The Lies That Form Our Consciousness and False Historical Awareness
Paul Craig Roberts
My generation associated dystopias, such as George Orwell’s 1984, with the Soviet Union, a country in which explanations were controlled and criticism of Stalin would land a person in the Gulag. We thought of the United States and our life here much differently. But with the passage of time the difference between life in the Soviet Union in the 20th century and life in the Western world today is disappearing. Today, the journalist Julian Assange is undergoing the same kind of state terror and torture as any Soviet dissident, if not worse. The Western media is as controlled as the Soviet media, with print, TV, and public radio serving as a propaganda ministry for government and the interest groups that control government. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter are systematically denying their platforms to those who express views not supportive of the ruling order and its agendas. It has turned out to be easy to get rid of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech as the media have neither the ability nor the intention of exercising it.
It was a mistake for my generation to associate Orwell’s Memory Hole and falsified history only with fictional or real dystopias. Falsified history was all around us. We just didn’t know enough to spot it. What living and learning has taught me is that history tends to always be falsified, and historians who insist on the truth suffer for it. It has been established that many of the ancient historians are unreliable, because they were “court historians” who sought material benefit by writing to please a ruler. In my time many an historian has written for income from book sales by enthralling the public with tales of glorious victories over demonized enemies that justified all the sons, grandsons, brothers, fathers, uncles, husbands, friends, and cousins who were sacrificed for the sake of capitalist armaments profits. No publisher wanted a truthful account that no one would buy because of the stark portrayal of the pointlessness of the deaths of loved ones. Everyone, or almost so, wants to think that their loss was for a noble cause and was “worth it.”
With few exceptions,