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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 10-Oct-04
Do both Bush and Kerry lie on purpose in the debates?

Web Log - October, 2004

Do both Bush and Kerry lie on purpose in the debates?

That's the charge of Gloria Borger on CNN's Reliable Sources this morning. Here are some examples:

In other words, telling a lie during a debate has a positive value, because it calls attention to the subject being lied about, and forces the post-debate commentators to talk about the "mistake," thereby calling attention to the subject of the "mistake."

If you've been reading my commentary about the debates these last few days, you know that I don't think much of them. The debates are simply a repackaging of stump speeches, and cover only the past, never the future, They're completely vacuous.

Borger's comments provide additional support for this view, and add an even darker dimension to it.

Why is this important to this web site?

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the public is completely shocked and surprised when unexpected surprises occur, leading to crisis wars. Thus, the public was completely na´ve in the 1930s about the danger form Adolf Hitler, although after the war there was public fury that we "should have stopped Hitler in 1935 when we could."

Prior to the Civil War, the North and the South both completely underestimated the fury that was to come. According to one anecdote, the wealthy residents of Washington, DC, went out in carriages to view the early battles of the war as a kind of entertainment. By the time the war was over, it was by far the bloodiest war in American history.

Today we're seeing similar na´vetÚ on the part of the public.

Earlier today, I criticized Fed Governor Ben Bernanke for believing that stock and bond prices are determined almost exclusively by Fed policy and Fed verbal statements. The Fed is ignoring fundamentals, such as astronomically high public debt, astronomically high stock valuations, and falling inflation rates.

The same criticism applies to the public as a whole as regards the dangers around the world. In the 1960 Presidential election, the question of war between China and Taiwan was a major election issue, while today, when war over Taiwan is becoming increasingly likely, I doubt that nine out of ten people in the public have even heard of Taiwan.

Similarly, the Caucasus region is the most dangerous region in the world today, but the public is blind to it. Secular violence is occurring daily in Pakistan and other locations, but it's barely reported.

That's why analyzing the debates is so instructive. The na´vetÚ and shallowness of the debate arguments is a reflection of the na´vetÚ and shallowness of Americans' understanding of the world as a whole, and even of politician's understanding of the world. (And there's no excuse for the politicians, since we actually pay them to keep track of this stuff.)

So, if there's another terrorist act on American soil, or if China attacks Taiwan, forcing America into the same war, or if Pakistan or the Caucasus spiral out of control, triggering a regional war that we're forced into, then the politicians will be as surprised as anyone else is.

As famous American satirist Ambrose Bierce once said, "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography." (10-Oct-04) Permanent Link
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