For most people reading this, however, it doesn’t feel like Chinese or Russian propaganda, simply because it’s the one type of propaganda that they grew up with.
I’ve had my fair share of state propaganda funneled into my brain, first in Hungary and later, in Israel. Both countries’ state narratives are guided by their respective military and diplomatic goals, and the only thing that guarded me while growing up in these countries was my upbringing – in other words, my parents made sure that I didn’t accept everything state media or politicians said. This had its own downside, but it also helped me to not become like many of my friends in Israel especially, many of whom took what they heard on the news about war and the state and let it control their thoughts and ideas.
State propaganda is present in every country, but in Europe and North America, we are taught only about the Eastern versions, those present in China or Russia. Sitting in our living rooms, we can’t imagine living in a dictatorship like the countries mentioned above while living in a very comparable situation to those living in them.
The ‘freedoms’ we have in ‘‘the West’’, like the freedom of expression, are heavily contrasted by severe limitations. For example, we must sell the fruits of our own labor to our employers who live in gorgeous penthouses in the sky, or villas in the Mediterranean.
We live in so-called democracies, that somehow always leave everyone subjected to it unsatisfied, and more crucially, we live in the back of the vehicle of our workplaces driven by a handful of individuals, mostly men named John, who never shared the experience of an average worker.
In the US for example, a large majority of the population lives paycheck to paycheck and is able to afford only what is necessary for survival. This would be a more than sufficient cause for revolution, but instead, the most deprived Americans brag about living in the best country in the world.
Is that not a result of propaganda? Of Manifest Destiny? Of ‘picking yourself up by the bootstrap’?
I can give a more personal example as well. Seeing my Israeli classmates not only accepting but embracing being a part of an oppressive collective, namely the IDF, is more than disheartening. But nor I, nor anyone else should be surprised. This type of military-focused narrative is what proves that Western propaganda is now spreading to the Middle East too. But why should we be surprised when Israel is the US’ best friend?
Of course, the most obvious case of Western propaganda was (is) the Red Scare. An inherent threat of communism. Communism, which in essence means cooperative living, a democratic workplace, and equality. Why would the US propagate against this? Isn’t it supposed to be the freest nation of them all? If so, how could a free nation be afraid of economic equality between its citizens?
Not only is it afraid, but it is horrified of a labor movement that could finally lead to some sort of progress in the right direction.
As per Western propaganda, someone living in Russia or China, for example, is significantly worse off than someone living in the US. But in reality, they simply oppress their respective peoples in different ways.
The three are all military superpowers who have only their varying interests in front of them. Citizens are only a mere tool to help the countries compete against each other in various fields, like their GDP or military.
Western propaganda is real. At its core, its soul, white supremacy and capitalism are what guide US American propaganda, which in turn guides its Western counterpart.