THE TEN COMMANDMENTS of PROPAGANDA

 

By Brian Anse Patrick

 

Published by

Arktos Media Ltd., London

 

2012

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

7 - For any propaganda to be effective, ‘it must somehow resonate with the ideas that area already in people’s minds.  Thus, on page one, we’re told the use of ’10 Commandments’ in the title, increases our learning off the bat.

 

10 – Propaganda definition: “Propaganda is a chief means by which the organizations that dominate modern life try to communicate power.”

 

PROPAGANDA AS A SITUATION

 

10 - “More than a mere set of techniques, propaganda is situational in nature. It is an organized bid for the right to interpret meaning in a given set of circumstances. [italics mine].

 

[This phraseology is very interesting as it implies the need to have credibility, whether via power or moral suasion.]

 

11 – To be big you go for a monopoly, such as religion, mass politics or social movements.  You attempt to impose an interpretation on human meaning.

 

Walter Lippmann ‘viewed propaganda as inevitable in today’s mass democracies, where voters are far removed physically and perceptually from political events, and must therefore rely on interpretive experts to inform their citizenship.

 

Propaganda requires both organization and interpretation.

 

THREE WAVES OF PROPAGANDA

 

13 – The first wave originates in the early 17th century when Pope Gregory XV established the Congregatorio de Propaganda Fide, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.

 

This organization became so powerful, that the cardinal in charge was called the Red Pope.

 

It was in charge of the organizational growth and uniformity of Catholicism in the Old and New world, including the establishment of Catholic colleges for the education of priests and foreign missions.

 

If you heard the word ‘propagandist’ in the 17th or 18th century, you would have thought it referred to Jesuits.  It wasn’t secular.

 

It was, to a large extent, a tool against Protestant heretics, who challenged the monopoly of propaganda.

 

14 - In the North, the reformation, then the Enlightenment, then informational sociologists bloomed.

 

When Max Weber described the origins of rational scientific organization he called it ‘bureaucracy.’  And, he used the Catholic Church as a model.

 

In propaganda and bureaucracy, ‘The Church’s stamp upon modern secular life may prove to be even more enduring than its spiritual one.”

 

SECOND WAVE

 

15 – This comes with WWI and its aftermath.

 

Early in WW I the British cut the German’s transatlantic cable. 

 

We founded the Committee for Public Information.

 

16 – They helped to reverse the tradition of ‘no foreign entanglements.’

 

They used staged photos and spread pre-written articles.

 

Few photos of the 4 million dead ever appeared in a newspaper. 

 

While eschewing propaganda, they did provide media guidelines. 

 

Their 75,000 minutemen reached more than 300 million individuals. 

 

Creel mobilized dramatists, college professors, students, advertising pros, film makers and artists.

 

Many seem corny by today’s standards. 

 

17 – The mail – clad knight and buff physiques featured.

 

The battle for the fences, posters, was successful.  So successful that we came to hate Germans. 

 

‘The war to end all wars’ most lasting impact was the launch of modern propaganda. 

Creel liked the word ‘advertise’ more than propaganda. He justified the ‘battle for men’s minds’ as spreading the ‘gospel of Americanism.’ 

 

The closing of CPI let the members loose to start the advertising industry.  Bernays created the term ‘public relations’ and taught the first university class on it.  He specialized in making news that furthered his employer’s interest. 

He called his new science, ‘the engineering of consent.’

 

18 – Also in the second wave we get the academic study of propaganda.  At the University of  Chicago, Harold Lasswell wrote a seminal dissertation on it.   This eventually became what we call ‘communication’ studies.

 

Lippmann did ‘Public Opinion’ that told people how to protect themselves from propaganda.   Concepts like ‘attitudes, public opinion and stereotypes were launched.

 

Hitler’s chapters on military and mass movement propaganda constitute perhaps the only sensible chapters in Mein Kampf.

 

Much of what we know is in Lasswell, how to treat the enemy in war, simplicity and repetition.  Bernay’s news and pseudo-events are still used.

 

19 – In any case, by 1920 it became obvious that wartime propaganda had poisoned the well of American rational democracy.  As such, in the 1930s, ‘the Institute for Propaganda Analysis,’ were taught to protect citizens in over 500 American high schools.

 

THE THIRD WAVE

 

This is characterized by more effective research on propaganda in areas such as message design, credibility factors, inoculation, authority / obedience studies, content analysis (for easy spread), the use of groups and group dynamics.

 

20 – The last launched the idea of ‘horizontal propaganda.’  Corporations use this to tighten control and give the illusion of democracy.

 

This led to the golden age of behavioral studies, which lasted until the 1960s and featured Milgram’s shock experiments.

 

UBIQUITY OF PROPAGANDA

 

21 – Take yourself as an example.  Your education, training, socialization, information availability, habit and perception channel your actions in a predictable and productive way.

