Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Propaganda Provides an Excuse, Rather than Manufacturing Consent: 2

Propaganda Provides an Excuse, Rather than Manufacturing Consent: 2

In the previous part of this series, I said that the unspoken assumption underlying any belief in propaganda “working”, namely that human beings as a species are basically good, is wrong. Even a moderately objective look at history, or the world around you, easily demonstrates that most human beings have no moral compass, are incapable of reason, are deeply obsessed with their inevitable mortality and have a strong predilection for self-destruction. This assessment remains valid regardless of historical era, ethnicity, race, religion or any other division used by people to define their identity. In other words, the majority of human beings are, and have always been, pathetic and delusional creatures who usually lack the courage to act on their impulses.

And this where propaganda enters the picture. It provides an excuse or official sanction to act on their desires and impulses. But is there any real-life difference between how societies react to odious behavior with or without an “official” excuse or approval? Well.. let me illustrate with an example. A white american guy who enters a room (or two) and kills twenty primary-school aged children in USA is a horrible and despicable mass murderer- but if the same guy performed that particular act in some poor middle-eastern country, he is almost always portrayed as an upright soldier just doing his duty or perhaps suffering from “PTSD”. Events such as the My Lai Massacre or more recent ones in Afghanistan are more common than most believe.

Here is another example. What is the real difference between any top-level Nazi regime officials tried at Nuremberg show trials (after WW2) and people such as Curtis LeMay, Henry Kissinger, William Westmoreland, Bush 41, Bush43, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld- to name a few. In my opinion, the most importance difference between top Nazi era officials and their post-WW2 american equivalents is that the former wore far better looking uniforms. But why stop here? Ever wonder how the world would have reacted if Nazi Germany had won WW2? Here is a clue.. look at how the world has reacted to post-WW2 USA. My point is that we should not pretend that post-WW2 (or even pre-WW2) USA exists on a different “moral plane” than Nazi-era Germany, pre-1945 Japan, pre-WW2 UK and France or other 19th century colonial powers.

Still not convinced? Ask ten random people in USA what they think of China. Chances are most of them will say something about totalitarianism, hyper-capitalism, air pollution, alleged oppression of minorities, internet censorship and other assorted bullshit which they desperately want to believe. Oddly enough, almost none of them allow their minds to think about the history of their “own” country in an objective manner. Because, let us face it, USA was built by stealing land from its original inhabitants who were then conveniently genocided, its initial wealth was built, first using race-based slavery and then exploiting poor immigrants from other countries. But it gets better.. its global position in the 20th century was largely due it being not ravaged by WW1 and WW2. And in spite of claiming great military superiority, it has not won a single war since WW2.

In contrast to that, China was able to reach its current position as the largest global economy (in real terms) of the early 21st century without stealing land from other people, without slavery and in spite of having to start from scratch in aftermath of partial Japanese occupation (pre-1945) which was preceded by the century of humiliation by white colonial powers. Moreover, the bulk of that development occurred within the previous forty years. By any objective criteria, China and its people have achieved in 40-50 years what the USA took overt two centuries- and have done so with far fewer negative externalities. They have also achieved that outcome with far less social and economic inequality when compared to USA for most of its history.

My point is that most people believe whatever they want to believe, and most are incapable of objective thinking and reason. Let me further explain that concept with three more (long-form) examples. They are as follows: 1] Rise and fall of Nazism and personality cult of Hitler in 1933-1945 era Germany. 2] Rise and fall of american public support for the Vietnam War and 3] The rise and ongoing fall of neoliberal worldview in the ‘west’. As some might remember, I have written a few posts about the first issue in past, such as: how high unemployment was linked to rise of Nazi party in Germany and similarities between those who joined the Nazi party and contemporary careerists. I have also written a few post about neoliberalism and will therefore start by focusing on the american misadventure in Vietnam, which ended in a humiliating defeat.

