Paul Gosselin - 7/3/2023
While in this book Bernays attempts to us the term “propaganda” as a neutral concept, that is “work done to promote an idea”, after reading this book one can see that Bernays himself has contributed to the more negative shift in our understanding of this term which typically views propaganda as a manipulative and dishonest attempt to influence a target audience. Clearly Bernays' book is not just about how businesses have to deal with marketing and public image issues. As one reads, it becomes obvious that in Bernays view, propaganda must be an all-encompassing endeavour, influencing not only business activities, but also government, politics, education, women's activities, culture and science. Since Bernays views propaganda as an all-encompassing endeavour, then logically it follows that he is promoting an ideologico-religious system, a worldview... Anthropologists tell us that only a religion can provide answers to all such fields of human endeavour. Religions attempt to give the over-arching meaning to all of life. But of course, Bernays is careful not to spill the beans about his own take on that account, though he does drop a brief hint at the end of chapter X (“Propaganda is accustoming the public to change and progress.” p. 159).
There is a practical issue though to consider: How does one go about to gain wide influence in a society containing groups with widely diverging interests and views? Bernays’ response is the following (1928/2005: 54):
The American government and numerous patriotic agencies developed a technique which, to most persons accustomed to bidding for public acceptance, was new. They not only appealed to the individual by means of every approach—visual, graphic, and auditory—to support the national endeavor, but they also secured the cooperation of the key men in every group —persons whose mere word carried authority to hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers. They thus automatically gained the support of fraternal, religious, commercial, patriotic, social and local groups whose members took their opinions from their accustomed leaders and spokesmen, or from the periodical publications which they were accustomed to read and believe.
While buying off “key men” in each group can gain some influence, perhaps a more effective approach in the long term appears be to insert reliable puppets into the targeted circles of influence and provide them with the markings of prestige. Evangelicals might consider the famous DNA researcher Francis Collins (and his BioLogos Institute, selling the materialistic origins myth to church leaders, who are too ready to bow down to the idol of Science) as a good example of such a strategy. That Collins the hardnosed scientist converted based on reading CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity is excellent marketing to gain street cred with church leaders. Of course it didn't hurt that BioLogos was offering money for grants at Bible Colleges and seminaries... After all how many Bible colleges can afford to ignore good money?
As one reads Propaganda, it soon become clear that Bernays views the general public with the same respect Pavlov reserved for his dog. Ring the bell and it WILL salivate... Convincing his target audience of the Truth of his views (via reasoned argument and debate) is of no concern to Bernays. Thus, deceitful manipulation of one's target audience is NOT ruled out. And, more alarmingly, Bernays applies this strategy to politics as he clearly despises democracy and the concept that leaders should be subject to the will of the people. Early on in the book Bernays exposes his elitist views and not so subtly hints about how he thinks governments should be run (1928/2005: 37):
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.
No doubt about it, Bernays is a Deep State low-life. Here is further evidence Bernays supplies of his contempt for democracy (1928/2005: 60)
A presidential candidate may be "drafted" in response to "overwhelming popular demand," but it is well known that his name may be decided upon by half a dozen men sitting around a table in a hotel room.
Of course such views fit in with hints that Bernays drops here and there that he is a member of the elitist and hypocritical sect, the Freemasons (the title of his first chapter actually echoes the Freemason Latin motto: Ordo ad chaos). For many centuries Freemasons have been obsessed with infiltrating and corrupting circles of power and influence, that is circles of political, economic, intellectual and cultural power, and then bending these institutions to their will. In the United States for example, Freemasons love to boast that over half of US presidents that ever held office were (are?) Freemasons. Freemasonry being a VERY hierarchical organization, only the top initiates are worthy to lead and determine policy. Lower rung Freemasons are viewed as dispensable pawns and non-initiates viewed as beneath contempt...
Here are other pieces of evidence of Bernays' contempt for the masses (and for the democratic process that would take their views into account) (1928/2005: 109):
No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and clichés and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.
(1928/2005: 111) Political campaigns today are all side shows, all honors, all bombast, glitter, and speeches. These are for the most part unrelated to the main business of studying the public scientifically, of supplying the public with party, candidate, platform, and performance, and selling the public these ideas and products.
My guess is that such attitudes fed a “prophecy” appearing in Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, Brave New World Revisited (1958/2007: 393-394):
Under the relentless thrust of accelerating overpopulation and increasing overorganization, and by means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms — elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest — will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial — but democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.
Perhaps it is worth considering the possibility that in 2023 Huxley's political prophecy has in fact been fulfilled...
- (2021) Big Eva Favorite 'Christian' Scientist Lauds Pride Month, Promises be a Good 'Ally'. (Protestia - 22/9/2021)
- (2022) Leaked Audio! Russell Moore and Francis Collins Talk About Fetal Cell Research in a Demonic Way. (Protestia - 3/8/2022)
Arendt, Hannah (1948/1976) The Origins of Totalitarianism. Harvest Book New York xliii-576 p.
