The Democrats' Big Lie
Charles Krauthammer is doubtless one of the most astute and knowledgeable members of the conservative commentariat. But once in a while even he stumbles while trying to interpret what the far left is doing. Such was the case a few days ago when he was a guest on Bill O'Reilly's FNC show and the host was wondering, in his distinctive fashion, at the stupidity of the mainstream press, as evidenced by the latest epithet for the Tea Party -- "terrorists", and the "mindless" repetition of it on all channels.
That O'Reilly, who justifiably likes to refer to himself, in mock humility, as a "simple" man while also reminding the viewers that he is a "Harvard man", would fall into this trap is no surprise. But Dr. Krauthammer, who ascribed the parroting of the stupid moniker by the leftist MSM to their mental slothfulness and paucity of imagination, should know better. This is not to defend the mental acuity of leftist JournOlists, though quite a few of them are glaringly stupid. But the "mindless" repetition of DNC talking points has nothing to do with their intellectual prowess or lack thereof; they are merely doing their part for the progressive cause, using a technique as old as demagoguery and equally effective -- the Big Lie.
The theory of the Big Lie was succinctly expounded by Adolf Hitler, an acknowledged master of the genre. Here is what Der Führer wrote in vol. I, Chapter 10 of Mein Kampf (in James Murphy' translation):
"...in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying."
Another equally renowned expert in the field, Dr. Josef Goebbels, put it even more starkly in an article "From Churchill's Lie Factory" dated 12 January 1941:
"The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous."
There are very few things the left is really good at, but one of them is propaganda, its bread and butter, the biggest arrow in its quiver. While extolling "the working class", the socialist movement has always been an almost exclusive preserve of radical intellectuals. These people, whose primary habitat is the ivory towers of academia, are far removed from reality. They spend their lives talking non-stop, engaging in verbal games and coming up with slogans and catch-words and phrases, sometimes quite ingenious. You have to admit that the NYT's headline "General Betray Us" mocking Gen. Petraeus, while sickeningly impudent, was very good as a cute piece of propaganda.
The liberals have fully absorbed the lessons taught by their ideological progenitors, the Nazi socialists and Soviet communists. They understand that the big lie, if endlessly repeated, is extremely effective. Its purpose is to establish in the minds of the target audience an automatic stimulus-response connection, a Pavlovian conditioned reflex: capitalist = fat cat; George Bush = moron; Sarah Palin = idiot; Barack Obama = genius, any Kennedy = gift to mankind, etc. Ask the liberal spouting any of the above for proof that, say, Sarah Palin is an idiot or Barack Obama an intellectual giant, and the answer would be a puzzled stare -- why, everyone knows that she is a moron and he a towering intellect, so it must be true. Just repeat your slogan often enough, and once embedded in the minds of the people the mantra becomes reality for them. So effective is this technique that the left has made the former Alaska governor unelectable in the view of independents and even many conservatives, in effect dictating the available choices for the conservatives.
Patrick Henry famously thundered, "Give me liberty, or give me death", in a speech to the Virginia Convention. Almost two and a half centuries later these magic words have lost none of their power. But how does this slogan grab you: "Give me an accelerated depreciation schedule or give me death"? Are you gripped by an irresistible impulse to grab a pitchfork and storm the ramparts? Probably not. To be effective, the slogan must be short and evocative, like the crack of a whip. Lenin exhorted his followers to "Rob the robbers!" not "Fight for a more fair distribution of the national wealth!" The French revolutionary slogan, "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality", still resonates with many people despite its patent absurdity. For in a continent where war was a permanent condition, "fraternity" was a travesty, while "liberty" and "equality" are mutually exclusive - since equality does not exist in nature, it can only be achieved through coercion, which is the opposite of freedom.
So it is not out of indolence or lack of imagination that the liberal talking heads repeat the "terrorist" trope, apparently contributed to the public discourse by David Axelrod. They know what they are doing. If you tell a man that he is a swine persistently enough, sooner or later he will start oinking. The Democrats understand the principle and that's why they are extremely disciplined in their propaganda efforts. Somebody comes up with a catchy word or phrase; if it tests well in focus groups and polls, the New York Times or the DNC sends it forth as a talking point, and the loyal media troops pick it up and run with it. It is in effect a dispersed flash mob employed to advance the cause.
If tomorrow they decide to call the Tea Party members, say, Ghoulish Ghibellines, the moniker will stick though the people who would use it will have not the remotest idea of what it means (they would probably decide it denotes a particularly vicious breed of goblins). Why do you think liberals have such a conniption fit whenever Obama is called a socialist -- a neat and catchy label? It comes straight out of the liberal playbook and potentially is very effective.
As a matter of fact, in one of the latest polls, 29 percent of the Democrats agreed with the proposition that the Tea Party members are "terrorists."