Monday, October 15, 2007

False Choices and Voting

I can't help but think about the quote below when following the presidential race of 2008 and the Wisconsin state government state budget bill that hasn't been passed yet.

A classic device of power—and this is true whether we’re talking about emperors or perpetrators of domestic violence—is to present their victims with a series a false choices whereby no matter which the victims choose, the perpetrators win and the victims are further victimized. Nazis, for example, sometimes gave Jews the choice of different colored identity papers. Many Jews then focused, reasonably enough, on trying to figure out which of these colors would more likely save their lives. Of course the color of the identity papers made no material difference: the primary purpose of the choice was to divert victims’ attention from the task of unmaking the whole system that was killing them. In addition, this false choice co-opted victims into believing they were making meaningful choices. In other words, it got them on some level to take responsibility for what was being done with them. If I am killed it is my own fault because I chose the wrong color.

Now, would you rather vote Democrat or Republican? For which major corporation would you like to work? Which shopping mall has the best deals this
weekend? Do you want privacy or security?
Derrick Jensen in Welcome to the Machine.

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