Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can't Tell The Players Without A Program

Demagogue;a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.
-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In answer to a comment left on my blog post yesterday I wrote, "...the Republican Party sold its soul-no, I take that back, they willing gave it- to religious and political groups who preach demagogy in a desperate bid for power at any cost. The party of Lincoln has thrown away its legacy. Its a damn shame." I now realize it is not only a damn shame it is frightening.

For those of you who are not sure how to tell a Demagogue from an ordinary political candidate I present The Demagogy Checklist reprinted with the permission of the author Craig Chalquist, PHD :

The following checklist is designed to help detect the deliberately propagandistic elements in any speech, sermon, or other public proclamation or communication. What differentiates demagogic propaganda from straight talk is the attempt to fog and manipulate the audience's awareness instead of appealing to its rationality and realism, those qualities upon which every democracy depends. Therefore the more of the following that are present, the more underhanded the communique

1. Hypnotic rhythms ("We will be strong, we will unite, we will not fail....") intended to lull the attention into trancelike suggestibility.

2. Scapegoating: the attempt to "otherize" a given population (e.g. the Mexicans, the Arabs, those who don't share our views). Psychotherapists call this dynamic projection, an evacuation of our darker motives onto handy opponents.

3. Sweeping generalizations and oversimplifications. Free trade will erase poverty, more weapons will win the war on terror, banning assault rifles is an attack on personal freedom, etc.

4. Black-and-white categorization (we are good, they are evil; we're right, you're wrong).

5. A tone of sanctimonious moralizing.

6. Noble-sounding justifications for rigidity, oppression, intolerance, incompetence, indifference, or violence.

7. The replacement of concrete details with vague appeals to traditional values (patriotism, family, God, church).

8. Intolerance of disagreement ("you're either with us or against us").

9.The branding of the adult capacity for critical self-examination as misguided, unpatriotic, or disloyal.

10. Group narcissism disguised as loyalty (our truth is the only Truth; we are Number One; etc.).

11. No room given to healthy self-doubt or the recognition of ambiguous realities in a given situation.

12. Recurrent appeals to the "self-defense" argument as a justification for domination.

13. A childlike assumption of entitlement.

14. A childlike sense of omnipotence.

15. Euphemisms (e.g., "targeted defense" rather than "assassination"; "spiritual guidance" and not "intimidation").

16. Imposition of group norms described in terms of unity and solidarity (we do this for the good of all).

17. Minimization of the potential dangers of one's actions; whitewashing of unjust consequences.

18. Peer pressure, subtle or outright.

19. Threats, implied or overt.

20. Blaming the opponent for one's own aggressive actions.

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