Conservatives have known for a long time that liberalism warps the human mind and the human soul, turning individuals with unlimited potential into human gerbils whose only aspiration is to get their hands on the next government pellet. Now, as details leak out about President Obama’s 2012 campaign, it’s clearer than ever that he sees his supporters as a bunch of lab rats.
Ask yourself: Would the founding fathers ever favor a United States of America where career politicians are so hungry for power that they would assemble a “Dream Team” of behavioral scientists to figure out the best way to manipulate the minds of registered voters?
For their part, consortium members said they did nothing more than pass on research-based ideas, in e-mails and conference calls. They said they could talk only in general terms about the research, because they had signed nondisclosure agreements with the campaign.
In addition to Dr. Fox, the consortium included Susan T. Fiske of Princeton University; Samuel L. Popkin of the University of California, San Diego; Robert Cialdini, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University; Richard H. Thaler, a professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago’s business school; and Michael Morris, a psychologist at Columbia.
“A kind of dream team, in my opinion,” Dr. Fox said.
At least some of the consortium’s proposals seemed to have found their way into daily operations. …
“Mr. Jones, we know you have voted in the past” — acts as a subtle prompt to future voting, said Dr. Cialdini, a foundational figure in the science of persuasion. “People want to be congruent with what they have committed to in the past, especially if that commitment is public,” he said.
Got that? President Obama is watching you. Correction: President Obama has been studying you. His campaign has been sifting through your public data and putting together psychological profiles that could be unlocked, disassembled and then put back together into a reliable Obamabot. It’s downright creepy.
And yet, it gets worse. Your digital history is fair game, too.
What data did [Obama’s team use] — and were they tracking you across the web?
It’s still not clear. …
To pinpoint voters who might actually change their minds, the Obama campaign conducted randomized experiments, Slaby said. Voters received phone calls in which they were asked to rate their support for the president, and then engaged in a conversation about different policy issues. At the end of the conversation, they were asked to rate their support for the president again. Using the results of these experiments, combined with detailed demographic information about individual voters, the campaign was able to pinpoint both what kinds of voters had been persuaded to support the president, and which issues had persuaded them.
Avi Feller, a graduate student in statistics at Harvard who has worked on this kind of modeling, compared it to medical research.
“The statistics of drug trials are very similar to the statistics of experiments in campaigns,” he said. “I have some cancer drug, and I know it works well on some people — for whom is the cancer drug more or less effective?” …
One official with knowledge of the campaign’s data operation said that the campaign’s experiments also tested how long the “persuasion” effect lasted after the initial phone conversation — and found that it was only about three weeks.
This is what we have wrought. No matter who you voted for, these tactics are scary. The government has grown so expansive and we have abdicated so many responsibilities to a ruling “elite” in Washington, that they will now go to any length to win. They will say anything, or do anything that experiments — on you — tell them to do, if it means another two or four or six years in power.
In President Obama’s mind, your free will is a cancer, and the “drug” is the “tested” combination of “experiments” that will get you to pull the lever for him. But it’s not just President Obama; these tactics will be used in 2016, 2020 and beyond by both parties. Republicans and Democrats will seek to play Jedi mind tricks on millions of our most gullible citizens. And as they perfect their craft they will “win” more elections — not because they are the better candidate, or the candidate the country needs — but because they are the candidate who could pull your psychological strings like a mad puppeteer.
Are Republicans any better than Democrats in this regard? No. If they are, it’s not by much. But the difference between conservatives and liberals is, the conservative casts a perpetually suspicious eye on all politicians and seeks to limit the power of the federal government; the left quixotically puts their trust in princes.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do on President Obama’s “Terror Tuesday Kill List.” For some reason I don’t believe his canvassers or experiments addressed that one.