In the minds of most Americans the word Propaganda calls up images of the Nazis or Communist leaders spreading lies to their populace. For me, I remember watching the invasion of Iraq and laughing at the Iraqi Minister of Information Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf tell his people that they were winning against the American military as the Iraqi forces were being soundly defeated. Little did I know that the joke was on me. Our government has been using propaganda on its people since the government was created and it has intensified in the past few years.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines propaganda as: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or hurting an institution, cause, or a person. Another definition that the dictionary uses is: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause. This second definition would make the article you are reading propaganda. It certainly is my intent to further my cause, namely liberty. Google defines propaganda as: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular cause or point of view.
When I talk about propaganda, I am referring to a government's use of lies, half truths, and deceptions to mislead its people. We Americans like to believe that our government is good and our news media is independent and can be trusted. That delusion is falling apart. Hopefully by the end of this post, you will realize that our government is like all governments and constantly uses propaganda. In fact they use it more often and to a greater effect than anyone in history.
As I said before propaganda is not a new tool in the woodshed of any government, even ours. President Woodrow Wilson would be key in developing and using modern techniques for the purpose of controlling the American people. In the early 1900s the men and women of this country were largely against war and foreign intervention. Wilson changed that. He decided to “make the world safe for democracy.” The method he used was to eliminate freedom starting with the press. It was his strategy to control and censor the media. Part of this campaign by his administration was to paint anyone who disagreed with the war as not loyal and as enemies of the people.
One of the most effective members of Wilson’s, “Committee on Public Information,” was a man named Edward Louis Bernays. He worked at supporting the messaging for the war effort. After the WWI ended he focused on the American people. This is what he said.
“There was one basic lesson I learned in the CPI- that efforts comparable to those applied by the CPI to affect the attitudes of the enemy, of neutrals, and people of this country could be applied with equal facility to peacetime pursuits. In other words, what could be done for a nation at war could be done for organizations and people in a nation at peace.”
Adolf Hitler, and his minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels learned directly from the writings of Bernays. In Mein Kampf, Hitler admires the use of information control used by both Britain and the United States. They employed the example of our government and our former president to create the war machine behind the Third Reich.
In 1948, the Smith-Mundt act was passed. This act forbids the use of “information and psychological operations aimed at influencing U.S. public opinion.” Of course the government ignored this act, but under the provisions of the act it did so illegally.
In the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, there was an amendment added to the bill by Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Texas, and Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington, that nullified the Smith-Mundt Act and once again made propaganda legal again. When Barack Obama signed that act, he again destroyed the right to a free press. In his article for Business Insider Michael B Kelly said that this amendment would allow government to, “directly disseminate campaigns of misinformation to the US Public.”
Our media is being used as a weapon against us. They bombard us from every side with propaganda. This, in my opinion, goes even farther and amounts to mind control. No matter which party is in power they all have the same goal, to control the American public. In the current administration they use distractions everyday to stop each of us from thinking for ourselves. Our television screens fill with talk of Russian involvement in our elections from both sides while the Trump administration passes bills that continue to strip liberties away and steal money from us. His tariffs are just an early and easily misleading theft because it is not called a tax. He has even commented about taking away guns and giving due process later.
On top of this, his administration has failed to do anything to keep the pro-freedom promises he made on the campaign trail. How is repealing Obamacare going? Don’t get me started on his militarism all over the globe. Trump is just like the presidents before him, a liar, a fraud, and using the propaganda arm of the centralized government, the media. Even his fake disdain for the media is part of this act of misdirection. Propaganda is everywhere.
In the past few years it has even become worse, as the public gets their information from the internet. The government has sought to control that as well. Is anyone not on Facebook? In an article in The Times of Israel, Robert McNamee, says of Facebook, ”In order to maintain your attention they have taken all the techniques of Edward Bernays and Joseph Goebbels.” He continues with, “And all of the other people from the world of persuasion, and all the big ad agencies, and they’ve mapped it onto an all day product with highly personalized information in order to addict you. We are all to one degree or another addicted.” Add to that, this question from Mother Jones, “Where does Facebook stop, and the NSA Begin?” We pump government propaganda into every interaction in our lives. Where will it end?
The answer is easy, with you. This post is only one of millions. I used the internet to find all of the information in this post. I have just scratched the surface. I could write and many others have written books full of all of this information. The same tools that they are using to control us, we can use to set ourselves free. Information is everywhere.
Sure there are better places to get that information. I use Steemit way more than Facebook. It is not censored and free of government control. I look with a skeptical eye at any article. I question myself and what I believe. I also limit the time I spend watching movies and TV. When I do watch I look for the obvious propaganda. A perfect example is the show Arrow, based on the DC comic Green Arrow. When they started pushing for gun control I stopped watching. I naturally do not watch movies that glorify war. In other words I stay vigilant and conscious of what my mind receives.
I also think we have to resist only living in the digital. Yes, I love technology, but I also love a good book, a great conversation in person, or a stroll through the woods. We cannot disconnect to the world around us. Share yourself and share in the rest of this wonderful world.
The solution to Propaganda is easy. A couple of weeks ago I wrote another post for Adam Kokesh on Harriet Tubman. In my study of this fantastic freedom fighter I found the answer. Slavery is a mindset and one I do not have.
You are reading this article on the Steemit page that belongs to Adam Kokesh, so I think that it is a fair bet that you also do not have a slave mentality. Do not fear the government propaganda; it is just another symptom of the last death gasps of a dying beast whose time has passed.
by @marcus.pulis (Press Secretary)