Wednesday, October 9, 2013

False equivalence--the propagandist's Plan B

If your side is losing an argument--or if it's losing an argument in the eyes of a definable voter bloc--your fallback is to get voters to blame both sides equally rather than your side exclusively.

This line of argument uses the unspoken assumption that it's "fair" to do so--as if a dialog between an extortionist and his intended victim is morally equivalent, and it's incumbent on the intended victim to split the difference with his extortionist, or he's to blame if the deal falls through.

It's part and parcel of seeing politics as sports, where it's about your side winning and the other side losing, not about doing right by the voters.

Your goal as a propagandist is to keep your base fired up and voting in droves while depressing the other side and getting them to not vote at all.

And in between your base and the other side's base is all those people who might vote either way. You want them to vote your way, of course, but if you're losing a big public debate the likelihood of that is debatable--in which case you just want them to not vote.

That's when the "a pox on Washington--on both your houses"  argument gets trotted out. You try to get wafflers whose vote you've lost to wax cynical and just walk away rather than vote against your side.

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