Friday, 14 October 2016

Quote of the Day

“Someone asked me the other day if I believe in conspiracies. Well, sure. Here's one. It is called the political system. It is nothing if not a giant conspiracy to rob, trick and subjugate the population."”
(Jeffrey Tucker)

Conspiracy 101

I am not naturally a great believer in conspiracy theories. There are normally far more likely reasons and explanations than conspiracy.

However there is such a thing as what is known as "Group-think". It really needs a detailed explanation but in short:

Group-think is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a groups of people and results in an irrational, or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.

 The "in-group" significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the "out-group"). In addition, group-think can produce and pseudo legitimize, ugly, demonizing/dehumanizing, beliefs and actions, against the "out-group".

Group-think is also observed more broadly, in natural large groupings, such as different mind-sets of liberals versus conservatives, this conformity of viewpoints within a group does not mainly involve deliberate group decision-making, and might be better explained by the collective confirmation bias of the individual members of the group. It can naturally result in a group dynamic that can in turn look orchestrated without necessarily being so.

 It is arguable there are elements of this observable among "Remainers" in the "Brexit" campaign and aftermath of the vote.

The Remainers appeared to have a significant element of the metropolitan and Political elite, secure in their worldview and tending to look at anyone else , especially if they disagreed with them with contempt.

A neat example of faulty thinking and dehumanization was the way the Prime Minister, David Cameron, dismissed UKIP (UK Independence Party) as ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists’. Many natural Conservative voters disillusioned with what they saw as the EU steamroller had increasingly identified with more reasonable elements UKIP’s not anti Europe as such, but specifically anti-EU stance.

Much of the Remain Campaign's "Project Fear" arguments were an attempt to browbeat terrify and stampede voters into being terrified of voting Leave and the "great and Good" were clearly confident they were going to have their way with a Remain vote in the referendum right up until the counting.

The Remainers had promised Armageddon in the event of a leave vote Prime Minister David Cameron even talking about war. Various world leaders had been dragooned to spout threats and warnings. Even President Barack Obama was wheeled out to spontaneously (anyone who thinks this sounds suspiciously like a peculiarly British phrase, crafted especially for a British audience please form a line) threaten that if the UK were to leave the EU it would, go to the 'back of the queue' when it came to negotiating any separate trade agreement with the US.

In the immediate aftermath of the vote there was in fact very little turbulence, except in the lives of some of the Political elite in the UK and across Europe. Heads Fell metaphorically among the British political establishment, Including David Cameron's. Much wailing and cursing was heard among the Remainers, used to getting their own way and inexperienced in accepting defeat.

Suddenly it became apparent that many of them were far more keen on the sort of democracy where things went their way than that less acceptable, practically fake, democracy.. more "Populism" almost.. Mob rule where things somehow incomprehensibly went against them.

So, and here is where we get back to the consequences of group think. They began to talk down the UK economy, currency and prospects against the evidence. They began to look at ways to subvert the result of the referendum.

The disappointed abroad, with the bitterness of spurned lovers who never saw it coming EU leaders began to threaten to make the UK pay for abandoning them.

Eventually a computer logarithm in the far east picked up on this wailing and gnashing of teeth and mistaking it for real problem instigated a flash crash in the value of sterling in eastern markets before anyone human had a clue what was happening.

It must have occurred to quite a few - it did me - at this point that if the dire predictions could somehow be made to appear to come to pass... If the Referendum could somehow be subverted, or diverted, by the usual suspects in parliament... by < href="">a court case.. then the remainer elite might yet get to have their cake and eat it.

An the poor old dumb ill educated foolishly idealistic voters would never realize their prize had been snatched away and could be lulled back to sleep, happily dreaming they had won their independence.

 Not an actual conspiracy then - as such... more a group's individuals actions collectively producing a manifestation of group-think swarming behavior... "

So, now you know - if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it still ain't necessarily actually a duck, it could, despite appearances, just be something... duck-like... duck-ish.