Friday, April 19, 2019

About persuasion

I’ve written before about the subtle, unannounced move to make the word “stupid” verboten in schools (and then, inevitably, in wider society); and how the process never really addresses whether this is because stupidity doesn’t exist; or just because it’s nasty to draw attention to it; or that, by not mentioning it, it will gradually cease to exist. The political developments of the past three years or so suggest that if the last were indeed the intended consequence, it hasn’t worked yet.

Indeed, a speech by the journalist Carole Cadwalladr about her investigation into the mendacity of the pro-Brexit campaign suggests this is little more than an episode of rebranding. People who believe in dog-whistle lies about Turkey joining the EU aren’t actually stupid, it seems; they’re just “persuadable”.

No comments: