Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jesus, George Orwell, Anakin Skywalker and MR

What have they got in common?

Had I asked the same question but used Henry VIII, Winnie the Pooh and Attila the Hun you would have known the answer immediately wouldn't you, but it would have been a different answer. The King, the bear and the, well, hard geezer, all shared the same middle name.

As for Messrs Christ, Orwell, Skywalker and Rajapaksa the answer may be slightly less obvious. If I added George W Bush and Hillary Clinton into the picture you'd probably get warmer.

Yes, they've all taken the "If you're not with us you're against us" approach. Something I've been thinking on with some effort recently. As the Lankanosphere is wild and crazy with political and conflict related posts these days I'm sure many of us have found our minds wandering into unfamiliar territory.

One of my main mindfucks recently has been this "if you're not with us you're against us" (IYNWUYAU) mindset and how brilliant it is on one hand, how dictatorial and crushing it is on the other.

I did the wikipedia thing and was quite surprised to see a rather long entry about the concept.

It tells us that

"The phrase "you're either with us, or against us" is commonly used to polarize situations and force an audience to either become allies or to accept the consequences as being deemed an enemy."

as well as some quite interesting but useless information about other people throughout history using the phrase, from Mussolini to Clinton in real life and from Clint Eastwood in a Dirty Harry film to Gaston in Beauty and the Beast in fictitious life. Sorry Dinidu, Beauty and the Beast wasn't real. Father Christmas is though.

Isn't it a great tactic to pull out of your hard hat when you need to garner public support?

When the going gets tough some bloke decides to play the (IYNWUYAU) card and the atmosphere changes in a flash. I wonder if there can be an acronym for an acronym or am I just getting more lazy? Even that IYNWUYAU seems like a lot of effort.

But in that flash, people who are already a supporter of Clint, Jesus or whoever it is at the time, become even more ardent followers than they were before. The real beauty is that their passions and feelings of loyalty multiply too, as they realise that it's an all or nothing situation.

Others who dare to criticise are the enemy, not so much because that's what happens in "normal" life, more because that's what Clint has decreed. In "normal" life people are allowed to question and criticise, to challenge and argue, without being classed as traitors or the enemy. And all of this means that the unit of people who are "with us" becomes strong, bonded and united, with a passionate hatred towards the doubters.

Frankly, if I was Clint Eastwood and I needed to get people onside in a hurry, I'd seriously consider using the method. I guess many would consider it a last gasp attempt to gain support, but sometimes even Dirty Harry needs to do these things.

It does polarise people and opinions though. It gives no room for the doubters and the cynics. And this in turn makes for a rather dictatorial approach, though only Clint's inner circle might actually know who he argues with within the circle itself.

Anyone who is seen to disagree with Clint is branded as the enemy. Even if a fellow were to agree in a broader sense with his ideas and methods, as soon as he murmurs even the slightest bit of discontent about a specific thing, maybe the way Clint spoke to someone or the way he dealt with a dissenter, then that person becomes the hated foe.

So not only does the loyalty of the supporters grow and increase like the spread of swine flu at a Mexican Pig breeding farm in the grounds of a hospital, but there's also little or no outlet for people to think creatively and to come up with ideas other than those that are already in use, for fear of the consequences. Only the very brave or the incredibly stupid dare to speak out about Emperor Clint and his nakedness.

Some people would say that the IYNWUYAU approach is genius, creating an almost unstoppable force. Others would say that it's dangerous, for its very nature dictates that the only voices heard are those that are already being listened to.

I say it's a card that can only be played once, that must be used with impeccable timing and very careful consideration. It can help win a war and cripple a nation or it can help win a war and unite a nation.

What say you?


Sachintha said...

I agree that it is indeed a very powerful card, but I have trouble deciding in what context you mean that MR has used it?

If it is used to deal with the LTTE supporters, I'd say he (or whoever in his position, for that matter) has a right to use it...

