Kosovo War and Plato’s “The Noble Lie”

During the Kosovo conflict in 1999, military intervention by the US and NATO was precipitated by the use of outright lies and deceptions. The conflict was “ostensibly about preventing “genocide” on the scale of the Holocaust. This was the Big Lie. This was the Noble Lie. In fact, the conflict was about secession and separatism and the creation of a US-sponsored Greater Albania. Why was the Noble Lie needed? A deception was needed because US policy was supporting an illegal land grab, a forceful take-over of territory from a sovereign nation, Yugoslavia.

Why and how could such lies and deceptions occur in a so-called democracy? How do you explain it? The Noble Lie goes back to at least Plato in Western history.

In The Republic, Part III, Plato, described “the noble lie” which rulers told their citizens. For Plato, it was the elites who could tell “the noble lie”, to maintain societal stability and to ensure a contented and satisfied population. In Plato’s ideal Republic, or city-state, there were three hierarchical classes: The Guardians, the Soldiers, and the Workers. The Rulers were selectetd from the Guardians class, the “philosophers”. Next were the Auxiliaries class, or Soldiers. The third class was made up of Workers, the laborers, craftsmen, and the farmers.

For Plato, a “noble lie” or a “noble myth” was needed to maintain the hierarchical structure, to maintain the moral order, and to keep the society functioning in a productive manner.

Plato begins by stating that the “truth” should be valued, but that “lies” are sometimes necessary or required. He restricts their use to special persons only who represent the community, society, or the state or government:

“Again, truth should be highly valued; if, as we were saying , a lie is useless to the gods, and useful only as a medicine to men, then the use of such medicines should be restricted to physicians; private individuals have no business with them.”

For Plato, ideally, only the government could tell the “noble lie”, not private individuals. The government could tell the “noble lie” if it was “for the public good”:

“Then if anyone at all is to have the privilege of lying, the rulers of the State should be the persons; and they, in their dealings either with enemies or with their own citizens, may be allowed to lie for the public good. But nobody else should meddle with anything of the kind; and although the rulers have this privilege, for a private man to lie to them in return is to be deemed a more heinous fault.”

What is an example of a “noble lie” in Plato’s Republic?:

“How then may we devise one of those needful falsehoods of which we lately spoke—just one royal lie which may deceive the rulers, if that be possible, and at any rate the rest of the city?”

Plato then relates the “fiction” or “tale” or “necessary falsehoods” of how mankind is divided into gold, silver, brass, and iron, a hierarchical system that mirrored classes in society. For Plato, this “noble lie”, or metaphor, is necessary because “the fostering of such a belief will make them care more for the city and for one another.” A noble lie will make the citizens of the polis, of The Republic, more civic-minded and patriotic and will ensure communal bonding and cohesiveness and a sense of community. In short, the metaphor is necessary to rationalize and to justify the rigid hierarchy. Ultimately, the noble lie fosters the public good.

The noble lie is similar to Reinhold Niebuhr’s “necessary illusion”, a fiction that an individual needed to function effectively and productively in a modern society. For Niebuhr, “rationality belongs to the cool observers”, experts and elites who are detached and learned on a particular issue. “Democracy”, for Niebuhr, “is finding proximate solutions to insoluble problems.” The elites and the experts have to decide the difficult and complex issues.

What role does the noble lie have in democracy? Walter Lippmann, in Public Opinion (1922), argued that a “governing class”, similar to Plato’s “guardian class”, must emerge in a democracy that would give order and direction out of the “chaos of local opinions.” For Lippmann, “a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality” must inform democratic society. This was a specialized class of “elites” made up of experts, specialists and bureaucrats. Today, this specialized class of elites includes members of think tanks, professors, analysts, “senior diplomats”, and commentators. These were “intellectual elites” who would, in essence, tell the crowd, the herd, the mob, in a democracy, what to think, and how to think. Intellectual elites are needed because in a democracy there is no such thing as an “omnicompetent citizen”. Citizens in a democracy are ignorant. They only have knowledge on some issues, but not on others. This is why elites and experts are necessary to walk people through the complexities and ambiguities of the issues.

The people in a democracy do not act or think rationally, and therefore, cannot know the public good, what is best for themselves or for others, or for their nation. As Alexander Hamilton noted: “Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast”. For Hamilton, the masses in a democracy do not know what is in their best interest or what is in the national interest: “The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. ” The people do not know what is the “public good”. In other words, no single individual could ever know everything about the many issues in a democracy. What they do know is shallow in depth, primitive, crude, and unsophisticated. For this reason, the intellectual elites are needed to aid and to assist the primitive, unsophisticated, and ignorant individual in a democracy.

What guides the masses, the people, in a democracy? According to Lippmann, it is images, images we have in our heads: “We are all captives of the picture in our head—our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists.” The image, not the actual reality, is everything. Manipulate the image and you change the perception of reality.

