Political Mind Games: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What's Happening, What's Right, and What's Possible
a book by Roy Eidelson
(our site's book review)
The Amazon blurb says that In Political Mind Games: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What's Happening, What's Right, and What's Possible, psychologist Roy Eidelson presents a unique and illuminating framework for understanding and combating the manipulative ploys of the 1%. He explains exactly how the rich and powerful mislead the American people—about what’s happening, what’s right, and what’s possible—by targeting basic questions we ask ourselves everyday: Are we safe? Are we being treated fairly? Who should we trust? Are we good enough? Can we control what happens to us?
Today’s plutocrats, like snake-oil salesmen of old, manipulate our citizens fraudulently to enrich themselves at the expense of us gullible chumps
Our doubts and confusion about these issues enable today’s plutocrats to craft messages artfully designed to misdirect our outrage, fragment our opposition, and garner our support for an agenda that serves only the privileged few. That’s how so many have come to believe that climate change is a hoax, taxes are too high, the military budget is too low, public education needs privatization, workers have it too easy, voter fraud is everywhere, healthcare isn’t a fundamental right, poverty is deserved, and more.
Recognizing and countering the 1%’s destructive mind games—including “It’s a Dangerous World,” “We’re Fighting Injustice,” “They’re Devious and Dishonest,” and “Change is Impossible”—is an urgent matter for anyone interested in charting a different course. From Washington DC to Wall Street and beyond, Eidelson’s timely analysis exposes and debunks the lucrative lies and false promises that preserve extreme inequality and betray the common good. Political Mind Games: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What's Happening, What's Right, and What's Possible is a new and valuable resource for progressive efforts to build a more decent society.
This book is a clear, accessible, and helpful explanation of the deliberate nature of the creation and maintenance of inequality in the U.S., and a call to action to reverse the trend
The system is set up to perpetuate the creation and maintenance of inequality in the U.S. and we cannot vote to change it as both parties are in on the exploitation
Political Mind Games: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What's Happening, What's Right, and What's Possible is a clear, accessible, and helpful explanation of the deliberate nature of the creation and maintenance of inequality in the US, and a call to action to reverse the trend.
Eidelson explains it by asking us: "How is it that these super-sized hucksters are able to accumulate ever-greater wealth and influence—at everyone else’s expense—without provoking a broad backlash? As the pages ahead will show, they accomplish this by using manipulative psychological appeals that target five fundamental questions in our individual and collective lives: Are we safe? Are we treated fairly? Who should we trust? Are we good enough? Can we control what happens to us? These “mind games” are carefully designed to defuse and misdirect our outrage. When they’re effective, we lose our bearings about what’s gone wrong, who’s to blame, and how we can turn things around."
Oligarchs' 'mind games' are carefully designed to defuse and misdirect our outrage at our victimization so instead of acting against it, we end up chasing shiny objects
Emotional manipulations and playing on our worst racist, xenophobic, sexist instincts by one of the greatest snake-oil salesmen of all times—Donald Trump—convinced intelligent humans to elect him president. Trump’s propaganda playbook isn’t really anything new. It's been used by demagogues like McCarthy, Wallace, and Hitler long before Trump came along, but he is the first presidential candidate to use Hitler's playbook in the U.S. See Fake News: How Propaganda Influenced the 2016 Election, A Historical Comparison to 1930's Germany.
Income gap disparities are associated with diminished levels of physical health, mental health, educational achievement, social mobility, trust, community life, and economic growth. They’re also linked to heightened levels of infant mortality, obesity, crime, violence, drug abuse, and incarceration.
The middle class is being screwed by the greedy oligarchs while Trump ignores this and says the problem is immigration, borders, trade pacts, and everything Left from media to politicians
The author notes that global polluters are blocking effective responses to climate change, while the poor suffer disproportionately from environmental disasters. And the middle class is being screwed by the greedy oligarchs. The 99% put on a protest about the 1% that were screwing the 99%, and the media—mercilessly controlled by the 1%—decided it didn't merit much attention at all. So the Wall Street Protest: Occupy Wall Street, did no good because instead of being good citizens and airing the legitimate grievances of the 99%, the bought-and-paid-for media ignored them and the cops oppressed and marginalized them.
