Subliminal Battle for our Free Agency

Stephen WellingtonMormon 63 Comments

Edward Bernays

If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits. – Bernays

This post begins with the nephew of Freud, a psychoanalyst named Edward Bernays. He is a man that should be known amongst every citizen of the corporate world we live in. Bernays is credited as being the father of modern propaganda. However, since the Germans used the term propaganda Bernays decided that the term “public relations” should be used instead to describe the “engineering of consent” that he and other very powerful people in the establishment would use to control the minds of the masses. In his book Propaganda it reads,

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

One of Bernays’ early clients was the tobacco industry where in 1929 he orchestrated a legendary publicity stunt aimed at persuading women to take up ciagrette smoking, because at the time it was unfashionable for women to smoke and was considered unfeminine. The tobacco industry wanted to open up a whole new market. Bernays organized a “women’s rights” march in the New York City Parade where young debutants would light up their “torches of freedom” (in reference to Lady Liberty)

His psychoanalyst colleague A.A. Brill gave him advice about this stunt:

Some women regard cigarettes as symbols of freedom…It is perfectly normal for women to want to smoke cigarettes. Further the first women who smoked probably had an excess of male components and adopted the habit as a masculine act. But today the emancipation of women has suppressed many feminine desires. More women now do the same work as men do…. Cigarettes, which are equated with men, become torches of freedom.

Woman SmokingHe was successful and it was this very campaign that broke the taboo of women smoking in society and Bernays was paid very well for his services. Not only did it introduce a new gender to the health hazards of smoking, a practice that was in opposition to God’s will and what God was advicing against according to the Doctrine and Covenants many years prior, but Bernays emblazoned into our psyche that a woman that smoked is more emancipated than one who doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, women’s rights are essential…but by smoking, the women at the time were not emancipating themselves at all. In fact they were no longer subordinating themselves to their husbands and families but were on an imprisoning pathway to addiction and rampant consumerism.

Bernays is also coined as being the propagandist who developed the theory of “mass consumer persuasion”. He has linked our psyche with the idea of “shopping therapy”, that gaining material possessions not only makes us feel good about ourselves but make us feel more “free”. He even had a part in the development of the ladies magazine Cosmopolitan as a way of developing a consumerist culture amongst women in the United States which would entice these women to consume with careful advertising and celebrity endorsements.Cosmopolitan He helped to develop a consumerist culture that would reinforce the false democracy that he believed in, a democracy where people would be satiated with material wealth and thus take a subordinate role to those who gave them those goods… “their masters.”

Corporate AmericaPaul Mazer of Lehman Brothers,a man who employed Bernays said:

“We must shift America from a needs to a desires culture. People must be trained to desire. People must want new things before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”

Our liberties and democracy have been warped into an iatrogenic palliative, a remedy that has ultimately made us sick.

Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “”It is the love of money and the love of those things which money can buy which destroys us. The love of [money] . . . warps our values . . . and fosters selfishness and greed.”

When looking at the logos of companies above I think it is fitting to ask yourself, “Where have their products come from and what are the conditions in which the people have worked to make the products I consume? What extrenalities are the corporations putting upon us and the environment?”

I think you will find, as I have, that I feel guilty every time I buy something I don’t need, but want, that comes from a corporation that I know has been involved with human rights abuses, sweatshop labour, destruction of the environment etc.

If Gordon B. Hinckley is right, then buying products from companies that abuse human rights shows that we love money and the things that money can buy more then we love our fellowmen.

Thomas S. Monson has adviced us… “We must learn to separate need from greed.”

Comments 63

  1. Thomas S. Monson has commanded us… “We must learn to separate need from greed.”

    Wow. The idea that Thomas Monson has the ability to “command” anything at all is simply frightening. Have Bernays’ ideas worked so well in LDS culture now, that prophet-olatry grants mere men the power to issue “commandments?”

  2. Nick,
    Are you now generalizing one person’s choice of words to describe the way a group of people see things? Come on; this is a blog post–“commanded” may or may not be a good choice of words, but I doubt it’s descriptive of how most of us view the prophet, and it certainly isn’t normative toward the body of Mormons (99.99% of whom have likely never read a Mormon blog).

  3. Come on Nick…

    You know me…you know my views…I think you are nitpicking with my word selection there and could comment on the content of the article rather then a word that you probably know even I was a bit hesitant about choosing.

    I have changed it to adviced….lets move on.

