Sunday, June 13, 2021

Critical theory as a psychoanalytical approach to the social pathology of racism

 



One thing I have tried to accomplish through writing is bringing awareness to the reality that there is truth to what many people consider discredited conspiracy theory. For example, a book I refer to often, Brainwashing: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics, (Chapter 2, p. 8) has been disregarded as an illegitimate source, despite describing many things we are witnessing today. There are direct correlations between the writings of Lavrenti Beria and the real-world applications of critical theory/critical race theory, which will be the focus of this article. Mainly in the way communists view individuals within a society. For example, in the communist structure man is a political organism, not an individual. Just as a malfunctioning organ in an individual makes up a misalignment of the whole body, so too does disloyalty to the state represent a sickness in society. Man is made up of a body of cells which must work in harmonious alignment for the individual to function properly, so too is the state made up of a body of men which must align to state ideals. Disloyalty to the state is treated in much the same way a malfunctioning organ is, with medical treatment.

Critical theory is a method of critiquing culture for the purpose of transformative change. A product of The Frankfurt School of Social Research, the aim is to free man from oppression and create a world that empowers humanity (Bohman, 2005). Because oppression takes many forms, many “critical theories” have developed. Critical race theory is one example. Feminist theory and the LGBT movement are also by-products of critical theory. Antonio Gramsci is credited for developing other theories of cultural criticism (Delgado, Stefanic & Harris, 2017, p. 5). His theory of counter-hegemony and the “war of position” developed because Marx’s ideas failed to unite the proletariat against the so-called bourgeois. The creation of other oppressed social groups, that share the status of being the underclass in a white supremacist hegemonic system, explains to a large degree the division we see in America today.

Critical theory is more than the mere criticism of society. It is a method of social change based on the idea that the society in question is suffering from a social pathology, a sickness that must be treated to properly align the nation. Racism, according to an article entitled Exploring the psychology of white racism through naturalistic inquiry (D’Andrea & Daniels, 1999) is a social pathology that continues to affect the lives of millions daily. Critical race theory, which developed as early as the 1970s in response to what its founders viewed as the failure of the civil rights movement to bring justice to America’s race issue (Delgado, Stefanic & Harris, 2017, p. 4), is a way to treat this social pathology. CRT is more than saying America is racist. It views racism as a societal illness that requires a psychological treatment of the society, just as a malfunctioning organ requires medical treatment to bring the body into proper alignment.  

The critical theory which evolved out of the Frankfurt school took an analytical, diagnostic approach to the critique of society which mirrored the way medicine approaches illness (Verovsek, 2019). The article Social criticism as medical diagnosis: On the role of social pathology and crisis within critical theory, by Peter Verovsek, argues that because any corrective action taken in society requires self-reflection and awareness as the second stage of social criticism, this approach is more in line with Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis (Verovsek, 2019). Marxist theory revolved around materialist philosophy, which was no longer suitable to address the social issues of modern society (Verovsek, 2019) because it fails to address the psychological reasons social pathologies arise (Allen, 2016). In the article, Psychoanalysis and the methodology of critique, Amy Allen posits the idea that-

The methodology of critical theory can be understood as being somehow analogous to psychoanalytic technique. This analogy holds that the critical theorist stands in relation to the pathological social order as the analyst stands in relation to the analyst and that the aim of critical theory is to affect the diagnosis and, ultimately, the cure of social disorders or pathologies. (2016)

To put this in simpler terms, America, through the lens of critical theory/critical race theory, is being viewed as a society in need of psychoanalytic treatment. Systematic racism is a socially constructed term defining our nation, and her institutions, as being inflicted with the pathological disorder of racial hatred. The practical application of critical theory seeks to free the individual from the disease (Verovsek, 2019). A liberation, if you will, that frees the individual from any dependency on the treatment and allows him to act on his own accord to affect social change (Verovsek, 2019). Critical race theory, despite just now coming into the public consciousness, has been embedded in our education and legal system for decades. The reason the issues of race, white privilege, and systematic oppression are being thrust into the consciousness of our children is because self-reflection and self-awareness remain the core philosophies of behavioral and structural change driving critical theory’s application (Verovsek, 2019). Children, under the guise of critical race theory, are being forced to be self-critical and self-aware of concepts they are barely old enough to understand.  

Here is where it gets interesting. The founder of critical theory, Max Horkheimer, was not concerned with discovering truth as it is understood by the natural sciences (Verovsek, 2019). This could be related to the claim made by Raymond Bauer in The new man in Soviet Psychiatry, (1952, p. 26) that the Soviet Union issued a decree introducing the dialectical process of materialist philosophy to the scientific method, particularly concerning human behavior. Therefore, the objectivity of the problem-solving approach, based on critical theory, is questioned (Verovsek, 2019) as the problem itself may be identifiable, but the treatment, based on some grand utopian vision of the world (Verosvek, 2019) remains largely subjective. This means the idea of accusing the entire nation and her history, culture, and identity, of being racist to solve the so-called problem of racism, is delusional and only based on the opinions of those employing the method.