Let me begin this part by asking you a few simple questions. Why did barely 20% of Americans think that sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake as late as mid-1966? Why did approval for that war drop so quickly between 1967 and 1969? But perhaps, most curiously, why did almost 30% of americans think that the war was not a mistake as late as 1972-1973? The first question is probably the easiest to answer. Most people will support incredibly bad and dangerous ideas as long as they don’t have skin in the game and think they can get away with it. As late as 1966, the number of young american men drafted in that war was barely about 200,000 and most did not experience any significant risk during their tour of duty. Furthermore, their adversaries were asian- a group largely seen as subhuman by white americans.

So what caused this shift in public attitudes? While the conventional narrative ‘Tet Offensive’ did a lot of damage to public image of american forces in Vietnam, it was (in retrospective) just one of the many factors which caused that shift. A far bigger reason was the rapid increase in number of young men drafted for that war after 1966. Some of you might wonder as why the Korean war (1950-1953), whose final casualty figures were pretty close to the one on Vietnam, did not result in a similar shift in public attitudes. Well.. there are two reasons. Firstly, it was just five years after WW2 and the numbers looked small in comparison. Secondly, the part of that war which involved heavy fighting was much shorter (if far more intense) than in Vietnam. Short intense wars have always been far easier to justify than long drawn-out conflicts.

Which brings us to the most peculiar of the three questions. Why did upto a third of the american public believe that the Vietnam war was not a mistake, as late as 1973? Wasn’t it pretty obvious that the war had been a costly failure by then? In my opinion, this comes down to their complete unwillingness and inability to think in anything approaching a rational manner. As I wrote in a previous series, WW1 and WW2 got rid of a lot of reactionary and CONservative men in Europe and Japan- but the late entry of USA in both wars as well as fairly low casualties in the theaters they were deployed did not get rid of most idiots. In other words, USA has (and had) far more living reactionary and CONservative idiots than Europe and many other countries.

The point I am trying to make is that propaganda does not really change minds or worldviews. It merely provides “official” external validation and cover for bad, stupid and disastrous ideas. This also means that any ideology which assumes that most human beings are intrinsically good or thoughtful is fundamentally flawed. Similarly, arguing or debating racists and other types of assorted assholes in good faith is a total waste of your time. Only death or the fear of certain death has, historically, demonstrated the ability to change terms of discourse about fundamental differences in opinion. Nazism lost popular appeal only after most of its supporters got killed in, or in the immediate aftermath of, WW2. The same is true for all those other odious pre-1945 ideas about racial superiority and colonialism in the ‘west’.

In the next part, I will write about how the majority of people will often support other amazingly bad and disastrous ideas if they feel they can get away with doing so.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. January 18, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Am I a good man? Of course I am a good man, I write for the Good Man Project:

    https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/the-good-life-the-way-of-men-interview-with-jack-donovan/

    White takes right, remember that you Hindu Muffins!

    Seig Hail!

    Look we get it. Jack Donovan is a highly odious character.

    Reminds me of Ernst Röhm

  2. January 18, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Now the nazi’s were good men, too…

    we just, uh, hide it a little so we can fit in with liberals… at the end of the day we both just want a bunch of dead babies in syria…

    https://robertcreekmore.com/2017/11/15/nazis-in-wolves-clothing-part-2-i-am-jacks-borderline-personality-disorder/

    Seig Hail!

  3. January 18, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    of course you hindu muffins ain’t evolved enough to know what pulsates through a purebred white man’s heart….

    http://www.jack-donovan.com/malebranche/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=107&g2_serialNumber=1

    Seig Hail!!!!

  4. January 18, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Coincidentally, I mentioned one of the conclusions I’ve held for about twenty-five years to one of my (adult) kids during a recent discussion: Regrettably, any substantial change in worldviews, attitudes, policies, and practices of society, economy, or government usually requires violence and bloodshed. US citizens seem to forget that it even took a bloody war of rebellion to enable the founding of the US.