Lippmann explained that when telling the people “truths” in a democracy, there is a necessary degradation that occurs. Intellectual elites are needed to explain the issues to the crude and primitive and unsophisticated masses: “When distant and unfamiliar and complex things are communicated to great masses of people, the truth suffers a considerable and often a radical distortion. The complex is made over into the simple, the hypothetical into the dogmatic, and the relative into an absolute.”

This is the dominant “narrative” or paradigm in “manufacturing consent” in a democracy. Indeed, this is the way it actually works in practice.

Lippmann’s theoretical groundwork was taken a step further by Edward L. Bernays, regarded as a pioneer in public relations in the US. For Bernays, “manufacturing consent” or “engineering consent” was crucial in a democracy: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.”

Bernays described how there was an “engineering of consent” in the US by intellectual elites: “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.” For Bernays, this manipulation is necessary in democracy. Indeed, it is fundamental to American democracy.

These “enlightened” elites control the “public mind” or the “group mind”: “It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

The ultimate object is to control the masses in a democracy, to manipulate them through the noble lie to do what they otherwise would not do: “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?”

Bernays argued that the organized manipulation of the masses by elites was fundamental to a democracy. Democracy is juxtaposed to totalitarianism. Joseph Goebbels and Nazi propaganda are always cited as if they are unique to Nazism and to totalitarianism. What is suppressed, however, is the fact that Joseph Goebbels derives many of his propaganda techniques from Bermays and Lippmann. The techniques of Nazi propaganda were based on American democratic models of engineering and manufacturing consent. Bernays’ seminal book Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) was a source for much of Goebbels’ Nazi propaganda techniques. Bernays himself admitted this in his book Biography of an Idea: “Goebbels, said [Karl von] Weigand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany.” Remarkably, Bernays regarded this as vindication of the effectiveness and soundness of his techniques. His techniques continue to be the guides on how consent is manufactured and engineered in the US.

To understand how and why we were manipulated and lied to on Kosovo, Bosnia, Krajina, and Iraq in 2003, you have to know about how public opinion is “manufactured” and “engineered” in a democracy.


