The common failing of all would-be political agitators

“Centurion, why do they titter so?”
“Just some…uh, Jewish joke, sir.”

– The Life of Brian

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: “O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted it.
– Voltaire

I’ve noticed something of a trend when it comes to politics.  And that is that people think they can use half-assed political slogans along with some pathetic emotional appeal to try and sway peoples opinions.  For example, look at the common refrain from the morons at Democratic Underground: “Bush lied, people died.”

OK, it is pretty much true, as a trend.  If we take the name Bush to cover his administration appointments, including those in the Office of Special Plans (who doctored evidence in the run up to the Iraq war), you have a case.  But does just mindlessly shouting it across the political debating forums of the internet actually convince anyone to forego their support of the Administration?  I’d be very surprised if it did.  Rather, it makes the supporters of the pro-abortion War Party look almost as mindless as the supporters of the anti-abortion War Party, which puts off any freethinking individual and reduces both sides to shouting pre-made soundbites at each other.  I mean, really.  You could script robots to do this shit.

And its not just in America.  Anywhere there is someone who is, on the face of it, is pretty much a complete and utter asshole, those who dislike them try to paint them as Satan incarnate.  It doesn’t matter if this is Hugo Chavez, Putin or Blair.  Same reasoning applies, show them to be powerful, yet utterly evil.

Does anyone actually fall for that shit?  Really?

Because to me, it looks like those on the other side are just affirming the power of the person they hate, from an opposite direction.  Powerful people will always have vocal supporters, simply because being on side with those in power has many rewards.  The moral character, or lack of it, is rarely questioned along the entire political spectrum, what with people being convinced their own political ideology is the only moral one.

Lets face it, if you really want to cut someone down to size, you have to make them a figure of fun.

Its the only antidote to emotionally fuelled political debate, which is 90% of all debate nowadays.  Instead of affirming the object of your dislike is powerful, you portray him as a bumbling fool.  You highlight the hilarious inconsistencies in their thinking, and you then convince people around you to laugh at them.  Never directly engage in so-called debates on the pros and cons of any given policy, instead concentrate on using those policies as ammunition against that person.

I know what you’re going to say.  “But people have already tried this Cain, and it hasn’t worked.”  Well I disagree, they haven’t tried hard enough.  Look at those ridiculous Bushisms people, for example.  The book turned from halfway amusing into textual analysis of policy in about 10 pages.  There was no cutting edge to it, there was no satire.  It was just the idiotic sayings of a man who commanded the world’s most powerful military.  The world has seen Caligula’s before now.  The only way they laughed at them is in a helpless “well, we’re fucked now” way.  There was no opposition, no defiance.

There is an old American proverb, “use your wit as a shield, and not as a dagger.”  Its one I totally disagree with.  Use your wit precisely as you would a dagger.  Back in the bad old days of the Hashishin, an acolyte would be given only a dagger, to make a public execution of the cult’s enemies.  Almost always, they struck in the most public place possible, in the most public way possible.  Friday, outside the mosque, with everyone watching.

That is exactly the attitude a competent political agitator should take.  If you can’t mock them to their face, perhaps you should take up a safer past time, like jogging?  Cut them down to size.  Make them a figure of ridicule.  Try to move outside party based bullshit, make their supporters look like idiots by association.

A person who is widely considered a laughing stock is not going to command respect, regardless of how much power they have.  And in an age where substance is nothing and image is everything, in such an age, humour is king.