Letter: Propaganda for Good

To the Editor:

Uncle Sam (I want YOU for the U.S. Army) and Rosie the Riveter (We can do it!) both evoke positive images for those of us who are old enough to remember the “golden age” of propaganda.

In her letter (“The Power of Propaganda,” March 27), Edith Summers persuasively laid out how propaganda has come to have a negative connotation, because it has so often comprised repeated lies or half-truths to fool rather than persuade people into believing what the propagandist wants them to believe.

I suggest that propaganda, just like other words or images, is a tool that can be used for good as well as evil. I advocate that those trying to move society toward good learn how to use propaganda constructively and fearlessly. Issues such as global warming, public health, increasing economic disenfranchisement are all worth propagandizing about. Propagandists for good should never be timid, since they will always be met with an opposing view.

At the same time, I suggest that grade-school art classes are an excellent opportunity to inoculate citizens against being unduly influenced by propaganda with thoughtful analysis of how advertising and other propaganda grabs us and influences us.

For me, propaganda is the art of achieving a common understanding of a message on a large scale. Let’s increase the use of positive messages!

Stephen Flanders