Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Democratic Realist of the 1920's

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Democratic Realist of the 1920's

"The democratic realists of the twenties focused thier criticism of democracy on two of its essential beliefs: the belief in the capacity of all men for rational political action and the belief in the practicality and desirability of maximizing the participation of all citizens in public life. Finding ordinary men and women irrational and participatory democracy impossible and unwise under modern conditios, they argued that it was best to strictly limit government by the people and to redefine democracy as, by and large, government for the people by enlightened responsible elites." (Robert B. Westbrook)

I think what the democratic realists were trying to say is that many average citizens of America aren't qualified enough to make political decisions for their communities. Many people don't read the paper, let alone pay attention to the issues effecting thier communities. What these critics of democracy were scared of is these people who could care less about having a say, actually having a say.

It was this fear that brought about the ideas of Lippmann, and others, who believed that psychology could be used in Public Relations to help manipulate opinions of a mass who were considered to be "irrational".

1 Comments:

Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post. Do you agree with these "democratic realists"? Are the masses incapable of rational political action? Should they just be steered by a political elite?

3/18/2009 11:43 AM  

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