The Rocky Syndrome

this was originally an email to someone who doesn’t use capitalization, hence the lack of caps. it’s a further clarification of a theory of the nature and practice of the neoconservatives.

a boxer is fighting rocky (like from the movies). however, this boxer doesn’t want to win the fight. his goal is to enrage rocky to the point where he explodes in fury. his methodology is to punch rocky and taunt rocky. however, he has to be careful not to give away his true intentions since that will defuse the threat that rocky is being conditioned to feel. he also has to be careful to not knock rocky out.

there are a couple explanations as to why the neoconservatives were trotskyists in the ’60s and far-right corporatists subsequently. one is the chomskyan theory that this was a reaction to the “excess of democracy”. according to this the neocons of the ’60s were reacting to the conformity of the ’50s, and subsequently they were just reacting again, this time to democracy. the other explanation is that the neocons blamed their tactics for the failure of their socialist revolution in the 1960s, and so are using a different tactic to attempt to achieve the same thing. this theory states that the straightforward idealism of the 1960s was blamed for the failure of the left. this led to the rise of shadowy think tanks in 1973, shadowy presidents (starting with nixon), as well as secretive government throughout.

the tactic is to scare and outrage the american people (rocky) until they explode in socialist revolution. this tactic is arguably the opposite of a straightforward idealism that attempts to generate socialism through rational argument and popular struggle.

this is not a conspiracy. according to this theory the neoconservatives are self-deluded as well as manipulative. the only way they can succeed is by being self-deluded – if they themselves had knowledge of what they were doing they would one way or another give their motivations away.

although i’m far from totally confident in this theory, many things support it:

the neoconservatives are called “greatly incompetent”. one reason for such incompetence is the necessary cognitive dissonance of a group that is walking a perpetual tightrope in terms of the reality they are trying to achieve. to refer to the metaphor, one minute the boxer is punching rocky and the next minute he’s intentionally missing with a punch (since he’s trying to hurt him and enrage him without knocking him out).

the neoconservatives use obvious condescension, smirks, lies, contempt of congress, contempt of courts, the list is endless of the way over-the-top abuses. these are the same neoconservatives who during the reagan administration played it low-key (relatively speaking). the explanation – their project (boxing match) has reached the next stage… they are starting to lay their cards on the table.

television also supports this kind of politics as theater. judge judy, jerry springer, american idol, “reality television” are all about abusing “regular joes”.

the first example of this was the gong show, where chuck barris self-destructed and translated his despair about american culture into entertainment.

also supporting this is the incredible riskiness of the neoconservative project. the neoconservatives aren’t even popular with much of the american business sector, and the american people abhor them. the common explanation is “greed” but part of greed is minimizing risk (to enable the money to continue to flow). enraging people isn’t often a good business decision.

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