"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance."
Alan Bullock
[Alan Louis Charles Bullock, Baron Bullock] (1914-2004) British historian
in Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives (1991)
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Reader comments about this quote:
None dare call it conspiricy and the truth of 9 / 11 comes to mind.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 3
    Interesting, sounds what Archer is trying to do on this site.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
  • 2
    Rings true for me. And I see it around me. Reading the quotes of the founding fathers and their contemporaries the ideas seem radical in today's climate and that is disturbing!
     -- Victoria Accardo, Lake Hopatcong     
    Marxism is the opposite to Starlin's grotesque rule.
     -- Anonymous     
  • 3
    That Stalin was a murdering fascist dictator. The statement seems to underline how most megalomaniacs attempt to wash their deeds in the light of public opinion.
     -- Jamie, Nelson     
    This only works if the dictator, emperor, or king can maintain absolute control by constantly terrorizing the people. In softer tyrranies propoganda is used first to gradually transform the youth and immigrant populations.
     -- Justin, Elkland     
    The brainwashing and enslaving of the masses with electronic trinkets and an addiction to a life-style obsession is the modern vehicle of propaganda. Awaken you blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things! Oh you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome.
     -- L. Hanson, Edmonton, Canada     
  • 1
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 2
    (-; Ken, that's really good ;-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    I like "the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." That's the purpose of propaganda -- not just to repeat the party line over and over, but to monopolize the megaphone altogether, leaving no space for opposing ideas to even be known. I find it interesting how quickly a conditioned person will knee-jerkingly call someone a 'racist' or 'conspiracy theorist' or worse when an opposing argument is made that threatens the party line. It is a fairly good gauge for determining the hypnotized.

    But you know what, Waffler? Not everyone is taking the bait. Not everyone's 'programming' took -- it's not that good anyway, it only really works as long as you keep people from taking responsibility for the condition and quality of their lives -- i.e. to grow up. Because once they do, they do a much better job running their own lives than being the ward of another.

    We start out as children dependent upon our parents. The school house is a place where children can learn to care for themselves and each other. They learn how to 'deal' with each other, to be mutually respectful to each other, and to understand the rights and responsibilities of being an adult. They also learn to read, to write, and to calculate. They then are able to learn from all the writers throughout history, to compare ideologies, to discern, to think.

    But welcome to the world, little one, where others before you have set up all sorts of games to play, programs to follow, events to attend, causes to join. No sooner have I become able to participate in a group, that the group imposes its prejudices upon me as a requirement to be accepted.

    Inundated with social causes to support, we are being 'sold' ideas about the world by pitchmen who will benefit from millions of common people believing and promoting them. It's the oldest trick in the book -- kings, priests, teachers of all stripes, authorities of all professions -- every good idea turned into a racket to gain and monopolize power.

    I thought school was to help teach me how to move from dependence to self-sufficiency. It turns out, the 'programs' were primarily designed to condition me to either be regulated or regulate others. The public schools I attended mostly were to teach us how to be good followers. The private schools were more focused on teaching us 'leadership.'

    Luckily I changed schools several times, and I was able to compare systems and methodologies objectively rather than being subjected to one sustained programming technique. I always preferred going to the library and choosing my own books and line of thinking. It's more natural, and I remember more because I am interested.

    Is it any surprise that the simple truth is experienced as 'jarring dissonance'?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
    This quote is usually attributed to Leonard Shapiro: see Google Books
     -- John Hicks, Louisville, Ky. USA     
  • 2
    Thanks, John. It appears many authors are quoting Leonard Shapiro in their books. The quote has been posted now here. Thank you!
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
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