Bernays, who was the leading figure in the public relations industry, made the way for what is now the pr movement that guides most advertising as well as government propaganda and the intellectual debates that we have or are allowed to have. His most infamous quote is this:
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
This was a common theme before World War 2, when propaganda was necessary in a democratic society, as a way to control the norms of the public mind. This was, in essence, a secular church, lead by pr flaks and overseers.
Bernays was a major figure of the twentieth century, so labeling him a kook is fine, but he is the reason why modern capitalism is accepted.