Propaganda works because it offers two seemingly desirable things: (a) someone to blame for all of your screw-ups, and (b) someone to clean up your messes and save you from yourself.
It works because it uses intellectual sleight of hand, and does it effectively, but when you think about it, even though its results end up bloodshed and destruction, how it tricks people is very funny.
Propaganda thrives in Us versus Them. Us is good. Them is bad.
It sounds simple.
But Them and They are not the same groups in propaganda.
Them we blame, but They will save us.
They should do something about it. They ought to make a law.
So while we see Them as the enemy, They are a benevolent and hyper competent and efficient organization whose sole purpose is to fix everything so that we do not have to do it ourselves.
We have no responsibilities. We are without blame or fault.
We see this faulty and self-serving theory all the time in the news. We can look at US students protesting for gun control. They should take gun away from Them.
Notice that there is no Us in this equation. Us aren’t shooting guns. Us are not the ones to do the heavy lifting to make things safer.
In this case, it is a Divine Us: it’s everyone else’s fault and everyone else’s responsibility.
There is no why are we killing each other? It’s Them. They are the killers. There is no what can we do to reduce violence?
We used to ask about the Us and even the We. It doesn’t happen. We have lots of Me’s out there, as in #MeToo. It is not Us, however. It is not We. That implies no solidarity.
It is all about the Me. That is the reason #MeToo never had a face or an official spokesperson. It is a selfie-spawned movement. Leave the face blank and insert-your-own-face-here.
Just like Time magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year.
But there are plenty of Them. Harvey Weinstein was the first one of Them. Kevin Spacey was one of Them. We had many lesser-known Them’s.
But no Us. Just MeToo.
Why is this happening?
Because it is the Age of Propaganda.
People are divided by every imaginable factor, from race, gender, and political affiliation.
And while every one of these splinter groups have different Them’s to blame, fear, and hate, strangely enough, these same groups have the identical They that is expected to change everything to the in-group’s vision of Utopia.
Propaganda seemingly thrives in the Manichean universe of binary groups. Us. Them. Propaganda works precisely because it forces all of our attention away from Us, and strictly on Them.
But there is also They. They will change things based on our demands so it is absolutely what We demand, and we vanish as we no longer have the power to improve or solve, but must be dependent on They to do it for us.
Yet They and Them have lots in common. For starters, They are all walking lockstep to the demands of Us. Them are also all alike and all out to get Us. Even though They and Them imply plurality, both are seen as One.
A patriarchal narrative.
Which means They and Them do not actually exist. There is no They to clean up your messes. There is no Them out to get everyone.
There is only Us.
And We are Infinite.
We are the architects of our society. We live in society, not outside of it, even if We believe We are a fringe group.
The allure of They and Them is a mirage — a defence mechanism we have so that we do not have to admit any wrongdoing, as we can expect someone else to correct things for us.
And that is a childish and unrealistic assumption.
You want change? You have to stop thinking in terms of They and Them.
And understand it is about Us.
We are Infinite, but we are sharing the same planet.
Every one of us needs to carry our own weight to ensure we are not at risk of getting overburdened by those who mistake us for They, and then pile their demands and dictates onto us.
When we think in those terms, we do not create artificial linear divides.
But most importantly of all, we regain control of our lives, learn from our mistakes as we change and improve — and we do not fall for propaganda that pretends it is all about Them, when it is a question of Us turning on each other for some nonexistent gain…