What do you believe? What do you stand for? What ideal would you die for? Anything? Most of us believe our lives stand for something, but how solid is that something, and when do our legs walk away from it?
In politics, and to some degree religion, we may argue points of view, as if we were speaking or listening objectively. This is a big reason why the issues we argue over never seem to get solved–we are not honestly seeking a true resolution. We are already “standing” for a point of view with its way of seeing things “true”. The world, as well as our personal lives at times, is at the mercy of issues, but not of their forthright resolution.
(The Politics of Societal Manipulation: Ignorance as America’s Guide at benafia.wordpress.com)
Have you ever had a friend hit you with the classic word trap, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Answer yes or answer no, and you incriminate yourself. This joke is based on the technique of using an implicit premise. While it may get a laugh, it is also used by politicians as more than a joke.
Political manipulation is most effectively accomplished when you control the framework in which others can argue and, ultimately, think. For example, if you want to get your viewpoint accepted without openly debating it, you make it an assumption, a premise for any other debates. Not only will you win the public over to your view, but you will effectively exclude the possibility of any serious opposition. Another way to politically manipulate is to carefully choose the labels or words used. For example, social security is referred to as a “fund” or even a “retirement fund.” Of course, not a penny was ever actually invested in any “fund.” The payments are taken from current tax revenues, so it is a welfare program, to be more precise. Welfare, of course, is less acceptable to the public, so the truth of this pyramid scheme (a much more accurate label) is hidden behind better labels. You can see how the words used control the debate. If you are for this kind of “welfare program,” you will get more mileage out of “social security retirement fund.” Words matter greatly. It might be politically difficult to get millions of dollars to spend on bombs designed to cut people to pieces, right? Perhaps that’s why they are called “daisy cutters.” Start paying attention and you’ll see how words are being used to influence and politically influence you.
(You Are Being Politically Manipulated by Steven Gillman at ideamarketers.com)
Many have been held in prisons for years without charges or access to attorneys, even while admitting that most of them have committed no crime. This is said to be okay because these prisoners are not citizens, and might be terrorists (some of them certainly are). Why does a supposedly liberty-loving public accept this violation of people’s rights? Because the premise has been firmly established in their minds that “rights” are granted to citizens by governments and therefore don’t apply to non-citizens.
Now, the founding fathers explicitly stated that rights are inherent in all humans, and fought against the idea that they are mere “privileges” bestowed by governments or other authorities. But the implicit premise of these issues has become the idea that rights are for “members only.” Even the opposition is unable to make effective arguments against these current violations of human rights, which is clear when they say that these detentions are wrong because they’ll eventually lead to violations of citizen’s rights – as though that is the only real crime.
Terror is not a nation or people, and so cannot be fought in a “war.” Terrorism is a tactic, the specific acts are crimes, and the criminals should be captured and prosecuted. But the metaphorical use of the term “war on terror” has introduced the premise that this is a war, which allows governments unprecedented powers forever. Why forever? These crimes and tactics will always exist. A “war on robbery” or a “war on murder,” could justify endless power and suspension of rights as well (and here again the word “suspension” reveals the premise that rights is bestowed by governments and so can be taken away by them). We might make sarcastic jokes if there was a “war on stealing,” but a “war on terror” is no less silly.
(Political Manipulation through Implicit Premises by Steven Gillman at articles.webraydian.com)
Politicians often have agendas that they want to accomplish and it isn’t always what they tell the public. The reason for this is that they are often more concerned with their own agenda than what the public wants to accomplish. When this happens they try to figure out the most effective way to convince the public they are looking out for the best interest of the public without interfering with their true agenda. This often involves telling the public what they want to hear and manipulating their emotions. That is what political research is all about. If the public wants the politicians to look out for their best interest they have to do a better job understanding how they have been manipulated in the past and avoid it. The most effective way to do this is to learn the basics of any given subject and make sure that they are never forgotten. Many complicated political plans often contradict the most obvious basics. Political advertisers often repeat catch phrases over and over again to get their point across and when the public hears it often enough they start to believe it even though they may contradict the basics.
(zacherydtaylor at open.salon.com)
Polarization means big bucks to those who promote it. For conflict and opposition to succeed at never quite solving our emotional dramas over issues, pretense remains in command; we pretend to seek solutions, claim to be, while things such as truth or reality become the victim of “fair and balanced” or other perspectives that include bias in their assumption of reaction. Hearts are then not allowed to view the others involved as legitimate human beings. Instead, others are who are mistaken, others who are misguided, others who must be convinced of their error.
When human hearts are effectively closed, restricted or otherwise truncated, many an unfounded reason can be made to appear true and obvious. These kinds of rationalization are obvious themselves, in the political sphere, where name calling and buzz worded Thought-terminating clichés are invoked as if black magic guides to our reasonable conclusion. Ignorance allows many a form of deception to ride in right under our radars, or even be welcomed in as a Trojan horse. Now days, these can even claim to be fighting exactly what they are in effect creating.
We humans, as far as we know, seem to live inside out minds. These minds are vulnerable places; we have our experiences, with how we have adapted to seeing things, and we have the outside world of others and things, which can come to us packaged by someone else. Someone else tells us what something is. Likely, for some reason inside out minds, we tend to accept some of these communications regarding what is, and take others with a grain of salt out in the rain.
(The Politics of Societal Manipulation: Ignorance as America’s Guide at benafia.wordpress.com)
It will probably come as no surprise that much of what you read, hear, and see in politics today is misleading at best, and sometimes downright dishonest. There are people who will try to convince you that voting for a particular candidate will lead to the destruction of capitalism and the downfall of Civilization. Others will push narratives about class warfare to spread doubt about tax increases that only impact the super rich. And others still will twist history to map today’s chronic problems on their opponents when they were the ones responsible for creating the problems in the first place.
Yes, some politics is broken. And the breakdown has occurred in the landscape of conversations that shape public perception. Communication empires have been built to set the political agenda we live in today. And they are run by people who benefit from the covert manipulation of public will. One of the direct benefits they get is political advantage when the nastiness of political ads turns off more reasonable people and polarizes the ideologues to cling to their base.
Fear is a natural response to threats. It is part of our biological legacy to have a “fight or flight” system that increases our alertness so we can make rapid decisions when a new threat appears. One of the consequences of this alert state is that we tend to break the world into absolutes — black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. We are less attuned to nuanced information about a person’s moral character or the details of a policy proposal. We also fall back on our herd mentality with a tendency to uncritically align with people we consider to be like us (and to distance ourselves from those we consider “the other”).
Anger arises when we feel pain. A flood of endorphins pour into our blood stream to make us less sensitive to our injuries. This creates a rush of energy that is typically directed toward whatever is nearby. When associated with an injustice, we target our anger toward the instigator of harm. As a result, we tend to have a lower sensitivity to the feelings of this person. Our ability to show compassion toward them is compromised. Disgust is our body’s way of telling us that we have been poisoned. It is most directly associated with our digestive system and involves the release of memory-enhancing hormones that encourage us to remember the source of contamination so we can avoid it in the future. The physical experience of disgust can be associated with the moral concept of purity. If a political label is associated with an impurity, the disgust response will be imprinted for a long period of time. All three of these emotional systems are targeted by political marketers seeking to manipulate voting behavior. They powerfully influence how people feel about candidates, policy options, and political parties. And they operate under the radar! Most viewers are unaware that these feelings are being manipulated.
(The Psychology of Manipulation in Political Ads by Joe Brewer on October 28, 2010 in Communication, News, Political Mind at cognitivepolicyworks.com)


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