How the Ruling Class
Sets Progressives Up to Fail
by John Spritzler
July 11, 2018
The URL for sharing this article is https://www.pdrboston.org/how-the-rich-set-progressives-up-to
As we all know, the U.S. population is split almost evenly into two mutually hostile camps, a liberal/progressive/left camp and a conservative camp. The former includes people who listen to NPR and the latter includes people who listen to conservative talk radio. Most progressives view the conservatives as hopelessly opposed to what is good and decent.
As a result, most progressives believe that it is impossible to build a movement of the vast majority (80% or more) of ordinary Americans to remove the billionaire plutocracy from power. And since it would take such a massive movement to succeed in that goal, most progressives dismiss such a goal as simply impossible. The best that most progressives think is possible is to narrowly win elections to get liberal politicians into office.
Progressives who are not totally naive know full well that Big Money vets the politicians who have any chance of getting elected to important offices (Big Money controls the mass media, which can marginalize and ridicule any candidate who crosses the line and advocates removing the rich from power, or even just ending support for Israel.) But progressives figure that the election process is the only game in town, and therefore their best strategy is to "hold their nose" and elect the proverbial lesser evil candidate. The only reason progressives are attracted to this losing strategy is that they believe about half the population (the conservatives) are their enemy and so getting a bare majority of the vote now and then is the best they can ever hope for.
Making progressives feel essentially hopeless this way is a major part of the ruling class strategy for remaining in power. It is a strategy designed to ensure that nobody even tries to actually remove the ruling billionaire plutocracy from power. It is, unfortunately, a wildly successful strategy so far.
But we can overthrow this strategy if we identify it and specifically identify the lies it requires us to believe in order for it to work. So let's start.
The Conservative Media and the Liberal/Progressive Media Are In Cahoots!
The first step is to understand that the conservative media (the talk radio shows, the conservative newspapers, pundits, etc.) and the liberal/progressive media (NPR, The Nation magazine, Democracy Now! radio, the vast liberal mainstream electronic and print media, etc.) are ALL controlled by the same Big Money ruling billionaire class. The conservative and liberal/progressive media say different things obviously and they "disagree" with each other, but this is only because they are each responsible for manipulating different categories (conservative or liberal/progressive) of people and turning them against the other category.
To turn conservatives against liberals requires the content one hears a conservative talk radio host deliver; to turn liberals against conservatives requires the content one hears on the liberal media. The content is different and apparently conflicting, but all of it is coordinated by the same ruling class for the same divide-and-rule purpose. The fact that the conservative and liberal media are different doesn't mean they are working for opposing goals any more than the difference between the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy means those military forces are working for opposing goals. The common goal is divide-and-rule.
Here's how it works:
Conservative talk radio hosts appeal to their audience by championing some key values. Here are some of them.
1. Cheating is immoral.
2. Free loading is immoral.
3. Acting in solidarity with other people is moral.
4. Lying about how good people are bad people is immoral.
5. Murder is immoral.
6. Racial discrimination is wrong.
Conservative media are quite persuasive to their audience in making the case that liberals/progressives do not share these values and actually hold the opposite values.
The REASON the conservative media is persuasive to its audience is because the ruling class has SET PROGRESSIVES UP to be easily portrayed as hostile to these values. Here's how.
On the question of illegal immigration, the liberal/progressive media never frame the question properly. The proper question is "Should the U.S. government force millions of people to migrate against their will into the United States just in order to survive?" That is the real question, of course (as I discuss here.) Does the liberal/progressive media frame it that way? Nope. Not on your life! The liberal/progressive media frame the question this way: "Should people be allowed to illegally migrate into the United States, i.e., (as the conservative hosts make clear) should they be allowed to cheat the immigration legal procedure unlike the many legal migrants who did not cheat it and who 'played by the rules'?
Do you see what's going on? The NPR propagandists are working hand-in-glove with the conservative media propagandists to make sure that conservative people will perceive liberals/progressives (who of course say that the illegal immigrants should be allowed to enter the U.S.) as simply pro-cheating.
On the question of free loading (i.e., being perfectly capable of working but flat out refusing to do so and at the same time collecting money (welfare of some kind) from the taxes paid by those who do work) the conservative talk radio hosts devote a great deal of time making the case that there are many free loaders "gaming" the welfare system (e.g., refusing to work even though able to, and using their EBT card to buy lobster and steak and even luxury vacations) AND that the liberals/progressives (specifically the Democratic Party in this context) far from opposing this free loading actually promote it in order to obtain the votes of these free loaders for the Democratic Party.
How does the liberal/progressive media respond to the conservative accusation that liberals/progressives have no problem with free loading? This is how. It ignores or at least tries to avoid the value-question: is free loading immoral or not? It tries to shift attention away from the value question by focusing on a merely factual question: how many free loaders are there really? It also tells liberals/progressives to use FREE LOADER-FRIENDLY arguments when they advocate for policies to make our society more just and equal. Specifically it tells liberals/progressives NOT to base their argument on the anti-free loading principle that conservatives agree with: "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire." This would, of course, undercut the conservative media's ability to portray liberals/progressives as pro-free loading. Oh no! The liberal media instead tell liberals/progressives to adopt the free loader-friendly principle of "[fill in the blank] is the right of all (including, as the conservative media makes sure their audience understands, the right of free loaders.)"
