Y'know, the word "conservative" is also demonizable

Ever since the '80s people on the American right have been using “liberal” as a snarl-word, to the point where many liberals have sought shelter under the name “progressive” even though that word, IMO, means something entirely different (something well to the left of “liberal” and well to the right of “socialist”; what would be called “social-democratic” in Europe; but it also fits the RW agenda to encourage everyone to look at the whole left side of the spectrum through the wrong end of a telescope, collapsing distinctions).

We could do the same job on “conservative.” It’s easy. Simply:

  1. Point out all the most horrible, egregious persons on the right and call them “conservatives.” They can hardly object, they call themselves that now, including the RWs (which, again, is something different from “conservative”; no conservative would think of, e.g., scrapping the Federal Reserve system or repealing the 16th or 17th Amendment; conservatism is much more cautious than that).

  2. Point it out again, with focus on all the horrible things “conservatives” do, and pound and pound on them. Of course most of those things are only “horrible” in the eyes of moderates and liberals and leftists, but, that is the exact same situation as WRT to liberalism when the RW went to work on it. It didn’t stop them. The essence of propaganda is repetition. Just assume all sensible right-thinking folk see those things as “horrible” and keep saying so.

  3. Repeatedly associate the horrors with the “conservative” label and imply anyone who self-IDs as a “conservative” is just as bad as the evilest nutjobs who so identify. John McCain is a conservative, therefore there is no important difference between John McCain and David Duke.

  4. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until even the right starts fleeing the “conservative” label and hunting for a more innocuous one.

Why wouldn’t that work?

But, if it did work, what would be the point anyway?

It probably would work. I don’t see why it wouldn’t. And the point would be the same thing as the point behind the demonization of liberal…to put conservatives on the defensive and discourage people from identifying themselves like that. . .to turn the public mood against conservativism.

Your last line in your post is the best. There would be no point. When conservatives started demonizing the word liberal, it didn’t make less people vote for Democrats or believe in liberal ideals. They simply took it as a badge of pride, or they called themselves progressives.

The OP forgot the important first step that makes all the other steps work:

  1. Have big corporations buy up all major media.

Done. Now what?

This. Unlike conservatives, liberals don’t have a major network devoted entirely to demonizing the other side.

I’m sure someone will immediately pop in and claim that all media outlets other than Fox are biased towards liberals, to which I say bullshit. If you get far enough to the right, everything left isn’t biased- it’s merely everything to the left of you.

Attacking the conservative brand has definite effects on low-information voters. Think about how Obamacare has become a shibboleth, even among those benefiting from the program. Also mockery is a powerful political tool.

My tendency though would be to distinguish modern conservatives like Buckley, Goldwater, Gingrich, Bachmann and Cruz from traditional conservatives like Taft, Burke, Von Metternich and liberals like Adam Smith. Traditional conservatives had problems with race, but they respected intellect, tradition, social stability and the goddamn facts. Nixon bridges the two groups. The essence of persuasion according to one theory is combining discomfort with a person’s current position with a soft-landing alternative. So there’s scope for brand attacks.

(I’ve been chewing over the ideas in that paragraph for a few years now. I can report that while conservatives are pretty tribal, I haven’t been able to locate a decent treatment of pre-Buckley conservatism. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough though. I’m reading the earlier parts of Kabaservice’s Rule or Ruin: most of it is devoted to post 1970 developments though, outside of my interest.)

Liberals do this already.

Personally I oppose all Fundamentalists, be they Christian, Islamic, neo-conservative or economic. Pow!


Well, all of that should be easily demonizable.

Try Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, by Rick Perlstein; it studies the conservatism of the 1940s and '50s in depth, and shows the cultural differences between Senator Taft’s Midwestern conservatism and the Southern/Southwestern conservatism of Goldwater.

Death to all fanatics!

That will work wonderfully… within echo chambers like this MB.

I don’t even see why you have listed 3 tactics, since they are all the same. And associated McCain with Duke will just make you look like the guy on the street corner holding up the picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache.

But knock yourself out. It’ll do more harm to your cause than good.

We needn’t go that far, not explicitly. Just focus on the really embarrassing conservatives and keep bringing them up and calling them “conservative,” implying that all conservatives are the same.

Just like the right has been doing for decades with really embarrassing liberals.

That’s basically what happened in France: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinistrisme

This is really about the simple power of advertising and repeating a message.

By Rush Limbaugh, and his buddies, getting on the radio for hours a day and pronouncing “Liberal” with a disgusted air, as if they were saying “Ewwww, dog sh*t”, it can’t help but seep into peoples consciousness. Say it enough over and over and over and over and over.

So, in order to produce the same result with “conservative” you have to dominate the mediums (radio, tv, internet) and repeat repeat repeat.

Now, how does one shift the domination of the mediums?

Hmmm? Hmm?

Well, as sociopolitical forces, radio and TV are now weak as straw compared to the Internet, which nobody owns and to which cost of access is minimal; I’d focus on that. The problem, of course, is that the Internet’s audience is so hypersegmented that it’s hard to get your message before the eyes of anyone who does not already share your views.

I doubt that Fox or Limbaugh’s radio network peers are making more people ally with the Right, anymore than the more popular left leaning sites (Salon, Huff Po, others?) bring anyone Left. The effectiveness of the Right worked well with a few networks, now they are just an echo chamber to themselves.

There is opportunity for the Left - and they have done it well by branding anything to the right as associated with the Tea Party. This has been very effective, and has helped to marginalize that particular group and anyone close to it.

And they’re not learning any faster, are they?

Trouble with ‘conservatives’ is there too many syllables for it to be an effective slur word. You should adopt the word we use for our conservatives – “Tories” – you can really spit that one out. Add any appropriate swear term in front for added gusto.

You figure a lot of those big corporations are down with the liberal agenda?

See post #15.