Archive for December 18, 2018

Propaganda Provides an Excuse, Rather than Manufacturing Consent: 1

December 18, 2018 6 comments

Some years ago, I was watching (or rewatching) a YouTube video which was trying to tout the efficacy of government and corporate propaganda. Maybe it was something by Adam Curtis or a derivative work which used excerpts from The Century of Self. In any case, the precise identity of that clip has virtually no relevance to the topic of this series- for reasons which will soon become obvious. While I usually find such bullshit quite entertaining, if only for the apparent conviction of belief displayed by those who are into such stuff- this was different. Perhaps I was just feeling extra misanthropic that particular evening, or maybe it was the alcohol (likely both).. but an interesting idea came to my mind. What if propaganda provides an official-sounding excuse for people to act out their most depraved beliefs, rather than put it in their mind in the first place.

As regular readers of this blog know, my opinions about human beings as a species have never been especially high– to put it mildly. You can, therefore, see this series as an extension of my opinions on that subject. Anyway.. let us get back to the topic of this series by asking ourselves a simple question. What is the one central but unspoken assumption which has to be true for any propaganda to “work”? And remember that this unspoken assumption underlies every single explanation for the efficacy of propaganda- from Noam Chomsky and his ‘Manufacturing Consent’ to the pseudoscience.. I mean psychology crap spouted by any random loser slaving way at a marketing firm. Could it about linguistics, ‘neuroscience’ or some other clever sounding bullshit?
Think harder.. because once I reveal it many of you might say that it was obvious.

Are you ready.. here it goes.. All conventional explanations for the efficacy of propaganda are based around the assumption that human beings as a species are naturally good, kind, decent, altruistic, humane etc. Even the class of explanations which assume that humans are imperfect creatures make the implicit and unspoken assumption that they are basically good. As I will explain you later, there is a reason why even the most fucked-up human being firmly believes that he or she is a ‘good’ person. At this point, some might wonder whether I see human beings as ‘risen apes’ or ‘fallen angels’. Surprise.. I don’t see them as either. In my opinion, comparing human beings to apes is rather insulting to the later. So how do I see human beings as a species?

To be quite blunt.. human beings as a species are incapable of anything approaching objective thought, let alone reason. They are also fundamentally incapable of being kind, decent, altruistic or anything else which they want to believe about themselves. Instead.. they are an incredibly greedy, short-sighted, narcissistic and delusional species with an obsession for trying to dominate others and an all-consuming fear of their inevitable mortality. Human beings as a species not only lack a ‘moral compass’ of any kind, but are actually incapable of creating anything along those lines. Perhaps more importantly, this is the case irrespective of their “culture”, ethnicity, race, “IQ” or sex. And they also have a predilection for self-destruction. The fact that humans beings have not made themselves extinct after invention of nuclear weapons is a minor miracle.

While this assessment might sound unpleasant, it is based in reality. Read enough about history and you will be hard pressed to identify who was the lesser fuckup and delusional asshole in any interaction. If that is too much work, just look at the world around you with critical eyes. Think about all the people you have worked for, worked with, had sex with or are related to and then as yourself.. “Is this what passes for average humans?”. I am not saying that every single person is a delusional sadistic fuckup. Indeed we can all think of a few people (based on our personal experience) who are clearly not, but most of them are.. well.. sad fuckups. And that is why I use the expression ‘human beings as a species’ as opposed to ‘all humans’. In other words, not everyone- just the majority. But the majority, nonetheless.

Now you know why it was so easy to find tons of people willing to burn alleged witches in 16th-17th century Europe or why persecuting and lynching Jews was a popular pastime during the Great Plague epidemic of 1347-1351. That is also why mass human sacrifice was an important part of Aztec Culture or why the very ‘christian’ Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors went about killing and enslaving millions of people in south and central america. This is also how tens of millions died due to famine during British Rule of India or how many tens of millions of white men killed each other during WW1 and WW2. Did I mention the ethnic genocides which occurred in the last century such as the Armenian Genocide, the Ukrainian Famine of the 1930s, the Holocaust, all the millions who died in China between 1959-1961. Oh and that is separate from the millions killed during Japanese occupation of (parts of) China during the 1937-1945 timespan.

And this is just a tiny sliver of what you can find when you read enough history. Now tell me something.. do you think that human beings as a species have to be “brainwashed” to do evil and stupid things? Do you still think human beings really require a bunch of manipulators to get them to kill each other for no good reason? Or perhaps ‘propaganda’ just gives people a public excuse to act out their most depraved desires and pretend that it was not their idea. The far more straightforward (if unpleasant) explanation is that ‘propaganda’ simply provides most people a way to externalize responsibility for their shitty and stupid behavior. That way, they can do horrendous stuff but then also be able to pretend that they are good persons. It is all about enjoying the morbid deed but externalizing the responsibility of said deed.

In the next part, I will use a series of examples to show you that ‘propaganda’ is really about telling people that is OK be pathetic, depraved and murderous assholes. And remember that old white people who watch Fox News did not become sad racist losers after starting to watch that channel. Newsflash.. they were always racist losers. Fox News simply provided external validation for the beliefs which they always held but were too cowardly to display in public until some fuckface or bimbo on Fox News told them that it was OK to do so.

What do you think? Comments?