Manufacturing Consent

"Manufacturing consent
Is the name of the game,
The bottom line is money,
Nobody gives a fuck." 

(System of a Down - Boom!)

The English Magna Carta of 1215 is one of the first things we learn in Constitutional Law’s discipline at Law School in Brazil when we study the history of constitutionalism. It is a primitive notion of what we have today as our written Constitutions, the first example of a legal document limiting the King’s Power (“State’s Power”) to grant citizen’s individual liberties.

We also learn that the Independence of the United States of America and the French Revolution are the two great historical events that fix individual liberties and limit the Power of the State as genesis or ground zero for our Modern Democratic Society. These historical events are taken as turning points that granted humanity its first dimension (or generation) of Fundamental and Human Rights. To summarize, the first dimension of Fundamental and Human Rights is the notion of formal equality.

Furthermore, we can say that it took more than a hundred years for the complete fulfillment of first dimension’s Human Rights, since universal political rights (right to vote and being voted) were granted only in the twentieth century to women and black people.

Meanwhile, in the end of the nineteenth century, humankind realized that the first dimension of Fundamental and Human Rights were not enough. Emerged the need for the second dimension, a set of rights related to promoting equality. “Socio-economic” guarantees to equal conditions and treatment. 

For this second dimension, the State’s government have a positive duty to fulfill citizenry. Ensure labor rights – being employed with just and favorable conditions -, as well as social security and unemployment benefits, rights to food, housing, public health care and even the right of leisure time.

As said before, they arose late nineteenth century from the need for more protection for  workers due to industrialization’s labor tyranny and were finally enacted between the New Deal and the end of World War II. Summarizing, the second dimension of fundamental and human rights is the notion of material equality. [The World is already at a third, fourth and even fifth dimension of the Human Rights and there’s a lot of people all around the world still struggling for the second first dimension – it’s a shame!]

Historically speaking, liberals were an economic elite supported by the people in a joint venture to limit King’s Power and/or get rid of its Mother Country. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the United States of America’s Constitution were their greatest achievement towards the individual liberties they were fighting for – the first dimension of Fundamental and Human Rights.

For that elite, the Fundamental and Human Rights evolution should have stopped there at the early days of the first dimension (with limited voting rights)!

It is amazing how the right-winged neoliberals are effective to convince people of its neoliberalism ideology. How society under its ideology would be better of: minimal state, deregulation, austerity, privatizations and so on.
[of course I am speaking generally, not every right-winged neoliberal person thinks like this]

I believe it has an explanation and it is very simple: “propaganda“. I already said it here before when I mentioned Joseph Stiglitz’s book “The Price of Inequality“.

It doesn’t matter if their ideology doesn’t have enough empirical data to support their beliefs, they only need to seduce people that they are right to gather more followers. It is much easier to show a slogan, or echo readymade phrases, than present a large text or paper of study to convince someone. 

Even though leftists ideologies are mostly right, they lack the ability to have this kind of easy and seductive speech.

Yesterday I was watching the last episode of the third season of House of Cards. The main focus of Frank Underwood’s campaign was not any political program reasoning, but whether Claire Underwood (his wife) would show up by his side during his campaign or not. It’s all about image, seduce people by whatever means needed – and she is his greatest campaign asset. 

These days I also watched Noam Chomsky’s documentary “Requiem for the American Dream” (you should watch it too, it’s amazing!). It is striking how much evidence is there to show that this neoliberal ideology only serves the 1% rich. This movie could be named “Requiem for the Brazilian Dream” or even “… for the Humankind Dream” and it would fit perfectly.

For example: instead of paying for fair wages, pension benefits, health care and further labor benefits, it is cheaper for a large supermarket network corporation pay for prime time TV commercial at NBC with a catchy Aerosmith’s song during Rio Olympics to convince you how important they are to the country’s economy for creating “More American Jobs” – Dream on!!

Luke: Is the dark side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
Luke: But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: You will know... when you are calm, at peace, passive. 
A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.

Propaganda, being seductive, manufacture consent “is the name of the game“, and it is not me saying it, it is people far more relevant like Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian, Joseph Stiglitz, Noam Chomsky and even Master Yoda!!!

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