Darwin’s Progaganda Post has inspired me to post Make Mine Freedom, a cautionary tale from 1948 of what can happen when people exchange freedom for promises of endless government largesse. Interesting now as a cultural artifact from the forties, I think it also makes fairly shrewd observations of how different segments of society can be quite willing to make a faustian bargain with government if the promises made by snakeoil salesmen running for office are grandiose enough. Obviously anti-Communist and pro-capitalist propaganda it does tell one glaring truth: the bigger the government the smaller the freedom over the long run.
A recent study of 33 countries by Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde found an inverse relationship between religious observance and welfare spending. Countries with larger welfare states, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark, had markedly lower levels of religious attendance, affiliation and trust in God than countries with a history of limited government, such as the U.S., the Philippines and Brazil. Public spending amounts to more than one half of the GDP in Sweden, where only 4% of the population regularly attends church. By contrast, public spending amounts to 18% of the Philippines’ GDP, and 68% of Filipinos regularly attend church.
Breaking news emanating from the Vatican today concerning the missing years of the Shroud of Turin. It seems that the Knights Templar, after the sacking of Constantinople in A.D. 1204, held the Shroud of Turin until the dissolution of the order by Pope Clement V in A.D. 1307.
Dr. Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican Secret Archives, wrote in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano:
However her study of the trial of the Knights Templar had brought to light a document in which Arnaut Sabbatier, a young Frenchman who entered the order in 1287, testified that as part of his initiation he was taken to “a secret place to which only the brothers of the Temple had access”. There he was shown “a long linen cloth on which was impressed the figure of a man” and instructed to venerate the image by kissing its feet three times.
Various sides of our modern political spectrum often thrown around the term “propaganda”. I’ve had it explained to me by those on both the far left and far right that our news media is nothing but propaganda. In the process, we perhaps forget what real propaganda looks like. While looking up vintage Donald Duck cartoons for the kids, I ran across this little gem about the importance of paying your taxes. (The IRS did not yet have the power to do withholding during WW2, and so government revenues relied upon people actually handing over money to the government at intervals through the year.)
Of course, this is incredibly mild compared to the propaganda put out by communist and fascist regimes during the 30s and 40s. But next time someone tells you that the Bush era was dominated by knee jerk patriotism and propaganda, consider the FDR era by comparison.