I've been reminiscing on another blog about the Soviet state and the way it crumbled from inside, as its leaders refused to acknowledge any facts that contradicted official ideology. Even as they fell desperately behind the West, official ideology held that Soviet technology was the best, that Soviet military might could roll over Western Europe within weeks, that the Red Army was an unbeatable force of unspeakable might, and so forth. Sounds an awful lot like Republican politicians on Capital Hill talking about health care, where they still insist that the U.S. has the "best health care system in the world" even though all statistics -- *ALL* statistics (other than cost) -- show that it's mediocre, ranking somewhere amongst the recently-freed states of Eastern Europe in outcomes. But don't try to tell them that. Any facts which do not conform with official ideology get discarded -- often violently, in the case of the Soviets, as individuals who dared contradict official ideology were removed from their jobs and sent to mental institutions or forced labor camps.
Hopefully the U.S. will wake up before reaching the point of collapse that denial led to in the Soviet Union. I’m not feeling too optimistic though, we have different minders here (called “television”, “teabaggers”, “freepers”, and “dittoheads”), but the effect is the same — people are afraid to talk about things that contradict official ideology, except in certain circumscribed circumstances such as on blogs, for fear that they’ll be ostracized, fired, have their homes and vehicles vandalized, or otherwise suffer dire consequences. If you’re going to set up a police state, that’s the smart way to do it — everybody’s an informant, everybody’s an enforcer, and Siberia is an economic class, not a geographic place. We could end homelessness here in America within months, even in big cities there’s plenty of empty commercial space that could be used to house the homeless in hostel-type settings, but the homeless are useful. “Don’t rock the boat, or you’ll be a miserable homeless spat-upon nobody just like them.” Thus the reason I blog as a penguin rather than as a member of homo sapiens, especially considering the industry I work in.
The mistake our oligarchs are making right now is that they’ve decided that keeping the general rabble fat and happy is no longer necessary, that they’ve consolidated their power so well that they can make things work in their favor even if they allow the rabble to become increasingly impoverished and desperate. This thirty-year project thus far seems to be succeeding… but we’ll see. The oligarchs in 1929 thought they’d arrived at a steady state where they could strip the assets of the general population away (via deflating the money supply) without repercussions too, and the end result was FDR and the New Deal.
– Badtux the Sovok Penguin