7 Techniques of Propaganda: “Glittering Generalties”

7 Techniques of Propaganda: “Glittering Generalties”

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boy running with paperThis is the second article in a series on the primary tactics used by propagandists.

In the first article we discussed the tactic of name calling and how the left wing uses it to gain converts.

In this issue we discuss the propaganda technique Edward Feline calls glittering generalities.

Here’s how he describes it:

Propagandists employ vague, sweeping statements (often slogans or simple catchphrases) using language associated with values and beliefs deeply held by the audience without providing supporting information or reason.

I have identified 3 categories of glittering generalities used by the left to recruit new acolytes:


It annoyed me in 2000 when George W. Bush ran for President as a compassionate conservative.

No liberal ever had to add the word  “compassionate” to his ideological label. That’s because the electorate assumes liberals are compassionate.

And, naturally, they also assume that conservatives are not compassionate.

No one wants to be seen as hard-hearted or mean-spirited. Consequently, to the extent left-wing propagandists can successfully paint the Republican party as lacking in compassion and the Democrat party as being full of it, they will be able to persuade a healthy segment of the population (one that refuses to look deeper) that joining the Republican party is itself evidence of one’s lack of compassion.

Of course, Democrats are no more compassionate than Republicans, but it isn’t difficult to make it appear that way when you are willing to disguise bad legislation with compassionate titles like “Minimum Wage Act” or “Civil Rights Act.”

Democrats operate under the cynical assumption that people will read no more than the title of these bills. And why should citizens read legislation that the legislators themselves refuse to read?

Anyone voting against a bill with a title that includes the words “civil rights” or “miminum wage” runs the great risk of being labeled mean-spirited and selfish thereby feeding the propagandist’s lie.


Only an indecent, inhumane monster could possibly be against peace, right?

That’s the glittering generality and it’s nearly impossible to dispute without appearing to be the very monster the statement accuses you of being.

The truth is, when faced with a rogue nation hellbent on the perpetuation of evil designs, failing to fight is indecent and inhumane.

There is only one reason good nations go to war: Because some bad actor on the world stage is threatening to disturb the peace.

When a schoolyard bully demands a weaker kid’s lunch money and the kid refuses and a fight ensues, it is the bully and not the weaker kid who disturbs the peace.

And when a good nation attempts to stop a rouge nation from engaging in rogue acts, it is the rogue nation and not the good nation that is guilty of disturbing the peace.

There have been many occasions in history where the failure to take up arms against evil would have been a greater crime than taking up arms:

  • The American Revolution
  • The Civil War
  • World War II

But the Democrats know that nobody wants to be seen as favoring war. So they cast complex issues like defense of the borders and the homeland as simple choices of peace versus war.

They are anything but simple.

I am for war when war is necessary to prevent evil people and evil nations from expanding the scope of their evil acts.

It would have been immoral not to have stopped Hitler from carrying out the final solution. And it would have been immoral not to stop the Confederate states from seceding from the Union and continuing the enslavement of an entire race of Americans.


Liberals are inconsistent on the issue of equality. They claim that there are no material differences between genders, races and cultures while at the same time favoring the implementation of diversity programs that celebrate those non-existent differences. 

This is another area where the left uses sweeping generalizations in effort to marginalize and demonize the right.

There are many noble, non-racist reasons for opposing race-based preferences, but if you are white and oppose affirmative action you often get labeled a racist. And if you are black and voice your oppposition (see Clarence Thomas or Ward Connerly) you are called an Uncle Tom or a House Negro.

Thus, opposition to affirmative action has become synonymous with racism and race-traitorism.

The same kind of demonization has taken place in the area of gender rights.

If, for instance, you have the audacity to express your opposition to women serving on the police force or in combat, you can count on being called a misogynist, a neanderthal or a woman-hater by the feminist left.

Feminists don’t want those ideas circulating in the marketplace so they marginalize those who proffer them.

And the mere suggestion that the genders might have different intellectual capacities, regardless of the science supporting those suggestions, is enough to get a credentialed and respected liberal fired from the presidency of Harvard.

Similarly the belief that the institution of marriage must be kept intact based on it’s 3000 year tradition as a union of one man and one woman wins one the labels “homophobe” and “hate-monger.” 

Tactics from the Right

This series is about the way the left uses propagandist tactics to gain adherents to its ideological point of view.

But the right does the same thing.

The two main categories of “glittering generalities” the right exploits are patriotism and morality.

I will discuss the tactics of the right in a future series.

Related Posts

Future Posts:

The next post in this series will be titled 7 Techniques of Propaganda: Transfer and will be published soon.

About Peter Pappas

Peter is a tax attorney and certified public acccountant with over 20 years experience helping taxpayers resolve their IRS and state tax problems.

He has represented thousands of taxpayers who have been experiencing difficulty dealing with the Internal Revenue Service or State tax officials.

He is a member of the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants, the Florida Bar Association and The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court, the United States Supreme Court, U.S. District Courts - Middle District of Florida

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  1. I completely agree with the comment about George W. Bush being compassionate. Of coarse we liberals are compassionate, everyone knows we are, unlike conservatives.

  2. Anna,

    Liberals = good; Conservatives = bad.

    More of that nuanced, non-black and white, open-minded thinking you lefties love to brag about?