ELDER PATRIOT – “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”…Joseph Goebbels – Nazi Propaganda Leader
Beginning in the mid-nineteen hundreds, the world’s super elite, led by David Rockefeller, began gaining control of the world’s most recognized media outlets. Through a complex series of corporate purchases, control of a significant enough number of the mainstream media became centralized allowing for control of the message Americans heard on a daily basis.
Additionally, these men understood and employed the concept of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance refers to the discomfort a person feels when they are confronted with conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. In an effort to hold all of our attitudes and beliefs in harmony, and therefore eliminate the discomfort, the individual will dismiss the attitude or belief that is most in conflict.
A simple example is smoking. People are cognitive of the health risks that smoking poses but they enjoy the behavior more than the discomfort of changing their behavior to square with that knowledge. They tell themselves that the percentages of getting ill are very slim and proceed contently.
A more complex example comes when those holding power over us display behaviors that are damaging to us. In this instance, the discomfort people feel, that believe themselves free with the right to self-determination, can become so overwhelming that people dismiss the possibilities out-of-hand. The thought that those in power are working against your interests rather than for them can be daunting. Furthermore, the more comfortable your life is in general, the more the individual yearns to dismiss any conflicting thoughts that are causing discomfort.
By merging control of the message with cognitive dissonance a majority of the people comfortably surrender many internally held beliefs and adopt the message of the mainstream media.
This can be illustrated by the general public’s view of the Tea Party. Repeatedly referred to by the mainstream media, the Tea Party is reflexively dismissed as extremist. People apparently are more comfortable ignoring the fact that their progeny will be burdened with the debts incurred by others than to consider the agenda of a group that is only extreme in wanting a balanced budget.
I spent the first 60 years of my life rejecting conspiracy theories such as those surrounding the Kennedy assassination and 9/11. The actions of our elected officials, coupled with the common sense that comes with living among business and political figures for over 40 years has made me re-think my own cognitive dissonance.
For me the turning point came during the financial crisis at the end of George Bush’s second term. The media’s cacophony of “Too Big to Fail” made little sense. The fact that this mantra was repeated ad nauseam by members of both parties caused me to question whether the left-right paradigm still existed (if, indeed, it ever had.)
Why were our bankruptcy laws set aside in favor of bailing out corporations that had mismanaged their finances and that had played fast and loose in high-risk investments? Two hundred years of bankruptcy laws had served our nation well. These laws had allowed for an orderly transfer of desirable assets from companies that mismanaged them to different companies where the purchasing company determined there was value. Under this model, the loss of asset value was appropriately placed on the shareholders of the bankrupt company. The employees of the bankrupt company might be retained by the purchasing company (likely with a reset of their compensation) or released altogether. While this is a painful process, the pain is on the shareholders and employees of the failed enterprise. In a free market the asset value and compensation are reset to their true market values.
Instead, the irresponsible corporations were labeled as “too big to fail.”
I’ve asked myself many times, if any corporation is too big to fail why wouldn’t legislation calling for their break-up be in order? Wouldn’t it make sense to have a public debate to determine the threshold that sales or profitability of any company becomes a potential threat to the health of the economy? Perhaps it could be tied to percentage of the GDP. Once that number has been determined companies would be forced to spin off divisions when they grew too threatening to the economy. With this approach we’d be capable of circumventing future economic disasters
A bailout was sold to the American people as being the only solution, instead. The burden was placed on the one group of people that had absolutely nothing to do with the cause of the failures. No reset of asset value, no reset of inflated wages and salaries just the American people absorbing the costs. This should gall every American taxpayer no matter party affiliation.
More telling, once the bailout had been finalized, Washington passed the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act that permanently memorialized bailouts for large corporations into the future. This represented a merging of corporate and government interests that had previously been the single greatest divide between the left and the right paradigm.
In the years since, rhetoric aside, House Speak Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have given President Obama everything he has asked for and have not challenged his agenda in any substantive legislative way.
The lessons of history are often lost on the people. Unfortunately, that is not the case with some of the super rich who continue to use crises to tighten their stranglehold on the rest of us.