Critical race theory has ignited a firestorm of opposition in recent months. The reason for this can be found in the psychoanalytic approach of critical theory. According to Verosvek (2019), Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis posited the idea that introducing reasoned information can give rise to resistance and cause one to give excuses for pathological behavior. This can be viewed from either the right or left view. D’Andrea and Daniels (1999) have argued that explaining why America is racist has resulted in exactly that. The rationalizing of racist behavior justifying systematic discrimination. The more they push this theory the more resistance builds not to justify, or make excuses for our racism, but to show the hypocrisy of the left’s position. For instance, the book Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (Delgado, Stefanic & Harris, 2017, p. 8), makes the contradictory claim that taking a color-blind approach can only solve the most elemental causes of discrimination while also claiming that race is socially constructed and that we ignore the things that all humans have in common in favor of judging people on their skin color. Those two views cannot co-exist. If we as Americans take a color-blind approach it is because we see the similarities which bind us as human beings. We genuinely believe in the principle of equality under the law, whereas the first tenet of CRT, is to question that notion. The left wants to find racism in everything because it is racism that is being used as a vehicle of transformative change. On this topic, Amy Allen stated the following-

insofar as critical theory is a project of rational insight or enlightenment, it is not only insufficient for motivating emancipatory social change … but that it may actually be counterproductive. (2016)

While this article focused on the finer points of critical theory and critical race theory, the bigger point was drawing a correlation to what many people consider to be a conspiracy. The book  Brainwashing: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics, is described as being the writings of Lavrenti Beria and the psychological methods of indoctrinating a nation into the tenets of communism, without them even being aware. Chapter two discusses the view that man is nothing but a political organism who is a part of a larger body, the state. This article showed that the application of critical theory is incorporated very much in keeping with that view. That society itself is sick and to fix the problem, the individual cells which make up the larger body must be corrected.

 

Allen, A. (2016) Psychoanalysis and the methodology of critique. Constellations, 23(2) pp. 244-253.

Boham, J. (2015) Critical Theory. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy Critical Theory (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Brainwashing: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics,

Bruner, J. S. (1952) Foreword in The New Man in Soviet Psychology, p. xx. London. Oxford University Press.

D’Andrea, M., & Daniels, J. (1999) Exploring the psychology of white racism through naturalistic inquiry. Journal of counseling and development 77(1) pp. 93-101

Delgado, R., Stefanic, J., & Harris, A. Critical race theory: An introduction (2017) New York University Press

Verovsek, P. (2019) Social criticism as medical diagnosis: On the role of social pathology and crisis within critical theory. Thesis eleven, 155(1) pp. 109-126 

Be sure to check out my new book:

Without a Shot Indeed: Inducing Compliance to Tyranny Through Conditioning and Persuasion 



Sunday, June 6, 2021

The disturbing reality Americans are awakening to


Check out my new book Without a Shot Indeed: Inducing Compliance to Tyranny Through Conditioning and Persuasion

 

American’s are awakening to a disturbing reality. A truth that questions not only the trust they place in public officials but their ability to realize they are being propagandized. After a year and a half of constant fear-mongering, contradictory information, forced mask-wearing, and draconian lockdowns which cost many people everything, Covid-19 is being revealed for what it is, a lie. Not that the virus itself wasn’t making people sick, only that from the beginning, the information being presented was contradictory enough to warrant healthy skepticism. For example, Dr. Fauci published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine as early as March 2020, admitting that Covid-19 would be no more serious than seasonal flu with a death rate of less than one percent. Throughout the so-called pandemic, it was revealed that the PCR tests were producing false-positive rates, death numbers were inflated with deaths by comorbidities, which was admitted by Dr. Birx, and it was discovered the consequences of the lockdowns were far more devastating than the virus itself. The latest news is that Dr. Fauci’s emails revealed he funded gain of function research and knew that the Covid virus was “potentially” manufactured in the Wuhan lab. He also knew that wearing masks would do nothing to prevent healthy people from getting sick, as masks are designed to keep sick people from spreading an illness. Despite all the contradictions many Americans continue to comply by wearing masks and/or getting vaccinated. The whole situation gives credibility to Cass Sunstein’s assertion that people do not what to do with information that contradicts their previously held beliefs (Sunstein & Thaler, 2008, p. 37).

"Devising an effective fear appeal, is to some extent, an art, but it is an art that requires a scientist’s appreciation of the intricacies of human behavior. (Perloff, Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century)"

There is little doubt that the agenda was to shock the public into a state of consciousness where they would comply with any mandate which promised a return to “normalcy.” A consistent theme I have been discussing revolves around the idea of understanding how they employ propaganda so we can resist it. Joost Meerloo, in Rape of the Mind, for example, said that “If we are to survive as free men, we must face up to the problem of politically inspired mental coercion, with all its ramifications” (1961, p. 7). Cleon Skousen said in The Naked Communist “that if all men would study the problem and move across the world in one vast united front, we may achieve true freedom in our lifetime” (1958, p. 6). The common denominator here is if people don’t take the time to understand propaganda, they can never see through it. What is it that we are to understand? What do we study? The answer to those questions is as disturbing as it is simple. If people are to resist propaganda, they must understand that the global elite, the powers that be, the “deep state” have a very thorough understanding of human behavior and knew going into Covid-19 exactly what our responses would be and how to get us to comply.

In my new book Without a Shot Indeed: Inducing Compliance to Tyranny Through Conditioning and Persuasion I discuss fear and what it is they understand about our reactions to it. When it comes to Covid-19, they based their predictions on something called the Health Belief Model of behavioral change. There are several fear-based models from which they view our behavior and attempt to manipulate it. The Health Belief Model is the most pertinent because it revolves around people’s perception to health-based threats. Threats are largely shaped by what they refer to as cues to action. The following passage is from Without a Shot Indeed.

The Health Belief Model, according to an article from JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, is a model used to understand health-related choices. Behaviors are predicted in much the same way as other models. The desire to avoid a threat and the effectiveness of the offered solution are the main mediums in which certain actions are predicted. The model itself approaches the issue of behavioral choices both from Skinner’s view of stimulus-response and, a cognitive perspective. This means it is believed the benefits of taking appropriate actions to avoid illness will reinforce correct behavior from the former, while the latter suggests people are actively choosing which course of action is best based on perceived expectations. In other words, the Health Belief Model has been used to examine behaviors from both a stimulus-response and cognitive theory approach.

