284 | MP conclusion


"His overthrow heap'd blessedness upon him;
For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
And found the blessedness of being little."
Shakespeare's Griffith about Cardinal Wolsey.

1. The limitations of propaganda

In conclusion, we try to define the place of propaganda
in modern society, and to decide how deep it goes, and what
power it has to sway our minds, and to effect social change.

Animated by a kind of professional tribalism, most prof-
essions and occupations seem more weighty and important to
those who follow them than they really are. This inclination
to overestimate their importance in the scheme of things can
be observed in professions as wide apart as sailors, manual
workers, doctors, lawyers, clergymen, philosophers and
lyrical poets. We cannot thus be surprised to find that
propagandists rate themselves very highly. Sir Campbell
Stuart and Lord Northcliffe believed that propaganda had
decided the last war. For reasons of their own, Ludendorff
and his followers took up the same thesis which seemed to
exonerate the military leadership of the German army.

It is obvious, on the other hand that one cannot talk
people into anything. Any kind of propaganda is likely to
meet with insuperable resistance unless its public is pre-
disposed to it by material interests,[1] social conditions,
group tradition and mental make-up.

It is possible that the gullibility of the public has no
limits in questions which bear no direct relation to their