Most people live in a fantasy world of their own creation. As first described by Sigmund Freud in his study of psychoanalysis, each person fights an internal emotional battle with his childhood caretakers, siblings, perceived enemies, and society. The building blocks of this fantasy world are powerful tools for control of a civilian population, if you have a government that knows how to use them.
Edward L. Bernays, nicknamed the Father of Spin, was the creator of modern propaganda. Bernays was Sigmund Freud’s nephew, and applied Freud’s work to the art of mass persuasion by blending advertising techniques with an understanding of human psychology. Bernays worked for the Committee on Public Information, otherwise known as the CPI. This government agency was created by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917 for the purpose of mustering public support for World War One.
The original propaganda campaign had three rules:
- Stress emotion over logic,
- Demonize the enemy, and
- Promise a war that will make the world safe for democracy.
The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan has followed Bernays’ playbook to the letter. We waved our flags, while the evil wife-enslaving Taliban were destroyed by the freedom loving Northern Alliance. The CPI is clearly still hard at work today. It has been given new life in the War on Terror (emotion over logic), which is intended to destroy the Evil Axis (demonize the enemy), in order to create a safe world for our children (promise democracy). One can only guess at the breadth and scope of the overall propaganda effort, but it would be no stretch to assume that it employs thousands, and costs billions.
The February issue of Vanity Fair carries a fifteen page spread of the President’s cabinet. Foremost in this group are The Spin Team, who are in charge of what they call the Image Offensive. This is a new euphamism for Propaganda. The Spin Team claims that the offensive is an attempt to explain the conflict to the American people in terms of economics, diplomacy, and law. In practice, they use classic Freudian imagery of fear, hope, danger, and reward.
Employing domestic propaganda to win wars seems to be only part of a larger agenda. The Total State continually seeks to expand its power, and does so by encouraging citizens to view the government as a benevolent parent. Elected officials are presented as authority figures, rather than public servants. Through the influence of state-controlled media, we begin to view politicians as our own internalized caretakers. In other words, we grant them parental authority.
As further evidence, witness the rise of personality journalism. When reporting on government affairs, the media now excludes substantive debate. Instead, journalists depend on human interest. We watch the President give a speech, and then listen as the commentators note how strong he looked, and determined, and handsome. There is no reason to discuss the merits of his plan. Note also that the President has much more gray hair since the events of September 11. During his State of the Union, the President was strategically placed in front of a group of admiring young men. He is being groomed to serve as a patriarch, or should democracy fail completely, a Monarch.
Even the titles of our so-called leaders have changed to reflect the new order. We now have a Commander of Homeland Security, a Commander in Chief, and a Drug Czar. Authority figures, all of them.
In his 1982 book The Ominous Parallels, Leonard Peikoff, protégé of the famous Objectivist Ayn Rand, describes the evolution of the Total State and the doctrine of Statism. He says modern Western culture is in a state of philosophical bankruptcy. The Total State uses this bankruptcy to pursue three goals: the worship of unreason, the demand for self-sacrifice, and the elevation of society or the state above the individual. These are the same goals that were pursued by Germany during World War Two. They called it National Socialism.
National Socialism is a blend of Marxism and Imperialism, which together form the basis of the Total State. Following are a description of each, by Darren Perkins:
Marxism is the basis of the governmental system of Socialism. Socialism applies the moral code of humanism, where science is man’s ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge. Man is held in restraint by The State that compels and restricts the individual to work for the common good of society.
Imperialism is the basis of the governmental system of Corpratism: Corpratism applies the moral code of materialism, with an opportunity to conquer and subjugate, to feed ones indulgence in a system of privilege and class rank. What makes sense gives way to what is possible. Based on the governing principle of supreme dominion, license to participate in the system comes from the Imperial Head and his ruling elite.
The objectives of the Total State are twofold. The first is to formalize the rank and privilege of this ruling elite. The second is to eliminate dissent. National Socialism allows the Total State to achieve both objectives. Under the ruse of civic engagement, the wealthy elite dominate the political process through soft-money campaign contributions. This ensures complete political power, and freedom from tax or disclosure obligations. By some estimates, this group has moved trillions of US dollars into hidden offshore bank accounts. This money will never be taxed or acknowledged, yet it controls our government.
The second objective, to eliminate dissent, is even easier. Our Marxist university system, which is government subsidized, has defined a narrow set of parameters that qualify as acceptable speech. To engage in dialogue outside those parameters is to risk be charged as a racist, sexist, homophobe, xenophobe, or anti-Semite. Such charges often carry with them the status of hate crime, which is punishable by imprisonment. Citizens who challenge government policy directly may also face the charge of sedition. To quote the President: Either you are with us, or you are with the Terrorists.
There are many examples of how the state elevates itself above the individual. A recent Executive Branch proposal calls for two years of compulsory civil service for all youth. Claims upon personal income now reflect an appalling tax burden of 50%, which is actually closer to 60%, if you factor inflation. An 85% tax rate by the year 2015 is entirely possible. Property taxes continue to rise and outright land confiscation takes place under the thin pretense of environmental concern. This is happening now in Klamath Basin, and happened under Clinton when he signed an executive order that made a federal monument out of 1.7 million acres of Utah, an area the size of Delaware.
The greatest danger of Statism lies in the fact that it usurps parental authority in order to train young minds in obedience to the state, which it falsely champions as patriotism. Statism demands unthinking loyalty, which is sold by the media and taught by the public schools. Ultimately it robs each citizen of his most important asset: the ability to reason.
Evidence abounds that our youth are in fact losing this faculty. There has been a steady recorded downward trend in the basic skills, knowledge, and analytical powers of our nation’s students. Critical thinking skills that used to foster debate within the classroom have been replaced with dogma, every student is keenly aware of the taboo subjects that must be avoided. The Scholastic Aptitude Test has been made easier to keep scores from dropping, and 75% of California high school students cannot pass their exit exams, a reflection of a growing nationwide trend.
Thus, the victory of the Total State is complete. The true beneficiaries, the Elite and its attendant classes, will continue to employ Edward Bernays’ methods. The American people will be propagandized and taxed until they are reduced to virtual slavery.
It is a myth that Einstein created the most dangerous technology of the twentieth century when he helped split the atom. The technology created by Freud is much more dangerous. Einstein’s bombs can frighten and occasionally kill, but Bernays’ propaganda, combined with the rigid controls of National Socialism, allows the Total State to hold hundreds of millions of people hostage in an invisible prison.
February 8, 2002