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Friday, December 14, 2007

Inbox Propaganda

It's a little ironic that I can't tell you how important language is. Instead, I have to show you. The power of propaganda is so strong that both the Holocaust and Kim Il Sung still have fans. The monster Saddam Hussein was a fan of the monster Joseph Stalin. It's not a huge leap of logic to assume that this was, at least in part, a result of Stalinist propaganda. Propaganda is bastardized communication. Words are thoughts -- and these thoughts can be viral.

As reasoning beings, we rely on words. We speak in words. We write in words. We read in words. We think in words.

And so, on the subject of words, I give you this email I got from the Republican party -- helpfully republished at Blog for Oregon:

The radical Left is at it again!

This time is demanding that Congress cut funding for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The blame-America-first crowd wants the Democrat senators running for president to block the bill that funds our troops fighting the War on Terror if it doesn't include a surrender date.

In September, viciously attacked our generals and our troops by running a full page newspaper ad assailing the integrity of our top military commander in Iraq, General Petraeus.

[Wisco], playing politics with the lives of the men and women who protect our nation is wrong. The money that supports them as they fight for our country should not be held hostage by a few radical leftists who pull the strings of the Democrat leadership.

It's more than a little sad that all the GOP has left to run against is The party of Lincoln has become the party against some online lefties. But look at how many buzz-phrases are in this fundraising appeal. It's amazing. In the very first sentence, it's not the "radical left," it's the "radical Left" -- "Left" has become a proper noun, like a dangerous foreign power.

We're warned against the "The blame-America-first crowd" -- despite the fact that we invaded a damned country. Seriously, who's fault would that be? Were we tricked into a quagmire? Apparently, the Republican party would have us believe that we were forced to invade and occupy Iraq. They would also have us believe that George W. Bush is America, in the same way that Queen Elizabeth is Britain. After all, it was Bush who got us into this mess, but wanting out means you "blame-America-first" -- therefore, Bush=America.

I kind of think we fought a damned war -- the first war we ever fought -- to free ourselves of that kind of thinking. Silly me.

The thing is just so filled with crap. Seriously, a "surrender date?" Surrender to whom? Entropy? Because that's what we're fighting in Iraq. We're fighting the collapse of a nation. The whole thing's falling down around our ears because we decided it would be a good idea to change the Iraqi government. And changing the government means removing the government, which means anarchy. Call me a "blame-America-firster" -- with the GOP equation of Bush and America -- but it seems to me that this is all "America's" fault.

Propaganda works by renaming everything. The Democratic party becomes the "Democrat party," because it sounds stupid and clumsy and wrong. The occupation of Iraq is the "War on Terror," as if "Terror" has a mailing address in Baghdad. And, with a clear majority opposing the war in Iraq, most Americans can be described as "a few radical leftists who pull the strings of the Democrat leadership."

Talk about blaming America first.

Republicans receiving this appeal should be insulted. I used to be a fundraiser, I know about appeals. This one assumes you're freakin' stupid. And it's far too typical of an email from the GOP. It tells you what to think and what to feel and who to be afraid of. It tells you which Americans are real Americans and which are enemies. It tells you who's you're damned daddy.

And, as I say, it's entirely typical. Today's GOP isn't for thinkers -- trust the party to do all your thinking for you. You've got other stuff to do. Go fight your local War on Christmas and leave the Global War on Terror to them.

The email goes on to warn us that is "raising tens of millions of dollars to put a Liberal like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the White House." If this happens, the Global War on Terror is doomed and America will be left a smoking ruin. Think of the ending of Planet of the Apes -- "They did it, they finally did it, they blew it up!"

There's only one way to stop the end of the freakin' world:

That's why I'm asking you to make an urgent online contribution of $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $25 to the RNC today to help fight back against the Liberal forces working to weaken our national security.

Did I mention that propaganda appeals to fear, while patriotism appeals to courage?

I didn't?

Allow me to correct that oversight; propaganda appeals to fear, while patriotism appeals to courage.

And that's why states that rely on propaganda eventually fail. Everyone -- including the true believers -- is too afraid to fight for the state. You can be a propagandist, but you can't be a courageous propagandist.

It's just a contradiction in terms.


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