Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Education V. Ignorance

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Education V. Ignorance

“For centuries the name ‘heretic’ was bad. Thousands were oppressed, tortured, or put to death as heretics. Anybody who dissented from popular or group belief or practice was in danger of being called a heretic. In the light of today’s knowledge, some heresies were bad and some were good. Many of the pioneers of modern science were called heretics; witness the cases of Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno.” (How to Detect Propaganda p.218)

According to the Name Calling passage, taken from the Institute of Propaganda Analysis, we come to the generalization that Education is the surest way to fight propaganda, and on an even larger scale, ignorance. One may derive from the reading that in the past, groups of people were inaccurately labeled and persecuted when in actuality they were doing no harm. In one light one might say that the reason so many people were denigrated and miscategorized was NOT due to their actions or beliefs, but their persecutors lack of knowledge on exactly what these groups of people, or so called "heretics" stood for. If an individual is educated on a subject they a far less likely to fall under the propagandists desired effect. However, in contrary belief, there is a wide audience that believe that the more educated someone is, the more susceptible they will be to propaganda.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good quotation and post.

You are citing an educational document, a handbook for the public to use so that they will not be swayed by propagandistic appeals.

Doob & company believe that education in the techniques of propaganda is an antidote to the power of propaganda. That's true.

The other point is more complex. Systems of education in general are often institutions of indoctrination in a particular ideology or system of ideas. That means that the more education you have the more deeply you are immersed in the national ideology and thus less likely to recognize the propagandistic messages of your own culture.

2/06/2008 9:53 PM  

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