Let me start this discussion by addressing the concepts of "truth," and "reality," because at the end of the day propaganda is mainly about suppressing them.
In order to do that one needs to focus on the machinations of the powers that be. In the United States, it goes something like this...
In a decades-long process, wealthy individuals and their organizations, including Wall Street cartels, corpoatists cartels (BigPharma, Big Insurance, Military/Surveillance Industrial Complex, etc.), think tanks, and the entire U.S. corporate media, have colluded (driven by shared interests) to take over the levers of power, thus subverting the U.S. Constitution.
The way they took over our entire political system was through legalized bribery in the form of campaign contributions, lucrative jobs at companies that benefited from decisions made by politicians while in office (a bribery scheme by any other name), special favors for public officials and their family/social circles, access, privileges, and the like.
A good way to understand one of the intellectual drivers behind the process is to study the Powell Memo. ["The Lewis Powell Memo: The Intellectual Genesis of The American Corporatocracy"].
“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.”So once the paymaster/lackey (woman-, man-servant) symbiotic relationship was cemented (through a system of legalized bribery), these people became what is now (September 1st, 2013) the American Oligarchy, or Corporatocracy, where our government basically institutes the will of its corporatist paymasters.
-- Chris Hedges
This actually has become a cultural issue, having infected our entire country one small town, city, and state at a time.
The system now fully entrenched as a Corporatocracy, it is now on a transition to becoming a Kleptocracy, where schemes/systems are put in place to hallow out the resources (workers' productivity, profits, ravaging and destruction of the environment) of the country, driven by rapacious greed (of the ruling class).
And so everywhere you look, there is a systematic effort to defund the proper functions of government, to privatize public education, and the prison system, and to corrupt all major institutions including higher education. It is a system where profits are privatized and losses (social dysfunction, environmental destruction) are socialized. That's the Kleptocratic part of it.
Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform—the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions—we are left defenseless against corporate power.The emphasis is mine
-- Chris Hedges
And so, this is the truth, and this is reality. It ain't pretty, right? Again, for those who quibble with it, I'm adding some reference information below so you can make up your mind as you evaluate my assertion...
MADMEN PROTECTING THEMSELVES
The other day I read a diary that described this people in position of (usurped) power as having shockingly banal minds. Other people refer to them as sociopaths. All of that apply. To put it in perspective, and from my reading of history, including old kingdoms, and Oligarchies of yore they are basically your-run-of-the-mill tyrants. Think "Let them eat cake." That puts them into perspective; basically, they are so blinded by power, and privilege that in the final analysis they don't give two shits, let alone one, about you.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.The emphasis is mine
The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal...
- Frederick Douglass
One doesn't have to over-analyze them. They are just tyrants and oppressors, and their type has always been among us, in every era in history. Things like the rule of law, The Magna Carta, the UN Charter for Human Rights, the U.S. Constitution, in a way have attempts at keeping them in check; an attempt to protect the population from the pillaging and ravaging of madmen.
Propaganda: The first line of defense for these madmen (and women) is propaganda. It is not only the first line of defense, but the most important. It is actually essential for them to count on an ubiquitous omnipresent-type, and very aggressive propaganda machinery in order to be able to continue their plunder (unnoticed and unmolested by the pesky public).
And the focus of the propaganda is TRUTH SUPPRESSION. In reality, they have cause to worry about keeping the truth suppressed because if the general public became fully cognizant of this truth, of this reality, who knows what could happen. So in having instituted an increasingly repressive total-information-awareness surveillance police state, they set up a second line of defense, of which I'll talk about below.
The way the propaganda is distributed is pretty straight forward. Establish a corporate media cartel (made up of 6 corporate media giants) and use it to distribute carefully-calibrated (programming) propaganda 24/7, meant to dull the senses of the public, to spread false narratives, lies, and misinformation.
In this environment, those who endeavor on exposing the true machinations of the system are relentlessly attacked, maligned, and marginalized.
Just from the top of my head, some of the people who are plainly speaking the truth about the true nature of the system are people like Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky ("The Propaganda Model), Robert Reich, Jeremy Scahill, Naomi Klein, Joseph Stiglitz, Bill Moyers, and many others.
You will notice that there is a constant effort to attack, malign, or marginalize these people.
So on the one hand you have the ongoing, brutally efficient propaganda working on our psyches 24/7, and on the other you have the enforcers of the status quo (acting on behalf of the established power structure, or the establishment).
You may be familiar with the tactics of the propaganda enforcers: They seek to attack, malign, and marginalize anybody who tries to expose the machinations of the corrupt/oppressive system. [See reference material below].
