To What Extent Should Governments influence public opinion?

Essay by waterboy007High School, 12th gradeA+, December 2006

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It is impossible for any nation to have their governments not influencing public opinions. Since the very start of the media through the telegraph, governments have been molding and shaping citizen thoughts either for personal gain or what they think is best for the state. Some individuals believe that manipulation of public opinion is a governments right, while other believe that the influence should be abolished. A government has responsibility, and with responsibility comes accountability. Nearly every major world leader has used some sort of propaganda in their stead in office; let it be fascist Mussolini, Nazi Hitler, or even democratic George W. Bush. Governments have the power to help or heed their nation as they please, and make decisions based on their personal values and ideologies. The Jewish holocaust, arguably humanities worst moment, is a prime example of an excess of public influence. No one was allowed to raise his or her opinion, and only the voice of the government is heard.

Genocide would most certainly have been committed against the Jews, had the world not stepped in. Hitler's rise to power was through constant propaganda and German people thought they must support him in order to nationalistic. Some individuals may argue that under Hitler's rule, the people were living better lives. They had education, medical coverage, and ideal-working conditions that brought Germany success and happiness it has never before experienced. Prior to Hitler's dictatorship, the German government constantly made atrocious decisions that further hindered any possible advancement to their economy. Stalin is another example of extreme propaganda to become a dictator. The Russian people believed that they had no choice and were constantly in a state of fear and panic. Even in democracies like the U.S.A, president George Bush manages to convince citizens the good of international...