The power of the buzzword and trite phrase [rambling opening]


It’s necessary to go back to the second part of the war and the post-war era to see the techniques of propaganda continue into peacetime, with key phrases and words trivialized to become political slogans in a more concentrated way and with both sides at it.

In early 50s Australia, Robert Gordon Menzies was able to do for Herbert Vere Evatt, United Nations Secretary-General, by means of buzzwords around election time – in councils, in the general election and one such buzz phrase was “reds under beds”.

There was a parallel in early Australian history. In the Rum Rebellion in the early days of the colony, Captain William Bligh [yes, that one] was supposed to have hidden under a bed in a cowardly way while the righteous mutinying officers sought him out. There’s considerable doubt he did that but it made a fine story for the now relatively lawless officers to justify themselves with.

And who was the key historian, the historian célèbre in Australia? Charles Manning Hope Clark of course, known by much of Australia as a Fabian [or intellectual] socialist.

Yet to read the Wiki entry, he would appear to have been entirely neutral. The Wiki entry goes to great pains to explain he was NOT socialist or communist:

By this time he had lost his Christian faith but was not attracted to any of the secular alternatives on offer. His writings as a student explicitly rejected both socialism and communism …

The word “explicitly” is a coloured word, a word of degree intended to establish.  Absolutely.  Completely.  The sort of people Wiki is intended for therefore look at the learned article on Manning Clark and take that at face value.

Wiki then follows up with:

Among his teachers at Oxford were Hugh Trevor-Roper (a conservative), Christopher Hill (at that time a communist) and A. J. P. Taylor (a moderate socialist) …

Use of the word “moderate”, a word of degree again.  Now, who is likely to read up on all the names linked to above?  Well obviously intellectuals, those who like history … but presumably not this girl:

beasts cages

… heavily into the Kool Aid in the current controversy.

Yet I need only go one step – one step mind – in researching HTR to find:

Trevor-Roper’s reputation was damaged in 1983, however, when he authenticated the Hitler Diaries and they were shown shortly afterwards to be forgeries.

Again, if you were to stop there, you’d perhaps accept he was an arch-conservative who might have made an error of judgement. However, to go two steps, not one:

In 1980 at the age of sixty-seven, he became Master of Peterhouse, the most ancient and the smallest college in the University of Cambridge. His election, which surprised his friends, was engineered by a group of Fellows led by Maurice Cowling, then the leading Peterhouse historian. The Fellows chose him because Cowling’s reactionary clique thought he would be an arch-conservative who would oppose the admission of women. In the event, Trevor-Roper feuded constantly with Cowling and his allies, while launching a series of administrative reforms. Women were admitted in 1983 at his urging. In 1987 he retired complaining of “seven wasted years.”

He brought almost constant warfare into the college of Peterhouse.  And of course, many would not have been aware he was a communist spy.

I’m not going to link just yet but my own rhetoric – “communist spy” – sounds like a relic of the Cold War, the nasty side.   Clearly, the writer of this post you’re reading is a reactionary fascist for suggesting HTR was actually a a communist in the Cambridge Five mould?

Now the link.

And in that article, whose photo happens to be at the top?

Yep, the Cambridge mob.

Thus we come back to Manning Clark and one of his influences, A. J. P. Taylor.  A neutral?

In the 1920s, Taylor’s mother, Constance, was a member of the Comintern while one of his uncles was a founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Constance was a suffragettefeminist, and advocate of free love who practised her teachings via a string of extramarital affairs, most notably with Henry Sara, a communist who in many ways became Taylor’s surrogate father. Taylor has mentioned in his reminiscences that his mother was domineering, but his father enjoyed exasperating her by following his own ways. Taylor had a close relationship with his father, and enjoyed his father’s quirkiness. Taylor himself was recruited into the Communist Party of Great Britain by a friend of the family, the military historian Tom Wintringham,

A known figure is seen by the public one way, whereas he is something entirely different.  Follow the expoits of one Geoff Mulgan today and more importantly, follow the best sources.  I can present you with a Guardianista history which would paint him as co-founder of Demos – a very democratic sounding chap indeed.  Or I could present him as he is – the co-founder of Common Purpose and promoter of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and propaganda.

It’s all how far you’re prepared to explore … and through which channels.

My question to the reader is manyfold – who is left reading this post for a start?  The reader preferring the quick post with pithy comment of the day will have long since clicked out.  Those left are either detractors looking for something to quote or a small group of like-minded people of a certain level of thinking and cynicism.

And how many are we?

Moving on or rather – moving back to Robert Gordon Menzies – he won elections on buzz  phrases but it came back to haunt him.  As the paradigm of the left was established post-war, in education, the arts, law and medicine [see Bruce Charlton’s evidence based medicine], so they took the term “reds under beds” and made it a catchcry of an exploded era, the era of … are you waiting for it, drumroll … McCarthyism.

I mean, seriously, just look at the man:


And he embodies everything a strolling minstrel such as Bob Dylan might say about him.  A towering hate figure, bombastic caller for reds under beds to be rooted out of Hollywood, out of all facets of life, out of Washington.

The man went so far OTT that he had to be censured by his own side and finally ignored.  And thus his message was ignored as well – that there really were communists in those places and they really were an elite corp.  The one I oft quote, Senator William Jenner, is far more publicly acceptable in visage.

And yet one only has to mention his early colleague Jo McCarthy and he’s dismissed:

If I seem to be extremist, the reason is that this revolutionary clique cannot be understood, unless we accept the fact that they are extremist. It is difficult for people governed by reasonableness and morality to imagine the existence of a movement which ignores reasonableness and boasts of its determination to destroy; which ignores morality, and boasts of its cleverness in outwitting its opponents by abandoning all scruples.

