Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Chomsky and the Bewildered Herd

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Chomsky and the Bewildered Herd

Which is the correct concept of democracy :
"A democratic society is one in which the public has the means to participate in some meaningful way in the management of their own affairs and the means of information are open and free. " or "Democracy is that the public must be barred from managing their own affairs and the means of information must be narrowly and rigidly controlled. " (pg. 267)
According to Chomsky's reading it is the latter one, which also states that only a few should control the democratic government. Those few would be the higher educated intellectuals of society making choices for the rest of society. The rest of society would be known as the "bewildered herd ... Their function in a democracy he said is to be ' spectators' , not participants in action . " (pg 270)

The intellectuals that is referred to in the reading is the politicians, who have used the media to its advantage. One good example given is the phrase used in the Persian Gulf War "support our troops" (pg 273). The idea was to have the public believe that you were supporting the troops in Kuwait, and if you didn't you were being unpatriotic. The issue at hand was not do you support the troops, but do you support the governments policy. The government has used the media wisely and to its advantage, while trying to keep its citizen's involvement to a minimum.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good summary of a key point. The distinction between a managed democracy dominated by an elite and a real participatory democracy is fundamental. The reality lies somewhere in between.

2/13/2006 11:25 PM  

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