How Government Sways the Public to Consent (Is it propaganda?)

Today we will take a look at how the government sways public opinion and creates the appearance of authority.

Like it or not, since the age of the oldest laws, the government has now, and has always swayed and persuaded the public at large.

This persuasion or propaganda is orchestrated in order to engineer the consent of the public.

While this persuasion can create supply chains for beneficial services like water and electricity, it can also be abused by those that yield that persuasive power to achieve their own ends.

And in the modern era of governance in Americas, there is no denying that the public is over-reliant on the government, and as a result. More susceptible to its persuasion.

Today we will look at what you need to know about how the government engineers public consent.

“They (Leaders) may compete with one another in battles for public goodwill; or they may, representing divisions within the larger units, compete among themselves. Such leaders, with the aid of technicians in the field who have specialized in utilizing the channels of communication, have been able to accomplish purposefully and scientifically what we have termed “the engineering of consent.”

-Edward L. Bernays, from “The Engineering of Consent”

The Engineering of Consent

Today, I want to focus on the life work of Edward L. Bernays, the “double nephew” of Sigmund Freud.

While I do not find the statements he has made to be necessarily true.

His writing gives us a powerful window through which we can see into how the minds of world “leaders” think and see the world.

By seeing how those who influence the government see themselves and others. We can better prepare ourselves for their influence and avoid it.

While Edward L. Bernays may have been the first to coin the term the “engineering of consent”, he was not creating anything new.

Rather he was simply defining a practice that has long been utilized by governments and other fields of public relations.

Torches of Freedom- The First ” Public Relation Campaign”

It’s no secret, Edward Bernays was by no means a moral man. At least as far as I can tell. He inspired tens of 1000’s of women to pick up smoking as a form of “women’s liberation”. Simply by branding cigarettes as “torches of freedom”.

This campaign is often referred to as the “world’s first PR campaign“. And while effective at influencing the public to take up smoking as a habit through the engineering of consent. One should recognize that this influence can only exist in a population which fails to uphold basic moral values.

Without Moral values and Religious Laws, one can not stand up against the onslaught of propaganda, let alone peer pressure.

Worse still, when that persuasion or propaganda comes from the government itself, it can be more persuasive by having the appearance or color of law.

Bernays pr campaign calling cigarettes torches of freedom

Propaganda as Bernays Saw

Bernays existed in a time before the internet. So his works were not widely spread while he was still alive. As a result, he felt confident in being firmly honest about his opinions on matters in his published works. After all, he thought only his peers would witness his work.

This is crazy but, his works such as Propaganda, were an inspiration to the likes of Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda. His ideas were widely implemented well before he passed away. And they are still prevalent today.

Despite his obvious moral shortcomings. His works such as The Engineering of Consent, create an invaluable lens through which we can see how the manufacturing of consent is in fact perceived by those in political power.

The “Right” to Persuade

“In a sense, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution guarantees our right to persuade. It is implied and inherent in freedom of speech, assembly, and press. These rights may not be abridged.”

-Edward L. Bernays, from “The Engineering of Consent”

Bernays even went as far as to define persuasion as a constitutional Right. While his perception of the Constitution is not quite accurate (ie. governments and corporations don’t have rights), his work has been undeniably effective.

While the Constitution secures our Rights, as the People, from government infringement. The Constitution does not create or rights for government officials. Our rights come from the Creator, not government. The reality still stands. This sentiment shows us how many government officials perceive the Bill of Rights.

By seeing this, we can better recognize when we are being persuaded to dance to the tune of the government and its officers.

Unfortunately, the “right to persuade” as Bernays so aptly put things, becomes a tool of personal gain, rather than a tool of public service.

government persuading the public

Government Propaganda is Alive and Well

When I hear propaganda, I immediately think of World War II, and planes littering pamphlets in the street.

What about you?

One thing is for certain, propaganda has come a long way since WWII. And if you don’t think it is still prevalent today, you would be greatly mistaken. In fact, propaganda is more pervasive than ever.

