Sigmond Freud and his nephew Edward Bernays did much to destroy democracy. By seeing how to manipulate and control the masses, they created levers for the rich and powerful to achieve social control.
In the 1920s, people were persuaded to consume, to focus on self, to become happy and docile.
Democracy was no longer a way to change who had power, giving power to the people. Through PR, democracy became instead a way of the same power elites to control the masses, with them willingly submitting to the control grid placed around them.
Bernays thought people were stupid, and could be simply persuaded to do whatever the powerful wanted them to do. He moved on and decided to turn the public into passive consumers, and control them from behind the scenes.
Post-WW2 came vast government programmes to control the psychological lives of the masses, to suppress the ‘savage barbarism’ that was believed to be lurking just under the surface.
Think about it. Today we are subject to more remote control than ever, handling our irrational existences, in an effort to get us all to comply with the wishes of the powerful – which is basically not to threaten their hegemony in any way.
Focus groups. Polling. These enable governments to couch their programmes in language that makes their measures sound benign, stop people asking inconvenient questions, stop them thinking too hard, and corporations to persuade people to follow subtle instructions the people were not even aware of.
The controllers are incapable of experiencing and perceiving warm human feelings themselves and they hold an entirely negative view of human life. That way they miss the principal way that humans can progress, through cooperation, community, family and love for each other. Psychology is an entirely negative science, focused on individuals, all separated from each other by competition, jealousy and fear of what others can do to harm them. The system is based on fear. That is the lever you experience every day in the media if you are fool enough to keep watching and listening.
The other levers are to enable people to let go through state-controlled forms of relaxation, like football, movies and TV. The idea was to create regulated citizens. The regulation is firstly to create passive citizens that don’t challenge government. The other purpose is to sell products/services to people.
They identify your inner secret ambitions and needs, like need for status, sex, social life and they fit their products to fit the identified subliminal needs of the people. They created the focus group to mine the subconscious mine.
Women felt guilty buying convenience foods, so they added things consumers needed to do to the food, even if it only took a few seconds. In one case, adding an egg to a cake mix was enough to overcome the women’s feelings of guilt of taking an easy life.
Products were used to create a feeling of uniformity between people, to create an improved self-image by buying products. This was believed to create a ‘better’ society.
A social elite that believed in the irrationality of the masses came into being, and believing people need to be controlled by an elite from behind the scenes, to keep them in a state of social control. The controllers can’t admit that they could ever be wrong.
They created terror to keep people in check – fear of the atom bomb fifty years ago, Communists, AIDS, Moslems hiding in caves after 911, Saddam Hussein, economic collapse more recently and North Korean aggression. Once people are afraid, they are more likely to obey.