Rhubarb about Peace, Bacon, and Eggs: How might propaganda cultivate a more just world?
by Howard W.Campbell, III
(editor's note: rhubarb is slang term for an argument or heated discussion)
"Peace is more profitable."
1622 Propaganda, Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide
Now, in , propaganda is hardly ever a word used to describe human rights, or cultivating a more just world. How might propaganda cultivate a more just world? In 1622, some accountants for Pope Gregory XV took a sideways approach to ending the holy wars. Mathematically, they proved peace is more profitable than waging holy wars Their proof coined the word propaganda, meaning the propagation of ideas that served the Holy Roman Empire.
Arguably, Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide [SCPF] saved millions of lives, and helped cultivate a more just world. It still sucked to be an invaded population who would be tortured if they resisted being ruled. The word propaganda was created in a proposal to kill fewer people, with the financial argument made in mathematics that peace was more profitable than war.
Propaganda said that if you seize the mind, a valuable body will emerge. Prior to propaganda, a population of alternative religionists usually required extermination or enslavement. Orson Scott Card, an author best known for his book Ender's Game, makes a point in his book The Redemption of Christopher Columbus about how slavery lead to human rights in what we now call South America. In something similar to the SCPF, accountants in the roles of priests convinced gods on Earth that slaves were valuable, and he needed them alive, which led to rules of treatment which led to rights. Again, an argument to keep people alive because they have productive value. Today, many say we should keep people alive because we have an immeasurable value, others don't think we're that special, and yet others hold that while we are special, life extension is not necessarily a moral compulsion. From a learned discussion of math and value, emerged a word propaganda, which changed the structure of society, and placed new-found value on education as indoctrination, and delivered us into a new state of thinkism.
Some say propaganda ended the Inquisition. Others will point out that the Inquisition never ended. In 1965, Pope Paul VI rebranded the Office of Inquisition to the Office of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which is active at the time of this publishing.
Some say it took the capitalistic agenda of the United States during World War I to vilify the word propaganda. Can we all agree that the meme "propaganda" is a negatively charged meme? When people point to government persuasion media and call it propaganda, I wish they might more accurately say Bernaysian, from Edward Bernays, the man who wrote the book Propaganda.
When you hear an ad saying " 4 out of 5 doctors recommend . . ." you are hearing the echo of Edward Bernays' advertising headline: 4 out of 5 doctors recommend a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs. People still say "bacon and eggs" but virtually nobody today remembers the ad for the pork industry. Edward Bernays was a genius at promoting categories, so he often got hired by an industry association, or by the market leader of an industry. If you own the company that sells the greatest quantity of cigarettes, then getting more people to smoke will help you the most because you are the market leader.
In 1948, when this ad ran, folks were already eating eggs for breakfast. Occasionally, folks would eat pork with eggs for special occasions. What Bernays did eloquently was give folks a reason to do something more often that felt like an indulgence, and to make it seem healthy.
Bernays appears to me as a dark, misguided magician, applying sleight-of-mind for man made ends. The "Bacon & Eggs" trick here was a magician's forced choice among doctors. When Bernays surveyed doctors, the survey asked [something like] would you recommend your patients skip breakfast or have a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs? Then he wrote an ad headline: 4 out of 5 doctors recommend a hearty breakfast of bacon an eggs.
The "4 out of 5 doctors" sleight-of-mind is perceived by some to have cost hundreds of millions of Americans many years off their lives.Looking at the cost of lives appears to me as a process of evaluating what our current mempool is taxing its inhabitants. Arguing for a more life/livingry agenda appears to me as [an application] of propaganda's persuasiveness in creating positive changes in public health This concept is outlined in 50 Ways To Yes, written by an articulate humanitarian named Dr. Robert Cialdini.
It is because of this that--when in a restaurant you will hear me order eggs and bacon. :-)
[Edited and retyped on February 3, 2015 by Mickbic]