George Orwell used the term Doublethink in his novel 1984 to describe the act of simultaneously accepting as correct two mutually contradictory beliefs, often in distinct social contexts. In the 1st part of this 3 part series in which I observe this prevalent political phenomenon, I'd like to look at America's most popular hypocrite- Sarah Palin. by Russell G. Davis
Friday, January 7, 2011
In many ways, she is too easy a target for a discussion of Doublethink in modern political discourse. And so, although she is an easy target ,Sarah Palin, however, does put herself out there before the public and thus we are entitled to an opinion of anything she presents publicly. She was elected Governor by the people of Alaska and thought so highly of that honor that she did not bother to complete a full term when she became a national celebrity. She rails against the "lame-stream" media and yet is rewarded by that same media with book deals, a reality T.V. show and lots of attention.
Yet she thrives in an atmosphere where neither her, nor anyone who works for her sees any contradiction. Her world of media (remember, she started out as a T.V. reporter) and politics embraces double standards. Indeed, one of the first things we knew about her (as a national figure) was that she embraced an enthusiastically hypocritical double standard when it came to the subject of the "Bridge to Nowhere".
And, in case you think that I'm exaggerating because I don't like her, the Anchorage Daily News asked her on October 26, 2006-"Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?" She responded, "Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now -- while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." This answer was given AFTER Congress killed the bridge earmark. That was not Sarah saying "Thanks, but no thanks" to a fiscal stimulus package!
To take this woman seriously when these contradictions erupt, one must engage in rationalization. One must embrace two mutually contradicting beliefs to ignore such disingenuous spin i.e. Orwellian Doublethink.
And it makes complete sense that someone who embraces Doublethink the way Mrs. Palin does would thrive in the world of politics and media. And that's just one example, the first on the national stage of the many contradictions embraced by Mrs. Palin personally and professionally.
-Set up a cabinet level task force to deal with climate change as Governor of Alaska only to do a complete switch to peddling Climate Change Denial talking points when she became a national right wing celebrity.
-Has had ties, through her husband, to a secessionist party (People who love their country so much, they want to leave it). These were ties so strong that she addressed their convention in Fairbanks as a sitting governor. [link edited for length] Yet she routinely questions the patriotism of US citizens whom she does not agree with.
And I do not think that Barack Obama, a sitting President of the U.S., could get away with addressing a group of militant black separatists in this manner!
I don't mean to add to the mountain of criticism that has been heaped on Sarah Palin, but instead I wish to use this as an example of Doublethink and why politicians and media and the Conventional Wisdom they believe in are untrustworthy. She is a brazen hypocrite but she is just one woman. Hypocrisy will not disappear when her career is over any more than incompetence and corruption ended when George W. Bush left office. But mildly going along with the hypocrisy, incompetence and corruption because we rationalize through Orwellian Doublethink is only going to make horrible matters worse.
To engage in Doublethink is to set oneself up for inevitable disappointment. Accepting the manipulative drivel that pours out of propaganda outlets as they engage in the rationalization of double standards has harmful effects. For example, the newly seated Congress has a "Tea Party" caucus that has requested 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010!
And newly inducted "Tea Party" Senator Ron Johnson is so hostile to Washington insiders that he is appointing one of them, experienced Washington lobbyist Don Kent, as his chief of staff. [link edited for length]
That is very two-faced behavior that you can expect from any politician. If Barack Obama can sell out what he ran on immediately after elected, then the Tea Party certainly can too!
Not that Sarah had anything to do with any of the Tea Party caucus's or Obama's betraying their supporters. She's just one woman and she does not hold the patent on political hypocrisy. But not only does she indulge in it, but she gets a free pass on her contradictions from the same "lame stream media" which she derides continually.
How else can you explain her opinion when Wikileaks broke the "Climategate" controversy compared to her current definition of Julian Assange as a terrorist? When 20Mb of emails, documents, computer code and models from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, written between 1996 and 2009 were published by Wikileaks, that's all that Ms. Palin needed. She publicly said "The documents show that there was no real consensus even within the (Climate Research Unit) crowd." She was proud to use Wikileaks discovery to help derail the Copenhagen Climate Summit.
When the University of Anglia funded an independent study to get to the bottom of the "scandal" [link edited for length], Ms. Palin used her media pulpit to publicly apologize for being part of an alarmist anti science embarrassment.
What? She didn't? Of course, she did not. That would be out of character for an elitist who is making lots of money parroting Inside the Beltway Conventional Wisdom and marketing it as "Going Rogue". But you would think that she would at least use her influence with the State of Alaska to end the use of Alaska tax dollars to study the effects of Climate Change on that State.
When that same news organization which broke the "Climategate" story had a boss - Julian Assange- who dared to embarrass the Foreign Policy establishment, Sarah Palin called him "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands." Sarah recently tweeted, "Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book "America by Heart" from being leaked, but US Govt can't stop Wikileaks' treasonous act?" She even embraces the Post 9/11 corruption of the concept of terrorism to mean your enemies at this very moment in time regardless of whether those enemies have ever committed any violence for a political cause. How else can you explain a statement like "Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?"
So it seems that Freedom of the Press is dependant entirely upon who is embarrassed for Mrs. Palin.
Freedom is too important to be trusted to someone like Sarah Palin to defend. Freedom of Speech and Press is for everyone, including and especially for people whom you disagree with or whom embarrass you. Someone who gleefully embraces numerous double standards while giving us a proven history of rationalizing away our rights is someone who should never be entrusted with power.
By the way, the government has still not returned the right of Habeus Corpus. This is a glaring flaw in the Obama Administration's record. Did Sarah ever demagogue that one? Why not point it out if you are indeed a voice of the opposition to Obama? Could it be that it never became an issue for Sarah and the Republicans for the same reason that it wasn't an issue for Obama and the Democrats when Habeus Corpus was taken away by Bush and the GOP's lame duck session in 2005?
Both parties, both the shills and the powers behind the throne, want the right to declare whoever they don't like a terrorist and deprive them of a trial in the name of "protecting" us from terrorists.
And you really have to purposely embrace Orwellian Doublethink in order to believe Sarah Palin or anyone who parrots Washington elitist Conventional Wisdom talking points is going to do anything except exploit tragedy and grab power then tell you how they are not doing exactly that.
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Posted By: Russell G. Davis
Date: January 15, 2011 08:00:39 PM
Well, Bentree, I wouldn't use the word "inspired" to describe my reaction to her. "Captivate" would be a better choice. Something can still be a hideous display and captivating at the same time. For example, one can drive by a 10 car pile up and be completely captivated. And I get a similar feeling around Sarah!