Emotionally Loaded Arguments

When someone wants to turn off your critical faculties so you will miss important holes in their contentions, they sprinkle what they have to say liberally with emotionally laden appeals.

[This is a particularly dangerous technique… Psychologists tell us that most people make 90% of their decisions based on emotion, not reason.]

See www.theargonauts.info/Remember.html -- Show lies that started the Spanish-American war and the Vietnam war This is so common that the intelligence community have a term for this: “agitprop” which means propaganda intended to agitate a population into a predetermined course of action.

More on agitprop.

FEARMONGERING - "The Pentagon and CIA are adept at concocting "threats" around the world, then promoting vague and often fictitious intelligence into a "crisis"" (William Greider. "Questions From Kerry." The Nation, Feb. 23, 2004, 6-7).

"...the favored fascist tactic of creating a generalized fear of "the other"" (David Montejano. "Who Is Samuel P. Huntington?" Texas Observer, 8/13/04: 12-13, 41).

"...the way politicians and the communications media use fear to grab attention and elicit compliance" (Dan Wakefield. "The Anti-Warrior." The Nation, July 12, 2004: 43).

"What can account for the fact that these obviously ineffective, even counterproductive, responses [to terror] have been supported by the people of Russia, Israel, the United States?... It is fear, a deep, paralyzing fear, a dread so profound that one's normal rational faculties are distorted, and so people rush to embrace policies that have only one thing in their favor: They make you feel that something is being done" (Howard Zinn. "Our War on Terrorism." The Progressive, Nov. 2004: 12-13).

"In his first inaugural address, in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to shake the nation out of its depression over the Great Depression.

""So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," he said, "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror."

"Now, seven decades later, the nation is fearing fear itself, not over the economy but over the threat of another terrorist strike like the one on Sept. 11, 2001. This time, the president, George W. Bush, seems content to keep us in a state of fear. A frightened public is unlikely to vote out a self-described "war president" in the midst of the "war on terrorism."...

"...some Democrats publicly suggested that Bush & Co. timed the release of the upgraded security threat to draw attention away from the White House wannabes.

"Nonsense. Bush wouldn't tamper with the nation's fragile psyche over terrorism any more than he would rush to war in Iraq on the basis of phony intelligence reports that Saddam Hussein had a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction" (Tom Brazaitis. "The Color-Coded Fear Factor." Published on Monday, August 9, 2004 by the Cleveland Plain Dealer).

"...his fearmongering rhetoric. The right-wing propaganda machine assumes relentless repetition of the big lies will carry the day" ("Retirement Security Fight." The Nation, Feb. 21, 2005: 3).

"Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer recently extolled a BBC film by Adam Curtis titled The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear. The three-hour documentary argues that the threat of international terrorism "is a fantasy htat has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians"--mainly [U.S.] Administration neocons seeking to consolidate their power. The documentary does not deny that there are radical Islamic terrorist groups; but Curtis told Katrina vanden Heuvel that "the terrify-sleeper cells across the world is largely a fantasy"... He said America "has become trapped by that fear." The film was well received in England, but US networks have turned it down" ("The Documentary They Won't Show." The Nation, Feb. 21, 2005: 8).

"The Bush Administration's reaction to the 0/11 attacks has been almost incomprehensibly weird. The nation was profoundly traumatized by the Al Qaeda assault. Our leaders promise us over and over that the next catastrophic attack is imminent. Yet not only do they do nothing to prepare for such an eventuality, they actively seek to sabotage those who do. Again and again the Bush Administration has slashed Congressionally mandated funding for precautionary measures in the ares of port security and nuclear and chemical security. They withdrew troops and intelligence agents from Afghanistan, where they were tracking Osama bin Laden and a reconstituted Al Qaeda, in order to throw them into Iraq, where no terrorist threat existed. Together with the Republican majority in Congress, they have treated "homeland security" as a pork distribution program. What money is appropriated receives little or no oversight" (Eric Alterman. "Another 9/11? Never Mind..." The Nation, Jan. 2, 2006: 12).

"The consultant for the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, "commissioned a thriller novel whose aim was to scare the living daylights out of folks who might want to buy cheap drugs from Canada," reports the New York Daily News" ("No Comment." The Progressive, Dec. 2005: 11).

Colby Glass, MLIS