February 12, 2013

On Deception - 2 + Propaganda techniques
"The grand primum mobile of England is cant; cant political, cant poetical, cant religious, cant moral, but always cant, multiplied through all the varieties of life."
-- Lord Byron
"Sir, clear your mind of cant!"
-- Dr Johnson, to Boswell

Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.
– George Orwell (O'Brien explains)


1. About Deception - 2
2. Propaganda techniques

About ME/CFS


Yesterday I gave the first installment of On Deception, because I realized that  what upsets me about bullshit - aka baloney, bogosity, BS, crap - is often not so much that it is bullshit, but that it is something that is meant to deceive, and that while "bullshit" is a useful term, and there certainly are some who (re)produce bullshit without intent to deceive [1], what one meets in advertising, public relations, and politics is nearly always intentional deception, that indeed often is bullshit in the sense that it makes no rational or factual sense.

This is a follow-up and also an extension, and clarifies terms and techniques. The terms to be clarified are those I used yesterday in my introduction; the techniques are propaganda techniques, about which there is a fine article in Wikipedia, that I here reproduce as I found it today, minus some links and also without the illustrations.

1. About Deception - 2

Yesterday I provided an attempt to reformulate what is the essential point and purpose involved in what has been variously referred to as bullshit, baloney, bogosity, BS, crap, and by other similar terms, but that I prefer to call deception or propaganda, if and when this applies, which is nearly always the case in advertising, public relations, and politics, and also with communications by large institutions and corporations, for these "communicate" with "the public" through what are in fact means of propaganda meant to deceive or confuse [2].

What I wrote then about what I want to refer to as propaganda or deception was this:

(1) what is both reprehensible and typical for it (when I use terms like those listed) is that it involves intentional deception, and
(2) when practiced as a professional craft, or in a professional context like politics, religion, advertising, marketing or public relations, it is a kind of rhetoric, while
(3) that rhetoric these days comes with philosophical ("epistemic") pretensions associated with postmodernism, and also with the sort of "philosophy of science" associated with Kuhn and Feyerabend: "There is no truth", "there are no facts", "everything is relative" - there are only "narratives" and "interpretations".

In the present Nederlog I will provide a clarification of these terms, by citing my definitions in my Philosophical Dictionary, sometimes in part - and I note that all of the definitions except that of public relations

Deception: Being deluded, or producing that state in someone.

Most social affairs are oriented around various kinds of deception. Not all of these are malevolent, and indeed some, like politeness and friendliness, are meant to please and are mostly in the interest of helping other people. Also, many kinds of deception are not primarily malevolent, but based on self-interest: One praises the goods one wants to sell for more money than one bought them for not to harm the buyer but to serve oneself.

In any case: What is social is to a considerable extent founded on deception, including self-deception, in as much as what is social is mostly made up of playing roles and acting as if, all of which require some degree of deception, from a very small one to a very fraudulent one.


Intention: What one desires to communicate or to achieve.

Note that what one communicates may be quite other than one desires to communicate for all manner of reasons, and that what one in fact brings about may be quite other than what one wished to bring about, again for all manner of reasons.

This is the main reason why in most things human one must consider the intention of the speaker or actor, even though that may be difficult to ascertain and may be much lied about.

Note also that intentions and intensions are not the same thing.

Note that I allow and agree there is a considerable amount of deception in human social affairs, that also does not need to be malevolent or dishonest: Make-up is one example, and dress codes another.

What I am concerned about is the conscious attempt to make other people believe things that one does not believe oneself, with the conscious intent to use those beliefs one has evoked for one's own benefit.

This is also one reason why the term "propaganda", while being apt in many cases of advertisement and public relations prose,  sometimes - but then rather in politics or religion - is somewhat misleading, because those who (re)produce the propaganda believe most of it [3]:

Propaganda: Slanted, biased, prejudiced or partial presentation of something that is meant to produce a state of belief that is not proportional to the evidence.

Most points of view people get exposed to are kinds of propaganda, whether political, religious or economical. And indeed, the last kind of propaganda, also known as advertising, is the most expensive and well-paid kind of writing or filming there is, and the sort of information most people are most exposed to.

