by James Quinn
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays, "Propaganda," 1928
I was shocked when I came across the above quote a few months ago. Bernays had it figured out 89 years ago before mass media, television, or spin doctors. His vision of a society manipulated by a small number of governing elite who believe they know better than the masses has come to fruition. True republican equality as defined by the founders in the Constitution is considered quaint and a belief of the trusting and naïve masses by the wealthy elite. Manipulation of the masses through a relentless never ending barrage of propaganda disguised as news and unremitting false advertising is designed to control and herd the cattle into the slaughterhouse. We are given the illusion of free choice, when in reality the choices are being made for us by a chosen few who think they know what is best. These puppeteers controlling the strings inhabit the financial, government and corporate halls of power. Their purpose is not to benefit society and its citizens but to protect their wealth and influence, using any means at their disposal. Propaganda to control the minds of a willfully uninformed public has been their most potent weapon.
Most people have never heard the name Edward Bernays. That is the way public relations specialists (manipulators of the truth) like it. They operate in the shadows, subtly influencing public opinion through what Bernays arrogantly referred to as the sinister method of “engineering of consent”. The Governing Elite have no time for messy processes like true capitalism or non-manipulated free elections. The objective for Bernays and his ilk has always been to provide corrupt government power brokers, shadowy bankers and corporate media kingpins with potent psychological instruments of social persuasion and mind control. Edward Bernays is considered the “father of public relations”, and he was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. He pioneered media manipulation techniques.
He understood the weaknesses of the human mind and developed methods and processes for taking advantage of that weakness. “The average citizen is the world’s most efficient censor. His own mind is the greatest barrier between him and the facts. His own ‘logic proof compartments,’ his own absolutism are the obstacles which prevent him from seeing in terms of experience and thought rather than in terms of group reaction.” – Bernays, "Crystallizing Public Opinion"
Bernays got his big break during the administration of Woodrow Wilson, the outset of the American interventionist empire bankrolled by an inflation creating Federal Reserve and a tax and spend Congress. During WWI, Edward began work for the Committee on Public Information, the immense propaganda machine ordered by Woodrow Wilson to sway the American public towards a war he campaigned to keep us out of. He became so instrumental he was invited to accompany Wilson to the Paris peace conference. His claims to fame afterward included:
Creating a false storyline of communists in Guatemala on behalf of his client United Fruit Company, resulting in a CIA led military coup which ushered in a brutal dictatorship resulting in the dislocation, torture and death of thousands.
He was responsible for breaking the taboo of women smoking in public while working for American Tobacco Company.
His biggest claim to fame was inspiring the most reviled propagandist in history. Bernays’ techniques were so effective that Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, made copious use of Bernays’ book, “Propaganda” throughout the Holocaust, often crediting Bernays. That was quite a feather in Bernays’ cap. The German people were gradually indoctrinated by their government through propaganda into consenting and supporting the most horrific crimes in history as described by Milton Mayer in his book, "They Thought They Were Free – The Germans, 1933-45": “This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.
To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must someday lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”
Bernays was a master of using psychological techniques to mask the motives of his clients, as part of a calculated strategy aimed at keeping the public unaware of the forces that were working to mold their psyches. Bernays died in 1995, but his techniques have been taken to a new level as our government, media and financial elite use any means at their disposal to keep the masses sedated and content while they are fleeced and herded towards the slaughterhouse. The Big Lie perpetrated upon the masses is the fallacy of America being a democratic society. The anti-democratic and treacherous corporate public relations Madison Avenue maggots manage and manipulate the opinions of the many in order to make sure a true democratic system doesn’t threaten the privileges and supremacy of the governing elite.
I wonder if it was coincidental the creation of the Federal Reserve, implementation of the personal income tax, and virtually non-stop war coincided with the rise of an industry designed to manipulate and control the thoughts and opinions of an easily influenced and willfully unaware populace. Most people want to be led and told what to believe. Critical thinking and taking personal responsibility for your life and your society requires hard work, sacrifice, honesty, and self restraint. Simply believing storylines supplied by authority figures and media pundits allow the masses to continue living lives of debt delusion and hope, occasionally stirred into a frenzy of fear and loathing towards the foreign bogeyman of the moment, chosen by the governing elite. Bernays and his disciples understood this dynamic and have been able to utilize corporate mass media and the human weakness of trusting in the judgments of authority figures to control and manage the vast swath of America without them knowing it.
