Document:Manufacturing Dissent

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Disclaimer (#3)Document.png article  by Zahir Ebrahim dated 2008/06/01
Subjects: Deep Politics, Propaganda
Source: Human Beings First (Link)

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Manufacturing Dissent

Weapons of Mass Distraction - The Master Social Science

This is the real power of Western Democracy which famously permits dissent among its free peoples. Here is an example: Government Insider: "Bush Authorized 911 Attacks” – and the “Insider” surely "Sleeps with the fishes" [1], right? Wrong. He moves about quite freely! How come? Isn't he a great threat to those whom he rats on?

The Dialectics of Infamy (also known as Ezra Pound's “Technique of Infamy” [2] - ie to invent two lies and get everyone to argue heatedly over which one is true) has something for everyone in the dissent-space. It caters to the needs and proclivities of every breed of emergent dissenting flock and every possibility. Everything except that which might actually be consequential in derailing “Imperial Mobilization” and effectively preempting incremental faits accomplis of real agendas! Those who DO pose real threats to these real agendas are trivially made to “sleep with the fishes” – from JFK to RFK to MLK to X!

The manipulation of the mainstream public to get them “United We Stand” is a well understood and rather banal social science today, often euphemistically labeled as “manufacturing consent” [3]. From Roman Emperors to Hitler to President George W. Bush in the modernity du jour, all have expertly capitalized upon it. Zbigniew Brzezinski even expertly documented it with great finesse. "Prisoners of the Cave" [4] entirely unraveled it as “Deception Point 911 And Its Greatest Democratic Enablers”.

The manipulation of the dissentstream however – the handful among any population who are the thinking peoples, as Hitler had noted: “First, those who believe everything they read; Second, those who no longer believe anything; Third, those who critically examine what they read and form their judgments accordingly” [5] – is the least understood.

Indeed, before we begin with the dissentstream, it is instructive to fully quote from the master of sociology himself who had insightfully identified the importance of the “First” type to Machiavellian state-craft, and the main target for manufacturing consent as “the crowd of simpletons and the credulous ... when the voting papers of the masses are the deciding factor”:

In journalistic circles it is a pleasing custom to speak of the Press as a 'Great Power' within the State. As a matter of fact its importance is immense. One cannot easily overestimate it, for the Press continues the work of education even in adult life. Generally, readers of the Press can be classified into three groups:

  • First, those who believe everything they read;
  • Second, those who no longer believe anything;
  • Third, those who critically examine what they read and form their judgments accordingly.

Numerically, the first group is by far the strongest, being composed of the broad masses of the people. Intellectually, it forms the simplest portion of the nation. It cannot be classified according to occupation but only into grades of intelligence. Under this category come all those who have not been born to think for themselves or who have not learnt to do so and who, partly through incompetence and partly through ignorance, believe everything that is set before them in print. To these we must add that type of lazy individual who, although capable of thinking for himself out of sheer laziness gratefully absorbs everything that others had thought over, modestly believing this to have been thoroughly done. The influence which the Press has on all these people is therefore enormous; for after all they constitute the broad masses of a nation. But, somehow they are not in a position or are not willing personally to sift what is being served up to them; so that their whole attitude towards daily problems is almost solely the result of extraneous influence. All this can be advantageous where public enlightenment is of a serious and truthful character, but great harm is done when scoundrels and liars take a hand at this work.

The second group is numerically smaller, being partly composed of those who were formerly in the first group and after a series of bitter disappointments are now prepared to believe nothing of what they see in print. They hate all newspapers. Either they do not read them at all or they become exceptionally annoyed at their contents, which they hold to be nothing but a congeries of lies and misstatements. These people are difficult to handle; for they will always be sceptical of the truth. Consequently, they are useless for any form of positive work.

The third group is easily the smallest, being composed of real intellectuals whom natural aptitude and education have taught to think for themselves and who in all things try to form their own judgments, while at the same time carefully sifting what they read. They will not read any newspaper without using their own intelligence to collaborate with that of the writer and naturally this does not set writers an easy task. Journalists appreciate this type of reader only with a certain amount of reservation.

