Most of my readers will be familiar with the question posed by the Greek philosopher thousands of years ago: “Does a fish know that he is wet?”
And most will be as familiar with the answer: no, when you are immersed in something, you know nothing else.
The history of the rise and fall of revolutions, the rise and fall of ideas, has been that the one who shouts the loudest almost always wins. Many times no matter how much better “the right’s” ideas our, we still lose the fight. The most reasonable arguments, the most persuasive speeches, can only make an impact if they are heard over and over again.
The ancient Romans were master imperialists and propagandists. They knew how to make their empire the centerpiece of everything. Every public building, the baths, the coliseums, the palaces, the parks, they all proclaimed the glory of the Roman Empire.
Even the roads were to proclaim the glory of the empire. The roads that all led to Rome were all as straight as possible. If your house was in the way, it got knocked down. The statement was that empire was eternal, victorious, and unshakable, no one would stand in its way, or that someone would very soon be gone.
They built massive architectural marvels, such as the pantheon, and had massive parades with thousands of men for one purpose only, to show themselves and everyone else how great they were.
The entire existence of Rome was one of propaganda-on how great they were.
There are two main forms of propaganda. One type is the one that the Communists used. Leaflets, magazines, public meetings, books, manifestos, all telling you just how great Communism is. (It has also been used for other things, but that is one of the more well-known and easily identifiable.) Those types of propaganda can be argued against. What is difficult to argue against is the ones that shout without necessarily shouting for the root idea.
That is the immersion of culture that is quickest, and deadliest. It takes a thousand forms, billboards, commercials, school teachers, signs, words, radio shows. Culture itself is a form of propaganda, and the most deadly killer of ideas.
We do not necessarily reject the idea that murder is wrong, (and it is) because we have heard a detailed argument as to how wrong it is that we sat down, considered, and then realized our beliefs. We have been immersed in a culture that says that it is wrong, so we too believe that.
The most violent form of propaganda we can use is to use what they have always used against us-Total war on our ideas in a thousand forms.
To eradicate the ideas from a culture, we must first eradicate it from our own minds. That is difficult to do. Next, let your life be propaganda. If you take every thought and every action captive, that is a form of propaganda that will be very hard to fight.
Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott
1: Quoted by Reeves, 1982, pp. 52.