Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Propaganda

"The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"In propaganda the appeal of love is slow and lumbering in comparison with the appeal of hatred. hatred is the piquant sauce which accelerates both the swallowing and digestion of ideas and policies." - Ze'ev Jabotinsky, born Vladimir Jabotinsky

"Much of what has been achieved by the art of education in the nineteenth century has been frustrated by the art of propaganda in the twentieth." -

"Today the world is the victim of propaganda because people are not intellectually competent. More than anything in the United States needs effective citizens competent to do their own thinking." - William Mather Lewis

"The advance planning and sense stimuli employed to capture a $10 million cigarette or soap market are nothing compared to the brain-washing and propaganda blitzes used to ensure control of the largest cash market in the world - the Executive Branch of the United States Government." - Phyllis Schlafly, fully Phyllis McAlpin Stewart Schlafly

"All propaganda messages tend to occur in three stages: the stage of drawing attention and arousing interest, the stage of emotional stimulation, and the stage of showing how tension thus created can be relieved (i.e., by accepting the speaker’s advice)." - J. A. C. Brown, fully James Alexander Campbell Brown

"The essence of propaganda is the presentation of one side of the picture only." - J. A. C. Brown, fully James Alexander Campbell Brown

"The danger of total propaganda will be believed. The danger is that nothing will be believed… The end results of total propaganda are not fanatics, but cynics." - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"Action makes propaganda’s effect irreversible. He who acts in obedience to propaganda can never go back. He is not obliged to believe in that propaganda because of his past action. He is obliged to receive from it his justification and authority, without which his action will seem to him absurd or unjust, which would be intolerable." - Jacques Ellul

"Every new idea will… be troublesome to [the individual’s] entire being. He will defend himself against it because it threatens to destroy his certainties. He thus actually comes to hate everything opposed to what propaganda has made him acquire. Propaganda has created in him a system of opinions and tendencies which may not be subjected to criticism… Incidentally, this refusal to listen to new ideas usually takes on a vigorous propaganda will declare that all new ideas are propaganda." - Jacques Ellul

"A sharp sword must always stand behind propaganda if it is to be really effective." - Joseph Goebbels, fully Paul Joseph Goebbels

"The art of crisis management, now widely acknowledged to be the essence of statecraft, owes its vogue to the merger of politics and spectacle. Propaganda seeks to create in the public a chronic sense of crisis, which in turn justifies the expansion of executive power and the secrecy surrounding it." - Christopher Kit Lasch

"All art is propaganda… On the other hand, not all propaganda is art." -

"Almost all propaganda is designed to create fear. Heads of governments and their officials know that a frightened people is easier to govern, will forfeit rights it would otherwise defend, is less likely to demand a better life, and will agree to millions and millions being spent on “Defense.”" - J. B. Priestly, fully John Boynton Priestly

"The four basic criteria of successful propaganda – it must be seen, understood, remembered and acted upon." - Terence H. Qualter

"The results at which I have to aim are only to be attained by systematic corruption of the possessing and governing classes. Business advantages, erotic satisfactions, and ambition, that is to say, the will to power, are the three stops in our propaganda organ." - Adolph Hitler

"The results at which I have to aim are only to be attained by systematic corruption of the possessing and governing classes. Business advantages, erotic satisfactions, and ambition, that is to say, the will to power, are the three stops in our propaganda organ." -

"The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not be doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth." -

"The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not be doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth." -

"The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not be doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth." -

"Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feeling?" - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"We must never forget that international friendship is achieved through rumors ignored, propaganda challenged and exposed; through patient loyalty to those who have proved themselves worthy of it; through help freely given, where help is need and merited... Peace is more a product of our day-to-day living than of a spectacular program, intermittently executed." - Dwight Eisenhower, fully Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower

"Nationalism, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, militarism, cartelization and unionization, propaganda and advertising are all aspects of a general relentless drive to manipulate men and neutralize the unpredictability of human nature." - Eric Hoffer

