I met with some friends on the afternoon of Monday, 27 February, for a discussion of propaganda. We had all read or at least browsed the same book, Stanley, Jason. How propaganda works. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2015. The author is a professor of the philosophy of language, epistemology, action theory, and early analytic philosophy. If that sounds to you like a terrific background for understanding propaganda then you might find much interest in the book; I for the most part didn’t.
The author’s problem is that he is much too self-consciously the academic philosopher to make his case clearly and straightforwardly. I studied a fair amount of philosophy but my teachers had turned away from the over-elaborated, obscure style Stanley favors.
His faults not to the contrary, however, Stanley does make some good points on issues that are of even greater importance today than they were when he wrote (which must have been no later than 2014). I’ll take up some of them and their implications in later posts.
And some of what I say will tie into “The Man in the High Castle.”