Obviously in this latest discussion here on Dispatches, I am not writing in the hope that the mal-motivated or psychologically challenged will change their ways. We don’t have the time to wait for that. My goal is to reach those whose minds still have the potential to see the whole map, survey the entire political battlefield, and to think of new ways to address our side’s massive failure in the information war.
To review a bit from essay #1, there is such a thing as the Republican and conservative industrial complex. Unfortunately, it mostly serves itself. It creates all kinds of jobs for those who wish to work in the political arena. It tickles donors and makes them feel like they’re actually accomplishing things with their donations. And it provides endless entertainment for those inside and outside of politics.
In his now famous farewell address President Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke of what he called the “military industrial complex.” While the post- World War Two world needed a militarily strong United States, he granted, Americans needed to be wary of the potential danger of an arms industry that mostly served itself. You can read that speech here and watch it here.
Let’s alter Eisenhower’s words so you can see the exact parallel – a few words were deleted and the new ones added are in red:
Now this immense political industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the political-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the political machinery to serve the proper goal, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
My friends, you’re getting played. Only a small part of the Republican conservative industrial complex is even aware of the fact that their primary role is to help shape public sentiment. You think they’re working to that end, but let me tell you after twenty-five years of experience from high places to low places, I know they are not. Another policy study or another rant on the radio or the election of another seat-warming politician serves little useful purpose in a nation loaded with low information voters.
I asked a few questions earlier this month and have to say most of what I received in answer was indicative of the blindness of our side when it comes to the challenge ahead. Few focus on the size of the information war that’s being fought all around us. Fewer still are outlining real/tangible/practical ways for Republicans and conservatives to reach more of the uninformed and misinformed.
Don’t get me wrong — some of the best people I know work in the political business. Unfortunately, some of the biggest con men I know also work in it — and usually the con men are the most successful at taking and making money. I’m sure others would say the same about the field they work in.
We need more people in the arena to re-direct their frustration with liberals and Democrats into impatience with the people in the political business on their side of the divide. These people are being paid to do a job that doesn’t include actually winning hearts and minds on a large scale. We need more of those in the political business to mentally escape their “political cubical” and, as Steve Jobs might say, think differently.