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Propaganda in America

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I'm going to show you the propaganda machines of the Woodrow Wilson and FDR administrations and, more importantly, I'm going to show you the similar machine being built today, with Cass Sunstein leading the charge.

They've all used faith, charity and hope — I'm switching the order to show you historically how they've been used.

Wilson used faith: He introduced the concept of social justice. He knew he couldn't sway the public so he had to find another way.

FDR used charity: Everyone has a right to a job and a house.

Hope — well, we all know that to be the centerpiece of Barack Obama; hope in big government, not God.

So let me go back to what we said Wednesday about World War I: Wilson won reelection on keeping America out of war. A month after he was sworn in, we went to war. So Wilson had to convince and change the minds of people. So he needed propaganda.

Look at this historically, then tie it to today:

63 percent want to repeal the health care law. When it passed, 70 percent were against it, but the government pushed it through anyway

56 percent of people oppose paying more for clean energy

64 percent of Americans support the Arizona Immigration law. Yet Eric Holder is getting ready to fight it in court

They're becoming more and more brazen each and every day. We showed you the financial reform bill getting crammed through Congress right now. This bill is nothing short of an assault on personal freedom. Again, we don't have the final bill yet, the House and Senate passed their versions of the bill and now they molding the final version. So there's time to change some of this, but looking at the Senate version:

Financial regulators can order the seizure of any financial firm they deem "in danger of default"

The Financial Stability Oversight Council will be created and identify non-bank financial companies that "may pose risks to the financial stability of the United States in the event of their material financial distress or failure"

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection will be created — for you. They'll be able to limit what financial products and services can be offered to consumers. And the bill mandates any financial institution that takes deposits, keep a record of the number and amount of those deposits and that customer addresses be "geo-coded for the collection of data regarding the census tracts of the residences or business locations of customers." Geo-coded? Are they linking deposits to the Census Bureau?

They claim to be protecting you from "unfair and deceptive" practices. Unfair and deceptive are two words that are defined and often used in our laws, but there is another word they put in the bill: "abusive." What does that even mean? No one really knows because it has not been used in this context before. Will its definition be up to the new super regulator who will be in charge of the agency? What is abusive? What if someone defaults on their loan or their house is foreclosed upon and they say "the interest rate is too high" or "I did not understand adjustable rate would adjust up" or "I am old, you should've explained it to me."

Will the regulator decide the lender was abusive? It puts the pressure on the lender to not only offer full disclosure, but take full responsibility. Don't worry if you can't pay your loan, blame on the abusive greedy bank.

Americans don't want a fundamental transformation. Radical progressives do, but that's about it. And the administration knows it. So they have to change public opinion. And if you think that's a crazy concept, you don't know Cass Sunstein.

How do you do change public perception?

Woodrow Wilson faced a similar dilemma: He had to change the minds of the people about World War I. He created the Committee on Public Information, using handpicked propaganda gurus George Creel along with Edward Bernays and the now-revered (but spookiest person ever) Walter Lippman.

Bernays was great — the Nazis' top propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, kept copies of Bernays writings in his own personal library. Creel sought to make "associates" out of the media and went on a mission to get all Americans to conform to the pro-war viewpoint.

Bernays in fact said, "It was, of course, the astounding success of propaganda during the war that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibilities of regimenting the public mind. It was only natural, after the war ended, that intelligent persons should ask themselves whether it was not possible to apply a similar technique to the problems of peace."

Wilson set the table by passing the Espionage Act in 1917 and the Sedition Act in 1918. Those laws empowered government to suppress and punish "disloyalty and subversion" and ban all "seditious" materials from the mail. Seditious materials included anything that might "impugn the motives of the government."

Hiram Johnson, progressive senator from California, said of the law: "You shall not criticize anything or anybody in the government any longer or you shall go to jail."

Once everything was set in motion, here's what happened:

The Justice Department prepared lists of aliens considered dangerous and attempted to register all male and female German aliens. By the end of the war, the U.S. government had arrested more than 4,000 aliens on charges ranging from espionage to making pro-German statements in public. Prison barracks were established at military bases around the country

The California Board of Education, for example, banned the teaching of German in the public schools, calling it "a language that disseminates the ideals of autocracy, brutality and hatred." The states of Iowa and Nebraska banned instruction of any foreign language in the schools

In Cincinnati, the public library was asked to withdraw all German books from its shelves

The Red Cross barred people with German names from working with the organization

German names were scrubbed from buildings and streets; Schmidt became Smith; Muller became Miller

In Minnesota, a minister was tarred and feathered because he was overheard praying with a dying woman in German. In southern Illinois, a man was lynched in 1918 for no apparent reason except he happened to be of German descent; the organizers of the lynch mob were acquitted by a jury which insisted that what they had done was a patriotic act

In 1917, private volunteers (with the open endorsement of the attorney general of the United States) formed the American Protective League (APL). Attorney General Thomas Gregory called the APL: "A patriotic organization… assisting the heavily overworked federal authorities in keeping an eye on disloyal individuals and making reports on disloyal utterances."

By the end of the war, the organization had 250,000 members who defined their mission as spying on their neighbors, eavesdropping on suspicious conversations, intercepting and opening mail and telegrams of people suspected of disloyalty and reporting to the authorities any evidence of disenchantment with the war effort. Other, similar groups included the National Security League, the American Defense Society and the Boy Spies of America (modeled after the Boy Scouts).

This history of the country has been so erased, we've been searching for days on images, pictures, anything on all of this stuff. Watchdogs, please watch for this and e-mail us at becktips@foxnews.com and post it on my Twitter.

Yes, this happened in America less than a century ago, under one of academia's most beloved presidents — Woodrow Wilson.

— Watch "Glenn Beck" weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on Fox News Channel