Saving the Children
The structure and anatomy of the techniques being used to deprive law-abiding American people of their rights. We are the victims of an all-out war, and generally don't know it.
by Tony Peter
We are at war, and most of us don't know it. No, This is not about Kosovo, or Iraq, or even the War on Drugs. It is one segment of the American people at war with the other segment. The segment on the offensive has a strategy, has an agenda, and possesses a clear cut goal. The segment on the defensive does not really seem to know that it is being attacked and by and large lives under the delusion that a discussion is taking place, maybe a debate, but certainly not an all out attack.
This would sound far-fetched to almost anyone unless they took their blinders off and examined the strategy and tactics of the opposition as it unfolds.
Let's do that. How do we know we are at war? What is a war?
James A. Baldwin, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy wrote a forward to a book written as a text for the National Defense University by Paul A Smith. He defines war in his forward to On Political War:
"Warfare is often defined as the employment of military means to advance political ends... Another, more subtle means -- political warfare -- uses images, ideas, speeches, slogans, propaganda, economic pressures, even advertising techniques to influence the political will of an adversary." (1)
Paul A. Smith talks about the subject this way: "The essential element in war is not killing per se, but rather the compelling of an opponent to do one's will... The essence is a contest of political will, whose means may involve varying forms and
degrees of compulsion." (1)
The above definition is critical. The will of the American people is being compelled more aggressively than at any time since the McCarthy Era.
What we are talking about is propaganda as the primary vehicle for fighting this war.
Isn't advertising propaganda? And that sure does not seem to hurt anybody, (usually), so how can the exercise of propaganda be described as a war?
It really is stretching the notion of war; people solicited by ads recognize them as propaganda, (it is pretty overt, usually), and it doesn't harm anyone, as we said before. This is true if the ad is selling a product, a political view, or a religious belief.
All propaganda is a form of communication. When that communication takes place and it is not recognized as propaganda, then it can fall into the category of assault, especially if its goals and aims are not clearly understood.
How can we recognize propaganda when it is not overt, when quite the contrary, it is designed as deception and to remain covert. The best way to identify an animal is by looking at its parts, and once the overall architecture can be viewed as supporting specific functions, then we can define the animal very accurately. Example: It has stripes, enabling it to hide in the grass; it weighs 250 or so lbs.; It has four legs, with paws sporting retractable claws; it has canines that are 1.5 - 2.5 inches long; and eyes that are set in the front. Is it a grazing animal? Does it root for grubs and tubers? I think not - we are looking at a predator. See what I mean by identification through function and architecture?
What are some of the signs or elements that we need to look for in order to recognize covert propaganda? Aaron Delwiche of the University of Washington was kind enough to document some of his observations on the Internet. In his papers, he defines the techniques of propaganda, (think of these as parts). The reason I decided to quote him, as opposed to other sources, is that he is very thorough and relatively easy to read. Here is a summary list of techniques as defined by him.
Techniques: (as defined by Aaron Delwiche), Examples and implications by yours truly:
1. Word Games - Name Calling: Gunnutz, (low brow moronic individual who needs a gun to substitute for a small penis); Gun Culture, (there is no such thing - but if there were, it would be stupid); cartoon of a fat hunter wearing an NRA hat blasting away with a machine gun, (implication: boy, these guys are real morons, and dangerous on top of that.
2. Word Games - Glittering Generalities: Protecting Our Children, (we are dedicated to that, but the Gunnutz are out to harm them); Searching for Solutions, (we, who are not Gunnutz, really care - besides, it takes people of good will who are liberals to search for and find solutions)
3. Word Games - Euphemisms: Bubba, (this one has to be used carefully - don't want to alienate southerners - but it sure makes the NRA Gunnutz sound primitive, while we are being progressive and searching for answers.)
4. False Connections - Transfers: (after the Littleton shooting, the Press showing a gun shop owner in his store with scrubby beard and tattoos all over his arms, with all sorts of guns on the wall behind him - implication: no wonder the "children" were able to get guns to shoot other children when there are types like this to supply them). Note: my apologies to the gentleman described - there is no implication on my part that you are a bad guy - the media showed you that way.
5. False Connections - Testimonials: "Sharon Stone Gives Up Guns" - Wow, if this foxy lady gives up guns, guns must not really be very popular with foxy ladies; if I wanted to have a chance at a foxy lady, I'd better give up my guns, too; foxy people, especially ladies that cross and uncross their legs poignantly, don't like guns.
6. Special Appeals - Plain Folks - Bill Clinton does a good job of this - he is always asking to Protect the Children, (was Monica a child? Potential counter-propaganda film: Bill speaking of protecting the Children - camera pans out to take in a group of children with Monica lurking somewhere in the group - the camera zooms in on her as Bill utters the words "The Children". Wouldn't that be neat? Yippee!).
7. Special Appeals - Band Wagon - This is really pretty much the whole crew of TV News commentators, shows, and magazines - if you are not slamming the NRA, boy are you lonely. You also make sure that you flood the airwaves with cute little old ladies, soccer moms, frightened high-school girls, sobbing football players, and HCI representatives all talking about how afraid they are of guns and how anything beyond a single shot Topper Shotgun is unnecessary for hunting. The bandwagon speaks.
8. Special Appeals - Fear - Dianne Feinstein holding up two AK 30 round magazines taped together, saying something like: "this morning, one of our California policemen was shot with this - we have to ban assault weapons." Implication: They have not yet been banned. (but they were). If we don't ban them, more children will be shot with two 30 round clips taped together, or maybe even you - never mind that assault weapons have already been banned, and no self respecting criminal would think of using 2 30 round clips taped together for fear of malfunction.