The reality is, that government propaganda is much more commonplace than many of us have previously recognized. Worst of all, the government, mainstream media, and major corporations now work to push propaganda hand in hand with one another.

Well US government propaganda is illegal right? Most certainly not!

WWII us government propaganda

Propaganda On The US Public

In 2012, HR 5736 opened up the ability of the government to distribute propaganda directly to the public. However, the government has been participating in propaganda campaigns on the US public before the signing of HR 5736. We need to look no further than Operation Mockingbird to see that this is so. But that was also far from the only propaganda campaign the CIA has admitted to.

Look like a business, the government can not operate without the consent of the governed. At least some portion of the public. And to Bernays, this “right to persuade” was considered a right secured by the Bill of Rights.

the public consenting to the governement

Engineering the Consent of the Public

“In certain cases, democratic leaders must play their part in leading the public through the engineering of consent to socially constructive goals and values.”

-Edward L. Bernays, from “The Engineering of Consent” Article

Think about it. Leaders such as governors, senators and, US presidents feel the need to “guide the flock” which looks to them to lead. This can of course at times be good, as certainly not one of us has the time required to govern every single facet and factor of life that may them. Having running water and electricity, as well as roadways is certainly a perk. However, we live in a time where the public is undeniably overdependent upon that governing body.

As a result, national and global leaders operate in the ways they best see fit to govern the public they were elected to serve. However, there can be no mistaking that these same leaders, no matter how good their intentions are, will seek their self-interests as well.

Propaganda in 2020 and Beyond

Despite what your belief is about 2020, one thing is for certain. The government, in cooperation with the media and major corporations, pulled the greatest piece of propaganda that has been orchestrated in recent history.

While the governors of the 50 states signed executive orders demanding that people wear masks and for businesses to shut down. The media pushed the narrative and made sure that the perception of these governor’s actions appeared authoritative. Meanwhile, major corporations and “chains” enacted mask mandates in their stores. Giving the perception that this requirement was lawful.

Make no mistake, this orchestration was nothing short of fine-tuned propaganda. Whether you agree with the requirements or not. The government (state or federal) does not have the constitutional authority to do what was done in 2020. So they had to rely on public persuasion to achieve consent from the public at large.

bill of rights and the right to persuade as defined by Bernays

Standing in Our Square

Despite the seemingly bad situation we find ourselves in, as with the story of David and Goliath. Even one person standing against the narrative can destroy the entire illusion.

Therefore those in the field of public relations; governors, senators, salesmen, and the like. Need to control the public’s perception very well in order to control the consent of those they wish to capture compliance from.

As individuals, truly our job is to govern our own lives, under our Creator and Nature’s Laws. However, there is hardly a reasonable being that can govern all aspects of their own lives, especially without a relationship to the Creator. And until we can reorient our communities, and the individuals they serve to work with one another in a better form of local governance. Our reliance on the federal and state branches of government will cause a dependency in society that may never be overcome as a whole.

But at the local, community, and family level, we can govern ourselves through the inherent moralities bestowed upon us by our Creator. Until such a time, our dependency on the “Bernays” of the world will be something that limits our freedom, and spiritual development.

Bernays on Consent at The End of The Day

While Edward Bernays may be blamed for the impact of his amoral behavior, his sole objective was not to force, but to persuade. And the lives of those impacted by Bernays various forms of propaganda, did so by their own volition.

Bernays only persuaded the public to think differently, leaving the liability for the public’s actions on the individuals themselves, and not Bernays. This is one example of why a strong moral charter based on the laws of The Most High Creator, is the foundation of a Moral Life. Rather than the lesser, destructive forms which the world seeks to drag us down into.

The actions of Bernays only served as a mirror to show the moral degeneracy prevalent in society during his time.

While the body of Bernays is long buried and gone… His ideas, and more importantly the immorality his actions manipulated. Are still prevalent today. Let’s not forget the lessons that his work can teach us about our lives today.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

-John Adams

Interested in reading more? Check out The Bible, The Constitution, and The Founding Fathers