February 14, 2006

Propaganda Again

"This reluctance on our part was certainly was not present during WWII against the Nazis, even though we were fighting foes who had a master propagandist in Goebbels."

Don't forget Leni Riefenstahl. She was quite good at visual propaganda, far better than Michael Moore ever was. I have got to find and watch her masterpiece sometime.

"It was famously said by Robert Frost, of all people, that "a liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel." We can see by the liberal side of the blogosphere, however, that this problem has been remedied, and perhaps even overcorrected--today's liberals seem to be less shy about debating for their own point of view."

I don't think that is the right description of them. To me, they seem like spoiled children with a superiority complex/inferiority complex, and they go to extreme political isolation stances in order to support their needs and whims. People like Daily Kos's "Screw them" philosophy. They have never had a shred of compassion in their hearts, that didn't benefit them financially, morally, and intellectually. The rot in their characters, minds, and souls are deep, deeper than I would ever care to know. There are those who feel so much guilt that they end up being sacrificial lambs to the cannibals of course, those human shields and what not, but I do not believe that they are the fire behind the liberal blogs. Perhaps they never were.

"But in the larger sense, as a liberal (read: pro-Enlightenment) society, we have indeed somewhat lost the ability to take our own side in the rather intense argument with extreme and violent Islamicists. They, in the meantime, have become master propagandists who are not the lesat bit reluctant to enlist every tool of the trade to further their cause, including lies."

That's what I like about you Neo. You focus so much on the whys, the history, and the motives. I am far too pragmatic to care or wonder how things arrived at the state they are in, insofar as it does not affect my ability to fix the problem. Oh ya, watch out for that typing circumvention, as to sa, least to lesat ; ) I used to do that a lot for recieve and receive. Then there was... ah nevermind.

I am certain: the idea that blind and simplistic rah-rah support of country can lead to wretched excesses and wrongdoing.

Back then, Americans were too much Hick and not enough Cosmopolitanism. Now we have so much "Cosmopolitanism" that men are acting like women, the infamous metrosexuals. Jeez louis.

The pendulum has swung so far the other way that our press sometimes appears to effectively function as propaganda for the other side, although I don't believe this is intentional.

I am sure that is an important distinction to you, but honestly, in my pragmatic view, it doesn't matter what someone's intentions are. Dead are still dead people. My purpose isn't to punish, I leave that to the PC police, my purpose is to counter-act, to understand, and to destroy. If there was a weapon I could use against the propagandists in this nation, rooting for terrorism, that relied upon the "intentions" of the MSM, then I'd use it. But sadly, there are no counter-propaganda techniques using a person's intentions against him. Not when they don't really care to take responsibility for their actions. It could work against people who are intelligent, who have integrity, if you convince them that their intentions are leading them to the road paved with good intentions. But I tend to believe that those people, the ones with good character, are already on the side of liberty and the Iraqis. Nobody to convert, nobody to convince, just the MSM to destroy, to counter-act, and to expose. Heartless people require heartless tactics devoid of intentions. In some ways, it is no different from a military campaign or to be more accurate, a propaganda-guerrila campaign. You separate the hardcore terroists from the soft-core insurgents. Meaning, those who had intentions of fighting us because they wanted food for their family, safety for their loved ones, and peace from those who had intentions of fighting us to get access to free virgins, women, money, and power.

We are all behind the idea of a free press

I wouldn't say that, because it is inaccurate and obsolete. I am behind the purpose that the free press is supposed to serve. The purpose is to dissimilate the truth to Americans and the voters so that we know the facts and the information required to render guilt and innocence upon our fellow citizens and upon the legislation posed before us. A nation full of educated, smart, intelligent, and wise citizens with full access to the TRUTH would not need a press, free or otherwise.

My idea is not of a free press. If it requires something free, then free information, unfiltered and voluminous.

and a free press will always speak some unpleasant truths that go against our own interests.

A press that covers up and distorts information vital to the need of Americans to know true information, is a press that needs to be purged. We cannot afford demogagues convincing people to hang minorities, themselves, or that X, Y, and Z are good things when they really aren't. It is not in the interest of the democratic voter, to be told disinformation, wrong information, and lies. The truth is never against the interests of law abiding citizens in a free society.

But it's a question of balance, and I think the balance at the moment is skewed in such a way as to be counterproductive of own ability to defend ourselves in the marketplace of ideas.

It is only a question of balance in my view if you have no choice but to tolerate a free press, because otherwise you would either get full censored gov Truth or no truth at all. But those are not the alternatives here, only or otherwise. We are not caught between Charbydiss and Scylla, the rock and the sea, the devil and the unknown. It isn't a choice between great evil or lesser evil. Not when technology has FREED humanity from the shackles of disinformation campaigns. Just as Gutenberg freed the peons from having to trust the Catholic priests to tell them what the bible said. Just as the Cotton Gin and reapers FREED the farmers from toiling for days of 24 hour backbreaking work to harvest the grain before a rain ruins them. Just as it FREED the need for cheap slave labor, when a machine did far more and cost far less.

Technology has freed more humans than any war or legislation ever has and ever will.

I too am annoyed by the utter crap the NYTimes hand out. If they want to do propaganda, at least do it right. They insult my intelligence with such subpar material, so transparent and easy to tear. I'd respect them, even if they were enemies of liberty, if they just did it right. But they don't, so all I feel is contempt.

