Number 491 October 21, 2011


"Quote" of the Week: "You Continually Amaze Me"
Here's How to Make a Pledge to Support Nygaard Notes
Have You Already Made a Pledge? Read This
How Much Should Your Pledge Be?
Propaganda Just Happens. Dissent is a Choice.
Did I Mention That There Are Two Ways to Make a Pledge?


There is nothing to say in this Editor's Note beyond the obvious: Please Pledge your support for Nygaard Notes by sending in a check or an online donation TODAY! I could not produce this work without your help.

To all of the new subscribers this week: I'm sorry your first issue of Nygaard Notes is a Pledge Drive. Most issues are free of this kind of thing, but once or twice a year this must happen. Still, there's a non-pledge article this week for all to read, a re-working of an essay I published a while ago and ran across while preparing for a speaking engagement that I was invited to do. (Your Pledges are what enable me to accept invitations to do such things, you know.)

Next week will be Part II of the Pledge Drive, then I think we'll be done with fundraising for a while.

In solidarity,



"Quote" of the Week: Occupying "1,464 cities"

As is the tradition with the Nygaard Notes Pledge Drive, the "Quote" of the Week is made up of the words of actual Nygaard Notes readers—just like YOU—who took the time to write in with their thoughts. This is supposed to inspire you to send in a Pledge, as if you couldn't figure that out yourself. But it's true! People say nice things, and many of them send in a donation. You could, too!

This week's Pledge-time "Quote" of the Week comes from a new reader who wrote in last June to say:

"You continually amaze me with your control of facts and clarity of presentation. I very much enjoy your contributions on [Our World Today, the cable-TV news show on which I appear once a month here in the Twin Cities], but reading your Notes gives me pause to quietly absorb. You're a blessing..."


(By the way, if you want to watch archived versions of Our World Today, featuring Nygaard and Green Party member Dave Bicking, they can be seen on the website of the show.)


Here's How to Make a Pledge to Support Nygaard Notes

Nygaard Notes is made possible by readers who donate money to the project in the form of Pledges. Pledges can be made anytime, but once or twice each year I devote an issue or two especially to the task of inviting you to send in a Pledge to assure that Nygaard Notes continues publication. Will you do your part? Here are the basic things you need to know:

First off, there are two ways to make a Pledge of support to Nygaard Notes.

The FIRST WAY is to make out a check to "Nygaard Notes," and mail it to:

Nygaard Notes
P.O. Box 6103
Minneapolis, MN 55406

The SECOND WAY is to use your credit card and pay via the PayPal system. Here's how:

1. Go to the Nygaard Notes website.
2. Look for "Donate to Nygaard Notes," and follow the instructions to donate online using the PayPal system.

If you already have made a Pledge, or already know you want to, then there's nothing else to read in this issue except for the special Pledge Drive essay, "Propaganda Just Happens. Dissent is a Choice." that appears below.

For the rest of you, who may still be undecided, the next article explains what this is all about and why I think you should contribute. So please keep reading...


Have You Already Made a Pledge? Read This

For many years now I have sent out, via the U.S. Postal Service, a renewal notice to all Pledgers at or near the anniversary of your most recent Pledge. It reminds you of how much you pledged, and asks you to renew your Pledge for the current year. I even enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope! I'll do that again, early next month, if I don't hear from you first. BUT...

Since so many of your pledges come due in October, I am going to try something new this year: I will list below the names of all of you whose Pledges are now due (first names only). If you see your name here, please send in your Pledge NOW, and that way I'll be saved the time and expense of sending your renewal AND you won't have to get another piece of fundraising mail in your mailbox. It's a Win/Win!

So, what follows is a list with the names of all of you who made Pledges last October and undoubtedly want to renew your Pledge this year. (Maybe you even want to make a slightly larger Pledge, what with inflation and all.) Here we go:

➡ Joe
➡ Brad
➡ John
➡ Scott
➡ Ed
➡ Solveig
➡ Stuart
➡ Richard
➡ Rebecca
➡ Juliana
➡ Elizabeth
➡ Gail
➡ Joe
➡ Davis
➡ Medora
➡ Peter
➡ Art and Maureen
➡ Lise
➡ Steve
➡ Steve again
➡ Bill
➡ Betty
➡ Mary Ellen
➡ Larry
➡ Mike
➡ Jan
➡ Ashley
➡ Mary
➡ Yectli
➡ Amy
➡ Cary
➡ Jenny
➡ Loren and Elizabeth
➡ Cali
➡ Walt
➡ Carol
➡ Joyce
➡ Elizabeth
➡ David and Kathleen
➡ another Kathleen
➡ Joanne
➡ Nancy
➡ Martha
➡ Elizabeth
➡ Nicholas
➡ Ted
➡ Marlys
➡ and Pat.

Now, I realize that there are a lot of Johns and Elizabeths out there, and how would you know if I am referring to you? Well, you wouldn't. But if you think one of these Steve or Nancy people might be you, you can send me an email and ask me. Then, if it is you, I'll tell you when you last pledged and for how much. And I'll thank you in advance for renewing your Pledge!

The Take-Home Point: If you do nothing right now, you'll soon receive your renewal notice in the mail. To stop that from happening, send me a note. Thanks!

Ecological PostScript: If you would prefer to receive your Pledge renewal notice via email, rather than in paper form, then you should send ME an email, and ask to receive your renewal via return email. I'll send you the same letter, with the same information, but without the paper or the stamps. Then you can either send in your Pledge online, or use your own envelope to mail in your check.


How Much Should Your Pledge Be?

