What is a Soundbite?
It is often said that modern politics is plagued by sound bite culture. This is when a short, information starved statements are used to appeal to the voting public, in a way which makes them feel informed, without them actually knowing anything about the topic. I will focus on one example of such a sound bite. The Conservative Party in the UK, uses the phrase “living within our means” as a way to justify their economic policies. On the surface, this platitude sounds as if the government is trying to sensibly budget according to the amount of money the country has. However, a nation’s budget is emphatically not as simple as one’s home budget. So naturally, such phrases are nothing more than propaganda targeted at uneducated voters.
In the United Kingdom, 93% of all people have attended State schools. There is currently no education in economics provided in the curriculum. As such, those who graduate but do not learn more about the topic outside of school, end up knowing woefully little about it. This is very convenient for the Tories who can then trick people into voting against their own interests by using phrases that superficially appeal to one’s common sense. A naive person might conclude the Tories actually believe their own nonsense, however it is most likely that they know exactly and use it to cover their own tracks as they ruthlessly serve the interests of the rich.
The maddening inconsistencies in this country’s economy can be seen when we consider what the government claims it can afford, and what it claims it cannot afford. Firstly what they cannot afford. Public services. From a population of 64.1 million people, the Tories have laid off 36,000 police, 7,000 firemen, 30,000 military staff, an uncountable numbers of NHS staff, as well as closing every library, childcare facility, public toilet, fire station, maternity and emergency wards they could find. This was all done as recently as 2010. All of this was done in the name of living within our means. However, regardless of cost, the government can afford to renew its stockpile of nuclear missiles of which PM Theresa May promised any and all amounts of money. It was a blank check being handed over. Clearly, in this regard, we are not living within our means. The fact is, since the austerity agenda began, the national debt has increased by half a trillion pounds. The national deficit, instead of being cut has grown into a cancerous tumour of debt. These Tory wind bags then claim they will clear the national debt by 2020. Another soundbite of theirs is “labour bankrupted Britain” which is a curious statement since George Gideon Osborne increased the national debt more than all labour governments combined.
Where did the Sound Bite come from?
The creation of the sound bite is one of the greatest disadvantages of the technological era. They first came into vogue in the 1960s, when corporations wanted to make their adverts more entertaining to increase their sales. Politicians noticed that this was working, and started to invest a lot of money in PR in order to control their images so that they could more naturally resonate with voter’s imaginations. This technique really came into itself with Ronald Reagan who had an uncanny ability to throw out such hard hitting bites as “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Sound bites are created by hired script writers, more notably referred to as spin doctors who craft statements which have maximum psychological impact on the receivers of the message. With the coming of television, then the internet, sound bites are playing a central role in voter’s lives. Whoever won the election clearly had better sound bites. This has made PR a lucrative industry.
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Soundbites are in fact, one of the most effective methods in which the Old World Order maintains power. They are forever condensing highly complex ideas into tiny titbits for consumption by the masses. Since the information contained therein is limited, the amount of knowledge gained from the statement is minimal. As such, it becomes easy for them to gain voters, even for policies which blatantly go against the interests of the voter. It is, in essence a dirty trick. With sound bites, you trick people into voting for you. It’s one big con! But the power of this technique does not end there. A culture which has gotten used to sound bites, is then unable to process information beyond the confines of a few choice words. Their attention spans have been filed down to a dull bump. So people start to crave sound bites and reject anything which has too much complexity. As such, people become self perpetuating conduits of propaganda. They are immune to complex, but relevant information.
Plato’s major criticism of democracy was that the average person was too uneducated to make wise decisions regarding the fate of the city state. But even Plato did not foresee the elites being able to condition the people to reject any attempt at educating them. God forbid they became wise, discerning voters. The sound bite, has in effect nullified democracy, turning it into the most delightfully passive construct which does not threaten the elite’s power. In fact, sound bites such as ‘Freedom and Democracy’ have the people convinced that they are free and that they are in charge of their own fate. The sound bite vortex just keeps supporting and reproducing itself. It is an epidemic of simplistic, repetitive platitudes. The culture of sound bites has reached it’s conclusion in Twitter. As if just over one hundred characters of a statement is enough to make a point about anything. It is a sound bite machine. An attention span thinning, mind degrading, thought strangling cyber monster. Somehow, we need to smash this tendency into pieces. People musty become smarter, better educated with longer attention spans. But being stupid is just so very easy. How can the essay defeat the sound bite? How can reason finally slay the idiocracy?
The Gnostic Heretic writing for the Apollo Institute of Reason AIR Review©