There are four main theoretical approaches that are believed to motivate human behavior when it comes to health-related threats. Take note of the keyword in each of these approaches. Perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived barriers and, perceived benefits. The word perceived, of course, relates to how the health threat is viewed by either the individual or society. Susceptibility refers to a person’s fear of their own vulnerability. Severity of course refers to the seriousness of the threat. The perceived benefits relate to the belief in the recommended course of action and the perceived barriers refer to the psychological costs of following such recommendations.

An article entitled Performative Pandemic Panic by J.D. Tuccille puts this into greater perspective in a way that hits home. According to Tuccille, a group called the Scientific Pandemic Influenza group on Behavior and Communications convened in the U.K. to help guide people into compliance with interventions recommended by medical experts. This past May, this group admitted that it used fear to persuade people into compliance with government objectives. How does this align with the Health Belief Model? In March 2020, the SPI-B acknowledged that their propaganda was not effectively pushing people into the desired behavioral changes and that Britain’s health ministers “needed to increase the perceived level of personal threat from Covid-19 because a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened" (Tuccille, 2021). The whole coronavirus plandemic assumed that a well-crafted fear message would induce compliance with their objectives, and sadly, they were right.

Perhaps every aspect of this fake pandemic was designed deliberately to give a false impression of its severity. This explains why the devastating lockdowns were something seen on a global level. It is possible the contradictory information cited earlier in this article could have been deliberately released to gauge public reaction and/or contribute to the confusion. As I noted in my article, Mainstream Media: Keeping the public trapped in a constructed narrative, those who study persuasive communications and our reactions to media know that as a whole, people will not do the necessary work to retrieve pertinent information from memory, to contribute to a decision they must make now. This is called The Heuristic/Sufficiency Principle (Shrum, 2002, pp. 71-72).

Tuccille concludes his article by suggesting officialdom has taken a massive blow, and that the powers that be, would be hard-pressed to get away with such a stunt again. This is wishful thinking. With the numbers of people still wearing masks and rushing to get vaccinated, I can guarantee they are taking note and trying to figure out better ways to craft their message. Sure, if they tried the same thing next year they would run into more resistance, but when the fifth graders who are forced to wear masks in school and stay six feet away from each other grow up, that’s another story altogether. Makes you wonder what the real objective has been.

 

Casiano, L. (2020, April 7) Birx says government is classifying all deaths of patients with coronavirus as covid-19, regardless of cause. Foxnews.com

Fauci, A.S., Lane, C. & Redfield, R. (2020) Covid-19 Navigating the Uncharted. The New England Journal of Medicine, 38(2), 1268-1269.

McCarthy, C. (2021, June 2) Early 2020 emails show Fauci knew coronavirus was ‘potentially’ engineered. Newsmax.com

Meerloo, J, A, M. Rape of the Mind. (1961) Martino Fine Books. Rape of The Mind: Joost Meerloo: Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming: Internet Archive

Shrum, L.J. Media consumption and perceptions of social reality: effects and underlying processes. From Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research (2002) Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, New Jersey. Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research, Second Edition (ethernet.edu.et) 

Skousen, C. The Naked Communist (1958) Ensign Publishing Company The Naked Communist : W. Cleon Skousen : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Sunstein, R., C. & Thaler, H., R. Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness. (2008) Caravan Books, Yale University Press. Richard_H._Thaler_Cass_R._Sunstein_Nudge_Improv. (14).pdf

Perloff, R. Dynamics of Persuasion: Communications and Attitudes in the 21st century. (2017) Routledge. New York

Tuccille, J.D. (2021, June 4) Performative Pandemic Panic. reason.com

Friday, June 4, 2021

Without a Shot Indeed: Inducing Compliance to Tyranny Through Conditioning and Persuasion





 Check out my new book! Deemed too controversial for Liberty Hill Press, Without a Shot Indeed shows you what they know about human behavior. With over 160 references to peer-reviewed psychology journals, this book shows you what they believe about us and how they manipulate people into compliance with tyranny. If you find yourself wondering how so many people were fooled into complying with Covid-19 mandates, this book is for you. 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Brock Chisholm's Psychiatry of Enduring Peace and Social Progress

 




These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:11)

 

America was founded on the idea that a responsible, God-fearing population possessed the morality for a people to live free from overbearing government. A constitution based on the principles of natural law, and the belief that when left to their own devices, men would make decisions that would contribute to not only their own prosperity but the nation’s as well, has guided our nation since its inception. America’s Christian beliefs and devotion to the ideals set forth in our founding documents, which many believe to be based on Biblical principles, have led to the greatest expansion of human freedom the world has ever seen. Freedom from a Biblical perspective means understanding that there is a universal purity, a code of morals that govern the human soul. A truth that, when pursued, leads to true love and compassion towards others while also allowing men to live in a state of genuineness. Striving to be better people as we try to tame our natural inclinations and fill our hearts, and enlighten our souls, with the word of God. Few could argue, as they wrestle with the question of how it happened, that America’s morality has slipped, and the concept of truth has been distorted and perverted to where its very existence has become nothing short of a scientific debate. Does a universal morality exist? How is true freedom defined? Being free to pursue truth or being free from so-called, self-described delusions of God and a higher purpose, of which some argue have served as mechanisms of control from generations past?

“Psychology has grown into the privileged but precarious position of defining with primary, if not exclusive authority, what the nature of man is.” (Bruner, Foreword in The new man in Soviet Psychology, 1952, p. xx)

Blaze Media recently ran a story highlighting a high school gym teacher being placed on administrative leave for refusing to acknowledge the school’s transgender policies. The teacher, Byron Cross, stated that he would not participate in lies that would defile the image of God in the minds of young, impressionable children. He was alluding to the undeniable truth that biologically, a boy cannot decide to be a girl and vice versa. This is a sickness that has infected the very soul of our nation. A direct result of disregarding the truth of God and allowing man to define our existence. America has been viewed as a Christian nation since our founding. How did something like transgenderism, the lie that children can choose their own gender identity, become so pervasive in our society? J.S. Bruner, in his foreword to The New Man in Soviet Psychology (1952, p. xx), writes that he who molds and defines the image of man does so with enormous consequences to the future of humanity, and this defining view can be an instrument of social control. American’s have allowed, through a slow and steady push of progressive ideology, social science to define our value. Psychology has replaced religion in almost all spheres of our lives, even in the very churches we attend.

