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Sunday, February 25, 2024

You can achieve everything with propaganda – including power

By: Dr Vinko Gorenak

The dictionary of the Slovenian literary language is clear, for the word “propaganda” it says that this is:

  1. “Planned dissemination, explanation of political, ideological ideas with the aim of realising them…”.
  2. “Deliberate concealment, falsification of something with the aim of political, ideological influence…”.
  3. “Publicly pointing out something, usually by citing good qualities, with the aim of gaining customers, visitors…”.

A somewhat unusual introduction to this paper, but I believe that such an introduction is necessary. Of course, in this paper I do not intend to deal with classic propaganda, more precisely with advertisements that convince us that exactly this and that sausage is the best, that exactly this and that phone or any other product is the best, I intend to deal with the so-called “political propaganda”, which in one way or another significantly affects our lives, especially in terms of all kinds of elections and their results.

It seems to me that not much has changed in this area in the last century or so, but if something has changed, it is very little. Let’s go to the third decade of the last century. Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany at that time through elections. For a good ten years and more, he was a very popular ruler in Germany, to whom the Germans bowed. But why? One answer is that he had good political propaganda. The Germans at that time, especially in the first part of his period, saw him as a divinity on earth. But the truth, of course, is completely different.

Let’s go to our near future and actually the same conditions. Tito also came to power through some kind of election. Let’s leave aside the fact that the others were not even allowed to run. But for a whole 35 years and maybe an additional 10 years, he was considered a deity, which only the then residents of Yugoslavia were entitled to. Let’s remember the crowds who wept hysterically at his death. Why was this possible? Because of propaganda. The media of all kinds convinced us daily that the deity was on earth, but they did not tell us anything about his especially post-war crimes. We had no idea what this party parliamentarism was. Propaganda made us believe that we live in the best country in the world.

If we come to the present time, when the whole of Europe clearly knows that Russia invaded Ukraine with its army, the Russians overwhelmingly support Putin. They are convinced that it is not an attack by Russia on Ukraine, but that there is some kind of special operation with which they are protecting Russia itself. How is this possible? The answer, of course, lies in propaganda. All the media and other important people, they are called “oligarchs”, of course support Putin and the special operation, but no one talks about Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

In Slovenia, we do not have Hitler, Tito, Putin, or anyone else like that, so a comparison is not entirely possible, but there are some parallels, which is actually even worse from the point of view of modern media and means of communication. In Slovenia, we get a new God every four years. Let me remind you of Jankovič 2011, Cerar 2014, Šarec 2018, and last but not least Golob 2022. Propaganda is the right answer to the question of why this is happening to us. Given the fact that 90 percent or more of the media is on the side of the left political option and the fact that some non-governmental organisations have recently joined the same side, it is clear that we now have the most powerful God, whose name is Golob. Despite the fact that he has done practically nothing useful so far, the people applaud him, and the polls skyrocket his popularity.

When I talk to simple people in my environment, they often ask me how this is possible, most of them swear that they did not vote for him. We cannot question the legitimacy of the elections, but we can ask ourselves how it is possible that propaganda in the modern age of means of communication, and at a time when we still have a small number of media that is not in favour of the left political pole, achieves such results with its propaganda. A better question would be how it is possible that every four years some anonymous person misleads the majority of people so badly with propaganda.

Dr Vinko Gorenak is a former state secretary in the PV cabinet, a former parliament member and minister of the interior, a university professor, and a member of the SDS.

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