HomeArticleTyranny By Propaganda Is Tyranny By Force

Tyranny By Propaganda Is Tyranny By Force

For most of recorded history, domination by brute force has been the norm for human civilization. Someone claws their way into a position of power over the other humans, and you obey and respect him or he’ll have his goons attack you.

As people became more educated and more aware of what’s going on in their world, they began to decide that they didn’t much like being attacked by the ruler’s goon squad whenever they stepped out of line. Because there are a lot more ordinary people than rulers, this forced an end to the practice of rule by overt brute force tyranny in some parts of the world.

So a few things changed. First, we began to see rulers shipping their violent goon squad enforcers overseas. While it is now taboo to openly butcher members of your citizenry who oppose you, it is considered perfectly acceptable to send troops across the sea to destroy foreign nations which disobey your dictates.

Second, since it is no longer considered appropriate to physically force your nation’s citizens to comply with your agendas, we’ve seen a shift to psychologically compelling them to comply instead. Now instead of being compelled to advance the interests of the powerful under threat of being bashed in the head, we are psychologically manipulated into advancing those interests by mass media propaganda and other forms of narrative control.

With the murderous goon squads now doing their business overseas and our rulers now chaining our minds instead of our bodies, things look a lot more civilized. But they aren’t really. They still get everything they want, and if we ever want anything that inconveniences them, they simply manipulate us in a more convenient direction.

Being manipulated into voting for and consenting to the agendas of the powerful is not meaningfully different from having the agendas of the powerful forced upon you. People think of control by propaganda differently from control via brute physical force because we have a tendency to imagine that the body and mind are separate. Chaining people’s bodies looks tyrannical while chaining their minds does not, but as far as the powerful are concerned they accomplish the same goal.

The unaware believe that civilized society has dispensed with tyranny and moved to democracy, where people enact their will through voting. The more aware see that this “democracy” is an illusion because the will of the public has been totally hijacked via mass-scale psychological manipulation by the powerful, but still see this movement away from brute force tyranny as a major victory. The truly lucid see that while psychological abuse is in some ways preferable to physical abuse, all the powerful have really done is move the chain from around our necks to around the thought bubbles above our heads. As far as the powerful care, nothing has changed.

Freedom is the ability to enact your own will for your own life. If anyone is preventing you from doing this, you are not free. If anyone is manipulating you into enacting their will instead of your own authentic will, you are not free. Freedom and manipulation cannot coexist.

There is tyranny by brute force, and there is tyranny by manipulation. In both cases the victim winds up enacting the will of the manipulator, but in the latter there is the erroneous belief that that action was freely chosen. It was not. You are not free if you’re manipulated.

You see this play out in abusive relationships: “She can leave whenever she wants, door’s right there.”

You see it in abusive cults: “Everyone is here of their own free will.”

You see it in abusive governments: “Things are the way they are because of how people keep voting.”

And it’s always a lie. Forcing someone’s mind in a given direction is the same as forcing their body in a different direction; the only difference is one makes you look like an abusive tyrant and the other form of tyranny is far less obvious. They’re both forms of tyranny though.

The fact that tyranny by manipulation is less obvious is why it’s the chosen route for tyranny to transpire through in the western empire. Vast fortunes are poured into controlling the way people think, act and vote via mass-scale psychological grooming in the form of plutocrat-controlled news media, influential plutocrat-funded think tanks, and the ever-expanding agenda to control what information people consume on the internet.

Tyranny via propaganda manipulation is not less abusive than tyranny via brute force, and its victims are no more at fault. Blaming the victims of tyranny via manipulation for being gullible is the same as blaming the victims of tyranny via brute force for being weak.

If people saw a husband walking his wife with a chain around her neck with her hands and feet in shackles, they would be shocked and alarmed. But people see wives with psychological chains around their minds every day and they never know it. In both cases the wives are victims of abuse, but in the latter case no alarm bells go off, and no attempts to help are made.

Manipulation is force. Diddling narratives and exploiting cognitive biases to deliberately subvert someone’s personal will is force. Pushing someone’s mind in a given direction via deception and dishonesty and is not less abusive than pushing their body in a given direction via brute force. It just happens that the latter is taboo while the former is encouraged and rewarded with lucrative punditry contracts and huge think tank contributions.

We will not be truly free until we free ourselves of this psychological domination. We will not free ourselves of this psychological domination until we see it the same way we see tyranny enacted by physical brute force. We need to learn to not just perceive the chains around the mind, but to view them as just as shocking, horrifying and unacceptable as chains around the body.

Until then it won’t matter what else we do. People talk about forming viable third parties to upend the status quo, but as long as the psychological chains are in place they’ll just manipulate that new three-party paradigm in the same way they manipulate the two-party one currently. People talk about staging a leftist takeover of one of the two parties, but again as long as the mass-scale manipulation machine is in effect that dynamic will keep coming down in favor of the powerful.

We’ve got to make those chains visible to everyone, and we’ve got to make them as outrageous as physical ones. We do this by highlighting the various ways mass-scale psychological grooming is being conducted by the powerful, thereby drawing attention and awareness to what’s going on.

Make fighting mass-scale psychological manipulation your foremost priority. Awaken people to the fact that they are being manipulated, because manipulation only works when you don’t know it’s happening. Help people see the chains, and you will give them the ability to remove them. Then, and only then, will it become possible to create a healthy world together.