“Fully persuaded that psychological training is necessary to counsel effectively, most pastors today refer their parishioners to psychologists and psychiatrists for treatment of serious emotional and behavioral disorders. Christian publishing houses pour out an endless stream of books written by psychologists to help believers solve their problems of living. These experts appear on Christian radio and television and produce film series to communicate their belief that pastors and churches can help parishioners with minor problems, but serious disorders must be entrusted to professional counselors.” (Bulkley, Learningtheology.com)

Pastors referring their parishioners to trained psychotherapists is antithetical to religion because, as I intend to show in this paper, the purpose of psychotherapy and psychology itself is to redefine man and his systems of morality. After World War Two, Canadian psychiatrist Brock Chisholm presented a paper to the World Health Organization entitled The Psychiatry of Enduring Peace and Social Progress: The Reestablishment of Peacetime Society. The purpose of this paper was to present psychiatry and psychology as a way of curbing man’s behavior in a time when the destruction of the world, made possible by the splitting of the atom, has become a feasible reality. Molding man to become a “global citizen” (Jui Wu, 2015) by curbing his anxieties caused by the inequality of capitalism, and the fears created by traditional belief systems was the goal. This is the point where psychology, opposed to religion, would shape and mold man’s nature and man would define his own existence. Chisholm, as many in the field of psychology do, viewed religious morality as the problem. It would be the responsibility, as Abe Fortas wrote in the foreword, of the church, school, home, and government to examine, understand and treat the ills which plague society and the individual, and it is the role of the psychiatrist to eradicate those causes.

Chisholm wrote the primary cause of man’s aggression, the reason we fight wars is what he refers to as “the lowest common denominator in all civilizations” (1946, p. 7), morality. The false belief that there is a universal right and wrong is the primary cause of all “fear, guilt and feelings of inferiority that cause people the need to control other’s behaviors and beliefs” (1946, p. 7). It is the conviction of truth as a universal concept that prevents maturity and rational thinking, and bowing down to the doctrine of sin and the existence of evil, which has prevented true progress (1946, p. 7). Religious belief is a dogma, writes Chisholm (1946, p. 8) which prevents men from reasoning and enjoying their inclination to follow their natural urges. Religion is viewed as something that restricts men’s ability to think freely while imposing limitations on where that thinking may lead. This is true, Christian morality would not encourage the type of free-thinking that leads to encouraging children to defy their given gender. Christian morality encourages the pursuit of truth. It is the difference in the way psychiatry and religion define truth that has led America astray. From the perspective of Chisholm and others in psychiatry, truth is defined in terms of Darwinist evolution, and because of that, it is the job of psychiatry to guide thinking and behavior away from the neurosis of religion and towards a more natural way of thinking. Darwin first posited the idea that man is nothing more than an evolved ape whose morality should be man-centered only up to a certain point (Rachels, 1990, p. 173). Because we evolved from animals, and not created by a divine being, it is logical, according to a concept known as moral individualism (Rachels, 1990, p. 173) to accept the notion that man has no greater value than any other animal. Moral individualism suggests that when judging whose life has more value, an animal, or a human, the characteristics of each should be the deciding factor. It was the introduction of Darwinism to the world which gave science the needed philosophy to redefine what it means to be human. If man is an evolved ape, and not the creation of an all-powerful god, the concept of right and wrong and good and evil is easily dispelled and cast aside.

The objective of all psychotherapy writes Chisholm (1946, p. 9), is the “re-interpretation and eventually, eradication of the concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child training.” There is not a public school in America which does not have in its employ, counselors, and psychologists who monitor behavior and prescribe drugs to contain it. Chisholm suggested elementary education should be working along with those in psychiatry to do away with the prejudices of right and wrong and good and evil (1946, p. 9). It is the job of the psychiatrist to train psychotherapists and teachers into the ways of training children which will free them of such burdens (1946, p. 9). Psychology and sociology, and what Chisholm refers to as “the sciences of living” (1946, p. 9) should be dominant in elementary schooling while more advanced subjects should be saved for university studies.

With the other human sciences, psychiatry must now decide what is to be the immediate future of the human race. No one else can. This is the primary responsibility of psychiatry. (Chisholm, 1956, p. 11)

American’s continue to watch in astonishment as that which makes no sense challenges our basic sense of morality. We sit in frustration and helplessness as we watch our schools indoctrinate our children into transgenderism while also instilling in them a belief that our values are outdated, misguided, and not suitable for the world developing around them. We are blissfully unaware that even our most cherished institutions have allowed the poisoned view of psychology to replace religion. Unbeknownst to most, the system that is seemingly there to help exists solely to eradicate our beliefs of what is correct behavior, and replace them with evolutionary thinking to strip us of the morals which Chisholm holds, are the “lowest common denominator of all civilizations” (1946, p. 7) Values which the psychiatrist believes lead to the fears, prejudices, and feelings of inferiority responsible for man’s aggressive behavior and need to control others.

It is due time that those in the psychiatric profession take a hard look at their own behavior. Feeling the need to strip man of his religious belief is driven by only one thing. The fear of admitting that God exists in the first place. It could be theoretically argued that many of America’s problems didn’t come about until the Supreme Court ruled prayer in public school to be unconstitutional in 1962. The first amendment was radically interpreted to mean freedom from religion, opposed to freedom of religion. The concepts of right and wrong and universal truth have been gone for decades, and we are now weeping the whirlwind with generations of kids growing up to believe they can choose their own gender. As if that will lead to greater peace and prosperity.

