For only $25.00 you too can have from the official Obama campaign store a portrait of Fearless Leader with his campaign slogan Forward! Sheesh! If the Obama campaign must steal a Nazi slogan, the least they could do is come up with an updated version of the old Hitler Jugend Vorwarts! Vorwarts!
An environmental confederation in the UK got the talented screenwriter Richard Curtis to produce a short film, ironically called No Pressure, for the 10:10 campaign, an effort to remind people to do their part in reducing carbon emission 10% by 2010 AD.
Unfortunately for the environmental movement the film backfired because it reinforced the image that beneath the surface environmentalists will do anything once in power to make it compulsory to follow their vision for the future, which includes violence.
This past week, I began reading the novel 1984. For those who have not read it, it is a futuristic novel describing a society that lives under the rule of a totalitarian government described as “the Party.” The government controls and monitors every aspect of human life and even practices historical revisionism quite literally—burning books and re-writing history—to have everything reflect whatever it (the government) happens to be saying. The agencies within the government are all a blatant contradiction. The Ministers of Truth re-write history and instigate direct government propaganda through always-on “telescreens” found literally everywhere in society that don’t turn off; the Ministers of Peace advocate war; the Ministers of Plenty plan economic shortages, and the Ministers of Love carries out the government’s “corrective” punishment and torture of its rebellious citizens.
In one scene, there is a Hate rally (which occurs regularly to inspire hatred within the people for the enemies of the Party) and at the rally the Party shifts its diplomatic allegiance, so the nation it has been warring with is suddenly its ally, and the former ally is now the enemy. Despite the obvious contradiction when the speaker changes the nation he refers to as the enemy during his speech, the crowd simply accepts the change without question and even is embarrassed that they brought wrong signs to the event. Just in the same way people accept the ministries conducted by the Party aforementioned even though they blatantly contradict their titles in their action. What is with the collective intellectual schizophrenia? How can people look right passed the most obvious facts? This theme that runs throughout 1984 is about a troublesome little tendency to believe or argue for some truth that obviously and patently contradicts other truths.
In the ongoing health care debate, this same sort of schizophrenia has come about. I almost shouted “yes!” in a public library when finally I saw the political contradiction pointed out in the Washington Post:
After years of trying to cut Medicare spending, Republican lawmakers have emerged as champions of the program, accusing Democrats of trying to steal from the elderly to cover the cost of health reform. Continue reading
I have had it with the debate over the language used to describe abortion.
The argument that the language of the pro-life movement is responsible for the death of George Tiller is preposterous nonsense. It reduces us to nothing but objects pushed about by the forces of propaganda.
The truth is that one does not need propaganda to become outraged to the point of homicide; one can simply look up the details of what the procedure of abortion involves, particularly the partial-birth abortions performed by Tiller. The cold hard facts, regardless of any political spin or the additional words of any commentator, is quite sufficient.
Joseph Susanka of Inside Catholic posted about an account of Pope Benedict’s speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Apparently, some Jews are upset that the Pope did not ‘apologize’ for the Church’s alleged complacency and indifference during the Holocaust. They also wanted the Pope to apologize on behalf of Germany, as a German.
These expectations, demands, and the outrage that follows when they are not met, are preposterous. Most of it revolves around the ‘Pius Wars’, claims that Pope Pius XII was either indifferent to, or worse, complicit in the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people. The historical record reveals the falsehood of this claim. How is it that in 1943 the following statement could appear in TIME magazine?
But no matter what critics might say, it is scarcely deniable that the Church Apostolic, through the encyclicals and other papal pronouncements, has been fighting against totalitarianism more knowingly, devoutly and authoritatively, and for a longer time, than any other organized power.
Darwin’s Progaganda Post has inspired me to post Make Mine Freedom, a cautionary tale from 1948 of what can happen when people exchange freedom for promises of endless government largesse. Interesting now as a cultural artifact from the forties, I think it also makes fairly shrewd observations of how different segments of society can be quite willing to make a faustian bargain with government if the promises made by snakeoil salesmen running for office are grandiose enough. Obviously anti-Communist and pro-capitalist propaganda it does tell one glaring truth: the bigger the government the smaller the freedom over the long run.
Various sides of our modern political spectrum often thrown around the term “propaganda”. I’ve had it explained to me by those on both the far left and far right that our news media is nothing but propaganda. In the process, we perhaps forget what real propaganda looks like. While looking up vintage Donald Duck cartoons for the kids, I ran across this little gem about the importance of paying your taxes. (The IRS did not yet have the power to do withholding during WW2, and so government revenues relied upon people actually handing over money to the government at intervals through the year.)
Of course, this is incredibly mild compared to the propaganda put out by communist and fascist regimes during the 30s and 40s. But next time someone tells you that the Bush era was dominated by knee jerk patriotism and propaganda, consider the FDR era by comparison.