Advertisement and public relations are also kinds of propaganda, intended to mislead a public into buying products or believing institutions, political parties or  governments. Of course, the commercial spreaders or lies that are public relations companies deny this, but then their craft is the art of lying, using the techniques of conmanship.

It also should be noted that while some who make propaganda, notably in politics or religion, may sincerely believe most of it, it generally is clear to them that what they present is slanted, biased or partial, simply because it is exaggerated and leaves out things.

And it should be pointed out that Plato seriously considered the possibility of misleading the masses by propaganda and myths especially developed for that purpose, which is where Bernays also may have read it first
[3] as it also should be pointed out that Bernays claimed to have been "dismayed" when he found out that Joseph Goebbels claimed to have been helped in his propaganda by one of Bernays books. 

Politics: Theoretically: The science of government; practically: the attempt, alone or cooperating with others, to achieve power in some institution of government in some society.

See Politics - introductory texts for considerably more.
The item Politics - introductory texts is a list of books with brief reviews by me that has been downloaded a lot. My definition agrees with Max Weber ("Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft"), and Machiavelli, Mosca and Burnham: It is naive to believe the pretensions of politicians, and even if they are more sincere than not, the only means to realize their promises is their getting power, which almost invariably corrupts them.

Religion: Intellectually, belief in the supernatural. Socially, institutions and practices based on belief in the supernatural. Here I use use "supernatural" in the obvious sense of: beyond or outside natural reality, that is, unlike divinities and angels, represented in ordinary human experience, and in principle accessible to all, and the foundation of all experiments and tests to check theories.
This is a neutral definition, though it probably does not agree with every doctrine that has been called religious. Spinoza's "deus sive natura" is not compatible with it, for example, but then Spinoza has been called an atheist also. In any case, most religious believers - Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus - believe in supernatural entities.

Advertisement: Economical propaganda: The telling of lies or the production of deception with the end of selling commodities.

In the great state of civilization we live in, most of what most people read is one kind or other of advertisement, just as no species of prose-writing or art-making is more highly rewarded, per word or per second, than the lies and deceptions that sell goods to the public, of which it has been well-observed many ages ago that mundus vult decipi.

"Advertisement is the art of making whole lies out of half truths."

"Advertising is legalized lying."
   (H.G. Wells)

Indeed, the basic trick in all advertisement is to try to tell the public what it wants to hear, and to present the goods one wants to sell as if they satisfy their needs or desires, if not directly than by association with sex, public standing, or personal gain.

"Advertising, in its spirit and purpose, is germinal fascism. Hitler was the first European politician who saw the significance of the techniques of commercial advertising for politics."
   (Matthews and Shallcross)


It should be noted that advertising as telling "
the public what it wants to hear, and to present the goods one wants to sell as if they satisfy their needs or desires" is for the most part a fruit of the 20th Century and Bernays' teachings.


Public Relations: Cant term for propaganda - distorted, biased, misinformed, slanted, manipulative prose (pictures, video, film, TV) designed to deceive - that is much beloved and used by the institutions that use "Public Relations" to further their interest and strengthen their social support.

"Public Relations" have in fact been consciously created, originally as a species of propaganda, until it became clear this term had negative associations "public relations" spokesmen and spokeswomen wanted to avoid.

Its purpose, from the very start, was to spread lies or biased information about products, manufacturers, instutitons, and organizations, that would improve the social standing or support of the propagandized product or institution.

Note that " Public Relations" tends to go further and be more intrusive, subtle and dishonest than mere propaganda or advertisement, both of which - in its more oldfashioned or naive forms - are more or less outspoken about being propaganda or advertisement.

Not so for much of "Public Relations": This is meant to deceive, misinform, disinform, bias, mislead or prejudice people who partake of it, namely by pretending to be other than what it is - such as advertisements presented and packaged as if they were actual news shows, or "informational services" that really are propaganda for a specific person or institution, without saying so (except perhaps somewhere in very small print).

Also, "Public Relations" often is designed to go further than plain advertisement, propaganda, or recommendations namely by biasing a public through making them feel good about a product, brand, or person, by associating such a thing with what seem to be disinterested or friendly help.

