Deconstructing modern propaganda

A resident of the eastern block from back when the cold war was the major conflict talks about propaganda in the modern era. Luboš Motl deconstructs an example in Boston Globe: hit piece on Willie Soon.

“My country has gone through 50 years of the Nazi and communist propaganda so articles such as the article above are nothing new for me. I’ve seen tons of them. The inkspillers behind similar junk are morally reprehensible jerks. Their clearly visible desire is to hurt ideologically inconvenient people personally.

I could tell you about so many similar articles about the Czechoslovak patriots during the Nazi era, about Havel (and alcohol, his family, and Nazis) during communism, and about lots of similar articles about people whom you don’t know but who still suffered.”

“The people who publish and endorse similar hit pieces usually tend to think that they’re better than the Nazis and than the communists, too. And better than the Inquisition. Except that the differences only affect the details. The point in all these cases is that whoever becomes a “heretic” who questions some ideological theses worshiped by the group in charge has to be hurt personally. The debate or research that would pose a threat for the basic ideology has to be fought against.

“There are just so many fundamentally wrong things about the integrity and morality of the likes of Christopher Rowland that it is impossible to negotiate with them. They have to be treated as what they are, the enemies of science and the human civilization. Scum.”

As the news this morning emphasizes: The president disclaims saying what he said despite several dozen recorded speeches. How can you discuss anything with someone who expresses such a lack of intellectual integrity?

The real worry is about what people do to resolve conflicts and disagreements when they are not able to talk honestly about differences and grievances to find solution and settlement.

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