The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, because the vast masses of a nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad.
The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them more easy victims of a big lie than a small one, because they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell big ones.
Such a form of lying would never enter their heads. They would never credit others with the possibility of such great impudence as the complete reversal of facts. Even explanations would long leave them in doubt and hesitation, and any trifling reason would dispose them to accept a thing as true.
Something therefore always remains and sticks from the most imprudent of lies, a fact which all bodies and individuals concerned in the art of lying in this world know only too well, and therefore they stop at nothing to achieve this end.
The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.
— Tireless Staff of Thousands
Postscript: A reader writes: “So what’s next, ARBEIT MACHT FREI?”
Another writes: “This reminds me of a conversation I had recently with a friend of mine. I contended that, as a people, Americans are the most propagandized citizenry in the history of the planet. As bad as the Nazis lied, they didn’t go nearly as far as the current administration. If we could somehow bring old Josef Goebels forward in time to late 2005 America, I think his response to the U.S. government propaganda machine would be the German equivalent of ‘You are shitting me! You can really get away with this?’”
From another: “Do you think there is a permanent (undercover?) government that belies any apparent changes in administrations? Do we as a nation stand for anything humanitarian and life affirming? Does a nation even exist? Is it the embodiment of the constitution and the laws?”
And another: “Similar thoughts have been much on my mind. Ultimately these slogans represent a primitive but clever form of cultural conditioning and as such are a crude form of aesthetics — the aesthetics of war.”