Writes Tracy Schumer:
Hi Lew, I've been in some interesting email exchanges lately with my European friends regarding the great American gun debate. I've included an excerpt from an email I wrote recently where I attempt to explain where most Americans get their opinions from:
I think people do much more damage with their cars in the US than with guns but that's just me. As for the nature of the American mindset, there's a landmark book by the MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, "Manufacturing Consent" he's devoted much of his life's research to disassembling the mechanics of media persuasion (the establishment viscerally hates Chomsky by the way). But with the gun debate in particular we can see cracks exposed in this mechanism and this sort of thing is disturbing to the American power elite.
I think what the gun debate exposes is that a modern fascist authoritarian state like the US has to tread lightly- they can't just go about rounding up and mass murdering people like the Nazis did- at least not out in the open and certainly not domestically. Overseas is another situation altogether; in foreign countries they murder with impunity. So rather than openly use brute force and confiscate the guns, rather than expose their true nature to their own population, they use the power of propaganda to the fullest. They maintain heavy influence on the largest media outlets; TV in particular and they're hard at work to gain control of the internet. The ruling power elite have had lots of practice at these tactics of persuasion and have remarkably refined their techniques; they've become quite adept at manufacturing consent.
My own take away on this is that the pervasiveness of media manipulation of public opinion in the US is so successful that Americans by and large do not even realize that what they perceive to be their own personal thoughts and opinions are in fact not their own. The average American's opinions, and beliefs are instead created for them through a suffocating saturation of mass media. Their thoughts sprout in their psyche after having been planted there by a powerful propaganda establishment. This manipulation begins at childhood and continues throughout a person's entire life and its very difficult if not impossible to escape its influence. Especially when the subject is so emotionally charged as the current gun control debate.
It's an ingenious and highly effective way to control people. Americans by nature tend to be very stubborn about their personal opinions but what if this supposed natural tendency was actually artificially induced? Have you ever really thought about the term "American Exceptionalism"? We're taught that it's our individualism that makes us special, that we must hold tight and never waver from our beliefs. Well, what if that same "individualism" was not ours to begin with? What if what we think of as our personal beliefs and tightly held opinions actually came to us through constant psychological conditioning? What if everything we think we know was fed to us through an all encompassing media barrage?
These days this barrage is in full assault mode. It's so rapid-fire that people aren't given a moment's time to think before the next "crises" presents itself. There truly is a struggle going on to maintain this control and the ever increasing momentum of the propaganda barrage is the clearest evidence we have. The gun debate is simply a tool used to leverage opinion and divide the public. Americans are under constant psychological attack and notice how we're never allowed to hardly even take a breath? The public is now left permanently back on their heels, they're not allowed a moments contemplation or reflection on these events. It's pow pow pow! 24-7!