"Propaganda is a soft weapon; hold it in your hands too long, and it will move about like a snake, and strike the other way."
—Jean Anouilh, L'Alouette, 1952
"One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting."
—George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, 1938
"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything—you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him."
—Robert A. Heinlein, If This Goes On, 1940
"Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda."
—Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951
"Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state."
—Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, 1997
"As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: You liberate a city by destroying it. Words are used to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests."
—Gore Vidal, Imperial America, 2004
"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep."
—Saul Bellow, To Jerusalem and Back, 1976
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
—Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841
"He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense."
—Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim, 1900
"It is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, whilst the brain is impressible, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason."
—Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871