"The death of the advertising agency and the propaganda bureau will be one of the surest signs of the birth of a new society." - Lewis Mumford

"Typically the elites are the most indoctrinated segment of a society, because they are the ones who are exposed to the most propaganda and actually take part in the decision-making process." - Noam Chomsky, fully Avram Noam Chomsky

"The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not be doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"All art is propaganda… On the other hand, not all propaganda is art. " - George Orwell, pen name of Eric Arthur Blair

"You cannot get through the density of the propaganda with which the American people, through the dreaded media, have been filled and the horrible public educational system we have for the average person. It's just grotesque" -

"It is the emergence of mass media which makes possible the use of propaganda techniques on a societal scale. " - Jacques Ellul

"Propaganda tries to surround man by all possible routes in the realm of feelings as well as ideas, by playing on his will or on his needs, through his conscious and his unconscious, assailing him in both his private and his public life. It furnishes him with a complete system for explaining the world, and provides immediate incentives to action. We are here in the presence of an organized myth that tries to take hold of the entire person. Through the myth it creates, propaganda imposes a complete range of intuitive knowledge, susceptible of only one interpretation, unique and one-sided, and precluding any divergence. This myth becomes so powerful that it invades every arena of consciousness, leaving no faculty or motivation intact. It stimulates in the individual a feeling of exclusiveness, and produces a biased attitude." - Jacques Ellul

"In the midst of increasing mechanization and technological organization, propaganda is simply the means used to prevent these things from being felt as too oppressive and to persuade man to submit with good grace. When man will be fully adapted to this technological society, when he will end by obeying with enthusiasm, convinced of the excellence of what he is forced to do, the constraint of the organization will no longer be felt by him; the truth is, it will no longer be a constraint, and the police will have nothing to do. The civic and technological good will and the enthusiasm for the right social myths — both created by propaganda — will finally have solved the problem of man." - Jacques Ellul

"The most favorable moment to seize a man and influence him is when he is alone in the mass. It is at this point that propaganda can be most effective." - Jacques Ellul

"Hate, hunger, and pride make better levers of propaganda than do love or impartiality." - Jacques Ellul

"Ready made opinions can be distributed day by day through the press, radio, and so on, again and again, till they reach the nerve cell and implant a fixed pattern in the brain. Consequently, guided public opinion is the result, according to Pavlovian theoreticians, of good propaganda technique, and the polls [are] a verification of the temporary successful action of the Pavlovian machinations on the mind." - Joost Meerloo. fully Joost Abraham Maurits Meerlo

"The continual intrusion into our minds of the hammering noises of arguments and propaganda can lead to two kinds of reactions. It may lead to apathy and indifference, the I-don't-care reaction, or to a more intensified desire to study and to understand. Unfortunately, the first reaction is the more popular one." - Joost Meerloo. fully Joost Abraham Maurits Meerlo

"Much of what has been achieved by the art of education in the nineteenth century has been frustrated by the art of propaganda in the twentieth." - Harold Laski, fully Harold Joseph Laski

"The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments of the dominant political mythology." - Michael Parenti

"The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments of the dominate political mythology." - Michael Parenti

"The direction which the revolution will take depends, no doubt, upon the sum total of the various circumstances that determine the coming of the cataclysm. But it can be predicted in advance, according to the vigor of revolutionary action displayed in the preparatory period by the different progressive parties. ... The party which has made most revolutionary propaganda and which has shown most spirit and daring will be listened to on the day when it is necessary to act, to march in front in order to realize the revolution." - Peter Kropotkin, fully Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin

"Anti-evolution propaganda is full of alleged examples of complex systems that 'could not possibly' have passed through a gradual series of intermediates. This is often just another case of the rather pathetic 'Argument from Personal Incredulity' that we met in Chapter 2. Immediately after the section on the eye, for example, The Neck of the Giraffe goes on to discuss the bombardier beetle, which" - Richard Dawkins

"Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda and entertainment without moral passion is television." - Rita Mae Brown

