Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Propaganda, Framing, and the Libertarian Graph

In a further effort to make people think they support an ideology that they would never support if spoken plainly the Libertarian Party has put their Libertarian Graph that has been central to their self promotion onto Facebook.

As it has been around as long as the Internet I have largely ignored it but as it is newly in my Face I looked again at it, and with more educated eyes, see it as worse than I had originally realized. I do not suggest that they should not spew whatever they wish, but do suggest that what they do is a teachable example that folk can avoid anyone's propaganda framing games.

I listed all the questions I got (I don't know if they change them) but will try to take on each to see how they twist how they expect you to see them.

1. The state should restrict abortion in all or most cases.

One would think this easy, and it mostly is, but is not addressing the real issue of if you think a fetus is the same as a young child in human terms. If you consider a fetus as a foundation that a human can eventually move into then abortion is no different than any other medical procedure.

On the other hand if you think that a fetus, or a cow is as "human" as any 10 year old child then killing without good reason is murder. If you would make exemption for anyone's belief no matter how extreme for embryos, then you had better be prepared to defend cows as well.

2. Unions were indispensible (sp) in establishing the middle class.

Unions are one way to hold corporations, and their managements accountable for the treatment of their workers. It was a hard fight and there was no other force available to do so. Other stake holders, consumers, neighbors, even competitors don't have that power either so unions are at best a partial solution. This does not make unions in any way a bad thing, only insufficient.

And there have been middle classes arrive without unions, often by causing huge die offs as with the black death, or the Native American genocide, and even the most recent case a lot of folk died and were economically destroyed to provide the American "Boom". Western Europe did boom and a great middle class form, and unions definitely were a big part, but without the rest of the socialized solution they would not have been enough. In Japan there were no unions but accountability was arrived at by other means.

3. In nearly every instance, the free market allocates resources most efficiently.

Here again many things are implied and denied at the same time.

Any truly un-policed market would quickly become a criminal warlord zone, in order to operate at all there have to be rules, and in order to have them there needs to be enforcement, as well as decisions about what the rules need to be and what gets enforced. This implies power, but does not imply that the sources of that power are accountable to those without the power to decide or enforce those rules.

The existence of that power implies Government, either De Facto or De Jure or a mix of both, and it is that Power/Government that allocates resources, not the "Market". If you get the lion's share of the resources you might think them efficient, if not, then not so much.

Therefore it is power and not markets that allocate resources, and they can do a good or bad job of it, irrelevant to what market "Freedom" is defined as.

4. Public radio and television funded by the state provide a valuable service the citizens.

In the case of BBC or Canadian CBC the result certainly is valuable, Iranian Public Television not so much. American PBS is more middle ground. Like so much else it is accountability rather than funding that is at issue, with different laws and leadership PBS could be better, but it has suffered from GOP interference. All this irrelevant to the question.

5. Some people should not be allowed to reproduce.

An open bigotry question of little value besides that bigotry

6. Access to healthcare is a right.

Technically different from free speech or right of assembly, it is not a civil rights issue in that sense, but a sensibility issue, just like having access to fire or police protection is not a civil rights issue, but also a universal need that is not amenable to a market based distribution.

7. The rich should pay a higher tax rate than the middle class.

Again framed as if Government was taking something, instead of charging for the greater costs and benefits received. Also ignoring the social benefit that ratcheting up the cost of looting the economy makes it better to grow a business rather than take the money and run.

8. School science classes should teach intelligent design.

School science should teach critical thinking first, and actual science as the result of that critical thinking. Under those conditions Creationism makes a great negative example. Those pushing Creationism I would assume would prefer Science taught as belief alone rather than that.

9. Marriage must be heralded for the important role it plays in society.

Marriage is a religious institution that has no part in a secular society, but is defined by the religion. Living arrangements need to be the exclusive domain of those involved, and short of abuse, should be supported however the arrangers decide, without asking or even involving private sexual expression or the lack of it.

10. Sometimes war is necessary, even if it means you strike first.

Extremely situational, and two different points at that. Iraq obviously was not either of those situations, but it is possible (barely) to imagine some. Not part of the frame, that there are millions of ways to avoid even those, if you do not act stupidly.

11. Patriotism is an overrated quality.

More it is totally different ideas depending on what side you are talking about, and even who is in office for many.

12. Radio stations should be required to present balanced news coverage.

Again twisting the frame. The station is a tenant of the public spectrum with a mandate to use it responsibly. One does not need to micromanage that to determine when that mandate is absurdly violated.

13. Government should do something about the increasing violence in video games.

Again framing the issue all wrong. If someone is injured as a result of irresponsible activities of any person or corporation, that person or corporation needs to be held accountable. If a person preaches hate that leads to violence by their followers (think blind sheik, or Chas Manson) then they should be held accountable, anyone in decision position in a video game that leads to a similar result, should be held to similar responsibility, as well as the corporation to the top as well. That would end a lot of corporations and put the management in jail for a very long time over a lot more than video games.

