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Meme's, their Origins and the Damage They Do
What if I was to pitch a business idea to you?
Start an organization that promotes an agenda strictly tailored to enable the wealthiest people in America to be even more wealthy. You go to these wealthy people, hit them up for donations and get a short list of things that would help them amass an even greater fortune. You both know that you can get great "bank for the buck" with favorable legislation. With ample funding you employ a team of writers to crank out papers that justify the wealthy agenda. You send them out every day to appear on television talk shows and radio programs, repeating the predetermined message everywhere they go. They even write editorials under the guise of independent journalists. The writers may go on to hold minor political posts to promote the wealthy agenda. Some of the members of your organization are former politicians that have promoted the wealthy agenda in the past and need a place to go between elected offices or appointed political posts. Your organization acts as a holding pool for people that are working for a common goal: making the rich, richer. And its entirely funded by wealthy contributions.
Great idea? No?
Too bad somebody has already beat you to it. They're called Think Tanks. A good percentage of people that shape political thought in this country are now employed at one of these cesspools of thought. They are not journalists but ideologues with an agenda. The messages they spread are determined by the donors and the media messengers are merely salesmen to pitch the product. The methods they employ to promote their message are the same ones used by the guy at three A.M who is trying to get you to buy a complete set of Samurai Swords for only three easy payments of $39.99. You emphasize what you want people to hear and downplay things that undermine your pitch. Its a class-based form of public relations. Instead of a PR firm promoting a product or company you have a think tank promoting the ideas of the wealthy. Think Tanks are not partisan motivated. You can see this in the occasional quarrels that break out between politicians and the think tanks themselves. Think Tanks have one goal and that is to pave the road for their desired political action. Its up to the political parties to recognize the groundwork that's been laid and to take advantage of it. Think of it like this; the writers at the TTs are like guides, they get their maps from the elites and they go about clearing the political climate for that goal. The politicians from either political party can make a choice, they can either follow the well cleared path made for then by the TTs or attempt to carve out their own political agenda. In the eyes of the politicians TTs are like a free arm of your campaign if you choose the right issues. Is it any suprise that TTs have been so successful in moving the political agenda in America?
Its not an accident when three of today's "Call the Editor" callers repeated the Think Tank meme on the tax cuts: "Giving rich people tax cuts will help the economy; They deserve a bigger cut because they pay more; The poor don't pay taxes." and my favorite "The poor are a drain on our society".
I know these things because the American Enterprise Institute knows these things.
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