Every Country Uses Propaganda – Here’s Why

Propaganda creates an illusion that people believe in about their country and how the world works. They then make decisions in their lives and argue with one another based on this illusion.

These posters were used as propaganda to help the US public agree with the need for the war and all it was costing.

I also learned about propaganda used by other countries, including Russia and Germany. This propaganda though, was apparently the only kind that was bad. Why? Because it was coming from ‘the enemy,. In our own country, we are taught that only foreign governments do bad things.

This is the same sentiment no matter what country you live in.

In this piece I want to present the idea that propaganda tunes populations into an illusion of reality, but not reality itself. This has many consequences.

This reality is rather obvious. And I’d bet that aside from wanting to gain control over mass public opinion, countries use propaganda so heavily on their citizens because if they don’t, another country will.

Using propaganda gives countries control over their citizens and aligns them under one narrative, even if it’s not factual. In a world built on dominating and competitive worldviews, the cost is too great for most countries to not use propaganda, so they do. Hence we see a race to the bottom dynamic at play here.

Arguments in favor of propaganda include the idea that when it comes to life or death, getting the public on your side is important.

But what happens when propaganda becomes the everyday tool for powerful interests to simply maintain their power? When it isn’t a question of life or death, but a question of powerful figures maintaining, and even growing, their power?

Richard Stengle is the founder of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC). He also served in Obama’s administration as the under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

Richard Stengle, founder of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center. Served in Obama’s admin as the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs. “I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population.”

“Basically every country creates their own narrative and story. And my old job at the state department was what people used to joke as the chief propagandists job. I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population.”

When you begin to open up to the idea that propaganda is a tool for powerful folks to get the public on their side about an idea, without telling them the truth, you start seeing the problem.

Further, it feels inherently undemocratic doesn’t it? If powerful people can withhold truth or sway public opinion with deception, does the voter truly have all the information necessary to cast a meaningful vote?

Of course not, but those in power believe the common person does not have the capacity to understand truth, and therefore propaganda becomes the means by which public opinion is shaped.

Propaganda & Democracy

As pointed out in this study out of Cambridge University by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page called “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens”

“When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

This suggests there isn’t a democracy in the United States. Not just because propaganda is shaping public opinion in a way that makes people’s votes uninformed, but also because there are groups of individuals who control politicians that the voter apparently put in place.

It concluded:

“The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.”

The theory that citizens and their desires are represented through the democratic process is not supported by reality.

There has been a critique of this study as seen here. But anyone who takes a close look at how our society truly operates will likely conclude that Page’s & Gilens’ findings are not far from the truth.

It pains me to see how obvious this reality is, yet still see the intellectual elite of the United States, who write for publications like The Atlantic, New York Times, and Washington Post, continue to cry out that US democracy is under threat.

What democracy? What world are these folks living in that they cannot see the reality of the system they live within? Is it too painful to explore the notion that the once wonderful democracy of the US has long been gone?

Time and time again history and common sense suggests that people are given the option to vote as a means to uphold the illusion that they have a say. It keeps them invested in a system that doesn’t help them thrive.

In reality, the system is not designed to allow the ordinary citizen to have much say, unless of course their perception is shaped by the propaganda of that country.

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” – Edward Bernays, in his book Propaganda

A Space Between Worlds

We currently live in a space between worlds whereby many are waking up to the reality of propaganda, all while the system of propaganda is strengthening its hold on every last bit of power it has.

It’s a tricky place to be in because the commitment to centuries of propaganda has resulted in a loss of trust in societal institutions. Now, the general public has no reason to trust their governing institutions. They are becoming too wise, en masse, to accept the illusion their government is pulling over their eyes.

Government is then turning around and pointing the finger at every possible target but themselves, all while creating an infrastructure to snuff out dissenting voices.

But take a close look at their ratings and all is predictable: the mainstream gets near perfect marks, while everyone in the alternative faces harsh and unfair criticism.

I have exchanged many emails with John Gregory at NewsGuard. I imagine he’s a decent guy in real-life, but speaking to him about the business of news is like talking to a wall. There is zero room for nuance or complexity.

NewsGuard makes this claim on their website about an article we wrote in 2020:

The article in question was titled: ‘Fact-Checking The Fact-Checkers About Coronavirus & Vitamin C Treatment – Is It Really “Fake News”?’

In it we explored the clinical trial launched by Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, and explored the fact that fact-checkers were claiming that vitamin C tablets don’t help stop viruses. But in China they were not talking about tablets, they were talking about high dose vitamin C injected intravenously.

All we did was report on what was happening in China, and made no claims. Yet NewsGuard said we were claiming ‘Vitamin C protects against COVID-19.’ How can people give credence to fact-checkers who can’t even get basic facts right?

It is more reasonable to think NewsGuard’s intention is to sew doubt about our platform than it is to arrive at truth.

The irony is, propaganda and fake news are often one in the same. In some cases governments create events and stories that are completely fabricated. In other cases they will completely change the context or mislead in order to get the end result they want. Fact-checkers and mainstream media follow along with their every move.

Aside from infrastructures of censorship, powerful figures are also calling those waking up to the deception “mentally ill” or “domestic terrorists.”

This document from the Department of Homeland Security in the US indicates quite clearly where things are headed.

According to these documents, creating content that points out the insanity of our current financial system is also now “misinformation,” and you could be labelled as a domestic terrorist.

This is a subject we have spoken about since 2009, and continue to today. Are we really not allowed to discuss the destructive nature of central banking? Or the authoritarian future possible through the creation of CBDCs?

This form of censorship truly took off when people swallowed the fabricated story that Russia interfered with the US elections causing Trump to win. Smart people bought that story. With that one lie, a host of other subjects are now un-questionable. This is why we must stand behind principles associated with free speech, not politics.

Interestingly, Richard Stengle, who made the comments above about the need for propaganda is one of the creators of Hamilton 68, a propaganda dashboard created by the political establishment to suggest dissenting views were “Russian disinformation.” The problem was that they used a fabricated list of 600 Russian Twitter accounts to make their point.

Yoel Roth, the former Twitter head of Trust & Safety at Twitter stated:

“Hamilton 68 accused legitimate American accounts of being Russian bots… There is no evidence to support their statements.”

Did Censorship Work?

Did the advent of fact-checkers, Big Tech and government collusion, and outfits like NewsGuard work?

Well to be utterly transparent, my business, Collective Evolution (which The Pulse birthed out of), was valued about $22M USD in 2015. We had 14 full time employees and could afford to pay multiple freelancers for content. We owned a retreat center and were building a personal development school. We were about to expand as well.

When censorship came in during 2017, everything changed. We went from a growing and thriving business, to one reeling to find solid ground. We now have 2 full time employees, and a few freelancers. We went from 30 million page-views a month to around 1.5 million.

This is the power of shutting down and demonetizing via censorship. It is just in the last couple of years that academics, scientists, and journalists like Matt Taibbi started to realize how bad this really is. Not just during COVID, but starting way back in 2016.

What pains me today is how much brands like ours have been forgotten about during all of this. We’re an incredible case study for how powerful censorship has been, and yet those now paying attention to the censorship phenomenon don’t even know we exist.

Instead, the reality of censorship is only granted to the more ‘high-end’ scientists and academics who were silenced during COVID.

Because knowledge of censorship and its effects are now so great, independent media can gain a lot more support by readers – this is good. We see this with outlets like the Racket, The Free Press, Russel Brand, and Kim Iverson – all gaining much public support.

But it again makes me wish we got taken down during a time where so many acknowledged the reality of censorship. Now, it feels like we’re yelling our story into the wind.

The Folks Who Won’t See It

Folks that write for or put full trust in outlets like the Atlantic, Washington post, New York Times etc. often struggle to see the big picture of what’s happening. They believe in the system before them, and act as maintainers of the illusion created through the propaganda they bought into.

They might even give a pass to the type of behavior seen in the above video with Richard Stengle. The end portion showcases a man making a comment about how alive and well the US propaganda is, and how that narrative has destroyed aspects of the world. Stengle chooses to not even acknowledge the statement, and instead make a joke before abruptly ending the panel discussion.

This is a classic approach. Either people will claim something is not worth platforming, and that talking about certain ideas is ‘dangerous’. Or they will claim it’s shameful, ‘anti-american’, or “far-right” to discuss them.

They then convince the masses it’s OK to never answer questions about good evidence. Instead, there is an insult you can throw at any question that challenges propaganda and the status quo.

How will these people open up? That’s anyone’s guess. But I trust that over time people eventually do see the truth. After all, having been at this for 15 years now, to see major academics, scientists, and journalists now fully aware of what’s going on is a HUGE step.

How Then Do We Make Change?

I am not inspired much by tiny changes that generally maintain the status quo. I’m inspired by change that would truly re-shape the way our world functions in order to benefit people and the commons.

It is my feeling and observation that if we cannot see how things are truly functioning in our society, we cannot come up with a reasonable solution. We must be willing to platform conversation, dissenting views, and debate about different ideas openly and in good faith.

This is not just a mental exercise either. Being able to attune with our hearts, bodies and expand our minds is a crucial step in effectively making sense of our world. I believe we have to reliably expand our consciousness beyond the frame of our existing view of the world, and be open to seeing things differently.

Our courses: Mastering The Art of Critical Thinking (paid) and The 5 Days of You Challenge (free) are helpful resources for exploring what I mentioned above.

Questions I like to leave readers with are:

What stops people from truly engaging? It’s not that they are stupid, or brainwashed, that is a lazy answer. I feel it’s more important we understand the conditions behind why we close off.

Are we afraid of not be accepted by our friends and loved ones? Are we afraid of how our worldview might have to change? Are we afraid of what people might think of us?

Does it produce a nervous knot in your stomach to engage with ideas you don’t agree with? What other sensations occur in our body when we hear things we don’t agree with?

My hunch is most people are so uncomfortable with the idea of having to delve into uncomfortable feelings in their body that they avoid questions like this all together.

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