world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those
who are not behind the scenes.
Western democracy wants to establish democracy in the world, the more it works
undemocratically, whether in Tripoli, Brussels or in Washington. Yet it is very
hard nowadays to resist its impeccable and humanitarian propaganda. This is why
we must seize the origins of this dark strength.
back to the twenties of last century: we are facing the fascinating
confrontation of western propaganda, bolshevist propaganda, fascist, Ku Klux
Klan or Nazi propaganda; and everywhere capitalism trying to sell its products
Edward Bernays, a parent of Sigmund Freud, publishes a famous book about modern
propaganda and advertising, which synthesises the advancements of modern mind
control, after a terrible World War and a decennial of technical improvement
and modern art of conditioning the masses through radio, movies and press.
Bernays states that days of democracy are over, if they have happened once.
Everything is linked to science, manipulation, mind control and invisible
wire-pullers when it comes to politics. This is also what had predicted Moses
Ostrogorski, a Russian researcher and shrewd observer of American political
parties at the end of the nineteenth century. This expression of wire-puller
has been popularized later, in front of incomprehensive masses, by famous movie
(and book) the Godfather. The masses of consumers, voters or travellers never
do what they want; they just do what they are told to do. Read this sentence
are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally
realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public
men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.
again this book has amazed me since it is a work written in a rather cynical,
provocative and controversial tone. Bernays could not write such stuff
nowadays, for we are maybe in more totalitarian times, which mean more
sophisticated, satisfied and blinded times. He could be labelled conspiracy
are behind the scenes have been dubbed here the manipulators of symbols, the
deciders, the technocrats sometimes. Bernays writes in his clerical style: As civilization has become more
complex, and as the need for invisible government has been increasingly
demonstrated, the technical means have been invented and developed by which
opinion may be regimented.
of tomorrow needs to be standardized as most as possible. This system was
established first in America, then in Western Europe then, with the fall of the
wall, everywhere else. The last resistant countries, some Moslem nations, have
been recently destroyed, pulverized indeed. This is because we must conform:
some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favourite essayist, or merely
prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we
conform most of the time.
basically what utters with some imprudence and arrogance Bernays in his book: a
good reader of Babbitt, the masterwork of Upton Sinclair denouncing the
standardized bourgeois citizen of America, Bernays sees in America the
laboratory of the future to create the mixed-up, robotic and standardized
citizen of the one world republic!
extraordinary, growing, and sane standardization of stores, offices, streets,
hotels, clothes, and newspapers throughout the United States…
stuff basically serves one purpose like in the Bible, when the psalmist and Job
are comparing themselves to the bird captured by the fowler: the ensnarement of
consequently a vast and continuous effort going on to capture our minds in the
interest of some policy or commodity or idea.
are mere products like soap and pasta. Even war is a product you can sell with
some propaganda salsa. To create a war against Syria is not more complicated
than to create a war against Germany a century ago! Writes Bernays:
manipulators of patriotic opinion made use of the mental clichés and the
emotional habits of the public to produce mass reactions against the alleged
atrocities, the terror and the tyranny of the enemy.
does not believe that universal literacy can create a freer man; on the
contrary the well-informed citizen is the more manipulated:
instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber
stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published
scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of
history, but quite innocent of original thought.
now promote a non-reader citizen! Yet he would be a victim of manipulators of
images and symbols carried on his cellular phone, that omnipresent companion
and transmitter of alienation.
too Bernays sees no reasons to be more romantic:
since then we have agreed, for the sake of simplicity and practicality, that
party machines should narrow down the field of choice to two candidates, or at
most three or four.
world is such divided between hidden elite of manipulators and a big mass of
manipulated (and happy to be so) people, a herd victim of the global mind
clearly it is the intelligent minorities which need to make use of propaganda
continuously and systematically. In the active proselytizing minorities in whom
selfish interests and public interests coincide lie the progress and
development of America.
We do know
how cruel and irresponsible these ‘active proselytizing elites’ can be
nowadays. In order to be realistic and not only pessimistic, Bernays adds that
humanity is a gregarious species and that modern science, this great liberator
of our superstitions, has thus described our brain (this was prior to
psychoanalysis founded by his uncle):
assumed that the human mind was merely an individual machine, a system of
nerves and nerve centres, reacting with mechanical regularity to stimuli, like
a helpless, will-less automaton. It was the special pleader’s function to
provide the stimulus which would cause the desired reaction in the individual
God, to save us from modern science and propaganda, we have the psalms:
is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and
we are escaped.