While this article is mainly about Dems in California it speaks volumes about the national party also. Personally, I feel the Dems lost their core 20 years ago with Clinton and the DLC goons….like Harold Ford Jr.
College of Political Knowledge
Yesterday’s post on philosophy/ideology set the stage for today’s post………
After a national election I like to look back and to see what was going on in the campaigns……not that anyone gives a crap, but I do and that is all that matters……..they say hindsight is 20/20……but to learn nothing from the past is to make certain that it will happen again and the failures will continue exponentially……after the last campaigns I started seeing a return of a psychological technique ….not that it any different with each campaign but that this past one was a blatant illustration of a time worn tactic called…….propaganda.
I know only authoritarian regimes use this tactic to get their way and to keep the people ignorant….we can always point to Nazi Germany and the old USSR and China in the days of Mao as prime examples of this technique……but scoff if you will…..it is present in this country as well and especially during a political season……in an attempt to win friends and influence voters tactics are used….tactics that were honed in the days of Nazi Germany.
It is nothing new….it is new if one sits down and analyzes the world of politics…….even democratic politics is NO stranger to the technique of controlling the information that is ear marked for the voter……
But first…..what is meant by propaganda?
It is a noun……..
- Information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
- The dissemination of such information as a political strategy.
Think back at the last campaign…..take your favorite candidate……his/her team used the tactics of propaganda to make their candidate more appealing…..bet you think this is all so much hokum…..right?
Let us look at the seven (7) different tactics employed when using propaganda as a political tool…….
Assertion is commonly used in advertising and modern propaganda. An assertion is an enthusiastic or energetic statement presented as a fact, although it is not necessarily true. They often imply that the statement requires no explanation or back up, but that it should merely be accepted without question. Examples of assertion, although somewhat scarce in wartime propaganda, can be found often in modern advertising propaganda. Any time an advertiser states that their product is the best without providing evidence for this, they are using an assertion. The subject, ideally, should simply agree to the statement without searching for additional information or reasoning. Assertions, although usually simple to spot, are often dangerous forms of propaganda because they often include falsehoods or lies.
Bandwagon is one of the most common techniques in both wartime and peacetime and plays an important part in modern advertising. Bandwagon is also one of the seven main propaganda techniques identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1938. Bandwagon is an appeal to the subject to follow the crowd, to join in because others are doing so as well. Bandwagon propaganda is, essentially, trying to convince the subject that one side is the winning side, because more people have joined it. The subject is meant to believe that since so many people have joined, that victory is inevitable and defeat impossible. Since the average person always wants to be on the winning side, he or she is compelled to join in. However, in modern propaganda, bandwagon has taken a new twist. The subject is to be convinced by the propaganda that since everyone else is doing it, they will be left out if they do not. This is, effectively, the opposite of the other type of bandwagon, but usually provokes the same results. Subjects of bandwagon are compelled to join in because everyone else is doing so as well. When confronted with bandwagon propaganda, we should weigh the pros and cons of joining in independently from the amount of people who have already joined, and, as with most types of propaganda, we should seek more information.
Card stacking, or selective omission, is one of the seven techniques identified by the IPA, or Institute for Propaganda Analysis. It involves only presenting information that is positive to an idea or proposal and omitting information contrary to it. Card stacking is used in almost all forms of propaganda, and is extremely effective in convincing the public. Although the majority of information presented by the card stacking approach is true, it is dangerous because it omits important information. The best way to deal with card stacking is to get more information.
Glittering generalities was one of the seven main propaganda techniques identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1938. It also occurs very often in politics and political propaganda. Glittering generalities are words that have different positive meaning for individual subjects, but are linked to highly valued concepts. When these words are used, they demand approval without thinking, simply because such an important concept is involved. For example, when a person is asked to do something in “defense of democracy” they are more likely to agree. The concept of democracy has a positive connotation to them because it is linked to a concept that they value. Words often used as glittering generalities are honor, glory, love of country, and especially in the United States, freedom. When coming across with glittering generalities, we should especially consider the merits of the idea itself when separated from specific words.
Lesser of Two Evils:
The “lesser of two evils” technique tries to convince us of an idea or proposal by presenting it as the least offensive option. This technique is often implemented during wartime to convince people of the need for sacrifices or to justify difficult decisions. This technique is often accompanied by adding blame on an enemy country or political group. One idea or proposal is often depicted as one of the only options or paths. When confronted with this technique, the subject should consider the value of any proposal independently of those it is being compared with.
