In most modern instances, interpretation amounts to the philistine refusal to leave the work of art alone. Real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable.
A totalitarian state simply enunciates official doctrine -- clearly, explicitly. Internally, one can think what one likes, but one can only express opposition at one's peril. In a democratic system of propaganda no one is punished (in theory) for objecting to official dogma. In fact, dissidence is encouraged. What this system attempts to do is to fix the limits of possible thought: supporters of official doctrine at one end, and the critics -- vigorous, courageous, and much admired for their independence of judgment -- at the other. The hawks and the doves. But we discover that all share certain tacit assumptions, and that it is these assumptions that are really crucial. No doubt a propaganda system is more effective when its doctrines are insinuated rather than asserted, when it sets the bounds for possible thought rather than simply imposing a clear and easily identifiable doctrine that one must parrot -- or suffer the consequences. The more vigorous the debate, the more effectively the basic doctrines of the propaganda system, tacitly assumed on all sides, are instilled. Hence the elaborate pretense that the press is a critical dissenting force -- maybe even too critical for the health of democracy -- when in fact it is almost entirely subservient to the basic principles of the ideological system: in this case, the principle of the right of intervention, the unique right of the United States to serve as global judge and executioner. It is quite a marvelous system of indoctrination.

Here is still another example along the same lines. Look at this quotation from the Washington Post, a paper that is often regarded as the most consistent critic of the war among the national media. This is from an editorial of April 30, 1975, entitled "Deliverance":

For if much of the actual conduct of Vietnam policy over the years was wrong and misguided - even tragic - it cannot be denied that some part of the purpose of that policy was right and defensible. Specifically, it was right to hope that the people of South Vietnam would be able to decide on their own form of government and social order. The American public is entitled, indeed obligated, to explore how good impulses came to be transmuted into bad policy, but we cannot afford to cast out all remembrance of that earlier impulse.

What were the "good impulses"? When precisely did the United States try to help the South Vietnamese choose their own form of government and social order? As soon as such questions are posed, the absurdity becomes evident. From the moment that the American-backed French effort to destroy the major nationalist movement in Vietnam collapsed, the United States was consciously and knowingly opposed to the organized political forces within South Vietnam, and resorted to increasing violence when these political forces could not be crushed. But these facts, easily documented, must be suppressed. The liberal press cannot question the basic doctrine of the state religion, that the United States is benevolent, even though often misguided in its innocence, that it labors to permit free choice, even though at times some mistakes are committed in the exuberance of its programs of international goodwill. We must believe that we "Americans" are always good, though, to be sure, fallible:

For the fundamental "lesson" of Vietnam surely is not that we as a people are intrinsically bad, but rather that we are capable of error - and on a gigantic scale....

Note the rhetoric: "we as a people" are not intrinsically bad, even if we are capable of error. Was it "we as a people" who decided to conduct the war in Vietnam? Or was it something that had rather more to do with our political leaders and the social institutions they serve? To pose such a question is of course illegitimate, according to the dogmas of the state religion, because that raises the question of the institutional sources of power, and such questions are only considered by irrational extremists who must be excluded from debate (we can raise such questions with regard to other societies, of course, but not the United States).
If I hear one more person who comes up to me and complains about "computer music has no soul" then I will go furious, you know. 'Cause of course the computer is just a tool. And if there is no soul in computer music then it's because nobody put it there and that's not the computer's role. It's the role of the songwriter. He puts down his soul in the song if he wants to. A guitar will never write a song and a computer will never write a song. These are just tools.
Oh, if only I could tell someone about my pain and misery! Even myself! Perhaps if I could tell myself about it in some new way it might have the power to shed some light on what had happened and on what would become of me.
How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.
"Civil Disobedience"
Seeing the Tea Party protests as oligarch theater was the easy part. What we didn't bargain for was how different the American ecosystem is from Russia's: Here, if your reporting causes some serious butt-hurt on powerful interests and they fight back with their PR machine, you can be sure that you will be abandoned by all your journalist "colleagues" and your liberal "comrades." One whiff of gunpowder, and those folks are like peasants melting into the countryside.
'I feel, you know, I hurt, please help.' I'm saying words, man, and if I look at an audience and they ain't understanding me, it's just like getting kicked in the teeth.
Cut this "cloud" crap. Dropbox is nothing more than a remote file repository. It also provides with a daemon/client which keeps directories in your local system in sync with the remote file repository. Do you also believe that a FTP server is "the cloud"? And that an email server is "something that places your messages in the cloud"? Do you also believe that a website server is "something that places documents in the cloud"? Fuck the cloud and fuck pretentious posers like you, who feel the need to speak in buzzwords and marketing speak to try to lie their way into looking like they have rediscovered the wheel.
Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love the greater the jealousy.
When confronted with situations for which such routine procedures did not exist, he [Eichmann] was helpless, and his cliché-ridden language produced on the stand, as it had evidently done in his official life, a kind of macabre comedy. Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality, that is, against the claim on our thinking attention that all events and facts make by virtue of their existence.
"Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil"
People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is a normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.
People who are willing to rely on the government to keep them safe are pretty much standing on Darwin's mat, pounding on the door, screaming, 'Take me, take me!'
In his stunning 2010 book, “The Death of the Liberal Class”, the seminary-trained journalist, Chris Hedges observes that for the most part, the institutions which have been pillars of liberalism, including the media, the university, the arts, the unions, the Democratic party, and the mainline churches have bought into the neoliberal ideology of corporate-capitalism, which revolves around the mythology of growth at the expense of human and nonhuman wellbeing, thriving, and increasingly, life itself.

