Politics as Usual?

Will Rogers famously said, “I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” The sense that Republicans are “lock-step” in pursuit of their objectives, while Democrats are no better organized than a herd of cats, has been around since the days of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the frantic search for Communists thought to have infiltrated the US government. Republicans learned how to stick together during the “Cold War,” and it was not long until they had developed what came to be known as the Southern Strategy, which was essentially race-based politics, designed to take advantage of White . . . → Read More: Politics as Usual?

Selling Fear in the New Year

One of the things I’ve been paying increasing attention to (perhaps because of the ongoing political debate in the U.S.) is fear marketing. I find it amazing at how pervasive “fear appeals” are and the various ways they are used to sell “stuff,” including politicians and political “talking points.” The basic concept is that we really need to be afraid of X, and, if we want to be safe, we need to stock up on (or vote for) the anti-X.

The world has a lot of risky stuff in it, of course, and we are undoubtedly safer when we . . . → Read More: Selling Fear in the New Year

Perceptual Frames and Self-fulling Prophesy

In case you haven’t noticed, the United States is embroiled in a political and financial conflict that is influencing the stability of world financial markets. One of the headlines of a recent (9 August 2011) New York Times article states, “Wave of worry threatens to build on itself: Hesitation over the uncertainty of the economy can make things worse.” That led me to wonder the degree to which perception can actually determine reality. The term I associate with perception as a determiner of reality is self-fulling prophecy.

Although the concept of prophesies determining future events is ancient, its modern . . . → Read More: Perceptual Frames and Self-fulling Prophesy