I firmly believe that a major contributing factor is age/experience. Anyone younger than probably 55 or more likely even 60, was not bombarded with the word “propaganda” on a routine basis back in the 50s and 60s. “Soviet propaganda,” “communist propaganda” – those were simply a normal part of life whether watching the evening news, or even listening to grown-ups in conversation for many of us back then. We didn’t really understand what “propaganda” meant exactly, but we knew that it was something bad by bad people, and that it was lies.
The left learned well from Alinsky’s 1971 masterpiece (Rules for Radicals). And it was a masterpiece, if you define “masterpiece” as highly effective and widely spread – even if the consequences were devastating to society. The term “propaganda” was turned back on those pointing it out, and suddenly we were hearing about “right wing propaganda” among other varieties. After a while, the term became wearisome because it was applied to “everything,” by somebody or other. And like anything that becomes wearisome, it falls out of use and becomes functionally meaningless.
I was fortunate to learn first hand what Soviet propaganda was by the very early 60s, when I inherited my grandfather’s old wood case shortwave radio, and discovered that world. Along the way, I discovered the English language service of Radio Moscow. What an eye-opening experience for a budding teenager, especially when political conversations simply didn’t happen in my family when I was growing up.
So today, the concept of propaganda is simply not something most people have ever even contemplated. Instead we get the soundbyte term “fake news” to the point that we’re beginning to gag on it. Fake news is simply lying news. Propaganda is an art form, because it’s not simple and easy to point out the embedded lies, if it’s well done propaganda. So the problem is that almost nobody recognizes propaganda anymore, and therefore almost nobody appreciates just how powerful it is, let alone the devastating effects it’s had on our own society. 50% of millenials “would rather live in a socialist or communist country than a capitalist society. And 22% of those surveyed had favorable views of Karl Marx… while 13% viewed Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong-un as ‘heroes’?!?“
Mighty effective! I doubt that even 1 in 1000 millenials could give even a C-minus definition of capitalism, but they all know it’s “bad.” Yes…mighty effective. Spread that effectiveness across far more than just economic system – morals, religion, social interaction, you name it – it’s been mighty effective. Freedom’s post is most instructive: his family LIVED under communism, escaped, and experienced the differences first hand. Yet just a generation or two later, even those close to him find him difficult to believe at first. Without experience and education in the home (as Freedom has done well), it can all be lost even in a generation.