Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Propaganda v. Reasoning

Continuing the yammering on propaganda.

The word propaganda really just refers to whatever a person or group does to propagate their ideas. People generally assign a negative connotation to the term; however, it is impossible to objectively distinguish "propaganda" from "objective" reasoning. People's definition of good and bad propaganda generally follows partisan lines.

Scott McClellan's accusation that that Bush administration engaged in propaganda is a non-event. Scott McClellan's job as press secretary is propagandistic in nature. His job is to present the world view of the administration. President Clinton had a press secretary whose job was propagandistic in nature as well; President Obama will have one as well.

The whole conflict between the Islamic and Western world is one of propaganda as the powers vie to convey their world vision.

The important questions involve the reasoning of the Bush administration. Did the Bush administration engage in a sound reasoning process. If they didn't engage in sound reasoning, then the next question should be why they engaged in unsound reasoning.

The Bush administration engaged in the reasoning processes that are taught in the modern education system. Our left leaning education system yanked logic from the curriculum decades before Bush was born. Our modern education system does an astoundingly poor job teaching math and other reasoning skills.

In 2003, there were all sorts of things that indicated that an invasion of Iraq would be a shortcut to progress.

Our progressive education system tells us that, when our sentiments indicate a short cut to progress seems promising, we should follow our feelings and take the short cut to progress.

Our Constitution was written at a time when the education system had a high esteem for logic. The founders believed that there should be a more deliberative process before doing something like invading another country. The Constitution demanded a Declaration of War.

Here is the problem. The founders assumed that the leaders would have reasoning skills that are simply not taught in our schools these days. In a world where progressive schools fail to teach logic, a declaration of war would be as non-deliberative as our recent bumbling into Baghdad.

The progressive idea of Democracy is one where a political class has a nexus of justifications for their desires. The sporadic actions of the government are a happenstance of partisan infighting as the polticians reach out to grab their desires.

The sad truth is that, in this modern political climate, the reasons behind government actions are weak.

For example, a primary reason for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq was that March was the ideal month for the invasion. A more deliberative approach to the war would have missed the ideal timeframe for the war. Putting off the invasion until 2004 would have put the decision in an election year. The tight timeframe for the invasion meant we gave Hussein a short three day ultimatinum to abdicate to avoid the invasion. It is highly likely that Hussein would have left on his own if the ultimatum were a bit longer.

It is possible that the reason for shortcutting the deliberative process and for the war itself might be the tight timeframe dictated by natural and political cycles.

The above observation makes me livid. It means that we rushed to war because Bush felt rushed.

Left leaning politics can be even more bizarre:

For example, people are livid with the out-of-control spending of the Bush administration. The result of this anger is we are likely to hand a super majority to a group that intends to socialize medicine.

So, the reason that we will have socialized medicine is because we think government spending is out of control.

Americans are justified to be livid with a government that systematically produces bad decision based on defective reason. Unfortunately, we aren't going to be able to fix the problem simply by accusing people of propaganda as our problems lay with the foundations of the modern system of reasoning and not with the method for communicating our reasons.

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