Consumer Politics and Propaganda
A new kind of politics is being practiced in America with new and old forms of propaganda. I call it consumer politics. It begins with party leaders looking for special interest groups that can support their party. Then they try to sell themselves to the group as the party that can get them what they want. In essence, the party leadership is looking for consumers that will buy their leadership with their vote. When the party finds their consumers, they then begin the propaganda to get the rest of the party to support the new special interest group. Once they have enough of the party faithful convinced, they move on to try to win the sympathy of the general public. Of course, at the same time, looking for more special interest groups so they can buy their votes; as time goes on the available groups get smaller and their issue gets more and more absurd.
One of the most effective forms of propaganda used by the party leaders is for them to get the party members to view the special interest group that is come on board as the underdog. By making the new special interest the underdog you can manipulate the emotions of people and make an appeal to their compassion while demonizing the opposition. With this technique, you can actually make the party faithful feel virtuous when supporting evil. Once this underdog value system is set up in the minds of people, all other values will take a back seat. We see an extreme case of this in some Americans who view the terrorist as underdogs and therefore come to their defense. The question to these folks is no longer who is right or wrong or what is good or evil, but who is the underdog? The underdog is always right, and the overdog is always wrong. This form of propaganda is especially affective by those involved in class warfare. In class warfare, the overdogs, who are the rich are demonized except for the one on the underdogs’ team.
Both the Nazis and the Communists used underdog propaganda to further their agenda. The Nazis made the Jews the over dogs that controlled all the money and the medical profession and the German people were betrayed as the underdogs. This gave the right and yes, the obligation to deal with this problem. Of course, Hitler came up with the final solution. The Communists used the same tactic on the rich and finally on the middle class, making them overdogs that the proletariat had to hate and overthrow.
Another form of manipulation is to subtlely change the subject without letting your opponent and the audience knowing it. To do this effectively the new subject must be emotionally charged and have a personal interest and benefit to the people you are trying to manipulate. The best example of this is the abortion issue. The debate was changed from abortion and when life starts, to woman’s rights. This change in subject effectively closed the debate for the party faithful which now feel justified that they and their party are the virtuous ones for protecting women’s rights, even while being responsible for millions of abortions.
The pro-abortion movement was also aided by throwing into the mix lifeboat ethics, which basically used the fear of overpopulation to promote and justify abortion and at the same time giving people the feeling that they were saving the world by supporting abortion. Lifeboat ethics propaganda was used intensely in the sixties to sway a whole party into supporting abortion even though it was contrary to their religious beliefs, which demonstrates the power of propaganda that is based on our fears and selfishness.
These forms of propaganda are being used by the gay rights movement. They effectively changed the subject from a moral question to a civil rights issue with the help of a political party that wanted their support. They then marketed the idea that they were the underdogs, being discriminated against as the blacks. They accomplished this through their party and the help of the media, even though gay’s educational lever is higher than the average American and their income is much higher than the average American. However, once you win the underdog status you cannot lose in American. We love the underdog even if he is wrong.
Still another example of supporting the underdog whether right or wrong is the conflict between the nation of Israel and the Arab nations around them. When Israel was viewed as the underdog everyone was on their side. However, when the issue was changed from the nations around them to the Palestinians who were viewed as the underdogs, many turned against Israel even though in many cases Israel was right morally.
What does this do to people and political parties? It puts a political party into the category of a religion, a place that no political party should occupy. In essence, the party begins to shape people’s values and their loyalties through its propaganda. I personally know a number of people that put their parties’ platform before their religious teachings. Having your party serve as your religion also allows people to get a feeling of rightness for supporting the party no matter what the party is doing. This is exactly what happened in Germany and Russia. It seems to me that a feeling of righteousness should come from doing good, not from being a member of a political party. Lyle