Information and propaganda

Origin: The structure of society requires explanation and justification. People need to know how the institutions of society function. This information is provided by the institutions themselves. Therefore it is usually biased in favour of these institutions. Information easily degenerates into propaganda.

Rationalisation of the structure of society: The hierarchy and social and economic inequality in society need to be justified and rationalised. The structure of society is described as being just. Sooner or later a form of overshoot occurs. Propaganda is used to praise the elites and blame the victims of society. Everything the authorities do is rationalised as being for the benefit of the people.

Just world theory: Most people like to believe that society is just. They deceive themselves that their leaders are just and fair. They will hold this authoritarian assumption, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. As long as people see their government as legitimate, no matter how appalling it may appear to outsiders, they will put up with its excesses and follow its orders. Most people do not want to admit they do not have the courage to do anything about it. Propaganda in general is not designed to fool people that want to know the truth. It is a form of manipulation designed to give people an excuse for self-deception. Propaganda encourages and allows people to not think at all.

Explanation and interpretation of events: Propaganda gives explanations and interpretations of events. These are the explanations that are mainstream and approved by the authorities. The information is often biased. The actions of the elites are justified and rationalised, while the actions of critics, enemies and others are denounced.

Facade of legitimacy: Propaganda is used to give the structure of society legitimacy. The corruption and incompetence of the elites remains hidden through silence, secrecy and scapegoating. Propaganda rationalises and justifies the actions of the elite. It is a confidence trick. The opinions and statements of people in a position of power are considered more important, than those of people that criticise the status quo. People in a position of power are given the benefit of the doubt. They are always portrayed as benevolent and respectable people. Propaganda provides the masks that hides their true motives.

Exploitation and information asymmetry: People in society do not have the time to study and understand how society works in detail. The specialists on a topic do know all the details. They have insider information. Hence the elites and their propagandist have an information advantage. This inequality in access to information and knowledge will eventually be exploited and abused.