I offer here THREE tried-and-true methods for figuring out how much you would like to donate to support Nygaard Notes. (For those who have a hard time deciding, y'know.)

Method #1: The Standard Pay Per Issue

The familiar way of pledging, or subscribing, is to attempt to determine what each issue is "worth." How ridiculous! Who can assign a dollar value to ideas? But, if you insist, here's what you need to know:

Each year I seem to put out somewhere between 25 and 30 issues of Nygaard Notes. Sometimes more or, if many of them are double-sized issues (like this year) then maybe fewer. If each issue is worth a dollar to you, then maybe you would send me $30. Fifty cents each? Then it's $15.00. Maybe each issue is worth $5.00 to you. Then you would send in $150. And so on.

Method #2: Income/Wealth Calculation

A second way to think about what amount to pledge is to relate your contribution to your own income or wealth. Are you willing to devote one or two hour's worth of your wages each year to supporting Nygaard Notes? Then send me that amount. If you make minimum wage, I am more than happy to accept $7.25 or $14.50 for your annual subscription donation. Maybe the minimum wage in your state is different than the federal minimum, which is the number I used. Go with that.

If you make closer to the median hourly wage for United Statesians, then it gets a little more complicated. The median hourly wage in the U.S. at the moment is $16.27. So $16.27 or $32.54 is the target using this method.

Looked at another way, if you are "management," then you make closer to $44/hour. If you are a rehabilitation counselor, on the other hand, send in $15.55. Preschool teacher? Then it's $12.35. I could go on and on. You get the idea.

Moving away from income to wealth (that is, looking at what you HAVE instead of what you EARN), you could send one-tenth of 1% of your net worth. Since the median net worth for all households in the United States is about $91,300 (most recent figures), this would be roughly $91.30. (For help in figuring out your own wealth, the median household income, etc., see Nygaard Notes #138, "Wealth in the United States.")

Method #3: Whatever

You may think up your own Pledge amount based on some outrageously complex system that is impossible to reproduce here. Or, you may just wing it. Whatever works for you is fine with me!

Whatever you decide to send, I will record it and then I will contact you in a year and ask you to renew your Pledge. (Most people do renew, but you don't have to.) I will even send a pre-addressed and stamped envelope—that's about as easy as it gets.

Thank you for supporting Nygaard Notes!


Propaganda Just Happens. Dissent is a Choice.

Back in December of 2005 I published a piece called "How Propaganda Works: Transmitting Ideology." This week and next, as part of the 2011 Nygaard Notes Pledge Drive, I will reprint that essay. I've edited it a bit to bring it up to date, but it's basically the same essay that appeared in Nygaard Notes #314 on December 16, 2005. I think it says a lot about why Nygaard Notes is worthy of your support, so here is Part I. Next week, in the second installment of the Nygaard Notes 2011 Pledge Drive, you'll see Part II.

I often point out that Propaganda operates on two levels: Overt Propaganda and Deep Propaganda. Overt Propaganda is the thing we are supposed to believe, while Deep Propaganda is what makes it believable. OP tends to be specific and conscious, while DP is usually general and unconscious.

In addition to the idea of Propaganda operating on two levels, I have also spoken in these pages about what I call our "Propaganda ABCs." The letters ABC stand for the Attitudes, Beliefs, and Conceptions about the world that we carry inside of ourselves. That's my easy-to-remember way of referring to what some call our "internalized ideology." According to my Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1983), "ideology" is "the doctrines, opinions, or way of thinking of an individual or class." That is, our set of Propaganda ABCs is the set of ideas about how the world works that is buried deep within us, and that we share with most of the other members of our society.

When something is internalized, it becomes unconscious. Our Propaganda ABCs, then, can be thought of as our unconscious ideology. The important word is unconscious. It's important because, when something is unconscious, it is very difficult to think about it. For most of us it is very difficult to think about whether or not everything we assume to be true about the world really is true. In fact, the only way for most of us to question an unconscious idea is for someone (someone besides ourselves, that is) to bring it to our attention. And, in order for that to happen, that other person has to be conscious that there exists another way to think about things. Increasing the number of people who are capable of doing this can thus be called "consciousness raising," which is a big part of the work of Nygaard Notes.

We can see that unconscious ideas can be challenged. But they can also be reinforced. The interesting difference between challenging and reinforcing an idea is that, while challenging has to be done consciously, reinforcement can be done—and usually is done—unconsciously. If one hears or expresses an idea over and over again, and that idea is never challenged, over time that idea becomes part of our internal mental landscape, and forms part of the framework for all of the new ideas that come our way. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, since we need some kind of internal framework in order to make sense of the world. But it's good to become conscious of it so we can check to see if our internal world looks like we would like it to look.

There is a famous quotation, usually attributed to the 18th-century Anglo-Irish statesman Edmund Burke (although I went looking for the original quotation and couldn't find it), that goes like this: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing." We can say the same about Propaganda: All that is necessary for Propaganda to survive and flourish is for the people who receive it to do nothing. And that includes not only the people who ultimately receive it—that is, you and me—but also the people who receive it for the purpose of passing it on—and those people are, among others, journalists and other media workers.

Next week, in Part II: "Winners, Losers, and Deep Propaganda."


Did I Mention That There Are Two Ways to Make a Pledge?

You can make out a check to "Nygaard Notes," and mail it to:

Nygaard Notes
P.O. Box 6103
Minneapolis, MN 55406

OR, if you prefer online transactions, you can

Go to the Nygaard Notes website at , look for "Donate to Nygaard Notes, and follow the instructions to donate online using the PayPal system.