This article by Terry Madenholm is published by Haaretz. Here is an excerpt:
There is no government without propaganda. This is not a slogan from some black bloc anarchist group, but a rational conclusion from the very pragmatic David Hume: “Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion”. For the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, the maxim applied not only to despotic and military governments but to free countries as well.
The term “propaganda” has a complex history. In English, by the 1930s it had assumed negative connotations, associated with Stalin and Hitler. Earlier, it had been a neutral term, hardly different in meaning from “persuasion.” Thus one of the founding documents of the huge public relations industry is called “Propaganda” by the PR theorist Edward Bernays (1891-1995), explains the linguist Noam Chomsky.
“It was all very benign in intent, so the rhetoric assured us. Bernays’ first great triumph, which propelled him to fame, was a project that persuaded women to smoke – to be free, modern, liberated, by smoking ‘torches of freedom.’ No one has troubled to count the corpses. The profits for his employers are incalculable. But the intent, as always, is noble,” he adds. “How far back does it go? As far as historical records reach, at least to the great Athenian orators.”
Read the full article here.
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