Hence the trash that newspapers are capable of serving up is of little danger--much less of importance--to the members of the third group of readers. In the majority of cases these readers have learnt to regard every journalist as fundamentally a rogue who sometimes speaks the truth. Most unfortunately, the value of these readers lies in their intelligence and not in their numerical strength, an unhappy state of affairs in a period where wisdom counts for nothing and majorities for everything. Nowadays when the voting papers of the masses are the deciding factor; the decision lies in the hands of the numerically strongest group; that is to say the first group, the crowd of simpletons and the credulous.

It is an all-important interest of the State and a national duty to prevent these people from falling into the hands of false, ignorant or even evil-minded teachers. Therefore it is the duty of the State to supervise their education and prevent every form of offence in this respect. Particular attention should be paid to the Press; for its influence on these people is by far the strongest and most penetrating of all; since its effect is not transitory but continual. Its immense significance lies in the uniform and persistent repetition of its teaching. Here, if anywhere, the State should never forget that all means should converge towards the same end. It must not be led astray by the will-o'-the-wisp of so-called 'freedom of the Press', or be talked into neglecting its duty, and withholding from the nation that which is good and which does good. With ruthless determination the State must keep control of this instrument of popular education and place it at the service of the State and the Nation. [5]

Thus it isn't accidental that Hitler remains the most studied Machiavellian sociologist at the Rand Corporation, and his Mein Kampf perhaps the favorite reading at the Pentagon and among its policy planners who are spread out in a hundred think-tanks along the Hudson and the Potomac. The propaganda techniques Hitler mastered however, did not originate with him, and he clearly attributed his profound wisdom to his antagonists' great prowess:

On the other hand, British and American war propaganda was psychologically efficient. By picturing the Germans to their own people as Barbarians and Huns, they were preparing their soldiers for the horrors of war and safeguarding them against illusions. ...

From the enemy, however, a fund of valuable knowledge could be gained by those who kept their eyes open, whose powers of perception had not yet become sclerotic, and who during four-and-a-half years had to experience the perpetual flood of enemy propaganda.

The worst of all was that our people did not understand the very first condition which has to be fulfilled in every kind of propaganda; namely, a systematically one-sided attitude towards every problem that has to be dealt with. ...

The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood. Its notions are never partly this and partly that. English propaganda especially understood this in a marvellous way and put what they understood into practice. They allowed no half-measures which might have given rise to some doubt.

Proof of how brilliantly they understood that the feeling of the masses is something primitive was shown in their policy of publishing tales of horror and outrages which fitted in with the real horrors of the time, thereby cleverly and ruthlessly preparing the ground for moral solidarity at the front, even in times of great defeats. Further, the way in which they pilloried the German enemy as solely responsible for the war--which was a brutal and absolute falsehood--and the way in which they proclaimed his guilt was excellently calculated to reach the masses, realizing that these are always extremist in their feelings. And thus it was that this atrocious lie was positively believed. ...

The success of any advertisement, whether of a business or political nature, depends on the consistency and perseverance with which it is employed.

In this respect also the propaganda organized by our enemies set us an excellent example. It confined itself to a few themes, which were meant exclusively for mass consumption, and it repeated these themes with untiring perseverance. Once these fundamental themes and the manner of placing them before the world were recognized as effective, they adhered to them without the slightest alteration for the whole duration of the War. At first all of it appeared to be idiotic in its impudent assertiveness. Later on it was looked upon as disturbing, but finally it was believed.

But in England they came to understand something further: namely, that the possibility of success in the use of this spiritual weapon consists in the mass employment of it, and that when employed in this way it brings full returns for the large expenses incurred.

In England propaganda was regarded as a weapon of the first order, whereas with us it represented the last hope of a livelihood for our unemployed politicians and a snug job for shirkers of the modest hero type. ...

I learned something that was important at that time, namely, to snatch from the hands of the enemy the weapons which he was using in his reply. I soon noticed that our adversaries, especially in the persons of those who led the discussion against us, were furnished with a definite repertoire of arguments out of which they took points against our claims which were being constantly repeated. The uniform character of this mode of procedure pointed to a systematic and unified training. And so we were able to recognize the incredible way in which the enemy's propagandists had been disciplined, and I am proud to-day that I discovered a means not only of making this propaganda ineffective but of beating the artificers of it at their own work. Two years later I was master of that art. [5]

Perhaps for Hitler, Edward Bernays' 1928 American classic “Propaganda” [6] might have been the favorite bedtime reading, nightly perusing its opening pages which of course begin with the fantastic observation:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

All and sundry among the scholars of empire have written books upon books on the many techniques for “manufacturing consent” – from Advertising and Marketing techniques to how it was done in the Third Reich to construct “United We Stand” out of the “crowd of simpletons and the credulous” – while the state-craft in their own democracies quietly practice it upon their own peoples laboring under the illusion of “freedom of the press” with “All the news that's fit to print” all the time! But it isn't particularly a secret, and is done quite openly, albeit quietly.

The manipulation of the intelligent conscionable ones however, the “Manufacturing of Dissent”, remains the most poorly analyzed master social science in the West, even though it is also the most secretly practiced Black-art of modern democratic state-craft to effectively deal with the “Second” and “Third” groups of people.

Hitler attempted to win the “Third” group over to his side to be among the Third Reich's ruling elite (if they were of the right racial makeup). Those whom he couldn't attract, he ignored along with the “Second” group, on account of both of them being so minuscule in number. The most dangerous among them of course were simply made to “sleep with the fishes” by the SS. Hitler had chosen to exclusively focus his propaganda war-machine on “the crowd of simpletons and the credulous ... when the voting papers of the masses are the deciding factor”. The Western system of democracy however does not, and cannot, ignore any of the three groups. The “First” group is easy – and remain the focus of the pretty well understood “manufacturing consent”. The other two groups are of course also encouraged or co-opted to join 'empire' – and the majority among them willingly do so because of the immense riches and/or benefits to ones' career and social standing that are to be had in voluntarily remaining silent (in the best case of complicity), and shilling for empire in sophisticated ways suited to their much higher intelligence capabilities (in the worst case as hectoring hegemons).

The remaining gadflies, non-conformists, and rebel rousers become the focus of “Manufactured Dissent”. They are cleverly and continually put on the treadmill that deliberately goes nowhere. Otherwise, left to their own free-thinking un co-opted devices, even small numbers can end up making a significant difference in the long run. Yes, even in the facade of Democracy, since it does constitute a non-linear system of empowered human action. It is not their direct action however that constitutes a significant threat, but the potential of their mobilizing impact among the minority of ordinary conscionable peoples in the larger society whom they might galvanize into efficacious action, that is the real threat. Astutely channeling dissenting energies towards inefficacy, and clever red herrings, is the potent weapon system of choice for deployment among this rebellious group and their potential flock.

This is quite distinct from an open fascist oligarchy and open dictatorships with regimented and coerced human-will which leave little room for non-linearity of human action. In such blatantly ruled autocratic systems, it is only the majority coming together that can bring about any significant transformations – and that too, only through revolutionary means. Which is why the loci of direct manipulative control remains upon the majority peoples in such systems. And the tiny thinking minority is trivially silenced through the instilled fear crafted from disappearances, incarcerations, forced exiles, and “sleeps with the fishes” – the bread and butter of empirical state-craft in non democracies.


  1. “sleeps with the fishes - Wikipedia page on the etymology of the term
  2. Ezra Pound Speaks - The Four Steps - New Americana blog
  3. ISBN 0-3757-1449-9 Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky
  4. “Prisoners of the Cave” - Zahir Ebrahim
  5. a b c ISBN 9788172241643 Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler
  6. ISBN 0970312598 Propaganda, by Edward Bernays