Psychoanalyzing the public: the cultural subverters use allegations of mental illness to squelch opposition. They also collect psychological data on Americans to scientifically predict and mold public opinion.
NIMH-NSF scholars from the Universities of Maryland, California at Berkeley, and Stanford attribute notions about morality and individualism to "dogmatism" and "uncertainty avoidance." Social conservatives, in particular, were said to suffer from "mental rigidity," a condition that, researchers assert, is probably hard-wired, condemning traditionalists to a lifelong, cognitive hell, with all the associated indicators for mental illness: "decreased cognitive function, lowered self-esteem, fear, anger, pessimism, disgust, and contempt."
Most journalists and political watchdog groups chuckled over the NIMH-NSF's study, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition"--especially conservatives themselves. Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) was a bit more testy, though, when he called it "left-wing rhetoric ... dressed up as a scientific study" and said taxpayers shouldn't be paying for such nonsense. But allegations of mental illness have become the trump card in the cultural usurpers' arsenal of strategies to ostracize traditionalists. Professional change agents then do their best to mold public opinion to fit their own employers' totalitarian designs, thereby reducing the number of supposedly mentally challenged traditionalists. And molding opinion requires learning what the public already thinks and how best to beguile people into accepting a new morality.
For years, market research firms have aggressively collected value and lifestyle (VALS) data on children and adults from any source capable of generating quick feedback--popular magazines; Internet, telephone, and household surveys; news polls; school health questionnaires; behavioral screening instruments; census forms; market and consumer research; and even academic tests. Some are polling instruments, pure and simple; others incorporate VALS data to a lesser extent. Either way, the common goal is to find out what makes certain groups and individuals tick--and then to see if they can be made to tick differently.
The Terrorism (formerly "Total") Information Awareness (TIA) program, designed by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to track down terrorists, homegrown and foreign, is taking advantage of the latest technology. Spokesmen at the Department of Defense now admit they are amassing behavioral dossiers on American citizens. DARPA is combing multiple databases, cross-matching computerized sources of information such as magazine subscriptions; political, religious and other charitable giving; medical records from insurance and physicians' databases; and even clothing sizes. Meanwhile, the federally funded, $12 million Matrix database project has been quietly amassing information in the offices of a private company (Seisint Inc.) in Boca Raton, Florida, paralleling the contentious TIA project. And DARPA's planned "Lifelog program" will track and "trace the 'threads' of an individual's life."
No single response on a survey or questionnaire is likely to make or break anyone. It is the totality of the responses--the identifiable trends--that produces a behavioral profile. Cross-matching responses with other computerized records about a group or individual is what is meant by the term "data mining." A dossier is an individual case file built around the "mined" information.
Long-term tracking and monitoring usually are based on individualized variables among the mined data points, such as what political party you affiliate with or which magazines you subscribe to. The U.S. government obtains such information with the help of database companies like ChoicePoint Inc., which re-sell personal data to the U.S. government. Federal and state governments pay some $50 million a year to examine ChoicePoint's many databases.
This tracking, coupled to survey and other computerized records, is what enables probability experts to predict via a mathematical model what you will do in politically charged situations five years or so down the road. In a computerized world where most major systems are compatible for information sharing, if somebody wants a name matched with a response, all they have to do is grease the palm of a person who can access the coded identifiers on the questionnaire or survey. Thus the brave new world of data-trafficking and information brokers--businesses that buy, sell, and occasionally doctor information.
All that was ever needed to turn databank information into a political weapon was some national crisis or emergency. That crisis came on September 11, 2001. Virtually no legislation since that time has emerged to put serious brakes on the tremendous upswing in data-trafficking over the past two decades. Indeed, since 9-11 our leaders have craved even more!
The technique of fusing social, economic, demographic and psychological information is termed psychographic surveying. The method became a staple of marketing firms and advertisers in the mid-1980s, once cross-matching computerized data became practicable. Webster's New World Communication and Media Dictionary defines the method as "the study of social class based upon the demographics ... income, race, color, religion, and personality traits." These characteristics, says the dictionary, "can be measured to predict behavior."
Today, experts have become so adept at phrasing their questions that the "target subjects," as we ordinary people are called, generally are unaware just how much they are divulging. The result is a behavioral baseline--retained in databases for posterity.
