Propaganda is often thought of as the evil twin of information. Information generates the problems that propaganda exploits and pretends to solve (Ellul 1973/1965:114).
Kellen (1965:vi) credits Ellul (1962) with the observation that intellectuals are virtually the most vulnerable of all to modern propaganda. There are a number of reasons for this:
- ♦ Intellectuals absorb the greatest amount of second-hand unverifiable information.
- ♦ Intellectuals feel a compelling need to have an opinion on every important question of our time, and thus easily succumb to opinions on indigestible complex topics with unverifiable information.
- ♦ Intellectuals consider themselves capable of “figuring it out, and judging for themselves.”
- ♦ Intellectuals are compelled to believe that propaganda has no effect on them. That it is in fact ineffectual and not very clever. Because they are convinced of their own superiority, intellectuals are much more vulnerable than anybody else.
- ♦ Intellectuals are most easily reached by propaganda that employs ambiguity, and that coordinates and explains facts/problems they believe themselves to be mastering.
Subject to these conditions the intellectual literally needs propaganda.
Ellul, Jacques. 1973. Propaganda. New York: Vintage Books Edition, first published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1968 as a reprint of the Knopf 1965 translation of Propagandes originally published in 1962 by Librairie Armand Colin, Paris. (Pages 112-116, etc.)
Kellen, Konrad (1965). Introduction to the English translation of Ellul's Propaganda (Alfred A. Knopf, publisher). (Pages v-viii.)
Posted by chaspete 5 August 2013
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