 

Ellul believed that modern mass – man or woman needs propaganda as a matter of personal adjustment, necessary because of the relative meaningless of the individual in relation to the mass.  Propaganda answers questions of the greater meaning that were once the province of religion, myth, tradition and organic community.

 

21 – 22 - It assures and provides an identity.  

 

BAP says Creel had reservations about the use of propaganda in peacetime.  Much of that was propaganda by Creel himself.

 

23 – Trying to explain the ubiquity of propaganda is like showing water to a fish.

Much of what we know, music, fashion, current events, history – results from successful publicity campaigns.

 

Managerial elites use public funds to bail out and stimulate.  This requires PR.

 

TRUTH, UNTRUTH, PROGAGANDISTS AND THE PUBLIC GOOD

 

24 – Ellul said, in propaganda, truth matters.  Use front groups for greater credibility.

 

25 – Rather than Goebels, most propaganda are quiet salary men, they are bureaucrats in an administration. Directors, media specialists, publicity

 

Their titles include:  vp of external relations: lobbyists; government relations, public information specialists, communication.

 

26 – In 1913 Congress banned pr departments for government agencies, the names were changed.  It is huge.

 

Lasswell said America’s multitudes of propaganda would cancel each other out.   But now, BAP asserts, monopoly by government, education and huge businesses means Lasswell was wrong.   This especially in the light of bowling alone.

 

Bernays said propaganda would “make America great” by promulgating new products, markets, and ideas.   Others say propaganda works for ‘special interests,’ not ‘public interests.’

 

27 – We’re often told more propaganda makes for more choices.  Not when it is controlled.  Our belief in all being middle class is one example.

 

And, like the Church of old, propaganda proponents said it is necessary for societal unity.

 

Since people have more info than ever, are we entering a FOURTH WAVE of propaganda?  The web helps propaganda and autonomous communities.  He takes no side on good or bad from tech.

 

As we move to the commandments, he says, ‘although informed by science, propaganda is an art.  There are no magic buttons.”

 

CHAPTER ONE:

CONTROL AND FLOW OF INFORMATION

PAGE 29

“Controlling the flow of information is the most important commandment of propaganda.  It is often sufficient in itself to win.”

 

Multiculturalists with education prove this. 

 

Other ideas or explanations might exist, but if they are ignored or confined to the ghetto or mailrooms, they probably won’t mater very much.

 

To control the flow of information, you should arrive first and shout the most.  This prevents others from taking root or flourishing – there is only so much interpretive room in our attentions.

 

30 – Two basic methods: control the source or distributor of info and, secondly, exclude others.

 

THE PROPAGANDIST AS SOURCE

 

Flood with your own symbols.

 

Constitute committees with friendly known faces.  Make sure the town hall questions are known before hand.

 

31 – Be specific, which media for whom.  If you want to scare seniors, hit the AARP.

 

Use ‘push polls’ which form an agreement among the target group.

 

32 – Frame polls, “Do you believe with target X’s goal of destruction?  Once stirred up, you can follow this question with other negatives.  Talk show press release, ‘the latest polls show your opinion.’

 

Opinion must be crafted and aimed at the public.

 

33 - This requires a machine.

 

EXCLUSION

 

Before Britain cut the WW I cable, about 50% of the New York Times’ info was from Germany and 50% from England.  After the cut, 95% Britain.

 

34 – It said the Germans were waging a war on Christianity.

 

Who, via textbooks, decided what you learned of history?

 

35 – Don’t dignify conflicting views by conceding that they exist.

 

Google is not free in China (nor here), government excludes.

 

36 – Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, suppressed papers and forced others to be sympathetic to the Union.

 

37 – If they are foreign agents, publicity agents are required to register with the State Department.

 

The flow of info led to the ‘social contract’ challenge to ‘divine right.’  The Church banned books with its index, through to 1966.

 

38 – But banned books are controversial and so increase in demand.

 

39 – You can marginalize people by calling them ‘racist.’

 

These days a total monopoly is hard to get.  But, a lion’s share and prestige may be enough.

 

Environmental news comes from a small group. Harvard is a great source.

 

BUREAUCRACY AND INFORMATIONAL CONTROL

 

40 – Bureaucracy is hierarchical.  The top shapes the message.

 

This can foster sycophants and make the message lose touch.  But, you take credit and justify from the top. Secrets are kept.

 

If people go outside of the chain of command it is dangerous.

 

41 – Good things and programs come from University Presidents, bad things from outside forces.   The economy and labor unions, for example.

 

COMMUNICATION FORMATS

 

42 – Aristotle said, state your case and prove it.  All else is ornament, distracting noise.

 

43 – The author calls this the ‘deductive argument style’ because it is so ubiquitous and persuasive.

 

Journalists start the article with a story lead and then back it up with examples in decreasing importance.

 

44 – The angle and framing is very important.

 

Proposals written in the problem – solution format are very good too.