All that remains is the spin some entity wishes to inflict on the data collected. That's what behavioral researchers did with their NIMH-NSF study. Although the researchers' conclusions may be outrageous, their data doubtless contain kernels of truth. Spin is all about interpretation, how various data points are juxtaposed to reflect whatever substantiates the position of those funding the study.
If you are the National Education Association, for example, and you want to get AIDS education mandated for grade-schoolers, you must create the illusion that most parents actually want their pre-adolescents involved in such a class. Your first step is market research, just as if you were determining receptivity for a new line of soft drinks, or for a day-care center in a particular section of town. Putting the question to people directly is often less productive than surreptitiously gathering data about your target audience. The downside is that the latter takes more time and requires high-paid analysts (usually behavioral scientists--psychologists and sociologists--with specialties in statistics and computer science).
Any marketing campaign, of course, is only as good as the data and analysis behind it. Therefore, accurate, hard data and unflawed analysis must exist somewhere no matter how distorted the publicized conclusions or how misleading the spin advertisers put on them. That is why survey questions typically are phrased several different ways, and with no obvious right or wrong answers--to nail down the true views of the respondent. Pinpointing attitudes, including temperament and disposition, are key to predicting--and controlling--the future.
Marginalizing the Opposition
There aren't many stigmas anymore. Or so we are told. But nothing gets a person quarantined from mainstream thought faster than a suggestion that he or she is mentally ill. Thus the term "homophobic." It's a virtual conversation stopper. Ditto for "intolerant," "inhibited," "rigid" and "dogmatic." No one knows better than leftist strategists that anyone linked with a code out of the premier psychiatrists' bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is guilty by association. Thus, individuals who opposed the Episcopal Church's consecration of homosexual Gene Robinson as a bishop in New Hampshire never had a prayer of swaying the radical church leadership. The opposition was simply designated "homophobic."
Which brings us back to the scientific finding by NIMH-NSF researchers--that conservatives carry markers for mental illness. This wide-brush smear is a sure-fire way to defuse any controversial issue--abortion rights, racial preferences, banning the Ten Commandments, etc.
Once a suggestion of mental illness is planted, activists can move on to the final exam phase of the operation: determining the extent to which they have impacted public perceptions.
Using the homosexual issue again as our example, consider the Bravo Channel's TV hit Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Some excellent psychographic surveying went into selling a TV show featuring homosexuals in such a way that it would be accepted by a mass audience, including those who may not like homosexuals. This strategy has been used before in the 1970s and '80s. Archie Bunker of All in the Family renown tested perceptions about bigotry among a population still largely resistant to busing and feminist goals. Maude's abortion assessed the circumstances under which the general public might accept taking the life of an unborn child. So, high ratings for Bravo Channel's Queer Eye, or good sales for a "Gay Billy" doll, a takeoff on the familiar "Barbie" and "Ken," will earn "A"s for homosexual activists. Mediocre ratings and sales would mean that either the early data gathering or its analysis was flawed.
Schools and Mental Health Fraud
Comparing the proverbial school test and dolls to scandalous television fare may seem something of a stretch. But, in fact, advertising executives took their cue from behaviorist educators like the late Ralph Tyler.
Tyler was the former commissioner of education under the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare. More significantly, he was past president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and its multi-million-dollar spin-off, the Educational Testing Service, the source for most of this nation's school tests.
It was Tyler who pioneered the psychological test questions that have become staples of educational testing. He created almost single-handedly the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), America's nationwide test, as well as some eight state assessments, under separate contract. The NAEP, in which random samples of 4th, 8th and 12th graders are tested, has since served as the model for nearly all state assessments, for which pupils are tested on alternate years, such as 5th, 9th and 11th grades.
Tyler and his colleague Richard Wolf (Teachers College, Columbia University), were openly advocating surreptitious methods of data collection and student identification as early as 1969. In their co-edited work Crucial Issues in Testing, they responded to this 1967 passage from Bernard Berelson in the Journal for Educational Measurement:
... there are recent indications that the involvement of public funds evokes a special public concern for privacy ... greatly heightened by the advent of computer technology.... The danger lies in the gradual erosion of the individual's right to decide to whom he wishes to disclose personal information.
