Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Stepping In It

All political parties have their own manure machines -- propaganda shops, whose task is to sell their program. But, under Stephen Harper, political propaganda has been redefined. It's now all about ad hominem attacks; and it's non stop, all year round.

The Harper brand of  manure relies on several carefully defined strategies. Michael Harris examines some of them:

Here’s one of the favourites. I call it the “They hate Harper” ploy. No matter what a critic says, this form of manure management moves the debate from the substance of the criticism to its motivation. The benefits are immediate.

When you can’t answer someone’s points, you can always say he’s a big Liberal, or in the pay of foreign governments, or eats baby birds live out of the nest. That way, those of your followers who need protective ignorance of the facts have cover: “The critics just hate us.” End of story, no need to examine the facts.

This is the most frequently used strategy. The Harperites are allergic to facts because the facts undercut the objective.

Then there is the argument used by children everywhere -- but everybody does it:

But the “others have done the same thing” version of BS is quintessentially flawed. That’s because it admits, rather than denies, wrongdoing. It just tries to spread it around, like manure.

But it is especially unhelpful when used by people who rose to power on the express promise of probity in government. Just for the record, the promise from Stephen Harper wasn’t to be as bad as, or worse than, the other guys. The promise was to clean up Ottawa, not turn it into the Sydney Tar Ponds.

And, finally, there is the ploy which helped Harper win the last election -- no one cares:

“No one cares.” Harper famously used the ‘no one cares’ BS when he was found in contempt of Parliament. It encouraged him. Now no one cares about misplacing $3.1 billion worth of taxpayers’ money — roughly ten times the estimated sum in Adscam. No one cares about cheating in elections. No one cares about conflict-of-interest. No one cares about general lobotomies being performed on the Harper caucus.

What do we care about in the press release reality of the Harper government? We care about beer. We care about hockey. We care about Big Government keeping us safe while we play Scratch and Lose. And we are all especially pleased that the PM’s hair will stay in place in a Force 8 gale. That’s what we care about.

Lately, however, none of these strategies have been working. The expert producers and purveyors of manure are stepping in their own stuff.


thwap said...


I don't recall Liberals sniffling and whining when their boy Ignatieff was under attack, saying "You're just a pathological Ignatieff hater!!!"

I don't recall Liberals saying "everybody does it" during their scandals.

When it came to broken promises on the GST or re-negotiating NAFTA or things like that, there was a degree of "nobody cares" but not to the extent of the harpercons.

If you add up their various political defenses you're left with a very debased politics indeed.

It is they who drag down our culture, and in the meantime, they sincerely imagine that everyone else is the same as they are.

Lorne said...

Let us ardently hope, Owen, that this outbreak of 'caring' turns into an epidemic that has no cure.

Owen Gray said...

And they truly believe they can spin their way out of any situation, thwap.

When you believe you can turn manure into gold, you are delusional.

Owen Gray said...

A diseased nation needs care, Lorne -- not manure.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

They should teach classical logic in high schools. Here you can learn all the fallacious ways of arguing: ad hominem attacks, straw man argument, appeal to numbers etc. Our newspapers are full of these in the form of advertising as well a quote from politicians. Unfortunately, the mass of the population can be victimized by such propaganda methods.

Owen Gray said...

We used to try to teach critical thinking in high school, Philip.

But the reforms of the last twenty years have been all about passing standardized tests.

Anonymous said...

Harper has pretty much, handed Canada to Communist China. China has Harper's permission to sue Canada, if anyone block China's takeover of this country. China sued to take, the BC mining jobs. I was in disbelief the judge would ever give, the mine jobs to Red China. Anyone wanting a resource job, must speak Chinese Mandarin? In their own damned English speaking province?

Once Harper forces his FIPA deal with Communist China. China will take Canada over, for 31 years. We knew about Harper giving the High Arctic to Red China. That's why Harper doesn't need a military in Canada anymore.

Red China is also taking, the mines and timber on Vancouver Island. Vancouver, is already overrun by Chinese. BC citizens, want the Chinese removed from BC. There are nine mines and mine expansions going into Northern BC. Chinese miners earn $800 per month. Wonder who Harper will give those jobs to?

Harper is a, Traitor to Canada, doing acts of Treason. No-one I know wants Communist China, on our Canadian soil. Trade is fine however, this isn't trade with China? This is a takeover of Canada. Harper belongs in prison, for what he has done to our beautiful country.

Owen Gray said...

There was a time, Anon, when Harper saw China as the root of all evil. But, as has been the case so often, he changed his position -- starting with the Senate.