Over at the ASI blog, Tom Bowman laments the daily bombardment of government propaganda. The state apparat admits to having increased spending - or as Bowman puts it 'government spending on advertising and marketing has risen' - by nearly 40 percent in the last year, to £253m.
'Has risen' - hmm. I used to think that the ability to use of the reflexive, as in 'the glass broke itself', underlay Latin fecklessness. Now I realize that the fecklessness comes first, and the reflexive serves to cushion people from facing the truth.
'This stuff is simply infuriating', Bowman continues. 'I don't want to be bombarded by messages from our crypto-fascist overlords while I'm trying to relax and have a good time. Nor do I want them wasting my money on a pointless exercise in Soviet-style self-promotion.'
Although I fully share Bowman's irritation, he misses the point: the medium is the message. The 'New Labour Project' was always about buying the support of the creative media, starting from a very strong base in the statist BBC and Channel Four. Under this administration, statist patronage has meant the difference between bankruptcy and prosperity for production companies, PR firms and, of course, the Guardian, which the apparat has given a virtual monopoly on state employment advertising.
The purpose of the apparat is therefore served even if it pays some favoured PR firm to produce an ad warning us to 'Beware the frumious bandersnatch'. The aim is to co-opt the producers - the message is simply an excuse.
Failure to understand this underlies the bleating powerlessness of the rest of the animals in the face of the shameless corruption and the evidently totalitarian ambition of the pigs.