Recently, WND Managing Editor David Kupelian, author of the controversial best-seller “The Marketing of Evil,” gave a speech at Washington, D.C.’s prestigious Heritage Foundation. In his sometimes-shocking address, Kupelian provided many illustrations from today’s news of how – as the book’s subtitle says – “radicals, elitists and pseudo-experts sell us corruption disguised as freedom.” He was introduced by Heritage Vice President Rebecca Hagelin.
Thank you, Rebecca, I really appreciate that generous introduction. And thanks also to all the gracious people here at the Heritage Foundation for hosting this event.
It’s nice to be back in my old neighborhood. I live out in the great Northwest now, but I grew up just a few miles from here – in Montgomery County, Maryland.
I remember walking home from school and watching “The Lone Ranger” and “The Mickey Mouse Club” on a little black-and-white TV. We didn’t get MTV or Howard Stern. I liked pop songs like “The Battle of New Orleans” and “The One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater”; I had never heard rap stars ranting in monotone about killing policemen or raping women. I don’t think I had ever heard of abortion or homosexuality. All my friends seemed to have both a mother and a father in the home.
Even school was OK. We pledged allegiance to the flag every day, and no one ever threatened to put me in jail if we said the words “Under God.” And no one taught me that Columbus was actually a genocidal murderer, or that the Pilgrims abused the Indians, or that America was a racist, oppressive, evil nation.
I thought America was the best country on earth.
In fact, back then, everyone just knew America was the greatest and noblest of nations.
This is where I’m supposed to say: What a difference 50 years can make.
But how if I put it this way? What a difference 50 years – plus a few really wickedly brilliant marketing campaigns – can make in transforming a nation.
I call my book “The Marketing of Evil” because that is exactly what we are dealing with – the packaging and perfuming and gift-wrapping of destructive philosophies and behaviors and selling them to the American people as though they had great value.
But before we jump into specifics, I’d like to take a minute to tell you a little story about myself, so you can understand why I would write a book about evil.
I lost a dozens of family members in the Turkish genocide of the Armenians – perhaps over a hundred – including my grandfather, who was a doctor. The cruelty and evil that was inflicted on these innocent people was unimaginable. My father – who was then just a little boy, along with his mother barely escaped with their lives – on horseback, yet. To make a long and harrowing story very short, eventually, my dad and grandmom broke away from the barbarism and sadistic brutality that claimed 1.5 million of their countrymen. And they managed to get on a ship and make the long ocean voyage to the one country that welcomed them and offered them the opportunity for a new life – America.
It was hard here, very hard. My dad took a job as a school janitor when he was nine years old, to support himself and his mother.
But, Dad and Grandmom persevered and went to college and built lives for themselves. Along the way, my dad met my mom, they got married, pretty soon settled right here in D.C. and had a family. I was the middle of three kids, and my father became, basically, a rocket scientist, working to defend this nation. I remember as a kid seeing his business card, which said “U.S. Army Chief Scientist for Ballistic Missile Defense.” I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it sounded really cool.
Now my grandmother, many years later decided to go back to the Old Country one last time to visit her relatives, and she took me with her. It was memorable, but the most memorable part for me occurred the night we returned to America. We landed at New York’s Kennedy Airport, but because we missed our connecting flight to Washington, we slept in the terminal’s second-floor lounge.
At some point, Grandmom shuffled off to the ladies’ room. But when she came back, she described for me – her voice brimming with excitement – how everything in the restroom was so clean and shiny and modern, how there was hot and cold running water, how everything worked perfectly – so absolutely different from where we had just been. And she told me she was so grateful for being back in the U.S.A. that she felt like kneeling down and kissing America – right there on the floor of the restroom in JFK airport.
I have absolutely no doubt that Grandmom’s feelings, her love for this country, were typical of millions of immigrants. America was just the greatest, noblest, most generous nation on earth – I knew it, she knew it, we all knew it.
That was then.
Today, untold numbers of us have learned to hate America. In our absurdly expensive colleges, teaching contempt for America is absurdly normal. You have no idea how many Ward Churchills are out there, poisoning your kids’ minds.
Then there’s the antiwar movement, which of course includes some sincere people who think the war was a mistake. But most prominent are those like we saw last weekend here in D.C. who openly expressed a visceral hatred – not just for the president or his administration – but for America herself. Cindy Sheehan, so revered by the news media, said of America, and I quote: “This country is not worth dying for.”