  4. Sam, I understand where you’re coming from, but this really wasn’t an isolated word choice (nor is it a complete threadjack). Think back to 2005, when Hinckley “invited” LDS members to read The Book of Mormon during the second half of that year. Almost instantly, it was being characterized as a “challenge,” and soon after, many were calling it a “commandment.” I was managing an LDS bookstore at the time, and I can tell you certain companies profited heavily from this characterization, as it transformed a desire into a “need,” just as Stephen speaks of. Heck, in my own ward, it was taken to such an extreme that the bishop literally required each home teacher to provide him with a full accounting of exactly who (by name) in their home teaching families had or had not followed this “commandment.”

    So, Stephen’s observations worked here in a religious context. An invitation was transformed into a “commandment” (i.e. desire was transformed into need), to the advantage of a handful of marketers.

  5. Nick, the focus of the post is on Bernays and his culture of consumerism, not another snarky threadjack round of prophet bashing.

    Stephen, another great, unconfortable insight that challenges us Latter-day Saints to return to our roots and moralize our consumption. I gave up consumption as a happiness quotient in my life a few years ago and it is liberating. On one hand, you don’t have as much stuff to clutter your life–living minimally is quite liberating, and on the other hand, I have more money to make financial decisions with, also quite liberating. Consumerism is a quiet slavery. I suggest we avoid it like the plague. Oh, and for all of you in America that are getting you “check” from the government, don’t spend it on stuff, buy food storage or use it to get out of debt. Buying more Chinese goods from Walmart isn’t going to help the economy.

  6. Amen,Peter! We’re putting most of our stimulus check into the food storage we should have started at least five years ago.

    Oh, and I’m also going to pick up a copy of “It’s All Too Much” for hints on simplifying and de-cluttering my life.

  7. Peter, exactly where did I bash a prophet? By all means, please do quote it to me. If you can’t (which we both know is the case), then feel free to retract your false witness. As for threadjacking, I’ll assume you didn’t read my #3 before you posted, since as I pointed out, the transformation of an invitation (desire) to a commandment (need), resulting in marketing advantage, is directly relevant to Stephen’s post.

  8. Fwiw, Nick is right that the natural man response when “excellent advice” is received is to turn it into a command. That’s what we tend to do with Moroni’s invitation at the end of the BofM – make is a “challenge/command” rather than the invitation he wrote it as being. (“I would exhort you” is a fervent request – not a command.) I personally believe prophets can issue commands, so I wouldn’t have reacted exactly like Nick did, but the point he made definitely is relevant to the topic.

    Amen, with regard to the stimulus payment. Buying a flat screen TV is popular, I hear – even before the check actually arrives. That appalls me.

    Stephen, the basic concept of this post is incredibly important and should be understood by everyone – irrespective of religion or nationality. Thanks for writing it.

  9. I must say that this post can definitely be applied to control by the church to the lay membership. However I didnt really want to go there as it is a very dangerous area to discuss with people I am not wholly familiar with.

    I am glad that you did point it out Nick because it is real and the church uses the same techniques.

    But Peter has pointed out, this post is meant to be about how societal elites use propaganda to get us to choose mammon over God/serving our fellow man.

    And how our democracies,sovereignty and free agency has been warped/hijacked/manipulated.

  10. Stephen! This is a great post–and a VERY important topic.

    I scare myself sometimes buying stuff like DVDs or even books (if I don’t read them). As for the flat screen and the rebate check, I have to confess that I had that thought Ray, lol.

    Thanks for bringing this up today. It is definitely an area I need to do a LOT more thinking and reflection on.

  11. Stephen,

    Great post. I find it ironic that most Americans and many Mormon leaders feared their destruction would come by militant Marxism, and yet that ghost has faded away. Monstrous materialism now appears to be our demise for its effects on the environment and our souls. When I hear shopping touted by government officials and economists as patriotic, I reach for my gun, metaphorically speaking.

  12. C’mon, guys. Nick is just being Nick. Where would we be without him?. Just agreeing with each other….? 🙂

    Speaking of agreeing, I still cannot understand how the majority (if its true) of LDS members in the US can be Republicans! Unless of course, they agree with the wealth grabbing, excessive consumerism, profit-making at all cost, damn the poor attitude which the GOP espouses.

    Then it make sense. But it runs somewhat counter to the “counsel” we have been given. (command, for Nick 😉 )

  13. This is a great post. I was studying last night about the NT church structure, and when reading particularly from Acts about the believers sharing all things in common, donating their surplus to the poor, etc., I thought how far we have come from that ideal. The Christian communities were very small at this time, so I know it is difficult to implement the communal ideal on a larger scale. And I’m definitely not saying it would be easy for me to live such an ideal. Still, American consumerism — cleverly called “affluenza” — is a sickness that has infected Christian churches along with society. In Utah I’ve seen it a reasonably common phenomena that those elevated to LDS leadership positions, especially in Stake Presidencies, are frequently from the more wealthy strata of the middle class. While some of this may be due to the executive nature of administration and flexibility that may afford for lay leadership demands, there is a touch of cultural unhealthfulness behind it too. That culture is that it is common for LDS members to associate material wealth as a correlative to righteous living. Therefore then some see those who are materially blessed they will assume, if they are active church goers, that they must be very righteous. Maybe this is more of a Utah thing I’ve seen because of the more homogenous LDS culture.

    Still, even though in our church our pastors aren’t wealthy by any means, I still can see traces among the congregation of this “material wealth=spirituality or spiritual blessedness” consumerist byproduct. So it definitely isn’t an LDS problem at the root, even if the LDS manifestation of it has some uniqueness to it.

  14. Post

    #11-Yes John..I feel exactly the same way as you do about their hopes for us to keep consuming. I remember listening to an RFK speech about how our nations need to be valued in something other than GDP and GNP. Unfortunately he was most likely done away with by the same people that keep our consent “engineered”.

    Communism and Bolshevism were reliant on US Banking interests and US techonology from 1917 to 1930 with big bankers from Wall Street being brough in to organize the first 5 year plan.

    It seems that Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda are now our bogeyman…all having been in the pay of the CIA for a major part of their existence.

    Sorry…I just get so angry with it all….I probably shouldnt be talking about that stuff here.

  15. Post

    #12 Jeff said “Speaking of agreeing, I still cannot understand how the majority (if its true) of LDS members in the US can be Republicans! Unless of course, they agree with the wealth grabbing, excessive consumerism, profit-making at all cost, damn the poor attitude which the GOP espouses.”

    Jeff…I agree 120%!! And even if all they want is cheap oil…surely they could see that we need to ween ourselves off of it ASAP!! But the GOP would never espouse that sort of logic.

    #13 – Just for Quix… again I agree with you. Personally, I love the church and think it is a great organization but wish it would get back to its cooperativist roots. And though I love it and am committed to it, I think it has sold out to the rich and wealthy elites and a revolution that restores democracy and removes private corporate tyrannies is not going to come from our leaders…because they are essentially in a corporation.

  16. Stephen (14) and John (11) —

    I get overwhelmed at the thought of it all, too. The US GDP is largely fueled by consumer consumption — so it isn’t so inaccurate to say it is “patriotic” to spend. Like empires and civilizations of the past that were built upon human slavery or indentured servitude, so is the US economy built on the necessity to keep a large chunk of the population enslaved to materialism, interest and debt. The human cost is staggering. At the same time having had a career in entertainment and marketing, it is a necessary evil of the economy upon which so many depend for livelihood to try to create the perception of need from mere desire. It’s frustrating when one realizes the unrequited idealistic depression one will experience if one thinks about this too much. Very few careers are “pure” and not tainted by the ugly effects of materialist economy. (Perhaps materialism is the very essence of economy.)

  17. Re: We must shift America from a needs to a desires culture. People must be trained to desire. People must want new things before the old have been entirely consumed.

    I think the frugal culture and work ethic of my pioneer ancestors has provided insight on escaping this trend. “Use it up, wear it out, don’t waste, do your chores, do your homework, go to those service projects, participate in those youth activities, you’re not getting a home video game system”, were more or less commandments in my home. We have had no cable, satellite, or newspaper for the last 2 years and it seems weird to go to a hotel and see commercials. It’s easier to be free from material desires when you don’t get a flood of their messages day after day. The desire of parents to make things “easier” for the next generation can backfire. I find myself, due to God’s blessing and supportive parents in the “more wealthy strata of the middle class”, although I don’t really feel like I am there. Nor is it because of righteousness or spirituality, although I try. What I’m trying to say is that fighting materialism has to begin in the home as a parent, and it means more parenting work than a lot of people would like to put in. Callings in church are of the same grain. You do them, not because you necessarily want or have time to, but because a lesson was learned at one time that parting with your individual is part of helping turn the focus of others to what will be of most value.

  18. JfQ – It certainly isn’t an LDS thing. When I lived in Alabama, one of the wealthiest individuals around was the preacher of the largest Baptist church in town. He leased a new Cadillac every year and took regular vacations in the Caribbean. He was very open about it, and it wasn’t seen as any big deal by most of the Protestants in town.

    I look at many of the houses that are being built in UT and have to shake my head. I understand that when someone sells a 1500 sq/ft house in CA for almost $1 Million, they are able to build a McMansion in UT, but I cringe nonetheless. I wish the Saints were immune to that temptation, but they aren’t.

  19. #17 – Rigel…Thanks so much for the comment. I am glad you have focused on the family and responsibilities of parents which has been underemphasized, if not completely missed, so far. I think that the work ethic and temperate approach of your parents is what is needed aswell as dedication to serving others in church and community.

