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Tag: Propaganda

Was Soylent Green Population Reduction Propaganda?

For those who are not privy to nerdy, futuristic dystopian science fiction movies, Soylent Green is a classic. By today’s standards, it’s an awful movie (maybe even by that day’s standards as well). It’s pretty bad. Regardless, the plot is of particular interest here.

Released in 1973, the movie portrays a time in the future, specifically the year 2022, when the population of New York City (one slice of the world’s total population at the time) has exploded to a massive 40,000,000 people. Resources are scarce (especially food), poverty is rampant, streets are crowded, and all power has been consolidated into the hands of the government to control the masses of people who are out of control. Because of the lack of food, a company used by the government, Soylent Corporation, produces high-energy ration wafers that the people can consume for nutrition. There is Soylent Red, Soylent Yellow and a new product, Soylent Green. Long story short (here’s a spoiler), Soylent Green turns out to be processed dead people. It’s a sort of secret, government-sponsored recycling program. Yeah gross.

Aldous Huxley on Propaganda in Democratic Societies

Excerpt from Brave New World: Revisited (1958), Chapter 4

I cannot exhaust the various sectors of our society these words apply. Huxley was prescient in his outlook.

“There are two kinds of propaganda — rational propa­ganda in favor of action that is consonant with the enlightened self-interest of those who make it and those to whom it is addressed, and non-rational propa­ganda that is not consonant with anybody’s enlight­ened self-interest, but is dictated by, and appeals to, passion. Where the actions of individuals are con­cerned there are motives more exalted than enlight­ened self-interest, but where collective action has to be taken in the fields of politics and economics, enlight­ened self-interest is probably the highest of effective motives. If politicians and their constituents always acted to promote their own or their country’s long-range self-interest, this world would be an earthly paradise. As it is, they often act against their own inter­ests, merely to gratify their least creditable passions; the world, in consequence, is a place of misery. Propa­ganda in favor of action that is consonant with en­lightened self-interest appeals to reason by means of logical arguments based upon the best available evi­dence fully and honestly set forth. Propaganda in fa­vor of action dictated by the impulses that are below self-interest offers false, garbled or incomplete evi­dence, avoids logical argument and seeks to influence its victims by the mere repetition of catchwords, by the furious denunciation of foreign or domestic scape­goats, and by cunningly associating the lowest pas­sions with the highest ideals, so that atrocities come to be perpetrated in the name of God and the most cyni­cal kind of Realpolitik is treated as a matter of reli­gious principle and patriotic duty.”

It’s Too Bad This Didn’t Get More Press

UPDATE: Series of blog posts from Patrick Courrielche over at BigHollywood:

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