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मंदार शिंदे
Mandar Shinde

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Idea That Won't Go Away...

He knew that information is an extremely powerful weapon that can be used to drive opinion.

He knew that information, true or false, could be used to shape a political agenda. 

He knew that words and images uttered repeatedly and deliberately, regardless of truthfulness, become accepted and part of the way people think and perceive others.

This can be used to ignite prejudices, paint individuals and groups, initiate opportunistic greed and other anti-social tendencies, transform dissent into hatred, and even turn citizen against citizen. 

He proved that controlling information was even more important than controlling the military and the economy. 

He wanted to control every sector of the society - including film, radio, posters, rallies and textbooks.  What he could not control he trivialized. 

He believed that it was “good fortune for governments that people do not think.”

Information he offered about his policies was sketchy and in some cases inept, but what he did was based on the idea that most individuals are conformists who do not think for themselves.

One of the tricks used was to manipulate public opinion through distortions, euphemisms, name-calling, fear, social pressure (you are either for us or against us) and denigrating minorities.

By repeatedly hammering words, phrases and ideas into a citizen’s thinking and by making it part of the culture, the propaganda becomes part of the language. Then no one stops to question the ideas and from where they originate. 

The purpose is to eliminate the capacity for critical thinking, thoughtful deliberation and discourse.

One trick is to hold political rallies in the evening hours. He said, “Never try to convert a crowd to your point of view in the morning sun. Instead the dim lights are useful - especially the evening when people are tired, their powers of resistance are low, and their complete emotional capitulation is easy to achieve.” 

He discovered that people wanted to be part of a movement, to plunge themselves into the joy and pleasure of being part of a great cause. That makes it easy to sell hatred, to blame others, to disparage minorities and to get away with it. 

His effective use of information and manipulation of public opinion has been studied, copied and utilized by some who lust for power.

He may be dead. But his ideas, methods and example live as strongly today as they did in the 1930s and 1940s. 

So, there it is. The idea that won’t go away. Call me loony if you wish.

On July 26, 2018, Bill Gindlesperger (Public Opinion) wrote this about him, who must not be named.


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