July 11, 2013
Moral Extortion and Blackmail Rhetoric
The Democratic Party has achieved and maintained power through a clever abuse of Western ethics. The strategy can be seen through a discussion of two types of manipulation: moral extortion and moral blackmail.
Moral extortion is the technique of creating guilt in a person by saying, "if you allow this to happen you will have it on your conscience." So when Democrats say you must vote for them or the poor will starve, conscientious voters will think, "well I must vote for them I certainly cannot live with myself if I allow people to starve." Whether this is true or not, whether it reflects reality or not, doesn't matter. It is a very clever way to place the decision to vote within a person's own mind; to make them punish themselves for not voting for Democrats. Gone are the days when threats can be made against voters. The modern political campaign is far too sophisticated for that.
Moral blackmail is a cruder technique that is related to moral extortion, but has a different spin. Moral blackmail is the technique used by President Obama when he said: "voters must pressure Republicans to increase the budget and stop the sequestration of funds. If funds are sequestered then first responders will not have their funds cut, border patrol hours will be cut, etc." The standard definition of blackmail is that person A says something bad will happen to person B if person B doesn't do what person A wants. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid all use this spin to create a state of tension in the minds of voters: that they can't possibly allow bad things to happen to helpless people. So Democrats use the thoughts of voters as the punishment they will endure if they don't follow the policies Democrats want.
So while moral extortion is used to create a people program, moral blackmail is used to keep it. And the person who will be blamed is the voter who does not pressure Republicans to raise the debt limit. All of these dire consequences will then be on the conscience of all the voters who allow it to happen.
These statements have the potential to be seen as threats. But the electorate does not perceive them as threats. Voters appear to allow Obama enough moral authority to get away with portraying the situation not as a threat but as simply describing what will happen. Either way, the person listening to the president's statement is supposed to feel betrayed by the GOP, to feel guilty, and to feel compelled to right the wrong that Republicans are destined to do, if not enough money is given to people programs in the budget.
The president then deflects attention away from his own spending issues and makes the electorate responsible for them. Of course the electorate didn't make the budget deficits, the president did. And the sequestration was the president's idea in the first instance. But this doesn't matter; it's always possible to set these situations up so the voter will be responsible for not forcing Republicans to do the right thing. It's a clever deflection of responsibility and attention away from the president to the Republicans, and to make voters feel that they are in charge.
It's a very subtle means of manipulation. And curiously, it's always about money. The president never says "unless you volunteer in your community the poor will suffer." Instead, he always says "unless you allow us to increase the budget the poor will suffer," or "if you put Republicans in charge the poor will suffer, we will have dirtier air, dirtier water, and the sick and elderly will not be taken care of." This focus on money confirms the blackmail description. And of course the decision they are manipulated into making always puts more money into the hands of Democrats.
There's never enough money to help the poor. And since no one can put a price on helping to relieve suffering the budget must always be open-ended. This is justified by saying that the middle class won't bear the burden, the rich will, by finally being forced to pay their "fair share" of taxes. So the tension is released, and comfort is gained, by allowing Democrats to take money from the rich to help the poor. It is morally okay to take more money from the rich.
Of course it's never true that Democrats take money from only the rich: everyone has to pay higher taxes. And even though the national debt has doubled under Obama's tenure, and the standard of living of the average American continues to decline, voters will at least have the moral comfort of knowing they are doing the right thing.
Any doubts voters may have that their family will be hurt by higher taxes are swiftly allayed by the thought that only the rich will pay higher taxes; that their loopholes will be closed, and they will no longer be able to hide money offshore. So that makes the decision to vote for Democrats not only morally comforting but the right financial choice.
The most disturbing aspect of this strategy is that its effectiveness depends upon the continuing social problems of the disadvantaged. If the programs were successful, and poverty, crime and health care issues were ended, moral extortion and moral blackmail would become empty rhetoric. And since these two rhetorical cards are keystones to Democratic campaign rhetoric, it follows that social inequality, poverty and suffering must not be ended. The programs designed to correct them cannot be allowed to end them.
The result is that we do not see improvement in the social ills of people in the U.S. but even further growth. More people are on food stamps than ever, unemployment is the highest since WW II. And all because if they are cured they can no longer be used to persuade voters that Democrats must be elected to cure them.
The consistency of this analysis with the campaign rhetoric and policies of Democrats leaves one with the impression that it is all planned. It is intentionally done for effect. And if so, creates the painful realization that Democrats have used their understanding of moral sensitivity to exploit voters' concerns for the helpless and disadvantaged, for no end other than to gain power and wealth for themselves while hurting the very people they claim to care for. The treatment of minorities under Democratic rule confirms this.
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