Humans are not passive machines to be manipulated by life, but are dynamic organisms which can react in intelligent ways to the information presented to them. Our world today spends an inordinate proportion of its resources on manipulation. This takes the form of misleading advertising, of political spin-doctoring, of selective media information and of outright corporate lies. All these processes work against the fitness of the individual, and by implication against our societies themselves. Truth is a commodity respected in science, but increasingly not today by scientists and their political or commercial masters who, in these days of personal advantage at all cost, misrepresent almost all the information available to the public.
Let us start with what is laughingly called democracy, the idea that rich and powerful men (rarely women) can brainwash the population by selected propaganda in order to be elected. Once elected of course they have no further responsibility to the electorate, and having a sizeable majority of tame lackeys can renege on any promises made, steal from the electorate or blatantly deceive them in any way whatsoever, without any conscience. Too strong a characterization? Hardly strong enough!
A phenomenon of modern politics is the rise of the spin-doctor, an un-elected political hanger-on whose entire function is to lie to the electorate on behalf of their political masters. Elected members of the government who tell the truth are persecuted by these deceit merchants – suppressing unpalatable truths is the be all and end all of this sound-bite world of image-in-place-of-fact politics.
Insincerity, of the second-hand car salesman type, pervades the carefully orchestrated ‘performances’ of our political leaders and their PR front men. The ideal of substance, of genuine ideas, of depth, is subordinated to a reliance on gloss, on superficiality in all things, the cardboard cutout superstar, reflecting their insulting belief that “you can fool all the people, all of the time”.
(Fighting Manipulation, Chris Lucas at
God forbid that in this world any problem should be openly recognized and action taken to deal with it, instead we have the measured deceit, the reiteration of what has already been said (as if new), the smoke screen of weasel words and the demonization of open discussion as ‘politically incorrect’. Ultimately it is the actions of politicians that count and not their words – and increasingly the two are totally disconnected.
Most governments spend vast amounts on collecting data; statistics abound in all areas of our expanding bureaucracy. It is strange therefore that relevant data to support government claims is always missing, data that disproves the claims mysteriously has disappeared or nobody thought to collect it. The transparency of this manipulation is obvious, for if what they say is true then we have clear proof of the incompetence of our politicians and bureaucrats as managers!
The tendency to obscure truth by using euphemisms, words like ‘ethnic cleansing’ which means genocide (prejudicial mass murder), is a political favorite. Plain speaking do not lie, so doublespeak is necessary, allowing ambiguous descriptions, words out of context, misleading analogies – all attempts to cast a better gloss on stealthy actions and hidden agendas that clearly wouldn’t engender our praise or support.
Each constituency nominally elects a politician to represent them – an idea more followed in the breach than in the actuality. On any major issue the party line is king, which in actuality means the dictatorship of the leader. We also see regularly nowadays attempts to rig votes, either by swamping decision bodies with leader appointed lackeys or by altering the rules so that the desired (undemocratic) result is made certain.
Society is a fickle thing. If we act in an intuitive/unconscious way and then are called to account, most of us will invent a story to socially justify our action. It rarely has any relation to the truth. We often in fact don’t know why we act as we do, but in today’s social environment think that all our actions should be ‘rational’ – so we make them so in retrospect! These self-protecting fantasies then become embedded in our memory and shape our future actions, our social mythologies.
We all like to get our way so have an inherent bias to be ‘economical’ with the truth. We reduce issues to simple yes/no decisions, ignoring valid implications (if they contradict what we wish to do). This is the region of prejudice, the bias that sees only black and white in a grey world. No meaningful decisions are that clear, there are always compromises that need to be made, different issues that need to be balanced.
The real world exists and we have made it nasty. Hiding behind a shallow gloss (whether fame, isolation, small town parochialism or psychiatrists) will not make it go away. Pretending that all is right with the world merely allows the manipulators of truth to continue their work – building a world for their benefit but against ours.
(Fighting Manipulation, Chris Lucas at
Often candidates running for office at all levels have campaign committees who hire writers to write op-ed pieces and opinion pieces, and then distribute those articles and editorial content to various constituents of their party. Such groups may have distributed some 2500 articles and had some 10,000 imprints of them appear in online media and local papers.
Of course, the newspapers love to stir controversy and chaos, and they don’t mind hard hitting, well written op-ed pieces. However if one side is preparing thousands of op-ed pieces and distributing them around the country, where individuals will merely put their name on it, and send it to their local newspaper editor, then we have a problem. After all, it seems that the media is now our fourth branch of government, and it is stronger than all the other branches of government. Worse, it seems that the media is now the mind of the collective masses of the people, as no one thinks for themselves.
Indeed, if a persnickety and depressed or writer can bang out 10 to 20 op-ed articles, along with 250 of their friends, then they have 2500 articles to distribute to all the far left groups and their members. Next time you see an article written in the editorial section of the newspaper as an op Ed piece, look at it very carefully and name associated with it, perhaps you know the person whose name is under the article, but you might also know it is written well beyond their education level. How can this be you wonder?
Once upon a time, it at least seemed as though there some were politicians who had the country’s best interests at heart and who campaigned for issues they cared about. Even then, though, politicians would generally get caught out in one way or another, either because of some kind of misdoing in their personal life or, even worse, serious wrongdoing in their professional life.
You could take to the streets and make your voice heard in this way, but who exactly will be listening? The chances are you will be demonized by the media, whose representatives are conflicted by the desire to expose corrupt politicians whilst also maintaining social order, and beaten into submission by other state mechanisms.
(Why you should never trust a politician by michelle06 at
If we control the spin, or direction, of an object, we are showing sides of it we want to show while not shedding light on the rest. A spin doctor uses spin control to emphasize or exaggerate the most positive aspect of something. For example, cigarette companies sell products known to be harmful, which can make them look bad. However, if they also provide funding for charitable events, or build community playgrounds, this can make them look good. Such examples of ‘corporate social responsibility’ give corporate spin doctors positive aspects of the cigarette company to promote to the public through the media.
Some public relations firms list spin doctoring outright as one of the services they offer, while others use terms such as “transformation strategy” or “image transformation.” This is comparable to the “rebranding” that is done with products that are not selling well in order to sell them. Companies and political organizations also need a spin doctor to ‘sell’ their mission and ideas to the public.
The politicians are very clever and manipulative but they are not a respected lot. Most of them at times, indulge in political gimmicks or jugglery to secure vote bank. Making promises, giving assurances, using round about expressions, starting controversies at opportune times, criticising opponents’ every move, denying serious allegations, pleasing alliance partners by hook or crooks, wooing new partners, dumping old ones if no longer useful, setting up committees on serious affairs to diffuse a volatile situation and adoption populist measures like giving subsides, loan waivers, interest cuts, tax concessions, etc may be included in political gimmicks, though the list are endless.
(Dinayak Shenoy at


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