Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Brainwashing in the U.S.A.

"The propagandist in the United States starts with advantages deriving from independent features of American society which predispose its members to adopt - or accept - a dualistic, Manichean world-view. This is a world-view dominated by the powerful symbols of the Satanic and the Sacred (darkness and light). A society or culture which is disposed to view the world in Manichean terms will be more vulnerable to control by propaganda. Conversely, a society where propaganda is extensively employed as a means of social control will tend to retain a Manichean world-view, a world-view dominated by symbols and visions of the Sacred and the Satanic.

"In addition, U.S. society has a pragmatic orientation. This is a preference for action over reflection. If the truth of a belief is to be sought in the consequences of acting on the belief, rather than through a preliminary examination of the grounds for holding it, there will be a tendency to act first and question later (if at all - for once a belief is acted upon the actor becomes involved in responsibility for the consequences and will be disposed to interpret the consequences so that they justify his belief and hence his action). If it is that American culture, compared with most others, values action above reflection, one may expect that situation to favour a Manichean world-view. For acknowledgement of ambiguity, that is, a non-Manichean world where agencies or events may comprise or express any complex amalgam of Good and Evil - demands continual reflection, continual questioning of premises. Reflection inhibits action, while a Manichean world-view facilitates action. On that account action and a Manichean world-view are likely to be more congenial to and to resonate with the cultural preference found in the United States. . .

"The Manichean dichotomy that has been most powerful - as a means of social control - in respect of both domestic issues and foreign policy issues is not God/Heaven versus Devil/Hell but the secular equivalent of these. Thus on the one hand an extravagant idealization of the Spirit of America, the Purpose of America, the Meaning of America, the American Way of Life - the transcendent values by which America is represented to the world as the Manifest Destiny of the world in Piety and Virtue . . . On the other hand the extravagant negative idealization of Evil secularized in communism/socialism as sui generis, in all places and at all times, malevolent, evil, oppressive, deceitful and destructive of all civilized and humane values.

"The most cursory acquaintance with American political propaganda will suggest that the psychological power of almost all such propaganda derives from a calculated exacerbation of American national sentiments. Notions like the American Way of Life, the Meaning of America, the Spirit of America, become symbols with the irrational power of the Sacred, and from an equally calculated exacerbation of American apprehension about the 'alien ideology' of communism and all its allegedly un-American characteristics, communism/socialism etc., become symbols of the Satanic. So long as these symbol-identifications can be maintained in popular sentiment it is a simple matter to curb popular demand and support for significant reform of the institutions and conditions of American society. By associating welfare provisions and other (selected) government interventions with Socialism/Communism and conversely the Free Enterprise system with Loyalty, Patriotism, Freedom, the American Dream, the American Way of Life, propagandists are doing no more than manipulating appropriate Satanic and Sacred symbols.

"The manipulation of patriotic and nationalist sentiments has, above all else, given American anti-communism its remarkable psychological force as a means of social control. Peacetime 'patriotic' hysteria such as characterized the McCarthy period is a phenomenon largely peculiar to the United States among Western countries which have any extended experience with democratic forms of government. Fear of communism as Satanic is largely derived from hypersensitive nationalism. In popular consciousness it comes largely from the representation of communism as threatening the cherished, the secular-sacred idealized 'American Way': threatening, in a word, 'national security' - a term conceived of as broadly as the Middle Ages conceived of defence of the faith against threats and seductions from heretical ideas and agencies.

"It is no new notion, of course, that American anti-communism during the postwar decade (WWII - ed.) took on a medieval temper. Nonetheless some illustration in passing may be useful to remind us just how regression toward a superstitious, magical world-view may be induced under the influence of aggravated nationalist faith. In the nineteenth century those who refused to accept the diabolism of old women were pilloried as 'patrons of witches'. In the decades after 1946 anyone who argued against the diabolical view of communism was likely to be pilloried as 'soft on communism' or as a 'communist fellow-traveller'. (Today, sustained by an avalanche of Wall Street cash, Obama is denounced as the reincarnation of Karl Marx - ed.)

"In the sixteenth century witches were regarded as possessed by (that is, as obedient to remote and magical control by) the Devil. In 1955 a reputable American journal that catered to intellectuals editorialized: 'that [Ho Chi Minh] is our enemy is obvious. He belongs to that particularly dangerous species of men whose nervous system has been rewired to make it obedient to remote control from Moscow' ('Who-What-Why' 1955:8).

"During the past sixty years this form of crass stereotyping was made tolerable because of the defeat of a culture of critical consciousness."

------Alex Carey, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy - Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty


Anonymous said...

Could not all this be said about Israel?

Michael Smith said...

Yes, although there propaganda has been more racist, as befits an apartheid state.

Lavender and Vanilla Friends of the Gardens said...

Americans are so successfully brainwashed they do not bother that their countries policies are made and put into place by people with an allegiance to the Zionist state of Israel.

Michael Smith said...

No brainwashing is 100% successful, and there are growing signs of popular discontent and even rebellion in the U.S. The worship of Israel by U.S. elites is not shared by the general population, which is not to say that Americans are well-informed about Palestine, but then we could hardly be expected to be, given the propaganda deluge we are daily exposed to on the topic.

Suffice it to say that the propaganda of the Israel fanatics is not swallowed nearly so easily today in the U.S. as it was thirty years ago.

Anonymous said...

... in contrast to polarization, if one becomes an elite not an elite, then is this the opposite? What say those that do like them but are not like them? Doing so, you have their power, without corruption of them or oneself, it is then written by them to do thy bidding. They work as I work, for myself, and, them, which rules over me and all, of us.