imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Manipulation by Language

by Judith Barben Thursday, Jul. 14, 2005 at 3:31 AM

"Before tyranny becomes visible for eveyrone, it begins when the word loses its dignity.. Rulers never manage without manipulation and propaganda.. In neuro-linguistic programming, language has the task of diverting people.."


By Judith Barben

[This article published in: Zeit-Fragen Nr.26, 6/27/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, Dr. Judith Barben is a Swiss psychologist and psychotherapist.]

The Swiss Bundesrat is trained by its spin-doctors to always give their statements the right “spin.”3 The Bundesrat delegate knows what is central: Don’t enter into the substance of any question, always repeat the same assertions and constantly garnish these assertions with the meaningless word “credible.”

At a media conference, Bundesrat delegate Samuel Schmid said: “The notion that we want to be in Nato cannot be surpassed in pure fantasy and unimaginativeness… A lie remains a lie even if one repeats it a hundred times.”4 He insisted neutrality and the constitution mandate would be safeguarded and the militia principle strengthened.

Today it is increasingly obvious how impudently the Bundesrat pulled the wool over our eyes. The constitutional mandate, national defense and the militia principle were not safeguarded. A combination of the German army and Nato in the areas of training and armament was planned. At that time the Bundesrat slandered anyone who revealed these connections as a liar,

Is this an example of linguistic manipulation? How is this different from a lie? In his remarkable 1964 lecture “The Corruption of the Word and Power”5, the philosopher Josef Pieper pointed to the indivisible connection between language and truth. Truth is nothing but reference to reality, Pieper said. When language is not concerned about truth, it becomes a dangerous instrument of power.

Pieper presented his ideas with the help of Socrates’ and Plato’s conflict with the sophists. The sophists in ancient Greece developed the technique of political rhetoric into the highest refinement but were not worried about the truth content of what they said. With their rhetoric, they could find good reasons for the worst things. Socrates and Plato criticized the sophists as dangerous word distorters. For Pieper, the worst feature of sophistry is that it corrupts the dignity of the word.

What is the dignity of the word? According to Pieper, language is the medium of our common intellectual existence. Human existence is expressed in the word. The achievement and dignity of the human word lie in the relation of language to reality and to fellow-persons. One speaks to make something real known to another. Something real should be communicated to another. These two aspects of language can be distinguished but not separated from each other.

What happens when a person lies? Pieper shows that both aspects of language, its reality-reference and its communication character, are destroyed by lies. Strictly speaking, a lie is not a communication. Why? When human speech is no longer directed to the cause, when the relation of the word to reality is dissolved, the communication character of language is also destroyed because the other is no longer recognized as an equal partner. He becomes an object guided by language in a certain direction or encouraged to a certain action. A speaking without a partner occurs. The word becomes a means to manipulate others. Its dignity is violated. The word should be used like a functional instrument. With the lie, the equal relation to another is lacking. Therefore a lie is not a communication in the true sense.

Thus a twofold “corruption of the word” occurs: “corruption of the reality reference” and “corruption of the communication character.”


We are also faced with sophists today. Today’s sophists are spin-doctors who sit in propaganda divisions of the government and in the offices of the economically powerful. They are called communication specialists and are highly trained in the social sciences and communication theory. Their business is “political communication.” The government alone employs 432 “communication experts” for 80 million francs a year. 220 of them are occupied exclusively with so-called “public relations.”6 In their offices, word usage is not focused on truth but on polishing language to reach systematically concealed political goals. This misuse according to Pieper is not only false but “miserable, injurious, sinister and essentially bad”!7

A lie is especially malicious when it is not only practiced but imputed to the other. The same conduct was recently observed with representatives of high finance. Economic leaders spread the absurd claim that a Swiss agreement with the EU (European Union) would increase security and create jobs. All opposing statements were “false information” and “untruths”, they said. “We cannot leave lies unanswered.”8 Economiesuisse was the front organization of high finance and operated with a budget of several million francs for the Swiss agreement campaign.

For Pieper, Plato’s and Socrates’ conflict with the sophists is a model case. Plato and Socrates saw a danger in sophistry and identified by name what threatens the life of the spirit and society in all times, what resistance has been necessary since time immemorial and will also be necessary in the future.

If language is neutralized against the norm of truth, it is an instrument that a ruler can take in hand and use as propaganda for any violence goals. Pieper sees here the great danger of the sophist corruption of language. “The element of threat with all its forms and degrees of slander and public condescension” is always characteristic of propaganda. Mastery, Pieper says, consists in veiling threat and not letting threat appear naked. Making the threatened believe is easy since he can be intimidated and do what he would do himself, the rational and correct.


