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Monday, 11 June 2018


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'The Common Good' is forever the goal and means to total power of the Totalitarian State.

Yes, I just got that too! Let's hope that the resurrection of IPoC is ongoing.

Well, David, that's a very nice piece aglow with warm feelings for the power of philosophy and virtues of individualism. However, it can be argued that both have serious limits.

Science along with philosophy, poetry and other arts, particularly graphic arts, are commonly used by governments to keep order or, at worst, hold on to power without regard for the well-being of society in general. The disciplines can all be used to produce propaganda or, if you will, political advertising which can take many forms. The American student Otto Warmbier learned a fatal lesson about such things when he tried to bring a North Korean propaganda poster home to Cincinnati.

One of the ironies of political advertising is that people who most strongly believe in their own individuality are some of the most likely to fall for propaganda in the form of conspiracy theories:

"In a study published in May 2017 in the European Journal of Social Psychology, provocatively titled “Too Special to Be Duped,” subjects either took a survey designed to measure their desire for uniqueness or wrote an essay on the importance of independent thought. By significant margins, those who tested high on the need to be special or were primed to feel that way by writing the essay were also more inclined to believe in various conspiracy theories."

We see the principle playing out in the US bigly. Trump, who is a talented salesman, apparently understands the idea intuitively and took advantage of the propaganda infrastructure built by our Republican party since the 1980's to win the presidency and take over the party. Incidentally, he has also praised Kim Jong Un as "very honorable". Fox News Channel, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, black helicopters, jackbooted gun grabbers, birtherism, and hordes of marauding Marxists and foreigners, anyone?

By the way, since you were once trained as a military interrogator, you have no credibility to dismiss psychology as psychobabble. That is, unless you had no aptitude for the job.

Just about everything has "serious limits", Bob, not least because of the infinite variety of human nature. In addition, of course, there are those damned "Events, dear boy, events" which always come from the blind side. "The best laid plans of mice and men", and all that sort of thing!

There is absolutely no reason to drag poor, old Donald into the discussion, so far he is no better or worse than his predecessor, just louder, that's all. Better, I think to watch what he actually *does* rather than what he tweets!

Yes, back in my interrogator days, we did have the services of sundry psycho-babblers but you really don't need to understand 'Freud the fraud' to just know that if you make prisoners cold, wet, hungry and very, very tired, the chances are that 'x' percent of them will tell you something. Simples, really!


Evidently interrogation has come a long way since you were involved. As I understand it the military still uses some harsh techniques that peaked during the Iraq War, but more often use the same style as law enforcement - the "good cop, bad cop" gambit:

"Retired Gen. James Mattis "surprised" President-elect Donald Trump by suggesting that he rethink his position on waterboarding, telling him that "beer and cigarettes" were a better alternative in terror suspect interrogations."

The stuff you quoted above is essentially political, and Trump and Kim are both good illustrations of related political ideas. Thanks for the conversation.

Bob, for obvious reasons there are various levels in which different interrogation methods are applied. At the tactical level in warfare it is necessary to apply the techniques fast in order to get the information a.s.p. which is why we were only allowed to hold our 'prisoners' (usually SAS trainees or RAF aircrew for 24 hours. Terrorists, depending on their grade, are another matter.

David, I see your point about interrogation. However, "so far he is no better or worse than his predecessor, just louder, that's all" is wishful thinking at the least. If Obama had performed the way Trump did yesterday, putting Kim on an even footing with the US and heaping praise on him, what do you think the reaction would have been? It seems you're grading on some kind of curve.

Bob, neither you nor I have the slightest idea what is going on at the highest level of government. If Kim thinks he has been 'put on an even footing with the US' then he's a bigger fat prat than I thought and Trump will soon let him know if he thinks it necessary. That's assuming, of course, that 'Fat Boy Kim' lives that long given the extreme worries of all those ridiculous but dangerous Nork generals!

David, not on an equal footing, eh? Watch this. Yes, that's the White House imprimatur in the upper right hand corner. No, SoD didn't put LSD in your tea:

If that's not enough, note the size and number of flags and the cloying praise:

I linked the WH video above from other than the site because they're getting so much ridicule it might disappear any moment. If you think it's fake you can watch and read about it here and on many other sites:

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