Methods: Create uncertainty about the facts

Uncertainty: In general, propaganda is not used to debunk evidence. It is used to establish doubt and uncertainty about the facts. Without clear facts the population loses the capacity to think, to judge and to act. People will always give the authorities the benefit of the doubt. A minor confusion about the facts is enough to keep the people passive. Moreover, the resulting confusion, uncertainty and ignorance makes it easy to manipulate people.

Opaqueness: Governments like to hide behind a veil of secrecy. They do not like transparancy. They obscure the reasons for their actions with propaganda. If one pursues these strategies long enough and consistently enough, one build oneself a thought collective groupthink on a national level. Within the thought collective self-deception and rationalization become high arts. Soon both the leaders and the followers no longer notice the underlying hypocrisy.

Data manipulation: The elites like to be seen as competent. Hence they manipulate data and statistics for the sake of appearances. It is a form of public relations or perception management. The manipulated data distort and corrupt the view of reality. Reality is turned into a hall of mirrors. In the end nobody knows anymore what is real.

Open secret or the big lie: The authorities always appear respectable. Therefore it is painful to accuse them of lying. The ideology provides a facade of legitimacy to everything they do. It allows the elites to openly lie without running the risk of ever being accused of lying. Slowly these lies accumulate. It results in a society where the ideology has become a total lie. A lie that is so big and so obvious that people cannot imagine that it is a lie. Then mentioning of the real problems of society has become taboo, because it makes one look like a traitor. A conspiracy of silence surrounds these problems. Only minor symptoms can be discussed. However, the big lie is also an open secret for all to see. People are raised and educated in such a way, that they have a lot of trust in the authorities. The authorities are idolised. People see the authorities as their parents. Hence it is difficult to believe that the authorities can be devious and evil. Cognitive dissonance will make it almost impossible to become aware of giant and systemic crimes committed by authority figures. It means that every social institution has become corrupted. The situation resembles that of the fairytale about the emperor without clothes.

Disinformation: Disinformation is the spreading of intentionally misleading information. It often contains errors of omission and exaggeration. If something is repeated often enough, most people will believe it. Especially, if influentual or famous people say that it is true. Thus ensuring that the truth remains (forever) hidden.

Omission: Certain things are not mentioned in the media. If there is a protest, but the media do not record it, then there has not really been a protest. Such omissions make a true understanding of reality impossible.

Spin: The enhanced sophistication of spin techniques use public relations to fabricate virtual realities that do not conform to actual realities. Positive spin favouring the elites and negative spin on everything criticising the status quo. A distracted, uninformed public makes it possible. So too does the degeneration of public discourse that weakens the element of accountability to the vanishing point.

Framing: Framing describes how one applies preexisting schemas of interpretation or frames to any new information one encounters. Usually, one gets some extreme point of view into the mainstream media and then it becomes part of the conventional wisdom that everybody believes. It is a form of changing the context of a view point. A subtle form of manipulation and propaganda. It replaces something real with a stereotype.

Creating an enemy: By creating an outside enemy, group cohesion is increased. Moreover, an outside enemy justifies state secrecy, restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of protest, spying on citizens, excessive war spending, and a top-down political system with hardliners in charge. The best enemies are those that are violent and completely unreasonable, e.g. fanatical religious terrorists. Then everything goes.

Provocation or false flag operation: Blaming an enemy for some action, often of a violent nature, that in reality has been done by government provocateurs. This can give the government an excuse to start a war with a foreign enemy or to crack down hard on an internal enemy. This is an easy way to justify as necessary violence that is used by the government. It is an extreme form of scapegoating and blaming the victim.

War: The population only supports just wars. Hence every war is against enemies that are described as evil and unreasonable. Mostly wars are justified by aggression (mostly unjustly) blamed on the enemy. The people are victims of heinous, frightening violence by the enemy. It is essential that the people remain unaware of the true motives of the enemy. The enemy is depicted as a truely evil other. The government only fights to keep the people safe. The war is explained as being necessary for self-defense. It is never explained as being an act of aggression. Protestors are denounced as cowards or traitors that expose the country to danger. In general, wars are the extreme result of scapegoating.

Demagogues: Demagogues gain power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people. Simple and attractive lies spoken at high volume drive accurate analysis off-stage. People will ignore the long, complex, softly worded replies by experts. They make full use of fake economic theories, false history and other bogus theories. It leads to victory in politics, but in the end it destroys society. This is Gresham's law in politics. Using propaganda and blaming scapegoats keeps most of society unaware of the truth. This strategy is even more effective in times, when society is complex and when no simple, attractive and easy solutions are available. In particular, at the end of the conservation phase in the panarchy.

Cosmetic reforms: Once institutions are at the end of the conservation stage in their lifecycle, true systemic refomation is impossible. A real transformation would require their constituencies to lose income, power and other privileges. Real reform is rendered impossible, because every part of the institution will use all of its resources for self-preservation. So fake reforms and illusionary change are presented as if they were real reforms. A flood of propaganda, bogus statistical proof of results, other distractions and all the phony reforms are a smokescreen of bureaucratic self-preservation. Lots of posturing, but little real reform. In essence, this solves a serious problem by hiding it from view.

Hiding structural injustices and systemic corruption: Once an injustice or corruption becomes visible, the authorities always promise changes to solve the problem. The first thing they do is claiming that it is an incident. It is dismissed as being an isolated aberration. Once a serious scandal erupts, the authorities vow changes to fix the system and to ensure these problems never happen again. The authorities have more to lose from change than to gain from it. Hence they then set out, with their actions, to do exactly the opposite. They act to make the system prettier and more politically palatable with empty, cosmetic reforms. Usually this is enough to placate public anger, while leaving the system fundamentally unchanged, even more immune than before to serious challenge. This works usually very well, because most people in society have an authoritarian personality. It is a form of confidence building. Proclaiming that the system changes, while in fact the status quo perpetuates. It is a form of manipulation. People love the illusion.

Scapegoating: By blaming problems and failures on scapegoats, one implies that society itself is fine. Scapegoating is an easy way to hide elite failures, structural problems and social injustices.