Friday, February 05, 2016

Soviet Propaganda....

Once spent an extended number of years going to college to obtain an undergraduate degree in Russian History.  There were, at the time, several seemingly logical reasons for this choice of degrees.... one of which was not that I was a "student athlete".  The choice was mostly influenced by an academic advisor who kept suggesting "Just choose something!" and parental funders who had begun using phrases like "Grow up!" and were increasingly late with their "support checks".

Being so aggressively encouraged in my academic endeavors,  looked around earnestly for the quickest way out and found the Russians!  After all I liked to socialize and already had extensive non-credit hours in partying, so studying "the Socialist Party" seemed the least demanding path of resistance.  
Another "party" animal?

Within a decade, I was awarded a degree in history - on a split decision by the Trustees, reached only after promised assurances from the recipient, never to practice in North Carolina or any contiguous state.  Thought that was a sound bargain for all concerned; and in exchange, the Trustees agreed to "round upward" my grade point average to the minimum "2.00000000000"! Still to this day believe any grade point average above 2.0 but less than Phi Beta Kappa is a waste of "extra-curricular opportunities" - socialist or otherwise.

Obviously many, many people were thrilled with my graduation; a far greater number were shocked and surprised - and remain so to this very day.

But I did learn a few things.....

The U.S.S.R. was the other "great power" at the time.  They were highly competitive in science, technology, the arms & space races, chess, and occupied the largest land mass on the planet - rich beyond imagination in untapped natural resources.  

The U.S.S.R. also appeared to have solved the timeless conflicts between ethnic, religious and social groups. The new economic and social order had brought peace and prosperity to all.  The "central planners" had it together - omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent.

On paper the Soviet Empire looked good.

But as we all learn in life: "What you see is not always what you get."  The Soviets were first masters of "managed media"; you always saw and heard only the message they wished for you to receive.  There was only one truth in the U.S.S.R., only one opinion, only one "reality".   The State controlled "all the answers", but more importantly they controlled "all the questions".

Much like any test, if you have the questions in advance you should always appear to be wonderfully reasonable, adept and intelligent.  And of course, if folks unquestioningly trust "the source" and haven't considered that the system might be rigged... the feigned appearance of "full transparency" can become a very dangerous animal.

Consider this recent propaganda:  "A webinar
Central Capital planners?
dialogue open to the entire credit union movement, you can type in questions...."

Let's see here.... m-m-m-m....are all the questions which are "typed in" answered?  Do you get to see all the questions which were "typed in"?  How do you know?  Who decides which questions are answered?  Why was this method of submitting questions chosen?  Is this actually an open, transparent, independent process?  Who is the "independent moderator" assuring openness and fairness?

As Aretha Franklin would say: 

"Who's Zoomin' Who?"

It's great to find the value in that degree, after all these years!

[BTW the exact, same "independent, transparent methodology" is used with the OTR!]

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