Propaganda has been the staple method of influencing people in both politics and religion for a very long time. However, few have sufficient grasp of the topic to avoid it's seduction to act as the promoters of propaganda desire.
Fortunately, this method of influencing people has been a major topic of study by one organization dedicated to instructing the public for their own protection: Institute for Propaganda Analysis (IPA — 1937 to 1942). This institute was formed during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who served a president of the United States for 12 years, from 1933 to 1945. The institute was formed to inform Americans about the methods used by their government leaders to fundamentally change America from a land of freedom toward a more socialistic form of government. It was due to his destructive policies and abuse of power during his 12 year reign that term limits were enacted by congress and added to the US Constitution as Amendment XXII.
The IPA's basic goal was to promote critical thought among citizens. From their publication The Fine Art of Propaganda,:
"It is essential in a democratic society that young people and adults learn how to think, learn how to make up their minds. … So far as individuals are concerned, the art of democracy is the art of thinking and discussing independently together."
A more well know offspring of their work is an adaption from their work called "How To Detect Propaganda" (click title for downoad). This document boils the complex topic of propaganda and influence to a simple list of only seven types:
1. Name Calling,
2. Glittering Generalities
4. The Testimonial
5. Plain Folks
6. Card Stacking
7. Band wagon
In subsequent articles this blog will demonstrate how each has been used in both the 2016 election season and in popular Christian religion.