EU? UN? CIA?  Was that really 1954 or is it 2014, the day after Boxing Day?

Remember the reference to Bob Dylan. Explore Laurel Canyon, what it was about as a propaganda machine and examine the families of the key exponents/artists coming out of it in the late 50s and 60s, people whom most of us of a certain age look back on with some affection.

Why do we? Read their histories.

Oh and on the great hope of the world, the UN, this from William Jenner:

Jenner alleged that the United Nations had infiltrated the American educational system in 1952.

Unlike McCarthy who couldn’t stop and walked straight into the communist meat-mangler, Jenner saw the writing on the wall, saw it had already gone too far and retired from public life:

 In 1958, he was not a candidate for re-nomination. He resumed legal practice in Bedford, Indiana in 1959.

Yet what he said about the UN has come to be, exactly as he said.  And the ordinary person has not a clue about this “ruthless power-seeking elite … a disease of our century… This group … is answerable neither to the President, the Congress, nor the courts. It is practically irremovable.

On that educational question, this post goes into the UN and education. [Quoted text in graphic form has been lost unfortunately]

As for the “elegant form of brainwashing” Jenner refers to, look no further than Common Purpose and groupthink.  Look no further than Westminster’s allocation of taxpayers’ money to this organization, the subject of questions in parliament.

Why should any money at all be allocated to an organization whose avowed purpose is “leadership beyond authority”, i.e. people in key positions taking over in a crisis, e.g. terrorism, plagues such as ebola or BSE and with a corps in place along the lines of FEMA?

[We] are looking for candidates who are:

*senior decision-makers within the area covered by the programme
*interested in contributing to the future of their area.

Applicants will be considered according to their:

*current responsibility as a leader through work or community activity
*involvement within the area covered by the programme
*likely contribution to the perspectives and dynamics of the group
*ability to participate fully in the Common Purpose programme.

Not organized? Not elite? William E. Jenner begs to differ but many won’t listen to him because he was friends with Jo McCarthy, of “reds under beds” infamy and all one needs these days is an association, a buzzword or a trite phrase and that’s the end of the argument.

Beyond Bullets, in addressing corporate techniques in groupthink, wrote:

It’s fine to assume these things, as long as we’re aware that our default mode of presenting and informing also means that there is little room for thinking, challenging, dialogue and debate — a fertile breeding ground for groupthink. The way we use PowerPoint only adds fertilizer to this stagnant pool, because a slide filled with bulleted text only increases the illusion of certainty for presenters and the feeling of passivity for audiences.

How many of you reading this have been to a modern “training” course of late, perhaps using powerpoint, perhaps using whiteboard and marker?  How many questioned the framing of what you were presented with?

One of the techniques I referred to at my own site was the defining of parameters in the personality test.  One of the more egregious is the Myers-Briggs test, beloved of HR.

And specifically, take the two opposed variants you’re allowed in each case:

• Extraverted or Introverted
• Sensing or Intuiting
• Thinking or Feeling
• Judging or Perceiving

The ground rules have already been set before you take that test, the frames of reference have already been set.  More specifically, take the “thinking versus feeling” aspect.

It says these are opposite ends of a continuum.  It makes you therefore first accept, a priori, a linear continuum with, say, thinking at one end and feeling at the other.  That is, you can’t do both at the same time and with equal purpose – feel something deeply and caringly and then think out what to do.

Under Myers-Briggs, which discourages middling viewpoints, this is a perfectly acceptable technique and if that’s challenged, as those two articles linked to did challenge, then they’re hit with eulogy – that this test is august, has been used internationally by business and other organizations, that it is famous, that it is unassailable.

To me, what does that say about the state of business management in this country?

Funny, at university, I was taught “clear-thinking” and “logic” in philosophy lessons, despite being presented only with leftwing or Themist philosophers, from Voltaire to Russell.  We were taught the formal logic of premises and conclusions, about a priori and here, in Myers-Briggs, we are getting not only this a priori approach but it is being administered by HR types [stop shuddering at the back there] and that’s a topic all on its own.

And like Bloom’s Taxonomy in education, presented as the omnibus to replace all omnibuses, the mainstay of teacher training in the 70s and 80s, one needn’t scratch too far today to see that he too was just another A.J.P. Taylor, given to the trite and the sweeping generalization.  Plus he was Marxist.

Denise Nelson, a conservative writer pulls no punches on Bloom:

Benjamin Bloom is a second generation transformational Marxist, dedicated to the destruction of the founding ideals that have made America great.

It’s bloomin’ everywhere, mateys.

You’ll have noticed two themes running through all this – the subterfuge accompanying the angle, the need to misrepresent and nowhere is this seen better than in a supposed Conservative who sold out his country, fooling everyone:


So, to conclude – with that level of subterfuge, of lying, sugar-coating, manipulating by so many people at such a high level, in the use of the catchcry and the buzzword in lieu of thinking and debating, with that agenda and that sort of massive global organization, even getting parliaments to donate money to the cause, is today’s citizen below going to immediately see through it all?

Will he or she even care?

the selfie

Or will Boxing Day sales trump all thinking? Welcome to our future.

1 comment for “The power of the buzzword and trite phrase [rambling opening]

  1. Viscount Rectum
    December 28, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I will make do wih the BBC, murdering islamic psychopaths who want to kill, kill and kill are merely “militants” and the gorgeous young chick above would almost certainly be beheaded under sharia showing her pout to world like that.

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