Thursday, October 23, 2008

Those Anti-American Marxists

The goal of sound byte journalism is simply to get negative labels attached to one's partisan opponents. Many left wing journalist work to get the label "bigot" attached to Republicans and the label "open minded" to their candidates.

Chris Matthews scored a home run in an interview with a naive Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minn. He framed a question using the term "Anti-Americanism" and Ms. Bachmann fell into the trap and used the words from the question in the answer.

In my web wanderings and listening to Public Radio and other liberal sources, I've come across fifty plus references to the interview below. The left is promoting the piece as they believe they can use it to frame Republicans as bigotted. Reports say that Democrats have now given over $1.3 million to her opponent who might well win the seat from a person they've successfully labeled a bigot.

Chris Matthew's set up is simple. He asks a question with a politically charged catch phase in it. If his mark answers the question using words from the question (which is our natural behavior) then he wins one for his party.

I went to bed angry that our press has been taken over by second rate scum like Mr. Matthews.

I woke up in the middle of the night fuming about the interview for a much deeper reason.

As you see. We actually need to be able to talk about things such as "anti-americanism."

The assumption I made when listening to the piece was that Ms. Bachmann was playing the labeling game. We all read into Ms. Bachmann's using the word forced into her mouth by an attack reporter as some sort of evil plot conceived in the Skull and Bones sanctom of the Republican Party to associate the lable Anti-American with Obaman.

Ten thousand or so liberal bloggers and radio attack jocks took their marching orders and went with the talking points.

Obviously, this is what the Republicans were trying to do; It is the way we were taught to think in school.

The person trained in classical thinking would look at the discussion and notice that Ms. Bachmann was simply engaged in open discourse with the words on the table. The Republican from Minnesota wanted a way that says she sees negative things in the Chicago Political system. She tried expressing the thought with the words given by the moderator.

This is the way that talking works.

What has me most furious with the left is that they have this systematic way of destroying our basic ability to communicate. Currently, there is a whole slew of "Voldemort" style words that no-one is allowed to speak. We can't say the word "unamerican" we can't say the word "Marxist." When you do, the left accuses you of labeling people.

But, wait a second, with the possible exception of Kant and Hegel, Marx was the most important philospher of the modern age.

It is a diabolical trick. Marxist thought permeates the academic community, but the left has encaseed their saint in a "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" aura.

To the Point

Now, I agree that slapping people with labels diverts from quality discourse. However, I believe that people should be able to use words without being attacked in the way the left attacked Ms. Bachmann.

For example, the term American and Unamerican are extremely important in helping us define our national identity.

First thing one should note is that definitions might change with time. For example there was a period in the 1800s when Mormons were extremely Anti-American. This is verified by the fact that they marched out of the United States and had military units that harrassed American soldiers as the soldiers moved into Utah to stop what they saw as the Mormon Rebellion.

Today Mormons go to parades and wave the American flag.

Are Marxists Anti-American

It is nice having words that we can use in discussions. The question "Are Marxists Anti-American?" is an interesting question from a logical perspective. A Marxist is a person who holds the cause of the revolution above all other issues. Clearly, when America is the primary obstacle to the cause, then the Marxist is anti-American and seeks to find ways to pull down the obstacle to the cause. If America were itself to become a Marxist state, then Marxists would be pro America as they use America as a launching pad for the next phase of the revolution.

This is a very simple and clean example of the way that things change.

There are many on the far left and a few on the far right whose patriotism is conditional on their group being in power.

This brings up the next question if a person's patriotism is conditional, is it really patriotism? A group that has the attitude "If I am not in power; I will agitate against you," is somewhat dangerous. Unfortunately, it is impossible to look inside a person's head and see their intent.

In conclusion, I agree wholeheartedly with attempts to avoid the small minded politics that comes when people toss about labels. However, I think the game where we place words in the "He-who-must-not-be-named" category is even more distructive than the appearance of words we don't like.

Regardless, this gotcha interview on MSNBC and the large number of blogs featuring the interview in their talking points stand out as a prime example of the dismal state of the American media.


Jason The said...

I actually watched the interview live, and there was nothing 'gotcha" about it (IMHO). Bachmann is just a fool.

For the sake of argument though, aren't you partaking in the same thing you decry in attempting to de-legitimize the opinion of all of these bloggers by describing them as "far left" (a label) and using grand, mischaracterizations and phrases such as "taking marching orders"?

Your own words aren't adding anything more cogent or reasonable to the debate, my friend.

y-intercept said...

I know perfectly well that the post uses the very techniques that I think are destructive. If I wasn't in a hurry to write the post, I would have been even more blatant in the hypocrisy.

I write the way that I was taught to write in school.

I was not exposed to logic in school. They thrust Chomsky before me as the greatest intellectual in World History. I would sit in focus groups trying to figure out how to frame issues for partisan advantage.

I was the perfect little student doing everything my teachers wanted.

My point is that the problem is with the way we were taught to think.

If you were trained to use the techniques of labeling and projection, then you would see Bachmann as a bigot. If you were trained to appreciate classical dialogue, I think you would see someone trying to express an idea, but finding the words didn't come out well.

Jennifer said...

hey- thanks for making me site of the day back in July. I just barely saw your comment today and noticed site of the day few weeks ago while looking at my site meter. Anyway, I appreciate the plug and your kind words. I've received a lot of hits from your SLsites so thank you. Take care! Jen

Anonymous said...

The left has has resorted to using classic right wing tactics. My friend, you don't take a knife to a gunfight. Kerry made the mistake of not addressing what was thrown at him, and consequently we all suffered another 4 years with Dub. You have to fight fire with fire, and fortunately the Dems have become proficient at mustering counter attacks. Rep Bachmann, was simply "hoist by her own petard". Bachmann holding a talking point forged in her parties twisted Limbaughesqe soul, let Matthews take it away and disembowel her with it on live TV; a tactic O'Reilly attempts nightly. It is truly bizarre that the questioning of Mr. "Second Rate Scum" keeps you up at night. Certainly you cannot hold Fox News to be a bastion of classical dialogue? My friend, where is your outrage against the right? Why is your venom reserved for the left? Michelle Bachmann is a poster child for the ProAmerican, Christian, Patriots who were able to dupe this country into spending tons of YOUR precious tax dollars in a war that destroyed a country and killed 100,000 civilians! I for one am sleeping better, and am happy the left was able to finally dive into the mud and wrestle the pigs.

y-intercept said...

AC, get real! Learn some history. The techniques were developed by the left.

Reactionaries use the techniques of their opponents! That is the way the game works.

Reactionaries, by their very nature, use the techniques of the thing they react against. Reactionaries, by their nature, are mirrors of the thing they react against.

The reason we associate the tactics with the right is that one of the most successful tools of the left is a thing that Freud called "projection."

The left, which controls the media and schools, project their techniques onto their opponents.

It is not hard for the radical left to do since the reactionary right mirrors the left.

Yes, when you are in school, the professors will use Republicans for all the negative examples and the Democrats for all of the positive examples.

BTW, this trick has been around since antiquity.