Propaganda (including government information)

My friend, The Regimental Rogue, offers a very and important insight from General Douglas MacArthur:


We, politicians, officials, admirals and generals and citizens, alike, need to grasp this quite fundamental point. Wars may still be won (and lost) at sea, in the field and in the air, even, arguably, on the factory floor, but they can only be fought if the people agree.

One of the most important foundation stones of our, English, parliamentary tradition is that we, the people, control the sovereign, the government, by controlling how she/it can raise money and spend it. This is what Magna Carta and Simon de Montfort’s Parliament and the Glorious Revolution and, and, and were all about: the government, the executive (cabinet) can only do what parliament (our representatives) vote the money to do. If the government wants to fight a war it must get the money from parliament.

Now, a Canadian majority government is, pretty much, an elected dictatorship: as long as it, the prim minister’s governing party, can keep the loyalty of its own members then it can vote itself pretty much whatever it wants. But we, by our opinion, can influence how the party members react to government decisions and, as we have seen in Britain and Australia in the fairly recent past, the party caucus, the backbenchers ~ the “nobodies as Pierre Trudeau called them, can rise up in revolt and change the prime minister and, therefore, the policy.

The role of the media is huge. It goes far, far beyond being just a or even the primary source of information, it is an opinion maker in its own right. All the data I have seen supports this recent (2014) survey that says that TV is, far and away, the more important source of news for most people …


… but similar data also suggests that it is changing …

Screen Shot 2012-10-01 at 9.47.29 AM

… and I will not even discuss the relative reliability of news/opinion sources …

What we must understand is that governments ~ our own and foreign governments, friendly and enemy foreign governments; special interest groups ~ including departments and agencies of government, itself; political parties and churches and so on, will all use propaganda ~ they will all try to propagate ideas and information (some of which will be true but all of which will be “situated” or “spun” in a certain way, in ways designed to make us think in certain way) to convince us to support or oppose a course of action.

That is what I am doing with this blog: trying to convince you to support social, moderation; fiscal prudence and a principled foreign policy that is backed up by a strong military. I am a propagandist. I try to provide you with factual information but I “spin” it to support my point of view.

The point is that we must all understand that propaganda, including information propagated (and “spun”) by our own government and by agencies we usually think of as unbiased, is all pervasive and it is all designed to to make us support or oppose something. Even e.g. the Canadian Coast Guard or Health Canada “spin” their public information so that you will be inclined (persuaded) that what they do ought to be a very high priority for the cabinet ~ high enough to survive cuts. The Canadian Armed Forces does it, too.

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