Obama's new slogan
The Obama campaign has just issued a new slogan for the mob: "Forward!"
"Mob" was the term used to describe liberals by Ann Coulter in her brilliant book, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America. Citing Gustave Le Bon, "the first to identify the phenomenon of mass psychology" and his book, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, she writes:
All the characteristics of mob behavior set forth by Le Bon in 1895 are evident in modern liberalism...extreme black-and-white thinking...inability to follow logical arguments...a religious worship of their leaders, and a blind hatred of their opponents.
Many of liberals' peculiarities are understandable only when one realizes that they are a mob. For example, a crowd's ability to grasp only the simplest ideas is reflected in the interminable slogans...
Conservatives don't cotton to slogans. When they finally produce one, it's never the sort of rallying cry capable of sending people to the ramparts, such as "Yes We Can!" or "Bush Lied, Kids Died!" "27 Million Americans Can't Be Wrong" is a wry observation, not an urgent call to battle...
Conservatives write books and articles, make arguments, and seek debates, but are perplexed by slogans.[i]
Conservatives are also amused by them.
"By contrast, liberals thrive on jargon as a substitute for thought," added Coulter. Liberals have produced, by the hundreds, slogans that fit perfectly on bumper stickers. Most conservative writers have a hard time condensing an idea into an article under 1200 words.
The novel Brave New World was on Obama's reading list for one of his "working" vacations. I picked up a copy myself, and discovered the following interesting passage in the author's analysis, "Brave New World Revisited":
In their propaganda today's dictators rely for the most part on repetition, suppression and rationalization -- the repetition of catchwords which they wish to be accepted as true, the suppression of facts which they wish to be ignored, the arousal and rationalization of passions which may be used in the interests of the Party or the State.
We don't know whether the brave, new and fundamentally transformed America of Obama's dreams would install him as "dictator," but at times he does seem to "channel his inner Mussolini," and his speeches include lots of repetition and catchwords, supported by the usual straw men and devoid of fact, that are quite effective at dividing and agitating the masses.
"Hope and change." "Yes we can." "Winning the Future." "Change we can believe in." "Pass this bill." "We can't wait."
Breitbart's Joel Pollak noted that the new "Forward" slogan is "related to MSNBC's 'Lean Forward,' and, of course, to Mao Zedong's 'Great Leap Forward,' which had the opposite result." Pollak also wrote:
The seven-minute video accompanying the release of the new slogan revisits the familiar argument that Barack Obama inherited a mess--and that he is responsible for signs of progress in the economy. We can go forward--or give up all of that progress (such as it is) by putting a Republican back in the White House.
Many of us aren't so sure that Obama's signs of progress and the direction they point match our own idea of going forward. C.S. Lewis once wrote:
We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. [ii]
A "glimpse of the low road the president and his campaign likely will take" was recently described by Karl Rove. Rove also reminded us of this Obama nugget from his 2008 DNC acceptance speech: "If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from."
Obama's words presciently described the low road of his own 2012 campaign. Applying the wisdom of Lewis: America needs to run from Obama as fast as he runs from his own record. And progress forward means getting back on the right road. ______________________________________________________________________________
[i] Ann Coulter, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America (New York, Crown Forum, 2011), pages 6 - 7
[ii] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, HarperCollins, 2001), page 28.