Truth, Lies, and the American Way

goosestepping.jpg  The media has always been used as a propaganda tool, and the government has always spread propaganda. Now that the multinational corporations control the government, the propaganda machine has gotten increasingly sophisticated, and we the people are its cannon fodder.

Our corporate government controls the mass media, and the mass media controls what we see and hear on television, radio, and traditional newspapers. We are spoon-fed fantasies, and the more we swallow the propaganda, the easier we are to manipulate. These fantasies are created using logical fallacies.  

Logical fallacies are abundant in the media, business and government. In fact, businesses use popular logical fallacies to launch entire ad campaigns. Cars are sold, politicians get elected, and businesses thrive on the use of logical fallacies. The bought and paid-for corporate media machine knows how to create ad campaigns designed to manipulate its audience into thinking and believing that a new Mercury Cougar will make up for one’s lack of sex appeal because owning a shiny new Cougar is all that any girl wants in a man. We are also told that WTC Building 7, which was not hit by a plane, somehow demolished itself and fell to the ground at free-fall speed in its own footprint, and that the air was safe to breath after three buildings were blown apart, and dust as thick as an erupting volcano filled the air. This is rubbish, but it works! People believe it because the government and corporate media mix truth with lies, and portray the end product as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We believe this drivel because believing that our own government leaders are so despicably evil as to cover up the truth behind their campaign for world domination via the “One World Order” is too much of a leap from media-induced fantasy to reality to bear. “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!” (A Few Good Men, 1992).

Unless we understand what is happening, and choose to explore the facts even if what those in authority are saying is contrary to those facts, we will remain in a fog, going about our business in a complete state of suspended animation, never even challenging the status quo. In other words, the bad guys get their way and we drive our brand new Tahoes until they tell us we can’t. By recognizing the logical fallacies that are being used against us and understanding how they affect our thinking, we can understand the manipulation behind them and start to think independently. Dr. Labossiere (1995), the author of Fallacy Tutorial Pro 3.0 has this to say:

In order to understand what a fallacy is, one must understand what an argument is. Very briefly, an argument consists of one or more premises and one conclusion. A premise is a statement (a sentence that is either true or false) that is offered in support of the claim being made, which is the conclusion (which is also a sentence that is either true or false). …….A fallacy is, very generally, an error in reasoning. This differs from a factual error, which is simply being wrong about the facts. To be more specific, a fallacy is an “argument” in which the premises given for the conclusion do not provide the needed degree of support. (para.2)

Does this sound familiar? How many “facts” are we fed each day by the corporate media that fail even the most rudimentary inspection?

Logical Fallacies are broken down into two categories. These categories are fallacies of relevance and fallacies of insufficient evidence. It states in Critical Thinking (2002), “A fallacy of relevance occurs when an arguer offers reasons that are logically irrelevant to his or her conclusion” (ch.5 p.143 para.1). Chapter six of the same text goes on to define fallacies of insufficient evidence as “fallacies in which the premises, though relevant to the conclusion, fail to provide sufficient evidence for the conclusion” (ch.6 p.162 para.1).

The collapse of Building 7 falls into the “fallacies of insufficient evidence” category. The announcement of “the air is safe to breath” seems to fall into the “fallacy of relevance” category simply because there was no evidence that the air was safe to breath at all. How can one make a judgment without the facts? Without facts, how can the conclusion be at all relevant to them? So, people breathed the crud because they were told it was safe to do so without a mask, and those same people are dying of cancer. Score one for the government and its lapdog media, zero for the people at ground zero.

Now I shouldn’t be so hard on the government or the media. After all, they are just doing what they are told to do by their corporate owners. Isn’t that what they are here for? We are systematically being molded into a people of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations by a mass media campaign consisting of truths, half-truths, and outright lies.

Fallacies are the building blocks of emotional persuasion. They are abundant in everyday life and used to influence behavior. Understanding these fallacies and the influence they have is the key to independent thought. One can choose to drift with every passing fallacy and succumb to its influence, or rise up, gain understanding, and break through the barrier of ignorance. Critical thinking and independent thought are the best tools one can use for breaking through this barrier. Hirsch (n.d.) defines critical thinking skills as this: “…an ability to analyze ideas and solve problems while taking a sufficiently independent, ‘critical’ stance toward authority to think things out for one’s self” (para.7). Reporters are supposed to do just that unless they become the talking heads of the corporate media machine. Then it’s a goose-step to the party line to keep one’s job.

Think clearly, analyze, and know what it is you are being asked to believe! It is painfully obvious that the mass media will not do this, so we need to dig for the truth even if what we discover flies in the face of the media barrage, and reveal it to as many people as we can. This is how to fight the planned ignorance program we are being force-fed every day. It is either that, or continue being cannon fodder for the corporations whose only deity is money, and whose loyalties lie wherever there is a profit to be made.

References:

A Few Good Men. (1992). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104257/quotes

Hirsch, E.D. (n.d.). Illinois Loop.org. Critical Thinking. http://www.illinoisloop.org/thinking.html

Labossiere, Dr. M.C. (1995). The Nizkor Project. Fallacies. http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/index.html#index

University of Phoenix. (Ed.). (2002). Critical Thinking [University of Phoenix Resource]. https://mycampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.asp

Copyright © 2007, Barbara H. Peterson

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