Argumentum ad nauseam is a logical fallacy – an attempt to make someone believe something is true by merely stating it over, and over, and over … well, you get the idea. Unfortunately, instead of making you nauseous, it actually works. It is, therefore, a standard element of propaganda.
It has also been a standard – and almost exclusive – element of liberal rhetoric for the last 3-4 years, especially having to do with all things Iraq. Most people didn’t believe John Kerry when he used them in his campaign, but I still hear those same things said over and over. It doesn’t matter that some of these people contradict their own earlier opinions and statements. It doesn’t matter that the facts don’t support the allegations. It doesn’t even seem to matter that these “inaccuracies” were not believed in the past.
Why? Because more people are believing them now, simply because they’ve heard them so often. It’s also because conservatives have failed to be as agressive as they should be with the facts. They’ve misunderestimated the power of ad nauseam rhetoric, and the incredible tendency of the public to be manipulated.
Liberals are simply much better at manipulating the media and public opinion; it comes down to a fundamental difference in worldview. If you accept that truth is relative – if you start questioning the definition of “is” – then your worldview allows you to say that you believe in truth, while at the same time completely ignoring the facts. However, if your worldview is more conservative, holding to more absolute definitions of things like truth, they you have a much harder time. Even though you want to manipulate facts, your own worldview works against you; you become internally conflicted, and failure is inevitable.
Therefore, liberals are able to accuse and ridicule conservatives for deceit and manipulation of information – whether or not it is true – while at the same time being guity of the very same thing, and still be consistent with their worldview. This is why liberals and conservatives are so very rarely able to actually carry on a meaningful dialog. It’s a “Mars – Venus” issue. Conservatives and liberals have such disparate worldviews that they don’t really even speak the same language.
This is not to say that liberals always manipulate facts, or that conservatives don’t – there are good and bad on both sides. However it is important to recognize the difference in philosophy when interpreting their rhetoric. In the case of the war in Iraq, the facts – that is, what was believed and what was said prior to the invasion – are being buried by ad nauseam and other fallacious arguments by the left, and these core issues seemingly ignored by the right. Finally, however, the administration appears to be waking up.