Recent political ads lie about President Obama and his suggestions to the states on the national welfare program. As stated in a recent Truthout article, the producers of these ads are targeting “white working class voters” who harbor “deep resentment towards welfare recipients.” Welfare recipients like the ones President Reagan created who never existed — a lie that worked.
These producers expect the ads to work on the targeted individuals because they are based on deep conservative moral principles. One of those moral principles taught by the “strict father family” is respect for a certain hierarchy of authority. First in the hierarchy is God – the ultimate authority, then white men – who teach God’s truths to the masses, then comes the masses with poor women and poor minorities at the bottom. (As Governor Christy said at the REP convention, “choose respect over love.” In other words, if you want my ‘love,’ respect my authority as a white male, or suffer my wrath.)
Another conservative moral principle is fiscal self-discipline. The strict father uses severe physical punishment to teach moral discipline to his children. This leads to a belief that fiscal discipline is morally right and will lead to prosperity. This self-discipline also supports the belief that individuals are solely in control of their own success.
So, if someone, solely due to luck, ranks lower in the conservative hierarchy of authority and appears to lack moral self-discipline, then they deserve their unfortunate situation and don’t deserve government aid funded by those who are successful.
A lie that activates these conservative moral principles, as does the ad mentioned earlier, will cause the targeted audience to accept that lie without question or critical thought. Also, if belief in these principles is strong, conservatives will even sacrifice their own government aid to keep public funds from those whom they believe are morally, fiscally, and hierarchically inferior.
So, what should progressives do about this? Resist denying these conservative lies by repeating them, and discuss the following democratic/progressive moral principles:
- Democracy depends on citizens who care about and take responsibility for themselves AND others. It is immoral to allow others to suffer from circumstances beyond their control.
- The mission of a democratic society is to protect and empower all citizens equally through the family and our representative government. This will ensure equal opportunity for success for all citizens by minimizing the luck of unfortunate circumstances beyond our control.
- The Public enables equal opportunity and ensures our freedoms. Citizenship dues provide revenue to fund The Public and are fair when collected in proportion to a citizen’s use of public resources. The citizen financed Public includes: public education, public libraries, public roads, courts, patent protection, basic research, health care, parks, clean water and safe sewer processing, police and military, internet, safe food, clean air, air traffic control, communication satellites, etc. With out adequate citizenship dues, the Public withers and the private loses it’s foundation.
- Without The Public, freedoms and liberties are in peril. You could lose your home or die if you have cancer and no insurance. Without knowledgeable employees, businesses can’t survive. The lack of safe food, and clean air and water threatens our freedom to live. The lack of public roads and public transportation threatens our freedom to travel or get to work, and our right to vote. The extremely wealthy want to destroy The Public so that it can’t protect the freedoms and rights of others.
Nurturant parents teach these progressive moral principles and teach us that many factors – not just individual talents – determine one’s success. We are all in this together. These principles teach us that maybe the rest of us can do something to help others succeed. We learn that proper funding of The Public is critical for all to have a chance at success. We know that lack of sufficient citizenship dues from those citizens who prosper the most from The Public diminishes the possible success of others. We know that diminishing The Public gives more power to the private and threatens our freedoms.
It’s time to start repeating loudly these progressive moral principles and how they protect our freedoms and liberties. It’s time to stop denying and talking about conservative lies by repeating them, sometimes with a negative prefix. This only reinforces their lie.
Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it. -― Adolf Hitler
For more on talking progressive without conservative language: The Little Blue Book by George Lakoff: