How can you tell if someone is messing with you? What’s the exact process you go through in your mind to determine what’s true and what isn’t?
It’s an important tool of survival. Every human being needs the ability to acquire and evaluate information, not merely accept someone else’s assertion uncritically. In Ronald Reagan’s words, “Trust, but verify.”
What happens when people lose confidence in their own ability to verify the truth of something that’s asserted? They look around for someone they trust, and they take their word for it.
One method of defrauding people is the “confidence game,” in which victims are persuaded to trust someone who will exploit that trust to scam or harm them.
Politics lends itself to this type of “con game” technique on a grand scale. Fanning fear and feigning trustworthiness will get people elected every time, if nothing is done to expose it. Then the tendency of government officials to seek more and more power can lead to a perpetual state of “crisis” that, we’re told, can only be addressed by allowing government officials to grab more and more power.
How much of what we are told is based more on political ambition than accurate analysis? The answer may be in an NBC News poll conducted a few weeks ago. It found that voters now greatly prefer Republicans over Democrats on every issue except climate and COVID, where Democrats have a narrow lead. In California, nearly all elected officials are Democrats, so let’s be honest, there is political gain to be had in daily warnings that climate change is an existential threat to human life if COVID doesn’t kill us all first.
It’s a different story in states with Republican governors. Those politicians can gain politically by focusing attention on other issues, such as the economy and the border. There’s no political benefit to be had from imposing mandates for electric vehicles, or masks on elementary school students.
What tools do voters have to determine the actual degree of threat and to evaluate what can or should be done about it? Under our constitutional system of government, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and of the press, there are checks and balances on government power, and the people are sovereign — their elected representatives vote on laws and then answer to their constituents every two years at the ballot box.
But alarmingly, government power is growing right through the constitutional limits that are supposed to hold it in check. To cite just two examples, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed another executive order extending his one-man rule under a “state of emergency” through March 2022, and President Joe Biden instructed U.S. employers to proceed with enforcement of an “emergency” OSHA regulation requiring mandatory COVID vaccines or regular testing at companies with 100 or more employees, even though a federal appeals court issued an order blocking the rule while legal challenges are heard.
Your personal reaction to those decisions is likely determined by whether you trust those government officials or not. It’s unusually difficult to find information on which to base your own independent judgment. Major social media platforms and large news organizations increasingly apply the term “misinformation” to describe any statement or viewpoint that is not approved by or in agreement with government officials, even when past statements by those government officials are shown to have been in error.
It’s not exactly totalitarianism, but I wouldn’t want to live on the difference.
In order to control the entire population of a country, totalitarian regimes need more than force, because the population might fight back and even win. What’s needed to preserve totalitarianism is a reliable method of ensuring that the population doesn’t fight back.
All totalitarian regimes engage in censorship and rely on propaganda. These are tools that eventually can cause people to doubt the evidence of their own senses. If you perceive something happening in the world but never see it mentioned in news reports or on social media platforms, and instead all you see is a contrary story repeated endlessly, seemingly everywhere, it’s easy to think you must be wrong about what you perceived.
Millions of people can have that experience simultaneously, each of them feeling isolated, powerless, and filled with self-doubt. It’s a state of mind that is vulnerable to fear and exploitation.
Sometimes this process is called “gaslighting.” The name comes from a 1944 movie, set in the 19th century, about a husband who attempts to drive his wife insane by telling her that she’s imagining things. When she observes the gaslights going brighter and dimmer, he solemnly informs her that this is not actually happening. He gradually isolates her, telling her it’s for her own good.
Of course, he was secretly dimming and brightening the lights himself, and there was nothing wrong with her mind. In the story, her husband was manipulating her to hide his own crimes.
In December 2019, “Gaslight” was selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry, honored, in the words of Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, as part of the “important record of American history, culture and creativity.”
Perhaps this year it will win an award for “Best Instructional Video.”
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“One method of defrauding people is the “confidence game,” in which victims are persuaded to trust someone who will exploit that trust to scam or harm them.”
Can anyone say: “JOE BIDEN”?
“Trust me,,,the check’s in the mail,,,and I promise I won;t sniff your hair.”
I have often said politicians are BETTER conmen than 99% of the con men criminals out there, robbing people blind.
AND WORSE is that unlike the criminals, Politicians are PRAISED and even rewarded for their lying to us…
“What happens when people lose confidence in their own ability to verify the truth of something that’s asserted”? They become Democrat failures who beguiled themselves into believing their own propaganda and media lies were reality instead of manufactured truth distortions, in grabs for power, but got caught in the act after the damage was done. Before they have to power to truly gaslight and deceive others, they usually first gaslight and deceive themselves and subject themselves to telling the lie over and over again, expecting to get a different result than repetitive failure, which is Einstein’s definition of Liberal insanity. They tell the lie so many times their brains begin to accpet it as reality, and expect us to as well. Many do, then vote Democrat.
You falsely assume that democrat voters HAD a brain to lose!
“What happens when people lose confidence in their own ability to verify the truth”??? 😯
They become Democrat Party supporters and “useful idiots”.
“Your personal reaction to the Democrat Party’s is likely determined by whether you trust the F. Joe Brandon government officials or not.” 👿
Puppet President Joe Biden’s approval ratings have hit an all-time low for him at 36%. 😯 🙂
Proof that 36% of Democrats are “useful idiots”.
I wonder how many of these fools that approve of Let’s Go Brandon are among the 6 million illegal immigrants
that Biden’s administration has encouraged, supported, protected and has flown free to any location they want.?? 🙁 🙁 🙁
It certainly makes ME continually wonder, WHO THE HELL are the polling, where 38%, HELL EVEN 5% are saying “he’s doing a good job”.. UNLESS those folks are fellow communists, who WANT TO see our nation destroyed…
In most any society there are about a third who live in the image of their CREATOR and another third who live in the image of the Great CONSUMER,,,then the last ugly third that bounce back and forth depending on the political favors and flavors of the day. In America its the Good, the bad and the ugly where the ugly get to decide who wins the elections in a season where even fat ugly women get dates only to be cast off after the election and the politicians get to take home the one of their choosing, not the one who brought them to the dance.
It comes with experience or at least it used to.