Article 43

 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Fascism Thrives on Misinformation

image: truth doesnt mind  being questioned

Fascism happens when a society falls into sudden, fresh poverty. In particular, when it holds debts it can’t repay - and the result is widespread economic stagnation. A feeling of discontentment and hopelessness become pervasive. SOCIAL BONDS FRAY. Trust collapses. A society is hanging together by a thread. Elites, whose status and prestige will be lost if they admit they’ve mismanaged society, don’t - and so the VICIOUS CYCLE OF POVERTY AND DESPAIR SIMPLY THUNDERS ON.

Soon enough, in the vacuum, DEMAGOGUE ARISES, who blames the economic woes of the true and the pure on those it’s easiest to scapegoat. Long-hated, powerless minorities. “We will be Great Again!,” he cries. “All you must do is annihilate the subhumans.” His flock - long ignored and derided by elites as the cause of their own problems, now have someone else to blame, to demonize. Those who they’ve hated for generations, usually, anyways. Bang! The fascist spark is lit. The rest is history.
- Fascist Implosion

To convert feeling-based MISINFORMATION into reliable information, one must think consciously about whether the information was derived from reliable processes.
- How Feelings Can Deliver Misinformation

In the end, this bullying will be used by social media platforms, which are integrated into the state security and surveillance organs, not to promote, as its supporters argue, civility, but ruthlessly silence dissidents, intellectuals, artists and independent journalism.  Once you control what people say you control what they think.

They silence, with the enthusiastic assistance of the digital platforms in Silicon Valley, those who are crushed and deformed by systems of oppression and those who lack their finely developed politesse and deference to linguistic fashion. They are the useful idiots of corporate power and the emerging police state. Cancel culture is not the road to reform. It is the road to tyranny.
- Democracy Hollowed Out Part 41 - Misinformation

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Democracy requires real information that fascism rejects.

By Tyler Woods
Psychology Today
January 21, 2022

Fascism Thrives on Misinformation

Fascists use misinformation about history, identity, leaders, conspiracies, and destiny to gain and retain power.

Democracy requires replacing misinformation by real information by using critical thinking, motivational interviewing, and political action.

DEMOCRACY DEPENDS ON REAL INFORMATION that people need to make good decisions about their governments and society. For example, voting for political candidates requires evaluating their claims about how they will deal with economic problems, where evaluation requires information about both the candidates and the economy. Fascism opposes democracy in demanding autocratic government by charismatic leaders assisted by violence. Fascists use misinformation about history, identity, leaders, conspiracies, and destiny to gain and retain power. Replacing misinformation with real information is therefore crucial for retaining democracy and fighting fascism.

Real Information Differs from Misinformation

Real information is true, accurate, and valuable, whereas MISINFORMATION is false, inaccurate, and misleading. Information results from four general processes: acquisition from the world, inference that extends knowledge beyond the world to identify causal relations, memory that stores and retrieves information, and spread of information among people.

When these processes are done well, the result is real information that represents facts about the world, derived by reliable acquisition methods such as perception, systematic observations, and controlled experiments. Evidence so acquired can be extended by inference methods such as careful causal reasoning that identifies the best explanation of observed correlations. Real information can be retained by reliable storage and retrieval, and spread by careful communications practices in which people evaluate the credibility of messages before sending them to others and evaluate messages sent by others before believing them. Unfortunately, misinformation abounds because these practices are violated.

Fascism Exploits Misinformation

Fascism relies on five kinds of misinformation to ensure that people are well-controlled, rather than acting democratically in their own interests.

Mythic past. Leaders such as Mussolini and Hitler talked of a made-up time when their nations were great in ways that they pretend to recover.

Glorious leader. The autocrat deserves control because of the infallible ability to always make good decisions.

National and racial superiority. Nationalism is justified because foreigners, minorities, and immigrants are inherently inferior to the predominant national or racial identity.

Dangerous threats. Violent actions are required to protect the nation from contrived conspiracies.

Inevitable destiny. The nation, under its autocratic leader, is guaranteed to have a magnificent future.

These convictions are made up for political purposes and have no evidence acquired from interactions with the world by perception, systematic observation, or controlled experiments. Evaluations and inferences are based only on autocrats goals rather than on acquired evidence.

Misinformation spreads because politicians exploit peoples’ susceptibility to MOTIVATED INFERENCE and thought-distorting EMOTIONS such as fear, anger, and hatred. Early twentieth-century fascists could only spread misinformation slowly, through print, radio, movies, and rallies, but today misinformation is rapidly and effectively transmitted by social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, whose algorithms value emotional engagement and advertising revenue over truth and democracy.