Bruner, J. S. (1952) Foreword in The New Man in Soviet Psychology, p. xx. London. Oxford University Press.

Buckley, E. (2010) Is psychology needed in the church? Learntheology.com

Chisholm, G. B. (1946). THE PSYCHIATRY OF ENDURING PEACE AND SOCIAL PROGRESS (THE REËSTABLISHMENT OF PEACETIME SOCIETY)-The William Alanson White Memorial Lectures, Second Series. Psychiatry, 9(1), 1.

Rachels, J. Created from animals: The moral implications of Darwinism. (1990) Oxford, New York. Oxford University Press.

Supreme Court rules prayer unconstitutional 1962. Supreme Court Rules School Prayer Unconstitutional (historycentral.com)

Wu, H. Y.-J. (2015). World citizenship and the emergence of the social psychiatry project of the World Health Organization, 1948–c.1965. History of Psychiatry26(2), 166–181.

 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Same old rhetoric: Leftist’s admit they must discredit opponents to make message more effective

 The assumption that people cannot investigate for themselves, or make decisions that reflect their best interests, is prevalent among social scientists. Cass Sunstein’s book Nudge, for example, is based on the concept that people’s choices can be manipulated because they do not recognize what to do with conflicting information. Studies into mainstream media have suggested that individuals do not do the work necessary to retrieve pertinent memories when decision making (Shrum, 2002, p. 71), and they only rely on the most recently received stimuli when forming opinions or judgments. These are beliefs formed by the way social scientists regard humans in general. A bias driven by the idea that we are nothing more than stimulus-response organisms, and evolutionary instincts, opposed to free will, force our actions. Behavioral Psychologist B.F. Skinner (1971, p. 101), stated this viewpoint should guide any study of human behavior. The idea of free will allows for too much variance and prohibits any standardization of behavioral analysis. This view dominates science and is, at its core, is fundamentally flawed. People do think and investigate on their own, while also coming to sensible conclusions. Citizen inquiry into controversial Covid-19 data has shaken the scientific establishment to the point where they are freely admitting they must find new ways to present their message. Online studies into groups that question the mainstream narrative are showing they not only recognize how to do research but can use it to challenge the powers that be.

A recent paper entitled Viral Visualizations: How coronavirus skeptics use orthodox data practices to promote unorthodox science online highlights how effectively conservative groups questioning the Covid-19 narrative, follow and interpret the so-called science. Scholars from the prestigious MIT and Wellesley college discuss the methods in which “anti-maskers” could interpret the same data justifying the extreme measures combating the pandemic and productively make counter-arguments. While they take note detailing the competent methodologies in which these groups compiled and interpreted data, they also seem to harbor a resentment that anyone would challenge the scientific consensus. They take the view that science is settled, and we should just follow expert opinions.

For example, the writers acknowledge that anti-mask groups are “very prolific in their creation of counter-visualizations, but they leverage data and their visual representations to advocate for and enact policy changes on the city, county, and state levels” (Lee, Yang, Inchoco, Jones & Satayanarayan, 2021, p. 2). This quote suggests there is some concern that anti-mask groups are finding unsettling truths in the data which suggests lockdown policies, social distancing and mask-wearing are unnecessary. Anti-mask groups also tend to be “more sophisticated in their understanding of how scientific knowledge is socially constructed than their ideological adversaries, who espouse naive realism about the “objective” truth of public health data” (Lee et al. 2021, p. 2).

The writers view scientific inquiry as a means to an end, an unquestionable consensus that defines what we should believe. Anti-mask groups reject this and view the scientific method as “radically egalitarian and individualist” (Lee et al. 2021, p. 15). The writers criticize Covid-19 skeptics for their view that scientific rigor should “prize rationality and autonomy” (Lee et al. 2021, p. 15). In other words, people who can interpret their data and use it to challenge the status quo threaten them. The article points to issues like Covid-19 being labeled as the primary cause of death in many patients when in fact, it was revealed that comorbidities caused most fatalities. In September 2020, the CDC admitted that 94% of coronavirus deaths were the result of other underlying medical conditions. The writers refer to this as a sleight of hand used to manipulate anti-masker data interpretations. Another point of discontent made by anti-mask groups is the inaccuracy of the data. The PCR tests, for example, were running a high rate of false positives because they were running a cycle of 36. Shortly after President Biden was inaugurated, they dropped the cycle count to 28 to reflect a more accurate rate. An anti-mask investigative team in Texas discovered a backlog of unaudited cases which was contributing to the state’s high positive rate (Lee et al. 2021, p. 13). A similar thing happened in Oklahoma. Late last summer they started adding probable cases dating as far back as March 2020. They admitted this would inflate the case numbers. Shortly after this news was reported, case number skyrocketed.  The writers of this paper are not arguing these points are made up or based on misinformation. It shocks them to their core people can come to these conclusions and are rejecting the mainstream narrative.

How did they discover that anti-mask groups are so effective in compiling and interpreting their data? They infiltrated social media groups and ran studies so they could better learn to frame the message. They refer to this as Digital Ethnography (Lee et al. 2021, p. 4) and readily admit to lurking in online communities to document their attitudes and online activities.

