294 | MP conclusion

Biddle seems to have attached no importance to the
fact that his students lived on the Atlantic coast, and
that therefore their prejudices might be less vigorous about
the 'Pacific relations' of the U.S.A. than about the
'Atlantic relations' of that country. Nevertheless, I
mention his study, because it may show a way to those who
want to diminish by education the effects of propaganda on
the minds of those who have leisure and inclination to reason.

4. The achievements of propaganda

As a source of information, propaganda could be dispensed
with. The function of propaganda must lie somewhere else.

As a unifying and stabilising force in heterogeneous and
unstable societies, propaganda pulls together the efforts of
many individuals, and reduces the dead weight of dissenters.
It adds considerably to the fighting power of a group, and is
a powerful instrument for organising a common effort.
Propaganda gives the group members the drive of a good con-
science by convincing them that their purpose coincides with
the welfare of a wider group (nation, humanity etc.).

On the other hand, the ability of propaganda to penetrate
to the tribal foe is negligible, except when a long series
of failures struck the enemy with social disintegration.

The stabilising effect of propaganda is very largely the
result of its considerable amusement value. As an inex-
pensive circus, political propaganda adds to the zest of life.
During the great crisis, many Germans could no longer afford
to go to the cinema. They found cheaper diversion by join-
ing the Nazis, or similar organisations. Politics counter-