 

Juxtaposition is powerful too.

 

45 – In a sense there is no difference between a documentary and propaganda.  The information flow is being controlled.

 

CHAPTER TWO:

REFLECT THE VALUES AND BELIEVES OF THE AUDIENCE

PAGE 46

 

Piggyback on the beliefs and values that are already in people’s heads.   Don’t try to install totally new cognitive equipment.

 

You should either evoke these pre-existing morals or say they are threatened, (go negative).

 

46 – 47 The Nazi Eternal Jew film played off of already existing stereotypes.  Jews turn host community’s commodities into money, are dirty and didn’t like animals like Germans did.  Nowhere in the film does it suggest concentration or deporting or extermination camps.  It would be too new, too shocking.

 

48 – By contrast, Triumph of the Will is all ‘wholesome’ ‘light’ and ‘glory.’

 

49 – Triumph has almost no military, just a few guards keeping order.

 

Aristotle said persuaders should keep in mind the basic characteristics of happiness. What people value.  Political or commercial propaganda that does not ultimately aim somehow at happiness is doomed to irrelevance.

 

50 - We are not consistent.  We admire pulling yourself up by your bootstrap.  But, we support social programs. 

 

51 – Individuals have a middle in the spectrum of paradoxical beliefs.

 

There is common knowledge and common stereotypes: the drinking Irish.

 

52 – This makes for the propaganda of mediocrity.

 

53 – Here we get slogans and tired idioms.  The speaker often has no more idea than you do.  They aim at authoritative sounding nothing.

 

SURVEYS AND METRICS

 

55 – Focus groups last about an hour to 90 minutes and usually go from general to specific questions. 

 

Focus groups are used to devise alternative plots, design sruveys, etc.  The Clintons vacationed in the Western US because democratic voters admired such vacations.

 

You must know your audience well and use the values and ideas they are familiar with.   Academics are often unaware of their audiences’ knowledge base in their specialty field and so fail to communicate. 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE:

DISAMBIGUATE

PAGE 57

 

Ambiguity is the enemy of propaganda – we don’t want shades of gray, we want black and white, urban / rural, liberal / conservative, black / white.

 

58 – West versus East. 

 

To this end we exclude complications and name simply and work to polarize.  

 

We need cartoon histories of the world that simplify, us good, them bad.

 

Like processed food, you ease consumption, package and predigest.

 

59 – They must fight on our terms.  Propaganda is spiritual junk food.

 

THE INTERPRETATION OF MEANING

 

The ‘everyman his own priest or philosopher’ vision requires more than most folks have most of the time.  Power and prestige go to those who can provide a life interpretation for others.

 

Change we believe in and stimulus packages give hope.

 

60 – ‘Your dead child in heaven now,’ helps.

 

Ellul says, “Everything is explained thanks to propaganda.’  Prefab realities, Republicans, Greens, Conservatives, environmentalists, Marxists: none leave any hermeneutical ends.

 

As such, Marxism functions just as any other slave religion. 

 

61 – Here we get natural law type arguments, it’s self evident.

 

62 – Infuse realities with factuality. How can anyone deny God, science, the Natural Order or the ‘unfolding of history’?

 

63 – The Catholic Church did well when it had a monopoly on information. Heretics were burned alive!

 

64 – The True believer or convincing stimulator of belief, are employable.  They exude ‘vision.’

 

65 – Interpreters hate counter – interpreters.

 

DEFINING AND NAMING

 

Lippmann said, “First we define, then we see.”

 

We ‘frame’ as ‘alcohol awareness’ which makes it a problem.   You use slogans of ‘bettering people’s lives’ fighting cancer, what have you and this gives administrators of such programs social standing and work.

 

We fight over what to call different groups of people, ‘colored’?  ‘People of the colored?’

 

define and conquer.’

 

AGITATION PROPAGANDA

 

67 – Agitation propaganda or agitprop, polarizes, differentiates and disintegrates a preexisting, more or less stable social relations.    You frame it as a dichotomous struggle between victims and oppressors.

 

Make the target population angry. 

 

A small cell of ‘organizers’ can control a very large mob. Only an excited crowd will storm the barricades.

 

68 – Ellul believed divisive agitprop especially worked on the illiterate and uneducated.  But BAP thinks it works just as well on educated folks.

 

69 – Feminists do this well with the oppression of women meme.

 

CARTOON HISTORIES AND COSMOLOGIES

 

A history written in past decades often reads like a value – laden rant.  Any public version of history is propaganda.

 

70 – Here he recites and rehearses the whole ‘cartoon version’ of US history informing ‘Leave it to Beaver.’ 

 

Then he recites and rehearses the Leftist story of America.

 

71 – He could also give us ‘herstory,’ from the civilizing of agriculture via goddess culture, the oppression by men.   

 

72 – NAZIs and Black Muslims do this too.    

 

STORIES AND PARADIGMS

 

73 - Common clarifying examples are helpful.   Stories, folklore, myths, uran myths, clichés, parables, stereotypes, anecdotes.

 

These form self-evident truths that everyone knows.

 

SCIENTISM AND PROGRESS

 

74 – Science and progress have been woven together as a ceremonial mantle worn by elites.

 

Global warming bullies do this.

 

VISUAL, GRAPHICS, FILM AND ‘DOCUGANDAS’

 

The visual is the story.  A hillside of white crosses, for example.  A president looking Presidential.  We don’t overtax the sensibilities of the audience.

 

76 – The term ‘mandate’ is helpful. 

 

77 – Docuganda gives clarity.  Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. People need clarity – disambiguate.

 

And, background noises / sound / music tell the story.

 

78 - Capra used the little guy matters theme. 

Know your enemy: Japan is great editing.

79 – In one montage he shows a soldier develop from a child. 

Know your Enemy: Japan lasts well over an hour, it is a serious fact-filled lecture.  Now we more go for general impression or irony, as explanation is slow.

 

CHAPTER FOUR:

USE GROUP PRESSURE TO HORIZONTALLY SHAPE BELIEFS AND BEHAVIOR

PAGE 81

 

The terms ‘horizontal propaganda’ and ‘vertical propaganda’ belong to Jacques Ellul.  The Chinese and Russians used horizontal to great effect.

 

82 – Horizontal propaganda is based on the idea that the average person will align with the group.

 

It operates under innocuous names like ‘team management,’ ‘democratization of the workplace’ shared governance’. Etc. 

 

It is sometimes confused with real democratic-self governance.  But, this is a pseudomorph away: managerial manipulation.

 

83 – You can tell the boss to bugger off, but not your peers. 

 

Soloman Asch’s line studies show how powerful this can be. 

 

84 – If an ad hoc group can make you see lines of different length, what is the power of more stable groups? 

 

In a WW II experiment, designed to get women to eat organ meat, Kurt Lewin put housewives on committees charged with finding out how to get women to eat organ meat.

 

85 – Groups push out deviates.

 

86 – There are powerful behavioral effects: members will dress, speak and act differently once in the group.    This can lead to group-think. 

 

87 – Tupperware works on groups.

 

88 – Crowds do mass hysteria. 

 

89 – Like me, the author has seen few teenagers work several hundred students into a mob.  Since things were already polarized, it was easy to set off.

 

Hitler had more contempt for the mob than even LeBon. 

 

In the early 1960s Carl Jung looked at the UFO craze.

 

90 – Triumph of the Will features lots of crowds in staged events.

 

Horizontal propaganda must be intolerant of other groups. 

 

Freedom of Association is in the constitution because horizontal pressures are so great.

 

91 – In the Korean war, brainwashing required first breaking up the normal hierarchy structure of the prisoners.

 

92 – When Stalin could not reorganized peasants, he had to break up their groups, kill and reorganize. 

 

RIGGED COMMITTEES AND PSEUDO-DEMOCRACY

 

Within a crowd, plants are very helpful.  They can determine the trajectory of a group. 

 

93 – We need people to ‘buy in’ to the concept, to ‘take ownership,’ after they’ve had a ‘chance to contribute.’

 

94 – When you organize a committee, you need to pre-select the chairs and officers, then legitimize them via the appearance of democracy. 

 

SHILS AND JUDAS GOATS

 

Sexually attractive shills work best.  Crowds attract. 

 

ERSATZ, VICARIOUS AND VIRTUAL GROUPS

 

As Harold Lasswell noted, it is usual to claim to speak for the people, large publics, or groups of people. 

 

95 – Public opinion polls help us do that.  All major political parties have their own pollsters for just this reason.  You can design questions that all will agree with.

 

TV creates groups you can imagine yourself in.

 

96 – Leave it to Beaver was an idealized family and had lessons in hard work, honest etc embedded in them. 

 

The laugh track is a great social cue.

 

The online virtual group is also providing groups to belong to.

 

CHAPTER FIVE:

COGNITIVELY PENETRATE AND STICK

PAGE 98

 

You have to get through and stick in this cluttered media society. 

 

Cognitive penetration used to be so much easier.  But, sex still sells.

 

99 – Some of the chief mechanisms are novelty, humor, repetition, simplicity, lexical means and salience / interest.

 

NOVELTY

 

100 – People seek a taste of the unknown, a road to happiness a new sex partner, a rare possession a unique thrill, etc.,

 

Make things, ‘new and improved.’ 

 

New beginnings like being reborn or saved are great too.  A new believer.

 

101 – When novelty gets old, look for good old fashion values.  Again, we must reflect the beliefs of the audience. 

 

We can look for ‘conventional novelty.’  Schools have new programs all the time that are novel, yet more of the same.

