28 February 2012

Invisible Government

Propaganda by Edward Bernays, 1928, Excerpts

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Governments, whether they are monarchial, constitutional, democratic or communist, depend upon acquiescent public opinion for the success of their efforts and, in fact, government is government only by virtue of public acquiescence. Whatever of social importance is done today, whether in politics, finance, manufacture, agriculture, charity, education, or other fields, must be done with the help of propaganda. Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.

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. The systematic study of mass psychology revealed the potentialities of invisible government of society by manipulation of the motives which actuate man in the group. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

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