“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.” – Edward Bernays
The propaganda techniques employed to manipulate the masses seemed less abhorrent when they centered upon just consumer products. Convincing women they would look like a gorgeous model if they used a company’s cosmetics or convincing a man he’d be admired by his neighbors if he drove a certain car was small potatoes. In the last few decades the misinformation and outright lies fed to the American public by oligarchy of governing elite has become more manifest and repugnant. The list of abuses is virtually endless.
The American public has been lured into debt by the incessant unrelenting lifestyle marketing messages spewed from our TVs 24/7. From the introduction of the show Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous in the early 1980s, wealth, materialism, and consumerism became the motivating force in America. Consumption accounted for only 63% of GDP in 1980, with capital investment accounting for 17%. Today, consumption accounts for 71% of GDP and capital investment only 12%. Keeping up with the Kardashians is the mantra of our times.
The utter failure of our government controlled educational system in teaching our children how to think critically or question the validity of government created data has allowed the elite to paper over the fact the average American worker has not had any real income gains in at least four decades. The insidious nature of Federal Reserve created inflation (up 600% since 1970) is incomprehensible to a public that finds math boring and not essential in their lives.
Once the manipulators convinced the masses they needed a 4,000 sq ft McMansion, two brand new stylish cars, four big screen HDTVs, three computers, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, a Rolex, Armani suits, an in-ground pool, an ATV, and house at the shore, there was only one thing left to do – loan them the money to live the faux American dream. GDP has grown 525% since 1980. Personal consumption expenditures have grown 600% since 1980. Consumer debt outstanding has grown 700% since 1980. And total household debt outstanding has grown 800% since 1980. It seems the purveyors of debt on Wall Street have been the only beneficiaries of the apparition of an American dream sold to a willingly duped American populace.
The dream of home ownership was used by politicians of both parties to further their agendas, egged on by the Wall Street elite and the National Association of Realtors – two of the largest contributors to politicians. As politicians tried to outdo themselves creating programs to get poor people into homes, Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan urged the masses to use creative new adjustable rate mortgage products. With a wink and nod from Greenspan and no fear of any regulation whatsoever, the Wall Street elite created liar loans, negative amortization loans, subprime loans, Alt-A loans and a myriad of other products to induce fraud in the housing market. Appraisers did their part by overstating the values of homes and Wall Street colluded with the rating agencies to package the toxic mortgages and sell them to clueless dupes around the globe with a AAA rating stamped on them. At the absolute peak in 2005, with prices two standard deviations above the long term average, Ben Bernanke declared the housing market strong and the NAR proclaimed it the best time to buy. As the coup de grace, Wall Street urged home owners to unlock that equity in their homes and borrow $3 trillion to spend on gadgets, home upgrades, automobiles, facelifts, new boobs, and exotic vacations. The greatest mass fraud in history was complete. And not one person has gone to jail.
Not only have the governing elite lured the masses into debt slavery, but they’ve convinced them to love their slavery. The governing elite have done a fantastic job of using their media mouthpieces to deflect criticism away from their pillaging and looting of the national wealth. They’ve successfully persuaded the slaves the extreme income inequality is beneficial to the country because the 1% are the job creators and have earned their way to the top through our free market capitalism system. Convincing the middle class to blame the poor for their three decade decline is a tribute to the effectiveness of their propaganda crusade. Jesse gives accolades to the father of propaganda as the moneyed interests have won:
“The moneyed interests have done quite a successful PR job in refocusing the national discussion on priorities involving social issues, and the reform of the support systems for the weak, the unfortunate, and the elderly. Turning one group against another, and objectifying your intended victims through slogans and stereotypes, has always been an effective method of bending the herd to your will. Score one for Edward Bernays.”