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 Abdo: Min procedures would be meaningless if Smith governed here.
emptywheel Booyah. Abdo kills ratification "Many members of Congress not aware of program, those who were were not provided legal analysis of program."
emptywheel Ut oh. No one brought up First Amendment, meaning no mention of Bates eliminating 1A protections last year.
emptywheel Again, Delery, if the FISC is providing oversight, then your political branches argument fails.
emptywheel Let's also talk abt how ODNI is still hiding dates on PRTT program bc they would reveal it lied to court in CA,
emptywheel "What else haven't you let us know" beyond what ODNI declassified? Let's talk abt how they use phone dragnet w/EO12333 dragnet, judge!
emptywheel Ut oh. Delery doesn't know answer to whether FISC imposed requirements beyond govt.
emptywheel Delery's trying to have it both ways. says political branches set limit to program, but not relying on minimization procedures set by FISC
emptywheel What's nutty as shit abt Delery's current arg is the FISC--not a political branch--sets and oversees minimization procedures.
bmaz @bsdtectr no, but she isn't good.
emptywheel I'm so old I remember when Justice Roberts said govt protocols (minimization procedures) not adequate to protect 4th.
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