Comparing Propaganda in a Democracy and in a Totalitarian Government

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Though some people would disagree, propaganda is far more common in a democratic society than a totalitarian society. While the totalitarian government can simply tell you what to think and buy, the democratic government has to hide its attempts to sway the people. It could be argued that military force and threats of violence are the ultimate propaganda, but a totalitarian government is not hiding what it’s doing. They are forcing the people they govern to believe and do what they want by force or otherwise. Democratic leaders just do the same thing behind a mask. They use the media, the Internet, and everything else around you to sway your opinion. This method seems to work just as well as the violent method; most people in a democratic society live their lives being influenced without even realizing it. They assume they are living with free will, but are unaware of the constant influences around them. As Dennis Lewis put it, “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

Propaganda is evil, but not evil in the way of taking over the world or something. It’s more evil in the way of causing you to purchase a product you don’t exactly need or want. Corporations are just as guilty of using propaganda as governments are; they even use it in the same way. All they have to do is simply flash their logo or bash their competitor and they have subconsciously made you want their product. This is one of the most basic forms of propaganda; they are influencing you without your knowledge. This is evil in the sense of lining the company’s pocket. This might not seem like a big deal, but over time it leads to the growth of a company that could care less about the c...

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... any society. Depending on whose angle you are looking from, any sort of argument or comment could be distorted as propaganda, even this paper could be considered propaganda against propaganda. It’s a never-ending cycle, but while it can’t be destroyed, propaganda should be watched closely and doubted by all citizens.

Works Cited

Lewis, Dennis. “Propaganda In a Democracy.” WordPress, n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.

Osgood, Kenneth A. "Propaganda." Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy. Ed. Richard Dean Burns, Alexander DeConde, and Fredrik Logevall. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002. Student Resources in Context. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.

Welch, David. "Propaganda." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz. Vol. 5. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005. 1916-1923. Student Resources in Context. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.

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