Archive for category Propaganda
1: An Introduction
Let’s talk about propaganda.
Democracy can only thrive on clear thinking and facts.
Deceit, lies, misdirection and misinformation undermine clear thinking – distract us from the facts.
For our decisions to be sensible, we need to see what’s truly in front of us: we need to be observers of the real world.
Propaganda blurs the real world.
Propaganda, through its lies and disinformation, is an enemy of democracy.
2: A functioning democracy
It is not propagandistic to say that any enemy of democracy is an enemy of the people.
The purpose of democracy is to devolve power to the people, to us.
It is a mechanism for removing power from authoritarians, dictators, demagogues and bullies.
Propaganda disrupts that mechanism. It seeks to give authoritarians, dictators, demagogues and bullies free rein.
3: A sensible vote
How can we vote sensibly without clear thinking and facts?
Propaganda ignores facts, hinders clear thinking.
Propaganda uses language manipulatively: to coerce us; to trigger decisions or beliefs we would not otherwise adopt.
It is a tool for control.
4: Taking back control
How does propaganda work?
It hijacks our instincts and psychology for the purposes of others.
It attacks our autonomy by sidestepping our powers of analysis.
It activates automatic and predictable responses.
It makes us a pawn in someone else’s game.
Do we want to be controlled? Do we want to be pawns?
5: Detecting propaganda
What does propaganda look like?
– manufactures ‘enemies’
– polarises viewpoints: “Are you with us or against us?”
– it’s emotive
– it doesn’t want you to think: it wants you to react
– it oversimplifies, giving answers so simple they rapidly become stupid
– it hypes up and exaggerates, attempting to trigger your automatic response.
6: Other traits
Propaganda is often dishonest, aggressive or abusive. Name-calling, denigration and smearing are its calling card.
It exaggerates grievances, shouts about ‘offence’.
Propaganda pretends it’s ‘one of us’.
It likes to be folksy when really it’s a tool for manipulating ‘folk’.
And, because of its disconnect from fact, it is often absurd.
7: Idols and their enemies
Propaganda inverts victimhood. The propagandists may be part of an elite; they may be powerful, rich and well protected; but they will still assert they are being ‘picked on’, they’re the ‘scapegoats’, they’re victims of other people’s conspiracies.
Since propaganda doesn’t like facts (it’s aim is control, not communication) it fixates on personalities rather than their actions. Some it puts on pedestals. They can do no wrong.
Some it smears and denigrates. They can do no right.
But from a moral perspective actions are what counts. Personality is irrelevant if what you’re doing is wrong.
8: Countering propaganda
How do we counter propaganda?
– Recognise (its nature as propaganda)
– Analyse (its manipulative intent)
– Publicise (the fact it’s propaganda)
– Identify (its sources and their motives)
– Demolish (with ridicule, clear thinking and facts)
The RAPID acronym helps us react to propaganda rapidly. Don’t wait. Act.
9: An alternative message
Propaganda appeals because it’s simple.
We would all like to live in a simpler world.
Yet there’s an alternative with an equally simple message.
A message as simple as:
- Integrity 1st
- Honesty 1st
- Compassion 1st
- Make Humanity Great Again.
These words are effective, humane and moral. When you’re faced with propaganda, bring them to the forefront of your mind. Assert your freedom and identity. Resist.
www.ethicalintelligence.org “The ethics of common sense”
Twitter & Facebook: @EthicalRenewal
For a detailed discussion of propaganda, see Ethical Intelligence by Luke Andreski: