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Alfred de Grazia: Discovering National Elites





The effort to influence the policies of any society in favor of one. s goals requires a thorough knowledge of the factors that determine the policies of the society. To one who plans such an effort, the more a person of the society helps determine its policies, the more crucial it becomes to influence him. He becomes a target of high priority. It is essential, therefore, to have complete intelligence about him. A society that is the objective of influencing activity, which when it is carried on by symbols is called propaganda, must be divided into less important and more important parts. Lower costs and grater effectiveness come from striking as directly as possible at those who can influence decisions in one's favor.

The purpose of this manual is to enable symbol operators to identify such priority targets. In warfare, whether by psychological or physical means, the more complete the intelligence about the target, the more precisely defined its natures, vulnerability, direction and placement, the more accurate the fire that can be directed upon it, and the more satisfactory the ultimate result of the engagement is likely to be.

What is meant by the statement: the purpose of the manual is to enable symbol operators to identify targets? In the first place, the meaning of symbols here is simply any sign, sentence or sound. The operator (sometimes called the sender) is the person acting in the name of the organization sponsoring his activities (e.g. the U.S.A.), with intent to influence through symbols the attitudes and behavior of others, the target is the person or group whose attitudes and behavior the operator is attempting to change.

Since the object of this manual is so to analyze targets as to provide number of techniques by which the operator may choose among numerous targets the ones most important to policy, the chief concern of the manual will be with the policy-making targets, or, in other words, with the elite. The elite, or leadership group, consists of those persons in any community who possess in extraordinary degree* one or a combination of generally desired qualities. The elite, therefore, possesses high measures of power, respect, wealth, and skill, in combination or singly. When a person possesses a high rating only on one index, he is part of a special elite, as, for example, the religious elite or elite of wealth. When that particular quality thoroughly dominates the society, he is also a member of the general elite. Otherwise, when he possesses a high, or fairly high, rating on several qualities, that together dominate the leadership of a society, he is part of the general elite, as well as of several special elites.

*See section 6 for discussion of extraordinary degree.

It was said that the purpose of the manual is to enable symbol operators to identify priority targets, or elite targets, and the question arises as to precisely how they will be so enabled. They will not be so enabled in the sense that they will be given here a description of the actual elite of any one or more countries. They will not be told, for instance, who is ruling in Germany, Morocco, or India. Nor will they be given certain slogans or messages that they are advised to use in bringing attitudinal or behavioral changes to the elites of one or more countries. Rather will they be enabled in a technical sense to inquire into the constituency of the elite in any country. The object of each and every one of these techniques is to help the operator successfully and simply to select precisely the audience most important to the dissemination of messages, the audience that is crucial because it is in the best position to help achieve the goals of the sender. Propaganda tactics that fail to select the crucial elite from the uninfluential mass - or from the irrelevant elite - are uneconomical and less effective. The ultimate aim of this work is to enable every officer in the field or at home to establish and test his own model of a given target, according to the most useful, simple and reliable techniques of behavioral science. In pursuit of this aim, the study endeavors to reduce all technicalities to that level of skill which is commanded by operating, as opposed to specialized, personnel, with a minimum loss of valid, systematic and standardized scientific procedures.

The range of techniques discussed in the manual is wide, stretching from those that are well known and often used to those that are little known and little used. An experienced operator will discover not only many techniques that he knows already, but even some that he is already employing systematically. New operators will find perhaps many more new techniques for identifying and analyzing priority targets. Some of the techniques will be assimilated mentally by the operator and will guide his thoughts and actions without external controls, whereas others can be expected to take external form and be employed consciously as standard operating procedures of an office.

It is intended that the manual be used to its fullest extent. However, its employment will be conditioned by several practical factors. The first and most important is the time element. The absolute amount of time available to the different operators by whom these techniques may be employed if often drastically limited. In most cases it will probably be sufficient if the operator is conscious and conversant with the techniques, without employing, in his work situation, more than a limited number of those that appear most useful to him. Every operator can assign priorities to the techniques. Some are more important than others. Moreover, some are easier to employ and better known than others and require less work to put them into effect. Limitations of personnel will also condition the full use of the manual. Where an evaluation officer is not assigned to a country mission and where a single officer may occupy two positions or suffer great demands upon his time, without staff to assist him, his use of the manual will be almost entirely intellectual and internal, with perhaps no more than an hour a week devoted to the conscious implementation of the methods outlined herein. Under some circumstances, too, local research resources are so poor as to limit exceedingly the number of techniques that can be put into effect, even over a considerable period of time. However, it should not be considered that this manual is more or less appropriate to a society that has been much written about or little discussed. Although the matters it takes up and treats are very little considered in the writings of any country, including that of the United States, except on a highly journalistic level, there should be no more hesitation in applying them to an advanced country of Western Europe than to a seemingly simple and underdeveloped country of Central America. Furthermore, linguistic barriers often unduly discourage learning about local sources. Some may be surprised to note, for example, that a source of Who's Who type of information is very generally available (see the last section of the Bibliography).

In the administrative process, nothing is truly known unless it is used. The last section of the manual deals with the implementing of its techniques. There the manual aims to instruct operators in the task of translating country plans and missions into suitable forms for feeding into target calculations. And it seeks also to make the techniques of target calculation part of the everyday process of influencing target attitudes and behavior. The final success of this manual will be operational. It will have succeeded when what it says is already being done. When a sufficient number of individuals have used it, when they have used it to solve one or more new problems, when it has been used over a fair length of time and in a large number of countries, then it will have justified the effort and money expended on it. Each individual operator can contribute to its success by relatively modest changes in his normal operations. He would be unwise to let the manual convert him into a research scholar. He would be equally unwise to believe that his messages are already striking dead center in all conceivable targets of his country's policies.

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