A recent string of comments provides an excellent opportunity to review several working definitions:
Propaganda – Deliberately providing misleading, distorted information. Propaganda can be countered (e.g., with fact-checking). Too often, charges of propaganda are made against one who simply holds an opposing point of view. (The word “propaganda” is not used on the Lounge.)
Pop-Jingo! – 12Keystrokes’ tag for certain aspects of Realist’s (et al.’s) writing; introduced in an effort to create more informative titles for individual posts.
Populism – An interpretive framework; a discourse (which is a set of assumptions that structure a discussion about a topic while the assumptions themselves go unexamined). Populism constructs identity though negation – in opposition to an “Other” – by taking aim at (allegedly) corrupt politicians/government/elite exploitative business interests (“Them”) and generally coming down to scapegoating. In all things, the “Other” is bad/evil.
Jingoism – An overzealous patriotic devotion, jingoistic writing beats the drums during wartime.
Red Herring – Actually, this definition mostly focuses on “invective,” which is strongly abusive language (e.g., cursing) found in many situations: an adolescent’s response to a curfew, a customer upset with a sales clerk, two drivers involved in a fender-bender. Each situation is not the same simply because invectives are present, and to say that they are is to commit a red herring (if not a category mistake). Pop-jingo invectives tilt toward apocalypse. Because everything is at stake – a way of life, souls – the discourse goes beyond mere name-calling to demonizing “Them”: stopping “Them” justifies suspending public debate (and misc. democratic principles). Denying this discursive/structural harm characterizes pop-jingoists.
Formulaic Speech/In-crowd Affirmation – No reasoned debate actually occurs because formulaic speech simply repeats what has already been said about a topic. It is about looking good to an in-crowd and cementing in-crowd credentials; ethos and belonging matter over evidence. It allows an individual to be sincere – even impassioned – while relying on groupthink and/or “stock language” (e.g., slogans, maxims). Argument closes down. The pop-jingoist can only do “good”; dissenting opinions are “bad.” “We” are “Us.” (Note: The need to belong is powerful. It can be a matter of consent as well as coercion/survival.)
Realist (et al.) is doing something: on that, everyone agrees. But without introducing some logic – some textual evidence, theory, or research – to examine exactly what Realist (et al.) is up to, defenders and critics alike will only engage in pop-jingo (invective) or (only) name-calling.
The title and note(s) to “The Read . . . #24.5” stand.