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The basis of propaganda

November 9, 2010

While examining Burke and his ideas of how the “swine”, or people if you want to be more polite, I came to a realization.  In this view, the people are essentially the untamed mob that do as they please and have no regard for what guides them; they just do what they want and are guided by what pleases them.  This is where many highly-educated people  realized that in order for them to get what they wanted, they had to find a way to somehow control this seemingly unstoppable and unpredictable herd of people.  The use of propaganda is used in every aspect of television and advertising, and, sometimes, it is just so blatant that it isn’t even hidden.

Two clear examples of this are the 2008 presidential election and the 2010 state, senatorial and gubernatorial races.  Although the message switch vastly from the early to the most recent, the techniques, ploys and strategies where almost identical.  It went from “Change we can believe in” to “We’re As Mad As Hell and We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore!”  Of course for each year’s races, the slogans were often turned against itself such as when the slogan “Keep your change and I’ll keep my guns and religion” came about, as well “The only change you’ll see is the coins in you’re pocket where they’re done.”  This year, there was a foreseeable anger growing in the midst of impatience and broken promises.  The need for slogans such as “Enough is Enough” and “” resonated throughout the country.

And yet all of this has happened before, and it will happen again.  The masses will always be persuaded into following what they view as the “necessary change” needed to make everything improve instantly.  This very same process was used during the French Revolution.  The French people as as whole were arrogant and thought they knew exactly what needed to be done in order to have a perfect society.  As we can see, this obviously didn’t work out.  But the people believed in what they were doing because they were directed toward that decision by propaganda.

4 Comments
  1. Cesar II Ruiz permalink
    November 9, 2010 10:26 PM

    Through the various slogans posted and the messages that you put in the post, there were different examples of “propaganda” and advertisement. These portrayed the messages you were saying. My only objection would be that it would be more interesting if you would’ve put along pictures of some of these slogans so that the reader could see how they actually were posted and also keep the reader more entertained. Also by putting pictures, the post would attract more readers to your post.
    I also wanted to touch on your interpretation of the Revolution. You said in your post:

    “The French people as as whole were arrogant and thought they knew exactly what needed to be done in order to have a perfect society”

    I just thought that perhaps some of the revolutionaries might be arrogant, but it may be too much to conclude that the French people as a whole were arrogant. Many of them may have thought that they were also trying to perfect society, but overall they were probably dissatisfied with the way the monarch was treating them “as a whole”.

  2. thacarter4 permalink
    November 9, 2010 11:08 PM

    While I agree with the overall message of this post I feel that the examples used maybe a little shaky. The “change we can believe in” message was less propaganda than a slogan that referenced a long list of planned policies (like a plan for universal health care and a plan to remove troops from Iraq) many of which have been carried out. I’m not sure what promises were broken from the election cycle but it seems unfair to use a slogan as an example of propaganda when the slogan summed up a long list of planned changes that anyone could access through a little research on campaign websites. The example of the French revolution is also a little unfair, the French public wasn’t motivated by their desire for a utopia (although their leaders may have been) they were more motivated by poverty and a monarchy that was completely disconnected from them. As for the charge that it didn’t work, the French revolution had negative immediate impacts but the ideas of the revolution helped form American ideas about independence and currently France has no monarchy and a reasonably liberal and representative government, the revolution clearly was not a total failure.

  3. adamhollenberg permalink
    November 9, 2010 11:32 PM

    One interesting connection I would like to draw to this is college football recruiting. In this post, the author says the politicians should tell the voters what they want to hear. In college football, this is reality as well. There have been widespread complaints of coaches not just explaining the virtues of their school to potential recruits, but also negatively recruiting by telling recruits why other schools are not as good. This concept angers me, because in a place as civilized and liberal as the USA, politicians should have to win the vote of the people with their own virtues, not just by slamming other candidates.

  4. Christine Irish permalink
    November 10, 2010 12:06 AM

    Another interesting point to examine would be whether or not Burke himself was employing propaganda in his own work. In our discussion section, we discussed the beautiful and flowery language and complex vocabulary hat Burke used to describe something that he could have explained more simply. I argue that he often employs such language in order to make what could have been rather controversial statements and arguments seem more pleasant and agreeable. While he may have seemed to speak highly of those who could read and understand his messages over “the swine” who couldn’t, it seems to me that he was treating his own readers in the same way that he said that “the swine” needed to be treated.

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