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Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Hume: The Power of Propaganda

“Nothing appears more surprising to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.” ~ the opening lines of David Hume’s essay, “Of the First Principles of Government.” In this essay, Hume was commenting on the Western governments, the European powers in particular (America was not a global power in Hume’s time). The West has always been good at propaganda (using fancy speeches and literature to drum up support for its agenda). Carnage and propaganda—the West excels in both. The West has won in the last 400 years because of its swords, guns, warships, and canons on the one hand, and the power of its wordsmiths or propagandists on the other hand.

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