If you want a nation to follow you, don’t convince them of your principles or policies. Just tell the public carefully chosen stories. Sell images.
Adolph Hitler did this well. His marketing consultants flooded Germany with pictures of a smiling Hitler and happy children. (In the picture above, Hitler is with a young Jewish girl named Rosa.) People saw these images of a benevolent leader with adoring children — and they found it easier to believe he was a good man they should follow.
Joseph Stalin did the same thing in the Soviet Union. Chinese communist dictator Mao Zedong did it, too. How could these men be cold-blooded murderers if they loved children and children loved them?
Unfortunately, the rest of us have learned the same techniques in this age of video storytelling. Our politicians sell themselves this way. Companies sell products this way. In the era of social media, we have adopted the same techniques to convince others that we’re right about whatever we believe.
But it’s something I don’t want to do anymore.