Many a young an aspiring lad who has yet to see the terrible atrocities of war think to themselves, "Why is this homeless man rambling at me? I'm too smart to be affected by propaganda!" Those that have these thoughts need to stop throwing coins at me, they're starting to leave welts.
Unfortunately for these young sycophants-to-be, they've already lost to the propaganda. Every form of influence works on a subconscious level and to deny your conscious the right to fight against these influences is to surrender your mind to the
In this article, I hope to
The Basics of Changing Opinion
The short answer to the question of "how do people change the opinion of others" is:
Taking someone who is vehemently against some ideology and changing their opinion so they like said ideology is nearly impossible and requires
The reason for this is something called THE BACKFIRE EFFECT. The easiest way to describe this effect is to say that there's a point where you are so far ingrained into your beliefs that any attempts to change those beliefs are met with so much resistance that the act of trying to change the belief actually strengthens the original belief.
Here's an example: Say we have a person who prefers the soda Coke. He attempts to order a Coke at a restaurant. The waitress says, "I'm sorry, we don't have Coke, would you like a Pepsi instead?"
A normal person would say, "Okay, close enough."
A die-hard Coke fan would say, "No, that's not okay. How can you carry Pepsi when Coke is clearly the superior product? I never want to come back to this restaurant again! You are all stupid for liking Pepsi!" and the waitress would reply with "OH GOD, WHERE DID HE GET A MOLOTOV COCKTAIL?" and the Coke fan would walk away from the burning wreckage, having purged the world from another Pepsi-loving establishment and secure in the knowledge that he did a good thing for society and soda-drinkers everywhere.
See how our die-hard fan, after his altercation with the waitress, liked Coke even more than he did previously despite the waitresses attempts to have him change his opinion to Pepsi?
On the other hand, a normal person simply switched their opinion because it was much more convenient for them and they didn't hold a strong belief one way or another.
All propaganda relies on converting those without strong opinions into specific opinions, and call those who already have strong opinions to further action.
Another good example of this is the fact that people have told me that all the ponies I post in my articles really distract from the meanings of the articles themselves. To that, I say:
The 7 Main Techniques of Propaganda
In classic accounts of propaganda, 7 categories arise that all propaganda can be placed under. Some pieces of propaganda use more than 1 of these techniques in order to spread their message.
The schoolyard bully knows what they're doing when they call someone a name. They want others to also refer to this person by that name. In this way, the people who participate feel the same things that the bully feels toward this target in question. However, this technique is not limited to a single person, but can apply to organizations, countries, parties, and anything else you can call a funny name (like the Stark Raving Sad Crybune).
Name calling doesn't always have to be negative, but it does need to attempt to give some alternative meaning to a name.
The best way to fight name calling is to actually do some research. Figure out what's real for yourself. The idea behind name calling is to give the viewer more information in the hopes that they don't learn anything else about the matter. Simply accepting a name and not really thinking any more about it allows the subconscious to make a link between the two ideas (the name and the emotion the propaganda wants you to feel). Taking the time to create a more meaningful link for yourself instead of accepting someone else's will ensure not only the truth wins out, but that you'll remember it.
The best example I see of this in eRepublik can be found in the comments section of just about every AFA article. I'll let you figure it out for yourself.
Hint: Don't think too hard, it's the obvious one.
This one is also known as "being really vague." These are usually accompanied by a slogan or catch-phrase. Whenever you hear someone answer a question and it sounds really good, but when you go back and look at the question you realize this person didn't actually answer the question itself, a glittering generality has been born.
Most people aren't dumb enough to answer serious questions with only a catch-phrase, but people versed in propaganda will often try to take words from already known catch-phrases and incorporate them into their answers to try and win the support of those who often use these phrases.
Here's some of the most obvious examples I've seen:
For the People
By the People
WE THE PEOPLE
★ ★ ★Feel the AMPs★ ★ ★
They're plastered everywhere without any real reason or rhyme to it.
To fight the Glittering Generality, ask yourself the following question whenever you think you see it:
What do these words actually mean? What does this person think these words mean?
Is there a clear connection between what is being discussed and what this person has said?
How does this idea stand on it's own, without surrounding context?
This is kind of like scapegoating, but with a few key differences. The basic idea of Transfer is to make us think of something nice and then present us with something that the propaganda also wants us to think is nice. Look up 'Classical Conditioning' if you'd like to see a basic idea of how and why this works.
There's a bit more to Transfer than just classical conditioning, but generally speaking the juxtaposition of two ideas transfers feelings about one of those ideas to the other one.
So, double check yourself whenever two things are being compared to one another.
Stemming from the argument from authority logical fallacy (argumentum ad verecundiam), Testimonial is relying on someone else's prestige to make the propaganda's point seem better. In general, you can fight this one by not looking up to people or having idols.
So, normally people look at leaders as "above them" or having some sort of higher status. Propaganda figured this out and also figured out that leaders seem more influential when they can relate better to the audience.
That's why Albert Einstein is suggested to have failed high school mathematics, even though he never did. Your teacher just wants you to think that you can be as smart as Einstein was, even though you're failing algebra.
Lies of Omission fall under this category, as Card Stacking is the act of only telling part of the truth or only choosing facts that support a position and leaving out the bad parts.
This also includes Cherry Picking, which is described in greater detail below.
Best way to combat this is to simply get all the facts. It's difficult to combat because it's hard to tell when evidence is absent. It's pretty easy to notice something that's there, but how do you notice things that are supposed to be there, but are left out?
Using the 'Herd Mentality' for one's own gain, Band Wagon is a term used to describe any attempts for propaganda to make it seem like what they're saying is a widely held belief. The reason this works is because most people want to feel like they're part of a group. Propaganda also tends to use words that give a sense of urgency or deadline with this approach, so the reader thinks that they might get left behind or ostracized from the group if they don't act fast.
The easiest way to combat this is to read more articles and figure out if others agree or disagree. Slow down and figure it out, ask a friend, get others involved.
If you'd like to learn more about how to get people to listen to their emotions instead of reason and logic, look up 'Logical Fallacies' or ask me to write another one of these articles.
Other Things of Note
Anytime someone quotes somebody else, read everything that somebody else has to say. Cherry Picking is essentially taking someone else's words out of context.
For example, I could easily say something like:
EnterAwesome is a stupid person. She said herself, in IRC, that she doesn't like to think. Look!
See?! She said it herself! She never really thought! Clearly someone who doesn't actually think about things before she does them shouldn't be in any position of power.
However, here's the actual conversation:
I'm pretty sure most of us have not taken the time to think about how to make their foot less appetizing (Just use a normal bathroom cleaner or a baby wipe; Cats and small children hate the taste).
One of the more simple ways to employ propaganda is the use of a 'Buzzword.' The basic idea is to say some phrase over and over again until the meaning of the word itself changes.
The reason this happens is a bit more complicated and involves semantic satiation, but the basic idea is that as you hear a word over and over again it starts to lose meaning. Once the meaning is lost, your brain tries to find a new meaning. Propaganda will say certain words over and over again in an effort to have you do the same while at the same time changing the meaning of those words so that you're more willing to say it.
This technique goes really well with name-calling, as changing the meaning of your opponent's name or adding some word to it is easier when you can just change the definition of the word you want to associate with it.
Ideas vs Actions
Since eRepublik is all about political candidates and the processes behind it, here's a way of measuring the merits of a candidate.
Look at everything the candidate says and put it into one of two categories: Ideas and Actions.
Ideas are abstract concepts that the candidate has in mind. Something like "Improve Recruitment" is an idea. You have to put additional thought into how it's going to happen, and it's the sign of a lazy candidate or one who hasn't thought about how he's going to actually achieve the goals he or she has set for themselves.
Actions are specific, concrete things the candidate is going to do when he gets to office. Examples of this include: 'Personally Message every new member of the party with encouragements and direct them towards our new player services' or 'Set up such-and-so-forth department and place this person in charge of it in order to do X, Y, and Z.' They have specificity and you don't actually have to think about how to do it because it's obvious. The candidate has already laid out their plan of action, now go vote for them so they can do it.
Show, don't tell.
Not Just Articles!
Make sure you check for propaganda in just about everything you read. Comments, especially.
What is this?You are reading an article written by a citizen of eRepublik, an immersive multiplayer strategy game based on real life countries. Create your own character and help your country achieve its glory while establishing yourself as a war hero, renowned publisher or finance guru.