The Radical Right’s Weakness

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EDITORS’ PREAMBLE: Boyish and all-American-looking GOP language whore Frank Luntz has perverted further (a feat in itself!) the sordid and utterly immoral “art” of political p.r. The raves he receives by fellow establishment whores like Time Magazine are eloquent commentary on how “American civilization” operates in corporate terms. On his own website, he touts his horn thusly:

“Frank Luntz is one of the most honored communication professionals in America today. “Time Magazine” named him one of “50 of America’s most promising leaders aged 40 and under” and he is the “hottest pollster” in America according to the “Boston Globe.” Frank was named one of the four “Top Research Minds” by Business Week and was the winner of the coveted Washington Post “Crystal Ball” award for being the most accurate pundit in 1992. Public Television’s Bill Moyers had this to say about Frank: “He’s a magician with a gift for the politics of words and what words best connect with the hearts and minds of the public.” Said comedian Al Franken: ” Asking Frank Luntz if he understands public opinion is like asking Julia Childs if she knows how to make a soufflé.”

By The Rockridge Institute

The radical Right’s messaging and framing infrastructure doesn’t seem so fearsome if you know how to spot its weaknesses.

The radical Right is acutely aware of cases where the general public has progressive values and would ordinarily reject their agenda. The Right’s approach to such cases is deception, often through the use of Orwellian language — language that means the opposite of what it says.

For example, the term compassionate conservatism is used because leaders on the Right have traditionally been considered mean and lacking in empathy toward people who are needy, poor or oppressed. The term compassionate suggests that conservatives do care about such people, although their policies go in exactly the opposite direction. And indeed, certain conservative theorists are open as to what compassion is to mean, namely that removing “interference,” especially by the government, allows disciplined people who are seeking their self-interest to become prosperous.

This use of language is no accident.

Frank Luntz and his associates are well paid to devise such language. What does Luntz advise?

When talking to women, use words women like, such as love, from the heart, and for the children – no matter what is being said.
When talking about our environment, use the words healthy, clean, and safe – even if you’re advocating policies that increase pollution.
In a recent version of their regularly updated language manual, there is a chapter titled “The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America”. In it, Luntz acknowledges that the scientific evidence does not support the conservative position on global warming. What does he suggest?

“The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science.”
And Luntz is listened to.

This strategy has been adopted in how the Right talks about the “Clear Skies Act,” which increases pollution and mercury contamination, and the “Healthy Forests Act,” which permits clear cutting and the destruction of forests.

This is part of a major strategy. The radical Right knows that it does not have a majority that accepts its worldview. If most Americans really believed what the radical Right does, no resort to such distortions would be necessary.

This is crucial for progressives to understand, because Orwellian language reveals weakness.

Progressives commonly wring their hands in despair when conservatives use Orwellian language. They shouldn’t. The use of Orwellian language signals to us where conservatives are weak. Forget that their deceptiveness is immoral. The point is that they are weak and are revealing their weakness. If they had public support, they could freely call their initiative the Dirty Skies Act.

Progressives can use the Right’s Orwellian weaknesses to our advantage. We can focus the public’s attention on it by highlighting the discrepancies between what the radical Right says and what it does. Do not hesitate to rename their Orwellian legislation. For example:

• Do not call it the “Clear Skies initiative.” Call it the “Dirty Skies initiative.”
• Do not call it “Healthy Forests.” Call it “No Tree Left Behind.”
• Do not call it “Compassionate Conservatism.” Call it “Callous Conservatism”.

The Rockridge Institute is a fraternal site dedicated to progressive politics.

