Stop Blaming Politicians

I can’t think of a better example than this primary season, of how easily the people can be manipulated into doing something, while still making them believe they are in control of their decisions. A man who republicans don’t trust, who represents exactly what is wrong with politics, who will say anything to get elected, is about to become the republican nominee, at a time when the people are supposed to be sick and tired of politicians.

With twenty states left to vote in this primary, more and more voters are gravitating toward Mitt Romney, not because they think he is a great candidate, but because it is “inevitable” that he will be the nominee. Think about what that means for a second. The people are voting for a guy, basically because others are voting for him. They are helping to bring about a result that they are convinced would occur even without their participation. This isn’t new either. Think about what happens when a candidate gains “momentum.” We saw this more than a few times during this primary season. What is “momentum” other than voters flocking to someone merely to follow the group? Why should I care whether a candidate has momentum? This isn’t a horse race. I don’t win anything for picking the winning candidate.

If you want to manipulate people into doing something, make them believe everyone else is doing it. This is precisely why things never change–the lack of independent thought. So many will tell you that they agree that the two party system is a scam, but they refuse to stop feeding it with their votes unless they feel they will be joined by many others.

I am tired of listening to complaints about politicians. The politicians would be powerless if the people actually did what they thought was right and stopped behaving like zombies. It really does make me lose faith sometimes.

This is precisely why the media is so successful at manipulating the voters . It isn’t because they are trusted. They are successful because everyone knows that everyone else is watching that same media, and if we believe others are believing their nonsense, this creates the perception of a “consensus,” and who are we to disagree with the majority, right? It’s pathetic.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. We have been under the impression that our process is so great compared to dictatorships because it is “democratic.” But if we so easily allow our choices to be made for us because we refuse to think for ourselves and forget about what others are doing, then I would argue this is worse than a dictatorship because we actually think we have choices, causing us to have a false sense of security.

We have no one to blame but ourselves. Let’s stop pretending that it’s these evil politicians that have gotten us into this mess. Let’s admit that we are the ones that have allowed this to occur. We have watched the media take candidates from nothing to the talk of the moment, over and over, until the only thing left at the end was the very candidate the establishment wanted since the very beginning. This isn’t a coincidence.

Can this be fixed? I don’t know. I’ve said before that the people that do what is right are not always in the minority, but those who do what is right–for the right reasons–always are. I don’t expect voters to stop allowing the party and the media to manipulate them, and to start doing what is right because it is right. But we can try to create our own perception of a “consensus,” causing others to want to join us in finally destroying the two-party scam. But it won’t be easy, as we’d need to find a way to get media coverage, because without that, unfortunately, the movement does not exist in the mind of the typical citizen.

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  • Ray

    Humans are pack animals. We seek safety in numbers. We doubt ourselves when alone and right but stop caring about right or wrong when there is a pack to back up. Perhaps those who manipulate the masses deserve more of our respect and awe than we care to admit!

    • You’re absolutely right, Ray; kind of a depressing thought to think that it may be in our nature to be this way.

  • ___j___

    “This isn’t a horse race. I don’t get anything for picking the winning candidate.”

    Ahhhh. But there are rewards for ‘picking the presumptive pick’ along with the rest of the herd. Namely, social and psychological rewards. You get the warm fuzzy feeling that you are normal, sane, accepted. (Voting for Ron Paul or Gary Johnson gives you the edgy feeling that you are special, clever, rebellious… if you have some self-respect… but also abnormal, fringe, unacceptable… if you prefer safety in numbers.)

    There is a reason that 60m people voted for team-red, and 65m for team-blue, with only ~2m voting for Gary (or writing in Ron Paul or whatever). People want to be on the winning team, or at least, on one of the teams in the Big Leagues. Intuitively, they know that the two dominant teams in our twin-party system are team red and team blue, because historically the minor-league teams never win. (Mathematically, this is because plurality-voting is guaranteed to trend towards twin-party dominance. Duverger’s Law, favorite betrayal, and the proverbial lesser-weevil thumb-rule they drive.)

    We can become the winners, but the task is incredibly daunting. Basically, we must make honest politicians seem normal, balancing budgets seem sane, and following the Constitution seem accepable. Our country has become the land of songs about the free, and the home of songs about the brave.

    There *are* some psychological facts that will help us back to our roots: 90% of people firmly believe they are above-average drivers, for instance. They like making their own decisions. But as you point out, they are easily tricked into *believing* they make their own decisions, when being led by the big-media opinion-makers. To compete, we have to make our dark horse look like the knight in shining armour, swooping in to save the day… and give the everyday voter a *safe* thrill of feeling like they are special, a *sane* way of feeling they are clever, and a *group* thrill of feeling rebellious.

    Finding a way to get media-coverage is one part of that. We need to make folks like Ben Swann valuable employees, by continuing to visit their homepages (and clicking on their advertising). We also need to start working on ways to create media coverage from nothing, by generating spectacles. I’m leaning towards reconstituting the Wide Awakes that were a force in getting Lincoln elected. They held mass marches with torches, musical instruments, and silly uniforms… nothing says spectacle like that.

    However, methinks the more important way we can start building consensus is by doing person-to-person door-to-door campaigning, starting in January 2013, and continuing to a crescendo in late 2015. Long before the repub primary. Look at what happened to Ron Paul’s polling numbers between early-2009 and mid-2011. The bulk of the electorate quite simply *FORGOT* everything he stood for. (Helped by the media… helped by following the herd… and helped by being busy with other things plus disgusted with politics.) We need to change that, by not going dormant the next thirty months.