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View Diary: Liberals are from Conceptual, Conservatives are from Phatic (106 comments)

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  •  What Gingrich Was Up To (none)
    Gingrich's revolution was more serious than that. I remember when he first put out his lists of words. Words to describe yourself, words to describe your opponent. The terms themselves were obvious (I am for democracy, my opponent is a liberal), but there were two very interesting things:

    1. The terms were all value terms, words designed to set up an emotional, value-based response in the listener.

    2. The advice with them was that they were to be used as often as possible regardless of whether or not they were appropriate.

    The genius of Gingrich was in reframing the debate as one of values in which the Republicans would constantly and inappropriately use loaded language to shout Dems down.

    This is why I think the key to any kind of Democratic resurgence has to start, at least in part, with a resuscitation of the word liberal. This word is still treated like leprosy by Democrats, who run from it and anyone who they think might have it. Liberalism is great, liberalism is grand. More importantly, liberalism is what the Democratic Party is about.

    Ceding that the word is bad, or having it generally accepted by the political establishment and the punditocracy that the word is bad, pushes the entire progressive agenda off the table before we even sit down to talk. If liberalism is bad, then all we're talking about is which party can drown government in the bathtub first.

    •  progressive (none)
      We should start by eliminating liberal and substituting the word "progressive."  It sounds advanced, like those who favor stem cell research--and it is those people who we should focus on--so we're progressive--and they're regressive or better yet, we should define them as right wingers and reactionaries, holdovers from the 50s--the new communist baiters--the anti science community, fundamentalists, yes, we should start calling them the fundamentalists, just like the Islamic kind, but of course, the Christian variety--all anti science--I just saw Kinsey--terrific terrific movie--all progressives should see it--1950s raging back--and we progressives should start actively labeling this group backwards, McCarthyites, right wingers--anti Darwinists--we should emphasize how they intend to take us backwards to the 50s. So we fall behind everyone in the world, and lose our edge.  People won't like that.  People won't like that image of themselves as backwards and anti science.  
    •  The taboo subject. (none)

       Hitler.

       And, yet, he was (in a sociopathic, evil way) a genious at oratory (at least to mesmerize enough people).  And, to that end, he made it a practice to use as many emotive, and often violent, words as possible:  "smash," "crush," "destroy," and the like.  This got people whipped up into a furor (pun intended) on a really emotional level.  Orwell described this in the the "2 Minute Hate" scene in 1984, as well.

       Hitler was a joke to those who "got" what he was doing, but he didn't have to convince everybody to be behind him, just enough people.  

       I invite folks to read Willim Shirer's "Berlin Diary," about this American journalists life in Berlin in the run-up and first year of WWII.  His description of Hitler's speech after the fall of Poland is riveting.  He (Shirer) totally ridicules Hitler's speech (calling for peace and putting any further war that may happen squarely at England's doorstep), but says that it sounded so "reasonable" that he was afraid the German population would buy into it.

       Well, as they say, the rest is history.

       Gingrich's infamous memo is a lesson in neo-Hitlerian use of language to whip-up a crowd.  Calling it anything less is intellectually and historically dishonest.

       BenGoshi
      _____________  

      "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." T.J.

      by BenGoshi on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 08:52:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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