Sunday, June 4, 2006

The properties of propaganda part 2

There are two ways to accomplish this, subsidies and force. The state may subsidize artists who produce acceptable artworks (which basically amounts to subcontracting propaganda), or it may threaten to revoke a licence to any artist who does not follow these same guidelines (licences are the easiest way to implement threat-based control). The example of artists also illustrates that, while propaganda starts from the ruling class, it is not exclusively the work of the ruling class. So we cannot let our guard down on the basis of a specific message being delivered by a private organization or corporation.

Look at the most popular television shows today, that glorify policemen and politicians, and movies that glorify war. These are the biggest agents of force. The biggest agents of progress - private industry and science - are villified, or at best seen as tools for a greater goal. Even nature shows nowadays can't show us animals without giving us a broadside of environmentalist propaganda.

The second property of propaganda is that its role is not to convince you to adopt something by appealing to your value system (as advertisement does), but rather to align your value system with that of the ruling class. This implies a marginalization of self-interest, individualism, and rationality.

In this regard we can compare political propaganda to religious doctrines. Both appeal to man's desire to conform and his risk-aversion. Both try to use this leverage to get him to deny his own values and inherent compassion in favour of the values of his rulers. Propaganda would be worthless without the mental acceptance of its targets, as people simply do not accept lies without question. Most of us are indoctrined from early childhood to believe in God and the state, and thus are naturally brainwashed to accept propaganda lies.

One aspect which is not touched by the previous definitions is that of the argument from morality. Propaganda is especially suited for a duplicitous use of morality, because after all propaganda aims to change one's personal morality. Of course, any propaganda has to deliberately ignore the coercive principles underpinning any statist moral argument, because that would expose it as fraudulent.

For example, a proponent of socialized medicine may argue that chaining medicine to the apparatus of government would be better for the least fortunate; that it exemplifies the principles of equality and security; that health care is a right. These arguments are all complete lies, but the biggest lie of all is the omission of how all of this is supposed to be accomplished in the first place. Are all the needed resources going to materialize from thin air ? Of course not. They will come at the point of a gun. That, and the fact that no government program ever works, is the only certainty in political affairs.

In fact, the argument from morality has been so monopolized by propaganda that, any time you hear someone use moral terms like "freedom", "values", "equality" or "ethics", you can be almost certain that they are lying (unless, of course, they are individualists, but that is rare in itself). This is why there is the utmost need of propaganda in times of war - war is in itself such a morally atrocious concept that it takes a lot of propaganda to dress it up in jingoistic language and make it look good. Propaganda seems to always be applied to support the most atrocious and absurd amongst the collectivist beliefs necessary to the state - war, the police monopoly, politico-science scares (including the most murderous organization in the United States, the FDA), and of course the most absurd of them all, democracy.

Can we now define propaganda from a market anarchist perspective ? I think so. Bytwerk's definition is succinct, but I would amend it to read : the systematic attempt to persuade a public to accept the value system of the ruling class through psychological manipulation, especially fallacious arguments from morality, with the goal of legitimizing the activities of the state. The ultimate goal of propaganda is to facilitate exploitation. A government without propaganda is generally hard to maintain, as free individuals will not tend to attribute legitimacy to an organized band of thieves. It is solely because of propaganda that democratic governments have been able to attain their full potential of exploitation.


Michael Badnarik said...

I loved your post.
I too hate America, democracy, and freedom.
Want to meet for lunch some time?

Francois Tremblay said...

Very funny. The real Michael Badnarik wouldn't fly a Nazi flag.

Michael Badnarik said...

Why not?

I am a true Social Darwinist, you Socialist Statist. I believe that anybody able to gain power has the right to do whatever they want!

Francois Tremblay said...

"I am a true Social Darwinist, you Socialist Statist. I believe that anybody able to gain power has the right to do whatever they want!"

Ah, you mean a dictator? That's nice, but this is a LIBERTARIAN blog. Go somewhere that caters to your extremist political beliefs.

Michael Badnarik said...

Are you suggesting that there should be interventions to stop people from gaining too muhc power?


Francois Tremblay said...

"Are you suggesting that there should be interventions to stop people from gaining too muhc power?"

I am an anarchist, you idiot. I am against all political power. You're a piss-poor parody of libertarianism. Now get the fuck out of my blog, pathetic troll.

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