“It couldn’t be policy, an illegal war, torture, disregard for the UN, unilateral arrogance, hypocrisy, or anything else. The reason much of the world views the US with such disdain could never lie at the feet our our national leadership. That is preposterous. Anyone who thinks otherwise is aiding terrorists and is no patriot.”
So many corporate earning statements offer every, and any, explanation for failure other than the fault of the company itself or decisions made by management. El Niño was blamed for many low earnings reports, I seem to recall, for example. It’s always something external. Unless it’s good news, in which case the cause was savvy and smart management decisions.
The current administration is universally from the captains of industry and corporations, so it should be no surprise that their responses to events are delusional. Irresponsibly claiming credit for all good news, no matter the actual cause; Always displacing responsibility for bad news, no matter any actual responsibility for cause. It’s markedly immature ethical behaviour.
But, while some feel surprise, although perhaps cynical, I find this lack of ethical behaviour to be depressingly par for the course.
The innovation is the additional step of calling criticism unpatriotic. Corporations would die for the power to as easy-handedly turn the tables on critics as this. The mixture of corporate mis-, mal- and non-ethical behaviour into political discourse is almost more depressing than I can fathom.
This form of mixed discourse is the most empty because the only message that matters is the one that offers the most advantage, the most profit. The message changes to meet the instant exigency, and no compunction exists to avoid changing the message. The message is merely seven veils to hide the dance.
In Twelfth Night, a Shakespeare play close to my heart, Festé laments,
“To see this age! A sentence is
but a cheveril glove to a good wit: how quickly the
wrong side may be turned outward!
… words are grown so false, I am loath to prove
reason with them.”
Elsewhere, I wrote about an experience I had in early college:
“I was in an integrative class at Lower Columbia College in 1989. In that class, we played a war game about disarmament. When we played that game, I was selected as one of the negotiators for my team and I had figured out that because of the sequence of events in each turn that it was actually possible to make more points than any other way by both teams disarming completely. Having figured this out, I then went to the summit between the two teams and proceeded to try to explain to the other team’s negotiators that completely disarming was the way we could all win the most points. It was at that point that I started to laugh. This is the part that has stuck with me for so long: I realized that even though I was sitting across from one of my friends and had a genuine motivation to mutual disarmament, that there was absolutely no way for the other negotiators to know if I was telling the truth or not. This was because I realized I would be saying the exact same words to them if I were trying to get the other team to completely disarm so that my team could attack with full force on the final round as if I was trying to genuinely, mutually disarm. Our game ended in the 5th or 6th round out of 10 possible when the other team launched an attack to destroy my team. That moment has stayed with me as one of the most powerful points in my life. At no time since have I been able to avoid thinking back to this when seeing any kind of negotiations either in my life or on the news. The fact that any group of people can sit down and come to the same table, let alone any kind of mutual agreement, in spite of their fears and suspicions seems to me nothing short of miraculous. I realized that there seemed to be no semantic content to anything I could say because the motive was unknown and impossible to verify. However, the other side of this is the possibility that one may be able to maintain semantic content by ignoring the search for motive, or real issue, and take each actor’s position at face value without question.
This war game demonstrated to me that the motive of an actor may not ever be known by the other actors in any dialogue. Not only this, each actor may not know their own motives especially in the case of the war game due to the fact that no actor can be sure how the rest of the team will vote during decision round. Similarly, even on a personal level, one might not be able to know one’s own motive until much after any given event.”
At the same time, constantly being fooled by misdirection through the textbook techniques of propaganda is the model of insanity, expecting each time for a new result from a pattern of lies.