Wall Street Protest: Occupy Wall Street, protesting economic disparity between the rich 1% and nonrich 99%—Copyright © 2011 by Louis Lanzano
'You know, Archibald, my bladder is a tad too full—do these windows open? I'd like to send my regards to those pesky OWS protesters'
Since "most Americans are much stronger supporters of a higher minimum wage, labor unions to strengthen workers’ rights, a more progressive tax structure, higher taxes for high-income earners and corporations, affordable health coverage for everyone," as the author summarizes it, how in the world was a president elected who is against these things? Simple, he manipulated the rubes with emotional appeals to their biases, fears, and worst instincts so that they would vote directly against their own interests, which Republicans have become masters at doing, and the rubes fall for it every time, like they are nothing but mindless morons.
Republicans have become masters at manipulating the rubes, and the rubes fall for it every time—they vote directly against their own interests, like they are nothing but mindless morons
Adam Smith described the way the greedy few act toward the citizens in this way: “All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”
James Galbraith has aptly described these greedy rich sharks as the 'predatory class'—they manipulate us out of our wealth by deception, inciting fear, confusing, obstruction, and distracting, and if all that fails they start a war
Eidelson asks: "Are we safe? Are we treated fairly? Who should we trust? Are we good enough? Can we control what happens to us? Unfortunately, defenders of extreme wealth and power specialize in misleading and self-serving answers to these questions. In fact, their answers usually lead us away from the more equal and more humane society most of us desire." See Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.
The very rich ensure that the nonrich never understand the scam being perpetrated on them—instead of information, nonrich seeking to understand are given misleading, deceptive, distracting misinformation
Notice how the 1% have rigged the ladder of class mobility so the 99% can never hope to become the 1%
One tactic to keep citizens distracted from the con game the greedy oligarchs are playing on them is to make them question their safety. By having constant wars and discussing terrorism our attention is distracted from the way the richest of us are robbing us blind.
By having constant wars and discussing terrorism our attention is distracted from the way the oligarchs are robbing us blind
The author tells us that "social change efforts are hampered when people feel that working together won’t improve their circumstances. This notion—that our actions are futile and adversity can’t be overcome—is something we fight hard to resist. But if we reach that demoralizing conclusion anyway, its effects can be paralyzing and very difficult to reverse." Example: why go to the community meeting? It won't change anything. Or why vote? Nothing ever changes.
'Why vote? Nothing ever changes.' is the attitude that leads to voter apathy and nonvoting
Our core concerns about vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness are psychologically powerful. These core concerns have the potential to undermine our capacity for critical thinking because they’re linked to hard-to-control emotions, including suspicion, contempt, fear, anger, and despair. The author believes that what is deeply immoral is that today’s plutocrats exploit these concerns for the specific purpose of advancing their own narrow interests while bringing harm and suffering to so many.
Our concerns about vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness lead to suspicion, contempt, fear, anger, and despair
One key way oligarchs advance their own narrow interests while bringing harm and suffering to so many is the use of our soldiers as cannon fodder after their warmongering (Iraq 2003) starts endless conflicts that degenerate into trading terrorism attacks
Trump presented himself as the only reliable truth-teller, the only candidate who shunned the deceptions of political correctness. Multiculturalism is at its best when successfully assimilating happy immigrants—including Islamics—into nations, and at its worst when it is used as a garrote to strangle free speech and replace it with the ugliness of political correctness, social justice classes, privilege accusations, safe spaces, and micro-aggressions.
The Right has the truth about PC. The Left is utterly confused and brainwashed with social justice warrior propaganda. Noticing that we're teaching racist white hatred, racist black skin privilege (affirmative action), and Islamic jihadist tolerance, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that not just the USA but the West in general has been the victim of mass infiltration by culturally degenerate ideas out to bring down our democracy. Russia is known to desire to weaken our democracy to strengthen its own power—or at least its own standing and reputation on the world stage, but the mass infiltration of these ideas seems to us to have been the result of the Left's degeneration into a kind of political correctness sickness that warps thinking until they sink into a gooey hell of microexpressions, white guilt, safe spaces, arguing over racial privilege, and kowtowing to authoritarian oppression by social justice warriors. The dominance of multiculturalism has, on many campuses, bred speech codes, intolerance of opposing opinions and in some cases it has spawned violence against dissidents. See:
- SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police (The Laws of Social Justice Book 1)
- Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream
- Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes
- Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy
- Barbarians: How The Baby Boomers, Immigration, and Islam Screwed My Generation
Dubya told us 'Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun—that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud'
"Fearmongering has long been a staple in recipes for selling war to the American people. A case in point was the White House’s consistent use of the It’s a Dangerous World mind game in the months leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In August 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney told attendees at the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Nashville, “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.” Two months later, President George W. Bush presented this frightful image to an audience in Cincinnati: Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun—that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.
Our leaders are happy to lie to our faces to push us into unprovoked, illegal, unnecessary wars that have the purpose of lining the pockets of oligarchs and their companies
As you can see, our leaders are happy to lie to our faces to push us into unprovoked, illegal, unnecessary wars that have the purpose of lining the pockets of oligarchs and their companies (e.g., Cheney and Halliburton). Wealth is transferred from the nonrich to the very rich corporations to pay for them to make weapons and bombs we do not need to fight people we are not mad at to please a shadow government we did not elect. WTF?????!!!
This sure doesn't sound like government of the people and by the people and for the people that our Founders set up. And it isn't. Rather it is the political mind games the author writes about. It’s a Dangerous World mind game is applied here by lying war criminals Dubya and Cheney and along comes Rumsfeld to add insult to injury: “Any country on the face of the earth with an active intelligence program knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” A boldface lie and he knows it.
The predator class doesn't mind lying their asses off is there's profit in it—who cares if thousands of people die and millions suffer?
The oligarchs in what Eidelson calls "the predator class" that profited from all these dirty lies are the executives and large shareholders in companies like Halliburton’s former subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, and Root; General Dynamics; Lockheed Martin; and ExxonMobil.
Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!
The next outrage against U.S. citizens, the next chapter of the It’s a Dangerous World mind game, was mass surveillance of innocent citizens by the NSA. Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, then chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, offered this summary of just how dire our circumstances had become (really??): “You have no civil liberties if you are dead.” And then once we heard about the leaks by Edward Snowden in mid-2013, OBomb'em reassured everyone that these surveillance programs “help us prevent terrorist attacks.” (And yet they haven't. A 2013 analysis from a task force had concluded that NSA collection of our data has played no essential role in the prevention of even a single terrorist attack.) And in late 2015, then-candidate Trump expressed his support this way: “When you have the world looking at us and would like to destroy us as quickly as possible, I err on the side of security.” In spite of campaign promises, Trump had gone over to the Dark Side.
Our government watches your every move
Once they create the technology, can the thought police be far behind NSA's outrage of spying on us decent citizens?
The author looks at the fact that the reach of Washington’s surveillance and intelligence networks is unique in the history of the planet. The ability of our drone air fleet to assassinate enemies almost anywhere is unparalleled; however, the fact that the 'enemies' are being created by us so the U.S. arms industry oligarchs can increase wealth goes unmentioned. What, after all, are we to make of a planet with a single superpower that lacks genuine enemies of any significance and that, to all appearances, has nonetheless been fighting a permanent global war with… well, ITSELF — and appears to be losing?
We've been fighting a permanent global war with OURSELVES trying to show that Might Makes Right, but ending up only showing that Might Makes Stupid
Kill one terrorist, create ten more that wish to avenge the first one; the U.S. is running a terrorist factory!
The ability of its drone air fleet to assassinate 'enemies' almost anywhere is unparalleled; however, the fact that the 'enemies' are being created by us so the U.S. arms industry oligarchs can increase wealth goes unmentioned
Political mind games of the 1% manipulate our understanding of what's happening. We see that the surveillance continues even though their own analysis showed it to be useless—not preventing any attacks (of which we've had several). We see that the war in Afghanistan continues even though it has been shown that the world now has more terrorism than ever. Our military has not reduced terrorism—it has increased it. The U.S. military is a terrorism factory. The predatory oligarchs' political mind games come up with lame and pathetic excuses for why they continue these expensive failures.
Those of us whose heads are not up our butts see that the wars are simply shadow government-directed enriching of oligarchs no matter how much they call our war OF terrorism a war ON terrorism. Those of us whose heads are not up our butts see that the surveillance has nothing to do with terrorism—it's about monitoring and controlling the citizens as the shadow government slowly decreases our rights and our privacy. If too much rebellion happens, the monitoring will enable rebels to be smacked down. See Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt.
