Propaganda is a concept that has been highly used since World War 2, it is a psychological process for cultivating ideas into the audiences that are normally citizens of one’s country. The government will try to persuade its citizens by any available media to think and behave in a manner desired by the government. It’s rather a soft power that tried to create the imagined political community by the imaginary construct of a nation. For example in Thailand, the authorities always use the idea of “in order to be a good person, you need to value: nation, religion (Buddhism), and the king.” This concept is excessively narrow and limited. Moreover, the interpretation of the word ‘nation’ itself is a problem because whoever believes this as their basic virtue would only consider the word nation as the king and religion.
They automatically exclude people, everyone in the country, including themselves as a part of the nation. And when their mindsets were set that the basic virtue is this, they are willing to throw away their empathy towards another human beings who think different from this constructed concept value. And those people who are like this, who are unable to contemplate for themselves according to the basic universal moral standard, basic human decency, or human rights are called “citizen zombies.” The government want its citizen to become citizen zombies because they are easily controlled, they do not question things, and act according to the desired behavior. The propaganda method to create this citizen zombies is nothing new but it is quite subtle and can be quite hard to detect if you do not use your critical thinking process because they use soft power to influence you by the medias. The media create imagined communities through targeting mass audiences.
Thai government, especially the military junta, always uses the word ‘nation haters’ to label political activists who advocate or run a protest against them. The authority uses this nation haters label to provoke the otherizing fallacy. Political leaders create this powerful imaginary construct to justify the act of violence towards the people who speak up. There was a case where religion can be used as a means of allowing violence to happen under certain circumstances, for example, Kittivudho Bhikkhu said that “killing communists is not demeritorious, just like killing fish to serve monks'' during the Thammasat massacre event to justified the human-rights-violated actions of the government and volunteers during the time.
Even these days, where the pro-democracy protest that demands for the dissolution of parliament, ending intimidation of the people, and the drafting of a new constitution plus ten demands for the reformation of the thai monarchy. After the ten demands for military reform were reformed, most of the medias in Thailand did not discuss about it in detail but instead they communicated in such a way that the audiences can interpret the message as “the revolution of thai monarchy” plus the prime minister Prayut Chan-o- cha constantly tell the press that he must protect the “nation, religion, and the king” thus the action itself is a propaganda and highly downplayed the main message of the movement. The authority alongside with the media are using the political communication techniques to mislead the main demands and label the nation hater tags just like they used to and always do to anyone who speaks up against them.
The zombie citizens would take this noble lies propaganda that aiming to shape their thinking process to believe that the government is doing a good deed for the country as a whole by using the false dichotomies technique or in other word twisted the reformation demands message and acted as a hero to protect the monarchy and the zombie citizen must do so if they love the nation.
This will make them think of themselves as self-made and self- sufficient yet the more they think this way, the harder it is for them to learn gratitude, humility, and humanity. And without these sentiments, it is hard to care for the common good. The religion can not make one a moral human being as long as one uses the religion to justify the act of killing and torturing another human being. Thailand has been in this loop for such a long time, every condition is intertwined with political propaganda by the authority to dehumanize our fellow human beings. The human condition in them is that, no one was not born with the rage to see people who think differently die, must be restored. And that no one can avoid the change, especially the cultural level of change which is being discussed and gradually change the young generations’ way of thinking.