Doesn’t this occur very often? Bundesrat delegate Deiss shouted threateningly to the hall: “Away with the protectionists and barricadists! I want a Bundesrat that supports me.”9 With such threats, the voting citizen should be intimidated so he agrees to agreements that damage citizens while creating more profits for high finance.

With manipulated arguments, all the dams against globalization should be torn down. In an interview, Bundesrat delegate Calmy-Rey argued that new negotiations with the EU must be carried out under difficult conditions in case of a No of voting citizens to the Swiss agreement and personal freedom of movement expanded.10 Professor Walder unmasked this threat as a propaganda lie by asking Ms. Calmy-Rey in writing whether corresponding threats could be presented by the EU. He only received an evasive answer.

Pieper sees a hidden preparation of tyranny in the misuse of language for lies. He offered the thesis that one could read the “latent virulence of the totalitarian poison in the sophist manipulation of language, Before tyranny becomes visible for everyone, it begins in a much less alarming way in that hardly perceptible moment when the word loses its dignity. With this basic idea, the philosopher shows us how language, truth and the political climate are closely connected. Rulers never manage without manipulation and propaganda. They also instrumentalize the media to that end.

Therefore it is very important to have one’s own independent newspapers and publications. For that reason, the Swiss people’s initiative “Popular Sovereignty instead of Official Propaganda” is urgent and indispensable. This initiative covers a very important part of the problem, official propaganda. The propaganda by the media and high finance is not discussed. However the official propaganda is especially insidious and unconstitutional because the taxes of all citizens are misused for one-sided propaganda and many people still trust the authorities and – justly – expect them to act in the public interest.

The social sciences are counted in the arsenal of the spin-doctors. Psychology, a valuable means of assistance, is misused by spin-doctors as an instrument of manipulation. One psycho-technique, “neuro-linguistic programming”11 coming from America is very widespread. Its advocates describe this technique as a collection of very effective techniques of communication and change.”12 with which they can actually change personality on desire up to the core of identity.13


Neuro-linguistic programming was developed from hypnosis and aims at starting unconscious human reactions and processes by means of “hypnotic empty clichés.” The name neuro-linguistic programming is composed of the elements “neuro,” “linguistic” and “programming.” “Neuro” means perception, “linguistic” language and “programming” the re-programming of unconscious behavior patterns. Neuro-linguistic programming works with these elements. People can be influenced on different levels of perception, above all by lingual messages, and reprogrammed on unconscious planes.

Two important basic assumptions of neuro-linguistic programming are firstly: reality is not important since every person has his or her own reality and secondly language is used as a means of influencing, not as a means of understanding.

One frequently applied technique of neuro-linguistic programming is “reframing.”15 Reframing means “setting something in a new framework.” With this technique, terms that originally had a positive meaning and a positive emotional tone are underlain with a completely different meaning. The positive emotional tone of the original meaning is automatically transferred to the new context.

This technique was applied when Bundesrat delegate Deiss proclaimed in public: “More growth (for the Swiss economy) is the most pressing goal of Swiss domestic policy.” “Seize the change!”16 Guided by his spin-doctors, Deiss used here the terms “growth” and “chance” as hypnotic meaningless words to couple the expansion of personal freedom of movement with a positive and agreeable emotional tone.

In the meantime we know about Bundesrat promises before votes. In 2000 Bundesrat Leuenberger promised that the heavy traffic would be cut in half by 2009 owing to the bilateral agreements. In reality, the heavy traffic since then has increased from under a million trucks at that time to 1.3 million today thundering through our country every year.

With regard to the approaching Swiss plebiscite of September 25, 2005 on the expansion of personal freedom of movement, empty clichés like “upswing for jobs” and “new export markets in the new EU countries” were fluttered about as rosy future prospects.17 Obviously the advocates knew all this was not true. They also knew that the new EU countries have gigantic unemployment rates and that expanded personal freedom of movement would lead to increased unemployment in Switzerland and massive wage dumping. With linguistic manipulation, they try to mislead us about these realities since they pursue other goals. Removing all market barriers for globally operating capital is central to them to the harm of us citizens.

However “you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all the time,”18 to speak with Abraham Lincoln.

11 Neuro-Linguistic Programming, in short NLP, was developed by the Americans Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Cf. Judith Barben, The Psychologizing Trap – a “dirty trick” of the “spin doctors,” Zeit-Fragen, 2/12/2001; “From Machiavelli to Neuro-Linguistic Programming”, Zeit-Fragen, 1/28/2002; “Neuro-Linguistic Programming instead of Science. Bergie report reveals handwriting of Spin-Doctors, Parts I and II, Zeit-Fragen, 6/24/2002 and 7/1/2002.

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally! A05 4:25PM

Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80 A05 12:14PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy