Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Edward Bernays


You’ve heard of Joseph Goebbels, Germany’s infamous propaganda minister who enabled Hitler’s rise to power. Goebbels also provided the inspiration and the methodology for America's Far Right resurgence of the last few decades.

Would you believe, Goebbels learned everything he knew from an American (born in Austria, nephew of Sigmund Freud)
Edward Bernays.

Edward Bernays is considered the father of public relations. The PR industry idolizes him; nobody else has even heard of him. His first major assignment was with President Woodrow Wilson’s administration — drumming up support for American participation in World War I. Bernays’ other claims to fame include:

Working with the American Tobacco Company in the 1920s to make smoking acceptable, even glamorous, for women;

Helping the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) get rid of a bunch of industrial waste products by convincing the American public that water fluoridation was not only safe, but absolutely necessary for everyone’s health;

In the 1930s he helped to sell jillions of Dixie Cups by convincing the public that it’s dangerous and unsanitary to wash and re-use the same cup. The only way to be completely safe is to use disposable cups;

Bernays’ most disgraceful PR campaign was for United Fruit Company (now Chiquita Brands International). He spun out a massive propaganda campaign to convince the public that Guatemala’s elected president, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, was a dangerous communist who needed to be overthrown. We all know how that worked out.

So, the next time you see one of Goebbels’ famous quotes —

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,”

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly — it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over” —

Remember where he learned his PR skills.

I got all of the above information from a letter to the editor in our local paper a few days ago. I Googled it; you can find lots of information here and here.

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Blogger Suzan said...


I knew who he was and his infamous career of destruction.

Upon reading, you really can't help remembering the Nazis that were secretly brought into the U.S. after WW2, can you?

An honored American tradition.

Thanks for publicizing it, Tom.

Great reporting!


April 3, 2011 at 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a college advertising class I read that Halitosis (Bad Breath) was never considered a problem until the Ad Agencies pointed it out.

The same people who convinced Nursing Mothers their Milk may be toxic and sense showing your breast for the the purpose for which they were made is immoral - switch to formula.

The Nazi's got many of their Eugenic Ideas from Post Civil War American race laws including Jim Crow.

Also the model for shipping the Jews to detention centers were patterned after the American method of shipping Indians to Reservations.


April 3, 2011 at 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

Saint Ronnie took it to a whole new level here, and his MSM servants are carrying on the legacy they began with him. In America, day is night, and lies are the truth.

April 4, 2011 at 3:43 AM  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

Not only Goebbels, but the entire Teapublican Party has emulated that scoundrel!

April 4, 2011 at 11:42 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

This was the Nazi approach, and before them, even, it was the Soviets' approach. There's little today's radicalized, extremist Republicans won't use to raise money and get and keep power.

FWIW, fluoridation is safe and effective as a means of preventing tooth decay for all but a minuscule number of people. Notwithstanding how it benefited Alcoa, it's an overall worthwhile public health measure.

Likewise, in the 1930s, tuberculosis was still a very common disease in the U.S. So were several others for which no immunizations or antibiotics were yet available. Think typhoid, typhus and diptheria.

In many a factory, mill, mine, farm and other workplace, in schools and even hospitals, the longstanding practice was drinking water out of a metal cup, ladle, glass or jug that everyone used. Those cups and ladles typically weren't washed between uses. That was a setup for public-health nightmares, and there were plenty of them. Disposable paper cups undoubtedly spared many a person sickness and some their lives.

I don't see Bernays as a bad guy for the things he promoted. He provided a form of advertising, and if he hadn't someone else would have.

April 4, 2011 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Suzan: Yup, lots of America/Germany connections during that period.

Erik: I hadn't thought of that, but it makes perfect sense. Racial segregation, Indians being herded onto reservations -- the Germans learned from the best.

JR: We can thank our pitiful "media," plus millions of useful idiots, for enabling all of this.

Jack: The teatards have picked up where Goebbels left off.

SW: I didn't know that about lack of sanitation back then from re-using utensils.

I'm personally in between about water fluoridation, but it's a very contentious local issue. They just started fluoridating the water here a few years ago and a lot of people are up in arms about it (not because of the John Bircher "communist plot!" drivel or anything like that). There's a lot of conflicting science about fluoride, with a lot of people insisting that too much is being added to the water and that overuse leads to serious side effects. There's been an ongoing drive to put the issue to a local vote, but judges (including the State Supreme Court) have ruled that it can't be put to a referendum because it was an "administrative" decision rather than "legislative" (or vice versa, I forget which). So the issue rages on.

April 4, 2011 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Careful everybody... you are making it sound like all of this bad stuff that has happened is America's fault! 8-)

Good post, Tom. Once one realizes who the historically influential people are in some of today's modern movements as well as some of the things they said and did, it makes some of those movements far less appealing.

That is, unless one is so far into their belief system that they need deprogramming.

Some of us have had so much programming, maybe deprogramming would be helpful for our nation's mental hygiene! Heh heh heh!

April 4, 2011 at 6:37 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Tom, the fluoride controversy is largely based on the same kind of "science" used to disprove global warming and toss snark at the idea of peak oil.

A very few people are sensitive and can have mottling of tooth enamel. Excessive fluoride can result in brittle teeth, but the amounts used in public water are so small that you'd have to drink enough water to kill yourself several times over to have that happen.

What's behind most of the anti-fluoride activism is the same government-paranoid, government-hating nonsense Beck and Limbaugh play to. It's to the point now where we've seen a return to worrisome levels of measles, chickenpox and whooping cough in recent years, because these government haters resent being told their children should have immunizations. They have a "it's my child and you can't make me" attitude. It's all suspicion, resentment and emotion, no science, no common sense.

And because of these proud, determined "you can't make me" know-nothings, some children will get terribly ill and a few will die. Ironically and tragically, those won't just be the children of the hard heads.

April 4, 2011 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Interesting parallels between Bernays and today's mass psychology techniques that seem to be working so well.

SW: I never gave fluoride any thought before I moved here 6 years ago. I'm pretty sure every other place I've lived had the water fluoridated. I always assumed the opposition was just Birchers or other tinfoil hatters.

But some of the local political activists who are opposed -- or who at least want the issue voted on -- have a lot more credibility than that. There are several environment / open government / government accountability activists who are pushing the issue. As far as I'm concerned, whether our water has fluoride in it would be number 938 on my list of things to worry about. But I no longer put fluoride opposition in the same category as Glenn Beck's drones or the "global warming is a myth" brigade.

April 5, 2011 at 9:07 AM  

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