Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Ways of Bernays

"We create reality for you"
The "basic construct" for the politics that wraps around U.S. government is an obvious philosophy of propaganda, now affectionately called "spin."

To those who use propaganda, it seems to be invisible and not obvious at all.

That "basic construct" is: "If we convince enough people, until finally the majority of the people think that what we want to do is the right thing to do, that act of convincing the majority magically transforms any wrong-thing-to-do into the-right-thing-to-do."

We have quoted Dr. Noam Chomsky many times, where he fingers the ideological coup which originally brought it about:
"One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they're very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries — in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control"
(The Deceit Business). That post points out how a propaganda coup was germinated circa the time of World War One.

From that evolutionary point another post shows how that dynamic grew to become "public relations" (PR), or "spin", enhanced by the philosophy of Edward Bernays:
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. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons — a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty [now 320] million — who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.
(A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA - 4, quoting Edward Bernays). Yet another post, Corp Germ > Corp Seed > Corp Monster, details the continual germinating power that war has had on that fundamental, which Dylan describes as "breaking down the distance between right and wrong" (Ring Them Bells).

This changing of the brains [that page has been "lost" (wink, wink), so here is the Wayback Machine copy from that date] or changing of the guards, is not in accord with what is fast becoming our "quaint tradition" (the U.S. Constitution, still falsely said to be our "supreme law" of our land.)

That document had always sought to protect the few from the wrongs of the many, while at the same time protecting the many from the wrongs of the few.

The narrowing of the distance between right and wrong has contorted all that into "too big to jail", "too big to fail", and "the best justice money can buy".

In other words the propaganda engines of the nation are not fooling anyone who doesn't want to be fooled, because the obvious is just that.

The problem is that we can't help but "be fooled" because we can't handle the reality of our servitude:
We now continue this post with a quote used by blogger Randy in comments yesterday:
“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”
(Aldous Huxley, emphasis added). I doubt that Huxley really understood how that would happen, since he used a traditional pharmacological mechanism to articulate his vision.

Even though as it turns out he was correct in principle, it is just that he did not understand that the mega-drug would be oil.

Oil is the drug of choice that fits the bill for "a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude", it is just that the "pharmacological method", as it turns out, is not addiction to something you buy at the local traditional drug store.

Instead, we buy the big drug at the local gas station (the "service station" in 1950's parlance), the Quick Stop, the Seven Eleven, or "the convenience store" (in post-peak-of-sanity civilization's parlance).

And we love it, like Huxley said we would.
(Sickology v Penology). Since "we" have decided to fold instead of hold, our masters will decide our fate "for" us.

The next post in this series is here.

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