Todd’s Note: This article is inspired by The Liberty Seed presentation and the book Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer.
“It reminded us that propaganda in some form or other lurks in every book, that every work of art has a meaning and a purpose — a political, social and religious purpose — that our aesthetic judgments are always coloured by our prejudices and beliefs” ― George Orwell
We are constantly inundated with messages. Purposed concoctions, visually and/or audibly appealing, these messages promote an agenda. An agenda that someone else wants to impart to us. An agenda that wants us to think that our feelings, ideas or calls to action was something we came up with ourselves. For those of us who consider ourselves aware and enlightened, we take pride that we might be above the weak minded who are easily swayed. But are we? We easily point out the propaganda that comes from the other side, but embrace and accept as gospel the propaganda views that comes from our side. How do we manage the message, even when we see it woven into the fabric of the founding of our great nation?
When the colonist refused excessive taxes, known by the British as the Townsend Act, but known by the colonist as the Intolerable Act, England did what every other country does, enforced their rule by the barrel of a gun. On September 30, 1768, the British arrived in Boston’s Harbor. Citizens watched in anger as each vessel prepared for military action and aimed their cannon’s on the town.
“Paul Revere watched with mounting anger as two regiments of Regulars landed on Long Wharf with weapons loaded, and marched into the heart of his community. Afterward he went back to his shop, got out a sheet of copper, and made an engraving of that ‘insolent parade,’ as he called it.” …
…”It represents the landing of the Regulars with loaded weapons, while ships of the Royal Navy trained their guns on the town. He wished to portray a tyrannical government in the act making war upon its own people. The town of Boston, with its many exaggerated steeples and wharves is meant to appear pious, industrious and entirely innocent.”
To view the “Insolent Parade” click here!
The landing of the Regulars didn’t help to quell the colonist, in fact, things got worse! Aggression and tempers flared on both sides. But one winter evening, March 5, 1770, British Regulars fired on their tormentors. The result left five citizens dead. Paul Revere once again engraved a drawing by Henry Pelham. The drawing was called “Fruits of Arbitrary Power” or “The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street.” According to Hackett, “The print helped to create an image of British tyranny and American innocence that still shapes our memory of the event.”
To view the print of “The Bloody Massacre” click here.
After the Boston Massacre, Revere re-released the engraving of the insolent parade once again. These images, not as abundant as in our time, helped to keep the unfavorable views of excessive taxes and a tyrannical government in the front of the citizenry of Boston and New England.
Another incident that was memorialized in pictures was surrounded around an incident involving a boy named Christopher Seider. To enforce the taxes of the Townsend Act/Intolerable Acts, British ministers used custom officers. These modern day tax collectors were not liked by Bostonians to the point that at times, The Sons of Liberty would come out in disguise to intimidate them. One night in 1770, a frightened custom’s officer fired into a mob gathered in front of his house killing the boy.
The town turned the boy into a martyr and one year later, on the anniversary of his death, gathered in a silent demonstration at the home of Paul Revere. Hackett writes, “Every window in his house showed a brightly lighted scene – on one side the Boston Massacre; on the other, the ghost of the murdered boy; in the center an allegorical female figure of America with a liberty cap on her head, grinding a British grenadier beneath her heal.”
Many modern day Patriots will dismiss the current political system while holding to the sacredness of the founding of our nation. But even our founders used propaganda to their advantage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they did. I’m glad I’m not a citizen of the Royal Crown. But the point is that everyone uses propaganda to their advantage.
I know I might be speaking sacrilege here. But part of being aware is remaining critical AND open to all information that comes our way. We should let “the message” run through a fine tooth comb and sift through each piece, digging deeper than what the surface message might seem to be. Are we to be a little paranoid? At this point of our history, does anything surprise you?
So should you go off-grid, run for the hills and free yourself of all information? Should you relegate yourself to only listening, watching a few “trusted” media outlets? Should you become a news junkie and take in every piece of information from every outlet everywhere? Don’t expect me to tell you. You’re free to do whatever you want!
In conclusion, I offer some propaganda, I mean pieces of advice:
Know what you believe and why - Modern society doesn’t usually value lives of reflection and introspection. Just realize that every thought and idea you have is a result of your past. Your upbringing, the circles you run in, your religion, the books and media you partake of, all play a role in what you believe, how you respond and what is important. When it is time to make important decisions for yourself and your family, you don’t want to be the pawn of someone’s agenda. You want your views and your decisions to be your own. Live your life from a place of confidence in your beliefs!
Question everything – A small child who continually asks you “why” can be very annoying. The reason it can be annoying is because you have to come up with answers. You have to rationalize and explain the “why.” This childhood annoyance is really very helpful when we choose not to be mindless robots in the war for our mind. Asking why forces you to answer questions and not just sweep what you are seeing and hearing under the rug. The propagandist doesn’t want you to ask why. They just want you to accept what they are saying blindly. When someone is not giving real answers, it’s time to take a step back.
“But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.” – Adolf Hitler
Dig Deeper – There is always a true reason behind an issue. But many times we only see what others want us to see. The propagandist hopes that they are only dealing with sheeple who have more important things to fill their minds with, like American Idol or what someone they once knew in biology class had for dinner last night. This requires more questions, but you should ask, what does this person have to gain from promoting their view or idea? Where is this person coming from? What has this person been involved with or in the past?
I recently was contacted by a CNBC reporter for a quick phone interview. He wanted to ask questions in regards to a now defunct prepper community. When the mainstream media comes knocking, I immediately put up my defenses. Not wanting to miss out on the exposure (my agenda), I looked up the reporter and some of his past news pieces. I was surprised to read an article on how gun manufactures were dealing with the boost in sales and where the newest consumers were coming from. It wasn’t a “hit piece” or a “gun grab” article. I felt a little bit more secure that this reporter was going to just report the facts, and he did.
Have Faith – The road that we travel can feel lonely sometimes. Not wanting to be branded a conspiracy nut job or unpatriotic, we at times keep to ourselves. You have to know that there are others who feel the way you do and seek the truth. There are many online forums and communities, each with their own niche, where you will feel welcomed. You just have to find the right one for you.
“Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.” – Abraham Lincoln
This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.
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