Posts Tagged ‘groupthink’

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.

We Can Handle The Truth

August 6th, 2018 No comments

Source: Facebook has a climate-denial problem

Oh oh; my days may be numbered.  But wait! I don’t depend on Facebook to broadcast my views anyways, so we’ll just carry on until they get enough influence to block everyone on the internet.  The way things are going, I figure I have another 4 months at least.

The battle for real information and news keeps getting more intense as the conduits for information join with the information purveyors themselves in steering and shaping the public discourse.  No one will deny the hard slants offered by the majority of the popular news outlets, both print and video media.  But you don’t expect the vehicles you use to access news to be also gatekeepers for content. This is the equivalent of your forks and knives blocking you from eating a rib steak because they feel you should be a vegetarian.  Both Twitter and Facebook have publicly censored conservative speech in favor of egregiously offensive leftist postings.  Apple and Spotify have now joined the fray by censoring those that don’t conform to their corporate worldview.   It is allowing a very small cabal of people to dictate what the masses are allowed to consume.  Free thinkers and libertarians should all have their hair on fire over this.  Unlike what Colonel Nathan Jessup thinks, we can handle the truth.

While this may be cause for celebration by the increasingly irrational left, we can easily see such actions engendering serious deleterious consequences for society as a whole.  It’s not even a matter of right or wrong, it’s a matter of putting a halt to the progress of civilization.  Imagine if Copernicus’ findings were not allowed to be publicly aired because the idea of the Earth orbiting the Sun instead of the then accepted belief of the  opposite, was deemed to be heretical.   Copernicus prevailed because he could demonstrate proof of his theory.   In today’s world, you don’t even need proof of a theory to confer legitimacy.  Just a bunch of Facebook likes and voila, it’s truth! If Twitter had been around in the day, I’m sure Copernicus’ inbox would have been flooded by angry and derisive tweeters calling for a good stoning.

The American Economist and Social Theorist Thomas Sowell wrote that, “Darwinian adaptation to environment applies not only to nature but also to society.  Just as you don’t find eagles living in the ocean or fish living on mountain tops, so you don’t find leftists concentrated where their ideas have to stand the test of performance.”

Thus, when opposing views are not aired and debated on “public” social networks, it paves the way to groupthink, a condition that would put an end to innovation of every kind.  Interestingly, this mindset is a bizarre take on Copernicus’ theory.  It portends that truth revolves around the individual, rather than the actual reality that the individual orbits the truth.