Much of what ordinary men read or hear in modern society, especially since the 1970ies, is in fact propaganda, whether advertisement or public relations, and especially public relations have been a favorite means to influence and manipulate audiences, especially in the United States, where it tends to be covered or protected by Free Speech laws, although these had no original purpose to protect the professional practice of lying and deceiving for money for others - which is what Public Relations really is, though PR-folks tend to strongly resent or condescendingly pooh-pooh this bitter truth.

As also outlined under "Propaganda" and in [3] the original term of Bernays for his craft of deception and (semi-)legal conmanship was "propaganda". And intellectually speaking, it is a form of rhetoric:


Rhetoric: The art of speaking well; the art of convincing others verbally.

Rhetoric, in the sense of the art of speaking well, was an important part of education (for the well off) in antiquity. It has little to do, as a rule, with logic, in that the end of rhetorics is not at all to prove some conclusion validly from true or probable premisses, but to convince some public by whatever means that are most suited to that purpose.

In modern times, rhetorics - of which an alternative definitions is: the art of advocacy - is no longer part of a good higher education, though a few who seek a career in law, politics, or the media do take courses in which they learn how to present themselves well to audiences. 

There have been some recent attempts - Perelman - to bring logic, rhetorics and advocacy together in one disciple called rhetorics, but with little succes.

In any case, it seems a somewhat interesting fact that the upper class and leading members of the Roman republic where probably better public speakers than modern public spokesmen and -women, because they were much better trained that way, and because they spoke to audiences who had a much better knowledge of what it is to express oneself well. (Those who doubt this should read Ceasar and Cicero.)

If defined and understood as 'the art of speaking well', it is desirable that rhetorics is part of a good education, were it only because speech is the human way of communication.

The modern art of rhetorics is mostly practised in advertisement and propaganda, and much of those are less verbal and intellectual than visual and emotional. Here indeed it gets and deserves the taints that were directed at the earlier rhetorics: That it is the art of making the worse seem the better.


There also is a fairly close link between propaganda, rhetoric and postmodernism, mostly due to the facts that these disciplines are not about truth but about persuasion:


Postmodernism: a.k.a. po-mo: Fraudulent philosophy of fraudulent would-be scientists and would-be philosophers who seek to make a career and get money and status by pretending to emancipate others, and who insist "truth does not exist", "truth is relative", "all moral norms are equally relative", "all men are equal" (and usually in po-mo circles "but women are more equal than men").


The lemma from which this is quoted is longer. I should also remark here that, as with religion and politics, there are quite a few who have believed or who do believe postmodernism is serious philosophy, but I believe they are mistaken. 

In any case, postmodernism is a set of teachings that, when accepted by others, allows one to get away with anything, and that does require no talent whatsoever. And there is a fairly close parallel with sophists as depicted by Plato, who also wrote a fine dialogue, Theatetus, around the question whether truth is relative.

I think one can safely bet that no postmodernists with academic tenure is a relativist about his or her tenure or salary: No one is a relativist about the things that are of considerable or great personal interest, or a matter of one's life or death (unless one is very depressed or otherwise mentally incapacitated).


Truth: A statement is true iff what the statement means represents a fact. Accordingly, the truth is whatever exists in reality, whatever is real.

Note that it often is highly convenient to pretend that "truth is relative", or that what is true for one is not true for another. But everyone knows himself to be a realist where his own direct interests are involved, and indeed all you - whoever you are - and me have to do to arrive at some common reality is to arrive at the idea that we both have access to the same domain of possible facts by our senses that our minds may formulate hypotheses about. As soon as we have done that we can try to work out what is the case in that domain of possible facts by careful logical reasoning and experimentation.

Next, note that there is in most cases and about most subjects and most statements about these subjects far less problem about what the truth of these statements would mean, than about what is really true, the statement or its denial, and what is the evidence for each, and how well-founded methodologically and without prejudice or wishful thinking this evidence is.

There are more formal explanations of truth in Truth formally explained, and also in Basic Logic - semantics. Also, there is an important qualification of truth, to the effect that we need only to know a little of the truth to make it work under Adequacy, and a refinement of the whole notion under Probability.


It should be remarked that truth as defined is a common sense notion, that is of fundamental importance in daily life (people do not want to be lied to, nor deceived "in their own best interests"), in science (science is the only human endeavour that aims at the truth), and in law (proof of guilt requires facts, at least in a system of law that is not tyrannical).