2006-12-14

By Carl K. Savich

Source: Serbianna

RELATED POSTS
The 2016 Aleppo Massacre: Are Putin And Assad The Only “War Criminals”?
On Friday, October 5th, the U.S. Secretary of State – John Kerry calls for war crimes investigation of Russia’s and Assad governments for the destruction of Syrian city of Aleppo. The western corporate mass media was a very quick, like, for instance, The New York Times, immediately and clearly to accuse the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for alleged war crimes in Syria – the same cliché used by the same propaganda machinery against the Serbs (Srebrenica case from 1995 or Kosovo War from 1999) during the bloody destruction of ex-Yugoslavia (by the U.S. and ...
READ MORE
Countries Destroyed By Hillary Clinton
In an email sent to his business partner and Democratic fundraiser Jeffrey Leeds, former Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote of Hillary Clinton, “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.” Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State during Barack Obama’s first term was an unmitigated disaster for many nations around the world. Neither the Donald Trump campaign nor the corporate media have adequately described how a number of countries around the world suffered horribly from Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy decisions. Millions of people were adversely harmed by Clinton’s misguided policies and her “play-to-pay” operations involving favors in return for donations ...
READ MORE
Obama And Clinton Co-Founders Of ISIS?
On 10 August 2016, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump accused president Barak Hussein Obama and Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of co-founding the jihadist rebel organization ISIS (Islamic State) operating mainly in Syria and Iraq but with operative in many Middle Eastern countries and around the world. Trump used Obama’s full name to provoke a racist-xenophobic response from the public about the Arabic-sounding name rooted in East Africa. Immediately, critics insisted that Trump made outrageous and ignorant comments about complex foreign affairs matters he does not fully comprehend. The following day Trump clarified that he meant exactly what he said and ...
READ MORE
The Human Rights Disaster In America
Antonio Zambrano-Montes, a 35-year-old Mexican national, was shot to death by police in Pasco, Washington last Tuesday as he was backing away from officers with his hands up. A video of the shooting clearly corroborates claims by Zambrano-Montes’s family that he was killed “execution style.” Police claimed that Zambrano-Montes, who had lived in the city for ten years and worked as an orchard picker, may have been “armed with a rock” before he was shot multiple times. Protests erupted over the weekend, with more than a thousand demonstrating in Washington state on Saturday against the killing. The United States has invaded, bombed ...
READ MORE
Science In Serbia
            Every country has its mafia, but Serbia is the only one where mafia has its state    (Zoran Djindjic) There is nothing extraordinary in the science in Serbia. It would not deserve particular attention of the European scientific community, if it were not for the fact that  the case of Serbia turns out extraordinary, indeed. Let us start with an extraordinary question: would it be possible a state in contemporary Europe to sucumbe to a fashist rule (or  communist or any other totalitarian government)? The answer is extraordinary too - yes. The case in point is Serbia. The trick is marked by Kosovo ...
READ MORE
Kosovo and Columbine: Are We a Nation of Gun Nuts or are We Just Nuts?
In Bowling for Columbine (2002), Michael Moore analyzed the culture of violence in the US and examined its relationship to the illegal US and NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Following the bombing, US and NATO forces occupied Kosovo-Metohija militarily. The US and its allies acted unilaterally in bombing and occupying Yugoslav territory. There was no UN approval for this criminal aggression by the US and its allies. The illegal bombing did not represent “the international community”, but was the illegal action of the US government. The US goal was not to prevent “genocide” or human rights violations but to ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Albanian Jihadists Planned to Attack Venice’s Rialto Bridge
Italian police broke up an alleged jihadist cell in Venice who had celebrated last week’s terrorist attack in London and planned to blow up the city’s famous Rialto Bridge in the hope of killing hundreds of tourists. In a series of overnight raids, anti-terrorism police arrested three suspects, all of them Kosovars who were living in Italy. Fisnik Bekaj, 24, Dake Haziraj, 25, and Arian Babaj, 27, were allegedly admirers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and were secretly recorded discussing how they were ready to die for the sake of jihad. A fourth person, an unnamed minor ...
READ MORE
Between The Lines: Western Public Support For Albanian Terrorism
Terrorists attacked the Macedonian city of Kumanovo on 9 May, but one wouldn’t know that by reading the Western media’s reaction to the tragedy, despite the fact that they typically mention that 8 police officers were killed and another 37 wounded during the firefight. The media’s disingenuous ‘reporting’ reeks of ulterior motives, which is evidenced most visibly by their reluctance to use the word terrorist without putting it in questionable quotation marks, but also takes more subtle forms such as casting suspicion on the government for complicity in the attack and/or inferring that the attack was some type of legitimate ...
READ MORE
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” – Donald Trump Donald Trump is an American capitalist. He is a real estate mogul who owns buildings, casinos and golf courses. He has bought a football team, founded a modeling agency and established a university. Trump’s precise net worth is unknown, yet is estimated in the billions. Donald Trump is a celebrity. He appeared in twelve ...
READ MORE
A Nature of the US and the American Foreign Policy
“If the Nuremberg Laws were applied, then every post-war American President would have been hanged” Noam Chomsky Eurasia Henry Kissinger, one of the fundamental figures in creating and maintaining the US policy of global hegemony during the Cold War[1], was quite clear and precise in his overviewing the issue of the American geopolitical position, national goals and foreign policy. His remarks can be summarized in the following points: The US is an island off the shores of the large landmass of Eurasia. The resources and population of Eurasia far exceed the resources and population of the US. Any domination by any single state ...
READ MORE
Americans are no Different than Germans were (and are)
