Manlyfesto 4 – Propaganda & Control

When people use the word “propaganda”, they usually assume that we all have the same understanding of the word, which goes something like this: propaganda is bad, and even evil. In fact, people assume the definition is so widely understood, that they often use it without any further explanation. “Home schooling is propaganda,” they will say, and they really don’t have to explain it any further. I know and you know that by saying “propaganda”, they mean “evil”.

But really, propaganda is simply an idea. Let’s take the classic Soviet-era propaganda posters. They often depict scenes of might, valor, and victory on behalf of the Soviets against the evil, murdering USA. The US’s propaganda posters during World War II were similar, often depicting scenes of the young, athletic, every-man GI, working hard to fight against the tyranny of fascism.


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Now, both of these examples are propaganda, but not everyone will agree that they are evil. If, as I do, people believe that the US propaganda posters are good, then other words spring up to defend their goodness. Bravery. Sacrifice. Truth. And if, as I do, one believes that the Soviet examples are evil, then other words appear to assert their badness. Twisted. Bigoted. Liars.

And yet, the posters are essentially identical. For every Wartime Hero the US produced, the Soviets had a Communist Hero. For every Greedy Capitalist villain the Soviets produced, the US had a Thieving Communist villain.

So, we find that the evil connotation the word “propaganda” brings with it, actually comes from us—from a personal belief that the propaganda relays an idea that is a lie. If it relays truth, our subconscious says, then it couldn’t possibly be propaganda (even though it really is). Propaganda, in reality, is simply any idea.

If propaganda are ideas, then ideas are propaganda. This means that every commercial we watch about the attributes of the most interesting man in the world is propaganda. Every streaming episode of Arrested Development we watch about never-nudes and kissing cousins is also propaganda. And listening to Daft Punk sing about getting stoned and lucky in their latest earworm is (you guessed it) propaganda.


When we demonize a certain type of propaganda, like talk radio, Fox News, or The Huffington Post, we are essentially saying that most people are so weak minded that they’ll believe the first thing they hear, the first thing that makes them feel good, or the first thing that confirms their previously held beliefs. And this is often true. Propaganda is powerful, which is why the Soviets and the USA had wings of their governments dedicated to nothing else but the production of propaganda. People believe it. That’s life.

But, there are many others that do not believe propaganda. They have a reasoning mind, and a set of principles that forces them to research the matter on their own, before they believe it. These people tend to change their minds during their life, believing one way in college, and another way as a working adult.

They don’t shy away from propaganda, but instead consume as much propaganda as they can because they crave knowledge. They don’t need to be shielded from propaganda, because they have developed reasoning minds that put all propaganda to a series of strict “BS” tests before believing them. It is because of these people that I strongly despise any law that prohibits or restricts propaganda.

When the government bans faith in public schools, it is favoring one type of propaganda over another. When a government bans home schooling, as Germany has, then it is robbing parents the right and opportunity to feed their children the propaganda they choose, and instead, the government takes this power for themselves. These were done to protect “the children”, because the government knows what’s best for them, better than you do. In effect, the government stole a freedom.

Every friend, family member, and coworker we have in our lives continuously feed us their own brands of propaganda, and we either believe them, or call “BS”. Those freedoms won’t last long. Today, Government tells us what is “BS”, and what to believe. Already the PC police have descended on the workplace. They tell us the types of propaganda we can and can’t say, and they dutifully inform us of the propaganda that could get us fired, all while scheduling “team building” propaganda events that they define, run, and control.

1984 depicts a world where the thought police can penetrate our minds, read our rebellious thoughts, and arrest us. A world where children are trained (by the government) to rat out their parents for anything that could be considered harmful to the Party. Where lovers can’t embrace without being watched, where friends can’t pontificate without being overheard.

Today, we have drones with cameras and microphones entering cities. The government can gain access to what we Google, and what we email our friends. Our children are bussed to schools we can’t choose, taught languages we have no say in, fed food we can’t control, taught information we might strongly disagree with, and install tracking devices on kids. If the government next gains access to Google Glass, then they’ll see what we see, as we see it. All of this, done to control propaganda.

When you control propaganda, you control free speech. And then you own people.


