I was watching a documentary recently about Hitler and his propagandist Joseph Goebbels. During his rise to power Hitler suddenly changed tactics from violence to persuasion thereby gaining votes and eventually power “legitimately.” How was he able to convince an entire country to accept Nazism? He chose limited and misleading facts, he played on fears which he often created, he found scapegoats, he repeated key words and phrases over and over and he used the latest communication techniques of the day.
No, I’m not comparing any of today’s politicians with Hitler. But I am comparing the tactics for miseducation, creating envy, promoting class warfare, repetitive themes without substance and using scapegoats. You know all the words, you hear them every day and you may by now believe them. That’s unfortunate because you are being manipulated and quite effectively I might add. Some politicians have found a way to take any personal burden you may have and convince you it’s actually the responsibility of others. Others play on your (often unfounded) fears.
Before you pass along a bogus e-mail, post hit ads on Facebook or believe the 140 characters on Twitter, why not take a few minutes to learn the facts. It’s quite easy in most cases, really.
“It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.” – Joseph Goebbels
“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” ― Joseph Goebbels
“Success is the important thing. Propaganda is not a matter for average minds, but rather a matter for practitioners. It is not supposed to be lovely or theoretically correct. I do not care if I give wonderful, aesthetically elegant speeches, or speak so that women cry. The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right. I speak differently in the provinces than I do in Berlin, and when I speak in Bayreuth, I say different things than I say in the Pharus Hall. That is a matter of practice, not of theory. We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths.” ― Joseph Goebbels