Corporate Propaganda versus
Freedom and Liberty
Even though the publishing business is being effectively narrowed and choked
by the corporate conglomerates' media, a few books are squeezing through
to let us know how powerful the corporate propaganda machine is in this
country. When children can be expelled from school for wearing a Pepsi
Tee shirt on Coca-Cola Day, we all know that something has gone horribly
wrong. How did we get like this?
A daunting and disturbing book entitled "Taking the Risk out of Democracy,
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty," by Alex Carey, sheds
some light on the demons in the closet of the United States of America.
Thomas Jefferson could never have foreseen this!
As Mr. Carey informs us, "The 'common man'...has never been so confused,
mystified and baffled; his most intimate conceptions of himself, of his
needs, and indeed the very nature of human nature, have been subject to
skilled manipulation and construction in the interests of corporate efficiency
This book, and others like it, tells us that we the American people
have been the subject of a 75-year-long multi-billion dollar intentional
assault on our freedom to think and to choose. "...propaganda techniques
have been developed and deployed (in the United States)...to control and
deflect the purposes of the domestic electorate in a democratic country
in the interests of the privileged segments of that society."
Management of collective attitudes by manipulating significant symbols
What is propaganda? "Propaganda is the management of collective attitudes
by the manipulation of significant symbols...Collective attitudes are amenable
to many modes of alteration...intimidation...economic coercion...drill.
But their arrangement and rearrangement occurs principally under the impetus
of significant symbols; and the technique of using significant symbols
for this purpose is propaganda." (Laswell, Bradson, and Janowitz 1953:776-80).
By significant symbols Mr. Carey is talking about the catch phrases
by which human beings can be aroused to anger, to go to war, or merely
to consume---phrases like "the American Way," "the Free Enterprise System,"
"the American Dream," and "the global economy," as opposed to "creeping
socialism," "the red menace," and "a national threat." Do you remember
when it was patriotic to "buy American" or we would lose the economic war
with Japan? How did we come to believe that our individual identity would
be enhanced and glorified by wearing the names of the people who designed
our clothes on our hand-bags and pant seats? Isn't this a little like living
in a corporate feudal state?
Symbols of the Sacred and the Satanic
Significant symbols are "symbols with real power over emotional reactions---ideally,
symbols of the Sacred and the Satanic." Sounds like something Marduk would
cook up! And Mr. Carey suggests that, "The United States has for a long
time, provided all of these conditions in greater abundance than any other
People who are polarized and see life in terms of good and bad, black
and white, are more easily manipulated. The "enemy" may indeed seem evil;
but in the solitude of our own homes, we all know that we are a mix of
both. None of us is so clearly saint or sinner. Instead of polarizing we
could be have a dialogue, a discussion; and yet, seemingly we can be manipulated
by propaganda into thinking almost anything.
We might be the most brain washed country on the planet! One professor
in Alex Carey's book, Professor Harwood Childs, states, "Americans are
the most propagandized people of any nation." Is this possible? Aren't
we the good guys?
I know, you are thinking, "Hey! Only the bad guys use propaganda.
Only our enemies use propaganda." And you are right; but sometimes
the bad guys are right in our own back yard and we don't even see them.
Who are these 'geniuses' who believe they have the right to manipulate
In the early days of World War I, we the America people---like any intelligent
group of human beings---didn't want to go to war. So we had to be convinced,
or coerced, and this was done very effectively by a campaign launched by
President Woodrow Wilson, Walter Lippman (an eminent journalist), and Edward
Bernays (who just happened to be the nephew of Sigmund Freud). I can always
remember Bernays' name because it sounds like that really fattening sauce
I occasionally spread all over anything before I hit middle age.
Anyway these two guys, Lippman and Bernays, were apparently brilliant
at brainwashing. Bernays is famous for saying, "If we understand the mechanisms
and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment
the masses according to our will without their knowing it." (from Toxic
Sludge is Good for You! Common Courage Press). Bernays called this "engineering
We seem clueless!
I don't know about you, but I sure like to spend my week-ends thinking
about controlling the group mind. What are they thinking? The reason none
of us know that these things are going on is because none of us is capable
of thinking like this!
The war propaganda campaign of Mr. Lippman and Mr. Bernays "produced
within six months so intense an anti-German hysteria as to permanently
impress American business (and Adolph Hitler, among others) with the potential
of large scale propaganda to control public opinion." Bernays found a very
practical use for his Uncle Sigmund's science of psychology.
war ended, Bernays later wrote, business realized that the general public
could now be harnessed to their cause as it had been harnessed to the war
to the national cause." (Alex Carey).
This has been going on since before most of us were born and, according to
Inanna, propaganda has been used since the beginning of our written history.
Today we have far more efficient means of distributing propaganda than
ever before. The television, the radio, and the media in general have made
it easy for the spin-meisters and the public relations firms with their
armies of lawyers, lobbyists, and paid-for-scientists to tell us what to
think so that we will all be good little consumers. The true religion of
the West is consumerism, and we are working night and day to spread that
religion to our brothers and sisters in the East.
Was that in the Bill of Rights?
Why, every man, woman and child has a right to shop at a mall and eat burgers
& fries whether they want to or not. Was that in the Bill of Rights?
Oh, yes, of course "the pursuit of happiness" is---having more things!
How could I forget? Gotta have it!
In 1927, Harold Lasswell wrote "Propaganda Techniques in World War I"
and suggested that, "familiarity with the behavior of the ruling public
(meaning those who had so easily succumbed to the propaganda) has bred
contempt...as a consequence, despondent democrats turned elitist, no longer
trusting intelligent public opinion, and therefore should themselves determine
how to make up the public mind, how to bamboozle and seduce in the name
of the public good..."
Does that include destroying the public educational system and poisoning
our food and water?
They didn't even have television then!
Imagine, they didn't have television yet. Laswell believed that propaganda
had a legitimate roll in a democracy---a sad "faith" on his part. And as
Alex Carey points out, "propaganda has become a profession. The modern
world is busy developing a corps of men who do nothing but study the ways
and means of changing minds or binding minds to their convictions."
There is nothing in our culture that encourages a person to think independently.
Tell your family and friends that you are going off to think---and they
will think you are crazy. We in the West have had to access Eastern religions
to realize that pursuits like meditation and contemplation are actually
fertile uses of our time. We are encouraged to keep busy from the time
we can walk until the day we die. Are people still sending their babies
What would happen if the human species were free?
What would happen if the human species were not coerced, herded, and manipulated?
What if each of us wanted to and had time to think, to become who were
are, to cultivate our uniqueness and commune with our Source, the God that
lives with-in each and every one of us? What might we become? Is that what
"they" are afraid of?
They must be afraid of something to have expended
so much energy, money, and time all these years to keep us in such a narrow
frame of expression.
These men and women who specialize in controlling and brain-washing
us can only despise themselves more than they so obviously despise and
distrust us. Next time you spend a few hours absorbing mindless entertainment-and-advertising
(they are never separate) designed to make you go out and consume more,
more, more----stop! for just a minute and think who you might be.
I don't like the way this corporatist elite think they can continue
to get away with the lies and the contempt. According to historians, Thomas
Jefferson never lost his faith in the individual human being. Isn't that
awesome? He would not have much time or respect for the elitist spin-meisters,
propagandists, lawyers, and lobbyists who compete with each other to control
Isn't it time that we the American people grew out of our adolescent
denial and faced our own demons? If we confronted our responsibility for
freedom we might not lose what Washington and Jefferson left us. I love
my country. Where else can a gal say what's on her mind?
Taking the Risk Out of Democracy, Corporate Propaganda versus
Freedom and Liberty
by Alex Carey, 1997; University of Illinois Press
IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.