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is best known as his alter-ego Oxhorn, author of popular machinima movies. When he's not wearing suspenders with a certain sort of finesse, he's reading, writing, blogging, doing web design, making movies and more often than not enjoying a classy drink with an even classier cigar. Watch his movies at and feel free to stalk him on Twitter and Facebook.

Posted in Essays, Manlyfesto, Politics
6 comments on “Manlyfesto 4 – Propaganda & Control
  1. Edohiguma says:

    Goebbels said it pretty fitting in one of his speeches. A good government requires good propaganda. A good government can’t work without propaganda or with bad propaganda.

    There was a case in Germany a few years back where Thilo Sarrazin wrote a book about immigration. It wasn’t very positive in regards to certain groups, which didn’t come as a surprise to anyone who observed reality. Of course certain political elements didn’t like it and began screaming the usual “racism!”. Yes, stating facts now equals racism. Even chancellor Merkel got involved. She made herself into the ultimate authority over what is free speech and what isn’t.

    Of course Sarrazin’s book was not free speech according to her (similar to Wilders’ film “Fitna”.) But when rabid hardcore leftists in Germany scream for murdering police officers and soldiers (and even try it at certain protests, especially the anti-CASTOR riots are notoriously known for it) then it is free speech.

    Same here. HC Strache (chief of the so called Freedom Party, what the media likes to quickly call “right wing”) talks facts at a rally. At once the media (which has long since stopped being the 4th pillar of freedom) scream “racism!” and the politicians of other parties join them. One or two years ago a leading member of the youth organization of our socialist party (pardon, social-democratic party *cough*) posted on his facebook that all rich people should be killed. The upper echelon of his party smiled, snickered, then said “oh he didn’t mean it like that”. Case closed. If one of Strache’s people would post something similar… imagine the outrage.

    If I was to tell you that roughly 40% of our prison inmates and roughly 70% of the criminals involved in breaking and entering style burglaries are foreigners then I’m probably a terrible racist.

    Then again… Europe has no free speech to begin with and if a country dares to hold national elections where the result doesn’t fit what Brussels want, then that country is hit with sanctions. So seen with Austria and Hungary in recent history. It does explain why nobody was really allowed to vote on the Lisbon Treaty… EUSSR, here we go!

    But then again, I guess Ignazio Silone was right. The future fascism won’t be fascism, it will be “anti-fascism”, and it’s already here, in our streets.

    PS, did you know that “Germans, don’t buy Jewish” is perfectly acceptable again? It’s back. And barely anyone cares.

    • Oxhorn says:

      Great insight, and no, I didn’t know about the German Jewish thing. I what’s the context of that? I don’t think news of it has hit the States yet.

      Many of your observations about immigrants are true concerning subcultures here as well. Any stern criticism of such anti-social behavior is shouted down by chants of “Racist! Racist!” Just like in your country.

      That reference about the new fascism being called the anti-fascism is a great point. I’ll have to use that sometime.

      • Edohiguma says:

        Well, the “don’t buy Jewish” thing is the usual old “being critical of Israel” thing. Disguised as cultural critique and sometimes as sociological criticism the fairy tale of the evil Jews rises from its grave and stalks Germany.

        They did the same after 3-11, the Tohoku quake and tsunami, where the Germans went crazy with fear of imaginary nuclear death clouds (Germany’s S&R team sent to Japan was the only team to abandon their mission and flee the country) and the media was full of anti-Japanese racism making the most ridiculous claims (like comparing Fukushima with Hitler’s final bunker, and saying that TEPCO was forcing foreigners, minors and homeless people into cleaning up, etc.)

        Let me get you a link.

        • Oxhorn says:

          Wow, I’m actually shocked that something like this could appear in Germany–in a land where denying the holocaust is a crime. Saving it for future reference, thanks for the heads up!

  2. damekage says:

    1984 was a book that severely changed the way I view the world. The reasoning is that some of that stuff is happening now. To put it simply life is a scary thing.

    • Oxhorn says:

      I read 1984 for the first time in my 20s, during a period of my life when I decided to read the classics that I missed. I guess my school never had us read 1984 due to the sexual content. So I had already gone through the second Bush election, and seen the protests on campus, before I read it. I too was shocked at how closely it resembled what we were beginning to go though. I should re-read to refresh my memory. Great, if harrowing, novel.

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