Total Propaganda: From Mass Culture to Popular Culture

By Alex S. Edelstein | Go to book overview

1
TOTALPROP From Mass Culture to Popular Culture, The Old Propaganda and the New

To those of us who were weaned on mass propaganda, this book asks a great deal. Those who remember World War II know that because of ignorance and passivity we almost succumbed to the mass propagandas of hate and totalitarianism. Although we are in a new era, homegrown varieties of these oldpropagandascontinue to be exploited by radical social and political movements, making more difficult the transition from a mass to a popular culture.

The most radical of these old propagandas is willing to shut down the federal government, put an end to federal protections of the rights and welfare of the individual, impose religious beliefs and teachings on public education, desert the environment, ban abortion, assert Aryan supremacy, and permit the autonomy of armed militias. Marked by incidents such as the shoot-out at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, the firestorm at Waco, Texas, the bombing of Oklahoma City, and the armed resistance of "Freemen" in Montana, these old propagandas of the deed flow from a self-indulgent sense of anger and alienation. Foremost among the beliefs of the militia groups is that Blacks and Jews should be excluded from the popular culture, an old propaganda of exclusion once practiced by totalitarian governments.1

There are an estimated 12,000 members of these militant groups. The danger has grown to the point where it has infected the armed forces, bringing an investigation as to its extent and meaning. Research by private organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles forced 1996 Republican

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