At SMBIVA, Michael Smith laments one of NPR's recent calm, levelheaded discussions of attacking Iran. Crazy death covered in frosting and dollar-store bathroom scent-spray, yes.
The question for the long game is one of timing. Humans spent centuries cheerfully butchering one another in honest ways. Leaders would say "We are the best, they are the worst, now let's kill them and drink their blood and take their stuff." And people would cheer, and there would be wars, and it would suck.
Now, the same essential message is delivered, but in a way of enough subtle difference that it's not really the same message, depending on how you look at it. Calm, reasonable people speak in quiet voices about the murder, suggesting that it's for protection and saving the bombed pieces of meat. They have cheap explanations for why it's different than, say, Hitler, but more importantly, they never put out Triumph of the Will; the tone is always quiet respectability.
The greater part of imperial citizens still buy this, so the question is, how long will this phase last in historical terms? Hitler wouldn't get very far in politics today; he'd be regarded as a kook for being so blunt and honest about his feelings on racial superiority and genocide. He'd need to polish up his appearance like this in order to deliver the same message with the variables switched out. So, how many years until people stop buying it, and demand a different kind of pill?
A more interesting question, though, is what form the next mutation will take. E.g., once leaders baldly advocated violent nationalism, where now they conceal violent nationalism behind humanitarian facades. When enough people start to realize the leaders and their media tools are just talking about murder and theft using nice words and quiet voices, what new form will the leaders' presentations take? How will they win people over and keep business going? To a pacifist 100 years ago, it might've seemed unbelievable that a killer like Obama could still be giving speeches about mass murder in 2012 to a wealthy, comparatively well-educated populace. Yet here we are. What'll they come up with next?
Gonna be an interesting planet.
Continued here in Words Can Never Define.