Monday, June 29, 2015

Are We Being Manipulated?

I tend to think:

YES!

based on articles like this.  I'm starting to feel like a lab rat.

This is not a new phenomenon - a book I read a few months ago (written by Leftists, but worth buying because of the insight into the methods they are now using to push, prod, and NUDGE the population towards their way of thinking, acting, and being) is Nudge.  It opened my eyes to the various ways you can incrementally move people's actions and thinking towards your goals.

One way to APPARENTLY change the political line-up is to make it as easy as possible for people to "join the club" - that is, to align themselves with the Popular Kids - which Facebook did with the rainbow-colored overlay for profile pictures.  After seeing most of your peers and family show up with the rainbow hues, many people follow the crowd - rather like how after sufficient numbers of people on a city curb jaywalk, you will usually find yourself crossing the street with them. It's human nature - we are a generally social species, and most people find it uncomfortable to stand apart from the crowd.

I don't, personally. Whether it's my Dad's hillbilly ancestors, my whole family's quirkiness, my oddball status during school, or my nerdy nature, I've just always stood apart from the crowd.  This tendency made adolescence acutely painful for me - that's the age of maximal pressure to conform - but, once past that point, I've generally shrugged off attempts to corral me. It's put me in conflict with many, including DH, who, at heart, is a conformer (that's not a bad thing, just who he is).

Whatever method the Leftists used against Justice Kennedy, it worked - and how! As the article pointed out, the Leftists on the Court vote as a block - they don't have to work to decide the issue, it's a reflexive action.

And the pressure to conform is being enhanced by social media. Most people are even less likely to express opinions different from their friends on Facebook and other media sites - so, for many people, the online world is becoming an echo chamber.

This would explain a thing I've noticed - so many people, when I've mentioned an issue, or a story I'd read about, respond by saying "where did you HEAR about that?" in a tone that indicated that they assumed that I'd been loitering around lurid conspiracy sites or neo-Nazi hideouts. In fact, it usually was something I'd picked up reading relatively mainstream outlets - Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Foxnews, CNN, Huffington Post, Instapundit, etc. Not crazed, fevered loners, just news aggregation sites or original reporting.

But, they weren't hearing about it. In part, because their news/information was largely supplied by sources like Facebook and Twitter, they had narrowed their information inputs to that introduced by people who already thought like them. Rather than search out new thoughts or interesting ideas, they had become passive consumers of oddities, "everyone agrees" posts, and superficial news digests/headlines only info.

The feed was passing on only filtered news and opinions, not the broad range of viewpoint that actually existed.  So, when I brought up information that hadn't hit their feed, it was as strange - and, to them, unbelievable - as a lone transmission from another world. It was rejected automatically, dismissed as a quirk/rumor/hoax, and, ultimately, forgotten. Didn't matter that I provided plentiful links to the original sources - they never checked them out.

Over time, since so few people seemed to agree with them, many relatively conservative people moved to embrace, or at least, accept as inevitable/normal/unremarkable the Progressive/Liberal/Leftist views on social issues. They fell victim to the Spiral of Silence. I highly suggest you check out that link.

The Precious Little Snowflake Syndrome is going to be contributing to the homogenization and conformity of Future America. Too many kids are being raised to value approval, rather than autonomy.

My concerns are primarily about the natural consequences of the decision - imposition of taxes on non-conforming churches (Catholic and Mormon, to start with), push for loss of employment and other sanctions on those who dissent, particularly in public employment - cops, government workers, teachers. At first, it will be VOLUNTARY posting of Rainbows in the classroom or wearing Rainbow Ribbons on your lapel, followed by "suggested" attendance at gay weddings/events of other staffers. Later, it will be more blatant coercion to contribute to Gay Causes, "include" Gay-Friendly content in courses (Math & Science teachers might find this tough to implement), and pressure to PUBLICLY AFFIRM GAYNESS/Trans People/Whatever. Make no mistake about it - You will be WATCHED, not only for YOUR actions/lack of action, but to make sure that you don't support those who publicly dissent.

Some are looking for a Saint Thomas More for our times.  Perhaps rather than looking for a saint, we ought to be acting like saints.

While I can, I'm going to watch A Man for All Seasons - before some Censor decides that it's a thinly veiled piece of H8 towards GAY MARRIAGE!

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