Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

WOX: War on X(Mass) I: Just Lie

Philosophy News image
Bill O’Reilly deserves the credit for creating the modern American conception of the War on Christmas. While O’Reilly is no longer a major player, the right has persisted in its insistence that Christmas is under attack. That this war has been debunked does not seem to matter. While I will discuss some aspects of this war, my interest is with the general methods used to craft and propagate a fictional narrative of a war on X (whatever X might be). I will call this WOX. If you want to start a WOX, you begin by selecting the X for your new war. You will want to select something your target audience values and it will ideally be something they already fear might be threatened by people they fear and dislike. But you can generate the fear on your own if you need to. Given the patent absurdity of claiming there is a war on Christmas, you might suspect that you could start a culture war around almost anything. Interestingly, there are clearly limits to what people will accept; even Trump and Fox News failed at getting their base to believe that there was a war on Thanksgiving. That proved a war too far. But perhaps some pundit or politician will make it stick next time. While a WOX will, obviously, tend to use “war on” as its defining phrase, this is optional. All you need to do is say “X is under attack” to use the methods I will be discussing. For example, you might prefer to speak of the attacks of the woke mobs on manliness without claiming there is a WWOM (Woke War on Manliness). Given that there are so many Wars on This and Wars on That these days, people might be suffering from battle fatigue when it comes to that phrase. But give it a try and see how your audience reacts. Now let us look at the time-honored tradition of starting a war with lies. A common way to use lies to argue that there is a War on X is to make up “examples” of acts of war. These “examples” are then used in an Argument by Example to “prove” that the war is occurring. Not surprisingly, an. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: A Philosopher's Blog

blog comments powered by Disqus