The Subtly of Propaganda

None of us thinks that we are easy prey for propaganda. We all think that it’s the other gal or guy, the one that hasn’t read as much as us or that we’re just not that dumb to swallow a half-truth, let alone a full-blown lie. But I’m afraid it’s just this attitude that the propagandists loves.

Unless we’re humble enough to admit that we could possibly have some things wrong in our thinking, then we’ll be easy prey. Think you can’t possibly fall, and you will.

In addition to Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement by Sue Browder (mentioned in the previous note), I’m also reading The Gravest Show on Earth: America in the Age of AIDS by Elinor Burkett. I’ve had to rethink many ideas long held since beginning both books. Most foundational, I’ve had to rethink how stupid I’ve been in not asking more questions. I’ve believed half-lies as full-truths. I’ve taken the words of friends and writers (who I don’t know) and been swept up in flow of the social/cultural circles that I was raised.

Of course, I’m no different that most Americans. I’m no different than most Europeans I know. I’m no different than humanity, period.

But I must say, that’s no excuse.

As I see it, propagandists as horrible as Joseph Goebbels and as inane as a tennis racquet PR rep, all prey on one weakness common to us all: pride.

Yep. Pride. Pride in intellect. Pride in country. Pride in social position or status. Pride in religion or nonreligion. Pride in [fill in the blanks].

Tell someone a half-truth about “all mighty me”, especially in an area of profound hurt or wounding—something that “all mighty me” longs to hear—and you’re halfway to persuading them to do what you want them to do. Because, well, they can’t possibly step back and admit that they might have been made a fool. Pride won’t let them. Only humility can do that.

Only humility can disarm the propagandist.

Question everything, especially yourself.