The Difference In Lemmings And Leaders

 

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The Two L's Of Society: Lemmings & Leaders. Which Are You?
The Bulk Of Society Is Made Up Of Sheep; Followers Who Stay In Lock-Step With The Herd
Politicians Know And Count On This, Thus The Disparity On Health Care And Even 9/11
The Herd Is Being Steered And Most Don't Even Know It

NewsFocus, by Tim Watts 090109

A great divide is forming in America and most don't even know it yet. It is not a natural division either. It is a calculated manipulation that is meant to conquer a great nation. To understand how something like this could happen you first have to learn about people and the tools that are used to understand them, manipulate them, and move them.

The human animal is probably one of the strangest of all in this magnificent world of creatures. It is one of the smartest species, exhibiting sentient behavior, cognitive thought, and structured linguistics, but while we may perceive ourselves to be one of the most intelligent, we are sadly enough also one of the most easily manipulated.

Humans can generally be divided into two categories in life, leaders and followers (aka lemmings). According to the order of nature, there are far more followers than there are leaders. Politicians know this and exploit it to the fullest.

Sadly enough, most of the followers don't know about the vast majority of lemmings and thus end up forming or reinforcing unsubstantiated beliefs by taking after an ill-informed crowd. Often incapable, insecure, or just too lazy to think on their own, the followers perpetuate their own naivety by accepting the herd mentality, refusing to entertain unfamiliar foreign opinions. More often than not, they choose instead to simply accept the loudest voice in the room.

The loudest voice has now become that of the extreme far right. Not just conservatives in general, but the very far right, the wing-nuts who give all Republicans a really bad name.

It all began with a concerted takeover of our once hallowed media, spearheaded by the Reagan administration in the 80s and engineered since then by the ultra wealthy. As a result, talk radio has been taken over by primarily the far right talkers, a dangerous trend that has influenced the followers and lemmings of America. All that this vulnerable and highly gullible crowd has to do is hear it on the radio, or read it the press and that's good enough for them. This certainly comes as no surprise to those who engineered the takeover of our media. To the contrary. They knew all to well of this particular species character flaw and have exploited it with specific design.

The danger of followers is that they are far too trusting of media. They errantly refuse to believe that anyone would actually lie on the air, or in print. It's almost as if they think of broadcasting as a religious vow of integrity. This shortcoming and easy manipulation of followers is due to their blind trust in our elected leaders. They are naive, gullible and far too trusting of authority. The herd mentality is possible because of this easily persuaded mindset.

We saw the herding of America immediately after 9/11 by the Bush-Cheney regime who shamelessly exploited a horrible national disaster for a jaded political ideology and new imperialism. The far right manipulated the people of America with the greatest tool of all, fear.

Many people simply do not know how easily they can be influenced. The art of persuasion has become a formidable science that few understand, let alone know anything about. The science of marketing and the art of spin have become king.

It all started with Sigmund Freud's work of the unconscious mind. Freud had some revolutionary ideas on how the human animal thinks and what motivates us all, however, it was his unscrupulous nephew, Edward Bernays, who took his famous uncle's theories and applied them for commercial gain (no pun intended).

Bernays is considered the father of advertising and marketing. His work, as well as that of Ivy Lee, directly coerced people to subconsciously buy material goods, even when they truly didn't need to buy them. Bernays was the first to combine the theories of his uncle, along with those of Gustave Le Bon (crowd psychology) and also Wilfred Trotter (herd mentality), as well as the works of Ivan Pavlov (classical conditioning), to form powerful precepts for manipulating the human subconscious. What Bernays discovered was a direct link to the human subconscious. It was a Eureka moment in psychology; the mother lode for human mind control.

His revolutionary application of these ideas became a powerful tool of public influence and persuasion, for Bernays had learned how to reach peoples' subconscious desires. He triumphantly claimed that it was possible to discern the desires and fears of others and then use it for your own purposes.

Even though he wrote a book in 1928 called "Propaganda," Bernays opted instead to employ his own subtle techniques by settling on a more publicly acceptable term for his discovery, "public relations." It quickly became one of the most powerful psychological and social tools in the history of mankind. Soon thereafter, governments, intelligence organizations and politicians all adopted his concepts for their own interests.

To this day, major media doesn't make a move without first discerning the thoughts and perceptions of the masses, through the use of individual research and focus groups.

We are all being subconsciously affected with powerful advertising and marketing tools that many do not understand. The work of Bernays has continued on and is used widely today, with research people such as Frank Luntz and Clotaire Rapaille at the forefront of this most persuasive and influential industry.

