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Thu

28

Aug

2008

Not Your Father's GOP
Thursday, 28 August 2008 00:23
by Stephen P. Pizzo

So many times in history we've promised, "never again." The Holocaust... "never again." Yet it happens daily in places like Darfur,  and no one stops it.  Still we believe we mean it when we say "never again." Even in the face of millions of dead, we stubbornly maintain we really, really mean, it... "never again."

And when we defeated fascism in Europe 63-years ago, we promised we'd never allow such a political monstrosity to rule another nation. We said we learned the dangers in the methods employed by the fascist state and fascist politicians. The lies, the smears, the strong-arm tactics, the rule of ignorance and prejudice over intelligence, reason and liberal social policies. Our parent's generation saw fascism for what it was, defeated it and pledged, "never again."

And we still say, "never again," even as once again we see it, or at very least, it's footprints, all around us. 

Nevertheless, it's dangerous for any serious commentator to even suggest that fascism has made a comeback -- not in Europe, but here in the good ole US of A. A few commentators have taken the risk and been promptly and unceremoniously relegated to the wilderness along with UFO enthusiasts and 9/11 conspiracy theorists.

We don't like seeing ourselves in that light. We like to believe that, unlike the German people of 70-years ago, we are not gullible enough to fall for fascist clap trap and propaganda. So anyone who suggests otherwise is packed off to nut-land and forgotten.

Well, I'm packed and ready for that trip. What pushed me over the edge was a five chapter guide written in 1933 entitled, "Propaganda and National Power: The Organization of Public Opinion and National Politics."

As I read this remarkably disturbing document I couldn't help but imagine that Karl Rove must have used it as blue print in 2000 and 2004. And, that the Republican Party has now so internalized these principles they no longer know how to run a campaign the old fashioned way -- you know, by highlighting real issues, and comparing and contrasting honest differences of opinion without demonizing, smearing and outright lying about their opponents.

Actually, as you read the excerpts from that book below, you will probably come to the conclusion, as I did, that all this actually did not begin with Karl Rove and George W. Bush, but with Newt Gingrich and his so-called "Contract with America." Maybe it began earlier with those Willie Horton ads.

In any case the GOP seems to be following the 1933 how-to document below down to its finest points.  Swiftboat Veterans for Truth,  surrender Democrats who would rather lose a war to win an election, Obama as a secret Muslim, on and on, down and down into a political milieu Goebbels would have found all too familiar.

Today's GOP would make Ike throw up.

Anyway, enough from me. After all, I'm toast now. Take it from the original (fascist) horse's mouth. Maybe I'm wrong about all this. But there sure is a lot in what follows you will find unsettlingly familiar. Just keep all this in mind as you watch and listen to how the GOP operates during this election. They you decide. Is it still "never again?" Or is just "again.?

(My annotations - few and blessedly short - are in red.)
Propaganda and National Power:
The Organization of Public Opinion for National Politics
by Eugen Hadamovsky: Pub: 1933

Dedication
To the master of political propaganda, Dr. Joseph Goebbels
under whose brilliant leadership the neglected weapon of German politics became a creative art
- Liberalism and its offspring, Marxism, are intellectually and organically finished... If the nation is to live, liberal phrases must also die. Attempts to establish liberalism's principle of universal freedom have endangered everyone's life. Its dogmas about "public opinion" produced division and weakness in the national will.. But now the end has come. ...The slogan of the freedom of public opinion must be buried without tears.

- Historical and contemporary examples show that the means of public opinion can endanger or destroy national unity if they are improperly used or controlled by the enemy. ...Propaganda is the will to power; it is always subsidiary to an idea. If the idea is missing, the whole artificial structure collapses. Idea, propaganda, and power are inseparably connected.

- Propaganda is not instituted at the height of political or military actions. It is, rather, to be used as an extensive and wide-ranging preparation for them.

Misuse of Language


- The word is apparently the original element of human thought, and therefore of human genius. ...
Applicability to truth and falsehood is characteristic of the word; man alone decides which use he will make of it...Believe completely in your cause, do not shrink from powerful emotions, unceasingly hammer the same thoughts into the minds of the masses.

 - The average man, and more certainly the masses, succumbs almost infallibly to the power of the word, unconcerned with its inherent truth. The inherent truth in words is not enough to combat spoken lies, but rather only a new word (Islamo-fascist, narco-terrorists, war on terror, homeland security,) which can be set against the old. In order for this new word to be believed, the people and masses must hear and understand it. It must come to them and speak their language; its power must be greater than that of the old.

 - Creative language will occasionally make wide departures from the natural and aesthetic. That has no harmful effect on the masses, whom we must today consider a political reality, even if it does violence at times to the German language. One generally has to be careful when applying the so-called aesthetic yardstick to politics, as it gives no hint of possible outcomes.

 - Freedom, equality, brotherhood, capitalism, socialism, communism, profit, surplus value, output, international economy, Soviet Germany, nationalism, blood, land, race, self sufficiency, (liberals, tax & spend liberals. weak-on-defense Democrats) -- each of these is its own slogan, encompassing the inferences and doctrines of worldview. They assault the enemy, hammer at him, raise doubt, fear, resistance, and agreement.

- The number of such words is legion. Each is propaganda by its very existence, each a form of intellectual bondage. Their very names require agreement or opposition, excite storms of the will, determine our actions.

- Creative language in political propaganda uses phrases and slogans to establish control. This is not new. The campaign slogans of a movement are and always have been the best propaganda. Christianity conquered the world with its slogan "love thy neighbor as thyself."

- The phrase “whims of the prima donna” (elitist) applies not only to capricious women, but to many politicians as well. Examples are Julius Caesar whom the Romans called “regina” in mocking verse, and Napoleon, whose womanly breast drove doctors to distraction. His whims were the despair of those around him.

- The ignorance of intellectuals in politics has shown itself throughout history.   When Napoleon entered an academic competition in Lyon with an essay on human ideals, it did not win the prize that the poor lieutenant had longed for. Instead, it was scornfully judged to be "not worth looking at." The same thing happens with many intellectually superior soldiers and politicians. (Obama's positions are too "nuanced.")

- In the popular criticism of today, no leading politicians fails to appear, in enemy propaganda, to be a perfect idiot, a coward, or a mere terrorist whose intelligence is so low that he must be secretly controlled from elsewhere... Material intended for the masses is not so-called objective writing, but rather such hate-filled pamphlets and caricatures.  Caricature, (elitist) misrepresentation, (Obama is a secret Muslim) and one-sidedness  (Democrats are weak on national defense) belong in propaganda.

- When an intellectual criticizes someone’s propaganda, his first point is not its simple, often vulgar language. .. His greatest complaint concerns the perpetual repetition of certain goals, slogans, and catchwords. He thinks assumed limitations are actual limitations, and says pityingly, "Well, he is after all only a propagandist…"

On Maintaining Power after Attaining Power


- Power built only on propaganda is fleeting, and can disintegrate from one day to the next unless the power of organization is added to propaganda. (Compromising the independence of the Dept. of Justice, internal spying.) The use of such strength of power is reflected at all levels of human life, from the strong bond of the family which brings two people together as a simple matter of personal choice to the powerful bonds of peoples and nations.

- Propaganda and power, however, are never entirely opposed to one another. The use of force can be a part of propaganda. (Renditions, torture)  Between them lie different degrees of effective influence over people and masses. The range extends from the sudden exciting of attention or the friendly persuasion of the individual to incessant mass propaganda, from the loose organizing of proselytes to the creation of state or semi-state institutions, (federally-funded faith-based organizations)  from individual to mass terror, from authorized use of the might of the strong, of position, class, or government, to the military enforcement of obedience and discipline by means of martial law. (Gitmo)

- German public opinion could not be led colorlessly, but rather it required indivisible political will and character. It is indicative of the disintegration of our internal position that a conflict could result (The Iraq war) about whether the War Press Office (Pentagon press operations) was seeking "political influence!" It is really so naive that one must wonder what those engaged in the argument thought of as the tasks of the War Press Office..... Politics, military leadership, and public opinion must be unified to secure success. Those who direct a war must at the same time direct politics and public opinion.

- (Propagandizing) is not only preaching; it is action and organization as well. It must breed the type that compels others to accommodate it, or be strong enough to lead them.

- Public opinion does not spring up by itself, nor does it correspond to true public feeling. Otherwise public opinion would reflect decisions on important political affairs before anyone else, and would thus predict such things as election results. (Electronic voting, Florida 2000, Ohio 2004)

- What we today call "the masses" develops not from just any group of people but from one characterized so strongly by instability, pliability, and explosiveness that the individual is no longer tangible... Propaganda and the use of differing degrees of power must therefore cooperate in exceptionally clever ways. They must use the organizations of the masses (NASCAR, churches, veteran groups)  if they are to achieve definite success. A practical rule for the state is thus: One does not scatter those who are organized, rather one organizes them oneself.

- While governmental propaganda strongly and consistently pursues its clear and vital goals and while the exercise of governmental power makes any active or passive attempt at obstruction impossible, the entire public organizational apparatus will be used to make possible an organized variety of vigorous individual interests alongside the unity of the mass propaganda line. (Support the troops. Off-shore drilling, abortion, gay marriage.)

- All propaganda is preparation for political action. Life is constantly moving, so a properly expanding propaganda that properly understands its task can never stand still, but must always hurry along. It always has to guide preparations for the necessities of the future so as to be able to use all of its means in the psychologically best way.  (9-11 to WMD to Iran's nuclear programs.)

