Sunday, August 18, 2013


The concept of "narrative" is prominent in political discourse. This describes the effort to manipulate public perception to accept an underlying doctrine or theory as valid. Some common contemporary narratives include those that portray Tea Party as backward racists, Global warming empiricists as superstitious and malign conspirators, and those that oppose gay marriage as "hateful." If the proponents of a particular narrative do not find the facts sufficiently compelling, they create their own, such as showing up at an immigration rally pretending to be the opposition and holding an embarrasing sign, or editing audio and video recordings to create false impressions.

The concept of narratives has a deep, if not honorable past. There was a common narrative in twentieth century Europe regarding the relationship between Jews and money. Red baiters promoted a narrative regarding the ubiquitous infiltration of American institutions by communists. The Jim Crow south played on the narrative of the predatory black putting the virtue of white women at risk, and being used to justify and even brag about lynching.

The narratives of the past and those currently used to attack critcs of the president, silence global warming discussion, advocate for amnesty, and any number of insular political interests have one thing in common: they are all base bigotry. A narrative is simply a prejudice sent to college, and adorned with sham virtue.

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