Oh! Now I understand...

When I heard segments of the Republican National Convention--especially the speeches of Zell Miller and Dick Cheney and the Ronald-Reagan-Saved-My-Life testimonials--they made me wonder "why are they talking like that?" Miller was extremely repetitive; Cheney was much more measured and careful than usual and didn't swear at other senators under his breath; the testimonials seemed silly--of course Reagan himself had little to do personally with various people "getting ahead." He just happened to be president. So I didn't get it at first. But then I stumbled across a helpful historical document that I thought I should share with you. It helped me make sense of the whole thing.

Guidelines for Propaganda

To introduce propaganda, we begin with the most important passages from our Fuhrer Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf. In Chapter 6 titled "War Propaganda," he writes: "Propaganda is a means and must be evaluated as such, from the standpoint of the goal." "It has always to speak only to the masses." "The task of propaganda lies not in the scientific training of the individual, rather in drawing the attention of the masses to certain facts, events, necessities, etc...." "It is wrong to want to give propaganda the multi-sidedness of scientific instruction." "...Effective propaganda must limit its points of a few and these points must be repeated until even the last member of the audience understands what is meant by them." "It must limit itself to a few themes and repeat them incessantly." "Each change must never affect the content of propaganda, rather must always draw the same conclusions." The Fuhrer wrote these words as a judgment about war propaganda, and they are even more true today than they were then. The only difference today for us National Socialists is that we are not propagandizing lies and untruths as England did during the War, rather we are preaching freedom and prosperity, socialism and patriotism to our confused people. Our struggle and our propaganda have one supreme principle: to take truth and only truth as the foundation of our propaganda.
Source: Propaganda Abteilung, Propaganda (Munich: Reichs-Parteileitung der N.S.D.A.P., 1927).


Blogger John McCollum said...

Yeah. I was beyond non-plussed. I was minused.

Zell Miller made a mystifying comment that went something like: "How dare the Democrats dishonor our boys in Iraq and Afghanistan by trying to tear down our Commander and Chief in a time of war?"

Um, like, run an campaign? I suppose they should just concede, or at least offer to put off the election -- and maybe the constitution -- indefinitely until Bush's 'War on Terr' has been won?

I dunno. The whole thing definitely didn't appeal to me.

The fact remains, though, that Kerry/Edwards are both rabidly pro-abortion, which makes them as apalling and disgusting as Bush/Cheney who are rabidly anti-life in so many other spheres.

9/02/2004 7:14 AM  
Blogger Scott Sloan said...

John and E, I agree. I listened to most of Cheney's speech. It was very calculated, and he kept repeating points.

What do you all think about what is happening in Southern Russia with the hostage situation?

9/02/2004 7:25 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

I think it sucks.

9/02/2004 8:51 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

reminds me of the "framing" meme from a little while back, which pointed out that republicans are masters of framing the national conversation in such a way that it progresses naturally to the detriment of the democrats.

or of the 'luntz memo,' written by a marketing research company to suggest wording that republicans can use to present unpopular agendas in a less threatening, more appealing way (ie, instead of "global warming," consistently say "climate change").

propaganda, framing, marketing... why are politicians blatant about their attempts to manipulate my pov?

9/02/2004 10:22 AM  
Blogger e said...

if we're going to get really post-modern about it (and I'm not suggesting we should), then the language framed by the powerful is--at least in a sense--the lingua franca. in other words, we all will speak the language of the powerful eventually because they have power and we don't.

i'm not sure i buy that argument, but i do think it's interesting that the nazis hit upon the same idea and used it with devastating effectiveness throughout the 1930s and 40s. we think that because there is not blatant racism in america today that we're not subject to the same "might makes right" propaganda.

9/02/2004 11:22 AM  
Blogger Roja said...

The speeches hit the UK Shores and are much talked about in the Staffroom at my school. However, I have heard nothing positive, and the general thought is that it is all "a load of bollocks that only Americans could ever get away with" (according to Mr Henry - outspoken perverted English Lit teacher). I am glad I am in a country that may act inexcusably but does not generate utter turdity through media campaigns with cheese-factor 10.

9/02/2004 3:37 PM  

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