Why Are People Vulnerable to Propaganda?

I posted a great meme on my Facebook page:

“In North Korea, people are forced to listen to propaganda. In the USA, people do it willingly.” Pictured are the logos for ABC, NCB, CBS, CNN and MSNBC.

What makes people vulnerable to propaganda?

Obviously it’s not just dictatorship. In America, we still have a First Amendment, and we don’t have any dictatorship, at least not yet.

One factor is lack of critical thinking. The less critically, rationally and objectively people think, the more vulnerable they are to letting others do their thinking for them.

But there’s another necessary component in succumbing to propaganda: a pre-existing narrative.

Socialism is an example. The pre-existing narrative for people who swallow Rachel Maddow and Jim Acosta uncritically is something like, “Government, when run by Democrats, is a force for good.” Therefore, since Acosta and Maddow are unreservedly on the side of big, expanding government only run by Democrats, they must be good.

If you’re a critical thinker, it doesn’t work this way. If you’re a critical thinker you’re always in a mode of, “What are the facts? What are ALL the facts? What do these facts say about my pre-existing view that government, only run by Democrats, is generally a good thing?”

It’s the same with political correctness. Obama did little or nothing to fight ISIS. He claimed to be “containing” ISIS, but the evidence did not support that claim. Other evidence supported the opposite claim. CNN and MSNBC only reported evidence supporting what Obama said, because people at these networks have the same pre-existing view as Obama.

Yet now that President Trump and his impressive Defense Secretary have been in office for a year and a half, ISIS has largely been defeated. It doesn’t mean the end of ISIS, necessarily, and certainly not the end of militant Islam. But a lot has been done. For once, military efforts have worked. Our military was always great, but now they have a President and Secretary of Defense who actually they believe should WIN. And these policies have worked despite President Trump’s unwillingness to be politically correct about Islam, in contrast to Obama’s sneering lectures about the need to love Muslims and respect their religion.

Critical, objective thinking where ALL the relevant facts are considered will lead one to conclude that President Trump is a major improvement over President Obama in fighting Islam and ISIS. It even suggests that PC kills, because PC means walking on eggshells with an enemy who’s hell-bent on destroying you. But if you only look at media outlets that support a pre-existing narrative in favor of PC and walking on eggshells, you can forget about objective truth. Because inconvenient facts will always be sacrificed for the sake of the narrative.

Republicans, conservatives and libertarians might or might not be critical thinkers. It depends on the individual person. As a group, they are far better than leftists at critical thinking because they have already been exposed to both sides. You cannot escape the leftist side because it dominates our media, schools, universities and sports-entertainment culture. Leftism has a monopoly on government schools, which most children attend, and censorship against non-leftists is now the norm at nearly all universities and colleges. Leftism is pretty much all there is. Progressives have not been put through – and seem unwilling or unable to put themselves through – the rigors of considering the merits/demerits of the Democrat side, the Trump side, and any other sides that might exist. Their views are carved in stone and heaven help you if you question them in any way, as non-Democrats now find when they come out of the closet and express any views at all Democrats do not like.

As a group, progressives, leftists and Democrats almost always fail at critical thinking. Because the number of facts they have to ignore and evade has become too massive. It can’t be the case that big, socialistic governments run by Democrats are automatically or usually good. Ever heard of Soviet Russia or Maoist China? How about the moral and fiscal bankruptcy of European welfare states? How about Venezuela, Cuba, or North Korea? What kind of critical thinking is involved in saying we should adopt MORE rather than LESS of the policies of these socialist countries?

Too many facts conflict with the pre-existing narrative of Democrats. For example, the economy is growing a lot more since President Trump and his policies of tax-cutting and deregulation came into effect. Rachel Maddow and Jim Acosta have no answer for those facts, because they don’t consider them. And they draw in only people who do not WISH to consider them.

THAT’s the problem.

What’s ailing America is the media. The media is full of bad people who don’t tell the truth. But we don’t live under a dictatorship, at least not yet. Although MSNBC and CNN look almost EXACTLY like the state-run media of a dictatorship run by Democrats, people are free to choose all kinds of other news sources, in spite of Facebook’s and Twitter’s best efforts to eliminate them.

So the real problem is not the lying and overwhelmingly pro-Democrat, pro-socialist, pro politically correct media. That’s just a symptom. The real problem is the lack of critical thinking on the part of Democrats – the people who most desperately need critical thinking, because their pre-existing narrative of socialism and political correctness is most at war with the facts.


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