Name calling occurs often in politics and wartime scenarios, but very seldom in advertising. It is another of the seven main techniques designated by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis. It is the use of derogatory language or words that carry a negative connotation when describing an enemy. The propaganda attempts to arouse prejudice among the public by labeling the target something that the public dislikes. Often, name calling is employed using sarcasm and ridicule, and shows up often in political cartoons or writings. When examining name calling propaganda, we should attempt to separate our feelings about the name and our feelings about the actual idea or proposal.
Pinpointing the enemy is used extremely often during wartime, and also in political campaigns and debates. This is an attempt to simplify a complex situation by presenting one specific group or person as the enemy. Although there may be other factors involved the subject is urged to simply view the situation in terms of clear-cut right and wrong. When coming in contact with this technique, the subject should attempt to consider all other factors tied into the situation. As with almost all propaganda techniques, the subject should attempt to find more information on the topic. An informed person is much less susceptible to this sort of propaganda.
The plain folks propaganda technique was another of the seven main techniques identified by the IPA, or Institute for Propaganda Analysis. The plain folks device is an attempt by the propagandist to convince the public that his views reflect those of the common person and that they are also working for the benefit of the common person. The propagandist will often attempt to use the accent of a specific audience as well as using specific idioms or jokes. Also, the propagandist, especially during speeches, may attempt to increase the illusion through imperfect pronunciation, stuttering, and a more limited vocabulary. Errors such as these help add to the impression of sincerity and spontaneity. This technique is usually most effective when used with glittering generalities, in an attempt to convince the public that the propagandist views about highly valued ideas are similar to their own and therefore more valid. When confronted by this type of propaganda, the subject should consider the proposals and ideas separately from the personality of the presenter.
Simplification is extremely similar to pinpointing the enemy, in that it often reduces a complex situation to a clear-cut choice involving good and evil. This technique is often useful in swaying uneducated audiences. When faced with simplification, it is often useful to examine other factors and pieces of the proposal or idea, and, as with all other forms of propaganda, it is essential to get more information.
Testimonials are another of the seven main forms of propaganda identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis. Testimonials are quotations or endorsements, in or out of context, which attempt to connect a famous or respectable person with a product or item. Testimonials are very closely connected to the transfer technique, in that an attempt is made to connect an agreeable person to another item. Testimonials are often used in advertising and political campaigns. When coming across testimonials, the subject should consider the merits of the item or proposal independently of the person of organization giving the testimonial.
Transfer is another of the seven main propaganda terms first used by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1938. Transfer is often used in politics and during wartime. It is an attempt to make the subject view a certain item in the same way as they view another item, to link the two in the subjects mind. Although this technique is often used to transfer negative feelings for one object to another, it can also be used in positive ways. By linking an item to something the subject respects or enjoys, positive feelings can be generated for it. However, in politics, transfer is most often used to transfer blame or bad feelings from one politician to another of his friends or party members, or even to the party itself. When confronted with propaganda using the transfer technique, we should question the merits or problems of the proposal or idea independently of convictions about other objects or proposals.
Scoff if you will but take any campaign ad, either party, and apply these techniques and see if they are employing propaganda……I know most people will look at this and apply it to the opponent of their personal candidate….but that is stupid…..DO IT with ALL campaigns……you will see that you, as a voter are being played to control the outcome of the election….it is about power….NOT DEMOCRACY!
This is just a form of indoctrination…..and the sad part is we are assisting the powers that be in the total conditioning of ourselves….it is not a forced indoctrination….we gladly volunteer to be played…..we gladly allow ourselves to be fed erroneous information that has consequences that we in turn blame on our political opponents….it is sick and pathetic.
Print this out and save it for future use…….vet your candidates well….do NOT accept the line that they are out for your concerns….they are NOT! Be an informed voter and this country will prosper….but continue being played by both sides and this country is on the road to ruin…..I may be wasting my time but I feel I must try to help the voter understand what is happening and why……please learn the issues, both sides of the argument, if you settle for one side, the side that you think makes you feel warm and fuzzy because someone has told you what you want to hear….then you are not doing the country any good and are definitely screwing yourself in the end (and that is not a play on words)…….
I was sent this in an email…I am not sure from who….but if this steps on toes I am sorry…..let me know and I will give credit……
A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”
The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.
“She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be an Obama Democrat.”
“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”
“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”
The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Republican.”
“I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”
“Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”
Oh, there is so much more to be said….but I will let this stand on its own……Good One!
When I saw my title I immediately thought of the John Lennon song, “Working Class Hero”…not one of his most famous songs but, in my opinion, it was his best!
I see my friend and loyal reader over at Spinny Liberal (my blogroll will get you her site…visit often) beat me to the punch or maybe it is just great minds think alike….
Years ago when I was much younger I was asked to participate in a scholars conference on the campus of the Univ. of Louisville….I was asked because I had lectured on the shortcomings in the theory of non-violent action….I was not a big hit because most of the academics that were there were big admirers of Gandhi, King, et al….and thought that they had changed the world….my point was that these people set stuff into motion but it was the people that actually made their goals happen…I take nothing away from those that I criticized…… very brave and influential people…..anyway I was asked simply because even though I was educated I worked at blue collar jobs and the panel wanted a different perspective and I was introduced as a “blue collar intellectual”…at first I was uneasy with that title but as the conference moved along I became rather fond of it……I really got a hateful reception when I accused my fellow panel members of neglect…..I said that NO change will come from the bottom up because the academics and intellectuals talk to each other and not the people….they spend their time writing and talking with colleagues, using terminology that the average person has No idea what they are talking about….and because of that disconnect the average person basically ignores them as much as possible…..and that most people do not walking around with a Thesaurus in their pockets……..as you can see….I was not that popular of a speaker (but I got over it)……and after years and years of research and activism….not much has changed….the people still do not understand much of what the so-called intellectuals have to say…..Intellectuals and academics seem to lack passion, they have plenty to say in their writings, but they lack the fire of passion for what they say or write….and there is the major disconnect they have with the people they try to influence……
I tell this tale because of a recent test I took I found on a site listed on my blogroll, Plutocrap (go to right of site click on the site and visit) and after it was tallied up I was a “Working Class Warrior” and I guess that pretty much goes with the title I got decades ago….You are a Working Class Warrior, also known as a blue-collar Democrat. You believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore. (So says the quiz at the top of the post)…..
I have almost always called myself a “radical progressive”…..by the classical definition of both, not some PC terminology…….radical meaning….political orientation of those who favor revolutionary change in government and society and progressive meaning……political orientation of those who favor progress toward better conditions in government and society….and the word revolutionary does NOT imply armed conflict, just a new way of thinking and acting….
There is NOTHING progressive about the current administration of Obama and at best…. it is a bit liberal….but in rhetoric only…..the change you voted for is NOT gonna happen…..
If you would like to see what your title would be if you would like one (and we all like an ego boost every now and then)…..take the test at the top of the page and see what type of progressive or liberal or whatever you would like to call yourself….it is a short and easy test and will take not much more than 5 minutes to take…try it, you will like it!
College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Political Theory/Government/Conservatism
Shall we return to sanity? The elections are over and now we need to return to reality…….
Neo-conservative or as we call them today, NEOCONS….why? Apparently we are too damn lazy to say the whole phrase and must shorten it for our personal ease…..
I have come to a point where I am sick of people calling themselves conservatives when they are not really…..they do not believe, for instance, they feel that American society is breaking down because of sexual liberation, multiculturalism, political correctness and a culture of dependency. Neocons believe that other countries are envious of the democracy in the US….and that it is the US place in history to , basically, thrust democracy on others, willing or not…..G.W. Bush is a good example of neo-conservative thinking….he had a strong conviction to advance American values (whatever those are)….he had a ruthless pursuit of American interests, no matter the course and exploited the politics of fear to justify any and all actions…….
Okay let us look at this more simply…..the “new” NeoCons…the Teabaggers….have many of the same leanings as their predecessors……traditionalism, authoritarianism, social order, traditional values (there is that word again), strong state, these are the things that most of the “newbies” in Washington are yelling about…..it is there way or the highway and that will eliminate any compromise to get the country moving again……social order which will be tested if these people get their way in the next couple of years…..well you get my point here…..
My problem with this whole movement is that hey are incoherent in their policy stands….there seems to be NO ideology or said principles….they have attached themselves to anger to win a position in Washington…that does not bide well for the American people….no matter how angry the electorate is voting from anger in place of knowledge is just plain ignorant and self-defeating……
Gandhi was right when he observed: “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.” Pretty much proves my point….at least in the recent past.
College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Political Theory/Government
As always one post leads to another…..I had one a few months back about the political obligation (go to search, if you are interested) of the individual to his/her society….after re-reading it I realized that there was another part of that issue and that is political socialization….I know…..I know…HUH?
Well my question was intended to create a dialog as to whether we, as Americans, have an obligation to participate in the political system (check it out)………if you think we do have an obligation, then where do we learn of this obligation?
Well, we learn it in Civics class or American government 101 or……….and that process of learning is known as “political socialization”…..
Political socialization is basically, the process by which political culture is transmitted from generation to generation.
