Friday, December 11, 2015

Forget the Facts, Just Sling Mud, Part 2

(This is the second of probably three posts from Chapter 16 of my book, Freedom or Serfdom?)

Other Sneaky Tricks

One common manifestation of Godwin's law today is what is appropriately called turnspeak, that is, accusing your opponents of your own sins. Psychologists call this projection.

Turnspeak goes back at least as far as Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia and Poland. Trying to excuse his own imperialism, he claimed that those countries were complicit in a plot to invade Germany, and he even staged a false Polish attack on a German radio station.[1] That is what turnspeak is; turning the facts around 180 degrees as Hitler did when he accused the Czechs and Poles of the imperialism he himself was committing. And it is what all too many in politics do today. Come out against big government and they will likely call you fascist, in spite of the fact that fascism is a form of big government.

One problem the turnspeak victims face is that the accusation many seem so obviously false that it should need no refutation – and it seems trite to refute something so flagrant. Plus refutation risks involvement in a “you are/no I'm not” argument. However, if allowed to go unanswered, the accusation will stick. It is probably best to just do something like point out that the free man is the opposite of a fascist while the statist wants big government just like the fascists did.

However, the real test is when we hear someone else called fascist or something similar. Do we just accept the accusation, or do we examine the evidence? Politics creates so much turnspeak that we should be careful about which accusations we accept. If there is solid evidence, we can accept the accusation. Otherwise, we owe it to ourselves and other citizens to publicly oppose the lie.

And there are yet worse forms of political chicanery.

Other Nastiness

False flag operations and agents provocateurs are the foulest excrement of politics. The idea is to make opponents look unattractive no matter what it takes, honesty and integrity be damned. The agent provocateur tries to goad his enemy into doing something stupid; for example he may try to get him to appear to agree with a racist remark. The false flag operative pretends to be one of his opponents while doing something stupid or racist. There have been several attempts of these types, especially against the Tea Party. 

For example, in 2010 a school teacher in Beaverton, Oregon created a web site urging people to crash the Tea Party and to “use misspelled protest signs, make wild claims during interviews or other actions that would damage public opinion of the party.”[2] That is an example of a false flag operation – and I know statists who defended that deception. Of course, should that pretender manage to goad his targets into doing something stupid, he will become a successful agent provocateur.

But that was just a rogue teacher, right? I'm afraid not. At least one former high ranking Democrat tried the same trick. Kathy Sullivan, former chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, openly sought Democrats “willing to pose as Tea Partiers and hold up anti-Obama, racist signs at the Tea Parties.”[3] It would be difficult to think of a more dishonest dirty trick.

There will always be at least a few liars around, and in politics some will engage in such things as false flag or agent provocateur operations. That should be illegal; perpetrators should go to jail. Such shenanigans attack the very integrity of our political system. Until we have such a law, free men need to identify those deceivers and expose them publicly. And we need to be careful to not fall victim to provocations designed to get us to act stupidly. Of course as fee men, in the Tea Party or not, we must never use such dirty tricks ourselves, and we must try to purge from our ranks anyone who does. If we want the trust of the voters, we must strive to be beyond reproach.

By being aware of the dirty tricks some statists use, we can defend ourselves. That we must do if we are to defend our freedom. Our opponents have those dirty tricks on their side, plus an attractive sounding idea described in the next chapter. Unless we expose them, we will lose our freedom.

[2] investigate_beaverton_teacher_who_urged_people_to_crash_the_tea_party.html

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