27 February 2012

Invisible Rulers

Propaganda by Edward Bernays, 1928, Excerpts

Who are the men who give us our ideas, tell us whom to admire and whom to despise, and what to believe? The words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes. There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions.

The invisible government tends to be concentrated in the hands of the few because of the expense of manipulating the social machinery which controls the opinions and habits of the masses. To advertise on a scale which will reach fifty million persons is expensive. To reach and persuade the group of leaders who dictate the public’s thoughts and actions is likewise expensive.

A presidential candidate may be “drafted” in response to overwhelming popular demand, but it is well known that his name may be decided upon by half a dozen men sitting around a table in a hotel room. Propaganda tends to make the President of the United States so important that he becomes not the President but the embodiment of the idea of hero worship. The politician is able, by the instrument of propaganda, to mold and form the will of the people.

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