- It is an essential characteristic of propaganda that the preparatory work in the masses can from time to time be started by a single individual. (Jerome Corsi) The individual can influence schools, newspapers, and the radio; he can use them spiritually, guide them, and prepare.

- A movement or government which has to defend itself against everyone can never rely on the faulty principle of compromise that originated in the days of routine parliamentary politics. Rather, it must always be uncompromising in its propaganda. (Never admit a mistake)

- A propaganda technique is only a means to an end. In this it resembles diplomacy. The content can change to meet the day's tactical situations. The mission is the nationalization of the masses. The goal, however, cannot be designated with a general slogan or an arbitrary form. It should be concrete. It should not be a rather fixed and fanciful point in a program, but rather it should create a reality. (Drill here. Drill NOW.)

- Our life is politics. Our task today is to create a new political type who, as soldier or politician, will be equal to the tasks of the present and the future, possessing unfailing political instinct. (Gingrich's "permanent Republican majority.") If this political type is to preserve the existence of our people and our culture in the future, it is obvious that all other goals of public life must be subordinated to this one goal. Thus, the principle of creating this type becomes the guiding idea not only for the training of politicians, but also for the entire nation.

- Political propaganda preaches faith; it exists for no other reason.  Our people long for the inner meaning of political life. It wants a political creed, and is prepared to adopt one eagerly.  German intellectuals are a part of our people, the leaders of the German mind.  But they are still discussing arguments and counter-arguments, pros and cons, without ever reaching a conclusion. (All those pesky  'nuances" again.)  The German intellectual may no longer stand aside.  He must place himself in the service of nationalization and at the head of our people; he must first and foremost serve the faith.  The nation can exist only when there is a unity of intellect and faith.  If the intellect battles the faith, it will not defeat the faith but will itself be defeated.

Leveraging Mass Media

- The real effect of a word or sound carried by radio is much deeper than that, say of a newspaper or other piece of writing that must be interpreted before it is understood. Radio broadcasting (right-wing talk radio) works directly, without that bridge of thought, and has, therefore, greater effectiveness than the printed page. This is common knowledge. Everyone knows that our most important sense, after vision, is hearing.

- Some also believe that crude sensationalism must be avoided. If we would accept that as a guiding principle in radio programming, we would rob the radio of its most important and vigorous element. (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage.) One has only to think of the deep effect of an infectious mass meeting with all its noise, tumult, and excitement, and of what the foregoing principle would set in their place! The identification of the real with the visual is merely theoretical; the denial of real effect from nonvisual events is untenable.

- The radio probably has a superficial effect on the masses and it may well satisfy a mass need, but it still stands apart from the masses... The radio itself does not determine the effect, but rather what is transmitted...Those who want individualism can encourage it through the radio. Those who want collectivism. or who think some other task necessary, also have that freedom of the form and means. (FOX News)

- The question is no longer one of where the essential nature of the radio must lead, but rather it can be replaced by asking to what ends it should lead.  The radio, which is supported by all and which is politically and culturally connected with everything, should serve the tasks of the entire nation. It is not an instrument to arouse collective mass psychosis, nor is it to be used for intellectual acrobatics. It should not be a substitute for other means of information to be used by specialists, sectarians, and outcasts. The esoteric (as in politicians who indulge in nuance) thrives in the quiet seclusion of a like-minded circle, and is thus unsuited to radio.

- Radio (and now TV and the Internet) can work like a newspaper, but with more immediacy, versatility, depth, and impressiveness as a result of the aesthetic element inherent in it. Newspapers and radio speak the language of the people. For the first time in history, radio gives us the chance to reach millions of people with daily and hourly influences. The old and young, workers, farmers, soldiers, and officers, men and women, sit before the apparatus, listening.  The loudspeaker resounds over sports fields, squares, streets, and public places in large cities, and in factories and barracks. An entire people listens.

- What statesman would want liberal individualism that endangers the unity of national thought and desire, things more precious than gold? Freedom of choice ends here, not for reasons inherent in radio, but for reasons of responsibility to the nation and community. Their life is more important than the freedom of the individual.

- Radio shall serve this life. Its mission is the formation of national will.  Its mission can only be by the conscious construction of a political type which will personify and safeguard the unity and strength of the nation. (FOX News)

- Problems of style, program format, and effect were talked of and discussed. No one, however, knew how to set a goal. They paid no attention to the instincts of the masses. On the radio, the masses are without the intellectual basis necessary to understand mass movements, unification, and the creation of a type. Types do not spring up from a desk, but rather they grow out of the masses. The masses built up listener organizations, (Ditto Heads)  powerful factors that soon unite men of certain views, of a certain political type. The strongest binding force was that feeling of identity that they wanted to express over the radio or with which they wanted to defend themselves against foreign influences on the radio.(FOX News)

- The central problem seems to be this: the listener instinctively understands that he has no control over the transmissions that come to him through the aether. He does not know their source, their bias, their truth or falsity.

