Many people decry what is seen as “inconsistent messaging” with people who are left of the Hitleresque radical right, pointing out how they don’t think, speak, and vote as a block and aren’t as rigidly inflexible on what is called “principles.” Firstly, let me point out that to my way of thinking, self-interest, greed, and meanspiritedness towards anyone less wealthy or powerful is not “principled,” it is naked, unmasked aggression with the goal of complete domination and willingness to annihilate anything or anyone in the way. Principles, on the other hand, are values like kindness, compassion, truthfulness, and generosity of spirit, all incredibly lacking in the fanatics in Congress who will not bend the tiniest bit on the fiscal showdown, claiming “principles” as the ‘reason,’ for their intransigence.
My problem with “consistent messaging” is how close this is to actual brainwashing, a coercive technique, something the advertising industry, as well as the CIA, Fox News, Karl Rove, the Koch Bros., and the Republican Right know a lot about. The 2008 Obama campaign, as well, did a great job at this; in fact the simplistic message of “hope and change” coupled with his odd, halted delivery had what is known as a hypnogogic effect by creating a kind of repetitive “patter,” and lured a glazed-eyed, ardently loyalist following who still cannot acknowledge what a neocon he is, despite his continuing all of the Bush Administration’s illegal wiretapping and torture, instituting a “kill” list, attacking civil liberties, and persecuting whistleblowers.
While a few simple, consistent messages (if they’re based on truth!) are fine, inducing hypnosis and perpetrating brainwashing create the opposite of what we want in a democratic society where no one is ruled or turned into an unthinking robot, repeating the same lines over and over, but who can think and speak freely and engage in thoughtful reflection and debate. People on the left don’t speak alike because they still can think! The fact that the radical right acts and thinks as a block is nothing new, and is reminiscent of every fascist group, ruled by an authoritarian elite, and is nothing to emulate. Just my two cents . . . .