295 | MP conclusion
acts the boredom of monotony, and gives the impression
that something is being done, that things are moving forward.
The monotony of a standardised life creates a desire for
novelty, an appetite for fresh surprises, a desire for the
unfamiliar. The old proverb that 'everyone has a penny
for a new alehouse' applies very much to modern politics.
In some ways, propagandists are public benefactors. They
help to put people's minds at rest. They explain why things
go wrong. They have an easy way to put them right. They
make the existing state of society mentally more satisfactory.
They look after the magical longings, the tribal, aggressive
and submissive desires of the soul. They confer status,
and give the feeling that life is worth-while.
5. Rational propaganda?
Finally, it is difficult to resist the temptation to discuss
the question whether mass propaganda can aid progress in
the direction of a rational society. The answer will depend
entirely on what we mean by a 'rational' society. There will
be room for mass propaganda in our scheme of things if we
believe that the growth of political liberties and an increase
in the 'standard of living' will gradually bring about a
rational society. The improvement of housing conditions
can be assisted by propagandist indignation. Educational
facilities can be increased in response to propaganda.
Similarly, we will expect a great deal from propaganda
if we believe that in some moments of revolutionary intoxi-
cation a 'rational' political party can induce the masses