The leaders and organizers of these demonstrations, like last Saturday’s, are groups openly aligned with terrorist and communist regimes. Groups like ANSWER, which the Washington Post described as “one of the main antiwar groups coordinating today’s events.” The Post didn’t see fit to mention that ANSWER is just a front group for the ultra-leftist Workers World Party, which enthusiastically supports North Korea and other dangerous, wacko regimes, and even worse – supports the courageous “Iraqi resistance” who are killing our troops in Iraq.
But anti-Americanism is just one troubling behavior. Today, millions of Americans have embraced all sorts of beliefs and behaviors that would have horrified their parents’ generation – in fact, would have shocked the heck out of every generation of Americans since the Declaration of Independence was signed.
What kinds of beliefs and behaviors?
- Unrestricted abortion, which is legal throughout America right up to the very moment of birth.
- A bizarre and self-destructive youth culture.
- Rampant divorce that’s obtainable for practically any reason – and a 50 percent marriage failure rate to prove it.
- Outlawing the 10 commandments and prayer in public places.
- Teaching homosexuality to 5-year-olds in our public schools.
- The almost total disintegration of traditional sexual mores, so we’ve got this epidemic of sex among 11-, 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds in our nation’s middle schools.
How on earth did we get here? What has really caused this dramatic transformation of America in our lifetimes?
In “The Marketing of Evil,” I show how many Americans have been manipulated, lied to and deceived into abandoning out nation’s core, Judeo-Christian values. And I show how this has been accomplished by means of the same tactics and tricks Madison Avenue uses to sell us cars and cigarettes and the latest fashions.
Fifty years ago, Vance Packard’s best-selling book “The Hidden Persuaders” showed Americans how the advertising industry employed powerful techniques of mental and emotional manipulation. Putting aside the questionable ethics of seducing someone to buy something he doesn’t really need – or in some cases that isn’t even good for him – the fact is, marketers discovered a dazzling new world of tools and techniques for inducing people to buy.
Marketers today, whether they’re selling cigarettes or a worldview, target our feelings, our emotions – in fact, they target our weaknesses – not our reason.
For instance, we all know about the Marlboro Man, the Phillip Morris ad campaign that made Marlboro the world’s best-selling cigarette. Now really, what does that cowboy on a horse have to do with cigarettes? Nothing, but the image somehow gave millions of men positive feelings of freedom and independence and masculinity, and those feelings in turn were attached to that particular brand of cigarette.
So let’s say this guy views the Marlboro ad a number of times – the ad does its work on him – and then he goes into a 7-Eleven to buy cigarettes, and says, “Gimme a pack of Marlboros.” Why not another brand? Unconsciously, he wants to rekindle that feeling of freedom and ruggedness he derived from the Marlboro Man image. How? By lighting up a cigarette.
If this sounds like armchair psychology: Sorry, but that in a nutshell is the last 50 years of marketing. Stimulate certain feelings, and then you attach those feelings to your product.
Still, how do you take a belief or behavior that’s bad and self-destructive and dress it up and package it so it looks good? How does child molesting become “man-boy love?” How does crushing a baby’s skull and sucking out her brains become a “constitutional right”? How does quoting the Bible become “hate speech”?
In the next few minutes, let’s take a look at a few specific examples of marketing madness.
I started off my book with “gay rights,” because the marketers of that agenda, more than any other, were so incredibly clear and detailed and brazen in explaining how to manipulate Americans’ attitudes.
The gay rights marketing bible, titled “After the Ball,” was authored by two very bright, Harvard-educated marketers: Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. They lay out many versatile techniques of persuasion – all of them enormously manipulative and intimidating. Let’s focus in on just two of them: “desensitization” and “jamming.”
Basically, desensitization means if you repeat something outrageous – even something outrageously false – over and over and over again, people will gradually become less and less outraged and eventually accept it. For instance, here’s what our gay marketing gurus write about desensitizing Americans about homosexuality. They say:
The main thing is to talk about gayness until the issue becomes thoroughly tiresome. Seek desensitization and nothing more. … If you can get straights to think homosexuality is just another thing – meriting no more than a shrug of the shoulders – then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won.
What about “jamming”? Jamming has been called “psychological terrorism.” Remember how the Soviets used to jam the signal when Radio Free Europe would broadcast behind the Iron Curtain? Today “jamming” literally means silencing your critics or opponents by attacking and intimidating them. Fair, unfair, it doesn’t matter – you attack the other side any way you can to get him to shut up. American policy debate is full of jamming.
If you criticize any of America’s self-appointed black leaders like Jesse Jackson, you risk being called a racist. And of course, most politicians fear being called a racist more than they fear their own death. Say anything critical of the radical homosexual activist agenda, no matter how well-intentioned, and you will be attacked as a bigot and a homophobe and a hater. No real debate is tolerated. Criticize the government for astronomical spending on social programs, and Sen. Kennedy will excoriate you for being uncaring, mean-spirited, and for hating old people on fixed incomes – and very likely being a racist, too. That’s jamming.
