The insidious agenda of the Agenda Agenda

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:

The agenda.

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.

Martin Luther King Jr. ignorance quote
He’s right.

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.

Distillation of Fear

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.

Mark Twain Travel Quote
He’s also right.

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.

About SnarkyNomad

Eytan is a pretentious English major whose rant-laden sarcastic tirades occasionally include budget travel tips and other international nonsense. You can follow his every narcissistic word on Facebook or Twitter.

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10 Comments on “The insidious agenda of the Agenda Agenda”

  1. We have become numb to agendas and my true fear is that when one side plays the “docket” card, thus elevating the urgency, fear, and terror that was once common with agendas. Imagine the Right-Wing Docket or Liberal Docket. The very word sends shivers down my spine and this time they MEAN it.

    It’s the pending “docket” agenda that we need to fear, it is only a mater of time before we hear the Right-Wing and Left-Wing lob “dockets” at each other.

    The Day of the Dockets will soon be upon us.

  2. I love this post. For a very long time I have been very angry at those running the Agenda Agenda, because they don’t give a crap about any actual issues. All they want to do is take advantage of the situation and stir up fear in those who don’t realise they are just a pawn in the game. To be less vague; the mainstream media often stirs fear in low socio-economic households because they are actually the ones who are a little more likely to tune into the 6:00 news and believe it all without question. “Immigrants taking er jobs! It must be true, it was on the news! Why would the news lie to me?”

    I don’t wish to sound condescending, but these communities are less educated and so less likely to look for alternative sources to get the facts on any given issue. They are less aware of the various publications that are out there and less likely to do some digging to ensure they’ve heard both sides of the story. Therefore, they are very easily taken advantage of, and they seen as nothing but fodder to large corporations who want to influence these individuals in such a way as to make the largest possible amount of money off of them. They don’t give a shit about these people; they’re not sharing information to help them. They’re telling them what to believe so they will continue to be profitable.

    It just pisses me off to see people taken advantage of, that’s all. :(

    1. Propaganda works incredibly well, sadly. And it would be one thing if they actually had to have the right idea, but in a democracy, you only have to convince half the country, which is even easier if you just pick the less educated half. I think we’ve actually been pretty lucky so far, in that none of their candidates have even the slightest shred of charisma. But if they ever find one, I think we’re screwed.

  3. Keep it up mate, good tips and insights to bat. See you around.
    – ryan, PhD Public Policy – USC – Los Angeles

  4. Well written article…I do agree with the premise and thoughts, but you have clearly taken a position on one side of the political spectrum. When billions of private and government dollars are infused into promoting an initiative, and individuals and corporations alike are amassing great wealth from campaigns such as “the carbon initiative”, which tax and restrain the economy, you have to wonder if it is all just well-meaning. The propoganda is spread quite equally both left and right. The truth must be sought out by the ever vigilant, educated citizen who can dig beyond the 24 hour entertainment news. Sadly, most people are not willing to invest the effort.

    Great travel tips, BTW.

    1. Yes, I’m definitely on a certain side of the political spectrum, and I don’t dance around the issue, but I appreciate the respectful comments, as it appears you might not be entirely in agreement with those issues.

      As for carbon specifically, I tend to pay a great deal of attention to carbon-neutral buildings and retrofitting projects, both of which can drastically reduce electrical bills, all the way down to zero, or even negative, and energy can be sold back to the grid. I’ve seen buildings of all shapes and sizes, from regular houses to apartment complexes to skyscrapers, all of which look great, whose electricity costs are so minuscule that they recoup within a few years the investment of making them energy-efficient in the first place. Seems like as a society we’re stuck on which sort of energy to use, when each and every building could be self-sufficient with no energy bills at all. It’s just a huge win-win.

      1. I am in complete agreement with you on conserving energy, low use structures, recycling, conservation, the whole lot. My point for the readers is that in the name of a good cause (actually, especially in the name of a good cause), leaders (not all) can and do take advantage for their own benefit. How many charities have had their CEO arrested for corruption? How many political leaders are invested in the stocks of green companies that they direct public funds towards? Al Gore, the anti-combustion engine guy, champion of the environment, sold his television network for hundreds of millions to wealthy oil tycoons. There are more than several green companies like Solyndra that had millions of public dollars given and went bankrupt. Then we found out the owners donated money to the political campaigns of those who authorized the money. Not to drone on, back to the original point…citizens must not take anything at face value….from either or any side. We probably agree in principle on most of the causes you mentioned. Happy travels.

        1. I do agree with the above points that Eric made. I am a Democrat but am more than slightly wary when my party warns me of the “war on women agenda”, the “war on minorities agenda”, the big oil agenda and so. Politicians all want votes and will do anything to scare their target constituency into casting a ballot towards them. After all, setting agendas is the very nature of politics. So be careful of both and all sides and look out for you and yours.

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