    #18. – Ray…as a missionary I found the same thing with preachers in South Africa. It made me feel bitter about religion even though I was a missionary at the time. Thank you for your comments and your hopes for our behaviour as Latter Day Saints.

  20. Ray (18): Yeah, I definitely know there are rich preachers and churches to be found most anywhere you go. What I was trying to highlight is whether cultures outside Utah embrace a correlation between spirituality and material wealth. I would think this is true to some degree or another. In Utah, in particular, what with the whole lay leadership thing it makes me wonder if the spirito-material correlation is real, of if it is just a practical matter of promoting those with executive or business operation skills (who often also happen to be wealthy or more materially comfortable).

    Definitely see a lot of 600K-800K McMansions in my area where it is so common for husband and wife to be working to the bone just to pay the mortgage. It’s not just an LDS thing. If people can afford it comfortably, fine, but I see that less common — at least in my region. Where it reflects on a Christian community who have embraced debt servitude it is unfortunate such have fallen for this level of “affluenza.” Unfortunately where wages are some people aren’t living in McMansions and are still debt slaves to keep their mortgages paid.

  21. Strange that several people have suggested that this implies LDS members shouldn’t be Republicans.

    This is actually the main reason I am a Republican, as I feel Democrat politicians are always running on a platform of: “Elect me and I will give you stuff.” The obsession with material possessions as opposed to cultivating good values frustrates me.

    Granted, Republicans are infected with materialism too, but at least they still have some libertarian elements that occasionally rise to the surface.

  22. Post

    #21 – Neoconservatives have abandoned everything that Republicans stood for. Ron Paul was like a shining light at those debates. Democrats and Neocons appeal to the same power structures therefore they do not stand for significant change from my perspective…I know John Hamer will disagree with me though.

  23. My 14 year old son wants us to buy a new car. We have a 1994 Ford Escort wagon with 150K miles on it and a 1991 Toyota Previa minivan with 230K miles. They run fine, and I keep them well maintained. We’re not buying something new anytime soon. The thought of that makes him grown with hopelessness and roll his eyes.

  24. If LDS members were true to the ideals of the church and gospel, we’d be socialist. Joseph tried to institute the United Order to insure that all were cared for. No one should have more than anyone else, but no one should have less.

    Republicans are all about money, getting it, keeping it and using it to buy more and more. I can understand why someone would not want to be a democrat given the wild ideas that some have. But we could use more compassion for the poor, the widows and the fatherless.

  25. Jeff, broad stereotypes like that are not helpful in the slightest. I have known a LOT of very selfless Republicans and a LOT of very selfish Democrats – and vice versa. This post is about agency, not politics – and it applies to those of every or no party.

  26. Jeff – “If LDS members were true to the ideals of the church and gospel, we’d be socialist.” I fundamentally disagree with this. I’m with Cicero. In fact, I will add that socialism adds too much distance between decisions and personal responsibility as it is currently employed in European countries. For example, France experienced a problem where the unemployment was skyrocketing among their young adults because no one wanted to have to work. They felt being paid unemployment was better.

    “Joseph tried to institute the United Order to insure that all were cared for.” And it failed miserably.

    “No one should have more than anyone else, but no one should have less.” I couldn’t disagree more on this front. People who create wealth and jobs should have more. People like Bono and Bill Gates make the whole world better when they have more. It’s like the parable of the talents. Take from the one who buries it in the earth and give to the one who increases it tenfold.

    “Republicans are all about money, getting it, keeping it and using it to buy more and more.” Really? I think that’s human nature to some extent, but it’s also a sweeping generalization. I would say that there are also at least as many Republicans who believe in saving (vs. spending). The Clintons and Obamas are not exactly poor, nor in Al Gore. And populist John Edwards is wealthy. Neither party corners the market on virtue either in its representatives or its constituents.

    I do, however, totally agree that everyone needs more compassion for the poor, the widows and the fatherless. Redistributing wealth just seems the least effective and least creative solution out there. To truly solve poverty and hunger, there is a lot of creativity that is applied to consumerism that should be applied to those problems. So, in that at least, we agree.

    And to clarify, I’m not a gun nut (hate guns) and not radically GOP (just fiscally so). In the current election, I’m leaning Obama. But maybe that just means I’m an elitist.

  27. Ok, Ok, so maybe I went a little overboard on the republican thing. Though I still find it interesting that they can socialize the mistakes of financial companies but not those of home buyers who have mortgage problems or people who need health care.

    And Ray is right, there are many fine people who freely give of their substantial means to help others.

