Another in a series of probably non-productive rants, — but, … who knows?
How does one capture a reader’s attention enough so that, curious, he or she will at least glance at what one publishes? The infamous “hook”? I confess that I may well have no idea, so this time, I thought I’d use a title in Latin. We’ll see how that works. In this case, the title deals with the association between the dearth of truth at all levels, and the rise and predomination of “deep states”.
As a young historian during the 1970’s, I first taught history along official lines. Eventually, however, I came to realize that the “official versions of history” were contradictory and incoherent. My epiphany started, appropriately enough, with the Abrahamic sacred texts (the Talmud, Bible and Koran), in large part, based on observations with which I became acquainted, first by Sigmund Freud in his book, Moses and Monotheism, then in Lloyd M. Graham’s Deceptions and Myths of the Bible and Isaac Asimov’s Guide to the Bible, and then based on a torrent of other sources which made clear that the Talmud, the Bible and the Koran were, more than anything, fictitious narratives seeking to justify genocide and other aberrations in order to promote the Abrahamic faiths. Given that such bedrocks of Western civilization seemed fallacies, I followed up with other critical supposedly historical events and found them equally unreliably reported. That seemed especially true in the areas that I taught at the time with respect to the causes ascribed to armed conflicts such as the American Revolution and subsequent Civil War, the two acknowledged World Wars, the purported Cold War (really a collection of small hot wars interspersed with coups d’état and political interventionism) and the current crises in the Middle East. In short, just about everything.
One of my most disturbing epiphanies (or possible epiphanies) is that what we’ve been taught about the horrors of the Nazi regime in the third and fourth decades of the twentieth century was only partially accurate, and that the entire truth was much more disturbing. Clearly, evil lay pretty equally divided on all sides (think Hiroshima and Nagasaki, only the tip of the iceberg). Like the ancient Hebrews, the British especially, and their progeny, the United States and now NATO, have been especially adept at demonizing their adversaries while whitewashing their own inequity. For example, taking an extreme case, an objective analysis of Nazi policies during its Third Reich would lead to the conclusion that the regime was extremely successful in social programs, medicine, education, urban and rural renewal, transportation, manufacturing and scientific research but, of course, it is most remembered for its racism, xenophobia and mass murder. However, the latter also pretty much describes the European-United States-Israeli colonial regimes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, assuming anyone is daring enough to undertake a similar objective analysis, an analysis that ought to be reflected in future history books (except that, as in the case of journalism, history is rarely if ever accurately or truthfully recorded and taught). It is only a very efficient system of public relations that whitewashes and distorts the numerous misadventures by the Western Allies (think Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Latin America and Africa in general, and other invasions, interventions and regime changes too numerous to mention), in reality all too similar to purported historical villainies by our adversaries and no different than the horrors visited on all sides during the first and Second World wars, including the Holocaust (See, e.g., Chris Hedges: “NATO — Most Dangerous Military Alliance on Planet”; Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 189–Monday July 11, 2022).
We cannot change history and reporting of current events (our future history) is following historical deficiencies which are, in all likelihood, assuring that historical mistakes will not be corrected, or even acknowledged. For example, take the current Ukrainian situation, an exercise in destructive fiction if ever there was one. An objective historian, analyzing the current Ukrainian crisis, would note that it involves the sacrifice of the Ukrainian people and of their infrastructure, wealth and natural bounties in order to derail Russian efforts to attain reasonable security and economic welfare and, as importantly, to prevent Chinese economic progress to predominate, ending the unipolar, hegemonic aspirations of the United States and threatening to derail the economic cornucopia enjoyed by ill named Western “defense” industries.
It seems clear to virtually everyone (except, perhaps to cancel-culture-woke-warriors) that we live in a post truth world, although that begs the question of whether or not truth has ever really been a driving force among our species. We disagree as to who is deluding whom but we are certain that delusion reigns. As unfortunate as it’s been predictable, narrative control has become an effective science thanks to behaviorist theories and their manipulative tools made famous by psychologist and author, B.F. Skinner almost a century ago. For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Skinner, he was Eric Arthur Blair’s (known to us by his pen name, George Orwell) chief intellectual antagonist and believed that the techniques criticized by Orwell in his two most famous dystopian masterpieces, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, were actually beneficent and could be used to mold us into a more humane species (see his answer to Orwell, the novel Walden II), as today’s counter-culture-woke-warriors also seem to believe. Behaviorism has successfully eliminated empathy from our lives and filled the gap with polarization, to the delight of our “betters” (at least as they perceive themselves), who so adeptly manipulate our emotions and minimize our use of reason.
