Goebbels, German Federal Archive photo

Goebbels, German Federal Archive photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Supposedly, Adolf Hitler‘s infamous propagandist, Paul Joseph Goebbels said this.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” (from here, for example)

Ironically, an entry on Joseph Goebbels at Wikiquote cites our own government, Publications Relating to Various Aspects of Communism (1946), by United States Congress, House Committee on Un-American Activities, Issues 1-15, p.19, as the originating source. It is true that Hitler coined the term Big Lie. However, Hitler blamed the Jews for telling Big Lies, and Goebbels heaped more blame on the English.

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous. (from here)

Do we see such stubborn devotion to lies in American politics? Perhaps. Consider something else Goebbels’ said.

To attract people, to win over people to that which I have realized as being true, that is called propaganda. In the beginning there is the understanding, this understanding uses propaganda as a tool to find those men, that shall turn understanding into politics. Success is the important thing. Propaganda is not a matter for average minds, but rather a matter for practitioners. It is not supposed to be lovely or theoretically correct. I do not care if I give wonderful, aesthetically elegant speeches, or speak so that women cry. The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right. I speak differently in the provinces than I do in Berlin, and when I speak in Bayreuth, I say different things than I say in the Pharus Hall. That is a matter of practice, not of theory. We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths. Those are found in other circumstances, I find them when thinking at my desk, but not in the meeting hall.  –Speech by Joseph Goebbels on 9 January 1928 to an audience of party members at the “Hochschule für Politik”, a series of training talks for Nazi party members in Berlin (from here)

When men practice pragmatism without ethical considerations, then only the results matter. Thus, when an unethical person runs for political office, their election campaign quickly degenerates from a battle of ideas to information warfare. They publish propaganda rife with lies and misleading statements. That’s when we have what we more politely label negative campaigning.

What is propaganda? Wikipedia has an article on the subject, but you may find this article, Propaganda, more intriguing. Some thoughtful soul in SMU‘s Physics department apparently decided to do research in a different area. Their article begins with this quote.

Propaganda becomes ineffective the moment we are aware of it. –Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945)

Are you being effectively propagandized? With respect to the upcoming election, have you done any research? Have you checked and weighed the veracity of multiple sources, sources on both sides of the issues that matter to you?

Are you aware of the fact that Adolf Hitler came to power through the electoral process? Even though Hitler lost the presidential election to Paul von Hindenburg, because of his strong showing, Hindenburg appointed him as Chancellor of Germany.

Don’t allow our nation, state, or community to become victims of propaganda. Please check our voter guides (here and here), investigate multiple sources, and urge your family and friends to do the same.

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