How Republicans use language to manipulate our political system
Among the educated population of the United States there are very few individuals who actually deserve to be considered as useful to the larger political process as a whole. Even fewer of those previously mentioned seem to have any ethical compass whatsoever. Political analyst Frank Luntz exists among the ranks of those who are intelligent and capable enough to create real change in the world, but who prostitute themselves to partisan political (overwhelmingly conservative) groups instead.
Recently Luntz authored a study aimed at breaking down the ways in which public opinion can be subtly altered in the western world with regard to a plethora of hot-button topics. The study was originally commissioned five years ago by the Israel Project, a group “who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel.”
The study also details ways for the Israeli regime to skirt a two state solution (as the Israeli power structure sees this as more of an existential threat than a real solution to anything). for a lasting peace with the Palestinian population. Because a large portion of the population of the United States tends to poll in favor of the so-called two state future, this issue becomes an important one for those Israeli political personalities who are often exposed to those in the west.
For example, fairly ambiguous terms are suggested as preferable by Luntz. Phrases like “The best way, the only way, to achieve lasting peace is to achieve mutual respect” are seen as just vague enough to work. A somewhat sickening example of a suggested “effective” Israeli soundbite follows as: “I particularly want to reach out to Palestinian mothers who have lost their children. No parent should have to bury their child.”
Frank Luntz is one of the most sought after political analysts in the world. He originally graduated with a degree in history and political science from the University of Pennsylvania. Later he finished a doctorate in politics at Oxford. He has written op-eds in many popular newspapers, like the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. Luntz specializes in the Orwellian manipulation of the human psyche.
Frank Luntz, in essence, is a mercenary. He knows his trade well, and excels at manipulating the subconscious minds of those susceptible to (at least what would appear to be on the surface) benign changes in commonly-used terminology. This is what has become known as the Luntz Method.
The gathering of statistical data (no matter how useless or inconsequential it may seem) is integral to Luntz’s method. He often enlists the help of focus groups to aid in his collection of siginificant figures. This process can generally be seen on Fox News where entire segments will be given to this man so that he can show an all Republican panel the finer points of how bad modern liberalism has gotten.
Luntz firmly believes that the most important element of any political speech or statement is not the intended content. The words which are actually processed by the individuals in the audience are far more significant than the words which the speaker believes are coming out of his or her mouth.
For instance, Luntz found that if one refers to the process of drilling for oil as “energy exploration” then audiences were much more likely to either continue listening or begin actually paying attention where they previously had not been.
He was even awarded the Politifact “Lie of the Year” award in 2010 for referring to “healthcare reform” as a “government takeover.” It is also to be noted that Luntz repeatedly threw around the term “rationing” when referring to the Affordable Care Act. This is the challenge that modern progressives face, a subtle one of definition.
Frank Luntz has a love affair with what can only be termed “positive Orwellianism.” This consists in the manipulation of the common environment of the common people and in the end creating a more cohesive (therefore less-divisive) populace. Creepy? Very much so. Does Luntz have his head in the sand? Most definitely.
How does the American political system really work? All things begin and end with money. Money dictates where power is allocated both in the short and long terms. Obviously, those who control the money control the power. In a sense, this power is framed by the “dialectic” (the public debate or “discourse”) and because of this, language can truly be seen as the real director of money and the driver of power.
The dialectic determines how money is allocated. In other words, individuals and various corporate “persons” allocate money according to their perceived decision calculus (stemming from self-preservative instincts at the lowest level). Because of this, language controls money. If language controls the money, it controls the votes, and, thus political power. To this end, Luntz wishes to monopolize.
Individuals like Frank Luntz cannot be allowed to remain as cancerous sores on the face of the decaying American political process. In the interests of having a truly honest and open public forum for constructive debate, an elimination of all intellectual prostitution (such as that which Frank Luntz and his ilk take part in for the Republicans and various campaigns) will lead to a much more positive (and, no, not Orwellian) environment for all those subject to money and power.
What the last few decades have taught us is that an essential relationship between money, language, and power exists. The progressive fight requires that this relationship be harnessed for the benefit of all peoples, not simply those residing in ivory towers.