14. If our leader meets with our enemies, it makes us appear weak.

Like above, very situational, agreeing to talk is not weak. Capitulating before negotiation is weak, it does not matter if we are talking Iran or Blue Dogs.

15. We must use our military from time to time to protect our supply of oil, to avoid a national crisis.

Protecting what you legitimately own is not bad, conquering and stealing what is not yours is bad.

16. Strong gun ownership rights protect the people against tyranny.

Unless of course the folk with guns plan the tyranny. Ask the folk in Somalia. Tyranny is not beaten with guns but with guts and brains. Look at Iran for the future or India, or South Africa for the past.

17. It makes no sense to say 'I'm spiritual but not religious.'

Only to those with no sense, or understanding of the meaning of those words. However many who say it make little sense. What makes no sense is how it relates to the quiz.

18. It is not government's responsibility to regulate pollution.

Any more than to regulate theft, or any other wholesale poisoning for profit. Like policing people and policing Corporations was somehow different, or pollution was like weeds that just occur without a polluter.

19. Gay marriage should be forbidden.

By Who? If your Church forbids it, fine don't do it or allow it there. Other Churches don't forbid it. Marriage is a religious institution and belongs there, and not in Government. See #9 for the rest

20. It should be against the law to use hateful language toward another racial group.

It is the hate and not the language that should be at issue. Eliminationist thinking is problematic and needs to be discouraged, just as those who advocate a totalitarian Government. Doing so however is one of the biggest problems Democracy faces.

21. Government should ensure that all citizens meet a certain minimum standard of living.

Again with the framing, this also is like Firefighting or health care, money is well spent if a few dollars prevent disaster, or protect those who need it from exploitation. Like the difference between empathy and sympathy, one either understands or not.

Insuring a minimum treatment of people is at least as compelling as a minimum treatment of animals.

22. It is wrong to enforce moral behavior through the law because this infringes upon an individual's freedom.

Like poisoning thousands is not immoral but sexual variation is? Or does preventing theft make for too much government interference and inhibit "freedom", or is theft by holdup different than by other means of power?

23. Immigration restrictions are economically protectionist. Non-citizens should be allowed to sell their labor domestically at a rate the market will pay.

More wild spin, let them form unions and make the market between equal powers, and what the market will pay will be very different, remove other protectionist barriers like patents, copyrights and other barriers to entry, and the markets would change some more.

24. An official language should be set, and immigrants should have to learn it.

Yes perhaps Cherokee, or Spanish as that was the largest area taken, or Chinese as that is where our money is. In practice those who have the gold make the rules, If everyone you sell to speaks Russian, even if just in that neighborhood, you will have few customers if you insist on English, even if they speak that as well.

25. Whatever maximizes economic growth is good for the people

As they are cheap and easy to produce, Credit Default Swaps can cause tremendous economic growth (for a while), and selling you heritage is also highly profitable but hardly sustainable, and of course cleaning up the differed costs is also a consideration, and if the CEO absconds with all the economic increase he would be the only "people" it would be good for.

If on the other hand the economic growth is people making actual stuff at wages they can buy the stuff with, they will not only have the economic growth, but will also have the stuff.

26. Racial issues will never be resolved. It is human nature to prefer one's own race

Yup, that is why the Irish, Jews, and Japanese are still segregated in walled ghettos or why there is still ghettos in Japan of people who's ancestors were livestock handlers, and non Japanese cannot see a difference.

27. People with a criminal history should not be able to vote.

The entire Criminal Justice system is more criminal than justice, and many of the worst criminals are never charged, but limiting the discussion to the false frame, regaining the right to live as a human, to have free speech is to be able to express an opinion in the voting booth as well.

Marijuana should be legal.

Driving stoned can be a bad thing, but many medicinal and technical uses are certainly lost and hurting society by the hysteria. Any law should not be about a cultural divide ignored by one side, be it hunting rifles or Marijuana.

29. The state should fine television stations for broadcasting offensive language.

Offensive to who? I am entirely offended by Fox but not at all by common expletives.


31. The lower the taxes, the better off we all are.

Yes the Soviets did not have taxes and look how well that turned out. Likewise the Chinese support the military and other sectors by making them the managers of large parts of the economy thus keeping taxes low.

Somalis also pay very low taxes, or none at all.

Obviously the question is very much deeper than that frame allows. It is more about what you want the government to do and who pays and there is a lot more to that than I can write here.


36. Toppling enemy regimes to spread democracy will make the world a safer place.

Yup like such enemies as Haiti or Honduras that had Democracies till we toppled them, or Friends like Tajikistan that boil their dissenters slowly in oil. Iraq and Afghanistan certainly have made the world safer by our efforts, just as our bullying has helped the situation in Iran and North Korea.