Their typical tactics include the use of ad hominens, mockery, maligning, and logical fallacies injected into any discussion focused on exposing the true nature of the system.
Typically this is very effective. Online, this is akin to a group of people having gathered in a real space to discuss these issues and every time this is attempted, someone (usually a few people) runs into the room waving their hands back and forth, screaming, and throwing feces against the wall.
Obviously, in this type of scenario, it would be impossible to have any meaningful discussion about the subject at hand: how men of shockingly banal minds (or madmen) have taken over the levers of power, and what to do about it.
In physical space, there may be some practical solutions. One could call the police or building security and ask that the provocateurs be removed from the room, and after the feces are cleaned from the wall, an intelligent discussion could proceed.
But online, that may be harder to do. It's almost like the online world lends itself perfectly to be eternally at the mercy of the feces-throwing provocateurs.
I've been engaging in online discussions for many years now, even before the world wide web as we know it today took hold. And I've engaged and studied how these people constantly try to disrupt intelligent discussions, and from that experience, I've come up with some ideas meant to try to minimize their detrimental impact.
Ad hominens / Logical Fallacies: The first thing I suggest is that serious people who are interested in participating in real intellectual debates about issues become thoroughly familiar with the meaning and definition of ad hominens and logical fallacies, which are the main vehicles used by online shit-throwers.
That way when you engage in discussion, once you see the tactic used, you will be able to identify it immediately, and act accordingly (more on this below).
This following point is very important: Let's say that you hold a view or belief that may be controversial or not widely accepted. And let's say that you present your argument about that view, and someone strongly disagrees with you; actually they could vehemently disagree.
Even in that case, if someone is arguing from an intellectually-honest perspective, they should be able to challenge your ideas/opinions/beliefs with a counter-argument of their own, but keeping the focus on the topic itself.
If on the other hand, the person totally ignores discussing the topic and goes straight to resorting to ad hominem and logical fallacies, then if you are familiar with those tactics, you should be able to see it clearly.
Counterpropaganda Tactics For Progressives: The most important thing you need to embrace is that as a progressive, you must not be intimidated in any way, about your relentless pursuit of the truth about the true machinations of the system, of unveiling corruption, oppression, illegalities, and abuses. I argue that that is at the core of being a progressive. Not only should you always seek the true, but once you gain some insights, you should share them with as many people as possible. That would be at the core of engaging in counterpropaganda, and fighting truth suppression.
The second most important thing you need to do is to not fall in the trap set by the shit-throwers (system apologists, cognitive infiltrators, and the like). Once you determine that an utterance or statement in direct reply to an argument you have put forward is an ad hominen or logical fallacy, then do not engage in any way with that person.
That is of extreme importance... You see the beauty of this? You are then moving your own agenda forward by "speaking truth to power." You observe, think, analyze things, and once you gain insights, concepts become more clear, you share them with others in an honest marketplace of ideas.
Take heart on this... I'm sure you are familiar with this adage: "The pen is mightier than the sword."
This is what's happening with that quote... The truth is very, very powerful indeed. If people know the truth (versus lies, misinformation, and false narratives), they can then make the right decisions.
There is nothing more frightening to the tyrants and oppressors of every age than an informed populace, because it is then at that point that they (the tyrants) lose all their power.
At that point, there is no army in the world that can protect them; there is no total-information-awareness surveillance police state that can thwart the will of an informed citizenry.
And that's why tyrants and oppressors in every historical age spend so much of their resources on propaganda, truth, suppression, misinformation, and lies.
And that's why "the pen," in that context, will always be "mightier than the sword."
So in closing, first turn the TV off (I can't stress enough how detrimental to our cognition it is), once you detoxed yourself from its effects, think for yourself, observe how things work, do research, share information/ideas/perspectives with others, and very likely you will come up with a clearer understanding about how things work, and that's how we move civilization forward.
Share your perspectives with others, and do it in an affirmative strategic manner, as if you were engaged in a counterpropaganda war, because "in an age of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
Artwork Credit: First Piece R_Evolution, by Ghillen Marí. Second Piece (from top to bottom), Science Undermined by Goñi Montes.
P.S. I welcome spirited debate about this topic, and I'm especially interested in hearing from people who do not agree with my position. However, I will not engage in discussion with people who write personal insults, or engage in disruptive behavior. I ask other serious people to do the same. To learn more about this subject, please visit the following links: New Community Guidelines / The 15 Rules of Web Disruption / Thirteen Rules for Truth Suppression / Disinformation: How It Works.
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