Invisible Government-the True Ruling Power of Our Country
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
This is the opening line of Edward Bernay’s book, Propaganda, interested yet?
“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 it?”
This quote is from Edward Bernay’s book, “Propaganda” and it is one of the best books about propaganda to read when you are just starting out.
The entire book available online. Read it for free
Create The Circumstances-Then Answer the Questions
The political leader must be a creator of circumstances, not only a creature of mechanical processes of stereotyping and rubber stamping. Let us suppose that he is campaigning on a low tariff platform…
If he were a propagandist, …although he would still use the radio, he would use it as one instrument of a well-planned strategy. Since he is campaigning on the issue of a low tariff, he not merely would tell people that the high tariff increases the cost of the things they buy, but would create circumstances which would make his contention dramatic and self-evident. He would perhaps stage a low-tariff exhibition simultaneously in twenty cities, with exhibits illustrating the additional cost due to the tariff in force. He would see that these exhibitions were ceremoniously inaugurated by prominent men and women who were interested in a low tariff apart from any interest in his personal political fortunes. He would have groups, whose interests were especially affected by the high cost of living, institute an agitation for lower schedules. He would dramatize the issue, perhaps by having prominent men boycott woolen clothes, and go to important functions in cotton suits, until the wool schedule was reduced. He might get the opinion of social workers as to whether the high cost of wool endangers the health of the poor in winter.
In whatever ways he dramatized the issue, the attention of the public would be attracted to the question before he addressed them personally. Then, when he spoke to his millions of listeners on the radio, he would not be seeking to force an argument down the throats of a public thinking of other things and annoyed by another demand on its attention; on the contrary, he would be answering the spontaneous questions and expressing the emotional demands of a public already keyed to a certain pitch of interest in the subject.
Here we clearly see the idea put forth for planned social agitators that could manipulate public opinion in the desired direction.
Highjacking Trusted Authority
…the group mind does not think in the strict sense of the word. In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits and emotions. In making up its mind its first impulse is usually to follow the example of a trusted leader. This is one of the most firmly established principles of mass psychology.
The authority principle is now a well established fact in marketing and advertising. (See Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition)
The most powerful words to explain the importance of Edward Bernay’s book “ Propaganda” are some of his own.
The central themes thus highlighted may surprise and hopefully disturb the reader .
Tactics such as these were discussed, experimented with and utilized over 70 years ago prior to 1935.
Is there any reason given the incredible effectiveness of this type of propaganda, that they would not be used on a grand scale today by both sides of the political isle? Get the book or read it online today!
Watch the video for more interesting information about Edward Berney’s book and life
More to come on Propaganda in Literature: Upcoming post on George Orwell All Art Is Propaganda