10 | MP introduction

with a mendacious press, and propaganda, and why they embrace
the lies of to-day as eagerly as they reject those of the day
before. It is at this point that psychology comes in. We are not
passively pushed into convictions as bricks are pushed into posit-
ion. If somebody wants to convince me, he requires my active
co-operation. He has to make me convince myself. He has to set
into motion something in me that takes up his suggestion and that
is eager to follow him.[13] We study propaganda from a psycho-
logical angle when we want to know what it is that in us takes
up and welcomes the propagandist's suggestions.

Since the propagandist addresses himself to men in the mass,
we have to concentrate on the mentality of men in the mass. A
special branch of psychology, social psychology, has been devel-
oped for the purpose of studying the behaviour of men in the
mass. Social psychology does not deal with you as an individual,
but as a part of a 'social group'. Propaganda is a way of mannipu-
lating 'social groups'.

"A (social) group is a collection of people organised by
some common appetite, instinct, caprice, interest, sentiment, or
ideal."[14] The French or the Scotch, the industrial workers or the
medical profession, the Church of Rome, a public meeting, or a
billiard club - all these are 'social groups'. The unity of a
social group is maintained by common interests and ends, by
customs, taboos, and convictions, by ceremonies which in the
case of more important groups[15] are connected with birth, puberty,
death, marriage, burial etc., by the common emotions resulting
from performing these ceremonies, by festivals, etc.

The individual has, as we shall see, ample reason to try and