“Using “lurking,” a mode of participating by observing specific to digital platforms, we propose “deep lurking” as a way of systematically documenting the cultural practices of online communities. Our methods here rely on robust methodological literature in digital ethnography, and we employ a case study approach to analyze these Facebook groups. To that end, we followed five Facebook groups (each with a wide range of followers, 10K-300K) over the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic, and we collected posts throughout the platform that included terms for “coronavirus” and “visualization” with Facebook’s Crowd Tangle tool. In our deep lurking, we archived web pages and took field notes on the following: posts (regardless of whether or not they included “coronavirus” and “data”), subsequent comments, Facebook Live streams, and photos of in-person events. We collected and analyzed posts from these groups from their earliest date to September 2020.” (Lee et al. 2021, p. 4)

Social scientists routinely infiltrate online groups to assess attitudes, opinions, and beliefs to gauge how effectively their message gains the desired compliance. For instance, the science journal JMIR Public Health and Surveillance conducted a study called Use of Health Belief Model–Based Deep Learning Classifiers for COVID-19 Social Media Content to Examine Public Perceptions of Physical Distancing: Model Development and Case Study. The aim of this study was to infiltrate social media communities and use the Health Belief Model as a framework from which they could evaluate attitudes towards social distancing interventions. The Health Belief Model is a model of behavioral change designed to examine people’s reactions to perceived health threats. By carefully analyzing social media interactions in response to information put out by health authorities, those framing the messages meant to influence behavior could change the message, as necessary. This study may not have contributed to the article being discussed; however, it does provide an example of how social media groups were infiltrated to acquire data.

There is a long-held belief that people cannot think for themselves and the scientific community is becoming frustrated that this is proving to be untrue. The question then becomes, how do you reframe the message so that anti-mask groups appear less credible? You do what leftists always do, accuse them of racism. Lee et al. (2021, p. 15) admit that convincing people to adopt the desired restrictive measures pertaining to Covid-19 will take more than accurate data. It will require “a sustained engagement with the social world of visualizations and the people who make or interpret them.” In other words, they need to make counter-arguments to steer people away from the anti-mask groups and the effective ways they are interpreting the data. They do this by equating those questioning the Covid narrative to anti-government groups and Christian fundamentalists who are “threatened by evolutionary biology” (Lee et al. 2021, p. 14). They even make the subtle suggestion that it is the questioning of mainstream science, and government institutions, which leads persuadable people to commit acts like the so-called insurrection at the capital this past January (Lee et al. 2021, p. 15). Finally, the writers readily admit that it would be necessary to appeal to the culture of wokeness to draw people away from anti-masker data interpretations.

Like data feminists, anti-mask groups similarly identify problems of political power within datasets that are released (or otherwise withheld) by the US government. Indeed, they contend that the way COVID data is currently being collected is non-neutral, and they seek liberation from what they see as an increasingly authoritarian state that weaponizes science to exacerbate persistent and asymmetric power relations. This paper shows that more critical approaches to visualization are necessary and that the frameworks used by these researchers (e.g., critical race theory, gender analysis, and social studies of science) are crucial to disentangling how anti-mask groups mobilize visualizations politically to achieve powerful and often horrifying ends. (Lee et al. 2021, p. 3)

American’s are waking up, and the establishment that believes people are nothing more than programmable automatons doesn’t know what to do about it. Aside from engaging in the same old rhetoric, they count on to discredit their opponents, they sit helplessly as people prove themselves to be capable of challenging the status quo, using their own systems against them. This is the type of citizen engagement that is necessary to retain liberty and hold government accountable. Unfortunately, leftist tactics of discrediting the opposition are effective at silencing many. While there are people effectively challenging the narrative, the masses remain naively compliant and seem unwilling to take a stand in their own interest. Anti-mask groups interpreting the data must at some point, realize what the left has; it will take more than skilled data interpretation to shine the light on the truth. It will take “a sustained engagement with the social world of visualizations and the people who make or interpret them” (Lee et al. 2021, p. 15). We must find ways to overcome the labels thrown on us by the left and engage with those sitting on the sidelines while also, bringing social credibility to our movement.

 

Bondy, D. (2020, September 1) CDC: 94% of Covid-19 Deaths Had Underlying Medical Conditions. MSN.com

Lee, C., Yang, T., Inchoco, D.G., Jones, M. G. & Satyanarayan, A. (2021) Viral Visualizations: How Coronavirus skeptics use orthodox data practices to promote unorthodox science online. CHI’21: Proceedings on the 2021 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Lenthang, M. (2020, August 30) Experts: US Covid-19 Positivity Rate Due to ‘Too Sensitive’ Tests. Daily Mail

Mills, R. (2020, September 4) How, When and Why Oklahoma Will Begin Adding Probable Covid-19 to its Daily Reporting. KRMG.com

Raamkumar, A., Tan, G, S. & Wee, L, H. (2020) Use of the Health Belief Model-based deep learning classifiers for Covid-19 social media content to examine public perceptions of physical distancing: Model development and case study. JMIR Public health and surveillance. 6(3)

Shrum, L.J. Media consumption and perceptions of social reality: effects and underlying processes. From Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research (2002) Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, New Jersey. Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research, Second Edition (ethernet.edu.et) 

Skinner, B. F. Beyond Freedom and Dignity. (1971) Pelican Books, Middlesex England. BF-Skinner-Beyond-Freedom-&-Dignity-1971.pdf (selfdefinition.org)

Sunstein, R., C. & Thaler, H., R. Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness. (2008) Caravan Books, Yale University Press. Richard_H._Thaler_Cass_R._Sunstein_Nudge_Improv. (14).pdf

 

 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Understanding Reflexive Reaction to Speech and the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion

 



“He who dictates and formulates the words and phrases we use, he who is master of the press and radio, is master of the mind.” (Meerloo, 1961, p. 28)

 

To what extent does language shape and guide human behavior? Do the words we use and hear every day, produce automatic, reflexive attitudes which govern the way we interact with our environment and each other? There is an awakening to the idea of media being used as a tool of mass persuasion, pushing people into accepting a totalitarian agenda. There is little doubt, media is organized in a way that shapes beliefs and opinions towards social issues. Conservative and liberal news programs alike, describe society’s problems and potential solutions from the pre-defined political outlooks of Republican or Democrat. The beliefs of individuals within these respective parties reflect the narrative their chosen side is pushing. Controversial, attention-grabbing stories, are often framed from the left-wing view, forcing the right into a defensive posture. People on both sides instinctively stick to the script, which is undoubtedly designed to “condition and mold man’s mind so that its comprehension is confined to a narrow, totalitarian concept of the world” (Meerloo, 1961, pg. 22).