Even leaders are affected by this subconscious tool, but followers are the easiest of all to manipulate. By nature, leaders and followers are obvious contrary opposites. Leaders are generally secure with themselves, strong, intelligent, educated and informed, while followers tend to be somewhat insecure, weak, ignorant, uneducated and uninformed.

Getting people to go along with a particular ideology is not such a hard thing to do, especially when you target subsets of followers. These followers end up being leaders in a sense due to their overwhelming numbers when coalesced into a unified group.

For government officials, politicians and social authority figures, it is a fairly easy undertaking to gather a crowd of followers, even without Bernays guiding principles of persuasion.

In 1963, psychologist Stanley Milgram published his breakthrough research, the "Behavioral study of Obedience" and its relationship with authority. Milgram showed how people were willing to listen to authority figures who would instruct them to perform acts against others, even though those acts conflicted with their own personal morals. Milgram concluded that people justified their immoral actions by shifting the blame to the authority figure. In short, they claimed they were following orders, or just doing their job.

Milgram stated, "Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority."

It is not surprising at all that Milgram was also an ardent admirer of the work of another noted psychologist, Solomon Asch. It was Asch's experiments in the 1950s that dealt with group conformity and its affect on the individual (the Solomon Asch experiments).

Asch proved that social group pressure could make a person say or admit to something that was factually incorrect. He would take a group of people and test one individual, with the others in the group being in on the experiment. For the first couple tests, Asch would ask them questions that were sure to elicit the same response from all. For the third test, the members of the group who were in on the experiment would all give the wrong answer. Even though the individual who was unknowingly being tested knew the correct answer, they would also give the wrong answer, simply because they did not want to be different from the group. They wanted to be alike and conform with the group.

Asch found that 37% of the tested subjects would conform in the critical trials with 75% conforming at least once and 5% conforming every time. Only 25% of the tested subjects did not conform on any trial.

One could surmise that those conforming were followers, while the 25% that did not conform were more apt to be leaders.

So people in general do seem to fall into various categories and groups, with one subset able to be defined between leaders and followers.

To employ all of the tools outlined above, the focus group is a key research resource in ascertaining the likes and dislikes of people. Originally used by big business, it has now branched out to politicians and the media, in an effort to keep up or stay ahead of social trends. The focus group, when done correctly, is a very powerful tool in learning about the psychology of people, specifically groups of people.

By gathering specific demographics or psychographics of people into a room together, researchers can ask questions that focus on the model of personal behavior they are trying to understand and influence. It works almost too well.

By understanding what the target thinks or feels about a particular product or issue, those employing the research have a comfortable upper hand in addressing and dealing with individuals or large groups of people. In a way, it's almost an unfair advantage. Powerful techniques such as these make it possible for people to be controlled and manipulated. It happens every single day.

A big fan of both Le Bon and Bernays' work was Adolph Hitler, as well as his Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. Hitler based much of his book Mein Kampf on the work of Le Bon, who was considered a pioneer in the study of propaganda.

It was Goebbels who said, "The bigger the lie, the more it is accepted. If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

This is sadly true and is born out in the Milgram experiments regarding obedience to authority. It is also due to the fact that people find it too hard to believe that anyone could ever truly be capable of such a tremendous and blatant lie. This mindset thus enables the lie.

Goebbels was also known for the following...

Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority.

Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false.

Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.

Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.

Black rather than white propaganda may be employed when the latter is less credible or produces undesirable effects.

To be perceived, propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting communications medium.

Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level.

It is clear that many of these Goebbels precepts are alive and well to this very day.

Another historical quote, often incorrectly attributed to President Abraham Lincoln was, "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

While Lincoln very well may have used the quote, it originated from circus show master  PT Barnum. Another quote from Barnum carries considerable weight as well, "There's a sucker born every minute."

It was another American President, George W. Bush, who twisted Barnum's first quote in a fashion that was blatantly transparent and very telling in regards to its intended usage. "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on."

This warped concept seemingly became a mantra and creed for his political campaign director and White House adviser Karl Rove, as well as a virtual blueprint for FOX News.

We have touched upon the researchers and their theories for controlling people, as well as a brief glimpse at just a couple of infamous leaders who exploited that work for their own political gain. So where are we now after all of this?

Politicians and private interest groups continue to use and exploit us without most of us even knowing it's being done. It is literally a daily occurrence as many on the far right continue their assault on our Constitution and the people's democracy for which it is meant to safeguard.

Take the great American health care debate. Why have some people become so passionate about universal health care, something that is undeniably in their best interests? Most red states are the ones hurting most for health care, especially those in the south, yet they are the opponents fighting hardest against health insurance reform and a public option that is clearly in their best interest. Plan HR-676 is hands down the best plan, offering free healthcare with no deductible and no co-pay, yet most are clueless because they have been blinded as to the existence of such a plan.