    Any economic system, with the exception of communism, can work if left on its own to function properly and not be manipulated by the government. Ours is highly manipulated and tilted in favor of the corporations and big business. France, on the other hand, tilted theirs in favor of the worker to the extent that companies were no longer willing to invest and put their businesses there. thus, the high unemployment rate.

    There has to be a balance. And because politics rules the roost, you know, at least in the US, how it is going to go.

    We have to do a much better job of ” teaching people how to fish….” I think it starts by putting a lid on the greed cycle we are in.

  28. hawkgrrrl:

    “Joseph tried to institute the United Order to insure that all were cared for.” And it failed miserably.

    It failed miserably because too many people like you, and too few people like Joseph, were involved.

  29. Jeff Spector:

    Speaking of agreeing, I still cannot understand how the majority (if its true) of LDS members in the US can be Republicans! Unless of course, they agree with the wealth grabbing, excessive consumerism, profit-making at all cost, damn the poor attitude which the GOP espouses.

    Quit fooling yourself, the Democrats are the same beast. I have an analogy of my own invention which I would like to use to illustrate a point:

    The Democrats bake a nice big wedding cake with a thick layer of tasty frosting. Not only do they keep much of this cake for themselves, but they give you a nice big piece as well. You’re eating it and it tastes so good, but as you gobble it up and get down to the last few bites of your slice of Democratic wedding cake, you realize it’s all bloody and that you have been eating a Cake of Death(tm).

    The Republicans don’t even bother to bake a cake or prepare mixes and frostings. Instead, they whip up a Creme Pie of Death(tm) and throw it in your face.

    So both parties will give you Pastries of Death(tm). But in the Democratic case, you’ve eaten almost the entire cake before realizing how bad it really is, and now the problem is systemic, working its way through your digestion. In the Republican case, you’ve got death all over your face, but it’s topical, it’s immediate, and you know exactly what is going on; you can grab your Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy towel and wipe that creme pie of death from off your face and chest.

    The Democrats are just better at brainwashing you and manufacturing your desires!

  30. Great post, Steve.

    “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” Truer words were never spoken.

    However, I’ve noticed this interesting phenomenon where people who rebel against corporations, the establishment, the system, the man, etc. think they are becoming truly free, as if they are finally breaking free of “the Matrix,” but in reality they have just become puppets of a different set of puppeteers.

    It used to be corporations and politicians that molded their thinking. But now it’s Noam Chomsky, Che Guevarra, Ralph Nader, or a host of other romanticized revolutionaries they’ve never met. Again, all they’ve done is exchanged one set of puppeteers for another.

    It seems if one is to truly break free of “the Matrix,” one needs to create his or her own original way of thinking. This is admittedly difficult if not impossible for most people to do. But unless we do create our own original ways of thinking, are we not all, to one extent or another, puppets dangling on the strings of puppeteers we’ve never met?

    For a Mormon angle on all this, Joseph Smith was such a person in that he radically suggested that all the existing denominations were wrong, and created something new. When he ran for President of the U.S., he rejected both with Whig and Democrat parties and ran as an independent.

  31. The “group mind” and “social conscience” are still something very intensely studied by the likes of the Tavistock Institute (organized as a charity, HA!) and our own Department of Defense. There are much more sophisticated techniques being employed these days (you can thank magicians for revealing these secrets to government)…

    Recently, the DoD has been going to robots and insects to learn more about how the fewest number of conspiring actors can influence the largest possible segment of a colony. They have designed robotic bees and cockroaches which are programmed to do certain communicative dances and gestures. The DoD has found that they can control an entire roach colony or beehive with as few a 5 conspiring actors (i.e., robots).

    Since most people in our society today are mind control slaves (i.e., robots), the level of saturation in our human colony is much greater than a mere 5 actors (though it could be argued that modern mind control slaves aren’t exactly “conspiring” actors, even if they respond robotically to their commands and suggestions).

  32. Derek – “It failed miserably because too many people like you, and too few people like Joseph, were involved.” Sorry, who are the so-called “people like me” you are referring to as having been involved in the United Order? I’m not much like the original twelve, half of whom left the church. I’m not like the couple who held back the skimmings of the milk (whatever the heck that is). The real problem is that there was so little financial savvy in the country at the time, JS included. There was no national bank. People still stuffed money in their mattress and traded in goods. How can anyone think that a good heart is all it takes to make sound financial decisions? Human failing always creep into these endeavors: lazy, stupid, and dishonest. It’s pretty easy to pinpoint the failings of such a system that relies on (rather than encourages and rewards) goodness.

  33. By “people like you” I mean “people that didn’t really want it”, just like you continue their heritage by denying consecration to this day.

