Engineering An Election: We & Them

One of the most basic tenants of humanity is the construct of common cause; the infallible link we possess with one another that is, without question, non-severable. This construct of common cause transcends the elusive veil of reason, race, sex, religion, boarders and boundaries; interestingly enough you can find it, masterfully expressed, in the American Declaration of Independence as those things we hold to be true:  

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

As a universal compass for government I dare say that I have never observed a more precise construct of thought upon which all might converge; one which illuminates the universality of common cause. 

So then why the disconnect, why the meddling with so basic a premise? Why is it that the Ideal is made to appears so distant and unachievable? Why is the ascending toward so elegant a cause (common to all) fails to levitate political motives? Clearly these observations break no new ground within the analytical side of political missives however I do consider that, as a political-pathos, they are racing to heights not previously observed and we need only to observe the front and center dialogue of the Convention Season rhetoric to observe that the Engineering of an Election: We & Them is well underway.

The Art of Engineering: 

From a purely personal perspective I loathe the divisive nature of politics, the insatiable need to divide and conquer; the pathology of thought that has risen to become its own brand of intellectual lethargy; the use of the group-think architecture that by its nature orchestrates the distinction of WE and THEM. The fact remains; there is a peculiar form of willingness that tolerates the process. 

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.”
Propaganda – by Edward Bernays 

“The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest.”
The Engineering of Consent – by Edward Bernays 

Edward Bernays appeared on the scene in the early 1930’s; in contemporary parlance his profession would be categorized as a public-relations manager however his writings were largely considered to be ground-breaking particularly in areas relating to the shaping of public opinion by or through the “intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses.” (ref: Propaganda by E. Bernays: 1928).  Among his most notable patrons and followers were President Woodrow Wilson, FDR and Nazi Minister of Propaganda, P. Joseph Goebbels.  

Both sides of the political spectrum articulate their collective group-think or herd-instinct theology in very similar ways; they do this by creating simple distinctions for the express purpose of causing one to gravitate toward their direction. This process appears in very simple and seemingly non-intrusive ways and I offer a few of the more common examples: 

  • Obamacare helps 30 million American Families: Pay no mind to the other 310 Million. 
  • It’s your patriotic duty to pay taxes: Forget about the non-patriotic uses of your tax dollar. 
  • Republicans don’t support Same Sex Marriage: Ignore the fact that WE is a mere 3% of THEM. 
  • The Democratic platform is Community Inclusive: Then why have need of a Democratic platform bound by THEM? 
  • Everyone must pay their fair share: Except for those who are a part of WE. 
  • People Power is our national campaign platform: Novel approach to exclusivity of common cause. 
  • Mr. Romney’s will return to the same policies that got us into the mess we are in: What of the cause that allows it to continue? 
  • Americans have a right to… (Healthcare, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Social Security): The assumption of the anointed WE without regard to nomination or representation of the THEM that pay for it. 
  • We must make the world safe for Democracy: What if the THEM don’t subscribe to WE’s definition; what if THEM have a different choice in mind? 
  • We are a Nation of Laws: If there is no law that allows THEM to express their choice then we must conclude then what they do must be illegal.  

Each of these draws a distinction intended to subtly draw you into a self-assigned allegiance, subverting the autonomy of the Individual to a covert indiscretion; after all you wouldn’t dare stand on your own and have to defend yourself against THEM; you see if you simply submerge yourself within the group then you are not exposed to the most basic requirement of common cause: thinking and acting for yourself. When you become a part of the WE the masses become your ally (whether or not they actually exist) and there is safety in the multitude of lunacy. 

An example of this covert indiscretion can be observed in one of Bernays’ own advertising campaigns. The cigarette brand, Lucky Strike, wanted to expand its market and Bernays considered that women were a largely untapped market; his solution was to orchestrate, what he referred to as a news event, by staging an Easter Parade (1929) in New York City. He hired a group of models each of whom held a lit Lucky Strikes cigarette and used placards announcing them as Torches of Freedom. No human being of good conscience would ever object to an individual’s desire to express their identification with the collective community bearers of Freedoms Torch; now would they! 

Not unlike the GOP’s convention in Tampa, the Democratic horde will disperse their selective brand of ether; they will welcome you to their WE by suggesting that all other options place you in the despicable and lowly station of THEM who must, by the mere fact that they exist, be opposed to the existence of the collective mind-mash of WE. The President and his operative will orchestrate their own brand of political hyperbole and it will center about the following: 

WE’ve done remarkable work considering that WE’ve had to work around THEM. 

  • YOU must watch out for THEM, they’re dangerous; together WE are not THEM. 
  • Where it not for THEM and their past dealings WE would have done so much more. 
  • WE must win over THEM; If WE do not, THEM will most certainly destroy the WE who remain. 
  • Whatever the circumstances, whatever the fault, WE are certain it is because of THEM. 
  • WE are the Party of US and there is progress in more of WE; come join us otherwise you MUST be one of THEM and WE know all about THEM and what they are capable of. 

In the world of the week-minded orations of group-largess, yes, it really is that simple! 

The Void of One: 

The problem with all of this is that it ignores the aptitude and valorous nature of the Individual. The common cause is not, by any means, the homogenization of the One into the masses of the common-horde; it is, to be sure, the complete opposite. Common cause is aimed directly toward the perfecting of the One, the distinction of the Individual in action, the singularity of the perfect and irreplaceable you; the Void of One!   

We have witnessed the evolution of Freedom, an entirely new brand with an extraordinarily seedy definition: The freedom and liberty to redefine what was once held to be absolute and sacred; we now believe it is perfectly acceptable to take with no regard to the unalienable right of possession and we seem equally willing to absolve ourselves of this action so long as it is one affected by our collective agent; government.   

Bernays comment (above) regarding “engineering of consent” as being “the very essence of the democratic process” however an explicit distortion of our form of governance it is, nonetheless, become a most destructive component of the process. I wonder if we, as a People,  have become so ignorant to the truth of it that we are no longer able to see it for what it is.  

Far too much tolerance gives way to apathy; apathy then becomes increasingly tolerant at which point, who really cares.

Curtis C. Greco, Founder

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