I should back up for a minute and recant the use of the word clearly, since this issue is not obvious to those fighting it. Why don't they know? Because those with a vested monetary interest have used the techniques outlined above to fool the uneducated, the ignorant and the naive. They have done so by getting them to believe things that quite simply aren't even true. They have brought out the biggest weapon of all, fear, to scare a segment of society into thinking that something terribly wrong will happen if health care reform is passed.

In a recent CBS poll, 67% of Americans said that they do not understand the health care reform plan. How does this happen? In this case it is a combination of two things. The Obama administration has failed miserably at presenting its plan adequately while the insurance crowd and desperate far right wing-nuts have succeeded at confusing it for the uninformed or less educated. It's more than likely a little of the first, but also a great deal of the latter.

With trillions of dollars in health care profit at stake for the insurance companies, one can understand their desperate attempt to keep the game from changing. They do not want reform and will fight tooth and nail, spending over a million dollars a day, to keep health insurance reform from happening. They will stop at nothing from losing a piece of this outrageously lucrative health care pie.

Again, they managed to sway many unenlightened people with a simple tactic. Fear.

1) They have twisted and confused the language regarding "end of life" consultations, by re-naming and marketing them to the uninformed as "death panels." They have blatantly lied by saying that the plug is going to get pulled on grandma's respirator. That is not the case, but of course that is also not what they want you to believe. Like the Milgram experiments, people are trusting unscrupulous authority figures, naively believing that they would surely never lie to them about something this important to us all.

2) They have marketed the health care bill to conservatives as "socialism," an already pre-conditioned term meant to be associated with Stalinism and cold war Russia. While the term "socialism" is benign and altruistic at heart, meaning to care for society, its interpretation for some has been redefined to mean totalitarian rule. If people would only take a moment to explore the literal definition of the term, they would understand the true meaning, but since the media and their neighbors are calling it socialism, it must be so. A Solomon Asch mentality of sorts where people are willing to accept the wrong definition, even though they might know better. (See: Socialism Is Not A Dirty Word)

3) They have used peer pressure. By using paid political operatives to react violently at town hall meetings, they have coerced and incited others to act this way also, lashing out with learned political rhetoric and party-line talking points that they have been indoctrinated with on right wing talk radio programs such as Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage or Laura Ingram. Television propaganda has been equally as vociferous, if not worse, with people like Glenn Beck actually encouraging confrontation and the arming of people with guns at public meetings. O'Reilly, Hannity and the entire FOX network have also done their best to confuse the issue. They have openly encouraged people to react violently at town hall meetings with a "herd mentality."

This is a very dangerous situation for our country. Many on the right, including Glenn Beck, now talk openly of destroying the union by having states actually consider seceding from the United States. This is pure madness!

One can only wonder where these misinformed citizens were during the sordid Bush-Cheney years when our constitutional rights were dumbed down and squeezed through the heinous Patriot Act.

Where was the outrage when the country was being led to war with a lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks?

Where were these same people when Bush and Cheney both admitted that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, nor did he possess any weapons of mass destruction?

Of course, they were listening to right wing talk radio and watching FOX News. They were being programmed with disinformation and political propaganda from the man who has openly stated that he can say or print whatever he wants through his News Corp media companies, (FOX News, Wall Street Journal, tabloid magazines, etc) whether it's the truth or not.

(Ed note: Ever notice that if you put a dark hood over the head of Rupert Murdoch that he looks just like the evil emperor in Star Wars? I'm just sayin'...)

It is not only the health care debate, but also the 9/11 issue where this divide has been fomented by the right. Over 80 percent of Americans do not believe the official story and would more than likely welcome a real 9/11 investigation, but the corporate media treats the issue the same as they did for any of the Kennedy assassinations, with contempt for the truth, along with accusations of wild-eyed conspiracy theories.

Make no mistake about it, the persuasive techniques of Edward Bernays are very much alive and well today, still being used against the people's own Milgram authority trust while exploiting their Acsh conformity to bring about a Trotter herd mentality.

It is the trusting gullibility and mindless naivet of some that has truly been the conduit for their own undoing. Most frightening of all, they're now willing to fight for their ignorant brainwashing, rather than coming together as Americans to work for truth and common values that are quite arguably best for us all.

The lemmings are doing exactly as they were programmed to.

In the end, the only winners are the crooked politicians and the greedy wealthy elite who continually profit from our own collective stupidity. 


Other Timely Op/Eds from NewsFocus:

Socialism Is Not A Dirty Word

The Great Divide. Who Is Splintering America?

More on the Op/Ed page