We interrupt this regularly scheduled blogcast to bring you an important message about society collapsing in on itself for the millionth time because humans learn lessons like a wombat learns quantum mechanics.
Despite lacking in the mystical powers that magical incantations might provide, simple words can hold enormous power over people; they communicate ideas and emotions, or can be wielded like weapons in the hands of the linguistically precocious. Entire wars have been waged, with devotion and reverence, because of the exquisite grammatical art painted by charismatic leaders on the canvas of the mob, all because we humans are so easily persuaded by the intoxicating spell of verbal magnificence. Wordsmiths are the new blacksmiths, forging verbal weaponry to be wielded by soldiers of propaganda.
But there’s one particular word that operates like a wild card, playing on the fears and prejudices of suspicious listeners, and one which requires no outright accusation to incite that mob to violence:
On its own, it’s a rather innocuous word, one which bears little or no inherent implication as to any sort of danger. What’s wrong with just having a plan?
But it’s when this word is paired with other words…particularly those that carry with them misplaced, but deep-seated fears…that it can be used to fan the flames of ignorant masses, whose existing prejudices ensure that the agenda is imagined as one of looming disaster.
A few favorites as of late:
- The carbon agenda.
- The homosexual agenda.
- The liberal agenda.
- The socialist agenda.
See how it works? Just take a word that people don’t quite understand to begin with, then add agenda. Now they have an agenda. And what is that agenda? What plans do they have in store for us, that it would need a scary-sounding word like agenda?
The beauty of this tactic is that no one ever need say what that agenda is; if anyone accuses whichever publication or public figure of fanning the flames of fear and ignorance, they have a ready-made defensive maneuver, which is to say, well, they do have an agenda. How could they not?
By failing to specify what those nefarious plans may or may not be, those who use the Agenda Agenda remain immune to criticism, while simultaneously fanning the flames of suspicion and ignorance, so they devolve into fear and mistrust.
And, in many cases, they have others to fan the flames further. Smaller, less publicly prominent groups often make outright claims as to what someone’s agenda might be, making outlandish statements involving genocide or tyrannical dictatorship or devilish seduction or whatever, terrifying people into supporting drastic measures in order to stop the horrific agenda.
And the news (and/or propaganda) organization, particularly the one operating within the US whose name rhymes with box (and have been instrumental in politically splitting the country in two) knows this quite well. They don’t have to wander into the fray of outright accusations in order to terrify their audience, though they often do; they merely need to mention the agenda that looms, and thus all the fears, prejudices, suspicions, and ignorance of the audience will fill in the rest, with all the vile horrors their fears can devise.
You know how in monster movies, it’s the idea of the monster that’s truly terrifying, and no monster can ever live up to the fears of a properly scared audience, because our imaginations are far more creative, and subjectively evocative, than any reality could ever be?
That’s the Agenda Agenda. Terrify; never specify. It’ll be even scarier that way. Scarier than any truth could ever be.
Ignorance is the playground of fear, and without this veil of ignorance, the Agenda Agenda would fail, and this is why I like exploring other cultures and societies, as it forces people to confront their own excuses for remaining ignorant. Were this ignorance to be removed, people would realize the Carbon Agenda is just a clean energy development strategy; that the Homosexual Agenda is just a call for equal rights and social and civic participation, and so on. Those who know the real “agenda” see right through the charade. It’s only those who have no clue what’s going on that fall victim to the insidious subterfuge of the Agenda Agenda.
So…thought it may be tricky…the next time someone’s running scared from whichever agenda, share the real story. Tell them what it’s all about, so the scary monster goes away, and people might just realize it was never a monster at all, but a manipulative puppet master pulling the strings, putting on a show.