- As long as he is politically, culturally, or artistically informed through a newspaper or through the printed page and picture, he can check the truth in other newspapers. If he learns that his newspaper lies to him, that newspaper loses him and he moves to another paper. It is different with the radio. He has no choice with the German radio, no really satisfying control. That which his radio, newspaper, or magazine tells him either before or after the program lacks the topicality, timeliness, and urgency of the radio program. It comes either too early — for what the listener actually experiences — or too late. (No WMD after all, Judy Miller)

- The intellectual opponents of radio organizations have not generally understood the real significance of these proceedings. They mostly raised questions of taste, or intellectual arguments. The most trivial matters are discussed, the most important shouted to death. It moreover appears that the intellectual circle stays away from such gatherings and that only the shouters supporting the shallowest programs ask to speak. Truth and falsehood are mixed in these views.  The question, however, is not one of taste, but rather something more important --namely the unity of spirit and nation.

- Should the government apply the principle of lazisse faire, lassier aller as it does with the press and allow the strongest instrument of public opinion -- radio --to fall into enemy hands, only to add grist to their mill by subsequent prohibitions?

- Press  “impartiality" is a danger for people of weak character because it tempts them to hold it as more important than life... Those who want to be "impartial" or "objective" forget that one can be so only when he serves a great cause. The press is not a cause in itself, only an instrument.

- If one wants to label working correspondents and the press as "objective," he does so against better advice. (Beware the "liberal media.") If any large part of the press seriously worries about "objectivity" without serving a living political goal, it will decay into a comedy of objective objectivism that glorifies itself, and leads not to impartiality but to insipidness.

- The opposition (to Fascism) of four thousand German newspapers, having the entire nation as their readership, was indeed a powerful stimulus for the Hitler movement to establish its own press --(Washington Times, FOX News, Robert Novak)  and to take up the battle against general ostricization by means of the press. In the fourteen years of growth, the hundred National Socialist newspapers and magazines that emerged certainly contributed to the success of the movement, but not decisively so. Our success came as a result of living propaganda and organization.

- The printed page is unable to excite or control mass impulses. If one calls the press a great power, as does the liberal slogan has it, one must realize that its star is fading. More correctly, perhaps, one should realize that it does not generally depend on its own power but it is rather a means and tool of a power, namely financial and industrial liberalism, that has secretly controlled public opinion for one hundred and fifty years in this comfortable way. (That "liberal media" again.)

- The kind of journalism these men have developed (they call it free, independent, neutral, nonpartisan, above party, and objective — ever and again objective) must be replaced or Germany will disappear. There is but one objective worthy of the full effort of the press — the nation. And the only justifiable objectivity is that which serves the cause of the nation. (Like FOX News)

- Until the Fascist legislation, absolute freedom of the press prevailed. It began to change the organization of the press with the law of 8 July 1924. In the following years, press legislation was passed that attacked the plague of too many "nonpartisan" newspapers by encouraging consolidation and reduction in numbers. The honor of journalists is well protected, and their number limited and controlled by the state. This is done in such a way that the governmentally approved professional associations themselves exercise the control, and have disciplinary and supervisory powers over their members.

On Leveraging Religion


- When we consider the question of a constructive, creative, and critical intellectualism and the problem of faith, it is necessary to consider that most powerful belief factor, the church.  The church is the organized strength of religious faith, and as such does not reject or replace political faith, but rather deepens it.  When schools churches, and national propaganda build a unity, the greatest possible strength of internal forces and will results. (Prayer in public schools, faith-based this and that.)   Since they are based in faith, knowledge, and intellect, they can only provide further support and foundation for faith, resulting in a total unity of all spiritual forces in the nation. This should be begun earlier so as to reach even the youngest children.

- One might also consider the insistent evangelical radio listening groups... These are widespread.

- The Evangelical Union for Radio [Evangelische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Rundfunk] under Hinderer's leadership, works in this manner... It sees its tasks as the transmission "by radio of our movement and work, and the provision of qualified persons from our circle for the various programs. We are ready to cooperate.

- He who speaks of the relations between church and state or of religion and the nation in Germany runs the risk of being used as a witness by both sides of our religiously divided people.  This is not a discussion of religious problems or ecclesiastical politics, but rather of the unity of all devout German men and women regardless of whether they are Protestant or Catholic.

- German religious groups must have equal rights, and must enjoy the same support from the state.  Whether this will occur in the form of concordants or through national and regional churches is a question of historical development.  It is, however, certain that neither of these large churches stands outside the national interests, and it is just as certain that the overwhelming majority of their members affirm national interests.  This goes to show the vital interest the government has in its leading religious bodies.
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