Those of us whose heads are up their butts see surveillance and Mideast wars as terrorism prevention because the political mind games of the 1% have succeeded in getting these heads up there where the sun don't shine
If too much rebellion happens, the monitoring will enable rebels to be smacked down
Government debt represents unnecessarily tossing money down the rathole of useless wars and unnecessary surveillance until we're trillions in debt. Once again the powers-that-be employed the It’s a Dangerous World mind game, agitating for an urgent reduction in the national debt through “belt-tightening” and “shared sacrifice.” Things that help oligarchs, not citizens.national debt
Unless American citizens start defecating money, the debt has put us all in deep doo-doo
Regarding climate change, it is more profitable for Big Oil and others to see climate change science as a hoax, so that is the message they spread, knowing full well that it's a dangerous lie. Right-wing think tanks and similar groups, with substantial funding from the fossil fuel industry and other plutocratic allies, promote "it’s-a-false-alarm" mind games to reassure the citizens that all is well. Since there are already symptoms that all is NOT well in the climate, pundits label such things as flukes that mean nothing. Even kids are suing Big Oil for their lies and irresponsibility.
If these climate change science deniers end up pushing the world into a dystopian hell, where will THEY live? They don't worry about such things, since most of them are old and will be dead before it gets that far.
To better understand why the 1%’s mind games work so often, it helps to consider the science of persuasion. Whenever we try to influence someone’s attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors, we’re engaging in persuasion. Political mind games are some of the most sneaky, disingenuous, underhanded, merciless persuasion methods ever dreamed up. See:
- Media Control, Second Edition: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda
- Media Sexploitation,
- Fake News: How Propaganda Influenced the 2016 Election, A Historical Comparison to 1930's Germany
- The Propaganda Project
- Propaganda and the Public Mind
"Political Mind Games was written with a clear purpose: to help inoculate the public against the 1 percent’s self-serving appeals. When we expose and debunk their mind games, the plutocrats’ empty rhetoric loses its allure, their selfish motives are laid bare, and everyone can see clearly how a privileged few have fleeced and forsaken the country—and the people—that made their enormous wealth and power possible. In turn, this recognition lays the groundwork for the coalition-building and collective action that can restore and reinvigorate our democratic principles and commitments." (Source: Political Mind Games, Roy Eidelson, Psychology Today)
“It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”—Joseph Heller, Catch-22
This, then, is the essence of how oligarchs can do all of the above without batting an eye—and with a straight face. They care about money, not character, morals, empathy, compassion, science, or truth. Apparently, chasing profits obsessively to the exclusion of all else takes a heavy toll on the character of human beings. Once they get the gleam of gold in their eyes, they are totally blind to all else. Their golden rule is he who has the gold makes the rules—to hell with do unto others as ye would have them do unto you.
Oligarchs' golden rule is he who has the gold makes the rules—to hell with do unto others as ye would have them do unto you
"Dr. Eidelson goes on to describe how we might ‘inoculate’ ourselves against such propaganda . . . As Noam Chomsky wrote almost four decades ago, 'Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self-defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for more meaningful democracy.' Such preventative strategies have never been more crucial than they are today. Of course, implementing them isn’t easy because tapping into our core concerns can give the 1%’s appeals the solid ring of truth — even though they’re as flimsy as a con artist’s promises…
"The good news is that research on the psychology of persuasion shows how we can hold firm against the propaganda of the self-interested rich and powerful… Having been warned that this 'virus' is prevalent and heading our way, in the form of deceptive appeals targeting our core concerns, we can become more vigilant and prepare in advance for the onslaught. The recommended preparation involves learning to recognize the mind games and practicing the counterarguments — the 'antibodies' — that we’ll need when we’re later faced with an all-out assault. As psychologists Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson have explained, 'We cannot resist propaganda by burying our heads in the sand. The person who is easiest to persuade is the person whose beliefs are based on slogans that have never been seriously challenged and examined.'” (Source: 'The 1%’s Mind Games': The psychology of how elites make allies out of those they exploit., ian douglas rushlau, dailykos)
Eidelson has written a worthy book—it has not just insightful information, but also useful information. The good doctor helps us see through their ugly manipulations. Political Mind Games: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What's Happening, What's Right, and What's Possible is a welcome addition to the political literature since it calls the con artists on their games and empowers us to quit falling for them and instead act against them. Recommended reading!
We cannot resist propaganda by burying our heads in the sand. The person who is easiest to persuade is the person whose beliefs are based on slogans that have never been seriously challenged and examined