Political Indoctrination By Flag Porn

The Con

Amber waves of grain lead up to a rugged mountain soaring into the big blue sky.  There are old wood fences to climb over as you begin your hike over the boulders, around and through the trees, trying to avoid the bobcats and critters so you can get to the peaceful valley on the other side.  Soon you see the steeple of the church, Main Street, the shops and the Stars and Stripes flying proudly in the wind.

The valley town brings a smile to your face and visions of a simpler time when men were men, women were women and saloons had bartenders not mixologists.  And a glimpse of the Stars and Stripes, the symbol of all that is good and right about the USA – freedom of religion and speech, equality for all and to determine your own destiny free from anyone telling you what to do will have you voting Republican.  So says a study recently published in US News and World Report.

As I first read the report online on the Fox News website, I was loathe to believe someone or some group actually came up with such an insipid idea to waste time and money in this economy.  Surely think tanks and academics have better things to do in a depressed economy, you know things like finding ways to fix the debt ceiling or engaging the Iranian resistance in an attempt to overthrow the Mad Mullahs in Tehran.  No, apparently they don’t.  I found the report entitled Long-Term Effects of U.S. Flag Exposure on Republicanism on Google and didn’t have to go any further than page three to find the authors conclusions.

We report that a brief exposure to the American flag led to a shift toward Republican beliefs, attitudes, and voting behavior, for both Republican and Democratic participants. Despite participants’ overwhelming belief to the contrary, in Experiment 1, conducted online during the 2008 U.S. presidential election, participants who received a single exposure to an American flag exhibited a significant increase in Republican voting intentions, voting behavior, political beliefs, and implicit and explicit attitudes, with some effects lasting 8 months after the initial priming episode.  In Experiment 2, we replicated the findings over a year into the current Democratic presidential administration.  These results provide the first evidence that a national flag can bias the citizenry without their awareness toward one political party, with the effects showing considerable durability.

The authors of the report, Travis Miller, Melissa Ferguson and Ran Hassin further claim:

A single exposure to a small American flag during deliberation about voting intentions prior to a general election led to significant and robust changes in participants’ voting intentions, voting behavior, and political attitudes, all in the politically conservative direction.

The screaming on the right began as soon as the report was posted.  These twisted academic lefties want everyone to believe looking at a flag is evil and is tantamount to being brainwashed.  The left claims all Republican candidates will literally wrap themselves in the flag during the next election cycle in an attempt to influence the election and brainwash the voters.

Personally, I believe the results are immaterial.  These three academics may have stumbled upon a new industry: political indoctrination by flag porn.  You want your kids to be Republicans, conservative and Sarah Palin lovers, send them to the Goldwater Gulag in Midland Texas.   Images of the flag flowing in the breeze will be run 24/7 while the collected speeches of Ronald Reagan are played over loud speakers for all to hear.

For those who want their kids to be progressive, green-loving hippies, the Carter Concentration Camp near the People’s Republic of Berkley will be able to suit your needs.  Images of Iranians, Palestinians, Venezuelans, Chinese and Vietnam era protesters burning the flag will be shown 24/7 along to a Che Guevara reading the Collected Works of Marx, Lenin and Timothy Leary soundtrack.

Who says academics can’t create jobs?



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