News StoriesOpinion

Propaganda or Snow Job: The Role of the Spoken Word?

By Leslee Kulba- What makes horror flicks and novels so disturbing is they play on fears of losing personal control. If writers know this, then surely megalomaniacs worming their way into power structures, like government, do as well.

The discrediting of Darwin’s theory of pangenesis did not prevent his other theories from being taught in the classroom.

What makes America great is its amazing Constitution that protects against too much power agglomerating in the hands of too few, and its Bill of Rights that protects each person’s ability to follow their victimless bliss. What makes America pathetic is “half” the population is sick of hearing this, and it rolls off the other “half” like water from a duck’s back.

One of the greatest quotes ever was Thomas Jefferson’s, “I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” In the 1970s, school children would be taught about how the Founders (because you can’t say “Fathers,” anymore) stood up to a tyrant in King George III.

George not only arbitrarily wielded more than his fair share of power over others, he lacked wrap-around services for behavioral wellness (because you can’t say “crazy” anymore).

Jefferson really shouldn’t even be mentioned anymore (because he owned slaves). It matters not that he wrote some of the most insightful discourses on the subject of human rights. Schools and mass media these days teach a form of voodoo logic that argues if somebody ever says or does one thing wrong, everything they ever did was wrong.

Yes, Jefferson made efforts toward freeing slaves that were too ahead of his time to catch on; but what good is freedom for slaves if the wonderful philosophy of freedom for anybody, expounded by Jefferson and others, is wrong by that fallacious guilt-by-association masquerading as logic.

What’s more, one can’t mention God in school (He was kicked out). Kids aren’t allowed to pray to something bigger than themselves, or government; and the Holy Word of truth and light has been replaced by a need for active shooter drills with strategies like ducking under desks and throwing tin cans and making a profit off bulletproof backpacks.

The only way The Lord gets in the schools when His name is taken in vain. It is imperative to use it in texts with creepy fashion photos and even for exclamations as important as finding a French fry on the cafeteria floor.

Had He not been expelled, youth would realize we all sin. Then, they’d have to use their highly-touted critical-thinking skills to evaluate statements on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, that appears to be too much to ask. People want, or are told they want, sound bites: Don’t walk through the math of Einstein, Lorentz, and Minkowski – just believe in time and length dilation.

Don’t question Keynes’ idea that the more government spends the richer it gets or even try to diagram his obfuscatory language – just scratch your beard and say, “I see.” Don’t read the Mueller report – just repeat what your favorite talking head says is in it.

Of course, there’s always that double-standard. The discrediting of Darwin’s theory of pangenesis did not prevent his other theories from being taught in the classroom. That would demonstrate an appropriate use of logic were it not suspected that evolution, right or wrong, is cherished because it debases humans instead of exalting them. Rather than seeking truth, those author M. Scott Peck referred to as “people of the lie” are out to score points for their side.

Today, any attempt to talk about cause and effect s usually met with, “Racist.” As has been stated previously, this works simply because both sides agree racism is deplorable. Further, the accuser, more often than not, is telling on himself, assuming reference to any relative disadvantage automatically applies to people of color.

Back to the quote, Jefferson said, “man.” To be credible, he should have named all 63-and-counting genders claimed today. What’s more, this article, instead of saying, “he” should say, “he/she/it/ze/we/etc.” And why should pronoun cleansing stop with gender? Shouldn’t somebody stand against offenses committed when something, contrary to external perception, self-identifies as possessive, plural, accusative, dative, nominative, or genitive?

The point is, yours truly caught itself/zeself/weself stewing for minutes over what pronoun to use. “He” is paternalistic, “she” is patronizing, “it” is dehumanizing, and “ze” and “we” confuse the daylights out of anybody over 50.

The time could have been better spent constructing an argument against socialism – except recently ze’s truly saw five or six consecutive tweets defining socialism differently. “None of the Democrat candidates are socialist,” we are told; even though even the Republicans want to socialize/nationalize/single-payerize healthcare, which makes up 20% of the economy.

Capitalism, also, is in the mood of the beholder. Off the record, a former member of Asheville City Council said she agreed with the idea of free markets when they were explained as people trading value for value without government intervention. Unfortunately, attempting to communicate with that term around her associates would only conjure images of crony capitalism.

As if it weren’t bad enough that we as a society are now unable to know if it’s a boy or a girl, if it’s Yanny or Laurel, if the dress is white and gold or blue and black, or if the shoe is pink or gray – we are now told the solution to 8/2(2+2) depends. In other words, the Tower of Babel extends to math, and just because your loan is 2% APR doesn’t mean that percent sign isn’t going to mean something else tomorrow.

Like somebody without a gold-star national ID wanting to board a commercial aircraft after October 1, 2020, one should call the authorities and listen to hold music before proceeding.
Is It Intentional?

The role the spoken word plays in thought processes has been debated at least since Plato walked the earth. The degree to which limiting vocabulary impedes thought is probably exaggerated on a personal level, but it certainly restricts what may be shared, thus clamping down on opportunities for learning far and wide.

The New York Times is believed to have been the first publication to use the phrase “politically correct,” and that was to describe the type of reporters receiving press passes from Nazi leadership. The term was also used to describe the formulaic arguments members of the American Communist Party memorized.

The broader topic of government limiting the vocabulary of its constituents to keep them dumb and manageable was the subject of George Orwell’s 1984 and Ayn Rand’s Anthem, a dystopian novelette about a totalitarian society that outlawed first-person singular pronouns.
A lot of material published on the subject is itself propaganda or snow jobs. But among the credible and insightful pieces is “Would-Be Tyrants Capture Language to Control Thought,” by Richard Ebeling and published by the Foundation for Economic Education.

For an analysis of what happened in Nazi Germany, Ebeling cites The Language of the Third Reich by Victor Klemperer. Klemperer was a linguist who concluded everybody in Germany was a Nazi because they functioned within the verbal framework supplied by their government, repeating sound bites, “imposed upon them in a million repetitions and taken on board mechanically and unconsciously.” He compared the seeming innocuous repetition of catch phrases to the administration of small doses of arsenic.

“The sole purpose of the [Nazi use and form of language] is to strip everyone of their individuality, to paralyze them as personalities, to make them into unthinking and docile cattle in a herd and driven and hounded in a particular direction, …” He added where Nazism added, instead of subtracting content, it was to foment fanaticism.

For what happened in Soviet Russia, he cited Mikhail Heller’s Cogs in the Wheel: The Formation of Soviet Man. Heller described Lenin as also saturating minds with repeated sound bites. In Soviet culture, he said, there was only one viewpoint; everything else belonged to the enemy, and there were no neutral words. According to Heller, “The Soviet language became the most important means of preventing people from acquiring more knowledge than the state wished … Soviet speech lost its freedom. The language was put together out of slogans and quotations from the Leader.”

Ebeling described Maoist China as not unlike scenes from college campuses in the United States today. Under the Red Guards, “Mobs of shouting, bullying, and physically-attacking young thugs spouted meaningless and ideologically vacuous phrases from the ‘little red book’ of quotations from Chairman Mao, to mentally and physically crush any and all who failed to parrot the Party Line or who were the objects of Chairman Mao’s political purges and personal vendettas against real and imaginary opponents.”

Other commentators describe hijacking a language as a way to capture the human soul without spilling any blood. Though Ebeling blames academia and not state actors as the source of today’s verbal gymnastics – which include changing the name of socialism to progressivism and coopting the term liberalism for the same – he urges individuals to fight the insanity.

“The wit, charm, creativity, and humanity of words and the ideas expressed through them, must not be stunted and then petrified by those who wish to reduce individual human beings to collectivist categories of ideological control and command. Liberty of thought, deed, action, and association is too precious to be lost to these latest coercing and intimidating thugs of the human mind.”

Power seized and power surrendered are opposite sides of the same coin. So, to live free of fear, consider Capital at Play’s synopsis of The Fire of Freedom: The Story of Abraham Galloway at the North Carolina Stage Company: the inspiring story of a man who refused to be defined by racism.

Share this story
Show More

Related Articles