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Old 2015-08-05, 15:55   #1545
Zeta-Flux
 
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May 2003

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Propaganda is such an interesting thing, and it's something I've been thinking about quite a bit lately. It is really interesting to me how easy it is to sway people to different political causes by just reporting issues differently, or focusing on one aspect while neglecting another.

Consider, for instance, the picture of the happy family in Brian's post.

Assuming, for sake of argument, that they really are currently one big happy family, what does it matter? In terms of leading people to support their individual relationship, it matters a great deal. And if we support their individual relationship, what is to prevent us from supporting other similar relationships? If their relationship leads to happiness for everyone involved at least as great as our own, what rational reason do we have to oppose it?

But now assume for sake of argument, it is all a lie and they aren't really a happy family but just random people picked up off the street, used by an organization to promote their political agenda, does it really matter? Again, yes, it means we have to be extra wary of that organization and how it wants to mislead and deceive us.

Now, to be clear, do I really think that they aren't truly happy? Or that their situation is a lie? No, I think that part is most likely accurate. But what I don't like, and what many people are going to ignore because of the moving personal story, is that the story is still incomplete in many important ways. First, we don't know how this family will turn out. We don't know if they will stay together, if any divorces among them will make it even more difficult for any of the children born (because they now could be split 5 ways), if these 5 individuals were chosen because they are extremely more committed than your average homosexual quintuple family or just because they are good-looking, etc.... Second, and more importantly, on some level their personal story is irrelevant. This, may seem harsh but it's true in terms of setting social policy. Let me explain.

If that family turns out horribly, and any children suffer immense pain, that is irrelevant (to your politics) if you support polygamy/multiple-family-parenting as a civil right.

If that family turns out wonderfully, and any children grow up as well-adjusted as any others, that is irrelevant (to your politics) if your politics on family is based around aggregate affects on children.

So, consider this: Suppose those pictures in Brian-E's post were of an ugly family, living in a dump, perhaps with signs of abuse on their faces. If this would lead you to change your politics, then perhaps your politics are not based on the best of principles. And if such a change wouldn't lead you to change your politics, then perhaps you may understand why some would view this new article for the propaganda it is.
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