Take an idea, any idea, no matter how far-fetched, and just keep injecting it into public discourse. Make sure the communications outlets repeat their attacks on dissenters, taking the ad hominem ad nauseum approach. Over time, especially if you have control of all of the channels of communication—particularly Hollywood, academia, and the media (to which I’ve ascribed the acronym HAM)—a sense of its acceptability gets programmed into American minds.
Let’s say you want to spread the idea that elective amputation of your limbs is a positive and empowering act. And let’s say you want to teach it in schools within comprehensive health education. This may seem unlikely, for the moment. But it is quite doable if you have control of the HAM outlets, especially with celebrity endorsements.
If you can get Annie Lebowitz to do a sympathetic photo shoot for a Vanity Fair cover story of a famous personage who elected to be an amputee, you’re in business. But you must require the suppression and demonization of all opposition to your idea. Enlisting trolls and Twitterbots to suppress any skepticism will help, but one can never be too careful if reality lurks in the minds of one’s fellow Americans.
It’s all carrot and stick. If people feel they’ll be socially rewarded by echoing the trending viewpoint, they’ll falsify what they really believe to get some pats on the back. Likewise, if they fear being socially rejected for expressing their concerns, they’ll shut up. As HAM forces conjure up this self-censorship scheme, pretty soon you have a spiral of silence that creates the illusion the propagandized view is actually trending higher in public opinion. Tease it out some more with the saturation-suppression propaganda machine, and public policy follows suit.