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"Propagandists do all they can to undermine the work of the conscientious educator," asserts President Conant in "Defenses Against Propaganda," feature article of the current "Guardian."
Explaining that many propagandists are constantly trying to persuade the people that they can make logical judgments "when in reality they are cynically playing upon our emotions," President Conant declares, "They would make us believe that by a few hours of study we know enough to decide on complicated technical problems."
Warns Against Vanity
The propagandist is aware of the fact that most people pride themselves on being reasonable individuals willing to be convinced by argument but impervious to a campaign based on emotional irritants and falsehoods, and takes advantage of it. President Conant warns against this conceit, stating that "Vanity badly armed with partial knowledge is sure to be overthrown."
Against the propagandist's subtle playing on the emotions, the writer recommends twin defenses, "experience of human nature" and an "independent humility." Both are acquired through a thorough study of history, he contends.
Urges "Immersion" in History
"By considering the pros and cons of the historic debates of previous generations, a student can exercise his own judgment on matters of political importance relatively unhampered by the propagandist" President Conant avers.
This "deep immersion" in our cultural history would equip each man to lead a free and healthy emotional, life, and would prove the best defense against the insidious propaganda of the present day.
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