Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Change the Game

Digby wonders why we can't have nice things.

Hmph. Not exactly revelatory but an interesting (re)statement of a structural problem - an inherent disadvantage - faced by progressive politics. However, I don't like riddles without answers. So, let me clear my head here otherwise this is going to clog up the gears for a while.

Okay, well, so a lie can get halfway around the world before a truth has got its boots on. But that's only because the lie is scared of the truth catching up with it.

The solution, the question, is not figuring out how to lie better. To beat an entrenched opponent on their chosen field of battle is a withering conflict of attrition, one you only enter into when you're certain that your support and resources overwhelmingly outnumber theirs. And one you wage only when time and inevitability is on your side. Instead, the ideal is to get better.

In short, the answer lies in teach ourselves not how to run as fast as a lie but how to give the truth a tailwind. Not working at countering spin with spin, descending ever deeper into the maddeningly empty spiral where meaning is inherently flexible. But to improve at your ability to tell the truths that dispel it. To educate, to inform, to spread the wisdom that allows an enlightened public to beat back the dark shadows of ignorance. This is not a small or simple project. But, instead, one that will consume any number of resources and years of hard work tearing down the edifice of corruption and deception and erecting in its place an infrastructure of information. A world where the instant push-back fact checking of the political war rooms - that innovation of the cable news age - will be seen as aging predecessor. Slow and creaking in the face of a blistering storm of facts and fundamentals.

In other words, in so many ways, to push back. Hard. If that takes creating alternative networks to the bloated media conglomerates? If that takes passing out rhetorical trips and tactics; popularizing, publicizing them so that everyone in a barroom can debate as fiercely as any pundit. If that requires better education to train the public how to recognize and, above all, to think for themselves? If that takes becoming confident you can win the message on the merits? So be it.

After all, when you don't like the game being played then what can you?

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