The Three C’s.
Certain unenlightened public officials have decided that the way to ‘handle’ those who criticize government, is to paint them as one of the Three C’s:
- Crazy; or
- Conspiracy nut
The Three C’s are all ways of trying to discredit the speaker, the person criticizing government.
Criminal: this can consist of mere name-calling, or it can actually mean misuse of prosecutorial authority in order to punish the citizen for criticizing government.
Crazy: the notion here is outrage by the government official: if they are criticizing me (or my friend, or some other government official), they must be crazy. This can be mere name-calling, or worse.
Conspiracy nut: If the person can’t realistically be described as ‘criminal’ or ‘crazy,’ the third option is to paint them as a conspiracy nut. This is often mere name-calling. The goal is to make it appear that the accusations are mere paranoia, in other words, that they and cannot possibly be true.
These techniques are old. Look back through history, you will see traces of them in many places.
Although I don’t think they will disappear as tactics anytime soon, naming the game has a way of letting the air out of the balloon.
When these techniques emerge, it’s interesting to look at the name-caller. What does the name-caller have to hide? What does the name-caller have to gain if the accuser is discredited? Often, the Three C’s are a way of distracting away from the public official, in hopes the accusation will never be taken seriously.