Friday Thoughts: Propaganda

Before we get to the propaganda bits, let me just say: it’s been a good week, Tater! I’m writing… lots. This outlining process I’ve borrowed is working very well for me and I’m feeling good about finishing theAcademic Magic series. I’ve got Books 4, 5, and 6 planned out and am moving at good speed through Book #4 – it’s above 10k words right now. And, once I finish this post and get moving on it today, I’m hoping to get beyond 20k.

Now, on to the topic of propaganda… I’ve noticed for quite a while that a large number of Americans do not recognize propaganda when it’s staring them in the face. I find it fascinating that even today, more than halfway through 2023, with all the chaos and division of the government-imposed, economy-wrecking lockdown of 2020-2021, that people can still believe the major news outlets are not only objective, but truth-telling.

As we speak, stances on topics are getting reversed right before our eyes. Remember when Hunter Biden’s laptop was just a Republican diversionary tactic? And nobody in their right (well, left) mind thought or said that there was any there, there? Well, guess what? It turns out that Hunter was, with Joe’s complete cooperation, selling access to foreign companies, and governments, to Joe when Joe was Vice-President of the United States. Remember when Obama said, “never underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up?” Yeah, everybody in the Democratic Party, including Obama, should have listened closely to that comment.

Propaganda doesn’t just come in the form of over-the-top posters printed and distributed by government bureaucracies. Those sorts of things are just the icing on the cake. Propaganda comes in the much more subtle comments and processes. Like we’re finally hearing in a court of law now… when a political party **cough**Democrats**cough** uses the machinery of the government, such as the FBI, to lean on private companies, like Twitter and Facebook to shadow ban, outright ban, and/or choke traffic on opposing views on certain topics, your government is engaging in propaganda wars. In the U.S. they’re also engaging in unconstitutional behavior of the first order. Government interference in a private company for the purposes of blocking information is a violation of the First Amendment. And just because you might agree with the censorship, you should be extremely worried… your information is likely next.

Propaganda also comes in the form of excluding information, hiding it from the public. Of course, hiding it because “it’s for their own good.” Like the nasty side-effects of vaccines that were rushed into production by companies whose researchers were the recipients of hefty government grants. Censorship and propaganda exist not for your benefit, but so that those government bureaucrats and politicians can keep their phony-baloney jobs. It’s never good for you. Never.

Also falling into the propaganda category is the never-ending war on former President Trump. This is the third round of indictments… maybe fourth. I lose track there’ve been so many, and nothing has stuck. I know that the progressives and left are jumping for joy each time an indictment is handed down, I’ve seen it on my FB feed. It’s rather sad and disgusting to see people I know to be intelligent in every other area of life, acting like gleeful henchmen beating people up in A Clockwork Orange. But, have you noticed? Those indictments tend to disappear pretty quickly. By using the government bureaucracy to take out a potential political opponent, someone who has pointed out their flaws, who disagrees with them, your government is engaging in propaganda and a parody of the Two-Minute Hate in 1984.

I say all of this to point out that if you find your head spinning at the speed with which the government mouthpieces and their pet media change their stories, you are not alone. Also, if your head is spinning, you’ve noticed the propaganda. So… now what do you do?

Well, first off, for your own sanity, stop reading and/or listening to all of the mainstream media – TV, cable, online, paper versions, whatever format. Seek out views on sites that might make you cringe. Sites like Red State, Rantburg, Instapundit, Ace of Spades, or RealClearPolitics. Start allowing yourself to remember that 2 + 2 really does equal 4, and there are only FOUR LIGHTS. Everything else is an attempt to make you think reality is unreal.

Stop allowing the government and the media to dictate and warp your reality. Use your own eyes and ears.

Finally, admit your own confirmation biases. That is, we all have certain things we hold to be true, whether they are or not. Because of that, we seek out information that will confirm our biases and avoid information that will challenge them. And to be clear, when I talk about “biases” I am not talking exclusively about racism or sexism or anything other -ism, although they are definitely included in that term. Biases include things like “everybody from over there is just nuts.” Or “Experts cannot be wrong… they’re experts after all.” That last one is a doozy to overcome. We’re taught from childhood that experts are the people we go to for solutions to problems, or answers to big questions. But here’s the thing. Experts are just well-trained (hopefully) and/or well-read (again, hopefully) human beings with all the same flaws as the rest of us.

“Expert” scientists told us that the Wu-flu was going to wipe us out. They were wrong (and the regular flu still killed more on average). “Experts” have told us every fifteen to twenty years, since the late 1960s or so, that the world was going to end in twenty or thirty years. Or that by 2000, snowfalls would be a thing of the past. Guess what? They were wrong. Their models were flawed… but they didn’t mention that bit. Nor did they release their data so that other scientists, who disagreed with them, could run their own data analysis. That’s propaganda.

It’s pretty easy to see why a political party or politician would engage in propaganda. Especially in a democracy where elections are essentially popularity contests. But why would a scientist or researcher or doctor engage in propaganda? Well, think about it. Their reputations, their funding, their perceived status within the scientific and perhaps wider community… all of that is at stake in their eyes. We’re all familiar and have dealt with doctors with God-complexes… well, scientists have them too. Especially when everybody around them tells them what geniuses they are.

Next time you read or watch the news and find yourself cheering like mad because you’ve been told your “enemy” just got indicted, or some group has been arrested, stop. Take a deep breath. Then ask yourself why you’re so happy. Why is s/he your “enemy”?

Then go looking for other sources of information. Look for the original data. Look for your common sense and apply that. Stop believing that just because somebody got elected to Congress, or has more degrees than you, that they’re somehow smarter or a better person than you. You know they’re not. Trust me, having dealt with faculty “experts” for over twenty years, I can say with a great deal of certainty that common sense is not at all common in academia at any level or in any field.

When you do change your information sources or discover new information that contradicts what you’re being told, don’t get angry, get determined – determined to show propaganda for what it is… lies and obfuscation, determined to undermine the propagandists – keep spouting the truth. Get determined to find all the data possible and draw your own conclusions without relying on the media or the government “experts.”

In the end, as hard as it is for us as Americans, accept that your government today is engaging in a massive propaganda war against its citizens, and vow to fight it.

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8 Replies to “Friday Thoughts: Propaganda”

  1. I learned about propaganda from a RAH short story. I can’t remember the title of the story, will probably come to me later, but there is a scene where the main character is taught how propaganda works. (that scene is the source of my running jokes about steak.) I’ve known for a long time that the main purpose of propaganda is to elicit an emotional (sometimes subconscious) response. I also learned that not all propaganda is obvious, nor is it always negative.

    When I was dating Mike back in the 90’s, we were at a museum in Cincinnati, Oh and had stopped to watch a WWII era short. If I remember correctly, it was a Warner Brothers cartoon. (But, to quote my beloved Grandmother, I’ve slept since then.) We came out of the theater discussing the film and I said something about it being a nice bit of propaganda. A couple about 10 years or so older than us stopped and turned around to look at as if I had said that I liked Hitler. The idea that a pro-American, anti-Japanese, cartoon could be considered propaganda was alien to them. No one had ever told them that it goes both ways. ((For the record, Mike agreed with me – or at least didn’t disagree with the comment.))

    Not too long ago I did a survey for a student at a local college about bias. They gave 10 short statements and asked if the statements had any bias. I probably blew their curve when I answered each question as containing either slight, some or a lot of bias. Nothing was bias free. But then I am older than their target and have a different viewpoint – I can spot the bias in many things, on both sides of the political divide.

    1. The RAH story was “If This Goes On” in the book “Revolt in 2100”. Reading this as a teen in the early ‘70s so warped my young mind that I could never watch or read news again without immediately looking for the biased slant.

    2. One of the big victories Progressives had was convincing everyone that a “professional” journalist corps would be unbiased and interested only in the truth. Journalists have almost always been biased*. If, instead, you always assume that any journalist (blogger, whatever) has a bias – known or unknown (it might only be by their focus on certain things to the exclusion of others) – it allows you to sift through information to find actual knowledge.

      (* Even the ones “searching for the truth” are biased. Some of them obnoxiously pursuing “truth” no matter how much it might hurt someone. Or they might be an atheist, rejecting any “truth” presented by a god-fearing person, or vice-versa.)

  2. Why ruin an overall great piece with the claim that regular flu killed more on average than COVID? That’s flatly wrong. Even if you discount the 1M or so US COVID deaths by the estimated 30% died-with-not-from factor, it’s still an order of magnitude greater than even a bad flu year. I might have recommended this otherwise good essay about propaganda to others, but you’ve included a bit yourself.

    1. Ok, so, I’ll give you that one item. But since that invalidates everything else I said, as far as you’re concerned, then you are guilty of allowing your own confirmation biases to invalidate everything else I said. Thanks for providing an example for me!

  3. The old joke about an airliner flying to the US from Moscow. An American aboard asks the Russian sitting next to him, “What brings you to the United States?”

    Russian: “I am going there to study how the Biden administration carries out its propaganda operations so amazingly effectively.”

    American: “Huh? What propaganda?”

    Russian: “Exactly!”

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