Propagation to Propaganda
The easiest way to define propaganda is to look at the meaning of propagation. The wordbook definition of propagation is the spreading of something (a belief or practice) into new regions or the act of producing offspring or multiplying by such production.
The historical definition of propaganda was originally used to refer to the propagation of the catholic faith; the spreading of beliefs and/or the multiplication of disciples.
Genuine propagation never occurs with coercive attempts to spread the faith. When true to its calling, the catholic faith used preaching (an appeal to the truth) and demonstration (acts of service or good works) to accomplish propagation of the gospel message. This is a historic definition of propaganda as a term.
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What is The Purpose of Propaganda?
The Mass Production Of Ideas
By the 20th century, deep cracks were starting to emerge in the concept of truth. The golden era of radio, TV and movies had begun. The proliferation of mass communication and the study of psychology were rapidly taking off as well. These forces combined in a perfect storm to form the foundation for a new propaganda. During the industrial revolution, men were seized with excitement at the potential that mass production of goods brought to society. Similarly, other men of ambition began to realize that they could mass produce much faster than the well-worn traditional methods.
Ideas, sentiments and attitudes could now be propagated nationwide and globally by images, word-smithing and techniques that had nothing to do with an appeal to truth or authentic leadership.
The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. Many types of propaganda were initiated and utilized to foster support for the war effort.
Edward Bernays, the father of “public relations”, a term that he coined to avoid using the pejorative term “propaganda”, had this to say in his book entitled “Propaganda”
If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.
A juggernaut was born….the power to control and regiment the masses according to the will of others without their knowledge.
Hollywood and Propaganda?
At the start of WWII, the Office of War Information Bureau of Motion Pictures (BMP) was established in collaboration with Hollywood to produce films that advanced American war aims.
According to Elmer Davis, director of the office of War Information…
“The easiest way to inject a propaganda idea into most people’s minds is to let it go through the medium of an entertainment picture when they do not realize that they are being propagandized”
If leaders in the 1940s considered the subconscious infusion of an idea an easy and opportune way to influence the masses, you can easily imagine that our republic was not destined to last long. Why take the arduous path of trying to convince someone about the veracity and soundness of your argument?
Propaganda Killed Debate
The advent of propaganda in America killed debate and dialogue and forever changed the way leaders influenced the masses and subsequently transformed even the nature of the leaders that could be considered suitable for election.
Given the incredible power of these techniques and their potential for misuse, it is any wonder that they appeal to vicious and criminal people who seek power, money and control for their own sake. Are we that naive to think that America is immune?
Perhaps for the first time, it has dawned on you that we should be looking in earnest for the propaganda techniques that have been practiced and perfected here in America for the past 80 years and to diligently uncover what advantages these techniques have wrought for the oligarchy that has used them.
The mass production of ideas or sentiment through any and all means that seek to bypass rational thought, dialogue and debate inherently devaluing the dignity of man and his responsibility to choose diligently and wisely in a republic.
The following infographic summaries in schematic form the nature of propaganda and its antithesis- authentic leadership. At first glance this might seem counter-intuitive but I belief with some reflective thought this representation will be validated.
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