“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
― Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
|Former violinist Maya Shankar, now “Nudge Czar”|
Now we have the announcement of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy “Nudge Team” led by ‘wunderkind’ Maya Shankar who will lead a ‘behavioral insights team’ to tinker with our minds and nudge us in the directions they want us to go.
Nothing new here. We have had governments, religions and individuals trying to nudge us towards their viewpoints, well, forever. Often times if the nudge won’t work, then the shove will. Failing that, the barrel of a gun works wonders.
The science of behavior modification has come a long way in the last 100 years since the Federal Reserve came into being. I don’t think that is a coincidence. Ever since Edward Bernays was hired by Woodrow Wilson to promote World War I, there has been one nudge after another to get the public to accept wars as the biggest money making scams there are. Bernays’ propaganda became ‘public relations’ and the consumerist race was on. One can be nudged into buying just about anything as long as there is an emotional attachment to it, contrived or not.
‘Nudge’ apparently comes from the book of the same name co-written by former White House cognitive dissonance czar Cass Sunstein, famous for his proposing government infiltration of groups opposing prevailing policy. Palestinian Liberation? 9/11 Truth? Anti-nuclear power? Stop the wars? End the Fed? Eat the Rich?
Maya’s task will be to put a kinder, gentler, youthful face to the fascism of our day. It’s all for your own good and that of the collective, you know. Brainwashing is such an outdated term so let’s try a new one without the baggage.
The success of the ‘Nudge Team’ remains to be seen. It will start with things we may actually agree with and move perhaps into more nefarious areas. ‘Stand your ground’ may take on a whole new meaning because the social engineering thugs always strike first and expect us to back off and accept their nudges reluctantly but without protest. It doesn’t have to be that way.