Social Scientist. v 2, no. 22 (May 1974) p. 49.


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Methods of Ideological Suppression

METHODS of governing the thinking and behaviour of working people in the bourgeois countries form a very complex and ramified system. An important part of this system is the conditioning of man's psyche, his feelings and emotions.

Bourgeois propagandists believe that by giving free play to man's feelings and instincts they can paralyse his power of reasoning. Thus, in his Propaganda Comes of Age, the American sociologist M Choukas, characterises propaganda as exclusively a device for manipulation, whose inherent function is to mislead people. He bluntly states that play ing on men's passions and emotions is one of the means to neutralise the ability to think, a characteristic of human being.

Another US expert on psychological warfare, P Linebarger, reasons along similar lines. He maintains that by invoking men's subsconscious feelings, one can "convert lust into resentment, individual resourcefulness into mass cowardice, friction into distrust, prejudice into fury."

Bourgeois sociologists understand propaganda as influencing a person in a situation where there are conflicting points of view on the matter. Naturally, a propagandist has to devise and apply such means as will convey his position when confronted with opposing points of view. In the process, he need not necessarily be concerned about the truth or falsity of his own stand. In their view, propaganda is a sphere, having to do with the technique of influence rather than the truth of the matter.

Presentday technological advances with regard to the information media have greatly enhanced the role that information plays in the life of society and its effect on the mode of life and behaviour. In the absence of developed means of information, individual behaviour is determined principally by personal experience derived from immediate contact with, and reaction to developments. However, as the press, radio, television, cinema, etc., develop they begin to "mediate" between facts and opinion by feeding the public sifted information.

In the current stage of state-monopoly capitalism, and under the impact of scientific and technological revolution, a number of new features have emerged in the mental conditioning of masses by the ruling classes.



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