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  1. #1
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    Default Flag: Making the Abstract Concrete

    Flag: Making the Abstract Concrete

    The flag is a symbol of an ideology; a symbol is an act, sound, or objects having cultural significance and the capacity to excite an emotional response. Ideology often reifies, i.e. making into an object an abstract idea, for the purpose of concretizing a matrix of abstract concepts into an emotional symbol for influencing the emotions of the people.

    “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

    “Rally round the flag boys” was a song popular during the American Civil War.

    The Union version goes something like this:
    Yes we'll rally round the flag, boys, we'll rally once again,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
    We will rally from the hillside, we'll gather from the plain,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

    The Confederate version goes something like this:
    Our flag is proudly floating on the land and on the main,
    Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
    Beneath it oft we've conquered, and we'll conquer oft again!
    Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!

    Marx is perhaps the first intellectual of great stature to coin the word “ideology” and to study its epistemological foundations. Marx makes it clear that ideology is an important aspect of all societies and especially for a society so dedicated to the cultivation of production and consumption as is capitalism.

    A brief examination of culture in the United States and one will find that ideology, as framed by Marx, is a fundamental aspect of many of its social institutions; especially evident in religion, politics, and economics.

    Ideology “is a systematically and socially biased body of thought”. It spans a broad spectrum of groups with their varying degree of bias and sophistication.

    Despite the broad spectrum encompassed by this category of thought and practice “all ideologies share an identifiable logical structure objectively dictated by their ideological character”. Each ideology has a moral, i.e. prescriptive, dimension. Each ideology attempts to shape society to fit its particular world view. “Ideology turns what is a fact for one group into an “ought” or “ideal” for others…Marx argues that since an ideology generalizes a narrow point of view beyond the limits of its validity, it is compelled by its very logic to ‘moralize’ and ‘preach’.”

    Ideology often becomes a moral doctrine. Because it generalizes and remodels abstract ideas into an object, i.e. it objectifies, it reifies narrow abstract ideas beyond their true limits of validity it is compelled to propagandize and to “sell” its ideas. Ideology is constantly telling others how they should live.

    Ideology has a complex character. It is normative; what are its ideas and experiences it attempts to present them as inherent in human nature and from this it “deduces appropriate moral recommendations”. It is biased toward a specific group; it is against other social groups, it treats these other groups as mere means. It universalizes a narrow and limited view and “sells”, perhaps evangelizes (militant and crusading zeal) might be an appropriate expression, this view to others.

    An ideology can never adequately defend it self rationally because its assumptions have never been critically evaluated nor explicitly formulated. It is often rabidly critical of rival views. “Consequently it never states its first principles, or makes a perfunctory case for them, keeps reiterating and reformulating them, elaborates on them in the name of critically examining them, and so on.”

    Quotes from Marx’s Theory of Ideology by Bhikhu Parekh

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    I think that symbols, like flags, appeal primarily to the emotions. Manipulation of the emotions is the primary means for manipulating the naive and manipulating the naive is necessary for power within a democracy such as we have in America. "Tea" is such a symbol and we can see how this symbol, as a rallying symbol, has been so effective in the USA.

  3. #3
    Senior Member InsatiableCuriosity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    I think that symbols, like flags, appeal primarily to the emotions. Manipulation of the emotions is the primary means for manipulating the naive and manipulating the naive is necessary for power within a democracy such as we have in America. "Tea" is such a symbol and we can see how this symbol, as a rallying symbol, has been so effective in the USA.
    Thought provoking! These are pure manna for those who choose not to think for themselves, but choose to grasp on to any ideology well sold by the creators of the propaganda who prostitute psychology in the name of that ideology. Whether that be for the sake of increased wealth, power, or to hide that which is an unacceptable truth.

    Because the masses choose to believe the propaganda, I wonder if democracy or even communism are merely colloquial for mob rule, and whether in fact society may not better flourish under a benevolent but intelligent dicatatorship??
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."
    — Richard P. Feynman

    "Never tell a person a thing is impossible. G*d/the Universe may have been waiting all this time for someone ignorant enough of the impossibility to do just that thing."
    author unknown

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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    The flag is a symbol...
    In the corner of our flag we have the Union Jack. We don't have the Stars and Stripes, nor do we have the Rising Sun.

