What are some examples of bandwagon propaganda in Animal Farm

An example of bandwagon propaganda in Animal Farm is the sheep being taught by the pigs to drown out dissent by chanting, "two legs bad, four legs good." Later, this is changed to "four legs good, two legs better." Because the sheep are so numerous, this appears to be a majority opinion and therefore correct.

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Bandwagon propaganda or the bandwagon fallacy argues that because "everyone" is doing or saying something, it must be correct. The bandwagon fallacy plays on the human instinct to want to be part of the crowd, in harmony with one's community. However, upon reflection, most people know that just because "everybody"...

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Bandwagon propaganda or the bandwagon fallacy argues that because "everyone" is doing or saying something, it must be correct. The bandwagon fallacy plays on the human instinct to want to be part of the crowd, in harmony with one's community. However, upon reflection, most people know that just because "everybody" is doing something doesn't mean it is a good idea, as your mother might have said when she asked you if you would jump off a bridge if all your friends were doing it.

Unfortunately, there is no wise mother figure on Animal Farm to raise that question. The pigs, therefore, have free reign to use bandwagon propaganda, and they do so primarily through the sheep, the stupidest and also the most numerous of the animals. Squealer first takes them off and teaches them the motto "two legs bad, four legs good." Anytime there might be any chance of the other animals raising opposition to the pigs, the sheep will start a massive round of chanting "two legs bad, four legs good." This can go on for minutes at a time and has a hypnotic effect that drowns out dissent under the guise that the majority of the animals support the pigs.

Later, to usher in the shocking event of the pigs walking on two legs, the sheep are carefully coached in the chant "four legs good, two legs better." By repeating this over and over, the sheep mute all protest.

The chants substitute for active thought and engagement in the political process and represent mindless obedience. We could probably find examples today of political chants being used for similar reasons.

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Propaganda is a form of persuasion which favors a specific cause or person to the detriment of another cause or person. It is harmful and often derogatory or provides undue praise and uses emotional triggers in the hope that people will not give the thing being proposed too much thought before agreeing to it or being caught up in its power. It is a powerful political tool, where suggestion is often enough and evidence becomes secondary as the power of rumor and word of mouth is sufficient.

George Orwell makes good use of propaganda in Animal Farm and uses the "bandwagon" technique very effectively. Being vague confuses the animals and thinking that their own actions may be contrary to the spirit of Animalism ensures that they ask few questions. Boxer inadvertently promotes bandwagon propaganda with his work ethic and because he always strives to "work harder." He maintains that, "if Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right."  

Squealer is the pig designated to ensure support for Napoleon and his system of control as he gradually withdraws benefits from the other farm animals (the milk is a good example) and, despite the seven commandments,  improves the pigs' circumstances in an effort to make the pigs more comfortable (such as sleeping on beds), while the other animals continue to live in accordance with the laid down "Commandments." The concept of some animals being "more equal than others," becomes very prevalent.

Bandwagon propaganda persists as animals only agree to changing Commandments or ideals because the other animals do. Mollie wonders whether she will be able to have sugar and wear her precious ribbons after the Rebellion. Snowball tells her that they signify "slavery," and she therefore accepts this, offering no resistance, although she never believes it. This is an example of bandwagon propaganda but is short-lived for Mollie. She will later run away, as the promise of sugar is just too much for her.

Even Snowball exercises propaganda in agreeing, despite his initial concerns, to  tell the animals that milk is "brain" food for the pigs and so cannot be shared. He has become a victim of bandwagon propaganda, being persuaded that there is a need for the pigs to enjoy special treatment, as Squealer says:

"You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers."

If Snowball really thought about it, he would realize that he is being unduly influenced and his own influence is then influencing others.

The sheep show their support for Snowball in building the windmill but soon change to chanting at Napoleon's bequest never realizing the effects of their actions which lead to the expulsion of Snowball, as the dogs chase him off the farm. Ultimately, this results in the end of any real hope of fairness and equality. 

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According to one definition of "bandwagon propaganda," it is a type of propaganda that

creates the impression of widespread support. It reinforces the human desire to be on the winning side.

So it is the technique of trying to convince people to "jump on the bandwagon" because everyone else is doing it.

The most obvious forms of this type of propaganda in the book are the places where one set of animals or another (often the sheep) chant some slogan or sing a song.  Some examples would be:

  • The singing of "Beasts of England" at the beginning.  A catchy song is good because people pick it up quickly and that makes it seem as if everyone agrees with the idea.
  • The sheep chanting "Two legs bad, four legs good."  Or later on "Four legs good, two legs better."

 

 

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