Thursday, May 22, 2008

Preoccupied with Propaganda

A guy named Jason The dropped a really bizarre comment on my blog a few days back. I will comment on the comment below. First, Here is a link to Horowitz' BookTV speech:

A few days ago, I wrote a flow of conscious post after reading David Horowitz's new work called "The Party of Defeat." The post took maybe five minutes to type out. Yes, I can type as fast as I can read. My post begins by saying that I am talking about propaganda. The's comment begins:

I don't mean to undermine the efforts you've put into this post, but after reading, my only honest response is Wow! Talk about propaganda!

The opening phrase is odd, as Mr. The's blog appears to be partisan. I cannot see into Mr. The's mind; So, I will take his word that he is authentically trying to provide constructive criticism. Oddly though, he is off mark on his assertion that I through effort into the post. I read a book and dashed off a flow of conscious in response to a question that Mr. Horowitz presented in the book.

The really odd thing here is the leveled accusation of propaganda. Horowitz wrote a book about propaganda. I opened my post with an acknowledgement that the post was propaganda. Mr. The then levels an attack that the post is propaganda. That is odd.

Taking The's word that he is providing constructive criticism, I actually spent a whole day reading up on propaganda. Judging from the wide variety of definitions, my observation is that know one really knows what is and is not propaganda. You can push the definition to the point that everything is propaganda. For example, the posted speed limit is a concerted effort to influence people's driving behavior, hence, it is propaganda. Every advertisement is propaganda. News articles are propagandistic in their choice of what to report or not report.

Some people seem to claim that objectivity is the opposite of propaganda. However, there is no objective test to separate propaganda from non-propaganda. Even worse, the most effective propaganda is propaganda made to appear objective. Dropping purr and snarl words in a news article has a bigger impact on opinion than a strongly worded statement.

The next part of The's comment are odd. He starts:

We need to better educate ourselves before we attempt to speak out on an issue, otherwise we only serve to mislead others into the same fallacy prone logic exampled in this post filled with vast assumptions, proven inaccuracies, and huge generalizations that do little to further intelligent discussion of an issue that effects each and every American, and more directly effects soldiers under fire abroad.

I am accused of not making an effort to educate myself for writing a blog post after reading a book. Does anyone else find that one odd. Mr The then fires a barrage of accusations of fallacies, and generalizations, but fails to point them out. I had a person who's studied logic for 40 years read the post. That person pointed out a sentence that could be read as a generalization; I thought about removing the sentence, but that would be unfair to Mr. The; So I blogged-me a post on that sentence.

Mr. The openly claims that my blog post negatively affects the soldiers in the field. Oddly, a major portion of Horowitz's thesis is that irresponsible statements by leaders in the Democratic Party had direct negative impact on the soldiers in the field. The death count shows that under 200 US soldiers died in the war to dispose Hussein. Some three thousand American soldiers died after the Democratic Leadership took the calculated risk of opposing the war.

Horowitz differentiates between what party officials and folks in influential posts (like journalists) do from irresponsible, unread bloggers like me. Jason The ends his attack with the barb:

As a long-time supporter of the military (having family members and friends - throughout my entire life - who have, or are currently serving), I find what you've written here grossly offensive.

In conclusion, I am an uneducated, propagandist who Jason The finds offensive.

BTW, I added Mr. The to my blogroll. This blogroll is designed to show the diversity of opinion in the Mountain West.

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