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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.