Modern Day Political Advertising

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Subliminal
advertising. Those in my generation recognize this concept to be
any attempt to create a subconscious desire; usually around soda
and popcorn at movie theaters. The idea was to sneak images of movie
fare into enough frames of film in order to generate an insatiable
craving. But not so many frames as to be recognized by the conscious
mind. While the idea was slick and sounded imposing, it never actually
worked.

Supraliminal
advertising. Once again, the attempt is to create a desire, or at
least sway an opinion. Here, the advertiser is overt in the use
of manipulation; so overt that most viewers and listeners miss it
completely. While subliminal advertising never produced results,
supraliminal advertising is quite effective. Witness Wednesday's
speech by Bush.

Anyone who
watched or listened to Bush experienced the most obvious use of
this manipulation technique that I have heard in a very long time.
As Bush rambled on, he was using a not-too-subtle speech pattern
and repetition of words in order to incite the masses. And, it just
might have worked.

How many times
can a listener hear the repeated terms — extremists, al-Qaeda, and
terrorists — before the words begin to alter the emotions of the
listeners? Well, for me, I was done with his speech within minutes;
gone from listening to content and reduced to counting references
to the Bushian mantra three. He both raised my blood pressure and
altered my chemical balance; I was enraged. Not to worry, I was
not enraged in a manner as expected by the Bush White House; enraged
into joining or supporting the Emperor's modern Crusade. However,
I am enraged nonetheless.

Nevertheless,
there will be many who will sleep, toss, and turn, while those three
words play over and over. The boys and girls in DC are smart; they
do not let Bush speak off the cuff. No, they planned the whole speech
— it’s content, cadence, and choice of words — for an effect. Knowledge
of psychology is essential to any propaganda campaign.

Wednesday,
Bush played the role of Goebbels, doing his very best to keep a
tiring nation in war. It was as choreographed as any scene from
Triumph
of the Will
or speech given in the closing days
of WWII; the repetition of the big lies, references to dangers home
and abroad, the need for continued military interventions, and the
absolute requirement that the true patriots remain steadfast.

On one hand,
we are to believe that the "war" is being won, while,
on the other hand, extremists, Al-Qaeda, and terrorists lurk in
every corner. On top of that, in a very 1984-esque
twist, the Iraq government is now our trusted ally, and the Iraqi
citizens want us there. We are not involved in a civil war that
may drag on for years. No, we are engaged in a pitched battle for
the future of civilization; guest fighters of an appreciative host
nation.

We are there
to defend democracy; the pot of gold at the end of the mythical
political rainbow. Yet, democracy is nothing more than the will
of the majority of voters. For good or ill, the majority gets to
claim the moral high ground by winning at the polls. Who in their
right mind wants that? Those who believe that they can win the popular
vote and run amuck over the minority of course.

Our nation
was not founded on such a political structure. No, this nation was
based on the principal of negative property rights; whether believed
to be given by God or by nature. Without the protection of property
from government — the will of the king or majority — no one is free.

Bush is not
some modern day Jefferson quoting Locke, Mills, and Mises. Instead,
Bush is defending the Anschluss to a crowd desperate for new conquests.
Or, maybe he is desperately spinning Baghdad as a victorious Stalingrad
campaign just before the encirclement.

Regardless
of reality, the mantra is repeated often: extremists, al-Qaeda,
and terrorists. Bush intertwined those words to such a degree that
they have lost any separate meaning. They are now interchangeable,
yet still able to spark fear or anger in many.

Of course,
Bush’s speech was not about information, it was pure double-speak
— manipulation. As you replay his speech in your mind — or, watch
it on YouTube — consider the scene of White House bunker rats as
they drafted it. I am certain that the writers were not sitting
around thinking about how they could honestly present their case.
No, they were looking for ways to play the nation, manipulate the
folks based on a mantra of fear and anger. Most likely in a manner
reminiscent of Goebbels in the Berlin bunker.

Of course,
there will be no congressional investigations of such attempts at
manipulating American citizens. Put a few shots of hot, buttered
popcorn in a real of film and you will be testifying before some
subcommittee of Washington bozos. However, manipulate those very
same citizens with outright lies, as well as mantras of fear and
anger, and the DC committee rooms will remain empty and silent.
Why? They all play the same game, whether White House or Congress.
And, no one wants to give it up.

Let’s return
to our old rallying cry, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,”
and send packing the political advertisers — the manipulators —
and their fear-mongering tales of, “Extremists, al-Qaeda, and terrorists.”

September
15, 2007

Jim
Fedako [send him mail], a homeschooling
father of five who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog:
Anti-Positivist.

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