    Joseph Smith built his church upon a speculative economy, and his desire to establish the United Order was based upon his ability to see the inherent destructiveness of speculation. The speculative economy of Joseph Smith’s day is no different from the speculative economy of our day… But maybe you can still afford your mortgage…

    If the United Order was such a failure, then why do original branches of it still survive in Missouri? (Interestingly, most of them operate under the cloak/guise of the Community of Christ.)

  34. Regarding the Republican bashing going on, I’d like to make a few points:

    1. Republicans are not heartless jerks who just care about more wealth for themselves at the expense of the poor. In fact, Republicans are more selfless, as measured by the percentage of their income that they give to help others. Several studies have shown that Republicans donate FAR MORE to charity than Democrats. They give more to both religious and non-religious charities (so the explanation for this is not just that Republicans are more religious and more likely to attend church and donate to their church). Democrats seem to think being “generous” and “concerned about the poor” means spending OTHER PEOPLE’S money (by raising taxes). I’d post a link to info about this, but every time I post a link my post disappears into moderation, never to return, just google it and you’ll find info.

    2. Some people think that Republicans’ emphasis on free markets makes them greedy, or that they want big corporations to succeed at the expense of the poor. I have noticed that most people who say this (and most Democrats in general) are people who have not studied economics. The simple objective fact is that free markets are the best way that modern humans have found to maximize material welfare for the greatest number of people.

    Some examples:

    a. The failures of communism, the import substitution industrialization attempts in the third world in the 60s and 70s, and the economic malaise of the European welfare states (for at least the last 20 years Europe has consistently had lower productivity levels, lower economic growth levels, lower average incomes, and higher unemployment than the United States).

    b. The developing countries with the freest, least regulated economies have the highest growth rates and the greatest reductions in poverty. The examples of countries like Taiwan, S. Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong all attest to this–40 years ago they were all among the poorest countries on Earth; China only experienced its boom in growth when it adopted more free market policies (which has resulted in 100s of millions of people coming out of extreme poverty in China).

    c. Even arguments about how Republicans’ free market policies have led to greater income inequality are flawed because of social mobility: the VAST majority of people in the bottom 20% of income rise out of that bottom 20% to higher levels of income. So, even though the difference between the bottom 20%’s and highest 20%’s salaries is increasing (slightly), most people don’t stay in that bottom 20% forever anyway. A personal example of this: for the first 12 years after I graduated from high school (and moved out and became a separate household for economic reporting purposes), my income has been and will be in the bottom 20%, but after I finish graduate school, I will jump to the top 20%. Moreover, incomes in all quintiles have been increasing over the recent decades when inequality has gotten (slightly) worse, so any distributional problems don’t mean that the poor are getting poorer, just that they’re getting richer at a slower rate than the rich.


    Republicans don’t hate people, they don’t want the poor to suffer, and they don’t want to breath dirty air or eat dangerous food. They just see using free markets that are minimally regulated as the best solution to these problems. And rightly so, as borne out by any look at the numbers and the results of policies.

    In the end, Republicans believe that giving people freedom to act, within proper simple boundaries, does far more to ensure the happiness and welfare for the greatest number of people than having a nanny state dictate our actions to us.

    The political propaganda that we see in society today (as evidenced by a media that is biased in favor of liberals–once again, I would post links, but don’t want my comment to get lost in moderation) is mostly geared toward obscuring and hiding these facts and convincing people that Republicans are evil pigs who want to steal from everyone.

  35. Andrew,

    Thanks for the complement. No man is an island and I do not condone or support violent and destructive rebellion. I do not support rebellion just for rebellion’s sake. Often young rebellious people choose to rebel and think that drugs and other destructive behaviours are the way to rebel.

    I think that we need to…and this is what my next post is about…start a “love-olution” a revolution where we start loving and caring for eachother rather then seeking to bring down governments or corporations.

    These lives and writings of romantic revolutionaries, Joseph Smith included, shouldnt be hagiograhies but should be taken for what they are..Martin Luther King Jr. indeed.

    I wish people were committed to ideals and principles as they were to people and leaders.

    If this were the case then I think great ideas such as cooperative economics, human rights and sustainable living would be more readily sought after.

  36. Stephen, I really don’t want to call any individuals out, but there is at least one person who almost never contributes anything positive or substantive to these conversations – who comes here and throws flaming spitballs and non-sensical bombs. I honestly have no clue if it’s intentional or just a result of a complete lack of self-awareness, but suffice it to say that the actions are extremely trollish – and they only get worse when confronted.

    To be clear, I am NOT talking about the political party slap-fest. That’s a bit annoying, perhaps, but not “trollish”. I guess my frustration just got the better of me for a moment, but some of this stuff is just . . . (can’t find a gentle word to describe it).