These techniques dominate our national debate. Take a look at the illegal immigration issue.
Ever wonder why we don’t seem to hear the world “illegal” anymore with regard to illegal aliens? And where did this word “undocumented” come from?
Have you noticed how the phrase “illegal aliens” has morphed into “illegal immigrants,” then “undocumented immigrants,” then “undocumented workers,” even “guest workers”? My gosh, “undocumented guest workers” – that phrase is so positive, it makes me feel like moving out of my house and letting them just move in. Poor “undocumented guest workers” – undocumented must mean they lost their documents, and they’re our guests, and they’re working hard – I mean, what could be better than that?
This is big-time desensitization. We’re losing our sense of outrage over having 10 to 15 million illegal aliens basically invading our country. We’re being desensitized to the fact that illegal immigration is illegal – it’s a crime, remember? People who, for whatever reasons, don’t want our immigration laws to be enforced, use the word “undocumented” instead of illegal. And – this is critical – the news media complete the sales job by picking up the label and using it on us day in and day out.
I mean, here’s Gov. Richardson on “Hannity & Colmes” saying that 65,000 “undocumented workers” had been apprehended near the New Mexico border in the last year. Excuse me, governor, but how do you know they were all “workers”? They were still at the border and didn’t all have time to land jobs. Maybe some were “undocumented terrorists.”
Language is extremely powerful. Don’t think we’re just playing word games around the edges here. This is core. The Constitution is all just “words.” The Declaration of Independence and the Bible are all just “words.” Change the meaning of words and you change reality. Abortion is legal in America because of a single word: choice. The early abortion marketers figured out that it would be much easier to defend an abstract, positive-sounding principle like “choice” than the unrestricted slaughter of unborn babies. The news media bought the label and the “pro-choice” battle was basically won almost before it started. How can you be against “choice”?
Another example: What’s the No. 1 marketing phrase of the left these days? “Bush lied.” It’s almost a branded trademark. “Bush lied us into war.” There are several variations. “Bush lied about Saddam’s WMD.” “Bush lied, thousands died.”
Do you remember the shock you felt the very first time you heard the phrase, “Bush lied”? The accusation teetered on the edge of civilized debate, it was like Howard Dean on drugs. (Or, Howard Dean not on drugs.) Now, you have “Peace Mom” Cindy Sheehan being worshiped by the press. Here’s some of what she called the president of the United States, and I quote: a “jerk,” an “evil maniac,” a “lying bastard,” a “terrorist,” a “war criminal,” a “gangster” and a “murderous thug.”
Desensitization. When you hear this kind of rhetoric day after day, before long you lose your sense of outrage, you just get worn down. Worse, you start to believe it. Intimidation is a powerful force, and most of us don’t know how to deal with it without giving in one way or the other. If enough people are saying Bush is a liar, it must be true, right? Remember what psychologist William James said: “There’s nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough people will believe it.”
Now, here’s another technique that comes in really handy – in fact, it’s essential – when you’re involved with the marketing of evil. It’s called lying. To make bad stuff look good, you have to lie about it.
Take abortion. In “The Marketing of Evil,” I interview the co-founder of America’s abortion movement, Bernard Nathanson. He founded the largest abortion clinic in the Western world, and co-founded NARAL, the vanguard group that got abortion legalized in New York in the 1960s. Most impressively, he sat around with a few others and literally made up the original marketing slogans, “freedom of choice” and “women must have control over their own bodies.” Here’s what Nathanson told me. Quote: “I remember laughing when we made those slogans up. … They were very cynical slogans then, just as all of these slogans today are very, very cynical.”
In other words, they knew they were just conjuring up deceptive marketing messages.
Nathanson today admits he and his abortion colleagues lied left and right. They fabricated statistics and poll results and fed them to a willing news media. What’s the most powerful abortion marketing slogan of all? “Women are dying.” It just seems to trump all other points. In the years before Roe v. Wade, we always heard that 5,000 to 10,000 women were dying every year in the U.S. from illegal, botched abortions. This is what Nathanson and his abortion marketer cohorts were claiming. But it wasn’t true – not even close – and they knew it.
Some people say, “Hey, Nathanson is a pro-lifer now, so how can you believe his criticisms of the abortion industry?”
If you don’t believe Nathanson, do you believe the Centers for Disease Control? Do you know how many women actually died from illegal, botched abortions in 1972, the last full year before Roe v. Wade? According to the CDC, it wasn’t 5,000 or 10,000, it wasn’t even 1,000 – it was 39.