Basham, Megan (2022) How The Federal Government Used Evangelical Leaders To Spread COVID Propaganda to Churches. (DailyWire/Illinois Family Institute - 2/2/2022) -> discusses Collins' role in influencing church leaders
Bernays, Edward (1928/2005) Propaganda. [with Introduction by Mark Crispin Miller]. IG Publishing - New York 168 p.
Coppedge, David F. (2015) When Darwinists Tolerate Faith: Francis Collins gets tolerable coverage in the secular media for his brand of Christian faith. That's not necessarily good. Creation-Evolution Headlines - 22/3/2015
Fava, Ray (2022) Francis Collins and Russell Moore: Evil Revealed In Leaked Audio. (The Evangelical Dark Web - 9/3/2022)
Huxley, Aldous (1958/2007) Brave New World Revisited. Vintage Canada xvi - 407 p. (Ebook)
Lewis, C.S. (1949) Transposition and Other Addresses. Samizdat 56 p.
Mahlburg, Kurt (2022) Will Christian Leaders Who Platformed Francis Collins Correct the Record?: "What we now know about the Wuhan lab leak, Collins' emails and the contested science on masks and lockdowns should prompt these leaders to question their willingness to act as the mouthpiece of the government." (Caldron Pool - 5/2/2022)
 - Which immediately raises the question WHO gets to define what Progress is ? And which particular worldview will serve as the basis for such a concept? Of course the concept of Progress has deep roots in the Enlightenment worldview. CS Lewis was rather cynical about this concept and wrote (1949/2015 : 18-19):
And yet it is a remarkable thing that such philosophies of progress or creative evolution themselves bear reluctant witness to the truth that our real goal is elsewhere. When they want to convince you that earth is your home, notice how they set about it. They begin by trying to persuade you that earth can be made into heaven, thus giving a sop to your sense of exile in earth as it is. Next, they tell you that this fortunate event is still a good way off in the future, thus giving a sop to your knowledge that the fatherland is not here and now. Finally, lest your longing for the transtemporal should awake and spoil the whole affair, they use any rhetoric that comes to hand to keep out of your mind the recollection that even if all the happiness they promised could come to man on earth, yet still each generation would lose it by death, including the last generation of all, and the whole story would be nothing, not even a story, for ever and ever. Hence all the nonsense that Mr. Shaw puts into the final speech of Lilith, and Bergson's remark that the Élan vital is capable of surmounting all obstacles, perhaps even death _ as if we could believe that any social or biological development on this planet will delay the senility of the sun or reverse the second law of thermodynamics.
 - Bernays is clearly fixated on this concept and calmly observes (1928/2005: 61)
There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.
 - When in positions of power or influence, Freemasons are instructed to deny they are Freemasons, generally laughing off such a claim as “conspiracy theory” crackpottery...
 - And the final sentence of Propaganda, (not so subtly) repeats this motto...
 - See this Mason site (in particular sections on, U.S. PATRIOTS and U.S. PRESIDENTS) :
Or these lists on Wikipedia
In her magnum opus, The Origins of Totalitarianism, written just after World War II, Hannah Arendt examined 20th century totalitarian ideologies such as Nazism and Communism and oddly enough observed that these movements had power structures modelled on those of secret societies. To avoid any misunderstanding, Arendt does not explicitly name Freemasons, but the comments below fit quite well with what is known about the operating principles of the Masons (1948/1976: 376-377):
The totalitarian movements have been called "secret societies established in broad daylight." Indeed, little as we know of the sociological structure and the more recent history of secret societies, the structure of the movements, unprecedented if compared with parties and factions, reminds one of nothing so much as of certain outstanding traits of secret societies." Secret societies also form hierarchies according to degrees of "initiation," regulate the life of their members according to a secret and fictitious assumption which makes everything look as though it were something else, adopt a strategy of consistent lying to deceive the noninitiated external masses, demand unquestioning obedience from their members who are held together by allegiance to a frequently unknown and always mysterious leader, who himself is surrounded, or supposed to be surrounded, by a small group of initiated who in turn are surrounded by the half-initiated who form a "buffer area" against the hostile profane world. With secret societies, the totalitarian movements also share the dichotomous division of the world between "sworn blood brothers" and an indistinct inarticulate mass of sworn enemies." This distinction, based on absolute hostility to the surrounding world, is very different from the ordinary parties' tendency to divide people into those who belong and those who don't. Parties and open societies in general will consider only those who expressly oppose them to be their enemies, while it has always been the principle of secret societies that "whosoever is not expressly included is excluded." This esoteric principle seems to be entirely inappropriate for mass organizations; yet the Nazis gave their members at least the psychological equivalent for the initiation ritual of secret societies when, instead of simply excluding Jews, from membership, they demanded proof of non-Jewish descent from their members and set up a complicated machine to shed light on the dark ancestry of some 80 million Germans.
This would then lead to the conclusion that communism under Stalin or Nazism under Hitler were in fact Mason projects... Taking into account data Arendt presents, this would not be an irrational deduction. But, to clear up any misunderstanding, Arendt does not make such an explicit claim. On the other hand, would it be rational to imply that it is only ‘by chance' that both communism under Stalin and Nazism under Hitler modelled their operating principles on Freemasons? A coincidence that repeated itself twice in the same century, back to back?