Defending Democracy

How can democracy resist the threats posed by fascist uses of misinformation? The most promising strategies are MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING, and political action. Critical thinking is a two-step process of error detection followed by remedial reasoning. Error detection draws on psychological research on inferential biases and philosophical work on fallacies to identify mistakes made in support of misinformation. For example, myths about a splendid history, eminent leader, or guaranteed destiny can be identified as based on motivated inference that supports personal goals rather than on objective evidence. Claims about national and racial superiority can be marked as faulty causal inferences. Incendiary claims about threats from internal and foreign conspiracies can be assessed as based on fear rather than evidence.

Once thinking errors are detected, remedial reasoning can use reliable forms of evidence collection and inference to supplant misinformation. Sound historical research can debunk claims about a mythic past and undermine clams of inevitable destiny. Careful causal reasoning can replace unsubstantiated claims about national and racial superiority with evidence-based assessments. Judicious applications of inference to the best explanation of good evidence can revise assessments of autocratic infallibility and conspiracy dangers. Hence the one-two punch of error detection plus remedial reasoning can help to transform misinformation into real information.

Unfortunately, critical thinking is not always effective in changing peoples minds, which are as much driven by emotional values as they are by perception and cognition. A second strategy is MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING, which uses empathy and support rather than critical thinking. It could be used against fascism through the following subtle interventions.

Understanding people’s political concerns by asking them open-ended questions and empathizing with their fears and insecurities.

Being affirmative, reflective, and non-judgmental about their concerns.

Identifying discrepancies between peoples current and desired behaviors, such as treating people equally rather than with nationalist or racist prejudice.

Summarizing the issues and informing people while respecting their autonomy.

Whether motivational interviewing could be used to draw people away from fascist-supporting misinformation remains to be empirically determined. But studies should be done to determine whether it can work in combination with critical thinking or independently to help people adhere to democratic values in the face of fascist threats.

The third strategy is that of political action to change society in ways that retard the spread of misinformation. The USA and other countries are currently reviewing legislation to make social media responsible for ensuring that accuracy is more important than inflammability in how information is transmitted. Another democracy-supporting political action is to use legislative and judicial means to support fair voting rules, for example blocking laws that make it hard for some groups of people to vote or that dilute their voting power by gerrymandering electoral districts. Fair voting procedures are essential for ensuring that people have the opportunity to choose representatives based on real information. I hope that a combination of critical thinking, motivational interviewing, and political action can defend democracy against fascist uses of misinformation.

References

Albright, M. (2018). Fascism: A warning. New York: HarperCollins.

Eatwell, R. (2003). Fascism: A history. London: Pimlico.

Stanley, J. (2020). How fascism works: The politics of us and them. New York: Random House.

SOURCE

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Conservatism, Racism, and Fascism Confused
Lets learn the characteristics of fascism.

By Darcia F. Narvaez
Psychology Today
June 7, 2020

Conservatism used to mean the conserving of traditions within a particular community. It emphasized maintaining the long-tested practices of a community. But today’s conservatism is a type of market liberalism. ELSEWHERE I discuss how the term “conservatism” has morphed into a misleading use.

With some in the REPUBLICAN PARTY EMBRACING WHITE NATIONALISTS, elements of fascism have come to the fore. We can see more clearly, too, with the pandemic how President Trump has been displaying them all.

Jason Stanley, in his book, HOW FASCISM WORKS: THE POLITICS OF US AND THEM, describes fascism’s characteristics and what fascist politicians do. He provides extensive examples from world history and national history, showing how a fascist strain has always existed in the USA but arguing that it is especially visible with Trump.

Here are some common features of fascism and some ways they appear in the current political environment.

Create a mythic (ideal) past.

Consider Make America Great Again,” which FOR SOME may effectively mean “white people in charge.” In this view, President Obama could be construed as a violation of fascist beliefs about white dominance.

Rewritereality with propaganda.

Perhaps the first instance of reality distortion for President Trump related to the SIZE OF HIS INAUGURATION CROWD. Trump touts his ADMINISTRATION AS ACCOMPLISHING A GREAT RESPONSE to COVID-19, though the evidence suggests otherwise.

Take an anti-intellectual stance.

Fascist politics work to undermine trust in expertise, education, and language. Only experts or education systems that support the dominant group (usually white males) are acceptable."Whenever fascism threatens, its representatives and facilitators denounce university and schools as sources of ‘Marxist indoctrination,’ the classic bogeyman of fascist politics. Typically used without any connection to Marx or Marxism, the expression is employed in fascist politics as a way to malign equality.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 43)

Rush Limbaugh routinely denounces government, academia, science, and journalism. PRESIDENT TRUMP’S MUZZLING AND FIRNG OF HEALTH EXPERTS is one recent example of the anti-intellectual orientation.

Create a state of unreality where “conspiracy theories and fake news replace reasoned debate” (p. xvii).

