My study of Edward Bernays and Walter Lippmann continues. These guys were publishing during the early 1900s. I want to copy and share some of their words so that people might find a way to combat the forces they taught the powerful of the world to marshal. There are so many people who have been influenced by those forces it has become imperative that this relatively new power becomes common knowledge.
Opinion is a fascinating subject. There is so much to learn about the subject people can spend lifetimes devoted to it. What is of utmost importance in my mind is that the people come to know that their minds are the target of forces that have been developed and refined into a fine art. It is the art of installing opinions. Yes, “installing” them.
At the turn of the twentieth century, techniques were being developed to install opinions in the minds of the people. It was not an “all-bad” thing. I think the men who developed it saw it as a useful tool for good, but they admitted it could easily be used to do evil. The methods they developed have been enhanced by the electronic revolution. In other words, the tools available to deliver the techniques increased in number and power. Television, radio, computers, telephones, and movies added to the already pervasive printed media to give the installers of opinion even more power. Today, the power to manipulate the public has become monstrous. The divided public in the USA is a product of manipulation intended to accomplish some goal. What goal? That is another topic.
See for yourself what the fathers of opinion making were saying in the 1920s. I commit myself here to the task of quoting them a little. I am not doing this to make money, bolster my ego, make you look bad, or to indulge in the same manipulation discussed here. I do it strictly to help the people.
From Propaganda by Edward Bernays. His quote of Walter Lippmann’s book Public Opinion (I have this book too.)
Walter Lippmann of the “New York World” in his volume Public Opinion declares that the ‘significant revolution of modern times is not industrial or economic or political, but the revolution which is taking place in the art of creating consent among the governed.” He goes on: “Within the life of the new generation now in control of affairs, persuasion has become a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government. None of us begins to understand the consequences, but it is no daring prophecy to say that the knowledge of how to create consent will alter every political premise. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the world [sic] alone, the only constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the cardinal dogma of democracy, that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.”
This article took some effort to translate. His use of the word “consent” is misleading to people in this time. Back then, and to this man, consent was something that had several meanings. It was used as a synonym for permission, much as we use it today. More importantly, it meant giving in to persuasion. That was the purpose of the “art of creating consent among the governed.” That guy was saying that they have discovered the way to get people to have the opinions they want them to have.
I ask you, is your opinion really your opinion? Or, is it something that skilled “artists” have implanted in your mind? The world is very complicated and only becoming more so. Humans have created organizations that are composed of other humans acting together to do things no single individual could possibly do alone. The organizations are powerful beyond description, and there are so many of them no single individual can be aware of all of them. They are operating around the globe and what they do has an enormous impact on you. They are shaping the world. They are not being watched. There is no oversight to keep them in the bounds of rectitude. They have become virtually self-serving much like a robot that has its own intelligence, defense systems, and objectives. Does this make you suspect that the people need to be made aware of it?