This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Parties as the collusion between State and Individual

The three groups that are today dependent on propaganda for their well-being are therefore the citizen, the state, and the corporation. Before moving on, however, we have to understand that although reflex has taught us that this sets them at odds with one another, in the end we find that they often cooperate in the endeavor. No better example of this collusion for the purposes of “reciprocal propagandizing” can be found than the political party.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that political parties were an “addiction.” He called them “the last degradation of a free and moral agent,” stating further in his letters that, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”

Unfortunately, today we take them as a given, and even as a public good, and party loyalties are so ingrained that a man will often disdain his family or his religion before he will call into question the infallibility of his party. How can we explain this fanaticism for parties which the Founding Fathers despised? The answer lies in propaganda and the thirst for what it provides.

By their fruits you shall know them. What are the fruits of political parties? They provide answers, “platforms,” slogans, easily comprehensible and even “common sense” paradigms for the most difficult of social problems. They are educational bodies that condense history, current events, and the loftiest of philosophical problems into clichés. Needless to say, the truth rarely survives the operation, but the individual finds comfort. To return again to Ellul:

“This is the great role propaganda must perform. It must give the people the feeling–which they crave and which satisfies them–‘to have wanted what the government is doing, to be responsible for its actions, to be involved in defending them and making them succeed, to be ‘with it.’”

If we turn now to the problems faced by the individual as a voter, however, we find that the political party is the answer to his prayers. It soothes his feeling of ignorance by teaching him all the answers to the problems of the day, whether or not he knows anything about them in reality. The party provides him with a leader that he can trust, even though he can never know him personally. The party gives him the sense of belonging, and this satisfies him most of all. It seems to escape his awareness completely that he had absolutely nothing to do with the selection of the leader or the formulation of the platform and cannot understand any of the legislation that will result from his vote.

But all these will be elaborated upon as we proceed. For now we need only acknowledge that party fanaticism is the collaboration between the state, which must have an instrument with which to propagandize, and the individual, which must have an instrument with which to propagandize itself.

Corporations participate also by injecting money, which is the lifeblood of all modern politics. This is the collusion between state and business. President Herbert Hoover can here act as our witness, as we cite the words he spoke to a group of public relations men:

“You have taken over the job of creating desire and have transformed people into constantly moving happiness machines. Machines which have become the key to economic progress.”

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