With reverberations still echoing from the November 13 2015 attacks in Paris and officialdom's conclusion it was ISIS, I would like to say the following:
Be alert to the frame job, the setup, the fix. Anyone can yell "Allahu akbar!" But those who manufacture propaganda and guide public opinion have the masses trained to think "Allahu akbar" = "Evil Muslim."
When you find yourself reacting viscerally to something, check that you haven't merely swapped one discredited belief system (e.g. religion) for another (e.g. government).
Edward Bernays saw the writing on the wall at the beginning of the 20th century. People were believing in religion and government less, so he steered them to "experts."
In short, he got us to replace the priest robes with lab coats. And government apparatchiks loaded up government machinery with lab coats to back up their policies.
Some of Bernay's thoughts from his watershed book Propaganda :
Men (people) are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions.
In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits, and emotions.
Like its wartime prototype, the post-war propaganda drive was an immense success, as it persuaded not just businessmen but journalists and politicians that "the manufacture of consent" in Walter Lippmann's famous phrase, was a necessity throughout the public sphere.
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea of commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.
Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man's rubber stamps are duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.