A Virile Nagalingam said...

well, i'd wager the punks will be feeling quite lucky in the long run unless rents (gathered by politicians) are diverted only to loyal henchmen and a gang-type hierarchy emerges.

ViceUnVersa said...

Too deep this early in the morn RD. Shall have a think later today.
Dropped in for the usual; GDMRD :)

Guy said...

Thanks for the post RD. For those confused about if MR is using the 'card', watch part 1 and 2 of this 'Dining with terrorists' episode. You might be able to notice the back flip from his stance in the late 80s and fully embracing the 'Bush doctorine'. Scary indeed for those suddenly finding themselves on the other side of the fence. At the same time, I wouldn't be surprised to find those on the 'correct' side of the fence going '...what card?'.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sach - I think if you can look at the link in Guy's comment you'll see where he's used it, it's also been said many times by the Defence Secy, a Mr Rajapaksa.

I fully agree with you that he has the right to use it. I question the value of using it though.

AVN - You may well be right here.

DD - Get some breakfast down do the school run, then please let us know your thoughts on the matter. GM2U2

Guy - Yes that's a good point, that those playing the game might well not even see the card. Crazy, ironic and true!

Electra said...

RD, although I am inclined to be principally against this mentality, more recently I am beginning to have a little sympathy for the guys in power and starting to see that it may always be easier said than done. I doubt any one of us can understand the immense pressure MR is under, and there may need to be certain tough decisions made. Once again, I'm fairly sure there are better ways to do this, but who knows? Also I believe that ultimately, presidents are just puppets too. There always seems to be a bigger system at work which actually deliberates everything. It's like Bush was brought in for one thing and one thing only: to get the Jihad and start off the War on Terror thing, and he kind of went overboard and fucked everything up. And then they bring in the Good Guy Obama to give people hope again and clean up their reputation with the rest of the world and re instill people's faith the US as a nation. In the same way MR was brought in to end the war. And he's doing it, whatever said and done about the WAY he's doing it. Of course literally ending the war won't end up any of the problems that were the reason for the war, that's what people need to understand. The war here is not really problem, it's the consequence of the real problem.

Also it's idealistic to say that oppression is unnecessary. To keep any society lawful and in order without letting it disintegrate into complete chaos and anarchy, there always needs to be oppression. I mean some sector of society will always need to be oppressed, for the 'greater good'. That's a fact. The question is who are oppressing and why: are you doing it because they are an actual threat to the world at large or more for personal safety?

Anonymous said...

oh, dear,
Ellen gone heavy,
Flopped completely.

Anonymous said...

@ Electra , borrrrrring .

"principally against this" - but you digress. This is why your posts are dead boring.

They are completely lacking of passion. Both the fruit and the sentiment.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anon - right. We don't all have your wisdom and insight.

Anonymous said...

You are cool man.
I am just yanking your chain but I did mean the one about Electra.

Anna said...

RD, so here is a question and do not be shy.

Was this post not inspired by SittingN ?

Just been to his blog and the similarity is weird.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anna - No, the post wasn't inspired by SNut, but I think it's fair to say that he's one of the many who inspired it. And by many, I mean in life not just in the Lankanosphere.

I have heard and spoken to and read and corresponded with so many people who have the mindset lately, SN is merely one of them

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anna - Sorry my mistake, I took your question the wrong way and have since read SN's post. It's pure coincidence, I hadn't read it until now and and rather startled as well!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Electra - Unlike our Anon commenter I find your comment thought provoking.

It may well be true, and only history will tell us, that MR is a great wartime leader like Churchill. Your point about finishing the war not solving the problems and the real issues is, as far as I'm concerned, the bigger picture that too many are ignoring these days.

I wonder if Obama might be looking for some part time work??!!

A Virile Nagalingam said...

why is it so hard to conceive of a society in which governmental coercion is kept to a minimum?

Kalusudda said...

Another thing common to all, "It is all done for the greater good"

Anonymous said...

Happy to see someone else has been seeing the IYNWUYAU and the Emperors New Clothes bit, I thought I was alone :)