Language is powerful. Language is deceptive. Propaganda is pumped into U.S. citizens heads daily without question or critical evaluation. The rhetoric is chosen and the connotations as well as the implied half truths are more powerful than what is directly said. We see this in our news outlets as well as the opiate for the masses, sports games such as the Superbowl.
The best lies are not lies but half truths. Leave out the part where you provoke someone to defend themselves and suddenly you have justification for further attacks found in someones defense against the initial attack. They tell you the presence of war is peace and the absence of war is violence, can you see the error in these lies? Our governments continuously tell us that the people shooting and killing are the ‘peacemakers’. The majority of the political narrative in the United States is distorted by lies, half truths and rhetoric to evoke an emotional reaction without understanding a reality.
War is Peace! Shoot kids in the head to end violence!
My favorite media half truth is how Glenn Beck loves to tell how communism and socialism has killed so many and leaves out the fact that his capitalist republic and democracies have done so also. With this he paints one form of state power as aggressive and ignores the aggression of another. The rhetoric goes further to often justify and promote this same violence and murder by re-painting it with words of patriotism, defense, freedom and other twisted rhetoric.
Patriotism is one that deserves a further look. Patriotism is not only a part of nationalism, it is a crux of it, and often what most call patriotism is nothing more than nationalism. Nationalism is defined by as: a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. Often, it is the belief that an ethnic group has a right to statehood, or that citizenship in a state should be limited to one ethnic group, or that multinationality in a single state should necessarily comprise the right to express and exercise national identity even by minorities. It can also include the belief that the state is of primary importance, or the belief that one state is naturally superior to all other states. [via wikipedia] We see the negative connotations in nationalism so when conservatives rally around their anti-migrant war mongering praise of the nation they choose to mask this with the term ‘patriotism’ because of it’s lack of a negative connotation in the eyes of the majority narrative. Patriotism is the love and devotion to this nation that is seen as ‘number one’. The belief of the so-called patriot in the U.S. is very much one that embraces the idea that their governments are naturally superior to all other states. This superiority is quite often falsely defined with words such as freedom, liberty, equality or rights. There is little emphasis on what those actually mean, outside of more emotional rhetoric that tends to be vague at best. There is no defined ethic or concept that all can see under a true definition. This rhetoric then is brought up to support the U.S. being number one and this is most often true in the context of what we spoke of earlier, the killing and slaughter. They pride themselves on their ‘defense’ which is a massive invading force around the world.
In conversation with many who hold the U.S. as number one you will wonder if the U.S. would be worthy of loving or devotion if it was number two, or number three. The supremacy of force seems to be justification for devotion, nationalism renamed patriotism and the actions that it takes to be number one. It is a sport where we throw bombs and take lives. This idea of us vs. them is one I have addressed before on the site and it is one strongly ingrained in the language of the state, media and U.S. propaganda. The language does not have to define both sides if it has an assumed side you are on. The assumed norm is most often the westernized white religious patriarch. Even the generics of the English language reflect this, but also the popular vernacular. The generic used for all people is often be ‘mankind’. Many people groups are getting labels that are sticking such as ‘illegal’ or ‘terrorist’. Many use the religion of some in a negative connotation. This again happens by aid often of the assumed norm on the us vs. them paradigm. The words Muslim and Islam is a dirty word to be feared by far too many within this paradigm.
This is a slant of cultural bias that runs deep in the way we use language and images in almost all media and often in every day conversation. This is the unexamined life. It is much easier to not question because to question we see the thick veil of deception that is covering our entire culture. It is in our education, entertainment and religions. One person I recently spoke to mentioned this language paradigm with their professors saying the simple word ‘created’ over ‘evolved’. In this connotation we can see how the perception of reality is implied in only one instance. It can often be one simple word or the usage of that word.
We looked at the idea of law before here on Gonzo Times in the article Rule of Law. We see another instance of this language tactic in law. Many accept ‘law’ to be moral with no critical evaluation of what that law is, or the ethics of this. As you may have heard, slavery was legal and few would support such a thing under the defense of ‘law’ in this day and age. Why then are we uncritical of other ‘lawful’ actions? We use this on our paradigm to see others as ‘unlawful’. This allows us to label innocent human beings as ‘illegal’ and to disassociate from violent actions our nation inflicts on other minorities.
We also have an assumed authority that we looked at previously on the site in The Authority Of Violence. It assumes the might makes right concept by masking it in a veil of ‘authority’ ‘order’ or ‘justice’. Of course there are positives we look towards. People want justice, some form of order in some things, as well as freedom and liberty. The problem lies in the tendency to take these words in vain. The ‘founding fathers’ used words such as ‘all men are created equal’ as they bought and sold their slaves and excluded woman from the language and the equality. We hear the phrase ‘all men are created equal’ and some assume this means ‘all people are equal’ which sounds good, but in fact this did and does not translate to equality amongst human beings in the Unites States. I have heard it said ‘some people are a little more equal than others’ and sadly in the context of the reality of these patriarchal documents this is the truth. Just because I write something on paper does not make it truth. The sad truth is that our decorations of independence and our constitutions have more in common with science fiction than with reality.
I hear conservative talk show hosts scream ‘common sense’ a great deal. In reality this is used in many ways to discredit any outside information that may be brought in to gain a full perspective on a situation or concept. It is a catch phrase to rule out critical evaluation in place of complacent acceptance of what is that seems to 0ften be propped up by the ‘is ought fallacy‘. We see this in every day Americana. Violence and oppressive actions even on smaller interpersonal levels are dismissed by ‘boys will be boys’ and other little catch phrases that allow one to look away from the issues at hand. These rely again on myths assumed en-masse about gender and the appropriate role or nature of men.