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
-- Dr Johnson, to Boswell
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
1. About Deception - 2
2. Propaganda techniques
I gave the first installment of On Deception, because I
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 ,
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
reformulate what is the essential point and purpose involved in what
has been variously referred to as bullshit,
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 .
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,
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
"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
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.
one desires to communicate or to achieve.
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
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
those who (re)produce the propaganda believe most of it :
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.
relations are also kinds of propaganda, intended to
mislead a public into buying
products or believing institutions, political parties or
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  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
in some society.
- 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:
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.
of lies or the production of deception
with the end of selling commodities.
In the great state of
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
whole lies out of half truths."
Indeed, the basic trick
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
purpose, is germinal fascism. Hitler was the first European politician
who saw the significance of the techniques of commercial advertising
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'
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
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
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,
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
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
is, though PR-folks tend to strongly resent or condescendingly
pooh-pooh this bitter truth.
As also outlined under "Propaganda" and in 
original term of Bernays
for his craft of deception and (semi-)legal conmanship was
"propaganda". And intellectually speaking, it is a form of rhetoric:
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,
- 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
attempts - Perelman
- to bring logic, rhetorics and advocacy together in one
disciple called rhetorics, but with little succes.
In any case, it seems a
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
The modern art of
practised in advertisement
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
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
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
is true iff what
Accordingly, the truth is whatever exists in reality, whatever
Note that it often is
highly convenient to
pretend that "truth is relative", or
that what is true
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
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
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
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
notion but with ascertaining whether or not statements represent
facts, and what manner of facts, and how to ascertain this is so or
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
notion that judgments depend on whoever makes them, and in particular
on their (lack of) knowledge,
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,
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,
sincerity, or probity.
2. Propaganda techniques
This is reproduced from the
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
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:
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:
- A Latin phrase which has
come to mean attacking your opponent, as opposed to attacking their
- 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
- 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.
- 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."
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.  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.
- 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
looking into if you are interested in the subject of propaganda at all.
There is more to follow about this subject, and as before:
For more on marketing, public
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..
14, 2013: Undid some typos and added some links.
 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
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.
It should also be noted that one favourite technique of propaganda and
disinformation and "public relations" is to confuse the
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
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 astroturfing.)
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
This "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.
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.
 Reference  has not been
since it is the same as Reference 
(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: