Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism, Technology > Propaganda Provides an Excuse, Rather than Manufacturing Consent: 1

Propaganda Provides an Excuse, Rather than Manufacturing Consent: 1

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?

  1. P Ray
    December 18, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    It’s funny how people like to blame and justify bad behaviour on “I learned it from mass media” …
    but at the same time, spout CONservative lines like “Life is unfair” …
    while ignoring articles like “https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/20/unemployment-and-financial-distress-may-trigger-school-shootings.html”

    Almost like they want to justify bad behaviour AND continuing it.

    When they get shot up I suppose they(the survivors or their relatives) would not be averse to hearing the same medicine … “Life is unfair”

  2. December 18, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    Observing a few under-three-years-olds for a while (I’m a father of six kids, now all adults themselves, and a grandfather of six, so some of my observation and experience has been across decades) makes clear to me that humans are innately amoral, selfish, and self-serving.

    For humanity to have survived even as miserably as it has to this present has always required children being taught (and forced) in some way or another to suppress those innate qualities by at least a significant measure. Children don’t need to be taught to be self-centered and “evil”, because they think and act self-centeredly and often cruelly instinctively. Instead, they have to be taught and trained to be “good” and to consider the welfare of others, in order to hinder and minimize the damage each individual inevitably, even unwittingly, perpetrates on everyone else around.

  3. balu
    December 19, 2018 at 1:40 am

    First, I mostly agree with you. For one particular example, please be careful, the “Ukrainian Famine” is itself a quite recent exercise in propaganda. While there was a famine for reasons that include draught, revolutionary economic changes in agriculture, accounting errors, simple incompetence, etc., with effects to most peoples of the Soviet Union (mostly Russians), the “Holomodor” is a made up bullshit that claims deliberate genocide against a particular population (who were actually considered a particular kind of Russians at that time by most people including themselves). There’s a much more important class fight component as one of the main reasons for the famine, the long and actually bloody war against the top layer of the peasantry, the “kulaks”, and the fight for collectivization. And again, bad weather, sheer bad luck etc were reasons too, remember, this was the time of the Dust Bowl in the USA, with similar results, and the Great Depression (as to address the economic and incompetent aspects of capitalism) were causing widespread hunger in the “West”.

  4. Atlanta Man
    December 20, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Please write about Americas abrupt pull out of Syria. I am very interested in your opinion.

  5. SPECIFICganda
    December 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Propaganda does give excuses and reinforces those excuses to do things, but the different specific details in different situations makes a difference in each specific example of specific propaganda. Different propaganda gets more people to believe the specific excuse for doing or not doing a specific action, and the propaganda hypes up the emotional drive to do a specific action at that specific time in that specific way (that the other persons involved wouldn’t have done at that specific time in that specific way had it not been for that specific propaganda using that specific plausible deniability excuse), and the repetition of the propaganda for doing that specific action builds up momentum to where it becomes a movement of more people organized for doing that specific action that they probably would not have done on their own without the specific propaganda directing them to do so, thus that specific propaganda had a specific effect for a specific result therefore the propaganda did something.
    Religions are very effective at specific propaganda/indoctrination/brainwashing/gaslighting for each specific religion with their specific beliefs. One form of evidence for the effectiveness of specific religion propaganda is the millions of people who go to christian churches on Sunday mornings (as most of those people would not go to a christian church on a Sunday morning had they not been indoctrinated by that specific propaganda to do that specific action), and there are excuses for why they do that (fear of death, etc), but they would not do that in that specific way had it not been for that specific propaganda. More specific evidence for specific religion propaganda is the billions of people who say the words “God” and “Jesus” and actually believe that those words refer to a real “god/deity” and they believe that it does because of that specific christian propaganda (that they would not have made-up those words and beliefs on their own had it not been for that specific christian propaganda). Similarly, people used to believe because of the specific propaganda years ago that “gods/deities” such as Zeus was real. Most people don’t know that the word “god” did not become popular/widely used until after the 600’s AD and it’s not a name. From around the 1600’s AD to 2018 AD christians have been told the specific propaganda lie that “people have to be married to have sex/sex is for marriage only/premarital sex is wrong/people have to do sexual abstinence until marriage” (but that specific propaganda is a lie, and the original Greek word Porneia in the original context meant sex with foreign slaves that were bought and pederasty treating the boy like a slave, and it had nothing at all to do with premarital sex until the definition of the incorrectly translated from Latin word Fornication was incorrectly preached as premarital sex from the 1600’s AD continuing to 2018 AD. The 300’s AD made-up specific propaganda of “Original Sin” (that also falsely implies that humans were “once all good before the original sin then made humans bad”) is a lie in a bunch of ways and the original word was not even an apple. Billions of christians specifically believe the specific propaganda that there’s going to be “the second coming of Jesus” (similar to how many believed the world was going to end in 2012). Millions of christians have the specific belief that there is “the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist” because of the specific propaganda that tells them that the Eucharist is the real body of Jesus (and then they eat him). I used to question beliefs like that and wonder so are we now licking Jesus’ diick, and now we are chewing and eating Jesus. Similar to Conservatism, the main religions are not really about “morality” as they are really an excuse to control other people (especially to control the sexuality of other people), so that’s why I can never go to a christian church again because they would say their lies/bullshiit and I couldn’t just sit there without saying something like F. you/that’s a lie/then walking away.
    Tens of Millions of people around the world would probably not just decide on their own to get married in the way that society tells them to if it was not for specific marriage propaganda that instructed them that specific way is how people get married.
    Many people would probably not have automatically had the specific thought association that breakfast is bacon and eggs had it not been for those specific propaganda Beechnut ads that got millions of people to repeatedly think that.
    Christmas trees (that’s neutral with nothing good or bad about them) is a specific action that millions of people do because of specific propaganda that they wouldn’t have just decided to do on their own volition as they would not have had the thought to put a tree in their house on the Winter Solstice when the sun in the sky “dies” on December 21 and three days later “rises from the dead” on December 25.
    Specific property propaganda gets tens of millions of people to think the illusion that they bought and own a house, when really they are just paying property taxes to rent it.
    Money is specific propaganda as paper money is really worth nothing, but specific money propaganda got billions of people to believe that money is worth the numbers on it and to then the evidence of the effectiveness of this specific propaganda is that billions of people use that money.
    Stockbrokers and financial advisers use specific propaganda saying they are going to help you make more money, but that is just their cover excuse for stealing money from millions of other people.
    Most people would not do some specific action such as voting had they not received that specific propaganda/suggestions repeated frequently, They are told the propaganda to vote for A or B as if they are different but that really are the same. Democracy is further specific propaganda telling people that they live in a Democracy, but it’s really a Authoritarian Theocracy/Totalitarian, and even if it was a Democracy because the majority of people are beta idiots it would be a BETAocracy IDIOTocracy.
    Another example with evidence is where many people do something that they would not have done without that specific propaganda is when a well-known celebrity tv show persona says to buy something and many people do that specific action and buy it specifically because of that specific propaganda and they would not have bought it without that specific propaganda.

  1. January 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm

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