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Edward Bernays Propaganda

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    As an alternative, to avoid the chaos of having each member of society voice their opinion on social or political issues, Barneys suggests having a set Of institutions Of practices that serve to regulate these crowds so they can behave within the framework of a democracy. Barneys advises on a system where experts develop systems within a democratic society to communicate the correct responses individuals should have on various issues. Through this system, individuals are not able to form opinions of their own because these opinions are already translated, formed and structured for them.

    In this essay I will exemplify ways in which Barneys’ suggestion of he necessity of the use of propaganda to maintain an organized democratic society is not only counter to the idea democracy but also is a reductionism idea that disallows room for true expression of self in a democratic society. Broadly, democracy can be defined as a belief that focuses on the people but more importantly on the individual. It gives the individual power to have a voice, be heard, and to be given the power to make contributing choices based on their beliefs.

    Even though there are many people, subcultures, and beliefs in a single society, in a democracy the individual is able to weigh in and aka changes that will contribute towards the greater good of that society. The notion of living in a true democracy becomes washed away in a representative democracy as suggested by Banyans, as the weight of a single individual is not considered. Having selected experts in charge of filtering information on issues before it is presented to individuals. Rates a limitation of choices to formulate an opinion, which in turn limits the dimensions of opinion individuals can have on a given issue. What becomes even more problematic when considering Barneys’ idea is the notion that we have to be revived with necessary illusions and emotionally potent oversimplifications, as if we as a society are unable to produce enough individuals equipped with knowledge or resources to be able to form our own opinions. His idea suggest that the majority of society is incapable of thinking for themselves and the intelligent few are the ones that are to makes decisions for us.

    Why then claim that this is to help with the organization Of a working democracy if through this idea the individual voice, which is the basis of a democracy, is not one that truly matters? There are many issues in the 21st century that an be applied to the initialization of propaganda, from arising body issues stemming from advertising of the ideal body to products that we choose to consume because of the way that they are marketed. It can be argued that we in this generation are the most propagandist people in history, which is unconventional given the fact that we now have access to more information at a more rapid pace than ever before.

    With the increasing amount of forms of media, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements that promote certain acceptable and glorified images or ways of thinking, and we pugnaciously internalize them. A great example of the way in which propaganda in Barneys terms continues to work in society today is us getting information about political issues through one news channel from selected experts, accepting the information just as its presented, and developing opinions about the given political issues solely based on that news report.

    Like most reports about warfare, when it is communicated to us through a news outlet, it is often dumber down into good versus evil, us versus them. The media often take willing parts in these conflicts by diminishing the feats, and heightening the victories, in order to get us as a public to have a certain sense of compassion for our soldiers sent out there to fight the war and pay little attention to the innocent casualties from this war.

    This is an image of new propaganda in action, instead of seeking out more information about current political issues, the majority of the public often simply turn into their preferred news channels and absorb the information the way it is presented without doing further research or questioning why it is presented the way that it is. This ‘new propaganda’ coined by Barneys is a suggestion that individuals need to not be given all the facts, and are essentially mislead but that this is done for the greater good of society, as they would be overwhelmed otherwise.

    What needs to be problematical from this way of thinking is not only its objective to control the public mind but also the fact that it ostracizes the notion of self-expression within a democratic society. The key should then be encouraging education and creating more dialogue about individuals doing more research on current issues from different resources, to be able to formulate their own ideas about these issues.

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