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GOD, grant me the
Serenity to accept the things
 ourage to stop bullshitting people; and
Wisdom to know when I am.






12 Step Program
12 STEPS Of Bullshitters Anonymous
1. "We admitted we were powerless over bullshit - that our lives had become full of shit.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to truth and sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Truth as Aristotle
understood it.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our bullshit.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our
6.Were entirely ready to take action and remove bullshitting from my character.
7.Humbly asked Vampires to suck the bullshit blood from my veins.
8.Made a list of all persons I bullshitted and became willing to make amends to them all.
9.Made direct amends to my victims wherever possible except when to do so would injure
them or others.
10.Continued to take personal inventory and when we bullshitted, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through practice and meditation to improve our understanding of the truth and
why bullshitting and being deluded only hurts myself and others.
12. Having had an awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to
bullshitters everywhere and to practice these principles in all our affairs."
12 Traditions (edit)
The Twelve Traditions accompany the Twelve Steps. The Traditions provide guidelines for group
governance among recovering bullshitters. The Twelve Traditions of Bullshitters Anonymous are as
For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authoritythe truth.
The only requirement for BA membership is a desire to stop Bullshitting.
Our common welfare should come first; recovery depends upon BA unity.
Each BA group one purposeto carry its message to the bullshitter who still suffers.
Each BA group shall be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or BA as a whole.
BA groups ought never endorse, finance, or lend the BA name to any related facility or outside
enterprise unless there is a great deal of money to be made.
Every BA group ought to be fully self-supporting by providing foot massages to old people in nursing
Bullshitters Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may
employ special prostitutes.
BA, as such, ought never be organized; except for good toga and public streaking parties.
Bullshitters Anonymous has an opinion on all outside issues and we are always right.
Our public relations policy is based on attracting attractive people for our toga parties; we need
always to call out bullshitters publicly at the level of press, radio, and films.
Publicly exposing bullshitters is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever making us feel
better about ourselves and reminding us to place personalities before principles.


> efinition of humbug and bullshit

> Indifference to truth the essence of bullshit
> Replacing correctness with sincerity
> Narrowing the concept
> Bullshit and sophism
> Bullshit and spin
> Endemic prevalence of bullshit in political speech
> Intrinsic necessity to bullshit in politics
> Irrationality of political leadership
> Political communication as enchantment
> Max Black
> The Prevalence of Humbug (1983)
> F.G. Baily
> Humbuggery and Manipulation. The Art of Leadership (1988)
> HUMBUG: deceptive misrepresentation, short of lying, especially by
pretentious word or deed, of somebodys own thoughts, feelings, or
attitudes (Black 1983: 143)
> Conscious deception: when humbuggers say what they themselves
disbelieve, evading the risks of lying while reaping its benefits, the gross
discrepancy between utterance and actual belief (the speakers stance)
[] I shall call such conscious deception first-order humbug (137-8)
> Self-deception: a self-humbugged humbugger producing what I shall call
second-order humbug (138)

> Criteria of lying
> Truth
> Falsifiability of a claim
> Knowledge about factual untruth
> eliberate intent to deceive about the truth
> Criteria of humbuggery
> Belief
> Impossibility to realize (or to define) a claim
> isbelief of the speaker in his claim
> eliberate intent to deceive (to generate an impression) about
> Harry G. Frankfurt
> On Bullshit (2005)
> It is more polite, as well as less intense to say Humbug! than to say Bullshit!.
For the sake of this discussion, I shall assume that there is no other important
difference between the two. (5)
> Consider a Fourth of July orator who goes on bombastically about our great and
blessed country, whose Founding Fathers under divine guidance created a new
beginning for mankind. This is surely humbug. (16)
> It is clear that what makes Fourth of July oration humbug is not fundamentally
that the speaker regards his statements as false. Rather, just as Blacks account
suggests, the orator intends these statements to convey a certain impression of
himself. He is not trying to deceive anyone concerning American history. What he
cares about is what people think of him. He wants them to think of him as a
patriot, as someone who has deep thoughts and feelings about the origins and
mission of our country, who appreciates the importance of religion, who is
sensitive to the greatness of our history, whose pride in that history is combined
with humility before God, and so on. (17-8)