All positive human change is the result of expanded awareness, from substance abuse recovery to civil rights. It was the expansion of awareness which forced them to move from tyranny by brute force to tyranny by manipulation. Expanding it further will force them to move off of this as well. The chain was wrapped around our bodies, now it is wrapped around our thought bubbles, and soon we will remove it altogether.

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Latest comments

  • The whole of humanity is in a state of hypnosis.
    A hypnosis created by fascist politicians, oligarchs, big pharma, MSM.
    They are all involved in a subtle conspiracy, to oppress, to enslave, to dominate the individual.
    Spiritual enslavement is the most dangerous slavery because it is not coming from outside.
    Your hands are not handcuffed.
    The chains are not visible, they are deep in your mind.
    They have been perpetually enforced by politicians using behavioral, psychological, repetitive suggestion and lies.
    Reinforced by MSM talking heads.
    Cemented in place by criminal Stasi policing tactics, fully backed up by the so-called justice system, using punishment and fear to create total compliance and obedience.
    Remember, they proclaim, we are recording all of your criminal actions, names and addresses, and be warned, you will face our full justice!
    There used to be political dependence all over the world.
    Those empires have long since collapsed and that has given a great illusion to nations, that now, people have freedom.
    And whenever some illusion is beautiful you want it to be true, you want to believe in it, but whether you believe in it or not, an illusion is an illusion, it makes no difference.
    There was never freedom, only license.
    Listening to all the politicians, the MSM false narratives created a certain kind of illusion, a certain feeling of freedom, which was never really there.
    How the blind were leading the blind.
    It is a strange world that we live in.
    The society wants to dominate, the privileged classes want to dominate, to enslave, to oppress, to exploit.
    They would like you to remain completely unaware of yourself.
    Society is concerned only with making an unconscious slave of you, not a free individual – a revolutionary, because it is helpful to them.
    It is easy to dominate a slave, it is almost impossible to dominate a person of self knowing.
    The reality is humanity has lived only under the illusion of freedom.
    Believing themselves to be free.
    There is no such thing as freedom as far as our history up to now is concerned.
    Slaveries have changed, new forms of slavery have taken their place, but freedom has not yet happened.
    Freedom is still a dream.
    We have to understand how to transcend the mind that the politicians have programmed in us all, that is only for war, destruction, slavery and violence.
    These criminal politicians have come to the end of their time, so now they don’t know what else to do except to destroy humanity itself.
    Unless we can create a world which is really free, we are living only in an illusion of freedom.
    And I don’t see there is any freedom anywhere.
    Freedom is the greatest value and the greatest achievement in life.
    Everyone should be free from all kinds of fetters, political, economic, psychological, spiritual.
    Yet your whole life, as it is, is approved by the society, by the state, by religion, it is based on self-ignorance.
    You live without knowing yourself, because the society doesn’t want you to know yourself.
    It is too dangerous for the society.
    An individual who knows themselves is bound to be rebellious.
    Try this?
    When you look in the mirror, it is not you who is reflected in the mirror, because you are not the seen but the seer.
    You are not that which is reflected in the mirror, you are that who is looking at the reflection, who is watching the reflection.
    You are always the seer, and the seer cannot be reduced to the seen.
    Who is this seer hidden behind everything?
    You are subjectivity, and you can never become an object.
    You are irreducible, so how to encounter oneself?
    To know oneself is the most difficult thing.
    It should not be so.
    It should be just the opposite, the most simple thing.
    But it is not, for many reasons.
    It has become so complicated, and you have invested so much in self-ignorance that it seems almost impossible to turn back, to return to the source, to encounter oneself.
    First, you have to move from the outer reflective, the mirror-like world that surrounds you.
    All is reflections.
    The whole work, is to erase the past from your mind and give you a here-now-present orientation to look at reality with clean eyes.
    And your future will be golden if your present is clean.
    Out of this clean presence will arise a new future, which will not have any continuity with the past, it will be a quantum leap.
    We have to create an atmosphere in the world against all forms of enslavement.
    And the only way is to raise the consciousness of the people.
    All the people of the world.
    That is the only hope for which people of awakened consciousness go on working.
    In spite of constant failure, in spite of humanity’s ignorance, and persistent retardedness, they continue.
    Their hope is infinite and their patience knows no limits.

  • I 100% agre with this article. Edward Bernais was the father of modern Public Relations and the nephew of Sigmund Frued. After the labor wars in early 1900’s USA the elites switched to psycological manipulation as preferred with method in developed nations to control the narrative. It was just too costly and disruptive for business to constantly have labour wars and production delays. Psychological manipulation was more effective and less expensive in the long run.

    The only thing I would change is the analogy about psychological abuse. “If people saw a husband walking his wife with a chain around her neck with her hands and feet in shackles, they would be shocked and alarmed.”

    I understand that people can more easily visualize a husband walking his wife….but I would politely suggest maybe to change the language to “someone walking their spouse” instead of husband. Because of the gender wars, and stupid identity politics – it might distract some of your male patreons. I hate “tone policing”, but their is just too many crazy liberal forth wave feminists that constantly bash the male gender. I miss the true feminists from the 60’s. The language from the gender wars has destroyed solidarity between men and women (in the west), which I believe was the true underlying hidden purpose of 4’th wave feminism.

    Love your writing BTW. You are really the first political writer that combines high end writing skills / prose with political philosophy. I’m jelous of your skills and thank you for all the work you are doing.

