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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/10/20

Propaganda is Vital In Upholding The Illusion of a Democracy

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Published by Rising Tide Foundation

George Orwell - painted portrait - IMG_1868
George Orwell - painted portrait - IMG_1868
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"Whenever the government of the United States shall break up, it will probably be in consequence of a false direction having been given to public opinion. This is the weak point of our defenses, and the part to which the enemies of the system will direct all their attacks. Opinion can be so perverted as to cause the false to seem true; the enemy, a friend, and the friend, an enemy; the best interests of the nation to appear insignificant, and the trifles of moment; in a word, the right the wrong, the wrong the right. In a country where opinion has sway, to seize upon it, is to seize upon power. As it is a rule of humanity that the upright and well-intentioned are comparatively passive, while the designing, dishonest, and selfish are the most untiring in their efforts, the danger of public opinion's getting a false direction is four-fold, since few men think for themselves."

-James Fenimore Cooper

Democracy is something that has been completely taken for granted here in the West. There is an ongoing triumph over past laurels, without paying heed to the road we have strayed from. We criticize others for failing to uphold a standard we consider ourselves the leaders of, but democracy is not something simply "acquired" and subsequently "retained," it is not a "possession." This is because a system of democracy is at every moment of its existence defined by the character of its citizenry. Democracy only exists if it is upheld, and if a citizenry fails to do so, it renders itself defenseless to an ever-creeping tyranny.

For such a "creeping tyranny," control is conditional to whether the citizenry is satisfied with an ever-growing "illusion of democracy." Such a construct needs to give its subjects the impression that they have "free choice" in what shapes their future and their way of life, including: who will be their "friends" and who will be their "foes."

And thus, War has always depended on a reliable system to spread its propaganda.

The Arthashastra written by Chankya (350-283 BCE) who was chief advisor to the Emperor Chandragupta (the first ruler of the Mauryan Empire) discusses propaganda and how to disperse and apply it in warfare. It is one of the oldest accounts of the essentialism of propaganda in warfare.

Propaganda is vital in times of war because it is absolutely imperative that the people, who often need to make the greatest sacrifices and suffer the most, believe that such a war is justified and that such a war will provide them security. To the degree that they believe this to be true, the greater the degree of sacrifice and suffering they are willing to submit themselves for said "promised security".

It is crucial that when the people look at the "enemy" they see something sub-human, for if they recognise that said "enemy" has in fact humanity, the jig is up so to speak.

And thus we are bombarded day after day, hour after hour of reminders as to why the "enemy" is not human like us, not compassionate like us, not patient, just and wise like us.

No doubt, war has been a necessary response when tyranny has formed an army to fight for its cause, but I would put forth that most wars have been rather unnecessary and downright manipulated for the design of a small group of people.

During WWI, on Dec 25th 1914, something rather unexpected occurred and a series of widespread unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front took place between the French/British soldiers and the German soldiers. Some even ventured into "no man's land", given its name since none left it alive, to mingle with the "enemy" and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps. A game of football took place as well. It is said that these truces were not unique to the Christmas period but that they were much more widespread during the holiday season.

These fraternisations would understandably make it quite difficult to return to combat against one another"for no apparently good reason. Some units needed to be relocated since they had developed friendships with the opposing side and now refused to fight them.

The lesson was quickly learned and propaganda was heavily pumped down the throats of the Allied countries, and by the course of just a few years, they no longer viewed the Germans as human.

The Battle For Your Mind

"Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man's belief"The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world."

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Cynthia Chung is a lecturer, writer and co-founder and editor of the Rising Tide Foundation (Montreal, Canada).  She has lectured on the topics of Schiller's aesthetics, Shakespeare's tragedies, Roman history, the Florentine Renaissance among other subjects. She is a writer for (more...)
 

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