Propaganda, Brain-washing, Playing Dumb to Avoid the Truth

Prof. Edward Curtin

“And we are all mortal” JFK — June 10, 1963 — American University

Not long after uttering those words in his startling and prophetic commencement address, President John F. Kennedy was publicly executed by terrorists operating from deep within the shadows of the secret state. A symbolic universe was shattered that day and a sense of fear and terror was unleashed into American society. The natural human fear of death was multiplied a thousand-fold as post-traumatic denial settled over the country and the Warren Commission released its fabrications fifty years ago this September 24th. (Did it win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction that year?)

That fear is the air we breathe today. We are choking on fear; trembling.

In a previous article, I suggested that Americans are propagandized on two levels: culturally and politically. The elite work to scare and discombobulate regular people in various ways. Call it propaganda, brain-washing, mind-control, double-speak, etc. The result is to try and reduce people to muddled, frightened messes. These manipulative machinations generally work.

But there is a crucial flip side to this. Many, many people want to be deceived. They choose to play dumb, to avoid a confrontation with truth. They want to be nice (Latin, nescire, not to know, to be ignorant) and to be liked. They want to tuck themselves into a safe social and cultural framework where they imagine they will be safe. They choose to live in what Jean Paul Sartre called bad faith (mauvaise foi): He put it as follows:

“In bad faith it is from myself that I am hiding the truth.” But with this “lie” to myself, “the one to whom the lie is told and the one who lies are one and the same person, which means that I must know in my capacity as deceiver the truth which is hidden from me in my capacity as the one deceived.”

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