 

102 – Administrators make money measuring the effectiveness of a program.  When it is found wanting, they make a new program.   But if things measure well, they take credit.

 

HUMOR

 

103 – Humor relies on incongruity, novel, unexpected outcomes.  Being noticed trumps good taste.

 

REPETITION AND SIMPLICITY

 

These are the twin tracks of propaganda.  Remember, disambiguate. 

 

Change you can believe in.

 

104 – Shovel ready projects.   See, hear, associate.  Jingles, slogans and logos work here too.

 

105 - Benz and swastika symbols mean something.

 

LEXICAL TECHNIQUES

 

Rhetorical devices include metaphors and similes.

 

106 – In America the metaphor of the melting pot worked. 

 

“Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall,’ didn’t mean literally and just the wall, it was metaphor. 

 

Detroit was motor city, then renaissance city and then murder city.

 

107 – Acronyms make memorable names.  Alliteration is another good tool. ‘Content of their character not the color of their skin’ and ‘campus crusade for Christ’ are good examples.

 

108 – Rhyme is good.  Word choice is good.  Know your audience. Don’t speak ebonics if a middle aged managerial white. 

 

Presidents now do ceremonial speech.  Academics need to speak in an elevated way.

 

109 – Asyndeta is short phrases, closers: ‘You know my experience, You know my ability.  I want the job.”

 

SALIENCE / INTEREST

 

Hemorrhoid suffers perk up when they hear the topic. 

 

GNOSTIC TECHNIQUES

 

110 – ‘People in the know’ appeal.  Conspiracy theories work on this.

 

111 – This technique flatters the hearers that they’re smarter than everyone else.  You’re the ‘educated consumer.’

 

James Joyce’s’ Ulysses became a best seller because people couldn’t understand it.

 

112 – Dylan played off of this kind of mystification. He was about as revolutionary as GM.

 

112 – PT Barnum used to write letters denouncing his show before coming to town.

 

CHAPTER SIX:

DISTANCE THE PROPAGANDA FROM

THE SOURCE

PAGE 113

 

You need a disinterested party to sell your message.

 

114 – ‘Americans for freedom.’

 

Bernays sold bananas by using an old report to bolster a front group to say they were good baby food.  Then the song, yes I have no bananas.  This was for UFC. 

 

115 – Planned leaks from government agency can spread your message.

 

Once it goes from your group, to press release to news station, it is very hard to trace the source in order to question it.

 

116 – Bush had anti-drug messages inserted into films.

 

118 – Grey propaganda is when the source is hidden, but the info is true.

Black propaganda is spread disinformation. 

 

The first casualty of war is truth.

 

119 – Publicity is when propagandists create synthetic news.   The best is when news ‘covers’ a story that has been fed to them ‘as it really happened.’ 

 

Being on TV is exciting to people so they go over the top.

 

THINK TANKS, FOUNDATIONS AND RESEARCH PATRONAGE

 

120 - Think tanks make knowledge that is injected at various points in the info sociology.  It is called ‘independent’ research.

 

RFP is request for proposal wherein a group offers funds for people willing to study things in the way they want them framed.  Then it is independent research. 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN:

ACCOMMODATE INFORMATIONAL NEEDS AND HABITS

PAGE 122

 

Your material should suit the informational needs and professional routines of journalists, editors, scriptwriters, interest groups, voluntary associations, churches, institutions, trade associations, corporations, blogs, news media, publishers, educators researchers and various groups that collect and distribute info to their markets.

 

Provide them info that meets your needs.

 

123 - Propagandists hit news a lot as they are former newspaper folk. 

 

Press releases, background info, story opportunities, photo ops, reports and synthetic spectacles suitable for broadcast, including press conferences.   You can even just provide footage and a complete segment for news.

 

It is estimated that 50 to 80 % of news comes from official press releases.

 

INTEREST GROUPS

 

124 – interest groups represent large, organized systems, with highly specialized informational needs and reach – they inform citizens, organizations, bureaucracies and politicians.

 

MADD is one such group. 

 

125 – There are at least 40,000 interest groups or voluntary associations in the US that are large enough to have a formal address. Virtually all interest groups publish news letters.  Churches for example.   Alumni groups need news.

 

Sociologists and some PR pros speak of these groups as ‘publics’. 

 

Everyone on NPR has something to sell. 

 

126 – The 10 Commandments bleed into each other and overlap.  The interest groups control the flow of information.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT:

ADDRESS PSYCHOLOGICAL, SPIRITUAL AND SOCIAL NEEDS

PAGE 127

 

127 – Propaganda must speak to primal psycho-spiritual and social needs that the modern age has vacated due to the waning influence of religion, family and traditional cultural roles.

 

Modern ‘media babies’ are a hybrid of neurotic insecurity and solipsistic egomania.  He lacks identity, place, belonging.

 

128 – Traditional folks didn’t have identity crisis. 

