Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Propaganda appreciation

Political propaganda is a particularly dangerous form of advertising. Normal advertising makes you buy silly stuff and get in debt. Political propaganda gets you to vote for really stupid ideas and mess up the whole country.

I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to write something for elementary school age children about "propaganda appreciation". Just as in art appreciation you learn the tricks and techniques of art, in propaganda appreciation the kids will learn the tricks and techniques of propaganda. That might help immunize them against it in the future.

I'd like to keep this project politically agnostic. I don't want to lose potential users only because their parents have silly political ideas. Kids whose parents have silly political ideas are precisely those who most need such a program.

What I'm planning to do is take some old propaganda, from governments that everybody agrees had the wrong idea: The USSR and Nazi Germany.

Kids can watch this kind of video, and answer guiding questions to realize how the video tried to get them to accept certain ideas. Hopefully, they'll be able to transfer this to modern life.

Do you think this is a viable idea?


  1. I think it's a great idea. It would need to be done very carefully, though, with input (if you can get it) from all political sides.

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  3. Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion by Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson gives a good overview of some of the techniques used. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSUASION by Robert B. Cialdini is a good read.