Saturday, February 2, 2008

Another take on Bu$hCo's derision of the "reality-based community"

Ron Suskind from 2004:

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

At the time, the standard approach was to interpret that comment in light of the apparent religious zeal that characterized the White House and its various apologists. Although there is undoubtedly a Dominionist element to the rhetoric and behavior, it's been increasingly occurring to me that that quote above needs to be interpreted a bit differently. As I've been reading through Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, what is jumping out at me is that Bu$hCo's "faith" is more in the profits that Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Blackwater, Gilead Sciences, and a host of others can rake in as a consequences of natural or politically/economically/militarily created disasters, and the faith that these "shocks" will enable those corporations to do so swiftly, before anyone has time to notice. The "reality-based community" as it were, is simply the journalists, social scientists, pundits, activists, etc., who have been trying to get their heads around the various atrocities that have occurred over the last few years. By the time we gain our bearings, the damage is done, and the rape of others' natural resources and massive impoverishment and displacement of countless human beings is already well-underway - be it the continued plunder of Iraq, the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans, or the displacement of traditional fishers from their homes in the aftermath of the tsunami that decimated Sri Lanka. What's more, these corporations - at the behest of the US government - have actually created plans for how to go in quickly and loot all the goodies in the event of natural disasters, as well as in the aftermath of any of a number of potential invasions and occupations of sovereign nations from Venezuela to Iran. The faith in the almighty profit margin from these disasters is so great as it turns out that companies such as Halliburton, Carlyle Group, and Lockheed Martin not only are involved in the deliberate destruction but also the reconstruction (in the form of some Disneyfied utopia for a select few) of their various targets. So far, their faith in being able to get away with this racket has been well-placed.

In the meantime, it seems urgent to prepare those who may be targeted next for what our current wave of disaster capitalists have in mind for their futures.

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