Suppose we were told 10,000 U.S. soldiers had died in the Iraq war, and that death rate influenced us to pull out, and then things got immeasurably worse because we left? And suppose we later found out that 10,000 Americans hadn’t actually died in Iraq, but only 39. Wouldn’t we feel betrayed?
Americans were betrayed by abortion marketers, and particularly, by the news media who were convinced legalized abortion was an enlightened and progressive change America needed. And so they joined in the propaganda campaign that led to Roe v. Wade.
Let’s look at another hot issue – “the constitutional separation of church and state” There’s a good marketing slogan for you – proof that if you repeat something enough times, people will believe it. Listen, I have a $10,000 reward for anyone who can find the word “separation” or “church” or “state” in the first Amendment.
Yet, there are very few phrases more familiar to Americans. My colleagues in the press, in particular, repeat this phrase like a hypnotic mantra. Can’t you just hear it? “Attorneys for the ACLU, citing the constitutional separation of church and state, today announced they were suing God” – or whatever. Marketers pay millions to brand their product or political candidate like this phrase.
This is another sneaky manipulation of words. For 150 years after the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment phrasing about an “establishment of religion” meant the federal government would not impose a national church, a particular denomination, on the states. Today, we’re made to feel that just whispering something about God, the Bible, the Ten Commandments or, Heaven forbid, praying on public property, constitutes an illegal “establishment of religion.”
Do you remember, right after Sept. 11, 2001, a California public school erected a banner that simply said “God Bless America,” to honor those killed in the 9-11 terror attacks? That banner was immediately attacked by the ACLU as an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Does anyone – anyone at all – really believe the founders intended this?
Now let’s talk about perhaps the most important part of our lives – our children. I don’t think there’s any place where the marketers of evil are more soulless than in selling sex and rebellion to our kids. In terms of dollars, the teen market is worth literally hundreds of billions – that’s with a B. Do you know what these giant entertainment corporations do in order to suck as much money out of your kids as possible?
They hold focus groups, they send out “culture spies” (which they call “correspondents”) to pretend to befriend and care about teens, so they can study them – to figure out how best to separate them from their parents’ money. They engage in “buzz marketing” (that’s where undercover agents disguised as “one of the crowd” talk up a new product). They hire shills to interact with your kids in Internet chat rooms. In other words, they bring the entire machinery of modern market research and consumer psychology to bear on studying this gold mine of a market – your children.
Do you have any idea how many beautiful children have herpes and Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases that they may never get over, all because they listened to some evil marketer who sold them on easy sex? In my book, I expose the actual techniques that are used to seduce young people into rebelling against their parents and getting sucked into the sexual revolution.
Let me pose a riddle for you.
Suppose a book came out next week, a book on sex, it became an international bestseller, and the author was elevated by the mainstream media to the stature of national hero? And yet, what if you read this book and discovered that, right there in black and white, it detailed, explicitly and approvingly, hundreds of actual instances of sex acts between adults and children, including infants and toddlers, down to a few months of age. Remember, we’re talking non-fiction.
Wouldn’t you say, “Whoa, where did the author get this stuff? It’s a felony, under any circumstances, to be having sex with little children. Something’s terribly wrong here”?
Guess what? What I described is not hypothetical. I’ve described the international best-seller, “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” by Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, published in 1948.
Kinsey was worshipped by the press as a great scientist, a family man and a courageous researcher, advancing our scientific knowledge of human sexuality. In reality, Alfred C. Kinsey was a bona fide sexual psychopath, as any of his several recent biographies will prove.
The detailed tables I just mentioned – of infants and children having been molested by “researchers” using stopwatches to time and quantify their supposed sexual responses – are horribly real. It’s on Tables 30-34. Don’t believe me, go to your library and check it out. I can’t repeat in a family setting like this what things were actually done to these poor kids, but if you read Kinsey’s own words, you’ll see that he was promoting nothing less than the sexual torture of hundreds of little children, reminiscent of the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Two of the “researchers” he relied on most were serial pedophile Rex King and convicted Nazi criminal Fritz von Balluseck.
Here’s the riddle, are you ready? How come nobody spoke up on behalf of these children that were sexually abused in Kinsey’s best-selling book? The crimes were recorded right there in black and white. How come nobody said, “Wait a minute, hello, anybody home? How could this mad scientist have obtained this ‘data’ without the commission of horrible crimes? Why is he famous, instead of in prison?”
Why did it take until 1981, some 33 years after the book’s publication, before one lone researcher – Judith Reisman, a Ph.D. scholar – finally blew the whistle?
What happened to us? Did we take stupid pills?
