism are often ignored, and the origins, evolution, and causes of racism are hardly ever analyzed. When discussing historical figures like Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., and Helen Keller their socialist beliefs are often ignored, as are the white supremacist thoughts of Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill. Students aren’t taught about the many atrocities that American foreign policy has done throughout history, such as the CIA in Zaire, Iran, Guatemala, Chile, and many other places. United States foreign policy is always seen as an international good guy throughout our readings in primary school. The positive things done by the government are exploited and blown up, while the negatives are played down and not paid much attention too. The class structure is something that has been downplayed throughout history where the entire society is viewed as middle class, giving no analysis of a real class structure at all. Overall primary education history books portray an image of a great nation that overcomes obstacles by distorting history in such a way that fosters a loyalty to the government and to the dominant socio-economic system.

    

     In order to change all this we would have to change the laws which have been established to control what primary schools can teach in their curriculum. For example Texas education law states, “Textbook content shall promote citizenship and understanding of the essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, emphasize patriotism and respect for recognized authority, and promote respect for individual rights.” Textbooks “shall not encourage life styles deviating from generally accepted standards of society nor should they include selections which serves to undermine authority, or which would cause embarrassing situations of interference in the learning atmosphere of the classroom” Thus, Texas’s textbook laws explicitly state that textbooks should not teach children to think for themselves and form their own opinions but that they should believe in the dominant socio-economic system. Most states have similar guidelines, although not all are as explicit and there are significant variations (Delfattor 139).  It makes me analyze my own education I had growing up, and how a lot of things that I read are not completely factual. I was also an obedient student who didn’t think for himself all the time and was often caught up in groupthink. Yet all these recollections went unknown at the time to me because “it is the way it is” or “it’s the norm”. One other form that I think has brainwashed society is the idea of newspeak.


   Newspeak is defined by dictionary.com as  “Deliberately ambiguous and contradictory language used to mislead and manipulate the public.” This has been evident throughout U.S. history and it has unconsciously brainwashed many U.S. citizens. Words like “conspiracy theory” which can be a group of people intentionally working together in secret to achieve some goal, usually an illegal or immoral goal. The United States uses this term to discredit Al-Qaeda and say they are a group of conspirators that attack the United States because they are “freedom haters” which is another term the government uses as newspeak. The one that has trumped all others currently is “terrorism” which is now considered any action that opposes the United States. The Central Intelligence Agency has been involved in bombings, assassinations, arsons, overthrowing governments, illegal targeting of civilians, and numerous other acts which have caused terror through out the world. These events aren’t talked about and if they are then it’s because we are freedom fighters and not terrorists. People like Bin Laden and other Muslim fundamentalists are seen today as terrorists, but historically they have been called “freedom fighters” when they were fighting the old communist Soviet Union. While fighting the Soviets they did far worse things than they have done to us thus far, like the assassination of government officials and throwing acid in women’s faces that did not wear cover. The historical use of euphemisms can be considered newspeak as well. An example would be the United States department of war changing its’ name to the United States Department of Defense. The term defense is accepted a lot better by the American society than it was when it was the department of war. The changing of one word can influence society to better accept are armed forces and how they carry their actions is now seen in a more positive manner. Though I believe the actions we take now are not actions a department of defense would make but instead a department of offense would make.

  

     Another word that has more meaning in America than any where else in the world is “Democracy” we claim to advocate democracy, but nations like North Korea and Iraq when under the control of Saddam Hussein both considered themselves a democracy. So how is democracy considered great when countries we oppose claim to be a democracy as well the answer is newspeak. The United States has there own opinion of how democracy works and what democracy is.

    Another word that I was always taught as bad is the word anarchy. Anarchy is a word that the United States wants everyone to believe is absolute and complete chaos, but Anarchy comes from the Greek and literally means “no rulers.” There is a well developed anarchist theory that advocates a society organized by voluntary non-hierarchical associations. The equation of anarchy with chaos is nothing more than a smear used by the United States to discredit a radical philosophy. Many just think of anarchy as chaos only because of what hegemony has pushed you to believe, but what isn’t talked about is how democracies and republics have had absolute chaos as well in the past. I also consider stereotypes and racial slurs as newspeak as well but not for the betterment of America’s image globally, but to keep the minority people feeling inferior to the dominant white race internally and to keep the power structures that America has had for the past two hundred years. I didn’t want to over look race because race does matter; racial constructs are and will continue to be the way our Capitalistic society flourishes. The book Race Matters by Cornell West is a book that analyzes race in America and how it is viewed in hi opinions. He says the issue of race is “ An urgent problem, primarily due to the distribution of wealth and power, and income distribution influenced by the racial caste system that denied opportunities to most qualified black people until two decades ago” (west 93).

            Being an American citizen at the age of 25, I feel cheated and uneducated. I feel like my whole primary and high school education was a waste of time. I also think that now I have really learned by what I have been reading in college has opened the door for the future of what I consider my real education. In high school I was always an outcast because I was craving to learn about the real America and to learn about my mother and her parents’ (my grandparents) Mexican heritage. I always wanted to learn about Mexico and how great it used to be, but instead I learned how America has robbed it of its beauty. I believe that Socialism is the system that would improve the well being of society. I have starterd to take notice to successful socialist countries like Venzuela.

What I have learned about America is that overall America is a hypocrite that puts people in prison for doing far less things than the country as whole has done, and justified everything in the name of God. I am not the most religious person in the world but I don’t think God’s chosen land is America and if it is than God is not the being that I have learned that God is supposed to be. My education started when I was 18 years old and I hope to continue it from then to now and until I die.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Works Cited

 

Delfattor, Joan. What Johnny shouldn’t read.

Loewen, James. Lies my Teacher Told Me.

West, Cornell. Race Matters.

www.fair.org/activism/newshour-parenti.html

Zook, Krystal Brent. “The Fox Network and the revolution in Black Television.” Gender Race and Class in Media: A Text Reader.

 

 

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Propaganda is all around you question everything and formulate your own views and morals.

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