There are seven tools when using propaganda that all good Joseph Goebbels know. They are:
- Name-calling: Giving something or someone a bad label to make the audience reject it or without examining the evidence.
- Glittering: The opposite of name calling, its giving something or someone a positive image without, again, actually looking at the evidence.
- Card Stacking: The selective use of facts and half-truths.
- Bandwagoning: Don’t you want to be part of the “in-crowd?”
- Plain folks: “We’re all just simple people, you and me, and everything you want is what I want. We’re all in this together.”
- Transfer: Carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect to something the speaker want us to accept or dispute.
- Testimonials: Having someone the crowd respects endorsing a candidate or what is said, in the negative, using someone the crowd doesn’t like to not endorse a candidate or what is said.
Written by Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930, IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE was published in 1935. Mirroring the rise of Adolph Hitler and the National Socialist Party—the Nazis—in Germany during the Great Depression, it is the story of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a power-hungry and charismatic politician who uses “patriotic” banalities and “populist” rhetoric in his quest for the Presidency, promising the restoration of prosperity and greatness to the country and $5,000 to each citizen. He is aided in his electoral pursuit by the raving preaching of Bishop Peter Paul Prang, a radio evangelist whose preachings are madly popular. Buzz Windrip is successful in his run for the Presidency; soon after he establishes the “Minute Men,” a paramilitary group acting as his own private army, throws anyone who opposes him into concentration camps, dismantles the Constitution, and declares himself dictator. As for the public, well, most Americans either support him or pretend to, reassuring themselves as the American dream disappears that “it can’t happen here.”
Just a novel, right?
Bishop Peter Paul Prang was based on the wildly popular, anti-Semitic, racist and Hitler supporter Father Coughlin, whose weekly radio show on CBS radio was a ratings hit. Here’s a sampling of his words:
“When we get through with the Jews in America, they’ll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing.”
“On this earth you must belong to the church militant or get the hell out of it. That’s the right word. You’re either with me or against me. There is no middle ground in this battle between Christ and the anti-Christ. If you step out of (the battle), you’re worse than those boys who ran off to Norway, Sweden, those boys who deserted the government. You’re deserters, rotten deserters.”
His fans included William and Catherine Buchanan, the parents of Pat Buchanan, who said in his address as the keynote speaker at the 1992 Republican Convention, “The agenda Clinton & Gore would impose on America — abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat units — that’s change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America needs. It is not the kind of change America wants. And it is not the kind of change we can abide in a nation we still call God’s country,” and was recently fired from his job at MSNBC as a commentator on MORNING JOE for remarks like this: “If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the US population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats. Is this the Democrats’ idea of diversity?”
Newt Gingrich, who dumped his first wife as she lay dying of breast cancer, dumped his second wife when she became ill with multiple sclerosis—advice to the current Mrs. Gingrich: don’t get sick!—recently accused President Obama of infanticide and a war on Catholics.
Ron Paul says things like “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs,” and “The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance,” and “I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal” and ““Whether the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.”
And then there’s Rick Santorum, who apparently believes that Satan has America feeding at his breast, says thing like, “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country…. Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” And “The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical. And that is what the perception is by the American Left who hates Christendom. … What I’m talking about is onward American soldiers. What we’re talking about are core American values.” And his latest diatribe against getting a college education: “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.”
Strange words from a man who got his degree from Penn State, his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, and his law degree from the Dickinson School of Law.
What Santorum neglects to say in his attack on Obama and higher education is that a college degree will increase lifetime earnings by $230,000 to $550,000 compared to only a high school diploma. People with college degrees also live longer, are less likely to be unemployed in hard times, their children will do better in school and are happier.
Oh, wait. That’s from a Harvard study. What do they know?
Oh, wait. The study also says they are more likely to vote.
That’s the last thing these modern-day Goebbels want.
Informed people who vote.
P.S.: As for Mitt Romney—well, he does like the trees in Michigan.
Mindy Newell, R.N., CNOR, C.G. (Comic Geek)