The first two Talking Turkey Diaries lay out the position that the Right has created an effective, long-term program to create a cultural hegemony that taps into the American psyche on a moral and emotional level.
Using Madison Avenue type techniques to bypass reason and logic, and appeal to people on a "gut" level, they sell their product the same way any product is sold: create an image in the customers mind that the product will reinforce. People vote for candidates for the same reason they ride Harley Davidson motorcycles or buy Louis Vuitton bags; because they buy into the image.
Some on the left are beginning to realize what is happening, but as yet, there is little written on how to effectively counter the right-wing narrative. The remainder of the Talking Turkey series is an attempt to find ways to do this on a practical level.
I don't have all the answers, so this is also a forum to discuss what you have found to work. Comments are encouraged.
Perhaps the most successful marketing image on the right is the "freedom" narrative. It's latest incarnation is the cell phone company telling customers to "upgrade when they want, not when they're told."
In addition to linking to the tough, self-sufficient cowboy image, the freedom narrative also resounds with anyone who ever waited in line at the DMV.
We've heard all the arguments: "There are too many rules, too many government bureaucrats, too much red tape. The "nanny state" infantalizes people. It makes them dependent. All these regulations are bad for business. The market, not the government should pick winners and losers."
But if you listen closely to the people making the arguments, "freedom" sounds like a six-year old stomping his feet and declaring "You're not the boss of me!" Apparently, freedom means you can do whatever you want, with no responsibility for the consequences of your action, as long as it benefits you. If anything, right-wing thinking infantalizes people.
Huffington Post recently published an article about manufacturers phasing out incandescent light bulbs because of new government efficiency standards. Most of the comments are variations of the "You're not the boss of me." argument, with the usual smokescreen of freedom to "choose," social engineering, and "crony capitalism." (The most ludicrous argument ever to come form the right wing)
FOX News and the rest of the right-wing rant machine encourage these petty kerfuffles to instill the proper anti-government attitude, so when election comes around, they will vote for the anti-government, anti-regulation candidate. Recent history shows us how well that is working out.
As with most beliefs, direct confrontation not only doesn't work, but actually strengthens the adherents bias. Pointing out what happened when we deregulated trade or the financial institutions won't change their minds when they believe their freedom is being attacked.
You have to challenge the right-wing narrative of "freedom." I like the illustration of flying a kite. As long as you hold the string taut, the kite is free to fly anywhere in the sky. But let go of the string, and the kite falls to the earth. Society sets limits on freedom because freedom will destroy society if unchecked.
There are hundreds of examples of how society restricts freedom. We should argue about how much regulation we need, but it is useless to try unless challenge the concept that "none" is the correct answer.