And it should be admitted that there are deep logical problems involved in the notion of truth, though these are not about its existence, but about its precise logical analysis.

There is a good fundamental formal logical analysis that is due to Alfred Tarski.


Fact: What is represented by a true statement; what is real; what is the case; what is so.

Every human being that learned to speak learned this on the basis of a notion like fact.

The problem is not with the intuitive notion but with ascertaining whether or not statements represent facts, and what manner of facts, and how to ascertain this is so or not.

And indeed: Often one should know that the fact of a certain matter is that one does not have sufficient evidence to confidently assert what the facts are - and such knowledge that one has no knowledge about something, or not enough knowledge to pronounce confidently, is often the firmest knowledge one has.


It is worth noting that many of the problems that are raised about facts are not about facts, but about one's (supposed) knowledge of them.


Relativism: The notion that judgments depend on whoever makes them, and in particular on their (lack of) knowledge, bias, prejudice, interests, concerns etc.

That so-and-so is supposedly "relative" is almost always a rhetorical move that is intended to make rational discussion difficult or impossible, and to move matters of fact into the realm of matters of value.

The reasons that relativism is almost always a rhetorical move that is intended to make rational discussion difficult or impossible are, first, that if the truth or falsity of some judgment does depend on whomever makes it (as may be the case with some judgments of taste or preference) and not on whatever the judgment is about, there is little to disagree about or discuss, and, second, that the claim that so-and-so is relative seems to be nearly always dishonest or confused.

Note that there is no problem with the thesis that judgements do depend on - to some extent, that may vary a lot with the person or the circumstances - the (lack of) knowledge, bias, prejudice, interests, concerns etc. of whoever makes the judgment, since in fact that is trivially true.

The problem is with the further thesis that this trivially true fact would settle either that there is no truth of the matter at all (as many relativists like to argue, presumably because they have no better defense for their thesis than that it is a mere matter of taste) or that what is the truth of the matter cannot be somehow established, at some time, possibly far in the future.

In general, a useful rule of thumb about relatitivism is that - to vary Dr. Johnson - relativism is the first refuge of the scoundrel and the stupid: If you can neither defend nor argue a thesis just loudly insist that it is "relative" and "therefore" a "matter of free democratic choice". Since most people know that judgments depend also on the makers of them, and since there are many people who are none too bright, success is almost certainly guaranteed in any population of average or worse intelligence, who, not coincidentally, tend to be also precisely those who most believe that any matter whatsoever can be fairly, equitably and rationally settled by majority voting in which everyone equally participates, irrelative of intelligence, knowledge, experience, sincerity, or probity.


2. Propaganda techniques

This is reproduced from the article Propaganda techniques as found on Wikipedia on Feb 12, 2013. The link should work, and I have reproduced almost all of the text, but deleted three pictures with text belonging to them.

What follows is quoted from the following horizontal line to the next, and it is quoted because it is well done and quite relevant, and something that should be much wider known than it is:

Propaganda techniques

Common media for transmitting propaganda messages include news reports, government reports, books, leaflets, movies, radio, television, and posters. In the case of radio and television, propaganda can exist on news, current-affairs or talk-show segments, as advertising or public-service announce "spots" or as long-running advertorials. Propaganda campaigns often follow a strategic transmission pattern to indoctrinate the target group. This may begin with a simple transmission such as a leaflet dropped from a plane or an advertisement. Generally these messages will contain directions on how to obtain more information, via a web site, hot line, radio program, etc. (as it is seen also for selling purposes among other goals). The strategy intends to initiate the individual from information recipient to information seeker through reinforcement, and then from information seeker to opinion leader through indoctrination.

A number of techniques based in social psychological research are used to generate propaganda. Many of these same techniques can be found under logical fallacies, since propagandists use arguments that, while sometimes convincing, are not necessarily valid.

