March 12, 2005
Motive instead of meaning: an often subtle mark of fascist propaganda
The influence of fascism has been so pervasive that it has become an unconscious part of our civilization. Official Nazism and fascism in Germany and Italy were destroyed. Their methodology of ruling over the minds of the population, though, were lessons that the Allied powers and their servile news media and pundits made their own. To find writing that is inspired by fascism, all you have to do is turn to nearly any mainstream news outlet.
An essential cornerstone of fascist propaganda is the fact that almost any word or concept has both a rational and an emotive significance. Thus “freedom,” for instance, is both the objective state of empowerment that allows a person or group to overcome bounds and obstacles, as well as the emotional state that accompanies the consciousness of not being bound. Fascist propaganda uses these two distinct concepts interchangeably, in order to generate confusion in the audience’s mind between one and the other. The end result, and the final purpose, is that the feeling supplants the concept, and the need for reality is disposed of.
A number of specific tactics are employed to manipulate the emotions and hence neutralize the intellect.
One fascist propaganda tactic is to use different words to describe the same phenomenon, depending on whose interests are being served. Another variant of this tactic is to call things by a name that suits the powers that be, rather than by a name that is an objective description of the objective reality. Thus the US invading army in Iraq are “liberators,” whereas the Syrian peacekeeping forces in Lebanon are “occupiers.”
Another fascist tactic is to make opponents appear to be saying something other than what the opponents are actually saying. This is accomplished through the ascription of negative emotive concepts to the words of the opponents. Hence any criticism of the policies of the State of Israel amounts to callous anti-semitism, and even to denial of the Holocaust.
Another tactic is to pretend to be humanitarian in order to appeal to the audience on an emotional level. Hence all brutality ever perpetrated by the US Government has always been, in fact, for the good of the victims. And it turns out that Bush, after all, was just using weapons of mass destruction as a pretext to liberate the Iraqi people.
Another tactic related to the one above is to pretend to be speaking from some moral high ground. The only purpose that the Bush clan, father and son, have ever had in Iraq has been to get their hands on its oil. Together, they are responsible for more than a million deaths in Iraq (including the half a million children who died as a result of sanctions). The actual nature of the Bush dynasty's project has nearly been buried along with the Iraqi dead. Now Bush Jr travels the world as its Saviour, a veritable Second Coming.
Are you familiar with the theory of Spiral Dynamics? It goes a long way towards helping us understand the seeming insanity of the far right, and can help us refrain from demonizing them, while at the same time shedding light on the deep inadequacy of their "predictably out of touch" responses.
The pity...the pity...
I have a new lead on the same topic that might hit the spheres in the next couple weeks...
One other tactic fascists use is the idea that they're being victimized from within and out. The victim posture allows them to always seem to be acting in defense or for preventative measures when really, they aren't.
Another factor that coincides with this is creating and sustaining the atmosphere of perpetual fear and appeasing that fear with the idea that you need a 'strong leader' or 'strong government' willing to do the dirty work so you can feel safe.
What kills me is that so many people think that bombing other countries will make us safe. I can't for the life of me fathom how that math works out because it would seem that those who are willing to resort to "terror" be it suicide bombing or whatever, are not going to be deterred by the loss of life. If anything, their "cause" will become stronger and more supported because of it.
There's a scene in the film "Hearts and Minds" which is truly telling. A Vietnamese man tells a reporter to go and throw his daughter's shirt in Nixon's face because his bombs killed her.
He said, "What did she ever do to Nixon to make him bomb her? She was just a sweet little girl."
You are absolutely right that the US government is responsible for an insane body count, countless children. What parent would want to correlate their safety or their children's safety with that of the bodies of other children? This "better them than me" attitude that makes people such easy sheep is really what allows fascism to flourish and fascists to call it democracy and call it humanitarian. Bombs cannot possibly be humanitarian when all they do is destroy. Yes people will argue that bombings have helped stop genocide. What those same people forget is the causes of that genocide, the arms trade that allows it to continue and the global apathy that seems most consistent in the ability to cower than to act, and to go along than to ask questions. When we lose our ability to question we have no space for dissent. Without dissent the global power pimps can and will do whatever they wish with their little human assembly line from bombing children into democracy to convincing us that we need MORE damn nuclear weapons and less freedom and less social programs because those are just too costly and they keep the poor willing to remain destitute while the rich have to work so hard for meager tax cuts.
I'm not as cynical as the above rant probably sounds. I just finished reading a truthout.org piece on how the army is now admitting to beating prisoners to death and if I think about how stupid that is and how criminal on ALL accounts, it makes me angry and sad. I suppose it is even more sad to think about how "progressives" are debating amongst themselves (almost betting really) on which country is next on our freedom and democracy list: Syria? Iran? Russia? North Korea?
Have you read the book "Anatomy of Fascism?" If not, I think you'd find it fascinating. peace!
I mean, I wonder if they
a. think the public is really too stupid to care or think critically about the lies they're being told
b. think that they need to lie and lie well to keep the public from asking questions and to silence/ignore/demonize those who will
c. a bit of both?
What do you think?
May I post a link to your blog on my site?
I always like well written political diatribes.
Usually, I don't get very political with my writing, but you do it very well and it should be read.
- looking at the "development of propaganda..."
Who needs the comparisons to Hitler?
If you read the words, the truth is all there...
It is not what they SAY, it is what is NOT said...
Take a look down to my last example - "War on Terror".
Hmmm, perhaps the idea is at last starting to germinate...
Interesting article from brief scan of page 1.
It is like I said...
"Now if I throw in here a series of terms used widely in the media, since about the past 30 years, it should show the links in the chain I am following...
All of these terms have meanings and context outside of the modern "Minitrue"s in everyday language, but they also have very specific meaning and context within the political arena. It is the Minitrue and the political context of these terms (as a collective, not individually) that make the Newspeak of today. You don't think we have Minitrues in place right now? What possible purpose do you imagine the plethora of advisers, analysts, speech writers, press agents, personal assistants and secretaries are for in the administration of pretty well every Head of State? Do you really believe that the conglomerate of staff is there to ensure that you the elector are fully aware of the TRUTH?"
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
Anyone who dismisses Hitler as simply evil or insane (which he was both)misses the lessons. And I am terrified what the next lesson will be if we don't "get it." While symbolic of Evil as a totem, there are many who are just as bad in distant and recent history. Still Hitler and company are well documented. He even wrote a book. We must look at how he succeeded. And he didn't even have the greatest brainwashing tool since religion was invented-TV.
I did use "diatribe" as positively and constructively as possible...thanks for understanding. Perhaps, "fireball" would've been better suited.
Hitler was a sick bastard, but the guy knew how to mobilize people in harmony with his beliefs (however wrong they were). What really scares the shit out of me is the president seems to have the same characteristc.
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