Liberal mind control? The secret methods of Democrat politics
Most people do not know that Barack Obama had a kind of "Office of Thought Control" and team of mind manipulation experts in his White House. And most know nothing of the sinister techniques Mr. Obama and his Progressive comrades used, and continue to use, to sway us.
This is how Progressive politics now works, and it has shocking similarities to Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel of a "benign" but brain-drugged totalitarian future, Brave New World.
Journalists said nothing of this when they reported in October that Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his research creating the field of "behavioral economics."
Economists, ever since Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations in 1776, have assumed that people make decisions rationally and logically, based on their own enlightened self-interest. Thaler found that most people make decisions irrationally, but predictably, and that such decisions can be "nudged" in certain directions by outside influences.
Thaler explains how to use such influences in Nudge, a book he co-authored with legal scholar Cass Sunstein. Craig R. Smith and I lay out these disturbing techniques and document how the Obama administration used them in our book The Great Withdrawal.
To shape people's actions and decisions, Thaler and Sunstein write, one should frame a "choice architecture" that gives only limited choices as a way to herd people toward what you want. Apply peer pressure by claiming that neighbors and others are already doing what you secretly want. Use "priming," as we wrote, by "subtly programming the mind with trigger words, concepts, images and cues that can move a person towards a particular response and decision."
Such "nudges," we wrote, could be used openly and paternalistically to help people, as Thaler prefers. But they "could also be used for what MIT radical intellectual Noam Chomsky calls 'the manufacture of consent,' to manipulate people into assenting to whatever the State or ruling political party wishes. A 'nudge' is a kind of push, and this push could come to shove."
In 2008, Sunstein and Thaler assembled a team of behavioral scientists to help elect Obama. Sunstein headed Obama's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009 until August 2012. Sunstein's wife is Irish-born radical activist Samantha Power, who became Obama's United Nations ambassador.
During the 2016 election year, Power was involved in "unmasking" more than one American every day – thus using U.S. intelligence agencies, many suspect, to spy on members of Donald Trump's campaign staff.
The liberal media, meanwhile, tried to manipulate the presidential race by giving Trump $2 billion's worth of free airtime, according to The New York Times. By nominating what they thought would be the Republicans' weakest candidate, the media were trying to help elect Democrat Hillary Clinton.
In 2012, Democratic operatives directed candidates to push gun control with emotional techniques, not intellectual arguments. Even before he became Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder told a Democratic meeting that he was launching a campaign to "really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way." "Brainwash" is another word for "nudge."
Sunstein has sought to make tax-paying a "celebration," writing, "You cannot be for rights and against government. ... There is no liberty without dependency." This is the kind of mind-twisting doublethink found in Big Brother's propaganda in George Orwell's novel 1984.
Sunstein also proposed sending secret agents into groups that fear Big Government conspiracies in order "to persuade, debias, or silence" them. Yes, he wrote "silence."
Sunstein seems not to understand that he is proposing exactly the kind of Big Government conspiracy people fear. Such is the arrogance of today's mind-controlling, politically correct, paternalistic Progressive intellectuals, politicians, and media. This is "democracy" of, by, and for the government, not the people.
Lowell Ponte, a former Reader's Digest roving editor and veteran think-tank futurist, is author or co-author of eight books. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.