Monday, December 13, 2004

On a related note

There is some evidence that contemporary liberalism's need for a more vigorous propaganda is already being acted upon. Remember the calls for a "liberal Rush Limbaugh" or a "liberal Fox News"? If you view Rush Limbaugh and Fox News as purely Right-wing propagandists that also happen to be beating you like a drum in the court of public opinion, your need for an equal and opposite counter-attack becomes obvious. Or examine the utter conviction of many liberals that the mainstream media isn't liberalism's propaganga wing: if any "Joe blogger" on the internet can pick up a copy of the New York Times and punch a bunch of logical holes in its storylines, obviously there can't be much propagandizing taking place.

Rebuilding the Democratic Party

A recent article by Peter Beinart in The New Republic (requires an online subscription) contains an analysis of liberalism's political problems and what can be done to improve them. The essence of the article is that a far-Left dominated by Michael Moore and MoveOn is seriously undermining liberals on national security issues in general and the war on terror in particular. The solution is simple: give mainstream liberalism a boost by cutting out the "blame America first" crowd.

It worked before and it could work again; I'm sure Pat Buchanan being driven out of the Republican Party before the 2000 Republican primaries did a lot of good for Governor Bush's general election campaign, for example. On the other hand, the $40 million raised by MoveOn for Democrats for 2004 is not something that Democrats will discard lightly. Fahrenheit 9/11's $200+ million worldwide box office earnings also means that Michael Moore might be too valuable for liberals to do without.

These types of tactical details are themselves a bit of a smokescreen since an alternative to the Beinart view is in plain sight, presumably gearing up for her presidential campaign in 2008. One key to the success of the Clintons in the 1990's was their unfailing use of propaganda effect to advance their agenda; another sufficiently ruthless liberal candidate might be able to use a Clintonian propaganda style to revitalize liberalism. That wouldn't be good for democracy, or for liberalism's attachment to reality, but a purely propaganda-oriented liberalism might win a lot of elections, which is all that would really matter at that point.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Education in America, in an essay ostensibly about a travel guide, has inadvertently provided an excellent one-paragraph summary of America's reigning educational philsophy:
Rather, my Time Out destination guide was written by and for people who think the optimal amount to know about anything is a little. Knowing nothing is bad, because it shows. But knowing too much about one thing is bad too, because it takes up brain space you could devote to shallower things, like the names of all the nominees in the lesser Oscar categories. The Time Out mind-set is all about achieving a vast, shallow pool of knowledge.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Mission Accomplished