The Revolutionary Propagandist


The word’s below from 1953 are quite familiar to us today, and that collectivist Democrat party of the New Deal is still with us—and now joined by the collectivist Republican party. The empty-suit candidacy of Mr. Obama is never short of slogans that obliquely attack the old order, and never define the "Change" which will "restore that temple to the ancient truths," as if he or his opponent know what those "ancient truths" might be. The same methodology was used against the symbols of the American Confederacy, and public opinion manipulated to believe they are somehow evil. Despite the fact that many European flags flew over the slave trade and colonial plantation system, the revolutionary propagandist has convinced the mass mind that the American South is alone responsible for African slavery.

Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402

The Revolutionary Propagandist:

"Laswell and Blumenstock, in World Revolutionary Propaganda, define propaganda as "the manipulation of symbols to control controversial attitudes." Symbols they define as "words and word substitutes like pictures and gestures." And the purpose of revolutionary propaganda "is to arouse hostile attitudes toward the symbols and practices of the established order."

It may be, however, that people are so deeply attached by habit and conscience to the symbols of the established order that to attack them directly would produce a bad reaction. In that case the revolutionary propagandist must be subtle. He must know how to create in the mass mind what the scientific propagandist calls a "crisis of conscience." Instead of attacking directly those symbols of the old order to which the people are attached, he will undermine and erode them by other symbols and slogans…For example, if the propagandist said "Down with the Constitution!"—bluntly like that—he would be defeated because of the way the Constitution is enshrined in the American conscience. But he can ask: "Whose Constitution?" That question may become a slogan. He may say "the Constitution is what nine old men say it is" and that creates an image, which is a symbol. He can ask: "Shall the Constitution be construed to hold property rights above human rights?" Or, as the President (Roosevelt) did, he may regretfully associate the Constitution with "horse and buggy days."

The New Deal’s enmity for that system of free and competitive private enterprise which we call capitalism was fundamental. And this was so for two reasons, namely: first, that its philosophy and that of capitalism were irreconcilable; and secondly, that private capitalism by its very nature limits government. In his inaugural address, March 4, 1933, the President said:

Values have shrunk to fantastic levels…Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed…have admitted their failure and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money-changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men…they know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers…yes, the money-changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of that restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit."

There was the pattern and it never changed. The one enemy, blamable for all human distress, for unemployment, for low wages, for the depression of agriculture, for want in the midst of potential plenty—who was he? The money-changer in the temple. This was a Biblical symbol and one of the most hateful. With what modern symbol did this old and hateful one associate? With the Wall Street banker, of course; and the Wall Street banker was the most familiar and the least attractive symbol of capitalism.

Therefore capitalism, obliquely symbolized the money-changer scourged out of the temple, was entirely to blame; capitalism was the one enemy. But never was it directly attacked or named; always it was the old order that was attacked. The old order became a symbol of all human distress. "We cannot go back to the old order," said the President.

What made (the anti-old order propaganda) so effective was that this was the American people’s first experience with organized government propaganda designed "to arouse hostile attitudes toward the symbols and practices of the established order,"….(the) precise definition of revolutionary propaganda."

(Garet Garrett’s The People’s Pottage, The Revolution Was, Caxton Printers, 1953, pp. 26-29)