Tag Archives: Propaganda

21st-century propaganda: A guide to interpreting and confronting the dark arts of persuasion

By Gideon Lichfield – The belief, or rather hope, that humankind is ultimately rational has gripped Western politics at least since Descartes, and inspired such 19th-century optimists as Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill. “Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe,” Jefferson famously wrote.

But in recent years we’ve learned much about the human mind that contradicts the view of people as rationally self-interested decision-makers. Psychologists have established that we form beliefs first and only then look for evidence to back them up.

Research has turned up apparent physiological and psychological differences between liberals and conservatives, and found evidence that these differences have ancient evolutionary origins. It has identified the “backfire effect,” a.k.a. confirmation bias, in which people hew to even more strongly to an existing belief when shown evidence that clearly contradicts it.

Other research has looked at the habits of highly effective propagandists such as China, Russia, and alt-right icon Milo Yiannopoulos.

The main takeaways: truth, rationality, consistency, and likability aren’t necessary for getting people to absorb your viewpoint. Things that do work: incessant repetition, distractions from the main issue, sidestepping counterarguments rather than refuting them, using “peripheral cues” to establish credibility or authority, and antagonizing people who dislike you in order to get the attention of people who might like you. more> https://goo.gl/ddOwca

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How free market ideology perverts the vocabulary of democracy

BOOK REVIEW

How Propaganda Works, Author: Jason Stanley.
The New Jim Crow, Author: Michelle Alexander.

By Jason Stanley – Free market ideology uses democratic vocabulary as propaganda, obscuring a non-democratic reality.

Take education. In a liberal democracy, education equips citizens with the tools and confidence to weigh in on policy decisions and play a role in their own self-governance. Hence, democratic education is at the very center of democratic political philosophy, as the philosophies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau [2, 3, 4, 5], W E B Du Bois [2, 3, 4, 5], John Dewey [2, 3, 4, 5] and Elizabeth Cady Stanton [2, 3, 4, 5] attest.

But the US rhetoric surrounding education is explicitly anti-democratic. Citizens prefer ‘efficient’ education systems that train children to perform vocational tasks, rather than education that fosters community, autonomy and civic participation.

The rhetoric politicians use when running for office is usually explicitly anti-democratic. Managerial culture is paradigmatically undemocratic: a CEO is like a feudal lord.

Free market ideology has perverted democratic vocabulary, transforming it into propaganda that, in turn, obscures an anti-democratic reality. more> https://goo.gl/jrSdxL