    We have the Union Jack because we loved the British Empire. And we don't have the Rising Sun because we hated the Japanese Empire. And we don't love the American Empire enough to have the Stars and Stripes.

    Yes, we loved the British Empire and we loved the Red Coats because we were the British Empire and we were the Red Coats.

    Yes, we loved the Red Coats so much that as a little boy my mother dressed me as a Grenadier Guard. And the Grenadier Guards are the Red Coats who guard the Queen.

    I had a bright red coat with bear skin busby on my head. And when they asked me why my coat was coloured so red, I would reply, like a good soldier, "So the blood won't show".

    And I always cheer for the Red Coats in the movies whether they are fighting the brave Zulus or the treacherous Yankees.

    Of course we have a small group of compradors who want to change our flag, just as they want to introduce their Gun Culture and their Presidency and their Bill of Rights. But this is our home and we are not going to let them rearrange the furniture.

    So underneath the Union Jack, the Southern Cross and the Star of Federation in a blue sky, is a little boy dressed as a Grenadier Guard - a Red Coat in a bear skin busby with a fixed bayonet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InsatiableCuriosity View Post

    Because the masses choose to believe the propaganda, I wonder if democracy or even communism are merely colloquial for mob rule, and whether in fact society may not better flourish under a benevolent but intelligent dicatatorship??

    An oligarchy controls public policy in America. The oligarchy consists of those who manage the great wealth of American institutions. This oligarchy designs our educational system to graduate good producers and consumers and does not desire independent thinkers.

    CA (Corporate America) has developed a well-honed expertise in motivating the population to behave in a desired manner. Citizens as consumers are ample manifestation of that expertise. CA has accomplished this ability by careful study and implementation of the knowledge of the ways of human behavior. I suspect this same structure applies to most Western democracies.

    A democratic form of government is one wherein the citizens have some voice in some policy decisions. The greater the voice of the citizens the better the democracy. The greater the intellectual sophistication of those citizens the better the democracy.

    In America we have policy makers, decision makers, and citizens. The decision makers are our elected representatives and are, thus, under some control by the voting citizen. The policy makers are the leaders of CA; less than ten thousand individuals, according to those who study such matters. Policy makers exercise significant control of decision makers by controlling the financing of elections.

    Policy makers customize and maintain the dominant ideology in order to control the political behavior of the citizens. This dominant ideology exercises the political control of the citizens in the same fashion as the consuming citizen is controlled by the same dominant ideology.

    An enlightened citizen is the only means to gain more voice in more policy decisions. An enlightened citizen is much more than an informed citizen. Critical thinking is the only practical means to develop a more enlightened citizen. If, however, we wait until our CT trained grade-schoolers become adults I suspect all will be lost. This is why I think a massive effort must be made to convince today’s adults that they must train themselves in CT.


    “Thomas R. Dye, Professor of Political Science at Florida State University, has published a series of books examining who and what institutions actually control and run America. to understand who is making the decisions that affect our lives, we also have to understand how societies structure themselves in general. Why the few always tend to share more power than the many and what this means in terms of both a society's evolution and our daily lives. they examined the other 11 institutions that exert just as powerful a shaping influence, although somewhat more subtle: The Industrial, Corporations, Utilities and Communications, Banking, Insurance Investment, Mass Media, Law, Education Foundation, Civic and Cultural Organizations, Government, and the Military.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by InsatiableCuriosity View Post
    society may better flourish under a benevolent but intelligent dictatorship
    They say the best form of government is a benevolent dictatorship. But the only problem is that it doesn't remain benevolent for long. And this is because power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.

    And Churchill said that liberal democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest.

    And liberal democracy is based on the limitation of power and requires eternal vigilance.

    So liberal democracy is not based on the abolition of power, but on its limitation. So we have a dynamic system where some are legitimately seeking power and some are limiting power. And it is the interaction between the two that gives us liberal democracy.

    But sometimes we tire and long for the sleep of a benevolent dictatorship. But if we are vigilant, we are awake to the corruption, and so maintain our freedom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    And when they asked me why my coat was coloured so red, I would reply, like a good soldier, "So the blood won't show".
    I disagree. It was to give the enemy a sporting chance.

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