Chris Honoré, like many others, is coming close to realizing the truth about our U.S. corporate/military empire, but cognitive dissonance seems to be getting in his way.

Chris Honoré, like many others, is coming close to realizing the truth about our U.S. corporate/military empire, but cognitive dissonance seems to be getting in his way.

Most of us live in a constant state of denial about what our government actually does. Without denial, we'd either go crazy (if we had a conscience), or we'd feel the need to do something about it. It's much easier (and safer) to pretend that our government is not thoroughly corrupt — even when there's overwhelming, contrary evidence staring us directly in the face. Maybe the Occupy Wall Street protests are waking up more people. But waking them up to what? The U.S. propaganda machine is in overdrive, and for the bewildered herd, true awareness might still be hard to come by.

1. Many Americans in this technologically controlled society would be unable to spend even a week without their high-tech toys. After one month, debilitating mental and physical symptoms would become so apparent, these unfortunates would not be able to function, becoming catatonic.

A reason to be pessimistic is the lack of practical skills in our society. The average person in this country, whether homeless, unemployed, underemployed or overemployed has little conception of living in the natural world. Their "kind of work" defines them. What they do on the streets or for Walmart or Lockheed Martin is their specialized and primary skill.

The practice of "self-reliance and individualism" is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, we desperately need more craftspersons and freethinkers.

2. Also from Chris Honoré's column: "Ours is a new millennium, however, and these (Republican) candidates are mired in the 19th century, seemingly incapable of making the intellectual-philosophical shift necessary to move our country toward full employment and a 21st-century agenda."

Only these candidates are mired? Most Americans don't possess independent minds. Our puppet in chief Obama, and the members of the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Congress don't have independent minds. There's no real attempt being made for an "intellectual-philosophical shift" by the vast majority of people. Only rhetoric and pretension currently support this shift. We the sheeple believe what our corporate media and our corporate-government handlers tell us to believe.

3. Someone not "mired in the 19th century" was Robert Green Ingersoll, who in 1890 was capable of "making the intellectual-philosophical shift" when he said, "The schoolhouse is infinitely more important than the church, and if all the money wasted in the building of churches could be devoted to education, we should become a civilized people." ("Our Schools," Sept. 7, 1890).

However, the criticism of religious belief is taboo in America — tucked away from our rational discussions because, well, we just can't talk about it.

4. Chris mentions Afghanistan, "known to be a narco-terrorist state supplying heroin to large swaths of the world." Later he asks: "How to explain our stunning lack of imagination?"

What about our stunning lack of logical thinking? The answer can be found in two words: cognitive dissonance. The following is one example:

In 2001, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan and they were able to reduce the total yield of the opium poppy crop to 185 tons. By 2007, while under years of occupation from coalition forces — led by the U.S. and Britain — Afghanistan's total yield of the opium poppy was 7,200 tons. In this same year, Afghanistan accounted for 95 percent of the world's heroin.

Who does Honoré really think is "supplying heroin to large swaths of the world?"

5. The continuous media-government branding over the past 10 years has even affected the executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Shahid Buttar now talks about "the USA Patriot Act," instead of the USAPATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act). Mission accomplished.

"When the people clamor to be shielded from reality, when they praise their government for keeping things from them, when they choose to conduct their lives within the limits of whatever fantasy the government supplies, then they are no longer consenting to be governed, they are begging to be ruled." (Michael Ventura).

"But let's try and be hopeful" is what most voters did three years ago by selecting our current puppet in chief. The truths were evident then, but they were ignored. The truths are still here — right in front of us. But until we're able to wrap our minds around them, we won't be moving forward.

Chris should stop wasting his time watching TV. It makes no sense trying to explain the workings of our hypocritical republic and its corrupt two-party system in rational terms. Presstitutes like Michael Barone, E.J. Dionne Jr., Susan Estrich, George Will and many others are living in a make-believe land. These pundits have very dependent minds. Please don't become like one of them.

Robert Simms lives in Ashland.