In Rape of the Mind (p. 28) Meerloo discusses Pavlovian conditioning and how it pertains to speech reflexes. He specifically states that coercion through force, which is the traditional means of gaining compliance in totalitarian states, can be replaced with a “new organization of the means of communication.” A predictable pattern of thinking can be created, according to Meerloo (p. 28), through the distribution of ready-made opinions which guide public perceptions. Pavlov found that reactions to speech are as much of a conditioning tool as any external stimulus. This was something he referred to as indirect conditioning or, stimuli of the second-order (Meerloo, 1961, p. 28). Joseph Stalin published a piece in 1950 titled Concerning Marxism in Linguistics, which was published in the International Journal of American Linguistics in 1952, where he discusses human language acting as “adaptive equipment” in response to our environment (Meerloo, 1961, p. 28). Certain tones and sounds, over centuries of evolution, have produced reflexive responses which can be used to predict human reaction to certain, social stimuli (Meerloo, 1961, p. 28).  Stalin himself states that language, opposed to culture-defining what society does or thinks, describes a “how” of thought patterns (Stalin, 1950.) He goes onto suggest that over time, and even through conquest, languages can retain their basic grammatical structure and words while adapting to new laws of development. What he is essentially saying is, and he is looking at this from an evolutionary perspective, speech and our reactions to certain sounds we make, can and have produced reflexive reactions in our behavioral patterns.

Stalin was not the only one who saw the potential of the human language as a mechanism of control. Russian psychologist, Sergej Dobrogaev, has done extensive work in this area, picking up where Pavlov left off (Chown, 2008). Dobrogaev was studying Pavlov’s work in 1918 and realized that human speech itself presents an indication of how the human brain responds to stimulation and, that it was a manifestation of preconditioned responses (Chown, 2008). In other words, human beings have theoretically, been responding to the same words, tones, and sounds the same way for centuries. From their perspective, our reaction to language has evolved into automatic reflexive responses which they have taken to calling, reflexive theory. Automatic responses to language are created through what Dobrogaev refers to as acoustic characteristics. Language, as a product of the social environment, creates a neurological pathway in the brain in the cranial zones where the processing of information takes place (Chown, 2008).

“The more frequently a particular acoustic combination is reproduced within a society, the quicker the most essential, socially significant, information on this acoustic sign is processed by a language learner, enabling him or her to recognize the constant elements of the sign in the individual manner of pronunciation of a speaker. Thus, the process of recognition of language elements represented in human speech can be defined as a conditioned reflex, or, as Dobrogaev puts it, a socio-physiological reflex. The existence of a phoneme is therefore largely pre-conditioned by the ability and physiological “readiness” of the members of a society to recognize it as one of the typical elements of their language.” (Chown, 2008, p. 314)

How does any of this apply to today’s mass media approach to presenting information? According to the book Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research (p. 155), attitude change through media does not occur because of the information the media presents, but how our reactions to such information is later taken advantage of (Petty, Priester & Brinol, 2002, p. 157). This would imply that there is a certain understanding of our reaction to language, and messaging is deliberately planned to invoke that reaction. It was found that people often distort the information coming in (Petty, Priester & Brinol, 2002, p. 157), and effective attempts at persuading attitudes revolved around overcoming the barriers of people’s initial reactions. When people receive new information, it is often processed in a way that aligns with existing biases, therefore, messaging meant to influence attitude change must be tailored to overcome this reaction. Simply increasing the frequency of the information is not enough. There is also a two-step approach to attitude change which holds that the initial media message is only partially responsible for changing attitudes and opinions, and it is the community leader’s continued pushing of the message that is most effective (Petty, Priester & Brinol, 2002, p. 158).

Like all other studies of human behavior, the study of our reactions to media is broken down into various models. The model most in use today, developed in response to the failures of other models to adequately explain why people do or do not change their opinions, is The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion (Petty, Priester & Brinol, 2002, p. 165). This process places people into two categories. Those who give a thoughtful analysis based on past experiences, and the merits of the information being presented into consideration before changing their position, and those who do not. This is known as taking the central or peripheral route of persuasion (Petty, Priester & Brinol, 2002, pp. 165-168). The peripheral route suggests that attitude change can occur because people’s ability to process the information is low, and all it takes are simple “cues to action” in the messaging to produce the desired effect (Petty, Priester & Brinol, 2002, p. 168).  The central route is just the opposite and requires tweaking of the message. It is necessary, according to Petty, Priester & Brinol (2002, p. 170) to separate the public into those who may have a genuine interest in the message, and those who do not, when it comes to crafting the information meant to influence behavior. The most important element is how the information presented is perceived to have a direct impact on the individual (Petty, Priester & Brinol, 2002, p. 170). Another important element when it comes to effective messaging is the trustworthiness of the source.

Interestingly, Petty, Priester & Brinol (2002, p. 156) acknowledge The War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938 as being an instrumental event in understanding how mass communications affect people’s behaviors. The book Invasion from Mars: A Study of the Psychology of Panic  (see this PDF) highlights how the trust of those in the broadcast who portrayed media figures played a key role in influencing people’s reactions. It was also found that people who had the wherewithal to check the actual sources of the broadcast were least likely to have been influenced by the broadcast. Both points highlight the relevance of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion.

