Other posts related to influencing-others

 | August 4, 2010 4:11 pm

Slaves Packed Below DecksIn hindsight, it is easy to believe that great events had an inevitably about them.  After all, it was destined that slavery would be abolished, Germany would lose to the allies during World War II and that Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Struggle would win equal rights for all Americans.  After all, slavery was wrong, Hitler was evil, and deep-seated racism was destroying the social fabric of America.  Right?

Wrong.

Such historical determinism ignores the significant struggles required to convince a community that a particular practice is wrong and then drive them to do something about it.  If the allies had done nothing about Hitler, or if Martin Luther King hadn’t spoken, organize and marched; modern society would look quite different from the way it does now.

Which all underscores the fact that propaganda has gotten a bum rap, as of late.  As seen in the case of the abolitionists, the struggle against Nazism and the Civil Rights Cause, propaganda is a necessary form of communication.  It’s one of the most effective tools for influencing the attitude of a community over time.

In fact, propaganda is little more than communications tool and is hardly nefarious.  (Though it can certainly be abused, just as statistical/scientific reporting can also be used to confuse and mislead.)  A good piece of propaganda tells a story in an effective manner or presents information within an appropriate context.  The difference between propaganda and impartial reporting is that propaganda uses arguments, evidence, pleas to emotion and opinion to influence an audience.

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