Are We Being ‘Engineered’?

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“You are getting sleepy, sleepy…. sleepy…”

Here’s an essay (later a book) that I’d never heard of till today: The Engineering of Consent by Edward Bernays ( It was published as an essay in 1947, expanded into a book in 1955, and its author has been credited with founding the public relations industry.

He’s also been credited with being the source of the notion that our society can be controlled by experts and elites using “scientific principles” to get people to support ideas and programs and buy stuff. Sort of hypnotizing the public. Big Brother as Svengali.

Why did anyone listen to Bernays? Well, in 1928 he created a highly successful campaign to win society’s approval of women smoking. Prior to that, women smoked, but it was looked down upon as rather too raffish for good taste. Bernays’ public relations campaign mainstreamed it. (Gee, Lord Peter Wimsey was involved in just such a campaign in Murder Must Advertise. As an advertising professional, author Dorothy L. Sayers was surely familiar with Bernays’ campaign: betcha anything it served her as a model).

Can “they” really “engineer” our consent? Certainly they think they can. Heck, obviously they think they can! Watch them get you to try to love the quarantine. Watch them try to get you to blame it on Trump. Look at the PR campaigns for “gay marriage” and “transgender.” They’ve been busy, busy, busy!

But who are “they”?

I don’t think I really need to tell you, do I?

9 comments on “Are We Being ‘Engineered’?

  1. Absolutely, this is what is happening. Unless you have a solid Book of Truth to stand on, it is pretty easy, apparently.

  2. Bernays was, IIRC, Freud’s nephew. He pretty much invented Public Relations and came up with techniques for manipulating public opinion, such as his campaign to make smoking a socially acceptable activity for women. (I wonder if all of the women that died from lung cancer as a result of his efforts appreciated that he hastened their deaths.) There is a series of videos called The Century of Self, which goes into great depth on the subject of Bernays and his work. Basically, he was a propagandist.

    Modern communications have been used to “form” public opinion in all sorts of ways. With WW II shaping up, the diamond merchants realized that they would have to find a new market for their wares, so they targeted the US, giving diamond engagement rings to famous people as a from of product placement. Newspapers covered celebrity engagements and young women in middle class America began to expect that they be given a diamond ring when their boyfriend proposed marriage. Somewhere along the way, it was decided that this ring should cost two month’s of the groom-to-be’s salary, although these days, they are pushing the notion of three months salary.

    Now, where did that rule come from? The diamond industry; which has succeeded for years in charging high prices for a type of stone that is not actually rare and has managed to convince young women that diamonds are the “gift of love” and now, young couples starting out, are expected to sacrifice 2-3 months earnings for a ring that has zero utility and can be resold for a fraction of the purchase cost. I personally know a mature woman that will get angry to the point of raging, over the fact that her late husband never gave her an engagement ring.

    If someone wanted to convince their beloved that they were truly loved, wouldn’t spending that money on the down payment for a home make a lot more sense? I don’t know if Bernays was involved in the diamond business’ shenanigans, but it’s about his speed.

    Such “engineering of consent” has sewn the wind and will reap the whirlwind. We already have several generations that have a sense of entitlement that goes being imagination.

  3. I wrote a little essay on Bernays in school. The reason why we eat ham and eggs for breakfast today is also because of Bernays. It’s really amazing and frightening how easily it is to manipulate the masses.

  4. Of course people can be influenced by what they see and hear. That is why so much money is spent on advertising (ever wonder how Geico makes a profit when spending so much money on ads?). The laws allow businesses to write off money spent on advertising – now that’s a law that should be changed. Just think of how many Leftist newspapers, magazines, and TV cables would go out of business by just changing that one law.

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