2014 September 27 Saturday
Political Deception Becoming More Efficient?

A thirty year old book by ex-KGB officer Anatoliy Golitsyn, New Lies For Old triggered a thought: The talent levels of the best political deceivers today must b much higher than the talent levels of best Soviet communist political deceivers. Why? Marketplace competition elevates the most talented to the top of any field of endeavor. That includes political deception as done by lobbyists, think tank writers, and Op/Ed writers.

Of course the internet enables more voices to be heard who are not professional deceivers. I am not sure (at least at the time of this writing) that deceivers are becoming more effective because they are more talented today. Big money interests can hire great persuasive talent and can find those deceptive diamonds in the political rough to harness to deceive us.

What seems likely is that on certain topics where a lot of big money interests and/or ethnic interests align (e.g. in the immigrant cheap labor lobby). Then we are exposed to much more unrelenting and well crafted deception. The deception seems most likely to be effective when an argument has to leave some large truths off the table (e.g. due to the hegemony of the tabula rasa faithful in academia) or where knowing the truths can only be only by having experiences (e.g. living in particular foreign cultures) or through advanced training (e.g. graduate studies in population genetics or climate science) which few have had.

Do you see any trends in terms of fields of debate where the debate is becoming more or less informative and truthful? When the stakes are highest are more or fewer deceptions succesful?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 September 27 11:22 AM 


Comments
Wolf-Dog said at September 27, 2014 6:40 PM:

Deception works best when there is censorship or near-censorship of the opposing ideas. The question is to what extent the media companies of the powerful elites are able to silence the media companies of the rival groups. In many non-western countries, there is either direct censorship or intimidation of rival media sources that results in self-censorship. My question is this: to what extent is the media controlled by monopolies, and to what extent can the rival media sources be intimidated and bullied in the US, Canada, and Western European countries?

Nick said at September 28, 2014 11:44 PM:

I think deceivers will always be more effective by stifling the flow of information rather than presenting false or manipulated information. I don't think the talent levels of the best political deceivers today match the talent levels of the best Soviet communist political deceivers. The Soviets could effectively block information and make many subjects simply verboten to discuss. They were also motivated by ethnic and nationalistic loyalty. Today's deceivers (at least in the west) are motivated by money and power. These are powerful motivators, but not nearly as powerful as your family, tribe and race.

Take the immigration debate in the U.S. vs. the Ukraine invasion in Russia. The public is thoroughly opposed to stealth amnesty and the elites know it. Despite spending billions of dollars on propaganda, the only way amnesty will happen is by illegal executive order. In Russia, despite Putin being portrayed as the second coming of Hitler around the world, his own citizens love him to the tune of 80% approval. The Kremlin controls the major media and represses negative information sources. These are the heirs to the Soviet propaganda structure. Back to the point of Golitsyn's writings, the Soviet Union simply changed its name and flag. Russia was never de-communized and still bitterly hates the west, especially the United States.

As far as marketplace competition elevating the most talented to the top of any field of endeavor, how does Obama figure into this? He's talented to an extent, but the most talented? No way. He's the most useful vessel for someone else.

Nick said at September 28, 2014 11:45 PM:

I think deceivers will always be more effective by stifling the flow of information rather than presenting false or manipulated information. I don't think the talent levels of the best political deceivers today match the talent levels of the best Soviet communist political deceivers. The Soviets could effectively block information and make many subjects simply verboten to discuss. They were also motivated by ethnic and nationalistic loyalty. Today's deceivers (at least in the west) are motivated by money and power. These are powerful motivators, but not nearly as powerful as your family, tribe and race.

Take the immigration debate in the U.S. vs. the Ukraine invasion in Russia. The public is thoroughly opposed to stealth amnesty and the elites know it. Despite spending billions of dollars on propaganda, the only way amnesty will happen is by illegal executive order. In Russia, despite Putin being portrayed as the second coming of Hitler around the world, his own citizens love him to the tune of 80% approval. The Kremlin controls the major media and represses negative information sources. These are the heirs to the Soviet propaganda structure. Back to the point of Golitsyn's writings, the Soviet Union simply changed its name and flag. Russia was never de-communized and still bitterly hates the west, especially the United States.

As far as marketplace competition elevating the most talented to the top of any field of endeavor, how does Obama figure into this? He's talented to an extent, but the most talented? No way. He's the most useful vessel for someone else.