 

Paradoxically  mass man is socialized to think of himself as unique and inviolable.   He has opinions on everything.  And, by his vote his opinion is listened to.

 

129 – We are everything and yet, just a job.

 

Everyone is a bundle of base-level animal needs.  Promises of food, sex, shelter or blame at those who cause shortage of said, is effective. 

 

Marxists kill aid workers to cause misery and hope of revolution. 

 

Self – interest, such as economic programs, lower taxes, better neighborhoods.  Support emotions aimed at someone else or an ungraspable concept, ie ‘corporations.’ Wherein someone else pays the bill.   

 

When the belly is full, more psycho-spiritual needs come forward.  But, these still are connected to gut and gonad.    And, these tugs apply more to the human as a social than as a solitary beast.

 

130 – We need identity, meaning and belonging.

 

130 – He will avoid psychological jargon like the ‘sex drive’ because it is tautological.  This is not modern jargon.

 

 

IDENTITY, EGO AND POWER

 

J.R.R. Tolkien asked, “Who are you, alone, in the dark?”  Patrick knows not the answer, “one just is,” he says.

 

131 – Though he doesn’t believe in the concept of ‘self’ for her it is “What you really are, or should be, or shouldn’t be, and who or what you definitely aren’t”

 

Propaganda offers ready  made identities.  Religions, political parties and social movements are common sources of identity. 

 

“Culture” gives identity, patriotism, ethnic and national identity, new world cool cat, manly man, green environmentalist.  There is no shortage of identities you can appeal to.

 

White male conservative radio listener talks about ‘his cause.’

 

132 – His talk is prayer directed at everything he is not.  He has a meaningless job.

 

Leftists and leftist profs have their Marxist cause to give them identity too.

 

133 – People, Ellul tells us undergo “psychological crystalization’ wherein you become a creature of propaganda.  “It is the psycho-spiritual equivalent to foot binding.”

 

We are biologically the same, underneath, but a cause has taken over us.

This is dismissive of Human Biodiversity.  But, it is not Patrick’s main point herein.

 

134 - Providing propaganda makes for elite control in the world. Christianity is the example. (not informed by Darwin’s Cathedral).  It gives people a vital personal role in the universe.  It is effective in direct proportion to peoples’ feelings of lonliness.

 

CONSUMERISM

 

135 - You get identity by consuming paraphernalia. The office worker who becomes a fly fisherman is buying an identity.    It may cost thousands and no fish may be gotten.  And, since it involves no needs, the fisherman can pass himself off as an artist seeking transcendent perfection. 

 

136 – Identity and the aesthetic of being a fly fisherman are the product being sold.

 

The Just do it shoe associates you with winners.

 

137 – The word ‘hobby’ is used less often these days as it detracts from consumerism.  If at first one doesn’t succeed, one buys better equipment.

 

MEANINGS, ROUTINES AND RITUALS

 

Chaos is not enjoyable.  People like a wholesome order.  “I am just a simple hard working guy that goes to work and pays my taxes.”

 

138 – People seek out and welcome assurances of an orderly rational world with predictable outcomes. 

 

Attending to daily news is a way to fill the emptiness.  A major theme in the news is a return to normalcy.  11 o’clock and all is well.

 

Ritualistic communication does this too, ‘vision’ and ‘moving constantly into the future.’

 

Everything has been good in the past, now it is good, and it will be better in the future.

 

139 – The purpose of this meeting is to have a meeting. That is ritual.

 

BELONGING

 

It is not enough that we’re personally accomplished, it needs to be a part of a bigger mission.  For example, a prof may think he’s furthering Western civilization (you lookin’ at me?). 

 

140 – Belonging and continuity manifest in uses of patriotism, nationalism, ethnicity, race, (previously family and tribe), religion, culture, family, institutions (like university), tradition and the US Marines and causes work too.

 

CHAPTER NINE:

PERSONALIZE AND DEHUMANIZE

AS APPROPRIATE

PAGE 141

 

Dehumanization turns people into plagues, machines, monsters, animals or into things or parts.

 

Personalization happens when people become symbols of the cause: MLK.

 

142 – All social movements have heroes and villains.

 

We have dozens of MLK boulvards.  But, in his own time he was a Negro Communist agitator in many eyes. 

 

POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE PERSONALIZATION

 

This depicts members of our racial, ethnic or friendly in-group as loving, community-centered, beautiful, responsible, cultured, smart, hard working, etc.

 

143 – A politician pictured with seniors.  He goes on stage with wife and children.

 

Then you can compare people to bad things too.

 

144 – When you define violence as an ‘epidemic’ the humanistic element disappears. 

 

145 – ADD is used to create bureaucratic control over people, he supposes.  And, the one who discovers and diagnoses looks heroic.

 

It allows psychological distancing.

 

USE OF DYSPHEMISM AND EUPHEMISMS IN PERSONALIZATION

 

Euphemism is a good-ism.  Bad ism is dysphemisms.

