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When you Suspect Propaganda, Here are 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

I was interviewed about an essay I wrote for the Intercollegiate Review, called “Truth or Propaganda?” and you can click here to read it. (I’ll post a link to the podcast when I get it.) I wrote the piece in order to help people — particularly college students — understand some of the hallmarks of being propagandized. What does it feel like? How to detect it?

Quite often you can discern propaganda — or political correctness — simply by the shut-in feeling you get when being confronted with it. So, I came up with a list of ten questions to ask yourself whenever you feel pushed to censor yourself. The first step to overcoming this oppressive state of affairs is to recognize it. If more people got in the habit of recognizing and then confronting propaganda, we can begin to rebuild a civil and free society.

So, here are 10 questions you might ask yourself when you’re trying to determine if you’re having a real discussion with people or if you’re being propagandized:

  1. Is your natural curiosity being suppressed?

  2. Are you being threatened with slurs or labels?

  3. Do you feel you will be ostracized if you ask a question or express a politically incorrect view?

  4. Do you notice a “herd effect” as people shift their opinions to adapt to a politically correct opinion?

  5. Are you being pigeonholed as a result of your question or opinion?

  6. Do you sense that if you express ideas freely, you will be labeled a nutcase?Do you sense relational aggression at play?

  7. Will others be “triggered” by your opinion?

  8. Are you expected to trade in reality to prop up somebody’s illusion?

  9. Are you tempted to self-censor to avoid social punishment?Or are you tempted to falsify what you believe to gain social rewards?

  10. Do you feel like you’re stuck in a cult?

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