The term propaganda is not just a pejorative. Its purpose is formulaic and deliberate, and is only not referred to objectively because of the now educated public understanding of its meaning. An Austrian-American publicist named Edward Bernays is considered to be the father of the public relations industry, and pioneered physiologically systematic propaganda along with the inventor Ivy Lee (uncle of William S. Burroughs, who said in Naked Lunch: “A functioning police state needs no police.”)
Bernays correctly observed that we exist “in an age of mass production. In the mass production of materials a broad technique has been developed and applied to their distribution. In this age, too, there must be a technique for the mass distribution of ideas. “ And in a 1928 publication titled Propaganda, Bernays said the following. “Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.” And in indoctrinated conformity, “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.”
A mind of indignation, and dissenting democratic principle, could easily interpret these quotes as being from deconstructing and subversive writings of an anti-authoritarian individualist, like Orwell or Voltaire. But they are in fact an established manifesto and guide, a belief and intention, and when understanding so, we overcome our incredulity to have a totally elevated and dissected view of society.
The dehumanizing cognitive science of Bernays is the foundation of modern consumerism, and the state propaganda conditioning public obedience and compliance accordingly. Another named Walter Lippmann established the concept of manufacturing consent, which many will know as the title of a book on media manipulation by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman. The analyzations of Lippmann formed a consensus, with its first point claiming public opinion against war was “too pacifist in peace and too bellicose in war, too neutralist or appeasing in negotiations or too intransigent”.
It was therefore necessary to establish a doublespeak propaganda line to excuse government agenda, which Chomsky and Herman portray in the context of imperialistic crimes against humanity in 1960s Indochina. A great American philosopher and educationalist, John Dewey, defined the meaning of a free society, of individual minds in education of free, critical and creative thinking, and free information making all exertions of authority democratically accountable for its exertion and responsibility. “As long as politics is the shadow cast on society by big business, the attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance.” It is time for us to enlighten the shadow.