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Jason Stanley (born 1969) is an American philosopher, currently Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University.
How Propaganda Works (2015)
- Published by Princeton University Press
- The most basic problem for democracy raided by propaganda is the possibility that the vocabulary of liberal democracy is used to mask an undemocratic reality. If so, there could be a state that appeared to be a liberal democracy. It would be a state the citizens of which believed was a liberal democracy. But the appearance of liberal democracy would be merely the outer trappings of an illiberal, undemocratic reality.
- p. 11
- Allegiance to the group identity forged by political party affiliation renders Americans blind to the essential similarities between the agendas of the two parties, similarities that can be expected to be exactly the ones that run counter to public interest, in other words, those interests of the deep-pocketed backers of elections to which any politician must be subservient in order to raise the kind of money necessary to run for national office.
- p. 20
- The massive state bailout of financial institutions, leading to immense public debt, was followed by a demand by those very same financial institutions that were bailed out by those states for the states to pay down their debt.
- p. 25
- The nature of liberal democracy prevents propagandistic statements from being banned, since among the liberties it permits is the freedom of speech. But since humans have characteristic rational weaknesses and are susceptible to flattery and manipulation, allowing propaganda has a high likelihood of leading to tyranny, and hence to the end of liberal democracy.
- p. 27
- In the previous chapters, I laid out the concept of ideology I favor. Using Max Weber, I argued that elites in civil society invariably acquire a flawed ideology to explain their possession of an unjust amount of the goods of society. The purpose of the flawed ideology is to provide an apparently factual (in the best case, apparently scientific) justification for the otherwise manifestly unjust distribution of society’s goods. I then argued that, as a mechanism of social control, the elite seek to instill the ideology in the negatively privileged groups. By this route, the negatively privileged groups acquire the beliefs that justify the very structural features of their society that cause their oppression. I then laid out some very general psychological and epistemological facts that make it plausible that such efforts will be successful.
- p. 269
Quotes about Stanley
- He examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy — particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality — and how it has damaged democracies of the past... Stanley provides a historically grounded introduction to democratic political theory as a window into the misuse of democratic vocabulary for propaganda's selfish purposes. He lays out historical examples, such as the restructuring of the US public school system at the turn of the twentieth century, to explore how the language of democracy is... used to mask an undemocratic reality.
- Princeton University Press comments on How Propaganda Works (2015)