Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Opinions, Evidence, manipulation : the tools of political seduction.

We can argue about opinions. We can disagree, and argue for our opinions from different perspectives.

That is the mainstream media game, where opinions are so often touted as facts or 'alternative facts', where the deliberate omission of key evidence is a central ploy in their narratives and manipulations. One cannot gain a accurate picture of something if much of the detail is deliberately omitted.

We cannot argue about evidence that exists, that is well documented, that is reliable. It is there.

Which is why the Main Stream Media, and the other sources of propaganda and false/fake news avoids this.

The Invasion of Iraq was and remains a War Crime. Fact.

No mainstream media has reported this fact, alongside the various national and international statutes and ratified treaties that prohibit war and make the prosecution of any war of aggression a criminal offence.

The entire political structure of power depends on the electorate and intelligentsia arguing opinions.

Was Saddam a nasty dictator? 

Yes, he was, albeit his system was much weakened by decades of sanctions. He was not a threat to any State in the West, or anywhere else for that matter, apart from Iraq itself, and then only in terms of being unable or unwilling to help the Iraqi civil Government deal with it's issues.

Was it morally right to remove him?

The only people who had a legal right, and the moral right to remove him were the Iraqi people. They were not afforded that option. Their rights in the matter did not matter to the international community.

Does Blair's opinion that he did the right thing at the time, bearing in mind all available evidence at the time, and the setting of post 9/11 stand as evidence?

Yes, evidence of either his duplicity or his insanity, or both. But it does not get him off the War Crimes charge.

Opinion being touted as evidence in the media, and in politics, as a tactical weapon used against entire populations, to distract, confuse, divide those populations.

"God told me to do it!" George Bush.

The reason why opinion is given such a status, is because most opinions, lacking the evidence, are reflections of personally held belief systems.

There is a lot of emotional attachment to those beliefs.

This means that when a personally held opinion is challenged, the person holding the opinion feels as if it is a personal attack, and the fight or flight sequence kicks in, and it all gets quite nasty very quickly.

So to rile folk, attack their personally held opinions or beliefs. And to get folk to fight each other, attack each sides opinions, using proxies within each community... to make it look like each community is attacking the other. Fake News.

If I want to 'save the world', or work for a healthier political set-up, then  I must study grooming, and I must study my own manipulative behaviours where they occur, and deal with them so that I never manipulate and that will go some way to ensure that I am less likely to manipulated.

Nobody else can do that for me.

This is a task that requires ruthless self honesty and some practice.

A hard road, yet worthy of my best efforts.

It will go some way towards ensuring that trolls, bullies or seducers,  liars, cheats, thieves and political demagogues have less purchase on my conscious and unconscious choices.

I do not watch tripe such as East Enders, Neighbours, X-Factor, Big Brother, The BBC News, etc as I find it deeply uncomfortable to watch dysfunctional behaviour normalised.

I am not 'moved' by puerile movies or triggered into unconscious reactive behaviours by tabloid headlines.

The hero kisses the girl in the midst of a battle.

American troops are scarred by their activities, whilst the deaths of the 'enemy' are relatively consequence free.

Spies are good. etc. it's all dodgy as...

The choice is mine, for I can alter my behaviour far easier than I can attempt to alter another's behaviour.

That is my primary sphere of influence.

Start here and work outwards.

In terms of professional manipulation of people through access to their often unconscious behaviours, I have written in previous blogs about the Behavioural Insights Team, originally attached to the British Government Cabinet, now a private enterprise drawing a steady earner from the public purse for advising Government on psychological tactics to 'nudge' folk into 'better behaviours'....

The assumption behind this 'nudge' is that some people are in a better position or are better 'qualified' to tell others what they should and should not be doing, but becausthose lessor able people are so 'resistant' then they need to be manipulated into behavioural changes. For their own good.

Another area of professional manipulation of electorates is big data, psychographics (psychometrics) and targeting known vulnerabilities to be triggered by 'messaging'.

Big data is a useful tool, and has many applications that will prove to be very valuable in terms of improving people's lives. But, like all tools, it can be used in benign or malign ways.

Brexit and the 2016 US election were new in that a highly sophisticated use of user data across a variety of platforms, apps, media, devices was used in real time to track and locate targets, and then that information about the target was used to designed specific 'messaging' to tap into their vulnerabilities, insecurities, prejudices.

This targeting was aimed at supporters, potential supporters and the other side.

It was coordinated in real time with media outlets and blogs etc with the intention of influencing the electorate, way, way, way beyond any potential that the Russians might have been able to affect. There is plenty of evidence of real time trolling by the media, of issuing reports designed to inflame anger and escalate hatred.

If anything the Russia influence was a distraction, a sleight of hand to hide the real hidden influence. It is basically an advanced high tech form of bullying. A beating that leaves no marks...

Russia aside, none of this would be possible if people in general were less susceptible to being manipulated, if critical thinking and evidence based policy making were core subjects of secondary schooling.

That is one of the key problems the world and all people's face as we slide into 2017.

Kindest regards


"Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe"

*If you like this post, if you found the themes resonant, if you agree in part, would you be kind enough to let others know about it? I would really appreciate that. You could drop a comment too, if you felt the urge. Or not. I will moderate contributions, and block any that are abusive. For obvious reasons. Thank you for reading.

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