Do you see what's going on here? The liberal/progressive media propagandists are making sure that liberals/progressives walk right into a trap designed to make them sitting ducks for the conservative media to portray them as pro-free loader. (Read more about this here and here and here.)
Acting In Solidarity With Other People
Among conservatives, patriotism is about acting in solidarity with fellow Americans. The flag and the national anthem are seen as symbols for this value. The ruling class wants conservatives to perceive liberals/progressives as being hostile to this value. To accomplish this, its liberal/progressive media encourages liberals/progressives to adopt tactics (for expressing their opposition to real injustices) that involve some kind of very visible dis-respect to the flag or national anthem. This encouragement may take the form merely of praise for those individual liberals/progressives who, on their own, do adopt such tactics. (I discuss this more here.)
Do you see what's going on here? The liberal/progressive media propagandists are setting liberals/progressives up for the kill, to be perceived as hostile to the very basic value of solidarity with one's fellow Americans.
Lying About Good People, Saying They're Bad
One of the main themes of conservative talk radio hosts is simple. They tell their audience, "You are good and decent people." And it's true, most of them are indeed good and decent people. And they think of themselves as good and decent people. So imagine how they feel when they hear the talk radio host tell them what liberals/progressives think of them. Here are some statements made about the American public by a Leftist academic named Paul Atwood in his book, titled War and Empire, the American Way of Life, condemning U.S. foreign policy:
"Mass public acceptance of hypocrisy on this scale requires a deeply-rooted rationale for explaining to ourselves why we can commit naked aggression and not have to experience the guilt or shame which we insist others should feel when they act similarly."
"For a people outraged at the murder of our civilians on 9/11 we are morally anesthetized when it comes to admitting the crimes our own actions, votes and tax dollars have wrought."
"Since the US emerged from World War II as the most potent nation in history we have slaughtered millions, directly or not, the vast majority being helpless civilians."
"We ravage only those who lie all but helpless before us."
"In sum, Americans possess a highly adaptive ideology that provides ready-made justifications for our actions, and reproaches for those who oppose us."
"[W]e breezily dismiss the fact that the American system at its inception was built on the backs of the dispossessed and enslaved, or people in other conditions of servitude..."
"If ordinary Americans oppose the current wars they do so for the most part only tepidly because we are a people, like others, who prefer the guise of fantasy to reality. We have the most bloated civilization and lifestyle ever seen on planet earth and we know, if only by keeping this forbidden knowledge just below our consciousness, how we got to this state, and whom we had to kill. And we do not want our globalized cornucopia to cease providing its fruits. If the resources we need to sustain our conspicuous consumption happen to be in other people's countries, if their labor is cheaper in order to provide the goods, then history obliges us to do what the Romans did. And we do."
Imagine how conservatives feel when they hear somebody like Rush Limbaugh read to them from this book, which is exactly the kind of thing these conservative talk show hosts excel at! Read more about this book here.
Does NPR condemn books such as this by pointing out that the values of ordinary Americans are the opposite of the horrible values of the ruling plutocracy that wages unjust war after unjust war, and that ordinary Americans are only persuaded to support these wars by lies telling them that the war's purpose is to protect innocent people, and never to steal wealth from innocent people? Does NPR tell its audience of liberals/progressives why they should, thus, never refer to the criminal U.S. leaders as "we" instead of "they"? Are you kidding? The NPR propagandists never do this because it would conflict with their job: setting liberals/progressives up for the kill by conservative media.
Do you see what's going on here?
Conservatives think murder is immoral. I'm sure liberals/progressives do too. But the ruling class media--the liberal and conservative media working as a team!--has been very successful in persuading conservatives that liberals/progressives don't think murder is necessarily such a bad thing. These media have done this by framing the abortion issue as pro-murder versus anti-murder. Of course the liberal/progressive media don't come right out and defend murder explicitly. They do it implicitly. They provide their liberal/progressive audience with arguments, in defense of a woman's right to have an abortion, that deliberately avoid even acknowledging that the deliberate killing of a fetus raises the question of whether or not it is murder. These arguments don't even bother to say why it is not murder. The bumper stickers that reflect this kind of argument have slogans such as these:
NOT YOUR UTERUS? NOT YOUR BUSINESS
IF IT'S NOT YOUR BODY IT'S NOT YOUR DECISION
KEEP YOUR THEOLOGY OFF MY BIOLOGY
AGAINST ABORTION? GET A VASECTOMY!
