In his most famous work Public Opinion (1922), Lippmann compared the masses to a “great beast” and a “bewildered herd” that needed, for its own good, to be guided by a responsible governing class, namely, the established order of the elite. He described the ruling elite as “a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality”. In Lippmann’s considered view, the “bewildered herd” has its function: to be “the interested spectators of action”, meaning that the majority of people should not participate in anything of any real importance. The direction of the general public’s lives are dictated and directed for them by the intelligentsia of the ruling classes. Participation in the running of the world, in Lippmann’s opinion, was the duty of “the responsible man”, namely the elites rather than the average man in the street.
One important concept presented by Lippmann was the “manufacture of consent”, which is, in short, the manipulation of public opinion to accept the specific agenda of the ruling class. In Lippmann’s opinion the general public was not qualified to reason and to decide on the most important issues. It is therefore important for the elite to decide ‘for their own good’ and then sell those decisions to the masses.
“That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough…as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner.
A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power. . . . Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.”
==Your Thoughts Are Not Your Own Volume Two: Marketing, Movies and Music (Sanders, Neil)
Democracy has been under attack in America and the “West”for generations by the intellectual elites who believed and still do in the scientific management of the masses, in the manufacturing of consent and the brainwashing of the citizenry into believing they exist within a democratic system. In essence, we now live in a painted world, described by terminologies that have no longer any basis in reality. We live in a faux democracy created by the elites sustaining the myths of an America that has long since died. Through the controlled, scientific processes of propaganda and the mass conditioning guided by those who believe they are our superiors our earliest experiences within the manipulating laboratories of our educational system to the mass media and the mind controlling messages and key emotive words from the mouths of our professional political class the citizens of America are guided and coerced down a path not of their own choosing. The words that pollute our heads were designed to stimulate pre-programmed responses, fear, patriotism, hatred, envy and obedience. Mind control works ad we have been the test subjects for many, many years. It is the American people who have become the Manchurian Candidates, we are indeed now “the bewildered herd” and the power over us seems almost impenetrable.
The idea of American exceptionalism is not a serious claim so much as an attitude among the U.S. public. While the U.S. trails other nations in various measures of health, happiness, education, sustainable energy, economic security, life expectancy, civil liberties, democratic representation, and peace, and while it sets new records for militarism, incarceration, surveillance, and secrecy, many Americans think of it as so exceptional as to excuse all sorts of actions that are unacceptable in others. Increasingly this requires willful self-deception. Increasingly the self-deception is failing.
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on the military than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death he wasn’t warning us. He was warning our parents and grandparents. We’re the dead.
Can we be revived?