commentary: Deceiving the American Public
The Marlboro Syndrome
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 04-Sep-10; Sermon #1009c; 13 minutes
John Ritenbaugh, reminding us that, although previously co-habiting, homosexual, lesbian, and same-sex marriage relationships were viewed with repulsion by society, political correctness has coerced society to look upon these decrepit liaisons as normal. The movers and shakers of public opinion have steadily been working on re-shaping these attitudes since the 1920's, when the secular progressives, controlling the media, started to move America's educational focus away from the three "R's" to social re-construction, accepting deviancy as normal. The churches similarly fell into decline, developing the technique of "turning wine into water," refraining from admonishing or warning people of their sins. Politicians began changing laws, embracing and endorsing sin as normal. Corporate advertising promoted sin by pushing a product which kills. The most successful advertising ploy in history was the Marlboro ad, pairing the smoking of cigarettes with virility, strength, and cowboy values. This ad drove many gullible Americans to their deaths. The media has been also successfully pushing lesbian and homosexual "lifestyles," elevating feelings over intelligence, using corporate advertising to enhance their message. The politicians, corporation executives, and church leaders have demonstrated no faith in God, gullibly capitulating to sin.
Through the last 40 or 50 years, Americans have looked upon people who live together without the benefit of marriage, those who were divorced, the homosexuals, the lesbians and those who are of the same sex marrying one another, as being offensive, sinful, destructive to one's reputation and the community, and it was something to be avoided at all costs. But today, they are casually accepted by most, perhaps at the most with a shrug of one's shoulder, with the thought that this is simply another way of looking at things, and life goes on as though little or nothing is wrong with them.
What happened? By what can we account such a revolutionary change in attitude in people's thinking in such a short amount of time? Well, the change was acquired. It was not just "one of those things"; it was deliberately caused to happen, and the movers and shakers causing it have been incredibly successful in such a short period of time. The groundwork began to be laid all the way back in about 1920 through about 1960. It was laid in our elementary and high schools by a number of radical social reformers who gradually shifted the emphasis in schools from the purpose of teaching reading, writing and arithmetic to social changes. Or, I should say, the schools become centers of social change, and by the 1960s, virtually everything was in place and conditions were ripe for a social revolution.
And, of course, it happened. There were triggers: The assassination of John Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968. By that time, some of America's cities were in flames because of rioting that was taking place. The hippies and so forth were blooming all over the place, and by that time the lifestyle of the 1950s was being ridiculed. By 1973, abortion on demand was accomplished, and the avalanche of radical social change was underway and becoming more and more obvious.
None of this could have been accomplished without the very willing cooperation of media, radio, television and the movies. They led the way in pushing for the social changes, pushing it down our necks, down our throats, because they agreed with it. They, of course, came out of the same schools, the same universities, as those who began the pushing of radical change.
But another very serious social change was running parallel to the one that was being accomplished through the schools. The churches were in very serious decline regarding spiritual support for God and His moral standards, as taught in the Bible. One theologian—I read this in the 1960s—stated that the churches have become very good at turning wine into water. They were especially poor at teaching the practical social and community values of morality, and the need for discipline in the people. They had no answers for the radical attacks made through specious situation ethics.
There were pressures that were squeezing people into this, but there was one area that was especially vulnerable, and that was business and politicians. The politicians began changing laws in the states, and federal law as well. And so, with the support of media, the immoralists' propaganda was to make people of this ilk seem to be normal.
There were several angles of attack on the public, but one of them was especially effective. Do you know what it was? The people who were leading these groups in their agenda were very, very smart. They understood, and they knew who they had to get on their side, because they already had the media on their side. They had to get the corporate-types, the businessmen, on their side, and they had to get the politicians on their side.
Do you know what the major thrust was? It's what I'm going to call "the Marlboro Man" approach. The Marlboro Man was probably the most successful advertising ploy in the history of the United States, and they did it with a product that kills you. What they did is they showed a virile, handsome, strong man on horseback with a beautiful Western scene behind him, appropriate music, and all the while suggesting that the way to this kind of a life was to be him—and he smoked a Marlboro. The most successful advertising ploy in the history of the United States was to display a known killer as being beneficial to health and to life.
What was it that made that advertisement so successful? They appealed to people's emotions more successfully than any other advertisement that has ever run. They did not appeal to facts; they appealed to feelings. They did not appeal to reality; they appealed to sympathies, and politicians and business leaders had to face this assault more directly than anybody else in the general public, and brethren, they found they were a pushover.
Suppose you had to face an appeal to give approval to same-sex marriage that went something like this. You are participating in a televised debate against an attractive lesbian feminist. She's perhaps 40 years old, a Nordic-type, well-spoken, well-educated, and well-dressed. To all appearances, she's a very fine human being and a reasonable one, speaking in nice, modulated tones. She says, "I love my country. I obey its laws. I pay my taxes. [See? She's a responsible citizen.] I'm an American and have all the same rights as you do [an appeal to fairness]. In fact, I've served my country in the military, and I put my life on the line [she's a veteran]. I've lived with my partner for 18 years, truly in love with each other in peace and happiness, just like you. [She shows loyalty and love.] What's the matter with that?" she concludes. "Why shouldn't we be allowed to be married [which is a bit of personal intimidation]? How does that hurt you?"
There you are, sitting there with your teeth in your mouth, and you have 30 seconds to respond. What can you say to neutralize the strong, powerful emotions that she has skillfully evoked? The debate will be won by whoever uses the strongest emotional argument.
The history of this country's experience shows that the politicians and business executives were almost completely flummoxed. Before you knew it, Coca Cola was signed up. General Motors was signed up. General Electric was signed up. Boeing was in their back pocket. Every company wanted to have a part in this. Maybe they got in a little bit timidly, but as things progressed, they got wholeheartedly behind it, so the big money interests were now with them and pushing media all the stronger to take their advertising.
When the homosexuals made their appeals, they did not send a long-haired, ballcap-on-backwards, pants-barely-hanging-on representative (all of which are symbols of rebellion). No, it was short hair, snappy business suit, a power tie, clean-cut, looking in every way to put their target at ease and be sympathetic. Every appeal was to gain their objective by the emotional route, and the corporate types we're much easier to win over than the politicians. But they got to them because by this means they appealed to the financial benefits that would accrue to them if they got behind them.
So, what they did is they appealed to what is carnally attractive, just like Satan did to Adam and Eve. And it's still working to this day. The answer to all the carnally-attractive appeals, brethren, is belief—faith—in God and in His standards, and the fruit that will be produced by submitting to them.
The politicians and the businessmen were found to be very seriously lacking. In fact, it could be said that they had almost no faith whatever in God and His way. I might add to this that they had no faith in the Constitution either, or in the wisdom and the intent of the Founders of this nation who formed the Constitution. Without faith, they went into the battle already disarmed.