"It was, however, striking—in the best sense of the word—that precisely those rules that corresponded exactly to their overseers’ economic interests enjoyed unconditional veneration, whereas rules for which said correspondence was less applicable were more likely to be winked at." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"In any case, his religious teaching consisted mostly in more or less vague ethical remarks, an obscure mixture of ideals of English gentlemanliness and his favorite notions of personal hygiene. Everybody knew that his class was liable to degenerate into a demonstration of some practical points about rowing, with Buggy sitting on the table and showing us how to pull an oar." - Thomas Merton

"I have come to think that for those of us inured to empire Sabbath rest is the most urgent and difficult command, because empires depend upon restless productivity. The mandate that begins the poetry is to disengage." - Walter Brueggemann

"Yet this corporate being, though so insubstantial to our senses, binds, in Burkes words, a man to his country with ties which though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. That is why young men die in battle for their country’s sake and why old men plant trees they will never sit under." - Walter Lippmann

"But every little difference may become a big one if it is insisted on." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"The old system of exploitation of colonies and the monopolization of their trade for the benefit of the mother country has practically disappeared." - Elihu Root

"The inspired scribbler always has the gift for gossip in our common usage he or she can always inspire the commonplace with an uncommon flavor, and transform trivialities by some original grace or sympathy or humor or affection." - Elizabeth Drew, aka Elizabeth Brenner

"The Lives of Others, a 2006 Oscar-winning German drama, with its sharp portrayal of pervasive surveillance activities of the Stasi, GDR’s secret police, helps to put things into perspective. Focusing on the meticulous work of a dedicated Stasi officer who has been assigned to snoop on the bugged apartment of a brave East German dissident, the film reveals just how costly surveillance used to be. Recording tape had to be bought, stored and processed; bugs had to be installed one by one; Stasi officers had to spend days and nights on end glued to their headphones, waiting for their subjects to launch into an antigovernment tirade or inadvertently disclose other members of their network. And this line of work also took a heavy psychological toll on its practitioners: the Stasi anti-hero of the film, living alone and given to bouts of depression, patronizes prostitutes – apparently at the expense of his understanding employer. As the Soviet Union began crumbling, a high-ranking KGB officer came forward with a detailed description of how much effort it took to bug an apartment: “Three teams are usually required for that purpose: One team monitors the place where that citizen works; a second team monitors the place where the spouse works. Meanwhile, a third team enters the apartment and establishes observation posts one floor above and one floor below the apartment. About six people enter the apartment wearing soft shoes; they move aside a bookcase, for example, cut a square opening in the wallpaper, drill a hole in the wall, place the bug inside, and glue the wallpaper back. The artist on the team airbrushes the spot so carefully that one cannot notice any tampering. The furniture is replaced, the door is closed, and the wiretappers leave.” Given such elaborate preparations, the secret police had to discriminate and go only for well-known high-priority targets. The KGB may have been the most important institution of the Soviet regime, but its resources were still finite; they simply could not afford to bug everyone who looked suspicious. Despite such tremendous efforts, surveillance did not always work as planned. Even the toughest security offices – like the protagonist of the German film – had their soft spots and often developed feelings of empathy for those under surveillance, sometimes going so far as to tip them off about upcoming searches and arrests. The human factor could thus ruin months of diligent surveillance work. The shift of communications into the digital realm solves many of the problems that plagued surveillance in the analog age. Digital surveillance is much cheaper: Storage space is infinite, equipment retails for next to nothing, and digital technology allows doing more with less. Moreover, there is no need to read every single word in an email to identify its most interesting parts; one can simply search for certain keywords – “democracy”, “opposition”, “human rights”, or simply the names of the country’s opposition leaders – and focus only on particular segments of the conversation. Digital bugs are also easier to conceal. While seasoned dissidents knew they constantly had to search their own apartments looking for the bug or, failing that, at least tighten their lips, knowing that the secret police was listening, this is rarely an option with digital surveillance. How do you know that someone else is reading your email?" - Evgeny Morozov