"We create our own reality"

Suskind in the NYT on how the Bush administration views reality:

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

My guess is that this "senior adviser" is Perle. It sounds like the kind of self-congratulatory, arrogant bullshit he would say. It could also be Bolton. But, really, almost any prick from the Bush administration could have been responsible for this kind of statement.

A lot of social scientists these days have kind of left Marx's idea of "false consciousness" behind and adopted theories like the "rational actor" model to explain decision-making behavior. I suppose they don't want to seem condescending when it comes to explaining the often large role that ignorance plays in day-to-day decision-making processes.

Not me, though. Ignorance is out there plenty, and not all of it can be said to be unintentional. And people who don't like the supposed "condescension" of leftists, but then turn around and accept this kind of anti-fact, anti-historical and pro-raw power view of how the world works - and provide themselves and their children to be the donkeys dying and carrying out the work of these grand "history's actors" - show that there is something to this idea after all.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?