 

The dog is ‘put down.’  perp” a clan, insurgents, freedom fighters.  Bureaucratically, the ‘person of interest’ or ‘at risk’ 

 

146 – “At risk” justifies a home invasion and monitoring by the state.  Then we have the ‘patient’ and the ‘case.’

 

THE BUREAUCRATIC PASSIVE VOICE

 

147 – Experienced a period of negative growth. (paradoxical). 

 

The passive means there is no wrongdoer. 

 

It has become necessary to . . . circumstances beyond our control.

 

We don’t see war corpses. 

 

A grieving mother is easier. This is ‘dramaganda’.   It produces emotions of manageable size.  

 

149 – The high school friends say, ‘we’ll miss you blinky.’ 

 

Personalized heroes and villains, not sociology or analysis, dominate the news. Fireman respond to 9 / 11.  We see no bodies.  We get no analysis.

 

150 – Michel Foucault showed how the ‘clinical gaze’ is necessary to bureaucracy taking over. 

 

‘Pedagogy’ is a term that makes teaching a science for professionals and so the state.  “At risk” is another use of progressive science to control / scam.

 

151 – Even if it only saves one life it is worth it.  Again, story, not sociology.

 

152 – Human interest sells.  Clinton is ‘the man from hope.’  Memoirs personalize, Palin’sgoin’ rogue’. 

 

Have your newsconferences and events early enough that they can be on the evening news.  Then bring personal witnesses to testify about fund cuts and such, not facts.

 

153 – They argued for a program by bringing out the needy paraprofessionals. 

 

Use mean spirited rumors, Clinton’s STDs.  Find the least sympathetic Trump supporter and interview him. 

 

Select shots with their mouth opens to smear, smiling for positive.

 

154 – Lawyers choose attractive petitioners.  An elderly black man brings suit to allow gun sales.

 

The celebrity spokesperson is extreme personalization. 

 

Look at the place of Hitler in culture and in his movement.  Personified.

 

155 – We need politicians as symbols.  And, they themselves struggle to be seen as regular folk who worked their way up.

 

CHAPTER TEN:

DISPENSE TRUTH, FACTS, LOGIC

AND SCIENCE

PAGE 156

 

156 – We have scientism, which he calls the deification of science.

 

157 – Science will tell us what was, is and shall be.  It can save us.  These used to be religion’s jobs. 

 

Even creationists do so by appealing to their scientists.

 

158 – This is why official press releases work.  They sound authoritative . 

 

And, when scientific findings are reported, they are heavily spun. 

 

159 – In a meaningful sense, the torrent of info drowns a person much more than it informs them. 

 

160 – PR folk are ubiquitous in delivering stats to us.  And, they see intellectuals as menials who shovel ideas.

 

THE CONSULTANT GAME

 

Outside consultants recommending your program is a favorite of administrators and others who spend other’s money.

 

162 – The oracle of science has spoken as it has been paid to do.

 

SUBPROPAGANDA AND PREPROPAGANDA

 

A planned propaganda campaign often begins with laying the groundwork well in advance of the main thrust.

 

You release scientific findings for a while then move on to legislation.

 

Some call it consciousness raising (very 1970s). 

 

For this you use the rigged Request for Proposal tactic.  Funding agencies stipulate what kinds of research is desired.  Stuff that doesn’t get at that, is not funded.

 

163 – Sometimes studies are ‘wired,’ that is the RFP is written so that it will definitely go to a specific, pre-understood research group. 

 

Op-ed pieces introduce scientific subpropaganda. You write opinions on upcoming events to prepare the opinions.

 

Lamarck and experts signing pro-German letters in 1914 are examples.

 

BUREAUCRATIC LOGIC, TRUTH AND BEAUTY

 

Organizations represent power.  If you challenge it, they can inflict pain.  When they say they want input, it is to reinforce the party line.  Discussion is intended to achieve conformity.

 

166 – They are filled with fat cat administrators and self-perpetuating functionaries who operate at general social expense.

 

They reject people who challenge them (this seems personal and off topic). 

 

The genre of polite rejection letters, when he didn’t get a job.

 

THE ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION GAME

 

Self-serving, quantitative program evaluations are a modern art form. 

 

167 – People will falsify the goals and evaluation of programs to keep them going.

 

MUMBO JUMBO, MAGICAL THINKING AND CARGO CULT EDUCATION

 

168 – Most people don’t even know how their toilet works, let alone anything else.

 

Magic worlds used to exist. Rome’s priests. 

 

169 – Mass education is like a cargo cult.  You memorize words and get a diploma. (again, I think we’re off topic).

 

170 – In the end, we use deductive syllogisms.  Government stimulus stimulates; therefore the government will stimulate; therefore the US will be prosperous.

 

More money means better education; we will spend more money; we will improve education.  Ed admins love this one!

