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A controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays (1891-1995), nephew of Sigmund Freud, used his uncle’s ideas to pioneer the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed the “engineering of consent”.
Bernays was an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for corporate manipulation of the population. His 1928 bombshell ‘Propaganda’ lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education. To read this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regards to organized manipulation of the masses.
“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 unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” – Edward Bernays, Propaganda