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Book Review: How Propaganda Works

By David Welch   August 2015

by Jason Stanley (Princeton University Press, £19.95)bib1

Jason Stanley’s How Propaganda Works is a philosophical account of the dangers posed by propaganda and what Noam Chomsky called the “manufacturing of consent” in western democracies. Stanley defines propaganda as “the employment of a political ideal against itself”; in other words, a propagandist is someone who presents subjective values or self-interested goals disguised as objective ones. He argues that an understanding of propaganda and its mechanism is essential for the preservation and protection of liberal democracies.

Starting from the premise that propaganda is largely associated with…

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