  37. Ray, this is indeed a profound post… But the techniques of mind control have advanced greatly since the turn of the century when Harry Houdini began to work with government through his Masonic associates, revealing the mind control trade secrets of magic and mentalism to military councils and governmental think tanks. There is a long history since Houdini of highly-paid magicians serving as consultants along side psychologists and Tavistock Institute grads, etc.

    We live in an age when faceless and sometimes non-existent organizations of “Laughing Men” can unleash sophisticated Stand Alone Complexes, or “second-order simulacra”, with minds of their own. (Thank you, The Intertubes, for this brave new world.)

    The Representamen have more power than most people could ever understand.

  38. Steve (36)

    Couldn’t agree more and REALLY looking forward to your next post. Also glad you recognized my comment above as a compliment as applied to you; you know how I esteem you. I did want to point out that propaganda and manipulation of the public mind comes from all sides of the political spectrum.

  39. Andrew…

    Infact, the stuff I mention above developed initially from the left end of the political spectrum. It is used by liberals (i.e. the NAACP hired Bernays in the Civil Rights Movement), and every side now.

    It is important to be aware of it in order to make an informed decision as to what the truth really is.

    I conclude, with Stephen Colbert, that in the current political climate truth has a “liberal bias.” lol

    And when I say liberal I also mean classically conservative. I believe in libertarian socialism…make us free so we can cooperate with eachother. No sane person wants war, poverty, starvation, human rights violations.

    But yet we elect those nutters who do want it as our leaders and buy all our products from their mentors and friends.


    I esteem you too Andrew.

  40. Ray….

    Thank you so much for the compliment about this post. I do think this stuff is hard hitting…as we realize the base we have built our society on is…in biblical terms…evil. That is not too say that it is all to be thrown out…not at all…

    Thank you for adding your inspiring and informational comments here and for being patient.

  41. Stephen – “Make us free so we can cooperate with eachother. No sane person wants war, poverty, starvation, human rights violations.” Well said!

  42. “I do think this stuff is hard hitting…as we realize the base we have built our society on is…in biblical terms…evil.”

    Remind me sometime, Stephen, to share with you my undiluted, frank perception of why the Restoration was necessary. The edited version is interesting enough, but the blunt version would get me stoned in some of the places I have lived in this country.

  43. …when Harry Houdini began to work with government through his Masonic associates, revealing the mind control trade secrets…

    Okay, I’m officially proposing a “Nutter Hall of Fame,” with poster #41 above the first nomination for inclusion.

    I guess even after becoming a Master Mason, a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Royal Arch Mason, a Cryptic Mason, and a Knight Templar, I still just haven’t gotten around to learning those uber-cool “mind control trade secrets.”

  44. Nick :–

    That’s because you’re not a magician. Masons don’t know these secrets, magicians do. Houdini just got involved in these governmental projects through his associate Masons.

  45. Re #50:
    You just THINK you came up with that statement on your own, Derek. The truth is, I’ve been controlling everything you’ve ever typed in Mormon Matters, through my secret Jedi mind tricks!

  46. Nick Literski :–

    As a “real McCoy”, I descend from the bloodline of the Royal Order of Scotland at Kilwinning (H.R.D.M.) and the hereditary Grand Master of all Masonry (the King of Scots). I know of a patrilineal descendant of this line in Pontiac, Illinois, and another in Manhattan, Kansas.

    Let’s everyone list our Masonic qualifications!

  47. Nick Literski :–

    My uncle is the Venerable Prophet of his Grotto and, I believe, 33rd degree Scottish Rite. I was hanging out last night with another 33rd degree Mason, discussing Craft vs. Art. I live a few blocks away from the regional 32nd degree temple in Kansas City commissioned and built by Albert Pike himself.

    I am not anti-Masonic. But magicians have as much to do with this topic as does Bernays. And Houdini’s connections into all this came through Masonry. So you can remain ignorant of history if you like… But I will continue in my Iradic intentions to inform the masses and expose those things that very few people know.

  48. Nick Literski :–

    FWIW, I am a sleight-of-hand artist and illusionist, and I have been studying the history of the magical arts for most of my life. So forgive me if I know a thing or two about Houdini, who his associates were, and what war-time projects “Harry Handcuff Houdini” worked on with government.

  49. Nick Literski :–

    I almost forgot: I possess, and have read, Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma, and I know the difference between A.F.&A.M. and F.&A.M. (though I assume you believe the “accident of history” explanation of this discrepancy).

  50. Ray :–

    It can increase your lifespan by up to 100% or more (calorie restriction) and it will clean your DNA making your descendants much healthier (read the studies of descendants of famine survivors)!

