Why Propaganda Trumps Truth

By Paul Craig Roberts

What the sociologists and Hitler are telling us is that by the time facts become clear, people are emotionally wedded to the beliefs planted by the propaganda and find it a wrenching experience to free themselves. It is more comfortable, instead, to denounce the truth-tellers than the liars whom the truth-tellers expose.


The staying power of the Big Lie is the barrier through which the 9/11 Truth Movement is finding it difficult to break. The assertion that the 9/11 Truth Movement consists of conspiracy theorists and crackpots is obviously untrue. The leaders of the movement are highly qualified professionals, such as demolition experts, physicists, structural architects, engineers, pilots, and former high officials in the government. Unlike their critics parroting the government’s line, they know what they are talking about.


What I find puzzling is the people I know who do not believe a word the government says about anything except 9/11. For reasons that escape me, they believe that the government that lies to them about everything else tells them the truth about 9/11. How can this be, I ask them. Did the government slip up once and tell the truth? My question does not cause them to rethink their belief in the government’s 9/11 story. Instead, they get angry with me for doubting their intelligence or their integrity or some such hallowed trait.

The problem faced by truth is the emotional needs of people. With 9/11 many Americans feel that they must believe their government so that they don’t feel like they are being unsupportive or unpatriotic, and they are very fearful of being called “terrorist sympathizers.”


Naive people think that if the US government’s explanation of 9/11 was wrong, physicists and engineers would all speak up. Some have (see above). However, for most physicists and engineers this would be an act of suicide. Physicists owe their careers to government grants, and their departments are critically dependent on government funding. A physicist who speaks up essentially ends his university career. If he is a tenured professor, to appease Washington the university would buy out his tenure as BYU did in the case of the outspoken Steven Jones.

An engineering firm that spoke out would never again be awarded a government contract. In addition, its patriotic, flag-waving customers would regard the firm as a terrorist apologist and cease to do business with it.