> It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth this
indifference to how things really are that I regard as of the essence of
bullshit. (34-5)
> Hot air: Speech that has been emptied of all informative content (43)
> Bluff: bullshitting [] is closer to bluffing, surely, than to telling a lie. []
Unlike plain lying, it is more especially a matter not of falsity but of
fakery (46-7)
> Lying is craft; particular, sporadic, designed under guidance of truth
> Bullshitting is art; panoramic, a program, serial, expansive
> What he [the bullshitter] does necessarily attempt to deceive us about
is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in
a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to (54)

> What combines the bullshitter with the liar is

> That both represent themselves falsely as endeavoring to
communicate the truth. The success of each depends upon deceiving
us about that (54)
> What divides them is
> A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to
that extent respectful of it (55-6)
> The bullshitter does not care whether the things he says describe
reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his
purpose (56)
> Bullshitting is relativistic with regard to truth
> Through habitual and deliberative ignorance towards
truth, the bullshitter undermines the foundations of
reasoned debate
> No systematic evidence about relative or absolute
amount of bullshit in public communication, or
about the rise or decline of it over time
> Reasons to believe that bullshit is on the rise
> Bullshit unavoidable when speaker required to talk about
matters he has no knowledge/expertise about
> Rise of punditry in journalism (especially in US), requires
opinionated debate without required expertise
> Complexity of economic, social, political world requires
(a) Simplification for public presentation
(b) Breadth of party political programmes superseding expertise of
(c) Appointments to office are political, not based on policy expertise
(d) Recruitment of celebrities for political causes

> eeper source of current proliferation of bullshit
> Skepticism, anti-realism; questioning whether the reality has
any inherent nature
> Retreat from
> discipline required by dedication to the ideal of correctness
> To discipline, which is imposed by pursuit of an alternative ideal
of sincerity (65)
> Being true to oneself
> Assumes that our human nature is more determinate than the
object world
> Pretending that truth about ourselves easier to know than truth
about anything else
> Sincerity itself is bullshit (67)

> Neil Postman (1969)

Taxonomy of bullshit
> Pomposity
> Bigotry
> Eichmannism
> that form of bullshit which accepts as its starting and ending point official definitions, rules
and categories without regard for the realities of particular situations
> Inanity
> ignorance presented in the cloak of sincerity
> Superstition
> ignorance presented in the cloak of authority
> The realms of advertising and of public relations, and the nowadays closely
related realm of politics, are replete with instances of bullshit so unmitigated
that they can serve among the most indisputable and classic paradigms of
the concept. And in these realms there are exquisitely sophisticated
craftsmen who with the help of advanced and demanding techniques of
market research, of public opinion polling, of psychological testing, and so
forth dedicate themselves tirelessly to getting every word and image they
produce exactly right (Frankfurt, rn Bullshit, p.23)

> The nation's hopes are in our hands. People's hopes. Your hopes. My hopes. In eight
days' time I will be forty years old. I have so much to look forward to. My young
family. They have so much to look forward to. The world I want for them is the world I
want for every family and every community. If you want to know what I'm all about, I
can explain it one word. That word is optimism. I am optimistic about human nature.
That's why I will trust people to do the right thing. Labour are pessimists. They think
that without their guidance, people will do the wrong thing. That's why they want to
regulate and control. So let us show clearly which side we are on. Let optimism beat
pessimism. Let sunshine win the day. (avid Cameron, Conservative Party Conference

> Our rising investment in every school, every pupil, every teacher, so that all our children get the
best start in life. (Tony Blair, 5 April 2005)
> I believe that Britain has a great future within our reach. We are poised to embrace that future if
we have the confidence and self belief to do it. (Tony Blair, 5 April 2005)
> I am deeply proud of being British so I suspect are all of you here today. Were proud of our
history, our traditions. Were proud of the contribution our country has made to the world. And
were proud of that essential British value: fair play. Fair play is at the heart of what it means to
be British.(Michael Howard, 15 April 2005)
> So the Liberal emocrats will fight this campaign based on real solutions to the real problems
people face everyday. We're going to address people's hopes, not play on their fears. We're
going to be the positive force for good in this general election. (Charles Kennedy, 5 April 2005)
> Our values are strong. Our mission is clear. Our vision is compelling. Civic pride based on a new
age of civic power, not for some of the people, but for all of the people, all of the time. (avid
Miliband, Labour Party Centenary conference, 12 February 2006)
> New Labour is a party of ideas and ideals but not of outdated ideology. What counts is what
works. The objectives are radical. The means will be modern. (Labour Election Manifesto, 1997)
> So let's build together a new generation of Conservatives. Let's switch a new generation on to
Conservative ideas. Let's dream a new generation of Conservative dreams. (avid Cameron,
Conservative Party Conference 2005)