9. Logical Fallacies- Bad Logic - We have to close the loopholes in laws governing gun-show sales cause we don't want any more Littletons. Huh? Also - read 8. Littleton could not have been prevented by any gun law thus far passed, or yet to be passed.
10. Logical Fallacies - Unwarranted Extrapolation - We license Cars, don't we? So why should we not license guns? Well - the Feds nor the states license cars. You can buy all the cars you want without a license. To drive them, you have to pass a test. Haven't seen anyone driving a gun lately.
In addition to these, he lists techniques that are typical and emblematic of war time propaganda as applied to the enemy. (This is where the war against Americans who want to hang on to some shred of their rights gets really dirty). These are:
1. Demons - using a diabolic image or reference to describe the enemy - The NRA has been selected, along with the ubiquitous "Bubba", for demonization by the feel-good-if-we-pull-their-teeth-and-claws crowd. Whenever anyone gets shot, Schumer, Feinstein, Boxer, Billy, all deride the resistance of the NRA to yet another limitation to our freedoms. It is the NRA's fault when anyone gets shot, whether they need to be shot or not. (and there is a significant difference: the gangbangers who attacked the 72 year old Chicago man with knives got shot by him for their efforts - this, too, is the NRA's fault)
2. Atrocities - dwelling on and exaggerating the "bad" deeds of the enemy- see above - when a school shooting takes place, the words "children", "gun violence", and "easy access to guns" get repeated ad nauseam. The NRA, of course, is the culprit. The fact that Sally, 14 years old, shot a burglar who was attacking her mother in the house never gets even honorary mention cause IT's BAD to have easy access to guns.
3. Lies - and just simply lying about what the enemy did or stands for - The Gun Manufacturers Manufacture More Guns Then Are Needed in society, hence criminals get hold of em, and shoot someone. Many cities are suing gun manufacturers. Isn't it about time someone paid for the "gun violence"? Certainly not the criminal! He was terminally misunderstood, and besides, easy access to guns and the NRA and the gun manufacturers making him do it - how could the criminal help it?
For these techniques to work in an optimum fashion, effectively, they have to permeate the attention of the target audience. This is accomplished by:
1. A lot of repetition, (of as many of these techniques as possible). - for about a month, there were basically two news stories on most tv stations: School Shootings and Kosovo. The media, and the people the media interviewed, all fell into lockstep mode, all used the same terms and allusions, and all blamed guns and the NRA. You repeat any idiocy often enough without discernable challenge, and the assumption is made by well meaning people that it is true. Let's face it: I have not seen one story this year where a person used a gun to save his, his family's, his neighbor's, or a policeman's life - and there were a bunch of those, some of them involving children.
2. The use of as many types of media platform as possible - all media platforms have been involved in this war against us
3. Saturation of the environment with events inclusive of these techniques - you could turn in no direction without being hammered by "poor children", "school shootings", "easy access to guns", "searching for solutions", "don't trust your kids", etc. - The one that really grabbed me was the continual yammering by the media about "searching for solutions" - isn't it obvious to even a moron that schools have been castrated, educators are not allowed to discipline problem children, and the "time out" has replaced the serious communications that most parents used to have with their kids? And that morality has become a dirty word in the public school system - because of federal interference?
4. Timing, and sufficient duration to have the message sink into the social unconscious - this is self explanatory - the opportunity was seized when Littleton took place, and the campaign ran full tilt until after the Senate vote. The war is on low simmer now, to become a conflagration again once the House begins deliberations.
The fact that we are under this type of attack is depressing but true. That is no reason, however, that we can't have a little fun with it - and that is my excuse for some of the word-games I played.
Doing the research for this piece convinced me that we are in serious trouble. There is a massive, deliberate assault being made on our rights. All the stops have been removed by our adversaries. I am convinced that they will do anything at all to get their way: lie, cheat, ignore facts, file frivolous law-suits, and employ all the tools of propaganda that we have been discussing. It is not totally clear to me what they are trying to achieve by disarming us. Is it to be able to make merry with more illegal searches and seizures? So they can tax us to death and not worry about repercussions? Or is it that b
Their gloves have come off, though there is a different and kindly pretense. Citing facts back at them does not work - it will just get them rolling on the ground with laughter. So - what to do?
Let me suggest, as a course of action, that we take what we learned from them and apply it - carefully.
References and helpful reading:
(1) Paul A. Smith, Jr., On Political War, National Defense University Press, 1990
(2) PROPAGANDA IN THEORY AND PRACTICE, How Does It Work, PsyWar Resource, Africa 2000, Internet
(3) Propaganda, by Aaron Delwiche, The Institute of Propaganda Analysis, University of Washington, text revised 1995, http://carmen.artsci.washington.edu/propaganda/ipa
(4) Anti-Gun Propaganda and Controlling Violent Crime - Blythe Collier, http://www.uniblab.com/collie - (this young man did an incredible job)
(5) Psychological Operations/Warfare - http://www.pipeline.com
(6) Guerilla War - Che Guavara - (I currently can not locate this book on the Internet - it is useful in that it has an excellent explanation of a dialectics based technique characterized as "exposing the contradictions of your enemies"- This was not dealt with above, but it is useful.
(7) Bill of No Rights - (author) - Available on the Internet - an excellent example of "humorous" propaganda
(8) JPFO: HAAS INTERVIEW - excerpt is from an interview conducted by AaronZelman, in 1990. Mr. Zelman is the founder of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Theodore Haas is a former prisoner of Dachau concentration camp. - Read this, please, if you read nothing else. - Internet