  51. Jeff Spector :–

    I don’t think your comments were a threadjacking. Rather, the discussion you started has illustrated the false solution of the Democratic party as another example of free agency and free thought being manipulated through the manufacture of consent.

    While there seem to be elements of an overarching conspiracy, especially when discussing characters like Bernays, most of today’s mindjacking comes through complex dynamical systems — that is, copycat memetics, if you will. Perhaps nobody here has studied the chaotic nature of cellular automata, but I believe that it is mostly cellular systems through which the propagation of the effects of modern social engineering takes place.

    The Mormon invention of the television can be seen as the great enabler of this cellular paradigm of thought control, but the Internet has brought us to a new level of information interaction, and you can bet that our controllers are using these tubes to their fullest extent (then again, so are we; the Internet finally enables us to become controllers also). And you can be sure that they are using the latest and greatest theories in semiotics and sociology to affect our will.

    (Raise your hand if you’ve ever implemented a 2- or 3-dimensional cellular automaton in an object-oriented programming language. UFO Skeptic?)

    Joseph Smith, Jr., discussed relativity almost 100 years before Einstein, and he promoted chaos theory almost 150 years before its development. Joseph Smith, Jr., spoke that the agency of the gods was their ability to organize systems from the chaotic matter of element.

    Today the social controllers are trying to play gods, organizing their own systems from the chaotic matter of populations. There is not enough cohesion and not enough organized conspiracy to propagate the changes from the top-down. Therefore, sophisticated techniques must be employed to get the desired changes to bubble from the bottom-up.

    And so here we are running around the Intarwebs, passing messages, trying to make a difference and have some control of our own…

  52. Derek – “And so here we are running around the Intarwebs, passing messages, trying to make a difference and have some control of our own…” Ah yes, but mostly using good old fashioned persuasion and opinionated ranting. Not so much mind control. Now, if you have some specific mind control suggestions for the web design, I’m all ears. OTOH, maybe there is some already there. The neutral beige/tan background, reminding us to be neutral and cool-headed. The colorful blocks at the top as a reminder of diversity of thought. The symbols in the blocks, reminding us that language is a front for underlying meanings that are often shared, but sometimes deeper and more hidden. That slight emphasis in the word “Matters” by italicizing it–as if to say, the matters are more important than whether they are Mormon. Or that Mormonism matters in some way to all people on this site. Let he that hath ears to hear hear.

  53. Hawkgrrrl (re: speculation #34) :–

    Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

    Views of the Prophet on Constitutional Powers

    Section Five 1842-43, p.278

    Situated as we are, with a flood of immigration constantly pouring in upon us, I consider that it is not only prudential, but absolutely necessary to protect the inhabitants of this city from being imposed upon by a spurious currency. Many of our eastern and old country fiends are altogether unacquainted with the situation of the banks in this region of country; and as they generally bring specie with them, they are perpetually in danger of being gulled by speculators. Besides there is so much uncertainty in the solvency of the best of banks, that I think it much safer to go upon the hard money system altogether. I have examined the Constitution upon this subject and find my doubts removed. The Constitution is not a law, but it empowers the people to make laws. For instance, the Constitution governs the land of Iowa, but it is not a law for the people. The Constitution tells us what shall not be a lawful tender. Art. I, Section 10 declares that nothing else except gold and silver shall be lawful tender, this not saying that gold and silver shall be lawful tender. It only provides that the state may make a law to make gold and silver lawful tender. I know of no state in the Union that has passed such a law; and I am sure that Illinois has not. The legislature has ceded up to us the privilege of enacting such laws as are not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States and the state of Illinois; and we stand in the same relation to the state as the state does to the Union. The clause referred to in the Constitution is for the legislature–it is not a law for the people. The different states, and even Congress itself, have passed many laws diametrically contrary to the Constitution of the United States.

    The state of Illinois has passed a stay law making property a lawful tender for the payment of debts; and if we have no law on the subject we must be governed by it. Shall we be such fools as to be governed by its laws, which are unconstitutional? No! We will make a law for gold and silver; and then the state law ceases and we can collect our debts. Powers not delegated to the states or reserved from the states are constitutional. The Constitution acknowledges that the people have all power not reserved to itself. I am a lawyer; I am a big lawyer and comprehend heaven, earth and hell, to bring forth knowledge that shall cover up all lawyers, doctors and other big bodies. This is the doctrine of the Constitution, so help me God. The Constitution is not law to us, but it makes provision for us whereby we can make laws. Where it provides that no one shall be hindered from worshiping God according to his own conscience, is a law. No legislature can enact a law to prohibit it. The Constitution provides to regulate bodies of men and not individuals. (Feb. 25, 1843.) DHC 5:289-290.

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