In a word, political liberals talk a good talk but (just like political conservatives) have sold out people at the bottom and the planet. A splintering of “causes” and the reduction of politics to “issues” has left the liberal class “obsolete” and clinging “to its positions of privilege within liberal institutions.” And “[l]iberal religious institutions,” writes Hedges, “which should concern themselves with justice, embrace a cloying personal piety… and small, self-righteous acts of publicly conspicuous charity.”

If Hedges is correct, then Douthat is also correct about one thing: the Church should split from the secular liberal class. We should split from those who talk a good game but make peace with all manner of corporations whose time has frankly come.

We might start by challenging the power of coal, oil, and gas industries and the big banks that fund them, as has been prophetically suggested by Bill McKibben, a lay-Methodist, in this disturbing new piece in Rolling Stone. Thankfully, resistance of this sort is now official church policy since Resolution B023 on climate justice was adopted by this year’s General Convention.

In theological terms, we are tasked with affirming life in this moment of planetary exhaustion and pervasive social death. Ours are the works of resistance and restoration, of resurrection and reconciliation. Such works require us, always, to undertake some risk.
They looked at each other for a moment.

The moment became a longer moment, and suddenly it was a very long moment, so long one could hardly tell where all the time was coming from.

For Arthur, who would usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone for long enough with a Swiss cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who wakes one morning to find the door to his cage hanging quietly open and the savanna stretching grey and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.

He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with a shared surprise.

He didn't realize that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognized its tones until now it said something it had never said to him before, which was "yes."
"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

And Thou Too

The moonlight rolls down like a river,
The silence streams out like a sea;
And far where the eastern winds quiver,
My farewell goes floating to thee.

Like night, when the sunset is fading
And starbeams troop up in the skies,
Through a cold, dark and lonely forever
Gleams the light of the poet eyes.

And sometimes when I am weary,
When the path is thorny and Wild,
I'll look back to the Eyes in the twilight,
Back to the eyes that smiled.

And pray that a wreath like a rainbow
May slip from the beautiful past,
And Crown me again with the sweet, strong love
And keep me, and hold me fast.

For the way is not strown with petal soft,
It is covered with hearts that weep,
And the wounds I tread touch a deeper source
Than you think it mine to keep.

Down the years I shall move without you,
Yet ever must feel the blow
That caused me a deeper pain to give
Than you will ever know.

For the tears that dropped on my hands that night
'Neath the mystical shining moon,
Were a sacred dew, consecrated there,
On the rose-altered heart of June.

And the heart that beat against mine like a bird
That is fluttering, wounded sore,
With it's nest all broken, deserted, torn,
Will beat there forevermore.

But the world moves on, and the piteous Earth
Still groans in the monster pain;
And the star that leads me points onward yet,
Though the red drops fall like rain!

Ah, not to a blaze of light I go,
Nor shouts of a triumph train;
I go down to kiss the dregs of woe,
And drink up the Cup of Pain.

And whether a scaffold or crucifix waits
'Neath the light of my silver star,
I know and I care not: I only know
I shall pause not though it be far.

Though a crucified life or an agonized death,
Though long, or quick and sharp,
I am firmly wrought in the endless thread
Of Destiny's woof and warp.

And I do not shrink, though a wave of pain
Sobs over me now and then,
As I think of those "saddest of all sad words,"
The pitiful "might have been."

"It might have been"— it is not to be;
And the tones of your "swan's farewell"
Ring sadly, solemnly deep to me
Like the voice of a sobbing bell.

Ay, gather your petals and take them back
To the dead heart under the dew;
And crown it again with the red love bloom,
For the dead are always true.

But go not "back to the sediment"
In the slime of the moaning sea,
For a better world belongs to you,
And a better friend to me.
Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made.
The Third Notebook, December 4, 1917
Once upon the time, I worked for an organization named "Department of the Citizens' Safety". It was in a different time, in a different country, and I had not had a chance to say no - I knew computers, a few Western languages, and had passed (or failed) a bunch of IQ and psychology test. I had barely gotten my first star, and had only a few missions under my belt when the government fell, and I found myself out on my ass, forbidden from holding any government jobs at a time when the only legal jobs were either government, or you had to create them yourself.

I'm fine now. I am neither dead, nor in organized crime, the way three quarters of my colleagues ended up. I know, now, that I was working for some pretty evil people, and what I was doing was pretty evil. I have pretended being a priest, and wiped my ass with the secret of confession, I have infiltrated literary clubs, and framed the most brilliant of their members for not-so-petty crimes, and I even killed in the line of duty once. It's all in the past, and I'm not even bothering to hide my IP - if you find out who I am, I'll just tell you that I was making shit up - on the internet, no one knows you are a dog.

That said. Never in my life, not before, not since, had I felt that my life was so simple, that what I was doing was so right, that I was going to bed with such a clear conscience. And of course, never have I felt as powerful and untouchable, but that's a much easier state to achieve.

When you work for this kind of organization, there is a support structure, a camaraderie, an atmosphere that insures that you are either out before you actually start, or that you are happy and confident with what you are doing, and the only real people are your colleagues. Well, at least it was for me, then. But I doubt the US NSA is testing, vetting, training and supporting their personnel less than my old country did in the late eighties.
First and foremost we must not meet the gaze of the SS officer.

The wetness of the eye, the ability to judge, this is what tempts to kill. One has to be smooth, not interesting, already numb. Everybody is carrying their eyes in front of them like a hazard.
"The human race"
He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.