Psychology. Marketing. Political science. These are what we call, “soft sciences.”
“Soft” in that they can be manipulated to suit one’s needs. Polls can be worded in a deceitful way to produce a result that suits a manipulator’s scheme. Advertising can be produced to create a false image for products. And, people with psychological weak spots, can be manipulated all too easily. For instance, people who scare easily can be kept glued to the television with the right hype and graphics for a “potentially deadly storm that is fast approaching.”
The soft sciences aren’t inherently evil. Psychiatrists can help troubled people, marketing campaigns can tell us information about products without us needing to buy them first and polls can tell us much about who we are as a nation and what we’re thinking.
I see these soft sciences abused every day by people who don’t think facts will get them what they covet. No question, we are being purposefully and cleverly manipulated and lied to in hopes we will reach decisions that are not be in our best interests.
And speaking of Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame, Howard Dean, The New York Times, The Daily Kos and the rest of the nutroots …
You can’t manipulate physics. It is what it is. However, emotions can be manipulated. And emotions act as our guide more often than any of us will ever admit.
Politicians are acutely aware of that fact. Some more so than others.
Vance Packard made this astute observation in the 1950s. It has stood the test of time:
“Far more than we realize, the patterns of our everyday lives” are being controlled by people using ”insights gleaned from psychiatry and the social sciences.”
Manipulative politicians can have quite an impact on voters, and, unfortunately, their messages are delivered in a manner similar to that of a computer virus.
As you know, some people in the news regularly deal in what I refer to as “counterfeit truths.” People who package their lies for the purpose of getting us to believe them to be truths – knowing full well that if they told us the truth, their interests would, die on the vine. Dan Rather and the forged documents he tried to pass off as the real thing on the CBS Evening News is a perfect example. Joe Wilson using The New York Times to endorse his lies and slanders is another.
The New Media has been outstanding at identifying these counterfeit truths. We have been able to take the time to deconstruct the lies passed off by people like Dan Rather, Howard Dean, Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame, Kofi Annan, The New York Times, Reuters and others. These people and organizations are driven by a simple and souless philosophy: The ends justify the means. The them, “truth” is that what gets you what you want.
Just as dollars are currency for our capitalistic society, truth is the currency of free people. Truth can be seen as facts and information, freely traded, that retain their value – with scrutiny – over time. Credit cards and certified checks are eagerly accepted by merchants because payment is guaranteed. Our judicial system guarantees and establishes truth. If only there was a way to more easily check out facts “spent” by politicians.
Counterfeit truth: Goodwill that has been fraudulently obtained.
Counterfeit truths, in the public sector, are manufactured by the deliberate and deceitful application of the soft science of psychology, marketed by those who are lacking in morals and ethics. Designed to exploit the weakness of the viewer or listener – to demand the benefit of the doubt – for a lie – from a forgiving public.
The science of psychology has a well-intended purpose: To explore and discover an individual’s behavior for the purpose of helping that person objectively evaluate the realities of his/her life for constructive purposes.
The manipulation of soft sciences, however, is to distort reality. To mislead. To make people misunderstand a set of facts and reach flawed conclusions.
And speaking of Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame, Howard Dean, The Daily Kos and the rest of the nutroots …
Counterfeit truths don’t withstand a court of law’s scrutiny because courts have pre-existing rules designed to test tangible evidence given in support of statements and conclusions. More often than not, unsupportable claims and assertions are dismissed and the jury is instructed to disregard those items. Attorneys who don’t support their counterfeit truths, often times, cost their clients the good will of the jury.
In the world of politics, however, counterfeit truths are supposed to be evaluated by the press. As we see every day, the rules of evidence certainly do not apply. This is where the soft sciences of psychology, marketing and political science are purposefully abused. Appealing to emotions- fear, anger, greed, prejudice and bias – specious claims are delivered with passion and conviction to an audience with the intent to mislead. Sometimes to inflame, other times to evoke a “no big deal” response. The audience is the target of counterfeit truths. With luck, a corrupted poll in the making.
Again, speaking of Howard Dean, Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame, The New York Times, The Daily Kos and the rest of the nutroots …
They create counterfeit truths for the purpose of deceiving us and gaining political power. And they use every tool at their disposal to accomplish that goal. Including the soft sciences.