Back in the day….the beginning of the country our political socialization was the domain of the family…the children would learn the where fores and whys around the dinner table and by listening to the conversations of the men folk….as the children grew he was to continue the process as did his father or brothers or uncles or……
Then as more and more children were being educated the schools became the second line of learning the process of political socialization…the indoctrination was through the study of civics and American history…
Now the more recent development….since most families have both parents working hard and spending less time with the children, their primary political education comes more from caregivers and the media…TV and the internet……and then the political socialization continues through out ones life….but today the teachers of this socialization are from religious leaders or interests groups or TV or …well you understand the concept…..all this leads to the participation in the political process and how one votes…….
Now the problem as I see it is that many people have NO ideology, with the exception of some emotional thing that has NO real bearing on governance…..so they become an independent, if you will, meaning that they will pick and choose among the lists of issues from one party or the other…..and mostly about what is best for them not what is best for the country……at times, there is a difference……and that they make their decisions based on what some talking head tells them is the issue of the campaign…I do not mind a staunch supporter of one party over another….just that they seldom hold to the principles that they say are important….but rather vote for some caricature that some entertainer paints for them….seldom checking for the accuracy of the idea……
For instance this past election, the 2010 election, people voted for lower taxes, to create economic growth and that they think that the TARP was a failure…….the sad part is……The facts: The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, has overseen an economy that has grown for the past four quarters and expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall Street banks.
The American voter is sadly uninformed and politicians and the media are to blame…..but the final judgment is on the voter to check for the truthfulness of facts given to them by their leaders….something that they unwilling or incapable of doing……and the political system dies…..
College of Political Knowledge
Subject: American History
Lots and lots of talk about changing the American Constitution….some want to change the 14th amendment to attack illegals….others want the 17th amendment repealed so that senators are elected by state legislatures…then others worry about the 10th amendment and the beat goes on and on……some are even attacking the 1st amendment and the right to religion……..
But do these idiots really want to change the Constitution or is it just playing a game at election time? More likely it is all a game…..just very bad political theater of the absurd……but unfortunately it IS election time and weird little a/holes are going to find a way to re-direct the attention of the electorate…
To begin with….do you really know what a constitution really is? And NO Irene it is NOT a piece of paper that one pulls out for political expediency…..it is the RULES of the land…like it or not….it is the way the country is governed….
But what is a constitution, really? Just in case the document is a bit fuzzy for you…..a constitution is a set of fundamental rules by which a country governs…..among these are establishes powers and responsibilities of the sections of government……allocates power……gives the rights of the citizens…..and stipulates the process by which the document may be amended.
Now with the constitution defined how to interpret…….there are constructionalist who read the intent of those who wrote it and then the strict constructionalists that say that the framers had NO other intent other than the way it was written.
Now with all that said…I am a strict constructionalist……the framers meant the document to stand as is without any tampering and that it is NOT open to interpretation. Meaning that when part of it is inconvenient that it cannot be changed or re-interpreted. So I find that the party that claims to be all about the Constitution has offered up 42 amendments ion 2010, to change the Constitution or repeal parts of it. I do realize that the amendment process is how changes occur but the repealing of parts that are not convenient is sad……I mean the repealing of the 10th, 14th and 17th amendments is just political games and then to say that others should never be considered for repealing like the 2nd.
To me……stick with the way it is written or scrap it and start over like so many states have done in the past.
College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Political Theory/Politics/
A loyal reader of Info Ink inspired this post, Quin of Quintessential Havoc (blogroll will get you to this insightful blog….visit soon and often)…..
Tis the season to be jolly…….wait!….that is Christmas. But if you are a political junkie then this is truly the season to be jolly…it is the silly season…..American elections….Americans have a truly f*cked up political system….millions spent on primaries and caucuses and then million upon millions spent in the general election….and this NEVER stops…as soon as one is elected then one starts working on one’s re-election….a continuous cycle of political activity…not really activity….just political ambition.
Political activity? I am Not talking about the silly partisan crap that Washington dines on daily….not talking about showing off one’s tan or chastising the Left or screaming about death panels or where someone is born……NONE of this is true political activity…..more like petty bullsh*t.
Then Professor, what is true political activity?
True political activity requires the formation of ideas, the construction of arguments, the capacity to understand where the people are on any given issue, the recognition of human nature and the explanation of the solutions to problems And then the defense of the stand on the issues…this is political activity and this is sadly missing in our political system today.
Just look at the goings on in Washington….does nay of it resemble political activity in the least? Of course, I does NOT! What we have in Washington today is partisan BS, obstructionism and a total break down in the political American system….Washington is at a standstill…..that standstill does NOTHING to improve the lives of the people in this country…it does however improve the lives and bank accounts of the people we have elected to represent us.
The American people need to wake up to the facts…..no matter which side of the spectrum you are on……NOTHING is working properly in Washington….and these are the people that YOU elected…maybe it is time to start paying attention and time to elect people who will work for the country and not just themselves……JUST A THOUGHT!