Aphorisms and Propaganda
For a long period, propaganda has been used during conflicts to influence international opinion. The impact of propaganda is greatest when mass media is involved. Broadcasts have a significant impact on the opinions of people and consequently their actions. Propaganda can lead to conflicts especially in a situation where tension between communities of tribes is high. Propaganda can be used to inculcate false perceptions among individuals. This paper will analyze the role played by propaganda in conflict situations and also look at the power of aphorisms.
The Communist Party in China is known to employ the use of propaganda in its rule. According to Xuecun (1), there has been a radical shift in the way the Communist Party of China uses propaganda in its rule. In the 1950s, huge banners were strategically placed in Tiananmen Square with different glorifying messages about the ruling party. In the recent period, the party uses huge billboards which are placed across different cities. They are mainly placed in public places such as schools, parks, construction sites, and other places. The billboards carry messages such as: “A strong Communist Party means happiness for the Chinese people” (2).
The Bush Administration also employed propaganda during its regime. This is evident in the days leading to invasion of Iraq, where there was need to convince the liberals and democrats to join the call for war. During this period, it was claimed that Saddam Hussein had formed an alliance with the terrorist group, al-Qaeda. There was no basis for verifying these allegations. Additionally, there were claims that Saddam Hussein had in his possession weapons of mass destruction, and also biological weapons capable of mass decimation of the population. This propaganda was used to win various factions to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq (Pillar 1).
Propaganda was widely used during World War 1. During this period, there was need for states involved in the war to influence opinion and win the support of the international community. Various states aimed at justifying their deeds in order to win international support. For instance the British used a secret organization known as Wellington House to create propaganda that would be carried through national newspapers with an aim of swaying international sympathy towards Britain. This secret organization went even further to publish and distribute newspapers internationally with the hope of influencing neutral countries to support Britain.
Propaganda and aphorisms are widely used in the Party in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. All citizens’ rooms were equipped with giant telescreens which were used by the Party to transmit propaganda to the masses (Yeo 8). The propagandas were designed in such a way that the failures of the Party would seem to be successes among the masses. The telescreens could monitor the behavior of all citizens, constantly reminding them that they are under watch. Past records are constantly destroyed as the Party keeps making new policies. The Party uses fictitious stories which are pushed to the people as the truth in order to increase their loyalty. Lies are used as facts to influence the people’s opinions.
From the above, it is clear that propaganda has been used for a long time to shape people’s opinions and to influence their actions. Propaganda is commonly employed by the ruling regime or during times of conflict. The major aim is to influence people’s opinions in favor of the ruling party. The ruling regime may be in need of support from the public for a particular project but on the other hand the public may be reluctant. In order to change their opinion, propaganda is usually employed. This is exemplified in the Party as well as in the examples identified. In all cases, the ruling regime uses the mass channels of communication to put across their propaganda. It is used as a way of ensuring domination of the ruling regime, and blind conformance of their subjects to the subjective and dehumanizing policies.
Aphorisms expresses general truths in often a memorable manner. Aphorism involves delivering messages in a distinct way. It may involve expressing details about sharp observations made or as a terse saying. Aphorisms are made in a memorable way and hence powerful since people relate to them for long periods of time. Aphorisms have the power to influence people’s opinions or actions. As such, they can be used as political tools for influencing people’s opinions.
The primary role of propaganda is to influence people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Propaganda involves spreading of malicious information by the propagandist which is aimed at depicting a group of people in a bad way. Propaganda is often employed by the ruling class to control the masses. For instance during conflicts, propaganda is used to win the masses support of the war or to generally influence their opinions. Modern governments often use propaganda to change the public’s opinion especially with regard to engaging in war.
Pillar, Paul. “The Iraq War and the Power of Propadanda.” The National Interest 14 September 2011: 1-2. Web.
Xuecun, Murong. “The New Face of Chinese Propaganda.” The New York Times 21 December 2013: 1. Web.
Yeo, Michael. “Propaganda and Surveillance in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four: Two Sides of the Same Coin.” Global Media Journal (2010): 49-66. Print.