42. The military budget should be scaled back.

That would be the budget for weapons for Soviet era fighting? Money paid for awful and expensive contractors that the military could do themselves and did for 200 years? Or are we talking Body Armor and other tools that actual Soldiers need? Multi million dollar makeovers for Pentagon offices, or better beads for Veterans Hospitals?

An honest accounting system might save 90%, but the Pentagon will take the first dollar to scale back on body armor and blame it on the accountants.

43. Economic competition results in inumerable (sp) innovations that improve all of our lives.

That might happen if the competition was to improve people's lives, but as the point is to make a profit, the innovations are mostly ways to get more for doing less, and that has become the most innovative science on the planet. To the point that huge sectors of the economy get a very large percentage of the economy for doing almost nothing, and certainly less than would be spent without their hegemony.

44. It is not our place to condemn other cultures as backwards or barbaric.

It is not so smart to moralize about others even as you are considered backwards and barbaric yourself in so many ways.
49. When corporate interests become too powerful, the state should take action to ensure the public interest is served.

When corporate interests become too powerful the society has been in grave danger for some time. Too big to fail is waaaay past too big to exist. Anytime a Government does not act in the public interest there needs to be severe accountability, unfortunately we are also way past the ability to do this.


52. A nation's retirement safety net cannot be trusted to the fluctuations of the stock market

Nobody's future should be trusted to riverboat gamblers unless those gamblers would be willing to suffer an equal amount for failure as all their customers combined.

This is way late and over long but hopefully will enlighten some about how framing can lie or bring out the truth depending on how one thinks about the issue to discover what the real issue behind the issue is.

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One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

from an old tale.

The Golden Rule
“That which is hateful to you do not do to another ... the rest (of the Torah) is all commentary, now go study.”

- Rabbi Hillel



The self made man just isn't admitting how or where he came by all those parts

---FreeDem---- Aug 2005


If a man tells you that the Government cannot accomplish anything of value, then voting for him would be like hiring an Amish Auto Mechanic.
If they don't believe in the concept, they are more than likely to do a very poor job of it.

---Bob Danforth Sept. 2009


Republicans never meant to cut government waste, fraud and graft, from the get-go their plan was to organize, monopolize and privatize waste, fraud and graft.

They see the civil service as meddling “middleman,” who interfered with the free flow of cash from taxpayers into corporate coffers. Their intent was to eliminate the “middleman” as an obstruction to corruption.

---Unknown rabblerowser Feb 2007


No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.

Edward R. Murrow

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot

Mark Twain


You see, we often get noncreative leaders, people most interested in preserving their own positions. They flock around centers of power. Such centers attract people who can be corrupted. That is a more descriptive observation than to say simply that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If you are corruptible and your imagination is confined to worries about loss of power, you exist in a self-destructive system. Eventually, as all life does, you must encounter something you did not anticipate, and if you have not strengthened your creative resources, you will have no new ways for adapting to change. Adapt or die, that's the first rule of survival.

The limited vision of noncreative people is not difficult to understand. Creativity frightens the unimaginative. They don't know what's happening. Things new and unexpected arise from creativity. This threatens "things as they are." And (terrible thought) it undermines illusions of omnipotence.


Herbert 1984 (the year not the book)


"News is what powerful people want to keep hidden; everything else is just publicity."

....Bill Moyer


Just as having only a hammer makes every problem either look like a nail, or as something irrelevant, our very technological skills have had us look there for explanations and ignore reality it cannot deal with. With our powerful hammer, we seek only nails, and dump the rest as dross. Not all questions involve hammers, not all answers are nails.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

My issue with Atheists is not that they have no God, there are many religions that have no God, but that they have no religion.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

__Note: by this I mean that there are many things religions do besides the discredited "science" and self serving promises (give me your money and God will hold and pay the note), many like charity or fellowship, even social accountability can be very good things not requiring a God.


Many have been very disappointed that their "God-critter" was not to be found as a technology swimming about in the shallower pools of knowledge. So in the obsession basic to our culture, we search ever deeper and more difficult pools, and always the "God-critter" seems to wink at us from the pool just beyond.

In the process we have found technologies beyond the wildest dreams of our most sophisticated ancestors. The great joke is that the "critter" never existed except as the pools themselves.

----Freedem --- Oct 2006

Indeed I do think that many folk, believe all kinds of stuff from the actually true, to the utterly illogical, with no personal discernment one from the others. But that would hardly make any of them a scholar to rely on, any more that one should get their theology studies from a door to door salesman, offering "get out of hell free" cards, on special because the creator of galaxies in greater numbers than beach sand, nonetheless has an ego so weak He cannot exist without shamelessly excessive psychophancy from a major portion of the inhabitants of this particular dust speck.

----Freedem ---June-2007

More to come