The Prison Of GroupThink

September 22nd, 2021 1 comment

One of the surest ways to be successful in life, at least in the monetary sense, is to sell a product that people want or need.  Basic essentials to be sure, but there are lots of obstacles in that realm; thin margins, competition, economies of scale etc.

Another way, and which is better by far, is to sell something that people don’t really need but think they do.  The entire luxury goods industry is built upon this premise and this includes most everything we see advertised daily on all media fronts.  This consumerism is the engine behind all robust economies.  Think of watches that cost as much as a small villa when you could just as easily ask someone the time for free.  Once you have planted the idea in people’s psyches that they must have something, they will go to great lengths to get it, including of course taking on great debt.

This peculiar human frailty is rooted in insecurity.  People feel that they won’t measure up to others if they don’t achieve or possess that which everyone else seems to have.  The advertising industry figured this out long ago and they are very adept at tapping that inner need of humans to belong to a group.  Oddly, they sell group think in a me too kind of way.  A prime example of this is the Peloton fitness machine.  The idea of a stationary cycle was bad enough, but they’ve managed to sell a machine costing thousands of dollars to be hooked up to a network of other people riding in place.  Heaven forbid they should go out and ride a real bike in the fresh air.  The costly stationary bike is essential because there’s no money involved in having people run in place.

This same innate insecurity prevalent in people also has an associated emotion and that is fear. The combination of these two elements plays a big role in the human experience.  As we’ve noted, advertisers have already figured this out, but increasingly governments are also employing techniques to influence people using methods which address people’s fears. When governments use fear as a tactic to influence people, we know it by the more nefarious label of propaganda.  Looking back through history, this was the most powerful tool that governments had at their disposal.  Once you’ve convinced a populace of a narrative, the people will absorb the message and embrace it regardless of observable logic.

A man named Edward Bernays is probably unknown to most people, but he is considered by many professionals to be the father of Public Relations.  Bernays’ publications include the frightening titles of “Propaganda”, “Crystallizing Public Opinion” and “The Engineering of Consent”.  His ideas were considered quite dangerous by many, including a Supreme Court Justice at the time.  Essentially, Bernays opined that democracy should not be held in the hands of the unwashed masses, but that the world’s wealthy and powerful must “protect” those lower on the class rung….from themselves.

It’s patently obvious that the events of the past 20 months worldwide are manifestations of the ability of governments to tap into the fears and wants of the general public.  If you were to turn the clock back even 5 years, the very notion of people being masked, of being segregated from families and friends, of being denied access to places would be laughingly preposterous…much less a mandatory vaccine with unproven and questionable efficacy.  Governments could not impose such a regime unless they have carefully conditioned the populace to want such actions.  In essence governments have successfully made their citizens imprison themselves.  There is even a label for this kind of behavior and that is Stockholm Syndrome whereby imprisoned people eventually begin to actually identify with their captors.  We are now witnessing this on a global scale.

No amount of logical counter narrative is enough to move the opinions of the public once they have been convinced of the official narrative.  It’s no longer about fear anymore, it’s about belonging to a larger group.  It’s hard to know when or how the delusion will end since every day, governments get emboldened by ever more restrictive measures without pushback.  There is hope as some nations are experiencing more and more outrage by average citizens that have realized that government actions are not about health.  The absurdity of “do this for your own health or we’ll beat you” has finally beginning to dawn on people.  It’s no longer a health challenge, it’s an IQ test.

The Experts were wrong….again

August 16th, 2021 1 comment

link:  https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/c8nq32jw5r5t/afghanistan

As this is being written, the tragedy which is US policy in Afghanistan is unfolding on the news.  Over the next few weeks to a year, we’ll likely see more of the dire consequences of the failure, much of it now still unknown.  With as much money, manpower and political and industrial capital that has been focused on that nation for almost 20 years, some very bad actors are going to be exposed.

Here’s another view of it.  The US tried to impose their way on an ancient, proud and stubborn people who refused to back down even in the face of laughable odds. Compared to the armaments and personnel that the Americans had at their disposal, the Taliban may as well have been throwing rocks and spears.  A primitive people with primitive values prevailed over a much better equipped opponent…even if it did take 20 years.  They did the same thing to the Russians. The Taliban take fighting for their culture seriously.

Let’s be clear.  The results were never about weapons.  It was about will and vision. The Taliban, as savage as they are, have it; the Americans do not and their efforts have clearly been mismanaged by inept leadership.  Soldiers can only do so much if strategy and tactics are lacking. The Taliban, through an entire generation, were able to impress their people with a vison of their lives that would not be swayed.  Not even the relentless pounding of superior weaponry could move them.

Compare that to what we observe today inside the US and in fact, most western nations.  The most sacred core value of freedom in all aspects of life has been surrendered by the populace with nary a whimper.  Even a primitive people like the Taliban will fight to the death, for generations, to preserve what they consider to be their rightful way of life.  Here in America, as well as most western nations, that very basic core of existence has been taken away from people by their governments…and it was done without any existential threat…other than fines.

Many will tsk tsk the impending takeover of the Afghan nation by the stone-age savages who will enforce strict rules of behavior and decorum upon those ruled. They will stifle dissent and oppress women and minorities.  The word of the theocracy will be ironclad law.  Life will revert pretty much back to how it was during the good old days of 12 BC. All color will be forbidden from their society.  Never mind the rainbow nonsense we celebrate here, they’ll be lucky to get lighter shades of sepia for their summer collection.

Someone else can explain how this is different from the US experience if you happen to express views not favored by our own version of the Taliban, the American media oligarchy.  Someone else can probably explain why it’s different that people there are forced to unquestioningly comply to edicts issued by a handful of religious zealots, whereas in the US, people only have to comply without question to the edicts of a handful of political zealots.

The Americans depended on ‘experts’ to fight the wars and to do what was necessary to achieve victory in Afghanistan.  They lost.  In fact, upon reflection, the Americans have not prevailed in any military conflict since World War 2.  The haunting memories of the abandoned people in Saigon as the American helicopters left have been revived again with the Afghanistan fiasco.  The experts were wrong…or we listened to the wrong experts.  The reliance of ‘experts’ has created a lazy populace who think that the government knows best.  As we’ve seen from the events of the last year and half during the Covid scam, the experts are failing us again.

People may have to take a page from the Taliban; fight for the core values of life that are important.  Don’t give up that fight.  The odds are good that the experts don’t know what they’re doing and we will prevail in the end. We should not suffer under the ineptitude of the ‘experts’.  So many disasters have befallen societies over history and many recent ones can be traced to the dependence on ‘experts’ to steer events.  Think of national debt defaults and bank collapses, most brought on because their stewardship were in the hands of ‘experts’. Like the military fiascos, eventually the beneficiaries of the Covid mayhem will be exposed.  It will be as ugly as Afghanistan.