Nick said at September 29, 2014 12:27 AM:

pardon the double posting

destructure said at September 29, 2014 1:16 AM:

The most effective censorship trend I've noticed is not shutting people up but drowning them out with with noise. Two examples are the conspiracy theory to portray anyone who would suggest manipulation as a nut. And the old CoIntelPro tactic of portraying those with unapproved views as extremists. Of course, most conspiracy theorists and people with unapproved views really are nuts and extremists. Even more so when the most reasonable people are scared off by those aforementioned tactics.

James Bowery said at September 29, 2014 10:50 AM:

Far worse than deception is extended phenotypic dominance giving rise to pseudo-altruism toward the genotype of origin.

The notion that this isn't happening between populations with varying degrees of adaptation to group selection is quaint and might be call "deception" except that it is most likely merely another form of said pseudo-altruism.

————BEGIN QUOTE OF DAWKINS FROM “THE EXTENDED PHENOTYPE”————

Let us briefly take stock of where we have reached in our outward march. The phenotypic expression of a gene can extend outside the cell in which the genes exert their immediate biochemical influence, to affect gross features of a whole multicellular body. This is commonplace, and we are conventionally used to the idea of a gene’s phenotypic expression being extended this far.

In the previous chapter we took the small further step of extending the phenotype to artifacts, built by individual behavior which is subject to genetic variation, for instance caddis houses. Next we saw that an extended phenotype can be built under the joint influence of genes in more than one individual body. Beaver dams and termite mounds are collectively built by the behavioral efforts of more than one individual. A genetic mutation in one individual beaver could show itself in phenotypic change in the shared success of replication of the new gene, natural selection would act, positively or negatively, to change the probability of similar artifacts existing in the future. The gene’s extended phenotypic effect, say an increase in the height of the dam, affects its chances of survival in precisely the same sense as in the case of a gene with normal phenotypic effect, such as an increase in the length of the tail. The fact that the dam is the shared product of the building behavior of several beavers does not alter the principle: genes that tend to make beavers build high dams will themselves, on average, tend to reap the benefits (or costs) of high dams, even though every dam may be jointly built by several beavers. If two beavers working on the same dam have different genes for dam height, the resulting extended phenotype will reflect the interaction between the genes, in the same way as bodies reflect the gene interactions. There could be extended genetic analogues of epistasis, of modifier genes, even of dominance and recessiveness.
...
“Those who have never been brainwashed or addicted to a drug find it hard to understand their fellow men who are driven by such compulsions. In the same naive way we cannot understand a host bird’s being compelled to feed an absurdly oversized cuckoo, or worker ants wantonly murdering the only being in the whole world that is vital to their genetic success. But such subjective feelings are misleading, even where the relatively crude achievements of human pharmacology are concerned. With natural selection working on the problem, who would be so presumptuous as to guess what feats of mind control might not be achieved?”

————END QUOTE OF DAWKINS FROM “THE EXTENDED PHENOTYPE”————

One of the greatest oversights committed by Dawkins is that memes can be extended phenotypes of genes.

Seth W. said at September 29, 2014 1:45 PM:

Debate in general has become a lot more shallow and much less informative. People simply don't have enough time or mental discipline to get into deep thought. Furthermore the media constantly include such a high number of serious and non-serious being purposely deceiving, that most viewers get lost in the maze of fallacies mixed with some truths.

This is one of the best ways to discourage intelligent debate that yields real reasoning.

albatross said at September 30, 2014 12:47 PM:

I think a lot of the most effective propaganda visible in the US right now is aimed at people who are already believers, but whose faith might waver. The goal of the propaganda is to get them to stop thinking down certain lines of thought, or to be uncomfortable listening to or reading certain sources of information or points of view. You really want them to respond to hearing facts or arguments that contradict their beliefs with outrage. How dare you say that Americans have committed war crimes?. How dare you say that blacks commit more crimes than whites?.

I think you can see this kind of propaganda every day on mainstream US media sites. If I can convince you that merely looking at some data or thinking about some question or listening to some speaker makes you unpatriotic or antisemetic or racist or socialist, I've gone a long way toward making sure you'll never think to question certain beliefs.

Check it out said at October 2, 2014 4:23 PM:

"I think you can see this kind of propaganda every day on mainstream US media sites. If I can convince you that merely looking at some data or thinking about some question or listening to some speaker makes you unpatriotic or antisemetic or racist or socialist, I've gone a long way toward making sure you'll never think to question certain beliefs."

This is one of the best ideas I've read so far. Fully agree. Let's read it one more time, please:

If I can convince you that merely looking at some data or thinking about some question or listening to some speaker makes you unpatriotic or antisemetic or racist or socialist, I've gone a long way toward making sure you'll never think to question certain beliefs.


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