Top 10 Proofs People Can Be Completely Manipulated

Top-10-proofs-people-can-be-completely-manipulated

1. Any article listing the top 10 of anything will be widely read.

2. A poll of people in 65 countries, including the United States, finds that the United States is overwhelmingly considered the greatest threat to peace in the world. The consensus would have been even stronger had the United States itself not been polled, because the 5 percent of humanity living here is largely convinced that the other 95% of humanity – that group with experience being threatened or attacked by the United States – is wrong. After all, our government in the US tells us it is in favor of peace. Even when it bombs cities, it does it for peace. It is hard for people under the bombs to see that. We in the US have a better perspective.

3. Polls in the United States through the 2003-2011 war on Iraq found that a majority in the US believed Iraqis were better off as the result of a war that severely damaged – even destroyed – Iraq. [The last such poll may have been Gallup in August 2010.] A majority of Iraqis, in contrast, believed they were worse off. [Zogby, Dec. 20, 2011.] A majority in the United States believed Iraqis were grateful. [The last such poll may have been CBS News in August 2010.] This is a disagreement over facts, not ideology. But people often choose which facts to become aware of or to accept. Tenacious believers in tales of Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” tended to believe more, not less, firmly when shown the facts. The facts about Iraq are not pleasant, but they are important. To believe that the people who live where your nation’s government has waged a war are better off for it, despite those people’s contention that they are worse off, suggests an extreme sort of arrogance – and a misplaced arrogance because you have just proven that a few slick politicians can make you believe up is down.

4. According to USians, the greatest threat to peace on earth is a nation that hasn’t threatened any other, and hasn’t attacked any other in centuries, a nation that suffered horrible chemical weapons attacks and refused to use chemical weapons in response, a nation that has refused to develop nuclear weapons but been falsely accused of doing so by the US government for decades. That’s right: a bit of laughably bad propaganda, regurgitated in variations for 30 years, and the smart critical thinkers of the Land of the Free declare a nation with a military budget below 1% of their own – Iran – the greatest threat to peace. [Check out Gareth Porter’s forthcoming book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.] Edward Bernays is cackling wickedly in his grave.

5. Because no cartoon character has ever been named after Edward Bernays, nobody’s ever heard of him.

6. In poll after poll after poll, 75% to 85% in the United States say their system of government is broken. Yet, what remains the top piece of advice to agitators for change? That’s right: “Work within the system.” And what remains the fallback ultimate reliable justification for launching or escalating or continuing a war: That’s right: “We need to bring our system of government to others.”

7. When US military spending begins to inch below $1 trillion a year, military-friendly journalists declare the weapons lobby dead.  When it begins to inch back slightly above $1 trillion a year, slightly less military-friendly journalists declare the weapons profiteers alive but struggling. In both scenarios, the level of spending remains roughly $1 trillion and the difference between the high end and the low end, while greater than most other public programs will ever see, is less than the Pentagon “misplaces” in an average 12-month period.

8. On Tuesdays, President Barack Obama goes through a list of men, women, and children, picks which ones to have murdered, and has them murdered. Knowing this would conflict with hating exclusively a particular sub-group of our public sociopaths, so most people simply choose not to know it.

9. If Iraq had really had those weapons, and if Syria had demonstrably really killed a small number of its victims with the wrong type of weapons, and if Iran were really building nuclear weapons… then launching wars on those countries would still be illegal, immoral, and disastrous. We all have opinions about the question the war-makers want asked, but not about the insanity that lies behind the question.

10. People have been dying since before recorded history, and yet only those who pretend to believe nobody dies can be considered serious, honest, upstanding folk. That there is another longer life helps us not worry so much about getting screwed during this one. Perhaps it also helps us in allowing our “representatives” to routinely end the lives of so many foreign, and thus ignorant, people.

David Swanson is an American activist, blogger and author. He served for a year as media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association. In May 2005, Swanson helped make the Downing Street memo known in the United States and discussed in Congress. He co-founded After Downing Street and led an ongoing campaign to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Swanson continues to work closely with the peace movement and often leads campaigns to end the Iraq War and punish those involved in launching that war. His Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.