It might seem a slightly ambitious leap of logic to argue that, consequently, marketing education is important for liberal democracy because it can educate citizens in the rhetoric of persuasion and equip them to deconstruct it and push back.
It might also seem wishful thinking from someone who would like to imagine that my professional life as a marketing professor could be meaningful in a wider scheme of things.
But I don't think it stretches plausibility too far to argue that better informed citizens make better voters. What we are seeing right now around the world is large numbers of voter/citizens who react viscerally to rhetorical strategies wielded by politicians that are actually pretty crude.
This is not a matter of simply deriding the motives and intelligence of Trump supporters and Brexiters. We live in a world in which ideologies are holding sway for all groups of voters, and the antidote to ideologies is education. It isn't only protest voters who don't see beyond the shadows in Plato's cave.
The ancient Greeks understood well the need for all citizens, not just elites, to engage in the political process. The means of doing this was by debating the merits of different political arguments. The art of rhetoric therefore became central to the education of those who would aspire to public life http://www.rhetorica.net/textbook/greek.htm . More than two thousand years after the great orators vied for power in Greek politics, the skills of rhetoric have once again become the foremost currency of politics, with social media as the forum.
Universities have a responsibility to support democratic debate by educating students to be critical thinkers. Sadly, marketing education in universities has been deeply complicit in subduing critique of marketing’s persuasive rhetoric http://www.academia.edu/600317/We_Are_All_Customers_Now...Rhetorical_Strategy_and_Ideological_Control_in_Marketing_Management_Texts_ Research in marketing has similarly been lacking in a critical dimension https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rethinking-Marketing-Towards-Critical-Accountings/dp/0803974906