Václav Havel

Václav Havel: From the Prague Spring to the Velvet Revolution to the Year of the Protestor

We’re an empire now. And when we act, we create our own reality. –Senior Bush Advisor to Ron Suskind

 

It can be said, therefore, that ideology, as that instrument of internal communication which assures the power structure of inner cohesion is, in the post-totalitarian system, something that transcends the physical aspects of power, something that dominates it to a considerable degree, and therefore, tends to assure its continuity as well. It is one of the pillars of the system’s external stability. This pillar, however, is built on a very unstable foundation. It is built on lies. It works only as long as people are willing to live within the lie. –Václav Havel, “Power of the Powerless

In his essay, Power of the Powerless, Václav Havel described how citizens of “post-totalitarian” societies perform certain rituals–his central example was a green grocer putting the sign, “Workers of the World, Unite!” in his shop window every morning, but he saw the “dictatorship of consumption” to work similarly–to signify their adherence to the ideology on which power in the system rests. The system relies on (and rewards, with access to a comfortable livelihood) the universal performance of such rituals to sustain the ideology that gives the raw power behind the system some legitimacy. He argued that if people began to live within the truth–stopped putting up the sign every morning and paid the consequences in terms of lost benefits–it might expose the lie behind the myths people told themselves about their society.

But the moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, “the emperor is naked!”–when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game–everything suddenly appears in another light and the whole crust seems then to be made of a tissue on the point of tearing and disintegrating uncontrollably.

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emptywheel The reason I ask is bc Daines just described himself as a Daddy of 4. https://t.co/JvbjmA9gw6
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emptywheel Has a female Senator ever described herself as a "mommy" on the Senate floor? Grandmother, mom, mother, sure. But "mommy"?
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emptywheel @PhilPerspective Plus he might like following in Holder's lucrative footsteps of not prosecuting the banksters. @Taniel
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emptywheel @PhilPerspective AG? Still pretty far down the list. Still, forgotten fact is that he was mentor to a lot of top lawyers. @Taniel
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emptywheel @PhilPerspective That's not in Presidential succession is it? Then ... no, that's not the one he had in mind. @Taniel
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emptywheel I mean, would Rudy Giuliani call Germany and ask the boys to make Merkel go easy on Trump? https://t.co/Uwa52RjY3i
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emptywheel Donald Trump is afraid of a few hard questions from a woman? https://t.co/Uwa52RjY3i
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emptywheel @somejustguy Hey, while we're at it, let's get the emails OVP destroyed from their server in 2003. All for it!
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emptywheel RT @davidgreene: NEW! Street Level Surveillance https://t.co/MlDC38yUdy portal for info legal & advocacy resources on hi-tech domestic law …
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