Soviet Propaganda

The problem with Soviet propaganda, by the way, wasn’t that it communicated things that were factually untrue. The Argentinean Junta was, indeed, horrible. Pinochet was a murderous dictator. Apartheid was immoral and inexcusable. Guatemalan children were suffering during the Civil War. Nobody was there in the “truth is lies” mode, telling us the war with Oceania never happened.

The problem was not with the content but with the manner of delivery.

The incessant shrill drumming on and on, in every context, of the identical formulaic statements, the insistence that everybody reproduce these statements verbatim, the humiliating call-outs for the slightest departures in vocabulary usage – all of this robbed people of dignity and self-respect.

Working out is definitely good for your health but if you are forced to interrupt your work, get up and start doing sit-ups on cue because it’s mandated by the authorities (like happened in the USSR), exercise acquires a different meaning. If somebody had the power of telling you to sit down and then get up, and you had to obey, how would that change you? It’s clearly not the actual sit-ups that would do the damage, right?

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