Once we had game shows to evaluate and reward our knowledge of trivia, and competitive sports to reward our physical ability. Then came the reality show. The conventional wisdom is that audiences flock to reality shows because they enjoy the prurient sight of other people being humiliated. Thus conditioned, we have evolved into a mob psychology that calls to mind the Salem witch hunts of 1692, of public humiliation and a required period in the village stocks.
We no longer debate facts, we debate the relative worth of those who take a differing view of the facts to our own.
Prince Harry, in a private video made three years ago, referred to a friend as a ‘Paki’ and is now to be sent for re-education, disingenuously referred to as “diversity awareness training”, but which might be more accurately described as Multicultural brainwashing. The known facts, which should also include his time working tirelessly in Africa, and supporting African charities, were buried deeply under the welter of accusations hurled by both sides – those who supported Harry’s period in the stocks were denounced as politically correct, those who argued against were denounced as racist. His actions were judged meaningless when compared to his utterance of an ideologically impure word, and he was found guilty of the heinous act of failing to be sufficiently politically correct.
The Madeleine McCann case first awakened my interest in the Government’s ‘Media Monitoring Unit’; one of the reasons put forward in cyber world for the secondment of Clarence Mitchell from this unit to a position as Press Spokesman for the McCann parents, was that it was an experiment to see how far public interest in a news worthy matter could be subverted by persuading the audience to divide into two teams, labelling and abusing their opponents rather than discussing the incontrovertible fact that three babies had been left alone in an unsafe environment. If that was the motivation, it has been singularly successful, there is only one major web site where a balanced discussion of the facts continues; the remainder of McCann cyberspace has disintegrate into ‘safe havens’ for splinter groups to discuss with those of like opinion, free from the ritual denunciation as either ‘trolls’, child abusers, or child neglecters. If you are taking the time to label and abuse your ‘enemy’, then you’re not talking about the evidence – you’re talking about your opponent.
That the Government wishes to sideline intelligent debate can scarcely be denied following the ‘Dolly Chronicles’ of the past few weeks. A web site set up with the backing of major government figures, ostensibly to promote dialogue with the ruling political party morphed within days into a set piece of political ideology reminiscent of life within the GDR between 1950 and 1990. Opponents were denounced as racist, calls for economic sanctions were made, followed by the familiar cry of ‘off to the stocks with him’. We should not be surprised, it is after all the beliefs and teachings of those same people who applauded the Soviet Empire, the drawing of the iron curtain, and the thought control imposed on half of Europe for the better part of a century, which have brought us to where we are. It is their prize winning students who are now running our lives and dictating our language.
It is interesting that ‘Dolly’ Draper is a psychologist, for a basic value of the science of psychology is promoting human freedom of responsible action, based on awareness of available options, and supporting an individual’s rights to exercise them. Whatever we mean by “mind control” stands in direct opposition to this.
Philip Zimbardo, former president of the American Psychological Association:
“Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioural outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles.”
These foes of freedom of speech and accountability employ subtle means of silencing dissent, sowing division, and promoting intolerance and bigotry. From the 1930s on, there are many historical instances of state power dominating individual beliefs and values. In Stalin’s Moscow show trials, his adversaries publicly confessed to their treasons. In Mao Zedong’s China, dissidents publicly confessed their impure thoughts.
There is a disarming pantomime quality to relegation to the village stocks at the moment. Who can really take ‘Dolly’ seriously, or feel threatened by Carol Thatcher’s use of the Gollywog appellation? We dismiss it as histrionics of the politically correct.
Beware, once we get used to denouncing advertisers on Guido’s web site as supporters of racism, we will have forgotten that we should have been talking about how to hold the thieves and brigands currently in Parliament to account for their misuse of our tax payments.