Some time has been spent analyzing the means by which propaganda messages are transmitted. That work is important but it is clear that information dissemination strategies only become propaganda strategies when coupled with propagandistic messages. Identifying these messages is a necessary prerequisite to study the methods by which those messages are spread. Below are a number of techniques for generating propaganda:

Ad hominem
A Latin phrase which has come to mean attacking your opponent, as opposed to attacking their arguments.
Ad nauseam
This argument approach uses tireless repetition of an idea. An idea, especially a simple slogan, that is repeated enough times, may begin to be taken as the truth. This approach works best when media sources are limited and controlled by the propagator.
Appeal to authority
Appeals to authority cite prominent figures to support a position, idea, argument, or course of action.
Appeal to fear
Appeals to fear seek to build support by instilling anxieties and panic in the general population, for example, Joseph GoebbelsTheodore N. Kaufman's Germany Must Perish! to claim that the Allies sought the extermination of the German people. exploited
Appeal to prejudice
Using loaded or emotive terms to attach value or moral goodness to believing the proposition. For example, the phrase: "Any hard-working taxpayer would have to agree that those who do not work, and who do not support the community do not deserve the community's support through social assistance."
Bandwagon and "inevitable-victory" appeals attempt to persuade the target audience to join in and take the course of action that "everyone else is taking."
  • Inevitable victory: invites those not already on the bandwagon to join those already on the road to certain victory. Those already or at least partially on the bandwagon are reassured that staying aboard is their best course of action.
  • Join the crowd: This technique reinforces people's natural desire to be on the winning side. This technique is used to convince the audience that a program is an expression of an irresistible mass movement and that it is in their best interest to join.
Black-and-White fallacy
Presenting only two choices, with the product or idea being propagated as the better choice. (e.g., "You are either with us, or you are with the enemy")
Beautiful people
The type of propaganda that deals with famous people or depicts attractive, happy people. This makes other people think that if they buy a product or follow a certain ideology, they too will be happy or successful. (This is more used in advertising for products, instead of political reasons)
Big Lie
The repeated articulation of a complex of events that justify subsequent action. The descriptions of these events have elements of truth, and the "big lie" generalizations merge and eventually supplant the public's accurate perception of the underlying events. After World War I the German Stab in the back explanation of the cause of their defeat became a justification for Nazi re-militarization and revanchist aggression.
Common man
The "'plain folks'" or "common man" approach attempts to convince the audience that the propagandist's positions reflect the common sense of the people. It is designed to win the confidence of the audience by communicating in the common manner and style of the target audience. Propagandists use ordinary language and mannerisms (and clothe their message in face-to-face and audiovisual communications) in attempting to identify their point of view with that of the average person. For example, a propaganda leaflet may make an argument on a macroeconomic issue, such as unemployment insurance benefits, using everyday terms: "given that the country has little money during this recession, we should stop paying unemployment benefits to those who do not work, because that is like maxing out all your credit cards during a tight period, when you should be tightening your belt." A common example of this type of propaganda is a political figure, usually running for a placement, in a backyard or shop doing daily routine things. This image appeals to the common person.
Demonizing the enemy
Making individuals from the opposing nation, from a different ethnic group, or those who support the opposing viewpoint appear to be subhuman (e.g., the Vietnam War-era term "gooks" for National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam aka Vietcong, (or 'VC') soldiers), worthless, or immoral, through suggestion or false accusations.
Direct order
This technique hopes to simplify the decision making process by using images and words to tell the audience exactly what actions to take, eliminating any other possible choices. Authority figures can be used to give the order, overlapping it with the Appeal to authority technique, but not necessarily. The Uncle Sam "I want you" image is an example of this technique.
The use of an event that generates euphoria or happiness, or using an appealing event to boost morale. Euphoria can be created by declaring a holiday, making luxury items available, or mounting a military parade with marching bands and patriotic messages.
The creation or deletion of information from public records, in the purpose of making a false record of an event or the actions of a person or organization, including outright forgery of photographs, motion pictures, broadcasts, and sound recordings as well as printed documents.
An attempt to justify an action on the grounds that doing so will make one more patriotic, or in some way benefit a group, country, or idea. The feeling of patriotism which this technique attempts to inspire may not necessarily diminish or entirely omit one's capability for rational examination of the matter in question.
Glittering generalities
Glittering generalities are emotionally appealing words applied to a product or idea, but which present no concrete argument or analysis. A famous example is the campaign slogan "Ford has a better idea!"
A half-truth is a deceptive statement which may come in several forms and includes some element of truth. The statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true but only part of the whole truth, or it may utilize some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation, or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade blame or misrepresent the truth.
Intentional vagueness
Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations. The intention is to move the audience by use of undefined phrases, without analyzing their validity or attempting to determine their reasonableness or application. The intent is to cause people to draw their own interpretations rather than simply being presented with an explicit idea. In trying to "figure out" the propaganda, the audience forgoes judgment of the ideas presented. Their validity, reasonableness and application may still be considered.
Obtain disapproval or Reductio ad Hitlerum
This technique is used to persuade a target audience to disapprove of an action or idea by suggesting that the idea is popular with groups hated, feared, or held in contempt by the target audience. Thus if a group which supports a certain policy is led to believe that undesirable, subversive, or contemptible people support the same policy, then the members of the group may decide to change their original position. This is a form of bad logic, where a is said to equal X, and b is said to equal X, therefore, a = b.
Favorable generalities are used to provide simple answers to complex social, political, economic, or military problems.
Quotes out of Context
Selective editing of quotes which can change meanings. Political documentaries designed to discredit an opponent or an opposing political viewpoint often make use of this technique.
Propagandists use the name-calling technique to incite fears and arouse prejudices in their hearers in the intent that the bad names will cause hearers to construct a negative opinion about a group or set of beliefs or ideas that the propagandist would wish hearers to denounce. The method is intended to provoke conclusions about a matter apart from impartial examinations of facts. Name-calling is thus a substitute for rational, fact-based arguments against the an idea or belief on its own merits.[1]
Individuals or groups may use favorable generalities to rationalize questionable acts or beliefs. Vague and pleasant phrases are often used to justify such actions or beliefs.
Red herring
Presenting data or issues that, while compelling, are irrelevant to the argument at hand, and then claiming that it validates the argument.[2]
A Euphemism is used when the propagandist attempts to increase the perceived quality, credibility, or credence of a particular ideal. A Dysphemism is used when the intent of the propagandist is to discredit, diminish the perceived quality, or hurt the perceived righteousness of the Mark. By creating a 'label' or 'category' or 'faction' of a population, it is much easier to make an example of these larger bodies, because they can uplift or defame the Mark without actually incurring legal-defamation. Example: "Liberal" is a dysphamsim intended to diminish the perceived credibility of a particular Mark. By taking a displeasing argument presented by a Mark, the propagandist can quote that person, and then attack 'liberals' in an attempt to both (1) create a political battle-ax of unaccountable aggression and (2) diminish the quality of the Mark. If the propagandist uses the label on too-many perceivably credible individuals, muddying up the word can be done by broadcasting bad-examples of 'liberals' into the media. LabelingGuilt by association, another Logical Fallacy. [3] can be thought of as a sub-set of
This type of propaganda deals with a jingle or word that is repeated over and over again, thus getting it stuck in someones head, so they can buy the product. The "Repetition" method has been described previously.[4]
A slogan is a brief, striking phrase that may include labeling and stereotyping. Although slogans may be enlisted to support reasoned ideas, in practice they tend to act only as emotional appeals. Opponents of the US's invasion and occupation of Iraq use the slogan "blood for oil" to suggest that the invasion and its human losses was done to access Iraq's oil riches. On the other hand, "hawks" who argue that the US should continue to fight in Iraq use the slogan "cut and run" to suggest that it would be cowardly or weak to withdraw from Iraq. Similarly, the names of the military campaigns, such as "enduring freedom" or "just cause", may also be regarded to be slogans, devised to influence people.
Stereotyping or Name Calling or Labeling
This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the propaganda campaign as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable. For instance, reporting on a foreign country or social group may focus on the stereotypical traits that the reader expects, even though they are far from being representative of the whole country or group; such reporting often focuses on the anecdotal.
Testimonials are quotations, in or out of context, especially cited to support or reject a given policy, action, program, or personality. The reputation or the role (expert, respected public figure, etc.) of the individual giving the statement is exploited. The testimonial places the official sanction of a respected person or authority on a propaganda message. This is done in an effort to cause the target audience to identify itself with the authority or to accept the authority's opinions and beliefs as its own. See also, damaging quotation
Also known as Association, this is a technique of projecting positive or negative qualities (praise or blame) of a person, entity, object, or value (an individual, group, organization, nation, patriotism, etc.) to another to make the second more acceptable or to discredit it. It evokes an emotional response, which stimulates the target to identify with recognized authorities. Often highly visual, this technique often utilizes symbols (for example, the Swastika used in Nazi Germany, originally a symbol for health and prosperity) superimposed over other visual images. An example of common use of this technique in America is for the President's image to be overlaid with a swastika by his opponents.
Unstated assumption
This technique is used when the propaganda concept that the propagandist intends to transmit would seem less credible if explicitly stated. The concept is instead repeatedly assumed or implied.
Virtue words
These are words in the value system of the target audience which tend to produce a positive image when attached to a person or issue. Peace, happiness, security, wise leadership, freedom, "The Truth", etc. are virtue words. In countries such as the U.S. religiosity is seen as a virtue, making associations to this quality effectively beneficial. See ""Transfer"".


