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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

REPUBLICAN PORTRAYALS

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- An ignorant public is the key for spreading misinformation.

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As we approach the 2016 presidential election, I am hearing a new line of spin from Democrats attempting to poison the portrayal of Republicans. For example, I am starting to hear the term "fascist" when describing conservatives. One person recently wrote me, "I would much rather be a socialist than a fascist." The intent was obviously to make a derogatory slur. The word itself, "fascist," is admittedly a bit nebulous for most people who will likely repeat its usage out of ignorance.

Fascism is certainly not liberalism or conservatism, both of which are spurned, but with a focus on conflict between nations and races as opposed to an internal struggle. Instead, it promotes populism and nationalism, to gain widespread support, but places authority in the hands of a dictator, such as Benito Mussloini. The intent is to revolutionize a country's lagging economy and power, such as Italy's during the Depression. In fact, the only real example of fascism is Italy in the 20th century, and last time I saw a photo of Mussolini, he was hanging by his heels in a public square. One thing is for certain, it is not an ideology embraced by either the Democrats or the Republicans.

So, before you begin to accuse someone as a "Fascist!", know what you are talking about as you will likely be called on the carpet for it. If anything, the Democrat/Republican separation is better characterized by socialism versus capitalism.

There are other Democrats who claim Republicans are led by "religious zealots" and today's Democratic party has become right-wing in nature. I suspect such people snort Kool-Aid as opposed to drinking it. There is no doubt, there are significant differences between Democratic Presidents Kennedy and Obama; Cuba being but one, reducing corporate taxes to encourage the economy another. By today's comparisons, Kennedy may very well be portrayed as more conservative, but certainly not Obama. At Kennedy's inauguration, he made the now famous plea, "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Today, Mr. Obama would ask Americans to do just the opposite. So, the Democratic Party as right-wing extremists? Please.

The "religious zealots" description is more unsettling. First, it suggests there is something wrong with a person embracing organized religion, that only an uneducated fool would gravitate in this direction. For those who make such claims, it is an open admission they are atheists, and are trying to undermine religious freedom under the First Amendment.

Some time ago, I happened upon a video titled, "Religious Freedom," by Clayton Christensen, a prominent Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School in Boston. In the video, he described a conversation he had with a visiting student Marxist Economist from China. When Clay asked the student if he learned anything surprising or unexpected during his stay in America, he made the following statement:

"I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of Democracy. The reason why Democracy works, is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does, but rather Democracy works because most people, most of the time, voluntarily chose to obey the law. And in her past, most Americans attended a church or synagogue every week, and they were taught there by people who they respected. Americans followed these rules, because they had come to believe that they weren't just accountable to society, they were accountable to God."

This admission surprised Professor Christensen which led him to ponder, "That as religion loses its influence over the lives of Americans, what will happen to our Democracy? Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they too need to voluntarily chose to obey the laws? Because if you take away religion, you can't hire enough police."

Christensen makes a valid point; in order for Democracy to succeed, religion and morality must be preserved, thereby safeguarding our appreciation for freedom and liberty. However, is our perception of morality changing? According to Gallup, Yes. In its poll titled, "New Record Highs in Moral Acceptability" (May 2014), the study reports:

"In the 12 years Gallup has asked this overall question, Democrats have become significantly more tolerant on many issues, while independents generally show a smaller shift in the same direction and Republicans' views have changed little. The percentage of Democrats who say an issue is morally acceptable has increased for 10 issues, including abortion, sex between an unmarried man and woman, extramarital affairs, cloning humans, divorce, cloning animals, suicide, research using stem cells from human embryos, polygamy, and gay and lesbian relations."

Now, by combining Christensen's observation with the Gallup study, we can conclude: By undermining our religious institutions, you are undermining morality, and ultimately Democracy. So, would I support a "religious zealot" over someone who is Godless? You betcha.

These new spins on Fascism, the Democratic Party as a right-wing institution, and "religious zealots" is simply testing the waters to see what will stick and what will not. If the masses pick it up, it will become a part of the public's mind share, which can be dangerous from a political perspective. It is like those people who naively wear Che Guevara t-shirts as an icon for freedom and revolution. Most people are either ignorant or overlook Che's political background and his record as a gorilla fighter who was feared for his brutality and ruthlessness.

An ignorant public is the key for spreading misinformation, and I suspect we will see much more of this over the next 17 months.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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