  • Sorry to rain on this parade, but the following claim simply beggars belief: “So a few things changed. First, we began to see rulers shipping their violent goon squad enforcers overseas…. With the murderous goon squads now doing their business overseas and our rulers now chaining our minds instead of our bodies, things look a lot more civilized.”

    Anyone who was even half awake during the George Floyd uprisings, for example, could indeed see the goon squad enforcers ‘doing their business’, as they always have and will continue do so, at home, as well as abroad. That’s not an either/or proposition. The rulers have their terror and death squads to do both. Domestically, when the scales do drop from people’s eyes and when bourgeois propaganda fails to keep everyone atomised and ‘at home’, and they take to the streets to protest or otherwise oppose the rulers, then its the rulers’ goons who enforce their rule, their ‘law and order’. When all the devices of Bernays, Ellul, Lippmann et al. have failed them, their ‘narrative’ is one of truncheons and worse.

    The capitalist rulers are indeed chaining corporeally existing bodies. As everyone knows, the US has the largest prison population and highest incarceration rate on earth. And with impunity its cops murder over 1,000 citizens annually. All at ‘home’, not ‘overseas’, real bodies being murdered or locked up in real physical prison hell holes. Cop terror stalks black and poor neighbourhoods all across the US, 24/7. And never discount the more sinister terror of ever-increasing universal, ‘full spectrum’ surveillance, helping to enforce compliance.

    What naivety it is also to believe that propaganda alone is sufficient to maintain the rule of the bourgeoisie in the advanced capitalist countries. As if there’s something ‘special’ about the populations there versus in the less ‘fortunate’ capitalist regimes.

    The capitalist state at its core is a machine of repression composed of cops, courts and jails precisely because brainwashing, either by direct bourgeois propaganda, organised religion or ‘education’, isn’t 100% effective, reflecting a society comprising classes with irreconcilably conflicting material interests. The rulers know that and so do most who care to look beyond the ‘narrative’. Only children believe that fairy tales make them ‘be good’, but despite the bourgeoisie’s best efforts to infantalise everyone, most adults don’t.

    Compulsion and compliance go beyond the fairytales. They rest always on the possibility of real violence, enforced either economically through the monopoly over the means of life held by the capitalists, backed up ‘legally’ by their ‘justice’ system or directly by cop terror, violence and thuggery. The ruling class’s very real goon squads operate both at home and abroad, but the main enemy is at home.

  • The black propaganda smear campaigns against Jeremy Corbyn and Julian Assange during the past six and ten years respectively are unprecedented. The problem is….. how does one get the truth out there to the people who are being duped and decieved. The following must be one of the most blatant examples of falsely demonising someone EVER:

    NATIONAL DISGRACE: Jeremy Corbyn refuses to bow to Queen and then WINKS at colleagues

    JEREMY CORBYN yesterday came under fire on social media after the Labour Party leader appeared to refuse to bow to the Queen and then winked during the State Opening.

    Mr Corbyn, who is a longstanding republican, appeared to refuse to join his peers in paying his respects to the Crown as the 91-year-old monarch prepared to give her speech to the House of Commons and House of Lords on Wednesday.

    While Theresa May can be seen bowing her head to the Queen moments before giving her address, the Labour Party leader stood defiantly before winking at an unknown person in the Upper Chamber.

    And right at the end of a relatively long article which no doubt very few readers got as far as, it says the following:

    Parliamentary officials later confirmed that Mr Corbyn did not breach protocol.

    A House of Lords spoksman said the only people required to bow were Speaker Mr Bercow, Commons Clerk David Natzler, senior Lords official Black Rod and the Serjeant at Arms Kamal El-Hajji.

    As for Theresa May bowing her head (and SHE was the only one out of 650 MPs who did!), she’d obviously forgotten since the previous Queen’s Speech (when she DIDN’T bow her head) that she didn’t have to, but perish the thought that it was all a set up:

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/819660/Jeremy-Corbyn-refuses-to-bow-to-Queen-State-Opening-of-Parliament-Queens-Speech-live

    • I watched a similar situation in Ontario. The new conservative government had cut inspections of long term care home’s from >2000 to a literal handful. The minister of LTC with the minister of Health and the premier behind her was asked about LTC inspections in the covid crisis/catastrophic response. She correctly stated that there were >2000 inspections the year before. The reporter was either clueless or complicit in the public lie. The situation was so badly dealt with, the military had to be called in to fix the horror stories. This was in Ontario but Quebec was no different. Of course, many of the homes were privatized years before by a premier who now profits from them. We are governed by sociopaths acting for the sociopaths of the ruling class and the people are mostly distracted, dumbed down and effete. Good luck changing it.

  • With exception of communication from a very few people, I stat with the assumption that everything is propaganda until proven otherwise.
    As for third parties, whether as addition or replacement, they don’t matter, when the system is corrupt AND corrupted (like software gone bad that cannot be fixed). What we need is to find a way to trash the current political and social systems and to replace them with a radically new and different one that puts the needs of the people (not the wants) first and foremost – and in which political parties serve no purpose whatsoever.

    • Prisoners in jail have their needs met but not their wants. Hope you have something a little better in mind for the rest of us. 🙂

  • Wanna be free? You probably don’t but if you believe you do, here’s an option, there’s more of them. First realize that you must sacrifice security and I do mean must. Learn the skills and build a simple Bluewater sailboat, keep it simple so you can maintain it yourself with minimal cash outlays. Sail away, work as little as you have to doing whats available and fulfilling to you. Take as much responsibility for your life as possible and live accordingly. I used to work my summers and take the winter’s off living on the boat and I enjoyed my work also. Do I have a fat pension…no. is it stressful to live on the edge, sure. Did I go hungry, no. Am I glad I did it my way, absolutely. Are there other ways, of course, as many as there are people. Will society change, not likely but you can.

  • Great article by Ed Curtain on how involved the CIA is in the control/manipulation of the media. And how few journalist, even in the “alt media,” diligently go after the controversial issues.
    `
    http://edwardcurtin.com/opening-the-cias-can-of-worms/
    `
    Curtain questions whether Journalists like Chomsky, Hedges, Taibbi and Greenwald implicitly know how far they can go. Just up to the point that “investigative” journalists are currently “allowed” to go without becoming a target of the state. They really don’t delve deeply into the real controversial issues of the most import, like 911, Covid and the Kennedy assassinations to name a few. The crime syndicate’s “Great reset.”
    `
    The very issues courageous investigative journalists should be investigating.

    “The CIA and the media are part of the same criminal conspiracy,” wrote Douglas Valentine in his important book, The CIA As Organized Crime. ”
    `
    “This is true. The corporate mainstream media are stenographers for the national security state’s ongoing psychological operations aimed at the American people, just as they have done the same for an international audience. ”
    `
    “Greenwald, Taibbi, and Hedges are correct up to a point, but they stop short. Their critique of old school journalism à la Edward Herman’s and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing of Consent model, while true as far as it goes, fails to pin the tail on the real donkey. Like old school journalists who knew implicitly how far they could go, these guys know it too, as if there is an invisible electronic gate that keeps them from wandering into dangerous territory.”

    • They wear collars that makes their rear ends clinch as a warning.

    • It’s actually simpler than that; very few people give a s–t; they’re into survival and any energy left goes to bread and circuses and not very good ones at that. The officer class is kept comfortable and the workers fearful and the writers like Caitlin and the others you mentioned are read by a very, very small part of the working class and those who do are too comfortable… brave new world people. They ain’t gonna get past wankin on the keyboard like we’re doin today. Save yourself, that’s the best you can do.

  • Any positive change in society will only come from active revolution; but nearly all previous revolutions only replaced one group of tyrants with a different group of tyrants; Or the positive change disappeared when gullible citizens give their leaders full credit, power and the right to secrecy. NOTE: It is not the constitutions, institutions and laws we should reform and refine. We need the human gene pool to be refined though a process of natural selection. That is what world’s great Liberator declared. He stated that this ancient, evil and almost everlasting empire, namely the so-called “Holy Roman Empire” established by Catholic bishops and cardinals after Rome was sacked and sustained by their military allies until today, will continue to deceive and corrupt the inhabitants of the world until His followers wake up, take note of and carry out His instructions and then their actions will precipitate the end of this evil empire. Read more of this here: http://www.wisdompage.com/2013%20Articles/Molyneaux%20essay.pdf

    • Hmm. Should we kill off the old, the sick or the demented first before we move on to the despicables.

  • You just hit it out of the park, Caitlin Johnstone! What an article. Well done!

    • I couldn’t agree more. I especially liked the bit about, “If people saw a wife walking her husband with a chain around his neck with his hands and feet in shackles, they would be shocked and alarmed. But people see husbands with psychological chains around their minds every day and they never know it. In both cases the husbands are victims of abuse, but in the latter case no alarm bells go off, and no attempts to help are made.” I think it’s so apt here in Britain where a givernment study has shown that if men were treated like women 5 out of every 6 men in prison today would be free…

      • You are not wrong. I actually think that Caitlin is intlectually honest enough to admit this. Even though she has more knowledge of womans rights, I beleive she is unbiased to know inequality exists in many ways for both sexes. Men are expendible though, we don’t have wombs so are not as important for society and elites. We are disposable especially in regards to all the automation and lack of jobs that exists now. The UK is the worst place for mens rights. The forth wave feminists own the UK.

  • This kind of mind manipulation goes back as far as history and likely much longer. We are the story believing animal, tell the person a story, control the person. One priest is as good as 100 soldiers, cheaper and more effective, a very old saying. Why would a worker built a pyramid for the Pharoe instead of a better house for his family? Stories. Why would an eqyptian man join the army rather than staying home and improving his situation? Stories! Why do we believe in money and let the ruling class control us with it, it’s a complete fraud, just like god? Stories! How does a 120# woman control and abuse a 220# man? Stories! There’s a very small number of us who reject all stories as the frauds they are, mostly, we’re not very social and therefore not under the pressure to fit in which is what they use to control soldiers, especially in battle. Being social is a two edged sword, it can be fulfilling but it’s a tool the ruling classes use against you. I’m very glad I need very little social interaction but it was very hard on me to be this way in school or other forced group’s.

    • True, what are we when we quiet our minds and let all the stories fall silent and just perceive?

      My responding to this post is just an indication that I too like to talk and tell my stories.

    • Will we get another trove of disinformation like was presented by the 9/11 Commission?

    • And by “9/11-type commission” – Pelosi means a bunch of Spooky DC/Langley Insiders, with a staff packed with CIA people. And by “investigate” – Pelosi means ignore all evidence that contradicts the preferred and pre-determined narratives, and then push for a series of Intelligence-Congressional-Complex wishlist items, that wouldn’t have prevented to deliberately manufactured event in question – but will certainly push us ever closer to tyrranical future, where no Constitutionally guaranteed rights are honored.

    • Another WorldView Is Possible / February 16, 2021 – Yup

  • You know that you’re over the target – when you start taking FLAK. @Caitlin – I just found out that ScrewTube/Screwggle’s AI Censorship – won’t let me post a link to this article. Nit even a chopped-down, edited, non-linking version, of a heads-up to people, that this article exists.

    You are on the new “blacklist”… Congratulations – you’ve arrived.
    Fantastic work as always.

    Meanwhile, in the comments section where I was trying to put it – there’s a bunch SPY-Bot Sock puppet propagandists, from the CIA’s Special Assignments Division, on loan to DHS – engaging in the usual mischief, as you’ve made reference to, here…

    “The fact that tyranny by manipulation is less obvious is why it’s the chosen route for tyranny to transpire through in the western empire. Vast fortunes are poured into controlling the way people think, act and vote via mass-scale psychological grooming in the form of plutocrat-controlled news media, influential plutocrat-funded think tanks, and the ever-expanding agenda to control what information people consume on the internet.

    Tyranny via propaganda manipulation is not less abusive than tyranny via brute force, and its victims are no more at fault. Blaming the victims of tyranny via manipulation for being gullible is the same as blaming the victims of tyranny via brute force for being weak.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-operation-social-networks

    https://theintercept.com/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/

    • I was able to cut and paste it ok.
      S

  • Edward Bernays wrote the book on propaganda and propagenda. To gain and maintaun power psychologic warfare is always used. It is the recruitment tool of choice for military. Truth is not propaganda. Only lies and manipulation of thought are. Americans are not the only ones indenial. All who blindly accept Covid, vaccines, war, and economic destruction no matter the country you live have fallen forwhat goebells called the big lie repeatedly told.

    • I doubt 1% of American’s ever heard of Edward Bernays but Joseph Goebbels did and used it well. You could even make a case that Hitler could never have gotten away with the stuff he did without Goebbels and Goebbels wouldn’t have known how to mess the mind’s of Germans without Bernays. We are so much better at messing mind’s now, good luck to us.

    • You lost me with the COVID denial bit!
      S

    • Bob / February 16, 2021 — Great observation.

  • Some excellent posts by Caitlin.
    Thought provoking, fair, inciteful – I love it.
    And it comes in my email.
    That’s especially helpful because I am working to get off the internet – greatly reduce my dependence on the internet.
    It’s great for research and access to certain conveniences- such as shopping and banking – but “enertainment” via the internet subjects us to never-ending and increasingly sophisticated propaganda – turns the brain to mush.
    Excelent books are readiliy available for download – no need for me to eat thier excrement any longer.
    Caitlin, Glen Greenwald, Aaron Mate,… – there are are a few brave hold-outs. They will be crushed or wear-out but I hope others will take-up the cause.
    So now I have essentially turned-off the idiot box, dispensed with my cell phone, stopped all unecessary spending, buying gold and striving to remove all smart devices from my home – main issue is the microphone.

    OK, to the point:
    Caitlin makes excellent points and very well stated (I am in no position to grade someone on communication skills), but
    she misses the mark in a couple of subtle and vitally important ways (is she doing that on purpose – I trust no one):
    – This is only a single effective party, because they both serve the same owners – the sovereign is not sovereign.
    – It is not a new phenomenon – it helps to have this perspective. Corporations, trusts, societies with purpose outlive people and have memory and learn and have no qualms about acting in thier interests. Individuals basically are incapable of perceiving and learning from events which span centuries.

    OK, I have worn myself out.
    We are all having ABBA tunes beamed directly into our minds, 24 hours a day.
    Keep doing as you have always done…

  • “If anyone is preventing you from doing this, you are not free. If anyone is manipulating you into enacting their will instead of your own authentic will, you are not free.” The presumption here, that most people would have AUTHENTIC wills absent manipulation, is highly questionable. It’s likely that, were they spared incessant propagandist bombardment, more people would DEVELOP authentic wills via deep and abiding inner work. But isn’t it entirely possible, almost predictable (human nature being what it is), that most people, even manipulation-free, would still simply fall into the default position of going with the flow, whatever it was at the time?

    “You see it in abusive governments: ‘Things are the way they are because of how people keep voting.’” A commonly-held position by many on the radical left, which Caitlin may or may not be adopting, is that not voting at all sends a strong signal of dissatisfaction with the status quo. This position ignores the obvious; i.e., that mass non-voting (already a substantial reality in The States) would be effectively spun as an expression of contentment with the status quo, not opposition. Voting for third parties or registered write-in candidates is the ONLY way to use the electoral process to voice one’s disgust with the entire system.

    • Good point.
      As Bernays stated, the people need to be educated as to what to believe.
      Big problem.

    • There are none so enslaved as those who believe they are free…There’s no such thing as free will, we are all products of genetics and cultural conditioning. A very few are less so. You only feel your chains when you move…very few move. When you watch a mass of Americans in a sickening pavlovian display of mind control put their hands over their hearts and regurgitate their propaganda you know that their ruling classes have nothing to worry about. yeah right….hahaha

  • This article is so wrong on so many levels. Let me list a few.
    1. You speak of freedom but you actually mean the world as you wish. Society is all about conforming and relenquishing freedom. Capitalism and even Socialism is all about that as well.
    2. People are happy to follow any government that gives them security, a job, purpose, feed them and a place to live. They will never attack the system forcibly until you remove those things.
    3. The system always uses brute force when it feels threatened. Tianenmin Square comes to mind.
    4. Sending troops overseas is all about empire and has absolutely nothing to do with home society except giving the military portion of society purpose. The reason most people dont vote or care about Yemen for example.
    5. Propaganda is nothing more than societal xanax for those who need it.

    • You lost me at Tianenmin Square but while I am here …
      .
      • “Good propaganda does not need to lie, indeed it may not lie. It has no reason to fear the truth. It is a mistake to believe that people cannot take the truth. They can. It is only a matter of presenting the truth to people in a way that they will be able to understand. A propaganda that lies proves that it has a bad cause. It cannot be successful in the long run.”

    • This is another very useful article by Ms. Johnstone. I think the crucial thing she is saying is that people are not free to choose what they want when they are persistently, very cleverly, and pervasively lied to. You cannot choose what you want if you have been manipulated into having a false picture of the world. e.g we must go to war with Iraq because they have WMDs they they may/likely use on us. You and I can also be fooled. If people knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily choose security over freedom that is their choice and that would be freedom for them.

      I think that people would choose differently if they were clearly offered both freedom and security at the same time. Until then they just do not think that that is possible, so they are willing to be lied to. And some people assert their false individuality by just disagreeing with everything false or not, and think they are free. The most important strength of Caitlin Johnstone is in how she keeps looking for the truth and that is what we can do too, including reflecting more on what she writes, and not quickly finding what we see as the flaws. (I plead guilty, some of the time, to this last thing too and regret it.)

      • Being part of any society requires conforming and a loss of freedom. Being part of any society means adopting the culture and language in which you are immersed. Some call that propaganda. Going to school, church and college is simply part of the process. The truth of which Caitlin speaks is relative depending on the culture in which you find yourself.

        • Without some language how can you have the freedom to be able to tell a person you love them? Culture, which is both good and bad, does not have to be adopted, but used to see more, and partly give form to one’s thought. School, church and college can also be used for good things while rejecting the lies and keeping on looking to tell the difference. School is where I learned to read, scriptures are where I learned of the great meaning of Christ, and college is where I learned the principles of engineering, and law school is where I learned the truth about labor i.e. the people who really built this country.

          A very great and kind man showed that the PURPOSE of economics and politics is to benefit society as a whole while honoring every individual. e.g. Medicare-for-all seen rightly means everyone is interested in you getting the healthcare you need and you are interested in everyone else getting the same. Such a system benefits all of us as individuals and society as a whole. The opposites of the individual and the collective, just like the opposites of freedom and order, need not fight, but working together they can make for justice, kindness and beauty. The real enemy is contempt, the diminishing of everything else to enhance oneself.

          • Teach a child a lie and you will never be able to teach them the truth. This goes all the way up to college. Indoctrination from birth.

    • Very interesting,
      but stupid.

      The troubling aspect of the situation were suspect we are in is that there is a small group which has gained power and influence over the large group and from which the large group cannot (find means to) free itself. That is the aspect about which Caitlin speaks, I believe.

      You are correct I believe in that even if we could break free of these bonds, what would we do with our freedom.

      Slavery was not something perpetrated against black people, that is just a narrative created to distract us from reality – slavery has been practiced against all people though-out the past and it continues, wide-scale and ignored to this day.

      • It is so easy to blame the person in charge. Not everyone will be happy with whoever runs things. Bread and circuses. That is what we have always been about.

    • And almost everyone needs it because of way our minds work. You couldn’t build large societies with out the masses believing in a common mythology. It seems to me that the more fantastical the story, the better it works. God and money are the biggest fantastical stories and they work the best. The nation state and the rule of law are next and they work really well too. Of course, all this is backed by the real violence available to the state or the credible threat of real violence for those who don’t conform.

    • I’d add that nobody seems to pick up on the fact that we are all expected to vote for someone else to then vote on our behalf on the actual issues.

      But I do take Caitlin’s important point that that very fact I have just pointed out in and of itself proves that we are all being manipulated to act contrary to our best interests.

      I want to vote personally on whatever foreign war we might collectively attend, on my taxes, against the rampant rule of our id that results in positive discrimination for women and on the issues that in the UK, government studies have shown incarcerates 5 out of every 6 men unfairly v women.

      …I don’t want to vote for someone else to vote on these important issues on my behalf.

  • What need for brutality by the Psychopaths In Charge when they can manipulate us into committing brutality against each other? The tyrants no longer need to commit such atrocity, they simply create a narrative which convinces one group that another group is the devil incarnate for things so personal as what they believe or think, and commences to physically brutalize the other. Fear and division are the primary tools of tyrants, as outlined in The Prince. Too bad that Machiavelli’s satire was picked up as a playbook for tyrants, and sad it was so successfully used.

    • Speaking of Machiavelli, here’s (the English translation of) what he wrote in the year 1513:

      “One of the great secrets of the day is to know how to take possession of popular prejudices and passions, in such a way as to introduce a confusion of principles which makes impossible all understanding between those who speak the same language and have the same interests.”

      There is nothing new under the sun.

      • Yup. The only new thing would be if we figured out a way to free ourselves from those popular prejudices and passions used to manipulate us. Caitlin seems to believe that the way to do this is to deconstruct false mainstream narratives. That’s good and noble work, but those on the radical left have been doing this for quite a while, and all they end up doing is preaching more passionately to a small choir. No, I suspect that the only way to achieve freedom from elite manipulation of the masses is for a new, anti-elite passion to catch fire in minds and hearts, similar to what happened in the Roman Empire after the Jesus movement took hold, before that movement was itself corrupted by marriage to the murderer of its founder.

  • The real versus the narrative world is, in philosophy, the existential versus the essential [what it consists of
    in reality]. No doubt one can be free in one ambit and in bondage in the other. A life of the mind is a path of
    liberation in the essential or narrative world, while a livelihood with access to nature and resources sufficient to one’s needs can allow for a modicum of happiness in the external. Of course the two are intimately connected. The Buddhists and Hindu’s might believe we are born into a trap, and there is
    an experiential truth to this, realized by those who suffer too much trauma and unfortunate
    circumstance. Man does not exist by his radical reality alone once he is conscious, but he co-exists
    with the external world of man and nature and environment, climate, and in the cosmos. Historical
    Reason [not the Hegelian-Marxist dialectical materialism] is a methodology, along with Vital Reason
    from Life as the root reality, for the commonweal, culture, civilization, to betterment. We need a new
    revelation for the challenges of The Carsonian Epoch we have now entered, not unlike the Cartesian
    revelation that led away from theocracy to Modernity, but which is now played out and decadent.

  • Well written.
    But we have been shackled and brainwashed since birth … subjected to both physical and mental abuse … from the cradle to school (the indoctrination starts with lies on history n religion and what is “good and bad” to respecting elders even if they spew nonsensical stuff. And as you go along to work, you tend to keep the status quo of what was planted in our heads … and nearing retirement we get to reflect on our life and the meaningless rat race that kept us busy (and crippled our thinking); keeping us so occupied that we have no time to reflect … until finally retiring to seek some answers of what really is going on and why did we get into the net, to enrich our bosses and their multinational companies that sucked us dry. They have destroyed a good part of our lives when we were young and strong and could think for ourselves … they took it away by not letting us breath to let us even remotely think of our freedom and the choices we could make to change ourselves and our world.
    Did we have a choice … we were already shackled from young … to do what we were brainwashed to think and do their bidding.
    So it seems at least for my generation, we were just herded into slots to keep the tyranny and oppressive machinations going.
    To undo this, we have to unlearn and get right back into ensuring that what is taught is not to maintain the status quo of the oppressors but to break free and teach our minds to think and do what is right for and by our society, everyone and us.
    The thinkers are aging and growing weaker to fight oppression.
    The new gen is so controlled by AI that is embedded with control by a few people in this world. They are being dragged into a new realm that has full control over them … the gadgets are skewed to “program” their minds to be led by the noose. And this is one to one. Not classroom students.
    When will we ever be liberated?

    • What you call being shackled and a prisoner is nothing more than culture and society. Its what comes with any social organism.

  • Ex-Governor Fined $1000 For Poisoning Flint Michigan.

  • That discussed above is indeed a very sad situation to realize. Such truth has historically evolved in parallel with an increasingly sophisticated group of powerful special interests forever intent upon ultimate world domination. Read carefully… The media moguls in lock step with this seemingly evil plan represent but one wing on the mother of all dragons. This dragon’s eyes remain fixed upon human kind. Humanity of its own accord realistically has no choice but to bow before such an awesome power. It’s minions know this and simply sneer and laugh at all opposition. There is no proof that dragons have ever existed, and yet these creatures remain a cross-cultural noumenon such that all royalty throughout history and around the world claim ancestry of dragons as proof of their power and absolute right to rule. They are, after all, the blue blood children of dragons. Whether dragons are real or not, if a King says such is true, it must then be true (and you’re talking family here!). Argue with his sword if you will, but it would seem better to bow to the King while one has that option and multiply the use of that time by praying for deliverance by someone who is actually good at killing dragons. Actually, your highness I kind of like the dragons and Kings idea, really, it sounds great.

  • Physical brute force still very much exists. Try walking to the shops without any pants on and see how willingly the overlords are to enact brute force, your own natural body in its perfect state will rapidly feel the sting of the police baton. That’s the order of control. Hit them with psyops then if they still think they are individuals, hit em with a big stick. Then put them in cage under the pretence of turning them into better people. People will always try to convince you that their way is best way. And it’s not always a bad thing I suppose.
    “I think we should put the vege garden here because it’s close to the fence.”
    “No, I disagree. I think it would be better here because it gets more of the evening sun.”
    “Hmm, you’re probably right.”

    Scale that up and it evolves into propaganda whereby one seeks to gain public support through mass persuasion, the genuine nature of this form of communication becoming more and more obfuscated as other considerations are taken into account. Such is the ‘Political manoeuvring’ whereby one seeks advantage through deception or omission. People become passionate too and will lie in order to further their cause. This passion can take many forms. It can be in the form of increased power or wealth or even self righteousness. It is not possible to be free of persuasion and not all persuasion is negative. Ideally we need to disincentivise the negative persuasive actions. But then we would need to a arbitrate what is a negative act and what is for a perceived benefit. People will always have disagreements over these things. If we could encourage actions that benefit the community as opposed to lining the pockets of a few, that would be a good start. If there was nothing to be gained by doing something other than the praise of those in the community, if the action turned out to be positive, then we would see more of that kind of behaviour. Presently however, under this current agreement whereby we concern ourselves foremostly with profit and power, such altruism is unlikely. If it’s not tied to some personal profiteering then it won’t happen. Tyranny by propaganda will as such continue until it is sufficiently disincentivised. This would mean throwing out capitalism in favour of an inclusive system. To do this would involve a change in consciousness that sees us as all equal and ‘in this together’. It would involve us seeing ourselves as part of Indra’s web, not the enemy of it.

  • I’m with you on the dimensions of control in controlling the propaganda narrative. I would note this is as old as recorded history, and not new, likely long before histories could be recorded.
    The Exodus never happened and was invented in the 6th century BCE by Israelites because of the Babylonian captivity. That it never happened is clear from the writer’s clarity about events in that century and their vagueness about the claimed events. They clearly did not know that in the period of Egypt’s New Kingdom the freed Hebrew could not have escaped Egypt by going first to Sinai and then (after a stupidly long time) entered Canaan. That land was part of and/or controlled by Egypt. And the route to and from was a constantly traveled trade route. Plus, in adjacent chapters, the writers knew the names of the Babylonian, Persian, Etcetera rulers but never the name of the pharoah. Essentially this was a message to Babylon that the Hebrew god was on the Hebrew side and would beat them up if they didn’t let them go because he had done it before. Actually, that didn’t work, but the Persians did.
    It was used and is being used millennia later to justify the Jewish genocide against Palestinians for one of the most horrific genocides ever of the Jews in Europe by Hitler.
    Or the battle of Kadesh in 1274 about. Egypt and the Hittites clashed, bloodied each other with neither victorious, but each side claiming to their own homeys that they won a great victory. The Egyptians and Hittites did, 15 years later, negotiate a diplomatic agreement.
    Tons of old stories told by the states of the day. Art and written accounts (say on walls or statuary) were often state propaganda.
    Also, the state (kings, emperors, lords, other potentates) had the means to give their people excuses for why the people should give a jot about the fights between kings and go kill and die for them.
    Not many people then or now bother to check out each claim, prime example: QAnon, but just take it on say so as real.

  • As always, Ms Johnstone, I hope and pray that you are correct and what you say comes to pass eventually. The owners and the masters need to be stopped one way or another before they kill humanity and this planet. The evil empire is hell bent on driving its own citizens into an open civil war so that ” martial law ” will be welcomed along with total and complete censorship of all dissent in thought or action. Chains Galore!

  • Really Excellent Post.

    Both the U.S. and China are in a race to control their populations and it isn’t clear who is ahead, but Human Rights Watch puts China ahead of the United States right now; in my opinion, the lead is too close to call. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/global#

    In 2017 the tech industry released a video called “Do You Trust This Computer” to address this very issue, and I suppose to give humanity a chance to glimpse the forces aligned against them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV_IZye14vs

    In 2014 a movie was made about Aaron Swartz who saw it as his mission to democratize the Internet and the interests that sought to manipulate the minds of Americans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vz06QO3UkQ

    Both of these documentaries illustrate the tremendous effort being put forth to control the mind of humanity. People like Elon Musk quit, that as the old adage goes, we must realize that if we can’t beat, them then we must join them. I call that a cop out of the highest order.

    • As the population grows larger, making society run smoothly becomes more difficult. New techniques are required. It is not psychopaths destroying humanity so much as resources being used up. The pie shrinks as more people feed from it. Thus Covid, lockdowns, disease, starvation, war etc. As we enter a cooling phase, this will exacerbate it all.

    • Khatika, there is another way, and that is to embrace sustainability and regeneration. Granted populations can’t grow indefinitely and in a healthy environment death balances out with new life.

      Still industrial society places huge demands on resources many orders of magnitude greater than were placed per-capita than before the beginning of the industrial age.

      What we need to do is being the process of reinventing local communities and cobble them together through some form of federated democratic republican structure where regulations are used to enforce sustainability and regeneration.

      With the current level of consumption required by our technological societies, I would think that only half a billion people could be sustained long term under that kind of arrangement. If we were to re-invent local agriculture and where industry blends seamlessly with the natural world, I would think that we could almost sustain the current population numbers.

      • Nice vid, thanks!

  • Your silence about the COVID-19 false pandemic scheme ordered by the World Economic Forum makes you part of a massive propaganda apparatus. You know that very well, no matter if you try to pretend otherwise. You are a liar and a propagandist just like the people you decry. You just have different masters, from Russia, who ordered you not to discuss the lockdown of hundreds of millions of people, including in your own country, Australia, because they do not want to take sides in the fight between liberty and slavery. They do not want to displease their Chinese friends. Too bad.

    • Are you consciously trying to prove Caitlin’s point o manipulating your mind?

    • Lockdowns are not going to end. They will continue for whatever remains of your unnatural life. I do hope that CJ has at least figured out that much by now.

    • LOL, and no doubt you don’t believe that the so-called January 6 riot was a Democratic psyop operation, I like Caitlin’s work, but unfortunately people like you tend to make me believe as others have said, “most people are no better than clumps of clay”,

      • That is why propaganda and brute force are necessary for society. Cattle prods were invented to herd cattle. Sheep dogs are used to move sheep for the same reason.

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