Since the times of Ancient Greece, the importance of education has been well understood by ancient philosophers and the citizens of ancient democracies. It was well known that a free peoples and democratic systems could only thrive if the average quality of the citizenry were maintained at a high level of excellence. If such a standard of quality were to be debased, it would be inevitable for that decay to begin affecting the systems of governance which would in turn lead to the rise of tyrannical and authoritarian paradigms of governance. For a free peoples to remain free they must be intelligent, knowledgeable, logical, virtuous, and have unwavering codes of ethics. At such time in which these core elements are absent, such circumstances would quickly lead to the loss of democracy and the rise of tyranny.
In the last millennium, with every new technological leap there has been a compensatory response on the part of ruling establishments to control the flow of information and ideas. Each great leap in mass communications, from the printing press, to the radio, to the television and the internet, has seen initial periods of a renaissance of ideas followed by a rapid clamping down by the ruling establishment to reassert their dominion over the minds of the masses. In many cases, the domination of these mediums by the ruling establishment has seen their base of power grow rather than diminish due to their tight control over these new revolutionary technologies and their dominion over the flow of information.
While psychological warfare has existed in some form or another since ancient times, the rise of new systems of mass communication has provided the means for more powerful and effective methods of psychological warfare. These heightened potentials for psychological warfare were simply not possible given the parameters of previous limited technologies and social systems of information dissemination. Each expansion in technological potential has seen a compensatory explosion in the study and mastery of psychological warfare in order to fully exploit the technological possibilities and better excel in the design and manipulation of mass psychology.
The radio made possible the rise of the totalitarian regimes of the early 20th century when the speeches of dictators and elite propagandists could invade the living rooms of millions of citizens across hitherto incomprehensible distances. Likewise, the rise in the 20th century of television sets in the homes of First World countries coupled with the addiction to television consumption provided the setting necessary for the exercise of an incredible power in the shaping of ideology, politics, and culture. A power that was mercilessly abused yet few amongst audiences truly appreciated the nature of the ongoing social engineering and sociocultural warfare. The ubiquity of exposure to mass communications translated to nearly endless possibilities in being able to inject ideas into the minds of audiences and program their cognition, perception, and behavior.
The Contemporary Context
The contemporary context as it concerns mass communications and psychological warfare is a worst-case scenario and an increasingly dire crisis situation. In the contemporary context, most First World nations are functionally soft-totalitarian systems which use extremely vast and comprehensive systems of propaganda to control with an iron grip the minds of domestic populations. These tend not to be separate national totalitarian systems of information control but components of a supranational, neofascist, technocratic, and totalitarian systems of control which ultimately serves the interests of the international ruling establishment. This has led to propaganda campaigns and initiatives having a transnational quality to them with entire swathes of the planet being simultaneously psychologically engineered towards desired endpoints.
The American context will be specifically explored as a case study:
The American propaganda apparatus is one which has been slowly and steadily evolving and is not a new phenomenon. There was evidence of early critical manipulations which affected the course of history such as the oligarch William Randolph Hearst helping engineer the Spanish-American War or the dealings of the Rockefellers manipulating newspapers and news reports to serve their image and financial interests. The concerted manipulation of the press was greatly furthered with the establishment by the U.S. Federal government of the short-lived Committee on Public Information (CPI) which was responsible for churning out the necessary propaganda to engineer a war hysteria and manufacture the consent of the American public for U.S.’s entry into the First World War. This overt foray into propaganda was an initial breach of public trust and one which set the precedent for future government control over the American citizenry.
American propaganda was again implemented during the course of World War II. Post-war, the propaganda duties of the United States were given to the newly created Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which quickly led to the U.S. engaging in propaganda internationally as well as controlling and shaping news reporting domestically. Whatever initial inhibition the CIA initially had to propagandizing the American citizenry was quickly overcome with the establishment of Operation Mockingbird and the outright dominion over American reportage. This control by the CIA included a vast network of controlled newspaper editors, reporters, and financial influence over the entirety of American journalism. By the 1970s, there was barely a newspaper in U.S. not in the thrall of the CIA with American journalism being a critical tool in the neoimperial agendas of the expanding American hegemon.
