Propaganda

The following text is from the book Propaganda
by Edward Bernays. The book was originally published in 1928, but was recently republished by Ig Publishing and is available on Amazon.com. Ig Publishing is based in Canada. I can’t help but think they may be concerned over their neighbors to the south.


This book is of special significance considering who Edward Bernays was. The back of the book states:

The nephew of Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays (1891 – 1995) pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he called “engineering of consent.” During World War I, he was an the integral part—along with Walter Lippman—of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda machine that advertised and sold the war to the American people as one that would “Make the World Safe for Democracy.” The marketing strategies for all future wars would be based on the CPI model.

Propaganda (Ch.2, P. 47)

In the days when kings were kings, Louis XIV made his modest remark, “L’Etat c’est moi.” He was nearly right.

But times have changed. The steam engine, the multiple press, and the public school, that trio of the industrial revolution, have taken the power away from kings and given it to the people. The people actually gained power which the king lost. For economic power tends to draw after it political power; and the history of the industrial revolution shows how that power passed from the king and the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie. Universal suffrage and universal schooling reinforced this tendency, and at last even the bourgeoisie stood in fear of the common people. For the masses promised to become king.

Today, however, a reaction has set in. The minority has discovered a powerful help in influencing majorities. It has been found possible so to mold the mind of the masses that they will throw their newly gained strength in the desired direction. In the present structure of society, this practice in inevitable. Whatever of social importance is done today, whether in politics, finance, manufacture, agriculture, charity, education, or other fields, must be done with the help of propaganda. Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.

Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man’s rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all received identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.

For more information on Edward Bernays you may want to read his book Propaganda, and watch the four part BBC documentary on his work Century of Self.

If you are having trouble reading the text on this page, you may right click and download the PDF edward-bernays-propaganda.

3 Responses to Propaganda

  1. Pingback: Mr. X from Planet X » Who says Liberals are Nazis or Fascists?

  2. Pingback: Mr. X from Planet X » Century of Self

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