The foregoing brings us to the concept of “deep states”, a phenomenon forecast by Eric Arthur Blair under the phrase, “Big Brother”. The concept of “deep states” haunt our realities. By a “deep state”, I and others apparently afflicted by “civic insomnia” mean that informal complex of government functionaries (elected but also and perhaps especially, unelected), purported journalists, internet platform owners, intelligence agencies, “think” tanks, major universities and, of course, multinational corporations and the elite billionaire class that, in one fashion or another, own them all, and which are the means through which democracy and liberty are rendered into oligarchies subservient to the whims of the few.
Until the right wing populist tide in the United States unexpectedly, indeed shockingly, brought Donald Trump to the verisimilitude of power (real power remained vested in our deep state, as he quickly discovered), the United States’ version of the deep state lay well camouflaged despite the attempt by President Dwight David Eisenhower to expose it in early 1961 (see “President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address”). Well camouflaged perhaps but successful, with success measured by the increasing accumulation of wealth and power by the unscrupulously at the cost of starvation and poverty for the majority of our planets denizens. Accumulation so thorough and complete that the vast majority of the world’s wealth is owned by one tenth of one percent of the global population while more than half of the world’s children go to sleep hungry each and every night.
Such accumulation of wealth is defended by those who possess it as the fruit of diligence, prudence and discipline but, as French economist Thomas Piketty made clear to us in his epic Le Capital au XXIe siècle (Capital in the Twenty-First Century), such wealth was not accumulated through hard work but through fortuitous financial manipulation, inheritance, and the blessings of constant armed conflict (see, Scott Ritter’s latest article, “The Fantasy of Fanaticism” (Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 174–- Saturday, June 25, 2022), as well as that of John J. Mearsheimer, “The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis” published in The National Interest based on a speech he made to the European University Institute in Florence on Thursday, June 16, 2022). For a general description of the morass in which we find ourselves, I recommend Tom Valovic’s article entitled “The Corporatization of Just About Everything” in Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 183–- Tuesday, July 5, 2022.
Deep states are a phenomenon prevalent primarily in states whose governments are superficially structured as “western style democracies” (just as the Roman Empire vestigially maintained the populist institutions prevalent in the Roman Republic) with their democratic aspirations subverted through manipulation of available information. In such contexts, truth is as elusive today as evil is ubiquitous. Of course, with so very many of us effectively somnambulant in the United States (the most powerful country controlled by a deep state), those conditions are all too easy to maintain.
As in the famous foreign policy doctrine of “divide and conquer”, domestic control essential for the implementation of global policies requires the replacement of empathy with polarization through the creation of illusory divisive issues that distract us from solving actual problems to which they are tied. Thus we rail about abortion and the right to bear arms, and historical monuments and even, the misadventures of our favorite sports teams, while we watch propaganda laced “entertainment” spewing out of Hollywood and we insult each other and donate, a dollar at a time, to purportedly benign existential causes to be decided based on fraudulent elections, as The World Turns”.
With truth passé and replaced by fictitious, manipulative narrative, deep states thrive as we drown. We have become a diseased society, the collective victims of a sort of social cancer who perhaps do not deserve to survive. We have been artfully molded into an amazingly gullible and cognitively challenged society whose members refuse to accept their individual and collective responsibility for the consequences of political cowardice and gullibility. The reality is that, rail as we do against our favorite villains, each of us who shares in the responsibility of political participation but supports a version of the deep state shares in the responsibility for the emerging Holocaust towards which we are racing as though we were Olympic sprinters. It is claimed that Albert Einstein once defined insanity as continuing to engage in the same conduct while expecting different results. That is what we do during each purported existential election (they are all characterized in that fashion) where we are required to compromise our values in order to save civilization by electing evil people in order to prevent even more evil people from attaining power, this despite a plethora of other options (e.g., Tulsi Gabbard).
We are being herded to our own metaphorical incineration chambers just as surely as were the Jews and Gypsies and homosexuals and Catholics and Slavs (contrary to current dogma, the Holocaust was a multicultural affair) who were gassed and then cremated in Nazi “death camps” (interestingly, in a morbid sense, concentration camps were invented by the British during the Boer Wars and adopted by the United States with respect to its Japanese citizens during World War II, and to Muslims during its more recent Middle East misadventures). Unfortunately, as in their case and as in the case of today’s Ukrainians, we just can’t believe that it’s true. So we ignore reality and suffer on, complacent because at last others suffer much more, … because of us. Besides, we have our sports teams to worry about, and beauty pageants, and soap operas, and Netflix binges, and bingo, etc. And we also have to meddle in each other’s affairs, finding fault everywhere but in our mirrors.
So, about the relationship of evil to the dearth in veracity? Pure, undistilled 24 karat evil resides prominently among us and its purest strains exude from those among us, who, without even needing Tolkien’s one ring, rule us all and bind us to their will, albeit with velvet chains, as we sleepwalk where poppies daren’t grow.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.