Welcome to The Dead Horses Project: “Focused on things that don’t work…and replacing them with things that do work, for the common good of all.”

Manufactured Consent

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About This Horse

This horse is herded by the "powers that be" who use the tools of propaganda and mass-media brainwashing to create so-called "necessary illusions" among the populace of Democratic nations. They do this in order to literally control the thinking of "the masses" and thus ensure that their behavior can also be managed to occur within an acceptable range of responses. Manufactured Consent then means the outcome of "thought control" pretty much as imagined by George Orwell in his book 1984.

The fundamental assumption of "manufactured consent" is that members of the public are generally too stupid to be capable of actually thinking meaningfully by themselves, and are basically incapable of organizing themselves in appropriate ways. Therefore, under the modern Democratic model, the public's thinking must be managed by a small group of Power Elites who are the self-appointed stewards to keep society and civilization moving in the "right" direction. "Right" means the direction most beneficial to maintaining the power and supremacy of the Power Elites.

Among the "necessary illusions" created in the process of manufacturing consent are:

  • The illusion that people are actually Free and in control of their own thought processes and values
  • The illusion that their elected representatives actually "represent" their interests
  • The illusion of Freedom of Speech
  • The "illusion" of Freedom of the Press
  • The illusion of Freedom of Thought
  • The illusion that "the government" is essentially composed of caring public servants (this one is particularly difficult to maintain!)
  • The illusion of justice for all
  • The illusion of a real choice among candidates when all the parties are actually controlled by the Power Elites


Rendition is the latest distortion of constitutional rights in the United States, allowing "alleged enemy combatants or "enemies of the state" to be secretly "rendered" to third countries where they can be tortured and imprisoned indefinitely with no recourse under the law of the land. For some reason you won't read much about it in the mainstream media.

Why It's Dead

This horse is dead because the human spirit will ultimately transcend any attempts by power structures to limit the boundaries of its growth or to control the direction of its expansion. There is no way to prove this is true, but at least it sounds pretty cool. According to some, any system based on domination of one group by another is doomed to fail.

We claim that the very essence of "being human" is the inborn desire to be free and happy and to resist any external limiting factors that gravitate against this desire. And, humans seem to do their best work when there is a spirit of mutual participation and contribution, freely given, rather than coerced.

The inherent contradictions in systems which use "thought control" are readily detected as soon as people develop their own critical thinking abilities and start to speak up and point out the contradictions in ways that are embarrassing to Power Elites. If not too vocal, these "troublesome elements" can be tolerated by the system and are quickly labelled in unfavorable ways such as:

  • Exremists
  • Fringe Elements
  • Wingnuts
  • Conspiracy Theorists
  • Nut Cases
  • Leftists

And so on. In the former Soviet Union, such people who had highly developed critical thinking ability and were courageous enough to speak loudly were labeled "mentally ill" and transferred to Mental Hospitals, or if they had very little status of power, transferred to Gulags or work camps in places like Siberia.

These days in the United States, the mainstream media practices censorship (brainwashing by omission) by simply failing to report or investigate stories that the Power Elites do not want to become part of the countries general consciousness. The process has occurred gradually and so there is now a whole generation of Americans who have no idea that something important has been deleted from the "Democratic" system: a Watch Dog independent and free media whose job it is to report all the news in and objective way and let the readers draw their own conclusions about "what's so."

As a result, there is an increasing gap between those who are still able to think critically and those who have been slowly lobotomized by the mass media. In spite of this, we still claim that Manufactured Consent is ultimately a Dead Horse because it represents an attempt to subvert the human spirit, and we predict that it is doomed to fail in the long run. That said, it is enjoying a great deal of success at the moment and is putting the entire species at serious risk.


You Might Be Riding It If

  • You live in any country that claims to be an enlightened Democracy, with a constitutional government and regular elections
  • You believe anything at all because you heard it or read about it or saw it in the mainstream media
  • You have watched more than 15 minutes of television in your lifetime
  • Its important to you to see what CNN is saying about [whatever]
  • You think that there really is a difference between Democrats and Republicans, so you really do have a choice
  • You believe that having a "third party" is a subversive idea or merely a flight of fancy brought to us by "wingnuts" and other fringe elements
  • You are very sure that "1984" by George Orwell was merely the work of a deluded Englishman
  • The world is safe for Democracy now that the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union has imploded
  • You believe that Sean Hannity would make an ideal president because of his experience as a "fair and balanced" journalist
  • You have little doubt that anyone who speaks up about the contradictions in the political order is "Anti-American" or "unpatriotic"


Better Horses to Ride

  • Constitutional Democracy that is practiced as it is actually written in the various Constitutions, instead of the way it has been subverted by Power Elites
  • Democracies that forbid the formation of Media Monopolies which can practice blatant censorship and suppression of real news, with the blessings of the powers that be
  • Democracies that exist to serve the needs of the home country and don't get involved in global empire building
  • A system that will effecively prevent Power Elites from dominating the game
  • Democracies that truly emphasize educational systems that reliably create people with advanced critical thinking abilities, that encourage independent thinking and teach students how to intelligently participate in meaningful social structures.


Regrettably, Utopia does not exist nor will it ever exist. However, history has shown many times what can be achieved by motivated humans on a self-organizing basis when constraints to creativity are eliminated.

Reading List


  • "Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

- Harry S. Truman

  • “The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy."

- Alex Carey

  • "We first fought the heathens in the name of religion, then Communism, and now in the name of drugs and terrorism. Our excuses for global domination always change."

- Serj Tankian

  • "Our purpose in Vietnam is to prevent the success of aggression. It is not conquest, it is not empire, it is not foreign bases, it is not domination. It is, simply put, just to prevent the forceful conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam." (And pigs fly...)

- Lyndon B. Johnson

  • "When books are challenged, restricted, removed, or banned, an atmosphere of suppression exists…. The fear of the consequences of censorship is as damaging as, or perhaps more damaging than, the actual censorship attempt. After all, when a published work is banned, it can usually be found elsewhere. Unexpressed ideas, unpublished works, unpurchased books are lost forever."

- Robert P. Doyle


External Links

Chomsky on the Convenient Myths of Modern Industrial Society

Media Censorship of Iraqi Death Toll

Corporate Media Whitewash Bush Legacy

Project Censored

Independent News Sources

Democracy Now!

Media Matters: Exposing Falsehoods in the Media

Media Censorship of Ron Paul

Bush Doctrine of Pre-emptive Warfare

Repression of Online Journalism Around the World

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