Let’s not contribute to these strategies of confusion

The video above, originally shown as part of Charlie Brooker’s ‘2014 Wipe’ show a couple of days ago, seems very important – especially to the social media.

It’s about strategies adopted by political leaders, here and abroad, to keep the population confused, uncertain what to believe, or what to do – and therefore powerless.

At a time when Yr Obdt Srvt can debunk a false claim one day and then have the very same false claim made the next – along with a denial of this blog’s findings – it seems this warning has arrived not one moment too soon.

150101cognitivedissonance

There has been a lot of talk lately about cognitive dissonance, in which people cannot accept new evidence that undermines a dearly-held belief.

Perhaps it’s time some of us with very strongly-held beliefs (I’m looking at supporters of the SNP and UKIP in particular here) stopped to examine the evidence for our beliefs a little more closely. Did it come from a reputable source – one that isn’t aligned with your political organisation? Has it been superceded by new information? And what does it mean?

Are you contributing to this “destabilised perception”, intended to “manage and control” you?

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26 thoughts on “Let’s not contribute to these strategies of confusion

  1. Niki

    Remember no-one is immune to cog diss! Recognising isn’t always easy and we get entrenched in our mind silos and find it hard to climb out. Have you read Margaret Heffernans Wilful blindness?

    I see a lot of cog diss in horse training, people don’t want to accept that most of the traditional ways of handling and raining horses are full of aversives….

    Happy new Year Mike, gird your loins for this half of the year!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I haven’t read the work you mention, no.
      Happy New Year to you, too. I’m well and truly girded, and hopefully that will be enough.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Sure. But I base my observations on evidence, so you’d need something solid with which to counter it.
      Bear in mind also that we would be discussing the current Labour Party, under Ed Miliband’s leadership. If you want to use evidence pre-2010 you’d need to prove that it is still relevant today.

    2. loobitzh

      Harry, could it be that you are playing in to the elites strategies of confusion? or perhaps being confused by their strategies???

      Either way, where would you place Labour then if not Left of the Right Wing?

  2. amnesiaclinic

    Except we aren’t powerless! The more we come together and support each other and make our politicians accountable we will make this the people’s year!!
    x

  3. Dissedent

    What if a person believes in Jesus Christ?

    Mind you, I believe Jesus Christ Himself would be accused of “Cognitive Dissonance” – yesterday, today, and forever!

  4. loobitzh

    Very interesting and yet not at all surprising video.

    I suppose all we can really do is look for the real truths, the core principles which are important and steadfast, or at least should be so and judge our leaders against them.

    The shifting sands and illusions they purposefully create are there to disarm and misdirect us away from what is really important. Sometimes it feels like being sucked into a vacuum, or at least struggling to break free from its pull.

    We must stand together in what matters and find strategies to enable us to disregard the shrapnel they scatter.

  5. kittysjones

    Spot on. One of the key confusing tactics for me is the ‘allthesame’ myth. It came straight from tory HQ. BBC’s Tory correspondent Nick Robinson admitted live on air, that Cameron’s best chance of winning the next election is if people believe politicians are “all the same”. That is very clearly not the case. I think one major ploy has been to use propaganda based on an exclusively class-based identity politics aimed at the’ working class’ .

    It purposefully excludes other social groups and also sets them against each other, eg. working class unemployed attacking migrants – it’s really is divisive, anti-democratic, and quite deliberately flies in the face of labour’s equality and diversity principles. That’s the problem with identity politics: it tends to enhance a further sense of social segregation, and it isn’t remotely inclusive. Of course it also enhances the myth of’ out of touch/ ‘allthesame”. It’s a clever strategy, because it attacks Labour’s equality and inclusive principles – the very reason why the labour movement happened in the first place – and places restriction on who ought to be ‘included’. Think of that divisive strategy 1) in terms of equality. 2) in terms of appealing to the electorate 3) in terms of policy. Note how it imposes limits and is reductive.

    The Tories set this up in the media, UKIP have extended it further and the minority rival parties, including the SNP and Green Party have also utilised the same rhetoric tool.

  6. Anonymous

    Are people’s identities too tied to their beliefs? Is that why people continue holding them in face of cognitive dissonance. Do not put your beliefs on a pedestal, they must be tested in reality, against evidence. It is no shame to be wrong, it is an opportunity to improve. We all make decisions on the best information we have, it is more important to continue learning, that is how we grow. Do not shame people for holding different views to your own, they have their own experiences on which they based those views which are different to yours.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      People shouldn’t feel ashamed to admit when they are faced with a persuasive argument either.
      I remember the shock on the faces – and on the lips – of fellow journalism students, back when I was learning my craft, when in the middle of a complex debate I capitulated to the other person. Why did I do it, they wanted to know. I said the other person’s argument was persuasive. They had a problem with that but I didn’t.

  7. casalealex

    I wish everyone would read: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.

    “Around the world in Britain, the United States, Asia and the Middle East, there are people with power who are cashing in on chaos, exploiting bloodshed and catastrophe to brutally remake our world in thei image. They are the shock doctors.

    Thrilling and revelatory, The Shock Doctrine cracks open the secret history of our era,

    Exposing these global profiteers. Naomi Klien discovered information and connections that shocked even her about how comprehensively their beliefs now dominate our world.

    Raking in billions out of natural disasters, plundering Russia, exploiting Iraq – this is the chilling tale of how a few are making a killing while more are being killed.”

    1. loobitzh

      I have downloaded the book for my kindle, The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. and found this link to a video which describes it. It appears to be more of a film than a clip…. may be worth checking out! especially for those of us who would prefer to view rather than read.

      http://vimeo.com/26718047

      Going to watch it now,,,, thanks for the info…..

      1. casalealex

        Good one loobitzh! I found the beginning – about CIA and others using electroshock etc in their quest to ‘brainwash’ people – rather disturbing. So I checked out later chapters and was astounded to learn what has been going on for years – especially in South American countries, Iraq, Sri Lanka, New Orleans, Russia, Israel, UK and USA, etc. etc. I then decided to read the book from the beginning and it is probably the scariest book I have ever read. Scariest because it is true! I recommend everyone read it!

      2. loobitzh

        That is what is so scary, that it is the truth. I went into my local COOP store this morning, it has had a refurbish, Only after the knowledge I attained in the film/book, it became very clear to me that I was feeling very confused.

        Why: The layout had been completely changed, Nothing about it resembled the ‘Old Coop’ I had shopped in for the last 6 years. I could find Nothing.

        The Lighting, the size of the isles, the produce location, all completely different.

        But on further inspection, once I realised why I was feeling anxious and confused, I realised that much of the packaging had also changed, along with the sizes and the prices of the goods on offer.

        I spoke to a couple of the sales assistants about it, and they informed me that its was not only the store that had changed, but the way they were being treated was totally different. Whereas before it felt like a community a family of people working together for the community, it now felt intimidating, and hostile. It no longer felt safe to those I spoke to.

        I informed them that I no longer felt at home in this store, which was no reflection on the workers who were still lovely, but that because of the intentional changes to the store, which were designed to ‘disorientate and confuse’ and therefore mislead, I would no longer be using the store in the way that I used to.

        The shop assistant informed me that she was aware since the refit that they had lost many regular customers.

        There is a Lidil opening not far from me, who pay their workers a living wage and treat them with respect. In future I shall walk the extra half mile to shop there as apposed to the more local ‘gang of thieves’.

        The thing is this,,, when we have knowledge, we do have the power to choose in a way that we would not have without the knowledge, So knowledge does bring choices, how we use these opportunities to change our behaviour is up to us, but at least it is our choice within the constraints of what we have no control over.

        Pass the video link etc around, lets empower ourselves and support change from the grass roots up.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        The sad part of this story is that the Co-op ought to be the friendly face of shopping. It’s the co-operative store, see?
        Your story suggests something has gone deeply awry.
        Your comments about what we do when we have knowledge chimes with something I was reading only half an hour ago. I’ll try to write a discussion piece about it later.

      4. loobitzh

        In reply to one of my comments you replied with:
        The sad part of this story is that the Co-op ought to be the friendly face of shopping. It’s the co-operative store, see?
        Your story suggests something has gone deeply awry.
        Your comments about what we do when we have knowledge chimes with something I was reading only half an hour ago. I’ll try to write a discussion piece about it later.

        Thats what I was referring to Mike. Best wishes Linda

  8. Gary

    Good points well made! In re “strongly held beliefs” I have learned so much about politics in the past two years as a result of the Scottish Referendum Campaign. Without going into gory detail I decided that this vote was momentous and to firstly, look at the proposal and secondly, check facts and figures for independently where possible. I did this and decided what my vote would be. I noticed that few of strong opinions either way had done this, I berated people for not knowing what they were voting for/against. Then I realised, I had been doing the same thing all my life. I have never read a party manifesto, been a party member or bothered to research what any of the party’s policies were. I simply had my preconceived ideas, confirmed them with selected facts from television/newspapers and put the same X in the same box as usual. I realised my stupidity and fully intend to research and check rather than get ‘facts’ from the evening news. Its not that my political beliefs have changed, rather the parties have repositioned themselves. The many recent scandals/cover ups show how career politicians have become overly comfortable and have forgotten who it is who serves who..

  9. Michelle

    Useful tactics elucidated upon in the video but I think it helps to pinch ourselves before tripping into the surreal land of alternative media which can easily accentuate the obstacles and play on our fears, we need to prevent hurdles from becoming insurmountable problems, so that we are not disempowered / disheartened by the information itself, sadly true though it may be.

    As a counter to the above, here’s a video on the disconnect between the fears of immigration and the EU facts (especially the UK). Lisa Nandy at approx.15 mins reminds us from her experience that we need a new narrative to recapture our common bonds – unity and solidarity that would help us deal with our insecurity and emotional fears across most communities. (Therefore inline with Amnesiaclinic’s comment.)

    Lisa states that this narrative has been muted or is non existent due to the propaganda from the resurgence of the hard right and that politics cannot do it alone in the face of such a hard right onslaught, bearing in mind that grassroots organisations that deal with such problems have retreated to protect what they can. As a reminder, it’s worth a watch:

    “Professor Martin Seeleib-Kaiser (Oxford University) and Lisa Nandy MP discuss EU migration and what the real issues are. The event was organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung London Office and Compass.”

    http://www.socialeurope.eu/2014/12/debating-eu-migration/

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The best thing to do is just keep plugging away in a “this is my truth” way.
      Everybody will be able to tell those of good heart from the stooges, trolls and lunatics because the latter types will never admit it when they’re faced with persuasive new evidence that overturns what they have been pushing.

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