"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
"Bernays' honest and practical manual provides much insight into some of the most powerful and influential institutions of contemporary industrial state capitalist democracies." - Noam Chomsky
A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays, pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed "engineering of consent." During World War I, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda apparatus that was mobilized to package, advertise and sell the war to the American people as one that would "Make the World Safe for Democracy." The CPI would become the blueprint in which marketing strategies for future wars would be based upon.
Bernays applied the techniques he had learned in the CPI and, incorporating some of the ideas of Walter Lipmann, became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for democratic and 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.
Edward Louis Bernays (November 22, 1891 – March 9, 1995) nephew of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, was considered the father of the field of public relations. Combining the ideas of Gustave LeBon and Wilfred Trotter on Crowd psychology with the Psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, Bernays was one of the first to attempt to manipulate public opinion using the psychology of the subconscious.
He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the 'herd instinct' that Trotter had described.
Sources: Wikipedia, Amazon