Playing The Death Card

Jacques Ellul points out the key role that “power words” play…

…to break the barrier of the individual’s indifference. They must penetrate like bullets; they must spontaneously evoke a set of images and and have a certain grandeur of their own timeliness…To the extent that propaganda is based on current events , it cannot permit time for thought or reflection. -Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (1965),  [p. 46]

I wish I could offer a succinct exegesis of Ellul’s landmark book, but given its intricate relationship between the part and whole, that’s way beyond my pay grade. I will only say here that as I’ve been witnessing the no-holds barred organized winger resistance to all things Obama, I can’t help but conclude that his book is a cornerstone of their strategy.

Ellul observes that there are two basic phases of modern propaganda, which depends heavily on technology to provide a 24/7 immersion in the propagandists’ messaging:  “integration propaganda,” the attitude formation stage evident in 40 years of well-funded and researched right wing think tank efforts to role back The New Deal and the advances in individual freedom that the Dirty Fucking Hippies embodied in the ’60s (aka “the culture wars”); and the “agitation” or activation stage, evident in today’s gun slinging, town hall crazies screaming at the top of their lungs.

A key consequence of the agitation stage is that…

…action makes propaganda’s effect irreversible. He who acts in obedience to propaganda can never go back. He is now obliged to believe in that propaganda because of his past action. He is obliged to receive from it his justification and authority, without which his action will seem to him absurd, which would be intolerable. He is obliged to continue to advance in the direction indicated by the propaganda, for action demands more action. He is what one calls committed… [p. 29]

Committed– now there’s an idea.


  1. This is some interesting shit after what Shrubya did the Americans With Disabilities Act. But there I go thinking again. I know that, apparently is a rare commodity these days if the Tee Vee is any indicator.

    “The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990[1] (ADA) is the short title of United States (Pub.L. 101-336, 104 Stat. 327, enacted July 26, 1990), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. It was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush, and later amended with changes effective January 1, 2009.[2] The ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964[3], which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal. Disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” The determination of whether any particular condition is considered a disability is made on a case by case basis. Certain specific conditions are excluded as disabilities, such as current substance abuse and visual impairment which is correctable by prescription lenses.”

    I realize that this mostly has to do with employment in this context, but—it seems to me that the scope of this law could be broadened considerably if legislation were passed that actually held Death Panels within.

    Civil Rights—I mean if we cannot discriminate against disabled individuals in the workplace, then explain how we would be able to discriminate against them in the hospital? Our regular Bill of Rights would cover that, unless of course we passed a constitutional amendment.

    Already, families who provide care for disabled individuals are unfairly burdened with the cost of medical care. Developmentally disabled individuals after all, have pre-existing conditions. Many times at least one family member is half or full time care giver, but without any compensation or assistance from the state.

    So I would say, we already have death panels. Only really what they do is kill families with extreme financial imposition. Its ironic isn’t it? That the party of “Family Friendly” really just buttfucks families into oblivion with a variety of economic tools.

    They perfected this technique with housewives.

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