9. Bernays 196
Chapter Nine Edward Bernays The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this un- seen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind…1 —Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda (1928) Edward L. Bernays (1891–1995) was a hard determinist who understood that the human mind could be trained with stimuli that, over a period of time, would elicit a desired response. However, one could look beneath the surface of this philosophy and argue that perhaps his lifetime corpus suggests that we do indeed have free will, both individually and collectively, and that humans, driven by private interest, are eager to employ whatever tactics they can to coax each other into making choices from which they would benefit. If the rich and powerful did not deem that we have free will, they would not invest bil- lions of dollars in techniques to influence our choices. If they have the ability...
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