However, the dominion over the minds of the citizenry was not limited to mass communications directed at adult citizens. Increasingly, propaganda efforts involved a holistic approach which intended to shape the minds of citizens from their earliest development. In totality, the American psychological warfare operations can roughly be divided into:
- Indoctrination/Miseducation: engineering deficits in the education of children, engineering their early psychological development, and training them for mindless gullibility and obedience.
- Weaponized Education: incorporating propaganda and psychological warfare into higher education that profoundly skews the learning process and forces key paradigms conducive to political and economic power.
- Social Engineering & Sociocultural Warfare: control over the culture industry and the production of mass media and mass entertainment for the purposes of reinforcing propagandistic paradigms and in order to radically reshape society and culture towards endpoints conducive to state and corporate power.
- Standard Psychological Warfare: conventional psychological warfare aimed at adult citizens for the purposes of domestic and geopolitical agendas incorporating a holistic approach to information warfare.
There had already been in the United States the conspicuous elimination of courses such as Civics and Home Economics over decades beginning since the 1960s. While Home Economics was critical to the financial edification of citizens, this subject was mostly limited to the expansion of corporate power over American households. Of far greater concern was the conspicuous elimination of Civics and the removal of programs which specifically aimed at training young citizens to understand the nature of their American republic and inspire them to rise to the defense of its democratic principles. The debasement of education has been a decades-long calculated systematic debasement with any exploration of the textbooks of the past showing a remarkable dumbing-down of the content and unforgivable omissions in the curricula.
Perhaps one of the most egregious and conspicuous recent examples of the holistic psychological war on the domestic American citizenry is the Common Core federal educational program incorporated by the federal Department of Education. Common Core was foisted upon the public educational systems of the United States by the efforts of the oligarch Bill Gates in an undemocratic manner. This agenda entails the scientific dumbing-down of children and their inculcation into defective learning methods which greatly hinder their ability to read, perform math, and engage in self-directed learning. Both of the educators who were used to lend false legitimacy to this reprehensible program have since spoken out publicly about the danger of such corrupted learning processes for the youth.
Furthermore, the indoctrination and propagandization of children is not limited to government schools but incorporates a vast entertainment cartel which aims to inject ideas and paradigms into the minds of impressionable children who do not have the capacity to resist psychological warfare. Given the ubiquity of digital consumption and the general lack of discernment by parents in curating their children’s digital exposure, increasingly social engineering campaigns directed at the youth are more conspicuous in their intent to subvert and propagandize. Indeed, entertainment more than the indoctrination at government schools is the driving force in contemporary agendas of psychological and sociocultural subversion.
A Holistic War Requires Holistic Defense
As can readily be imagined, a psychological war on the minds of the international masses requires a holistic approach to psychological defense against propaganda. Because the aim of this approach is not merely to dumb-down the subsequent generations but to make them constitutionally incapable of resisting psychological manipulation, any meaningful resistance has to aim at providing a comprehensive set of skills and the knowledgebase necessary to properly resist psychological manipulation. Any such holistic approach to propaganda immunization must attempt to educate both the youth and adults alike as well as foment dynamics of interpersonal pedagogy.
Ideally there should be entire educational curricula for children specifically designed for the heightened needs of the contemporary citizen. Such propaganda immunization for the youth should include a holistic comprehensive curriculum which incorporates everything from the basics (logic and rhetoric, reading comprehension, critical thinking, ethics, world history) to the necessary advanced subject matter (basics of psychological warfare and propaganda, the history of covert action agencies, the nature of the international propaganda apparatus, the realities of contemporary governance, and contemporary geopolitics). While such training cannot guarantee absolute immunity to propaganda, the development of a holistic psychological defense would allow a properly trained citizen to self-correct if they are deceived and to properly analyze the nature of current psychological warfare campaigns. A fully trained and immunized youth will be expected to hold their own against the onslaught of contemporary psychological warfare operations in a manner which currently remains elusive to most university educated adults.
