I have been asked to do a lecture/question and answer program on the subject of my experience with my father and his work in the CIA and how growing up in the Middle East influenced me and what I might have learned from my father. Thinking about the subject several things come to mind.
First my father was – to say the least -“colorful” and did indeed get up to all sorts of activities one might expect from a CIA operative. And he was not averse to exaggerate especially if it made a point. He used to tell me “don’t let the truth stand in the way of a good story”. As I realized it later this was really a lesson in marketing – a lesson I put to good use in later years in the Music Business. He never made up activities but he was willing to exaggerate – which is what advertising and marketing is really all about. Push the envelope of truth so to speak. What did I learn? I could add this: “Never assume the truth will stand in the way of people believing what they want to believe’.
The Middle East is full of conspiracy theories and now I see them running rampant right here in the USA. I always knew religions were capable of creating really outlandish beliefs so any belief is possible. Jim Jones, the Hale Bob people, Qanon, Scientology, and the like. People will believe anything if they WANT to believe it. The trick is to either tap into what they want to believe OR figure out a way to make them believe.
Meanwhile I have watched in amazement the claims about a rigged election. I wonder if it has donned on the Trump fans that if this election was rigged – especially in Republican states – then surely the last election was also rigged. Trump said last time that it was rigged just like he says the same thing now. You cant have it both ways. ALSO, with so many Trump appointees to the bench, and the landslide he got, and his millions of supporters how could a guy like that loose to a bunch of low level counters many of whom voted for him. Doesn’t make sense. BUT then again – its people believing what they want to believe.
There was another important lesson my father gave me. In fact it was based on a quote from Lenin. Basically I you can define the terms you are nine tenths towards winning the argument. I saw this in England in the 70s where Socialism was good and Capitalism was bad. Most people could not tell you what either meant. Today we see the same thing in the US. Many in Florida equat the word “socialism” with Cuba and Venezuela. I doubt if 99% of those people can tell you what socialism means. Most think it is the same as communism – which it is not. They also don’t know that Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany and many other countries are “socialist”. Also ask those same people how they like Medicare and they will say “great!. So if you hate socialism I assume you want to terminate medicare as medicare is “socialism”.
It distresses me that neither the media nor the Democratic party seem to understand the need to educate the public as to what these – now emotional terms – really mean. Even one of my sons said to me recently “doesn’t socialism mean there are no elections?” NO. Every socialist country has elections. Dictatorships are the ones that don’t have elections, or have elections controlled by the dictator. Iran has elections – except they only allow “approved” candidates to run. Same as China. Even Russia has elections – but they are controlled by Putin.
It can also be argued that the USA is also not a full democracy as our founding fathers did not like the idea of majority rule – which is why there is an electoral college. Why 40 million Californians are represented by two Senators and several million Dakotans are represented by 4 Senators.
Lastly, the way to know what is really going on, one has to get as many inputs – especially opposite ones and then use common sense to work out what is true and not. Those that watch only Fox news are not going to get full information. Personally I watch Fox, CBS, MSNBC, BBC, France 24, PBS news, If you only get news from once source – that makes you an idiot.