Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Propaganda Writ Large

Watching the Left spin propaganda against Bush's recent successes in the Middle East, so far to no avail, got me to thinking: What if they pulled it off? What if they got people to believe that up is down, and thereby unlearn all the valuable lessons of the past few years? Shudder.

Which in turn led me to ask: hmm, what are the most damaging propaganda triumphs of all time? Now there's an interesting question. Here's a couple, just off the top of my head, to get you started:

  • MYTH: Nazis are right-wing, which is the opposite of left-wing.

    FACT: Hitler was, in fact, right in the mainstream of socialism in his day. There was a reason he called his party The "National Socialists," after all.

    DAMAGE: By disassociating themselves from Hitler, socialists were able to avoid being relegated to the same rubbish heap as he. Stalin, for example, was widely praised and supported in many parts of the West, as were his successors, even up to this day.

  • MYTH: The stock market crash of 1929 was the result of capitalist excess and speculation, leading to the Depression.

    FACT: There was never enough money in the stock market to cause a depression. It was a fraction (5%?) of the size of the bond market. When the markets in general sensed bond troubles - ultimately leading to massive defaults soon after, so the markets' sense of it beforehand was indeeed correct - they started moving money in a reverse of the usual "flight to quality" definition: i.e. they went from bonds to stocks. Given the disparities in market sizes, it only took a little bond money to drive stocks skyward. That's when the get-rich-quick crowd jumped on the trend, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    DAMAGE: Capitalist societies, by blaming private enterprise, took more power away from the people and gave it to govt. Big govt came to the West, riding on the back of its own failures, and has remained to this day.

Leave your own nominees in the comments section. I'll post those that really stand out. The more we understand propaganda, the better we can resist it in the future.

BTW, please confine your comments to events that took place at least 50 years ago, as I have no wish to fight modern propaganda battles over this.