‘Good PR, Bad PR’ (“The Engineering of Consent”)

Edward Bernays, Father of Public Relations and Propaganda

He has a lot to answer for

We see Edward Bernays’ legacy–that is, the theory and practice of public relations–all around us in technicolor, these days. Democrats, the nooze media, Hollywood, and celebrities of all stripes are positively swarming over us, applying every PR trick in the book to win our support for their “fundamental transformation” of America.

Here’s the article I wrote about this for Chalcedon:


One point I didn’t get around to mentioning: Bernays wrote this essay in 1947, after the world had just spent a harrowing six years watching the mischief done with these techniques by the Nazis. What would the essay have looked like if he’d written it in 1937? Think about that.

“Engineering consent” is a tool that can be used just as well for evil purposes as for good. Think of the public relations tsunami that hit us with “transgender.” Think of “Black Lives Matter.”

Come to think of it, it’s a little hard to name any good things accomplished by consent engineers.

6 comments on “‘Good PR, Bad PR’ (“The Engineering of Consent”)

  1. Good is achieved by following the laws and tenets of Christ. Oh, you can do that CREATIVELY (Chronicles of Narnia etc.) but once you get into “engineering” something (unless it’s a bridge or a tunnel) it is most likely what you are trying to accomplish is NOT good at least as Christians understand the word.

  2. I think there are more words for “control” than there are for any other word. If the people resist, just change the word.

  3. “But he does not address the questions of what ‘ends’ those might be, or who gets to decide which ends are socially desirable.”

    That’s the crucial question. Without an absolute moral standard, the opinions of which “ends” are permissible will be all over the map. Some of the worst episodes in all of history were perpetrated by people convinced that they were doing the right thing. We need God’s moral standards, not man’s.

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