Conservatives, as the ruling class propagandists in charge of both the liberal/progressive and conservative media well know, perceive this as a callous indifference to the murder of babies. Furthermore, conservatives are not crazy to think this because the logic given by the liberal/progressive media to liberals/progresives to use in defending their pro-choice position has actually been used, in a article published in a prestigious journal of medical ethics, to defend killing perfectly healthy babies AFTER they are born purely for the convenience or whim of the mother! The article's title is, "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?" and is online here. It says, "A serious philosophical problem arises when the same conditions that would have justified abortion become known after birth. In such cases, we need to assess facts in order to decide whether the same arguments that apply to killing a human fetus can also be consistently applied to killing a newborn human."
The liberal/progressive media could have framed the issue very differently, as I discuss in detail here, in a manner that would have dealt persuasively with the issue of murder and in a manner that could never be used to defend killing a baby after it was born, but the liberal/progressive media didn't do that because it would have turned the abortion debate into one in which each side saw that the other side had a reasonable concern and that what was required was a genuinely difficult judgment call about which good and decent people could respectfully disagree.
Conservatives think racial discrimination is wrong. Until the liberal/progressive media propagandists intervened with the opposite view, most liberals/progressives also thought racial discrimination was wrong. They thought Martin Luther King, Jr. was right in making the aim of the Civil Rights Movement to END racial discrimination. But ending racial discrimination as a liberal/progressive goal would have made it too difficult for conservative media to turn their audiences against liberals/progressives. Far better if liberals/progressives were manipulated into SUPPORTING racial discrimination. This is exactly what the liberal/progressive media did when it persuaded liberals/progressives that they would be guilty of racism unless they supported Affirmative Action, a policy that was DESIGNED to be obvious racial discrimination and hence immediately condemned by conservatives as immoral. I discuss this in detail here in my article titled, "We Need THIS, Not Affirmative Action."
Do You See That You've Been Mis-Led?
I hope you are beginning to see that if you've been following the ideological leadership of the liberal/progressive media, then you have been mis-led on purpose so that the conservative media can easily turn their audience against you by portraying you as profoundly immoral.
Until liberals/progressives reject this mis-leadership they will not be able to enter into the mutually respectful conversations with conservatives that are required to build a movement that aims for what most of both liberals/progressives AND conservatives actually want: to remove the rich from power to have real, not fake, democracy with no rich and no poor.
Sure, there are lies that conservatives have been told and that they believe, about such things as the true aims of U.S. foreign policy, the true role of the police, the true extent of welfare cheating, etc. It would be wonderful for liberals/progressives who know the truth about such things to persuasively share that knowledge with conservatives. Conservatives are as eager as anybody else to know the truth. But in order for this exchange of knowledge to happen (and there are no doubt some facts* that liberals/progressives can learn from conservatives too!) there has to be mutually respectful conversations between liberals/progressives and conservatives. And this can never happen when conservatives perceive liberals/progressives as profoundly immoral. Like anybody else, conservatives will not listen to somebody telling them they've been lied to about some facts if they think that person holds immoral values that are the opposite of their own moral values. It ain't gonna happen. And the ruling class counts on it not happening.
Are we going to let the ruling class keep winning with this divide-and-rule strategy? It's our call.
Postscript: August 8, 2018. Part of the ruling class's liberal/progressive script that virtually all Democratic Party politicians read from goes like this: "President Trump reveals his racism against Native Americans by referring to Senator Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas." Read an example of this here and here and here. This scripted attack on Trump is designed to make the liberals who use it (and most do) appear utterly stupid to the conservatives who listen to conservative talk radio. These conservatives understand perfectly (as liberals ought to, but don't because of their blind acceptance of the script) that calling a person "Pocahontas" to mock their (presumed false) claim to be part Native American is no more insulting to, or disparaging of, Native Americans than it would be insulting to, or disparaging of, British royals to mock a politician claiming (presumably falsely) to be related to British royalty by calling him or her King George or Queen Victoria. When liberals use this script, they simply make it easy for conservative readio talk show hosts to ridicule them and dismiss every instance of liberals complaining about a racist statement or policy.
* For example, liberals/progressives were never told by their liberal/progressive media such as NPR this crucially important fact: Most states allow a person to change the sex indicated on their birth certificate by simply showing documentation that they had sex-change surgery. Conservatives are better informed of this because it is a fact that makes the conservative position regarding transgender people and public-access bathroom/showers and the conservative-backed laws reasonable. The conservative position is that people with male genitalia (regardless of what they were born with) should use the male facilities and vice versa.
Conservative laws like North Carolina's HB2 law, which said people must use the facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate, were known to conservatives to be reasonable because they knew that if, say, a person was born with male genitalia but had surgery and now has female genitalia then they could change their birth certificate to say they were female and shower in the female facility: no problem. But NPR listeners who didn't know one could change the sex on one's birth certificate (because the propagandists didn't WANT them to know!) imagined that the North Carolina law would force a person with female genitalia to shower with men. Oh! The horror! This illustrates that liberals/progressives can learn some important facts from conservatives too. This is discussed further here.
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