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Michael J Dorfman Investigative Author Michael J Dorfman, an expert and noted author on plant based nutrition, has written this fascinating and provocative new book, […]

EDWARD BERNAYS AND THE CONTROL OF THE PUBLIC MIND

Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward L. Bernays, is often called “the father of public relations.” In 1928, he published his seminal work, “Propaganda,” arguing that propaganda is not a gimmick but a necessity.

Edward L. Bernays

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in a 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 are formed, and our ideas are suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. “It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.”

Drawing on his Uncle Sigmund’s insights, he developed an approach called “the engineering of consent.” He provided leaders and businessmen the means to “control and regiment the masses without them knowing about it.” He could do this not by appealing to the rational part of the mind but to the unconscious. His tactics sought to shape public opinion for any purpose, whether beneficial to human beings or not. Lucky Strike hired him to sell cigarettes by paying doctors and athletes to attest that smoking was healthy. Through a mass campaign he created during the 1920s, women asserted and won their right to smoke in public. Companies like General Electric, Procter & Gamble, the American Tobacco Company, media outlets like CBS, and even politicians like Calvin Coolidge contracted him to improve their images. In the 1920s, Joseph Goebbels became an avid admirer of Bernays and his writings. When Goebbels became the minister of propaganda for the Third Reich, he sought to exploit Bernays’ ideas to the fullest by creating a “Fuhrer cult” around Adolph Hitler.

What I find alarming is how much of what Bernays said and put into practice more than 60 years ago applies to current events. His manipulation tactics, so commonplace during the 20th century, have been fine-tuned and used by people and industries in power today. What’s required of us, the citizens of the world, to stop and even reverse these evil actions is:

  1. Know and accept that modern information manipulation techniques to control individuals and society are not new and have been utilized successfully for over 100 years.
  2. Question, question, and continue questioning what we are told to accept as facts and truth by our leaders and the media, especially if your gut feeling tells you something is wrong or doesn’t make sense.
  3. Research, read, and listen to all sides of the story regarding the specific issues humanity is facing today (i.e., pandemics, climate crises, chronic disease crises, and wars), especially when we’re advised to ignore them.
  4. Exercise your right to decide what is best for your well-being and that of your family, friends, and community. Be wary when others attempt to make critical decisions for you.

“Insanity is repeating the same thing again and again and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

I believe that it’s time to think “out of the box” to find new solutions to the problems that threaten our planet’s future and the lives that inhabit it. However, this time, the solutions must take into account the rights and needs of each individual. Sustainable change will only come from individual efforts and grassroots movements.

“You never change something by fighting the existing reality. “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Buckminster Fuller, creator of the geodesic dome

BERNAYS’S DEADLY INFLUENCE ON BIG TOBACCO

In his 1928 book, “Propaganda,” Edward Bernays hypothesized that by understanding the group mind, it would be possible to manipulate people’s behavior without their even realizing it. To test this hypothesis, he launched one of his most famous public relations campaigns: convincing women to smoke.

After WWI, he was hired by the American Tobacco Company to encourage women to start smoking. While men smoked cigarettes, it was unacceptable for women to smoke in public. Bernays staged a dramatic public display of women smoking during the Easter Day Parade in New York City. He then told the press to expect women suffragists to light up “torches of freedom” during the parade to show they were equal to men. This campaign exemplified women’s progress and desire to be considered equal to men.

The campaign was considered successful, as sales to women increased afterward. Cigarette companies followed Bernays’ lead and created ad campaigns that targeted women. Lucky Strike Brand Cigarettes capitalized on recent fashions for skinny women by telling women to “Reach for a Lucky instead of a Sweet”:

lucky

According to Bernays, “Cigarettes were a symbol of the penis and of male sexual power…Women would smoke because it was then that they’d have their own penises.” That sounds like something straight out of one of Uncle Freud’s books.

And That Was Just the Beginning!

smoking
chesterfield

If you watch old movies from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, it’s pretty apparent how actors and actresses smoked and did it with gusto. By then, lighting up was an integral part of our lifestyle. It was a good habit to have! At that time, we were unaware of how deadly the addiction was.

I remember how glad my parents were when someone gave them a gift of a carton of cigarettes. Everyone smoked. At the age of twelve, I remember how my friends and I would ask any adult stranger to buy us cigarettes. Smoking at that early age was an opportunity to be a grownup. We would split up the pack and go our own way. I sometimes ended up smoking in the backyard or in the closet. The latter was a bad idea when I got caught and became the victim of a painful scolding. The magazines, newspapers, and TV were chock full of ads, promoted by the entertainment industry and doctors, and sponsored by big tobacco.

It wasn’t until the surgeon general’s landmark report in 1964 linked smoking to lung cancer and heart disease that the public began to wake up. Yet, during the previous twenty years (1944–1964), more than 7,000 studies had already confirmed the lethal effects of smoking on our lungs and hearts. Why wasn’t the public informed? Because of the power of the tobacco industry to manipulate public opinion. They paid actors, sports celebrities, and medical doctors to rave about smoking’s health benefits. After all, if your doctor smokes, it must be good for you, too. Imagine how many hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved if the research information had been made available instead of hidden from the public.

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Michael J Dorfman Investigative Author
Michael J Dorfman, an expert and noted author on plant based nutrition, has written this fascinating and provocative new book, Information Warfare - The Battle for Truth and Freedom." Via detailed research and personal anecdotes, he exposes the manipulation of information by the media, corporations, governments, and industries on practically everything that relates to an individual's mental and physical health and well-being.

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