Daniel Goldhagen blamed the Holocaust on «the Germans» (by which he meant the German people), and said that they perpetrated the Holocaust because they positively enjoyed murdering «the Jews». But, as has long been well understood by historians (except when they fail to point to it as being a disproof of Goldhagen’s bigoted and indefensible anti-German thesis), Hitler had to work long and hard in order to bring about a consensus, first amongst his own leadership group, and then in the population as a whole, favoring the extermination-option. Hitler, Der Fuehrer, «The Leader», clearly was the catalyst turning the chemical ...
READ MORE
NATO’s illegal war against Serbia
Facts And Truth @ YouTube: “Remember why NATO spent 78-days bombing Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999? There was the ethnic cleansing. The atrocities. The refugees chased out of Kosovo by the Serb army. The mass graves. The heaps of bodies tossed into vats of sulphuric acid at the Trepca mines. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said there were 100,000 Kosovo Albanian Muslims unaccounted for. Problem is, none of it happened.”   Forensic report throws doubt on US/NATO claims of Racak “massacre” By Richard Tyler wsws.org, 12 February 2001 A forthcoming article by three Finnish pathologists throws further doubts upon official descriptions of a “massacre” in ...
READ MORE
Persecuted Serbian Orthodox Church: The Islamization of Kosovo
The NATO occupation was seen by Arab/Muslim countries as an opportunity to transform Kosovo-Metohija into a Muslim state. Terry Boyd in the Stars and Stripes article “In Kosovo, Islamic groups work to rebuild country, attract followers,” September 21, 2001, examined how Muslim countries were seeking the Islamization of Kosovo. The US State Department listed Kosovo as having active cells of al-Qaeda, Ossama bin Laden’s terrorist network. Al-Qaeda and Ossama bin Laden were aiding the UCK jihad in Kosovo. Iran was also active in Kosovo and Bosnia. Boyd reported that an Iranian Islamic group offered 120-300 German marks a month for ...
READ MORE
Washington’s “Humanitarian” War And The KLA’s Crimes
Revelations of fascistic crimes carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) prior to, during and after NATO’s war against the former Yugoslavia should provide a salutary lesson whenever Washington again cites humanitarian concerns to justify its predatory war aims. A new report prepared by Swiss Council of Europe deputy Dick Marty slams Kosovo leader Hachim Thaci for organ trafficking and other abominable crimes, deftly shaded by the U.S. in pursuit of their own self-interests. “Professional and honorable” KLA posing with the severed heads of Serbs they butchered in Kosovo A report by the Council of Europe describes Kosovo today as ...
READ MORE
The Criminal Actions Of The Kiev Regime In East Ukraine
More than 6,400 civilians have been killed and nearly 16,000 injured as result of criminal actions of Kiev regime during the conflict in Donbass, Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin said on Thursday. Also, more than 10,000 residential infrastructure facilities have been fully or partially destroyed and burnt. Since last April, more than 1 million Russian-speaking residents of Lugansk and Donetsk regions had to flee their homes, and more than 110,000 people having a refugee status have applied for the Russian citizenship. The war has been continuing. Ukrainian capital being wrapped in smoke due to a spate of regional ...
READ MORE
War between US and Russia Could Be Sooner than Later. “The Danger of a Nuclear War”
Right now the US mainstream media is obsessing over Donald’s alleged womanizing and female groping soap opera as the Clinton’s/MSM’s pruriently entertaining smokescreen, neatly designed to cover up Hillary/Bill’s serial raping and her criminal lead role as enabler/strong armed intimidator of past victims. Meanwhile, barely noticed in a virtual media blackout in the West are at least a half dozen high alert, significant international developments this last weekend that all strongly indicate the extreme danger of a nuclear war breaking out at any time against Russia and its Eastern alliance. Again, do not pay attention to the US deceivers behind their Oz-like ...
READ MORE
Holodomor in the United States
Yet another scandal is exploding on the Internet. The administration of free encyclopedia Wikipedia removed an article by a Russian researcher, devoted to assessing the loss of US citizens as a result of the Great Depression of 1932-33. Outraged bloggers began mass distribution of articles in the Russian segment of the popular blogging service Live journal. The material led to heated debates, while the so-called historical flash mob continues. Russian researcher Boris Borisov touched a really hot topic in his material on the estimated number of victims of the American Great Depression, which in turn, apparently caused a very strong reaction ...
READ MORE
How Corrupt America Is
The best reporting on the depth of America’s dictatorship is probably that being done by Atlanta Georgia’s NBC-affiliated, Gannett-owned, TV Channel “11 Alive”, WXIA television, “The Investigators” series of local investigative news reports, which show, up close and at a cellularly detailed level, the way things actually work in today’s America. Although it’s only local, it displays what meets the legal standards of the US federal government in actually any state in the union; so, it exposes the character of the US government, such that what’s shown to be true here, meets America’s standard for ‘democracy’, or else the federal ...
READ MORE
The world order is crumbling – “Pax Americana” is dying
Six months into 2016 and the world looks decidedly nervous and edgy from a geo-political viewpoint. A dramatic oil price plunge has pushed producing nations into near crisis as the international scrap for market share follows a bid by a collapsing OPEC cartel to fight off American production. China’s economic woes continue to destabilise markets the world over. The USA is clearly becoming more hostile, even warlike towards Russia, who in turn appears to be gearing up to defend itself from increasingly belligerent and aggressive NATO commanders who are facilitating Europe’s encirclement of Russian borders. The latest weaponry pointed directly at Moscow does not help ...
READ MORE
The 2016 Aleppo Massacre: Are Putin And Assad The Only “War Criminals”?
Countries Destroyed By Hillary Clinton
Obama And Clinton Co-Founders Of ISIS?
The Human Rights Disaster In America
Science In Serbia
Kosovo and Columbine: Are We a Nation of Gun Nuts or are We Just Nuts?
Kosovo Albanian Jihadists Planned to Attack Venice’s Rialto Bridge
Between The Lines: Western Public Support For Albanian Terrorism
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
A Nature of the US and the American Foreign Policy
Americans are no Different than Germans were (and are)
NATO’s illegal war against Serbia
Persecuted Serbian Orthodox Church: The Islamization of Kosovo
Washington’s “Humanitarian” War And The KLA’s Crimes
The Criminal Actions Of The Kiev Regime In East Ukraine
War between US and Russia Could Be Sooner than Later. “The Danger of a Nuclear War”
The USA is No. 1 in the World!
Holodomor in the United States
How Corrupt America Is
The world order is crumbling – “Pax Americana” is dying

Subscribe, Share & Follow