"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Friday, October 10, 2008

Two propaganda videos

Like several other friends, Prof. Scott Carson has called my attention to this video from Catholicvote.com:

I agree wholeheartedly that the video dramatizes (or perhaps melodramatizes) what ought to be the central issue for Catholics in this general election campaign. It expresses my feelings. But will it really change the heart of anybody who is not already convinced of its main premise? I hope so, but I am not sanguine. What people care about now is "the economy, stupid." Saving the unborn seems to be a much less pressing issue for most voters, even for most Catholic voters, than saving their 401-ks and health insurance. That is natural if unfortunate, and it's not the sort of problem that propaganda can solve.

Still, I'm heartened by the contrast with a bit of propaganda for the opposing side: this one, a pro-Obama video from comedienne Sarah Silverman. She's hip and hot; I'd enjoy her if I didn't hate her worldview and the resulting ugliness that's so plain in her mouth and eyes. Indeed, Silverman's lexical and spiritual profanity is what prevents me from offending my readers by embedding her video on this site. But the interesting thing is that such videos are broadly supposed to help Obama. It's taken for granted that the young, the hip, and the hot, most of whom will vote for Obama, lap this sort of thing up. That's what's really scary. The very spiritual tenor that repels me is what attracts them. It's hard to find a clearer indication of what is at stake.

The trouble with leftism is that, having forgotten the real God, it makes an idol of humanity by means of ideology. The historian of ideas Kenneth Minogue argues that "pure ideology"—whether instantiated as Marxism, feminism, or some other academically fashionable ism—is a narrative of human reality as an ongoing conflict between the bad-guy oppressors and the good-guy oppressed, with history being about the latter's struggle to overthrow the former and thus attain "liberation." Any critique of such a story is dismissed as an apologia for the oppressor. In the current election, those who buy the story have focused their quasi-religious fervor on Obama. Indeed, pure ideology in Minogue's sense is but a secularized version of the cries and hope for justice that one finds in the Hebrew prophetic tradition. But the irony is that the unborn today, like the Jews and Gypsies of 1930's Germany and the kulaks of the 1930s Soviet Union, are the eggs being broken to make the omelette. In this nominally religious country, so many have forgotten that "Whatever you do to these, the least of my brethren, you do to me." With so much money at stake now, they are unlikely to start remembering.
blog comments powered by Disqus