Latest Issue

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 totalitarian…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect