In his latest book, retired United States Army lieutenant general Michael Flynn,* includes the following quote from Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels:
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
Flynn then tells a big lie hoping readers will believe it.
The Citizen’s Guide to Fifth Generation Warfare, Session 1: Introduction to 5GW published December 2022, is an important piece of propaganda to examine. In the small book — 6-inch by 6-inch format, 182 pages –is warning everyone who will listen of the inevitable impending doom awaiting our country.
Fortunately, though, like a televangelist preacher who can assure you a spot in heaven with a $25 monthly donation — and for an additional $5 upgrade your heavenly palace for all of eternity — Flynn knows the truth and for less than $30 he will share it. Well, at least the First Session in his all you will need to know survival series.
Despite my obvious disdain for televangelists and Flynn, the book is worth a read especially for progressives and liberals. The book is a concise look at the propaganda being pushed and mainstreamed by the far-Right. And it is written in a way so the reader understands that even though their ‘neighbor isn’t the enemy,’ they also know that, if that neighbor is a liberal or progressive, they are, in fact, the enemy,
As far as propaganda techniques the book uses, it is the same approach used, on social media, by radicalized GOP elected officials. The book is written in a social media format — condensing complex issues down to mere paragraphs as the reader is expected to trust Flynn’s so-called expertise. But every chapter, every paragraph lands in the same place: the Left is destroying the country and the solution is to implement seven key policies. These are: parental rights, border security, election integrity, medical freedom, religious freedom, defund UniParty members and remove them with a fair election.
Of course, what the far-Right is advocating is: the destruction and privatization of public education, demonization of asylum seekers, disenfranchising voters, destruction of community, legalized attacks on the LGBQT+ community, and using a made-up term to push a narrative that both parties are the same and that only the fringe elements (think Freedom Caucus) are true Patriots.
Flynn’s strategy is admittedly effective because he has reduced seven complex issues down to sound bites — slogans that can be pushed, and amplified, on social media.
The strategy, though, is just a modernization of movements like the John Birch Society, McCarthyism, and the antisemitic American First movement from the WWII era. Just like those movements taught followers to fear, and hate, the Deep State actors and the shadowy government working to destroy their freedom as these entities work tirelessly to adopt that (ever popular with CTs) globalist agenda, so does Flynn. The only way to avoid this is, as Flynn and these groups teach, is to listen to them because they are true Patriots with the inside scoop.
He Gave Up Everything For You!
After giving the reader a list of terms and definitions to understand, in Chapter 1, Flynn jumps right into the battle for the American mind in Chapter 2. He writes:
“The primary goal is to control people indirectly, since indirect control reduces the chance of rebellion against the controlling group or individual. Overtness exposes the manipulator. Instead, the goal is to control conditions insidiously and use psychologically effective messaging to frame the perspective of the situation. This in turn manipulates the attitudes of the populace and consequently influences their behavior at will.”
Flynn also reminds reader that the Deep State persecuted former president Donald J. Trump (a man who was also highly skilled in peddling conspiracies). This persecution lie is still perpetuated by members of the new GOP who view Trump as a Messiah figure.
And, in this regard, Flynn is just reemphasizing a piece of propaganda currently posted on the JBS website. They write,
“When President Trump was first elected, he sent shock waves through the globalist community that Americanism, not globalism, is our credo. Yet, those in the Deep State continue to do whatever they can to block “America First”. America is once again in need of its patriots to help protect freedom and sovereignty. May we count on your help?”
Repackaging Old Ideas
The core message of the book is simple. Secret powerful individuals are moving the country toward the Great Reset. Flynn describes the Great Reset as a 2-step revolution. The country will transition from capitalism to socialism then from socialism to communism. The idea, birthed in the early 1900s, amplified during the Cold War, remains a favorite of far-Right politicians because of its appeal to those individuals who see a demon lurking inside every moment of progress,
Even though hardworking Americans** will undoubtedly plop down the $30 for the book, they could save some cash and purchase a used copy of None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen, another American who had the inside scoop on the truth. In his 1972 work, Allen writes,
Why are the super-rich for socialism? Don’t they have the most to lose?…The idea that socialism is a share-the-wealth program is strictly a confidence game to get the people to surrender their freedom to an all-powerful collectivist government. While the insiders tell us we are building a paradise on earth, we are actually constructing a jail for ourselves.”
And The Answer Is …
Allen’s book sold a respectable four million copies in 1972 so there has the market appeal is not new, but where Flynn’s work differs from Allen’s is in its approach. Both books are written in the mass publication techniques of their time. This means Flynn’s book uses smaller content blocks of content, adapting for the shorter attention span of American readers.
However, Flynn deviates from a straightforward rehashing of these conspiracy theories by incorporating a homework section at the end of each of the nine chapters. This approach, for me, is reminiscent of the fundamental Christian Bible study books I received during my youth. Flynn’s questions (just like the ones in those Bible lessons) are worded in a manner that the only possible answer is the one Flynn supplies. This abandonment of critical thinking will, to a serious reader, undercuts the book’s legitimacy.
*Flynn co-authors this book with Boone Cutler, SGT, U.S. Army (retired)
**Of course, hardworking Americans who know their country’s history will save their money. They already know that no far-Right political movement in the U.S. has done anything to improve a worker’s life. Every right, or benefit, American workers enjoy — from those standardized 8-hour workdays, overtime pay or even the elimination of kids being permitted to mine coal — were the direct result of liberal and/or progressive movements.
Note: For those who choose to read the book, it is, in essence, a concise cheat sheet of the lies being pushed by the new GOP.