    Because, for all our preaching to ourselves that logical, rational , objective discussion is the way by which change ought to occur, our ability to think is usually employed to justify acting on our mammal instinct to eliminate other humans competing in our ongoing effort to survive and reproduce.

  5. Rajput College
    January 18, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    God, such a pathetic piece of writing. If you hate the United States so much, why did you move here you cow worshipping idiot?


    Read between the lines.. https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/14/health/opioid-deaths-united-states-surpass-road-accidents/index.html

    China didn’t steal land, but you know what they stole? INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY!! China prospers by stealing stuff instead of innovating anything. And they succeed by employing child slave labor. So go suck a dick with your phony analysis here.

    ‘Intellectual Property’ is as real as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

    • P Ray
      January 19, 2019 at 1:55 am

      China didn’t steal land, but you know what they stole? INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY!! China prospers by stealing stuff instead of innovating anything. And they succeed by employing child slave labor. So go suck a dick with your phony analysis here.

      Chief, you missed out the bits where the white Americans stole Red Indian land, and stole Chinese paper to get their ideas written down, + fireworks to go all bang-bang.
      Plus America in its founding years copied loads of literature, ignoring “Intellectual Property”. Their excuse was “we need to make our population literate quickly”.

    • P Ray
      January 19, 2019 at 1:58 am

      https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/america-once-stole-ideas-from-others-when-it-was-developing-nobel-economics-laureate
      …This is because when a country is lagging far behind, “it makes sense to imitate and innovate” in order to catch up with more advanced nations, said 2011 Nobel Economics laureate Thomas Sargent.

      Speaking on the second day of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road China (Guangdong) International Communication Forum in Zhuhai, the New York University professor said every country that sought to catch up with more developed ones has embraced imitation.

      “In the 19th century, the United States imported ideas, intellectual capital from abroad and my country, the US, did not do a good job of protecting British human capital and intellectual property.

      “We violated intellectual property rights all over the place and the British always complained about it and my country ignored those complaints until the US started getting lots of intellectual property that it wanted to protect. That’s happened over and over again, and it’s going to happen again,” said Prof Sargent.

    • Conscience Constituent
      January 21, 2019 at 6:57 am

      Actually the US stole technology from the british at the time of it’s founding,that is pretty much the same as stealing intellectual property today.

  6. Conscience Constituent
    January 19, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Good post.

  7. Neo
    January 19, 2019 at 10:04 am

    “If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.”
    Curtis LeMay

    German and Japanese war criminals all bitterly complained about “Victor’s Justice” when they knew the Allies were also committing war crimes. The LeMay quote is evidence that Allied officers knew this. WWII was incredibly ugly in every sense of the word. Every nation involved went crazy. That fact alone should have caused reflection upon how to NOT go there again.

    As too much American behavior since WWII evidences (Abu Ghraib, anyone? Fallujah? Murdering non-combatants from an Apache from two miles away?), those lessons weren’t just ignored, but actively refuted as the blood lust of neo-colonialism for easy profits (read: robbery at gun point) took over.

    So don’t wave that Blutfahne in my face! You just might end up sitting on it eagle end first!

    • January 19, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      As the last stanza of the US national anthem preaches:

      “O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
      Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
      Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
      Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
      Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
      And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
      And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
      O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

      We’re not just another tribe among competing tribes. Regardless of the fact that, same as any tribe, we tell ourselves and our kids that, “We worship the True God, and it’s obvious god is on our side.” Cuz’, we know our actions are always righteous and our motives selfless — it’s those other tribes who are evil and selfish. We conquer only when our cause is just, and since we decide what’s just, we’re always justified — it’s those other tribes who are terrorists and enemies of humanity. We’re successful as a tribe, as we define (and subsequently re-define as necessary) success, because God made it so, or, because we fought bravely to make it so (depending on the narrative which suits to be told in any particular case) — not because we happen to have been the biggest kid on the block wielding the biggest stick when the other kids were weakened from injuries and malnutrition.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: