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.