2 comments on “The Radical Right’s Weakness
  1. Beginning of wisdom is calling things by their right name. Chinese Proverb
    And I got a batch of cult mental health industry terms. (1) state one’s term followed by opposition’s definition in (…) then just state one’s terms thereafter and not repeat the oppressor’s terminology.
    Medical Model: hypothetical, theoretical, metaphoric, analogous explanatory model for the conceptualisation of mental distress as disease — considered to be fact, but without scientific discovery.
    Relapse/decompensate: victim-blaming erases cause/effect clearing source of responsibility/ accountability for injury/wounding.
    ACT: assaultive community treatment
    ACTT: assaultive community treatment team
    ITO/CTO (Involuntary Treatment Order/
    Community Treatment Order): house arrest, community incarceration, community imprisonment.
    Dx: label (marketable resource/product)
    DSM: Psychiatric Billing Bible, system of subjective (personal) opinion, labelling stipulated by the bible of belief systems based on faith alone (religion) or dogma; acculturated exploitation or terrorism of those culturally framed as able over those culturally framed as disabled.
    Placebo Effect: self-healing, 80-85% of the cure with a +/- 5% experimental error
    ECT: punishment or brain damage (always results) and is the positive (sought-after) result (as with drugs).
    MH: mental health industry, state-sponsored social control, profiting corporate (In the words of Karl Sagan, billions and billions only in $s and not stars), en masse experimentation.
    Rx/medication: Drugs (All drugs are toxic.), Psychotropic drugs cross the blood/brain barrier and disable/damage the brain, chemical lobotomy, chemical straight-jacket. In the case of the SSRI – also potentially damaging every organ system in the body, toxic chemicals/punishments, chemical repression/straight-jacket/lobotomy, brain disabling, life threatening.
    neuroleptic: brain arrest, extremely potent tranquilizer/sedative, productive of neurological and metabolic disease in both the short and long term, cognitive reduction, intellectual dumbing/emotional numbing, incapable of action to reduce “psychosis” without also nullifying the capacity of the victim to think/feel, capable of creating a permanent state of “psychosis”, soul/spirit deadening/death.
    Patient: advocate/activist for individual/group civil/human rights, oppressed/repressed/suppressed individual/group/people(s), misnomer, subordinate, victim.
    Acute: peak episode, short-term
    Chronic : ongoing, long-term
    Medicated: a disempowered state-of-being or quelled
    Trauma: tragedy by human agency (sometimes severe), catastrophic life event, “problems in living” (Szasz) capable of inducing mental distress.
    Forgiveness: understanding.
    Compliance: submission, learned helplessness of a slave, survivalist tactic.
    Predisposition (genetic): victim-blaming, scape-goating, belief on faith alone (religion), therapeutic
    Meaningful relationships: peers, non-judgmental, healing/beneficial/restorative/remedial community.
    Treatment: punishment, lie, fraud, falsehood, misdirection, cloak, shroud, quell, enforced uniformity.
    Recovery: cognitive (intellect/emotion) healing, mindful healing into a spirit recovery; tragedy-informed assisted closure;
    MI/mental illness: socially (politically/aesthetically) unacceptable behaviour, mental distress, altered state of consciousness, transformational process, incident induced mental distress, peak episode of incident-induced mental distress, catastrophic incident-induced mental distress, consciousness-raising process, self-actualisation progress, pseudoscientific explanation for deviant behaviour, unrecognised internalised dissent against oppression, bigotry, environmental oppression, social criminalisation, self-realisation in social context, personal-power actualised.
    Mentally ill: a disempowered state-of-being, inner sufferance/conflict so as to preclude functioning in an ordinary life.
    six symptoms: THE behavioural difference inferred to exist as THE disease without any scientific support, hence THE belief by faith alone or wishful/hoped for thinking masquerading as medical science (self-validation) or religious belief (heretical behaviour) in preference to recognising that people can be driven non-functional, hence non-productive by oppression.
    Tolerant (of difference): respect, honour, celebrate difference.
    Suicide: emergency exit into fatal freedom; a conscientious, ultimate protest to intimate life events.
    Suicidal ideation: self-comforting visions of emergency exit into fatal freedom
    Stigma: callous indifference to human suffering and individual fragility, bigotry, irrational fear, hate and denial.
    Therapeutic: restorative, remedial, beneficial, social unity.
    Visions: practical application of imagination and symbolic thinking, imagining a more potent self, holistic grasp of the situation.
    Mind: consciousness, self-aware, expressive of soul/spirit, spirituality.
    Coercion: applied cognitive dissonance.
    Shine ON*
    Katie
    P.S. The aforementioned terms and definitions may be found in “Little Davey: View of Reality; Chipmunka Publishing, U.K. to be published in October 🙂

  2. Language can always be manipulated to makes things seem different to what they actually are.
    Politicians and diplomats do this all the time. Company directors and many trade union leaders are also guilty.
    Perhaps ALL leaders are guilty of manipulating language to their own cause?
    This makes it very difficult for the average (uninformed) reader to sift out the truth.
    Often the truth (or its converse) may lie in some arcane historical knowledge, for example, knowledge of the origins of writing systems and the views illiterate people of that time had of writers AND readers.
    Writing was viewed as something magical, and skill in the art of writing and reading was confined largely to ‘magicians’ or ‘holy men’. The significance of this is that it is the source of our holy books and most of our great religions.
    Only ‘great truths’ (i.e. superstitions such as the origin of things, or codes of behaviour) were committed to writing and writing per se inspired a sort of awe.
    This view still persists among many ordinary people who think it ‘must be true’ because they read it in ‘black and white’.
    We are all gullible and most people are easily fooled.
    We cannot know everything about everything and therefore we have to take a great deal on trust.
    But, who to trust? This poses a dilemma for us all.
    The scientific method, which is based on inconsistency or falsification, teaches us to keep an open mind and to recognise that factual knowledge is always accumulating, leading to new insights as to possible causes of natural events.
    It gives us the idea of ‘degrees of confidence’, or probability, in the likelihood of something being true.
    Only religion teaches about absolute truth and final causes.
    Where does this leave us?
    I believe an important part of education, perhaps THE most important function of education, is to nurture scepticism and critical awareness among learners. This is inconsistent with most of our formal education, which is largely centred on ‘filling’ students with facts and theories that are regurgitated during examinations.
    Sadly, most people are quite content to sit in front of TV and absorb all of the rubbish that is thrown at them.
    In recognising this, many of the rest seek to take advantage of this weakness and use it for their own ends.
    This is the story of ‘civilisation’!

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