These systems of propaganda are not merely powerful, they are advanced beyond the comprehension of most people who have not formally studied contemporary psychological warfare. To use metaphor, the contemporary context is akin to an individual unfamiliar with American boxing being put in a professional match with a world-class heavyweight. Such a match will inevitably be a one-sided beat-down with the untrained individual being at the mercy of the raw boxing prowess of the honed fighter. For one to go toe-to-toe with this propaganda machine requires more than the mere development of intellectual prowess, in the same manner that merely attaining physical prowess is insufficient to box at a professional level. The contemporary individual must not merely hone their intellect but learn to metaphorically “psychologically box” at a professional level if they wish to hold their own against contemporary psychological warfare and maintain the sovereignty over their own psychology. This entails studying psychological warfare and the dark arts of psychological manipulation and engaging in lifelong learning and adaptation to advancements in psychological warfare.
It must also be noted that psychological warfare is a dynamic process in which psychological warfare campaigns adapt to the psychology and psychometrics of their audience. Meaning that propaganda immunization must not merely immunize people to the contemporary dynamics of psychological warfare but develop an adaptive immunity to deception and manipulation. Again, such training requires a holistic approach and the instruction of individuals on how to independently learn and adapt to the shifts in psychological warfare strategies.
Recent developments with the use of weaponized crises and vast psychological warfare campaigns have clearly demonstrated how easy it is for these systems of propaganda to shift the core morality, ethics, and values of entire generations and radically alter their normative paradigms. Otherwise good, intelligent, and ethical people have been psychologically destabilized by fear and reshaped by relentless psychological warfare campaigns in extremely short periods of time; to such a degree that people are in mere months remolded into caricatures of their once sensible and ethical selves. To see beyond the deceptions and to remain strong in the face of psychological terrorism campaigns requires special training and the honing of very specific attributes.
Psychological warfare is not a tool of a democracy or a republic, it is the tool of a totalitarian system. And if the people allow themselves to be further deformed and reshaped by the dark arts of psychological warfare there will be in short order totalitarian systems far worse than the ones in which the citizenry currently find themselves in. The history of the 20th century has clearly demonstrated the nature of the destructive path of civilizations which do not vehemently reject totalitarianism and preempt their development. While it may seem logical to reject totalitarian paradigms, such obvious positions are rarely taken by the people. This is due to the fact that these caustic and oppressive paradigms are never introduced clearly and overtly but by conducting highly effective public relations campaigns which mis-portray the nature of the totalitarian agendas and which manipulate the perception of the citizenry. These Trojan Horse or “wolf in sheep’s clothing” tactics are devastatingly effective at engineering the support of undiscerning citizens for the systems of their own oppression.
There is a great struggle currently ongoing involving the alternative media sphere and the international propaganda apparatus. This struggle involves independent analysts and investigative journalists who are attempting to dismantle deceptions as quickly as they arise. These counter-propaganda initiatives are invaluable, but they are insufficient. Every citizen that is in the thrall of propaganda is one that champions the expansions of totalitarianism while simultaneously condemning the resistance to totalitarianism. An understanding of the underlying issues is the first step in building the required democratic movements to preserve liberty and human rights. This in turn requires the building of systems of education and training specifically designed to this end.
At stake is not merely the lives of millions that are lost in illegal wars or the onerous oppressions brought about by the irreversible loss of core human rights, but the future untold generations and of the whole of humanity. This struggle requires dedicated systems to teach the newest generations of citizens in a manner conducive to the preservation of liberty as well as the training of a new vanguard of researchers, academics, analysts, and investigative journalists to continue the civilizational legacy of resistance to totalitarianism. Such cultural instruments and educational systems are vitally necessary in order to continue the struggle for the continued preservation of human liberty, dignity, and inalienable human rights.
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