Our Democracy Is Getting Bombarded To Death With Corporate Messages

Our Democracy Is Getting Bombarded To Death With Corporate Messages

By Mark Taliano

Sheldon S. Wolin, in his book Managed Democracy And The Specter Of Inverted Totalitarianism offers some particularly powerful points that resonate in Canada’s current political environment.

Voter management, (which is particularly timely with the current electoral fraud controversy) is a form of “managed democracy”.  It occurs not only when illegal voter suppression tactics are used, but also with the time-honored propaganda technique of repeating slogans.

When a slogan is constantly repeated, people make the assumption that it is correct, even though the assumption necessarily isn’t based upon evidence.  An example of this would be the repetition of the “corporate tax cuts” slogan.  Evidence shows that these cuts are not producing results, but people assume the opposite because they are bombarded with the message.

Political parties and their corporate allies are particularly well-versed in diverting the public’s attention with non-substantive issues, and this, too, serves to manage the demos. If a potential voter can name Kim Kardashian’s sister, and describe what she wore (or didn’t wear) at the beach, then the voter has been diverted from substantive issues by inconsequential issues, and this is what politicians prefer.  Television is particularly proficient at diverting the public’s attention and creating a politically passive, easily managed, electorate.

The harassment of citizen’s groups and the vilification of dissent has reached epic proportions with our current government.  Today’s pervasive anti-social, anti-public political ideologies fortify themselves by demonizing pro-public, pro-social ideologies as being “socialist”.  The incorrect inference that socialism is somehow a blood relative of communism strengthens the vilification, even though it is a baseless inference.  Such vilification is a time-honored tactic of totalitarian regimes.    

Corporate lobbying also serves to manage (and exploit) the public. Corporations spend $25 billion a year (Democracy WatchCanada) to lobby the government and thereby fortify their positions.  Governments are invariably influenced by these pervasive lobbies, but the claim that the lobby interests necessarily represent the interests of society is mistaken.  The tobacco lobby, for example, did not serve the public good through its disinformation campaign about the health effects of smoking. More recently, the disinformation campaign which denies human-caused global warming is not serving the public good either.  The current mania to suppress, distort, and/or deny  scientific findings serves short-term corporate and political interests, but not long term public interests.

George Orwell’s assertion that “during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” is particularly relevant today. The danger we are facing is that this so-called “management” of “democracy” is leading us inexorably towards a state that Wolin refers to as “inverted totalitarianism”. 

An awareness of these assaults on our democracy is a powerful first step in protecting our freedoms.

Mark Taliano is a Niagara resident and a frequent contributor of posts to Niagara At Large.

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About flexosaurus

I am an anthropologist and Associate Professor who loves to play guitar and comment on social injustice in whatever form it may take
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