One famous example that comes to mind is that of Walter Duranty, Stalin apologist who wrote for the paper back in the Thirties.

Stalin was quite perceptive, even though he was a psychotic killer. "useful idiots" indeed.

Propaganda is part of the prosecution of that or any other war, and we ignore this at our peril.

In some ways it is a lot more than "part of the prosecution" of a war. As Sun Tzu said, the epitome of battle skill is not fighting a battle and winning, but winning without a fight. To paraphrase badly. And the only way to win a war without fighting, is to convine the enemy not to fight. And the only way to do that is with propaganda. Because whether a person fights or not, is in his mind, not his body. Not his communications, logistics, and bunkers. Those do not convince him to do anything. The reason why the Japanese were so brutal and feared was because of their propaganda, propaganda they used to instill undying loyalty in their women, men, and children. Even to the point that they would jump into the sea at Tarawa with their babies (IIRC) instead of being captured by the "Devil Americans". And the reason why Japan stopped fighting, was because of the expertise of United States propaganda. The difference between 300 million dieing and 1 million dieing is one word, propaganda. Some people might not care how many die before they win, but I do.

It is simply information spread to influence a populace towards a certain opinion (see definitions here; most of the definitions make no mention whatsoever of deception).

The best kind of manipulation is the kind where the person thinks he came up with the idea by himself. Not noticing that it was you who planted it there in the first place. Deception has many varieties. Outright lying is actually a pretty crude weapon compared to witholding key information, deceiving someone into believing one thing by ambiguous statements, and other very subtle workings.

I'm not totally sure of the reasons behind this,

The West has not lost our stomach for propaganda. The Media does it all the time, it just won't do it for Bush, America, or the troops. That is their choice and their intentions, nobody can change their will. Unless you want to kill them or something.

The White House has lost their stomach for propaganda, which includes the entire Republican. And there is a very very good reason for that.

I think what accounts for the government's lack of versatility is probably Vietnam, Watergate, Bush's father, Read My Lips No more Taxes, and various other wack stuff. Take Bush for example. He wants to be super-honest, maybe because he realized that his father really didn't uphold a lot of his promises. To Americans and Iraqis. Bush has always been a rebel, he would like to out-do his father all right. Then there was Clinton, which Bush promised to erase the stain of and increase our prestige. Double heck.

Then Watergate and vietnam. This really really really freaking rally, made the Republicans cringe when "lying" comes up. Uho, lying, better hide, we've been scarred, we no fight, no fight, take what you want, go away. Like a battered victim, lack of aggression is common place. The military suffers from Vietnam, where they were accused of "propagandizing" to the American people. So they no longer do it. What is the result? The result is that the Army information offices told Michael Yon to withold reporting on the ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI LETTER to Osama Bin Laden. Michael obeyed like the good trooper he is, and guess what happened? The AP got it and ran with it, and turned it into a "love letter" story. The Army stole Michael Yon's exclusive, threw away a chance to tout American strategic successes, and a chance to propagandize the weakness and the vulnerability of the terroists. Why, oh Fracking Thank You, Army of the United States, I feel SO MUCH better now that you aren't in the propaganda business.

One problem is Bush himself as orator. But in fact, oration has been a dying art in the last few decades.

it's not a dying art in the CIA, cause their guerrila insurgency manuals cover it quite in depth.

(although some would say--especially today, on Valentine's Day--that all's fair in love and war.

Maybe people don't realize that NOTHING is fair in war. That is why everything is fair. You get it?

lSomehow many of us have become convinced of the idea that patriotism is identical with chavinism, and that both are identical with bigotry; also, that propaganda is equal to lies.

I don't think that is the reason. A lot of people still value patriotism, but they don't understand how to do propaganda, how to recognize it, how to analyze it, and how to counter-act it. like militar history, tactics, logistics, and strategy. There are amazing numbers of people who try to learn the iraq situation, but always go for the Mil Bloggers for knowledge. When I summarized the Iraq War, people emailed me and said that this cleared things up when hours of listening to Bush hadn't made a single dent in their confusion. It took me half a decade just to get started on military history and tactics, it gets faster once you got a foundation, but still. You cannot fully understand psychological operations without the military background. You can see what happens when people try to do propaganda and don't know jack about the military, "Fake but accurate" happens. Because propaganda is almost entirely a mixture between politics and guerrila warfare. In which regular war forms the background and the foundational supports. The visual is not exactly right, but still. It helps if you know military science first, then guerrila warfare, then psychological operations, then propaganda. Or you can do politics, propaganda, psychological operations, etc and go backwards.

nd, in fact, we need to reclaim both patriotism and propaganda, or we may find ourselves in a struggle similar to the one described by that master of propaganda,

It is never a good idea to allow your enemies to choose where the battle will take place. The propagandists in the MSM, have restricted the use of propaganda to themselves only. A sort of monopoly that they will die before giving up. Can't fight a propaganda war, if you don't even have access to the word propaganda. That is like fighting a war when nobody can tell each other's ranks.

Victory is nice. But again, those who don't know the military history, the military science, the propaganda arts or the arts of war might have a little trouble understanding what VICTORY means.

Understandable. If you don't know how to win with the tools you got, then what exactly is victory to you except some nebulous cloud in the silver lining?

There are different kinds of victories. But I'd settle for the one Japan got. It works, it'd work great in the Mid East. Not so great in Europe though. At least I hope not.

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