26 | MP introduction

circle, it can genuinely increase human co-operation.

The word 'propaganda', when understood simply and etymologic-
ally as the 'propagandation of beliefs', is applicable to all these
forms of activity. Scientific precision cannot, however, be content
with the loose popular usage, which slurs over essential differen-
ces which spring from the pattern of social relation within which
'promotional activity' is conducted. 'Mass propaganda' can be
defined as the dissemination of assertions, for which there is no
first-hand evidence, among a socially disintegrated mass.

7. Purpose of the book

One might wish that a book on propaganda could be written in
such a way that only 'the facts speak for themselves'. In actual
fact this commendable idea is incapable of fulfillment. One cannot
completely paralyze one's sense of values when one discusses soc-
ial activities. The author's standards of value must determine
at least the purpose which he has in mind when he writes about

Some people are interested in propaganda because, as Lasswell
puts it, they are puzzled, and "probe into the mysteries of pro-
paganda with that compound of admiration and chagrin with which the
victims of a new gambling trick demand to have the thing explain-
ed". In this book they will, I hope, get enough enter-
tainment for their money. Others want to learn how to make pro-
paganda. They may find one or two useful hints. But I must say
frankly that I do not share the assumption of the majority of my
contemporaries, that propaganda in some hand is good, and in
others bad - their own hands being the good ones. The book is
written for those who want to learn how to withstand propaganda