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Deep thought

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday October 11, 2006 10:14 PM

Kick one habit, and another comes to take its place. I finally stopped reading Daily Kos, and now I read myDD.com. In my own defense, I will say that it's much more entertaining -- Kos, these days, is like a 24/7 Rotary Club lunch.

Here's Matt Stoller, philosophe:

I studied some Soviet history in college, and one of the most fascinating anecdotes my professor told me was about what happened when the archives were finally opened to Western historians. You see, the papers that historians had access to prior to the fall of the USSR were mostly from low-level bureaucrats, and the language they used about their amoral behavior was excessively bureaucratic.... Historians expected that when the curtains were lifted and papers from top officials were made available, they would be able to get a sense of the 'real' intent of the leadership, in normal Russian.

What happened of course is that, like with any regime loosed from its moral bearings, the language the top officials used was the same bureaucratic language used by the middle management. In essence, the Soviet system failed because its language codified corruption and bleached morality from it. Leaders thought in terms of the language they used, and that language did not allow for error or moral failure on the part of the state.

Quite a Lakoffian insight, innit? Or even a campus-PC one -- words rule the world, and politics is all about diction.

It gets better:

...Verizon is a bad actor in the political process. If you put legislation through on a Federal level, they will go to the states. If you go to the states, they will go to the FCC, or to the localities. If you stop them there, they will go to the courts. At no point, however, will Verizon accept the democratic process as legitimate, at no point will this company accept a set of laws that they don't like. Our country is built on the consensus of the governed, that even if you don't like all of our laws, you buy into the process of forming them and consent to all of them.
This is quite stunning, really. Here we have a guy of some consequence, at least in our little world of blogland -- a guy who is no longer sixteen -- talking like a high-school debate team, and apparently believing it.

Matt, Matt -- apply yourself, and think -- what do you believe the Constitution is for? Who wrote it, and why? Did your undergraduate studies cover this topic, along with the prose style of the Soviet bureaucracy?

Comments (6)

J. Alva Scruggs:

A return to high school seems to be a natural consequence of making politics into a business. The most familiar model for the college educated is the infantilizing corporate model. When the managment level wordsmiths are running on empty, they churn out content aimed at the dullest of the employees and consumers, whose reading comprehension hovers around the 9th grade level.


Give Stoller credit for honesty. He isnt a revolutionary and doesnt try to sound like one. He genuinely wants to stay in the system and thrive. He knows that to do that, the system has to improve. So he's doing his bit, by reminding us of "how democracy works."

Interesting that he's pissed off by Verizon. He may actually be on to something there. Some day he may get so fed up with Verizon that he realizes who's really got the power, and how the system actually works. Then we may have our revolutionary!


So that's MyDD.com?

All along I thought it was a Russ Meyer fansite. I feel deflated.

js paine:

our giant corporations are acting
like sociopaths

now thats a solid rock to build on

humanize em personalize em
bring em down to the one on one level
just say

" shit
look at these lawless resolutes
they're crazy "

lets bring on
the corporate shrinks
with thelegal beagle electro shockery

wire every board room chair
for zaps
and zap em
every time
the mugs consider smackin down a law
make em abide

its pure polly prog hip hop

Posted by Reechard | October 12, 2006 4:44 AM

Russ only made films like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Mondo Topless. To my knowledge he's never written anything quite as toxically stupid as the average MyDD post.

Tobar Mersa:

Has Matt (or for that matter any of those other campus-PC types) never read Politics and the English Language? Nations do not commit crimes because

its language codified corruption and bleached morality from it.
Rather, the bureaucrats (and defenders of the regime of all stripes) "bureaucratize" the language in order to justify crimes in progress. In other words, the language didn't cause the decline, it was a consequence of it. Laying the blame at the foot of the language used, rather than the people involved, is nonsensical!

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