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Beware the Creeper!

Iain's life as a psychotic crimefighter

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Random question

Occurred to me this morning:

How come there's lots of ethical and moral questions about using results from Nazi science, but none that I know of about using Nazi propaganda techniques (e.g. the Big Lie)?

Answers on the back of a postcard to the usual address.

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But didn't Nazi science get used to help the US rocketry program? So it's already been used in a pretty significant and public way, I'd say.

Nazi scientists were, yes. I'm thinking (specifically) of the freezing experiments involving non-consensual "volunteers".

I think the difference is between "technology that gets used for immoral purposes," where there's no in-principle problem with the technology, and "technology that was developed using immoral methods."

So there's a serious question about the ethics of using, say, Nazi-derived medical technology, because of the way it was obtained, where there's not about using Nazi propaganda techniques, which is just a technology.

I'm not making any judgement about the distinction, that's just where I think it lies.

Good distinction.

But I would have thought there would some critique of the propaganda methods (but then too much of our current culture is probably dependent on them.)

Well, there is some critique of government propaganda methods. It's not particularly mainstream, but there's an undercurrent in, say, a major paper like the SMH, of analysis of government propaganda techniques. I don't read Crikey, but I imagine that does rather a better job.

Godwin's law is the problem - nobody takes a comparison to the Nazi's seriously.

That's because of who is looking at doing the using. Using the science, there are ethics committees and the politicians are loud on the issue. Using the psychology? There are no ethics committees for marketing, and politicians quietly pump billions into advertising and media management.

I always thought the ethical and moral questions were only applied by the people who didn't want to use the methods or science?

In a book I just read on the rocket/space program the US did extensive investigations on their Nazi scientists to see if they were war criminals. Then did the investigation again because the first investigation came up with an answer they didn't like.

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