“Such rare occurrences provide opportunities for social scientists to study mass behavior. They must be exploited when they come. Although the social scientist, unfortunately, cannot usually predict such situations and have his tools of investigation ready to analyze the phenomenon while it is still on the wing, he can begin his work before the effects of the crisis are over and memories are blurred. The situation created by the broadcast was one which shows us how the common man reacts in a time of stress and strain. It gives us insights into his intelligence, his anxieties, and his needs, which we could never get by tests or strictly experimental studies. The panic situation we have investigated had all the flavor of everyday life and, at the same time, provided a semi-experimental condition for research. In spite of the unique conditions giving rise to this particular panic, the writer has attempted to indicate throughout the study the pattern of the circumstances which, from a psychological point of view, might make this the prototype of any panic.” (Cantril, War of the Worlds, 1952)

There is a high likelihood, based on the information presented in this article, that media messages are based not only on what they know about human behavior but how that behavior is shaped by our response to language. Stalin and Dobrogaev both believed that the sounds and tones associated with language have created evolutionary, reflexive reactions in our behavioral patterns. Is this something that is well known among those that craft information in a way to gain our compliance with certain agendas, such as mandatory masking, vaccines, or even gun control? It is certainly possible. Social scientists have found however that gaining that compliance is not always as easy as crafting an effective message. Understanding our reactions to such messages, and how to craft them in a way that aligns with our pre-existing beliefs and attitudes is essential. This revelation gave birth to the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion. This is the model most likely used in gaining compliance with coronavirus mandates as both sides of the media, left and right, are pushing the narrative while ignoring the obvious contradictions and controversies. If certain tones and words are believed to influence certain behaviors, we must understand this knowledge is certainly being employed against us to manipulate our perceptions and guide our thoughts and beliefs.

 

Cantril, H. (1952) The Invasion from Mars: A study on the Psychology of Panic. Princeton University Press.

Chown, K. (2008) Reflex theory in a linguistic context: Sergej M. Dobrogaev on the social nature of speech production. Stud East Eur Thought 60, 307–319.

Meerloo, J, A, M. Rape of the Mind. (1961) Martino Fine Books. Rape of The Mind: Joost Meerloo: Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming: Internet Archive

Petty, E, P., Driester, R, J. & Brinol, P. Mass Media Attitude Change: Implications of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion. From Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research (2002) Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, New Jersey.

Taylor, D. (1952) Concerning Marxism in Linguistics. International Journal of American Linguistics, 18(4), pp. 273-275

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Trump vs. Cuomo: A carefully constructed narrative designed to reinforce support for Covid vaccine

 

There is an interesting thing happening amidst the election turmoil that, in my opinion, shows exactly how the elite control the narrative and guide our thinking. Many people believed that the election would mark the end of the so-called Covid 19 pandemic. This is despite Donald Trump initiating operation warp speed to develop a vaccine. The Trump administration has, no matter what people believe, given over a billion dollars to Bill Gates’ vaccine research institute, Gavi. This was after allegedly pulling funding from the World health Organization over their misinformation campaigns concerning coronavirus. If Donald Trump was concerned that the W.H.O. was lying about the threat posed by Covid, why invest in operation warp speed at all? The coronavirus threat was never going to go away. In fact, Donald Trump promised that the vaccine would be quickly distributed by the United States military. This leaves some people scratching their heads as to why die-hard Trump supporters would not be questioning this action. An interesting narrative is developing which will almost guarantee conservatives who would normally oppose forced vaccinations, will willingly line up to get them in the name of supporting their favorite president.

I have watched the Trump presidency from an interesting perspective of someone who also studies Alinsky tactics, the Hegelian Dialectic, and methods of persuasion and conditioning. I have believed from the get-go that the more the left opposed Trump, the more his supporters loved him. In one of my recent articles I described how the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings were nothing but a show to hide the fact that Brett Kavanaugh was in fact, not the pro-life Supreme Court Justice we were all led to believe he was. Because the left was viciously attacking him, no one was paying attention to the fact that he was assuring pro-abortion senators that he would never vote against Roe v. Wade, because it was established law. The more they attacked him, the more unquestionable the support from the right became.

I think right now, Trump supporters are being “persuaded” into accepting mandatory vaccines in the event he may win the election. This is being done through the carefully constructed narrative that a known anti-Trump leftist, who is known to be a vile American hating liberal, is accusing Trump of bragging about his vaccine progress because he is upset about losing the election. What Cuomo said is that Trump is fast tracking the vaccine to get one approved before leaving office. You know, so he can take the credit.

If you step back and look at this through the lens of the Hegelian Dialectic, or methods of persuasive communications, it becomes laughable. On one side, Cuomo is promising not to deliver the vaccine to New Yorkers because people don’t trust Trump and the other, Trump is promising to not let New York have it at all because Cuomo won’t give it to his people immediately. I mean, if you cannot see this for the melodramatic soap opera it is, I do not know what to say. I believe the intent is to get you to support the vaccine. Another example is Biden’s coronavirus advisor. He is suggesting that the rest of the world be given the vaccine before American’s. Honestly, I am ok with that but, this will likely reinforce support for Trump’s vaccine efforts.

In my opinion, and I know they are not popular sometimes, this is a classic example of an orchestrated conflict designed to influence and guide our thoughts and actions. If you look at the facts, Donald Trump is indeed planning on using the military to distribute a vaccine that is not really needed. Covid 19 has a fatality rate of .26 percent and as of now, they are only discussing an increase in cases, not deaths. Furthermore, over the past six months there has been so much contradictory information that should have stopped the Covid 19 scare in its tracks. Like the CDC readjusting the numbers because most deaths occurred due to pre-existing ailments among the patients who also, had Covid. The CDC admitted that hospitals were being paid to inflate the numbers, they had a financial incentive. Most importantly, the devastating effects this is having on our nations youth as suicide, depression and anxiety rates skyrocket due to the social consequences of lockdowns, unnecessary quarantines and forced masking. Why is Donald Trump letting this go on if he is not intending to mandate a vaccine? I am sure I will hear all kinds of answers ranging from being called a liberal troll, to claims that Trump is about to spring his last trap, finally putting the left in their rightful place. In which case, I bet you line up and get your vaccine.