When the Light Comes On… A Lesson in Brainwashing
We all know the well known classical conditioning example from Pavlov; the light comes on, the dog’s tail begins to wag and he starts to drool. The experiment involved turning on the light every time the dog is fed. This associative technique is done so many times that eventually just the act of turning on the light will cause the dog to physically react as if he was being fed.
Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC went on the attack last night (Thursday) in an interview with presidential hopeful Herman Cain. It took O’Donnell less than 30 seconds to play his hand of "gotcha" journalism by insinuating that Cain believes that the Democrats have brainwashed people into thinking that the rich do not pay their fair share of taxes. He meant it as a brush-back pitch, but what he didn’t anticipate was that Cain would turn on it and knock it out of the park.
Cain responded, "The answer is yes. The Democrats have succeeded at brainwashing a lot of the American people." By failing to dance the political two-step, Cain completely overturned O’Donnell’s agenda, and the interview went down hill from there.
Herman Cain cannot have been more correct.
What is the old adage? If you repeat a lie enough, eventually people will begin to take it as the truth (Hitler, by the way was a master at this). This is been the war-cry of the Democrats for the past half-century. Republicans stand by, incredulous, that so many people over the decades have partaken of this particular flavor of Kool-Aid. And while we marvel at the fact that liberals keep coming back to the same playbook over and over again, we also can’t figure out why continues to work. It’s simple – classical conditioning works. However, it is not permanent unless it is continually reinforced.
Remembering back to my college psychology class -back in the 20th century – I do remember the term used when conditioning ceased to work – extinction. When associative behavior is not continually reinforced, eventually it becomes extinct. There are two basic paths to extinction for this behavior: one is to cease the association, i.e. stop Democrats from repeating the same lie. That’s not going to happen. The other is to introduce a counter behavior. This is where conservatives have dropped the ball.
Who in recent memory can you recall has been the flag bearer for the theory of supply-side economics? What politician since Reagan has proudly held up the Laffer curve and has done his or her level best to try to explain how and why it works? That’s a question that I honestly cannot answer without some deliberative thought. It’s a question that needs to be answered by one of the presidential hopefuls in this race and the one that can answer it in 20 words or less will likely end up being the nominee for the Republican Party.
It’s time we stood up for Reaganomics, trickle-down, supply-side…. whatever you want to call it. Lowering tax rates increases economic growth. It did so under George W. Bush, under Reagan and….. under Kennedy!
"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus." - John F. Kennedy, 1962
Brainwashing may be an incendiary term (as it was intended by O’Connell) but it is fairly accurate. How many people – who by pure reflex, regurgitate the ‘tax the rich’ line whenever the light comes on – have ever heard this quote from President Kennedy? How many would be shocked to find out that the golden boy of the Democratic Party for the past 50 years was a supply-sider?!!
To liberals: wake up! The light keeps coming on and you keep drooling, but there is no food! Stop taking things at face value and start looking at what history really teaches you!
To conservatives: pick your jaw up off the ground and make a counter argument! When liberals try sleight-of-hand with the truth about taxes, don’t let them get away with it! Stick to the facts, they are on your side! Memorize the Kennedy quote and then shove it down their throats (figuratively speaking of course).