Do we just become unthinking zombies when someone puts on a white coat and calls himself a scientist?
Yes, we do.
Kinsey’s ghoulish “research” into childhood sexuality obviously didn’t bother people too much back then. And in truth, it doesn’t bother us very much today. Most people hearing this information will be shocked for about five minutes, and then, with the crush of other concerns and responsibilities, they’ll just move on to something else – and it’ll be forgotten.
But it’s not forgotten out there in the culture. The entire edifice of the sexual revolution in all its forms – rampant promiscuity, gay rights, abortion, pornography, and so on – including the latest liberation movement, coming soon, the mainstreaming of adult-child sex – you heard it here first, trust me – all stems from Kinsey and his research, on which these movements still rely for their scientific justification.
And yet, this was arguably the worst case of junk science in the 20th century.
We were conned – big time. But why did we fall for it? William Penn gave us a clue: “Men must be governed by God, or they will be ruled by tyrants.”
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You see, after WWII, Americans had developed a near-worship of science. In earlier eras, men of God were the wise men of society. Today, scientists – no matter what their secret, private agenda, no matter what sort of hidden, insane, inner rebellion against God that may possess them – are our priesthood. Disputing Kinsey would have been like disputing Scripture. It would almost be sacrilege.
Whether in commercials, where we see an actor with a white coat and a stethoscope, or in real life, we recognize scientists and professors and “researchers” and other “experts” as our authorities and give their words more credibility than our own God-given common sense – even if what they say makes no sense.
The bottom line is: The more we fall away from our Judeo-Christian roots, as individuals and as a nation, the more we are powerfully attracted to these social revolutionaries and other wackos, and all the corruption and misery they ingeniously package as freedom and progress.
We’re getting to the end, so it’s time to ask the question: Is there any hope?
Of course there’s hope. There’s hope for each one of us, and for our families on the individual level, and there’s also hope for this, the greatest of nations.
Individually, this mindless rebellion so many of us have fallen for, against our nation’s founding Judeo-Christian values – in pursuit of bogus liberation movements and insane philosophies – has to end. Or it’ll kill us. We need to truly honor God, and the 10 Commandments, and the Sermon on the Mount once more.
But there’s one more thing we must do. To deal with the nasty influences out there in our culture, Americans need to learn, and teach their children, the principle of standing up to evil with grace.
These “marketers of evil,” as I like to call them, prevail, more than anything else, by confusing and intimidating us into losing our bearings, into doubting what we once knew was right, and following them. To counter this, we just need to develop grace under pressure – Ronald Reagan had it – that wonderful, lighthearted ability to look someone straight in the eye, even if they’re lying to us, and not to be intimidated or confused or upset by them. That way, their wacko agenda stays with them, and doesn’t infect us, or our kids.
As for the big picture, one of the most hopeful changes I see in America is the growth of what we call the New Media.
I make the statement in “The Marketing of Evil” that no institution in America is more complicit, more responsible for making evil look good and good look evil than the news media. Because it is the filter through which we all get our information.
The press has the power to expose and debunk the marketers of evil at every turn. But it also has the power to carry forward their message and to give it underserved credibility. And that, unfortunately, is mostly what the press has done for the last few decades.
But what if a diligent, courageous and doggedly truth-oriented news media were there to expose lies and deception for what they are? It wouldn’t really matter so much what the marketers of evil did or said, would it?
The New Media – the Internet, talk radio, cable news, bloggers – everything that counterbalances the entrenched secular left media entities like the New York Times and the big broadcast networks, are a great awakening influence in America.
One tiny personal example: The organization I serve as managing editor, WorldNetDaily.com, recently reported on a new, scholarly book about to be published, which explicitly endorsed adult-child sex. We ran the story on page 1 on Monday, and on Wednesday I was contacted by the publishing company, Haworth Press, which said they had decided not to publish this book after all. After hearing from a lot of angry readers, they wanted everyone to know they were not interested in supporting child abuse of any sort, and cancelled the book.
One small step for mankind, right? Just one of the many daily battles that the New Media are waging. But think about this: Suppose the press had done that when Kinsey was publishing his best-selling pro-pedophilia book that started the sexual revolution. Maybe America could have avoided some of the heartache and misery that have wracked and ruined so many millions of lives in the decades since then.
That’s why I wrote “The Marketing of Evil.” My intent is to expose these people, and the hidden techniques they’ve been using for decades to trip us up, to confuse us, and make us doubt the truth we once knew. It’s a nasty game, and the stakes are very high – but thank God, once we understand how it works, the game is over.
Thank you very much.
Watch David Kupelian’s speech presented at the Heritage Foundation here.