Fascism implements a narcissistic form of propaganda in that it doesn't care if it makes self-contradictory claims as long as the most current claims suitably represent the political power's ideal of purpose. As a totalitarian regime, Fascism's two main directives are conversion via proselytization, and subjugation via dominance and surveillance. Propaganda and a political "Shell Game" are used to achieve these directives, because in order to control the truth and untruth they need to use red herring fallacies on their subjects, which cause the subjects to "simply forget what is said from day to day or because they are under such a constant propaganda bombardment that they become anesthetized to the whole business." (p. 664) This whole mess reminds me of a line in John Mayer's Waiting on the World to Change: "Cause when they own the information, they can bend it all they want..."
Propaganda and the manipulative Shell Game are very similar, but have one significant distinction. Whereas propaganda degrades and/or vilifies an enemy through distorting and manipulating information, the Shell Game simply distracts people's attention using some form of rhetoric, so their hidden agenda--which actually exploits them--can be carried out while they're anesthetized.
This anesthetizing is scary business. Unfortunately, many social systems either knowingly or unknowingly do it through a political version of the Shell Game, where sleight of hand (in relation to political power, it's sleight of mind) is used to bombard subjects with varying and conflicting premises, making them crumble and capitulate to the most current version of the manipulation because it's safer and less exhausting in the short-term. The red herring Shell Game essentially distracts the subjects from the regime's true intent, which is to keep the subjects managed at the lowest possible cost (both financially and intellectually) while they outwardly extend their Imperialistic rule and inwardly extend obedience. Some of the subjects actually cave and join the regime, while most others get caught up following shells, puppetizing themselves.
The political Shell Game comes in different shapes and sizes, and as I said before, isn't simply relegated to the Fascist regimes. That'd be convenient, wouldn't it? At this point in political evolution, the critical mass is against totalitarianism, however, that doesn't mean propaganda or the Shell Game are never used. Think of America's public exultation of freedom despite relentlessly wire-tapping and surveilling, think of experts at the Big Banks and their selling of predatory, sub-prime mortgages, think of the constant talk of love this and love that by the church despite harboring child rapists. Each of these uses public tactics of manipulation and rhetoric to distract from true reality.
Listen to political leaders and try and distinguish between propaganda and the Shell Game. It's not that difficult once you realize propaganda thrives on enemies and the Shell Game thrives on intellectually anesthetizing its own people.
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