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
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.
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
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
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
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).
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.
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
Even though he wrote a book in 1928 called "Propaganda,"
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
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.
"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
It is not surprising at all that Milgram was
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
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."
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
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"
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?
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?
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 naiveté 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
The Great Divide. Who
Is Splintering America?
More on the Op/Ed page