The last two References - external to Wikipedia - are well worth looking into if you are interested in the subject of propaganda at all. [4]

There is more to follow about this subject, and as before:

For more on marketing, public relations, postmodernism, bullshit, fraud, manipulation, and large scale deception of the public see "The Century of the Self" (<- Youtube), which also has a Wikipedia link: The Century of the Self.

This also has interesting material on the roles and influences of Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, psychiatry and Edward Bernays on
marketing and public relations. It is four hours of video, but it is well worth seeing, if only because of the following consideration:

Santayana said "Those who do not know their history are forced to repeat it", and similarly it may be said that those who do not know about marketing and public relations are doomed to be deceived by it..

        PREV: On Deception - 1
Feb 14, 2013: Undid some typos and added some links.
[1] Notably: academic philosophers, priests, and clergy, though one also should not be too quick to believe that those making money by what intelligent people can easily see is in fact mostly bullshit may not be deceiving or playing games.

There also is a grey area between bullshit and deception, and part of the reason is that many who reproduce someone else's bullshit as if they mostly believe it, or as if it merits to be taken intellectually serious,  in fact are deceiving themselves about their motives, their capacities, or their knowledge, and also often have intentionally blocked themselves from critically sifting through relevant evidence.

Having been raised in a communist family - of sincere and moral people - and having much to do with members of the Dutch Communust Party (CPN) or their children until I was 20 I first very consciously noted this when I was around 15 and got interested in George Orwell, whom I had not read at that point, and knew hardly anything about, except that he had written a book that was critical of the Soviet Union: I was told (not by my parents) that I should not read Orwell because he was "a traitor", and when I asked my spokesmen how they knew this I was told they hadn't read him "because" he was "a traitor".

This was obviously a fallacy, but it was widely believed in the circles I grew up in, and also widely practised: Orwell's books were not read.

[2] It should also be noted that one favourite technique of propaganda and disinformation and "public relations" is to confuse the issues, because that in itself benefits those who do it or because that allows them, usually a bit later, to redefine or "clarify" it in their own terms.

A related technique is to generate stories one intends to refute oneself. It has been said that this was a frequently used technique by Apple computers.

Yet another frequently used propaganda technique is to pretend to produce News, or to be a News Agency. Likewise, paid public relations spokesmen pretend to be legitimate members of forums or discussion groups. (See troll, false flag operations and

[3] In fact Edward Bernays' book that laid the foundations for what he later restyled as "public relations" was called "Propaganda", as did the Catholics for a long time called their missionary work "propaganda", and indeed the original Latin term does have no connotations of misleading, lying, slanting, biasing, or misrepresenting, which the term acquired in the 1930ies, through the propaganda of the Nazis and the Soviet communists.

But Bernays was a clever and cynical man, who made no bones about his intentions. Here is the first paragraph of his 1928 book, that you find by way of the last link:
THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the
organized habits and opinions of the masses is an
important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
This "conscious and intelligent manipulation of the
organized habits and opinions of the masses" is what Bernays meant by "Propaganda" and later by "public relations".

What Bernays meant by "
in democratic society" seems to have been mostly the Constitutional right of free speech, while he was quite serious about "an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country": he meant that and he wanted it.

[4] Reference [3] has not been cited since it is the same as Reference [2]

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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