Ritualized science pervades education and popular and organizational culture.

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN:

DEMONSTRATE GOOD ETHICS

(AND DON’T GET CAUGHT)

PAGE 171

 

A Code of Ethics or a Vision Statement can deflect criticism.  It is a protective screen.

 

NAME-GAME ETHICS

 

172 - The British and American propaganda succeeded in getting the term ‘propaganda’ to only apply to the Germans. 

 

We had the Committee of Public Information – not propaganda.

 

The Nazi propaganda was amateurish compared to British and American. 

 

Propagandists are not men in trench coats, they are everyday employees.

 

173 – They will not call themselves propagandists either.  People educated in PR believe their own PR. 

 

PR Textbooks talk about ethics.  Ha.  This is posturing and an excellent example of ethics statements being a cover. 

 

Manipulating the target audience, learning its vulnerabilities and grid coordinates, obtaining ‘feedback’ to improve the message penetration, is not the same thing as a conversation between equals.

 

174 – Bernays used ‘propaganda’ and ‘pr’ interchangeably. 

 

He joked about ‘proper-ganda’ and ‘improper-ganda’. 

 

Some say pr folks bring forth info that people wouldn’t get otherwise.  It makes for informed choices.  Wrong.  It is pandering.

 

A chapter of Mein Kampf describes propaganda.  (the book is $6.95 on amazon, wherein the Communist Manifesto is $2.50!)

 

175 – Propagandists use many fake names: public relations, community relations; government relations; publicity; media relations; publicist; speechwriter; marketing; donor relations; communications specialist; development officer; donor relations; campaign manager; community organizer.

 

In 1913 the US Congress worried about government funds for propaganda.  It used the taxpayers’ money to promote the careers of the same officials who were spending them.  Congress banned budgeted funds for ‘publicity experts.’  They changed the name.

 

Now few question the White House Communication staffer spouting re-election campaign material all year long.

 

176 – Many professors call what others do ‘propaganda’ and then teach ‘critical theory’ as fact. 

 

Ethical posturing is always important.  Not just is Man the ‘political animal’ he is the ethically posturing political animal.’ 

 

ETHOS ALMIGHTY

 

You are always the ethical one, the other side unethical.  All else being equal, the source with the ethical upper-hand wins.

 

177 – Credibility comes from good ethics.   A virtuous man is persuasive.

 

If you’re tall and look people in the eye and have a good rep. is better than being well spoken.  The wise person marries based on ethos.

 

Unethical big talkers are not listened to.

 

178 – You lose ethos advantage when you lose emotional control. Exaggerated talk, hyperbole, anger, unhappiness, instability, questionable associates, all lose you the ethical upperhand. 

 

Good looks and health matter. Not too skinny, not too fat (where does he get this stuff?).

 

Folksy charm can work.  Ivy leaguers who pose working class are taking a risk of looking silly.  But it can pay off.

 

179 – Conspicuous displays of family values help.  The Presidential cat or dog sends messages of ethos.  Anyone who loves animals must be good.

 

Politicians are also great joiners.  You use the influence of said groups.  Conspicuously go to church.

 

180 – Books are a prestige item. Write one.   A candidate without one is no candidate. 

 

Private corporations project ethos via architectural grandeur.  It shows how big and stable they are.

 

181 – They also show it when they are battling social evils for some reason. Chevron protecting the environ.

 

INTERIOR COLONIZATION

 

Millions of people work for the Federal government, millions more for State and affiliated institutions. Even private universities get

 

182 - This level of domination can only happen with the ethical upper-hand established.

 

We put miraculous expectations on government.  The lame must not merely walk, but run!

 

They justify their programs on ethics, not achievement.  No Child Left Behind, out-come based education – so much crap.

 

183 – Carefully wrought bullshit.  Exquisitely sophisticated craftsmen put this BS together.

 

As our government has found no more frontiers, it now eats us via ‘interior-directed colonization. It is the lingering colonial impulse.

 

184 – This has led to the “service economy’ of dependence.  The atomized masses are an exploitable vein of gold that self-renews.

 

The government is the frontier for forward thinking propagandists.

 

PROJECTING THE ETHOS OF OPENNESS

 

Transparency signals ethics.  

 

Public meetings are often staged farces, because all are already committed to their vote.

 

185 – Freedom of Information Act requests are routinely foiled.

 

185 – The Town Hall is a popular way to pretend openness these days.

 

186 – You can make sure the audience all works for you. 

 

A managed website and blog, where feedback is welcomed, projects openness and honesty.  Bad comments are deleted.

 

Power point beats useful discussion.  You end the power point presentation with some important questions (for which you’ve prepared an answer). 

 

Ethical codes make propaganda a social service. 

 

Ending:

 

The “let them eat cake,’ style is long passé these days.  The contemporary style is “let them eat propaganda.” I sincerely hoped for better than this from Western Culture.