Eliminating experts allows the fascist to create a new state of facts, to replace reasoned argument with fears and passions. Phrases like “Lock her up” and “Build the wall” help do that. Innuendo and slander, like birtherism, are not to be taken as facts but as ways to taint the opposition. NEWS THAT TRUMP DOES NOT LIKE (doesn’t put him in a favorable light) he calls “fake.” As Hannah Arendt (1973) noted in THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM, repetition of a coherent narrative convinces those who are guided by imagination, not facts.

Naturalize group differences, establishing a hierarchy of valuing one group over another.

Democracy cannot flourish on a foundation of inequality, not just because of resentment it foments but because it:

“poses a mortal danger to the shared reality required for a healthy liberal democracy. Those who benefit from inequalities are often burdened by certain illusions that prevent them from recognizing the contingency of their privilege. Then inequalities grow particularly stark, these illusions tend to metastasize. What dictator, king or emperor has not suspected that he was chosen by the gods for his role? What colonial power has not entertained delusions of its ethnic superiority, or the superiority of its religion, culture, and way of life, superiority that supposedly justifies its imperial expansions and conquests? In the antebellum American South, whites believed that slavery was a great gift to those who were enslaved.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 76)

Stoke feelings of victimhood in the dominant group.

Reactions to BLACK LIVES MATTER, like “All Lives Matter,” can tap into the feeling that blacks are trying to have more privileges than whites, even though the goal of the BLM movement is equality. Losing a position of superiority, privilege, and dominance, as whites (especially elite whites) have had from the beginning of the nation, can be painful and made to feel like oppression. Thus, SHITE NATIONALISTS find more racism against whites than against blacks.

Fascist politics covers up structural inequality by attempting to invert, misrepresent, and subvert the long hard effort to address it.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 99)

Suggest men are threatened by gender equality.

Among other groups, Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) cast males as victims. Many non-elite white males donӒt have the power of white male elites but thought they would eventually get it by working hard. Instead, they see women and non-white males getting elite positions, which may then feel unjust. THE PRESIDENT CALLS POWERFUL WOMEN DOGS AND SLANDERS THEM in other ways.

Discuss cities as sources of corrupting culture.

Large cities are framed cities as the source of dangerous elements. TRUMP HAS PAINTED AN EXGGERATED PICTURE of danger and desolation in cities.

Emphasize work versus laziness.

In fascist thought, minorities are lazy, whether immigrants, blacks, Jews, or others, and these are seen as people are the poor sucking up the nations resources. Labor unions are targets of fascists for several reasons: they bring together people from different backgrounds, violating the purity of ‘us-versus-them’ ideology, and fascism thrives under vast inequality, which unions threaten. The idea that life is a competition for power undergirds fascism and applies to group competition. Your group can compete but not necessarily succeed or even survive.

The Psychology of Fascist Tendencies

From a psychological perspective, impulses toward fascism rely on our mammalian emotion systems geared for survival - fear, anger, panic (Panksepp, 1998). We are pushed to downshift to a mindset of self-protection. We can “see red” (MacLean, 1990). We can shift into a flow of aggressive speech or action, even moving into mob action, which has been termed a “superorganism” (Bloom, 1995; Cory, 2002). But deep down the cause may be insecurity.

“The pull of fascist politics is powerful. It simplifies human existence, gives us an object, a “them” whose supposed laziness highlights our own virtue and discipline, encourages us to identify with a forceful leader who helps us make sense of the world, whose bluntness regarding the “undeserving” people in the world is refreshing Fascist politics preys on the human frailty that makes our own suffering seem bearable if we know that those we look down upon are being made to suffer more.Ŕ (Stanley, 2018, p. 183)

“Fascist politics lures its audiences with the temptation of freedom from democratic norms while masking the fact that the alternative proposed is not a form of freedom that can sustain a stable nation state and can scarcely guarantee liberty.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 191)

When we are in a self-protective mindset, our perception narrows. We get closed-minded. We see danger all around and look for ways to alleviate our panic. We externalize, acting aggressively, or internalize, withdrawing into frozen depression.

With refugee migrations around the world, fascism is easily triggered by politicians and media. But we have another choice. We can be empathic toward those who are suffering. We can expand our understanding of usӔ to include all of humanity. We can refuse to be bewitched by fascist mythsӔ so we can engage with one another, understanding that we are all flawed, partial in our perceptions and experience, and that “none of us are demons.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 193)

References

Arendt, H. (1973). The origins of totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich.

Bloom, H. (1995). The Lucifer principle. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.

Cory, Jr., G.A. (2002). Reappraising MacLean’s triune brain concept. In G.A. Cory, Jr., & R. Gardner, Jr. (Eds.), The evolutionary neuroethology of Paul MacLean: Convergences and frontiers (pp. 9-30). Westport, CT: Praeger.

About the Author

Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

SOURCE

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Fact and Fiction

Posted by Elvis on 04/29/22 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America • Section Fascism • Section Spiritual Diversions
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