Propaganda and Blatant Liar can often be seen sharing a beer together in the local pub. The observer can differentiate them quite easily as at the end of the evening Propaganda stabs Blatant Liar in the back and steals his underwear. The common element that bonds these two characters in this uneasy friendship is an agenda that recognizes that matters cannot be presented to a person or group without needing to adjust or manipulate the facts to serve their own ambitions.
The WTS very clearly understand the dangers of propaganda and actually identifies what it deems as propaganda in the following statement :
There is a difference - a big difference - between education and propaganda. Education tells you how to think. Propaganda tells you what to think. Good educators present all sides of an issue and encourage discussion. Propagandists relentlessly force you to hear their view and discourage discussion. Often real motives are not apparent. They sift the facts, exploiting the useful ones and concealing the others. They also distort and twist facts, specializing in lies and half truths……The propagandist makes sure that his message appears to be the right and moral one and it gives you a sense of importance and belonging if you follow it. WT June 22, 2000.
Yes, I know, these words from the midst of the vicious heart are puzzling, almost as if the writer were mischievously sporting with all the JW’s seeing how far he could push the envelope before they would see who was really wearing the propagandist cap. Fortunately the writer is dealing with readers who are the theological equivalent of a laboratory rhesus monkey, and who know full well that to push the button marked "Hold on a minute!" results in 110 volts of Theocratic Order coursing through their nether regions and even more worrying, curtailment of their onerous privileges, such as standing up on a platform before a group of seated people and reading verbatim from a magazine.
As some of you may be aware the WTS is fighting for its theological life in France and has been for some while. If you recall, France, never a nation to care terribly for outside opinion ( I love the French ) has deemed the WTS among many other high-control groups, a cult which has no right to avail of the taxation free status that is has enjoyed for the past few decades. France slapped a bill for $65 million of reassessed taxes on Brooklyn’s desk, a sum which has grown to almost $100 million with penalties.
The WTS reacted by moving much of its French ‘blue collar’ operation to Britain and other more tolerant countries, leaving the ‘management’ in France. On the advice of WTS Legal it took out expensive advertisements in the NYT, almost tearfully wailing the issue of religious freedom in a bid to win American political shaped hearts. It must be remembered that most of the Western world view the JW’s as a bloody nuisance, but a benign nuisance, almost part of a quirky theological life that most politicians would like to point to show their great tolerance of religious lunatics. It seems to escape their notice that the WTS has been around far longer than any Government and has actually outlived many other ‘cults’. It has cunning to burn.
In recent times that WTS has been faring badly at the European Court Of Human Rights where it appealed against its ‘cultist’ title and the levying of fair taxes. A very senior member of Legal closely involved in this issue told me some weeks ago that ‘things were going badly in France’. The WTS is fearful that the thin end of the wedge has been inserted and that losing its case in France will lead other parts of Europe to follow suit in levying taxes.
The WTS cannot, it will not be described as a ‘cult’. It just cannot afford to. In a recent Watchtower, the following statement was made:
Propagandists often use the word like "sect" to stigmatize others. In a recommendation to the Parliamentary Assembly Of The Council Of Europe, a suggestion was made that the authorities who investigate new religious groups "would be well advised to forgo using this term". Why? It was felt that the word "cult" had an excessively negative connotation. Watchtower July 15th, 2003.
Now this is where the propagandist begins to earn his money. The writer of the above Watchtower very cleverly slips the more emotive term ‘cult’ into the proceedings after first using the term ‘sect.’ These words both have emotive connotations, the word ‘cult’ of course, being the most reactionary and one which is more commonly applied to the WTS. The document containing this part of the report by PACE is reproduced below and makes no mention whatsoever of the word ‘cult’. The WTS writer saw fit, naughty little fellow, to out of the blue introduce the word ‘cult’ where it did not belong.
Definition 8.Of course, it is clear that it is very tempting for state authorities to use the term "sect", given that it is easily understood by everyone. However, state authorities would be well advised to forgo using this term since there is no legal definition of itand it has an excessively pejorative connotation. In the public mind today, a sect is extremely evil or dangerous. There are three possible ways of avoiding use of the term "sect"…… (3)
Later on, in another sectiuon of the report, PACE does interestingly draw attention to and use the term ‘cult’ for the first time, but not for the reason that might suit the WTS or indeed one that reflects accurately its usage in the above Watchtower, in fact quite the contrary
3.The European Parliament’s motion for a Resolution on sects in the European Union, tabled by Mrs Bergen, observes that there is continuing concern that the activities of cults and their attendant dangers may be increasing and that a Europe-wide survey of quantitative data and more detailed investigation into these phenomena (therefore) appear desirable and justified; it goes on to say that "whereas the Central and Eastern European countries now also increasingly face the problem of cults, and whereas these measures should also be extended to them and they should be helped in the context of PHARE and TACIS to deal with such problems in a way which is compatible with fundamental rights…".
My own view though probably it is of little interest to anybody but myself, is that all religions, like doctors and others who deal in lives and destiny, should without exception be licensed by a Government free of mystic fetters and insured against the legal ramifications of those who choose to sue for not getting what they were promised. After all if a car dealership sells you a dud, you may sue them, if religion sells you a dud destiny, you even have to pay for your own therapy - it does not feel fair to me. This should put religion out of business within a decade and lead to a happier world where each person is the master of their own spirit. Imagine, no more suicide bombings, no more embarrassing ritual, and Theodore Jaracz gets to sell Julio Iglesias reissues to deaf housewives on Canal Street in the first honest days work that he has ever done.
Now that is New World Living!