Are you feeling pressured to re-mold your opinions? To accept things you have long believed were morally wrong? To change your deepest convictions? To be quiet when you are offended? Have you been a victim of propaganda?
What is propaganda? It’s “communication for purpose of persuasion,” says the Think Quest website, “the manipulation of public opinion. It is generally carried out through media that is capable of reaching a large number of people and effectively persuade them for or against a cause.”
“Propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of the community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument,” says Wikipedia. “Propaganda statements may be partly false and partly true. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.”
Why should you care? “When you're confronted with propaganda, it's bad news aimed straight at your heart, and it's not random at all. Another human being is aiming that arrow,” writes Guy Bergstrom. Propaganda is “an organized campaign of misinformation, fear, censorship, half-truths and lies.”
“Every waking moment we are given a choice, a test of our free will, to be ruled by desire and fear, or to do what we know at our very core is right,” offers Brandon Smith in How The Corrupt Establishment Is Selling Moral Bankruptcy To America.
“When a man silences his inner voice, the results can be terrible for him and those around him," writes Smith. "When an entire culture silences its inner voice, the results can be catastrophic. Such a shift in the moral compass of a society rarely takes place in a vacuum.”
But who would want to change an entire society? Look at Hitler’s Nazi Germany or Mao’s China. “There is always a false shepherd,” writes Smith, “a corrupt leadership that seeks to rule. Rulership, though, is difficult in the face of an awake population that respects integrity and honor.”
Destroy a society’s integrity and honor, says Smith, and you can lead them anywhere,” writes Smith. Look at what Lenin and Stalin did to traditionally Christian and family-oriented Russia.
“Some people believe that morality comes from the force of bureaucracy and government law. Still others believe there is no such thing; that morality is a facade created by men in order to better grease the wheels of society. The reality is that we are not born good or evil. Rather, we are all born with the capacity for good and evil. This internal battle stays with us until the end of our days.”
“Propaganda uses images, caricatures and fear like a weapon. If you're the target of propaganda, it's not random. It's a dagger aimed at your heart.”
Here are a few tried and true propaganda tactics to watch out for.
Those taking power pretend to be righteous: This propaganda technique has worked over and over for those seizing power. “They must first sell the public on the idea that they hold the exact same values as everyone else,” writes Smith.
“The public must at first believe that corrupt leaders are pure in their motives and have the best interests of the nation at heart, even if they secretly do not.”
Pretend to be patriotic, protecting the nation from any convenient enemy. The corrupt Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe is a master of this one. “Despots often proclaim an untarnished love of their homeland and the values that it was founded upon,” continues Smith. “However, what they really seek is to become a living symbol of the homeland.”
“They insist first that they are the embodiment of the national legacy, and then they attempt to change that national legacy entirely. A corrupt government uses the ideals of a society to acquire a foothold, and when they have gained sufficient control, they dictate to that society a new set of ideals that are totally contrary to the original.”
Offer to “fix” the economy: Hitler did this one very effectively. “Tyrants do not like it when the citizens under them are self-sufficient or economically independent,” writes Smith.
“They will use whatever methods are at their disposal including subversive legislation and even engineered financial collapse in order to remove the public’s ability to function autonomously.”
“They will begin this process under the guise that the current less-controlled and less-centralized system is ‘not safe enough,’ and that they have a better way to ensure prosperity.”
Offer to take care of everybody: Evita Peron used this tactic in fascist Argentina. “Once the population has been removed from its own survival imperative and is for the most part helpless, the criminal leadership moves in and offers to ‘help’ using taxation and money creation, slowly siphoning the wealth from the middle class and raising prices through inflation.”
“Eventually, everyone will be ‘equal;' equally poor that is. In the end, the whole nation will see the rulership as indispensable, for without them, the economy would no longer exist and tragedy would ensue."