> Putting a positive spin on some political event,

process, outcome
> Show it in a desirable light
> Neglecting disadvantages/costs; emphasizing
> Spin (doctoring) is a defensive form of bullshit
> Aim is to create a perception, irrespective of reality
> Secondary task, after the fact of policy making
> But policy making is instrumental activity for office seeking
politicians; hence the emphasis lies on creating a beneficial
perception of the policies made, rather than on generating
beneficial policies
> Spin-doctoring mainly serves to hide potentially negative aspects
or consequences of policy-making; it is hence engaged in to avoid
lying (implying truth-awareness of the bullshitter)
> Bullshit/humbuggery is not just endemic in politics,
but intrinsic to politics
> Politics is about providing leadership
> Essentially compromising enlightenment
> Admitting the unassailability of rational self-government
> Enlightenment project was originally about
> Freeing individuals from superstition and oppression
> isenchantment of the world
> Leadership and political competition is
> Remedy amidst complexity of modern world
> Artificial differentiation of converging political platforms

> Normative idea of legal/rational authority

> Reducing leadership to management function
> Representation assumed to be responsible, responsive, reflective of public
demands and needs
> Complexity requires guidance and/or simplification
> The end of ideologies does not result in professionalization of
politics as a quasi-bureaucratic function
> Political campaigns are not about disenchantment
> Not purely informational
> Not presenting with policy positions
> Need for enchantment, enthusing supporters, providing leadership, vision,
> Emphasising candidate qualities over product qualities (sincerity over
> Strategies of leadership
> Numenical
> Emphasizing the exceptional (the divine) of the leader; that which sets
him apart from followers, and other leadership contenders
> Familial
> Emphasizing familiarity with followers; either fraternising with or
patronising followers
> Required strategy in the face of abject failure

> Leadership and deception

> Leader is by definition beyond conventions (morals, values,
rationality) of society
> Leader is the main authority in restating/upholding morals, values
> Charisma is a display; it cannot be established as an objective
occurrence; it is mediated; perceived charisma

Not a material property of the individual
But socially realized
Impression management in job interviews
Manipulation, deception
forms of impression management may be authentic, that is, the
applicant presents an identity that closely matches his or her self-
image (Rosenfeld 1997)

ealizing party identities
Tony Blair (Labour Party conference, 2005)
New Labour was never just a clever way to win; it was a fundamental recasting of
progressive politics so that the values we believed in became relevant to the
time we lived in. In the late 20th century, the world had changed, the
aspirations of the people had changed; we had to change. We did. We won.
And Britain is stronger, fairer, better than on 1st May 1997.

avid Cameron (Conservative Party conference, 2005)

We have to change and modernise our culture and attitudes and identity. When I
say change, I'm not talking about some slick rebranding exercise: what I'm
talking about is fundamental change, so that when we fight the next election,
street by street, house by house, flat by flat, we have a message that is relevant
to people's lives today, that shows we're comfortable with modern Britain and
that we believe our best days lie ahead.

Rejection of objective truth
Purpose of debate not to find truth, but to win argument
Not to prove truth of a cause, but its superiority
Tendency towards oligopolistic markets in late 19th/early 20th century
Marketing is a strategy of demand generation in the absence of self-
regulating, perfect markets
Models of buying behaviour and consumer psychology
ispensing with homo economicus
Clinging to ownsian voter
Assuming exogenous preferences
Assuming that market research reveals rational
Adaptive and responsive party model
suggestive of democracy-enhancing potential,
towards more citizen input
Prescriptive: recommending move from
product-oriented through sales-oriented to
market-oriented party
Post-representative politics
ecline of ideology
ecline of partisanship
Replacing representation of sectional interest which are organized
into politics with CHOICE
Politics of choice
Choice requires information
In absence of political information, use of cues (like ideology and
isappearance of cues to substitute for information
Representative politics functions through belief in
ideology which creates legitimacy of political projects,
manifesting in the form of (partisan) loyalty
Choice politics simulates belief in the form of
perceived policy matches (product differentiation)
that is aimed to create potentially long-term, but
conditional commitment (brand loyalty)
Model of choice hides the fact that political system
remains representative, only organizing narrower and
fewer interests into politics, through lobbying and
party funding