Tyler and Wolf came out supporting "the permissibility of deception" in school testing based on "the rights of an institution to obtain information necessary to achieve its goals." Potential abuses notwithstanding, Wolf asserted, there "are occasions in which the test constructor [finds it necessary] to outwit the subject so that he cannot guess what information he is revealing. From the [test] constructor's point of view this is necessary since he wishes to ascertain information that the individual might not ... furnish if it were sought directly. A number of personality tests fall into this category...."
However, Wolf did admit that:
... if the results of a testing situation in which deception was employed are used in making a decision which the individual considers adverse, such as denial of admission to a particular program or institution, there are serious legal and ethical questions. Entrapment is an explicitly illegal procedure in the United States. To what extent the use of deception in testing can be considered a form of entrapment has yet to be determined.
One attorney after another subsequently took a negative legal view of personality/opinion testing in schools, especially under the cover of academics. But the entrapment problem was never tested in a court of law, and Tyler and Wolf's determination prevailed. The federally funded Council of Chief State School Officers was saddled with ensuring that all local, state and regional education databases were compatible with federal ones--in preparation for the enormous national database known as the SPEEDE/ExPRESS (Standardization of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange/Exchange of Permanent Records Electronically for Students and Schools), which stemmed from two earlier attempts. Information from these systems can be automatically transmitted to university admissions officers and potential employers.
The term "assessment" is used for a reason: It is not a test. It has as its primary or secondary goal to determine levels of resistance to, and acceptance of, certain ideas, persons or events. The first version of Pennsylvania's Test for Essential Learning and Literacy Skills (TELLS), for example, stated outright in a Foreword by behavioral research aide Norman Wallen that it "measures gullibility or one's ability to see through attempts to mislead." Then, almost as an afterthought, he added that it "also appears to measure knowledge to some extent." Wallen also mentioned, significantly, that students taking TELLS must have "at least a passing acquaintance with the Judeo-Christian tradition" for test questions "to function as an indicator of gullibility."
Is this tortured view of an academic test what President George W. Bush had in mind when he called for mandatory testing under the No Child Left Behind Act? Probably not. But Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and his ilk may have had different ideas, which is likely why he signed on.
Most of the time, political "fishing expeditions" are at least subtle. Occasionally, a blatant one will surface. For example, one question on the civics section of the NAEP wants to know the "percentage of 9th-grade U.S. students who think economy-related actions 'probably' or 'should definitely be' the government's responsibility."
Freedom at Risk
In the process of improving computer compatibility and questioning techniques, a bonfire of insanities is being lit under our freedom of conscience using mental health as the ostensible handle. Today we know what will happen to anyone caught uttering a comment even remotely perceived as critical of hot-button issues like affirmative action, welfare, illegitimacy or immigration (think of Trent Lott and baseball star John Rocker). What need is there for logical debate or a reasoned exchange of ideas, after all, with the mentally unbalanced?
Of course, the same strategies could be applied in reverse; the leftists' opposite number just hasn't quite caught onto the game yet.
That's where the Law of Unintended Consequences kicks in for Americans already on the wrong side of a behavioral dossier. With the passage of data-collection initiatives that are international in scope, like the National Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, the federal government may join with any other agency or bureau, including international entities, to compare your personal information. International organizations, of course, are not subject to U.S. laws. As with the United Nations' International Criminal Court (ICC), overzealous and pretentious coalitions in far-flung countries can use data-collection as a cover to interfere with and impede the legitimate actions and beliefs of private American citizens.
By cross-matching VALS data with medical, credit card, title, motor vehicle, court and thousands of other computerized records, and then applying a mathematical model to the results, the National Education Sciences Reform Act categorically admits that almost any factual information about a person can be linked to the individual's "emotional, attitudinal, or behavioral condition."
That is psychological profiling--with a foot in the door for world-government advocates.
For now, the critical question is only whether somebody wants your name. But should you run lot school board, become an activist, or seek a job involving leadership and influence, then the "whether" becomes "when." Even the best and brightest already are finding they've been screened out of their university of choice, or diverted from a career path, based on personal and political beliefs. Increasingly, a young person's fate is sealed by forces far more threatening than a grade-point average. A cottage industry of mental health apparatchiks, under the cover of sniffing out violent kids, learning problems, dysfunctional families and terrorists, is making judgments that go beyond knowledge-assessment and into the realm of worldviews and values.
Today, political correctness is running so completely amok that one's views are punished almost before a person has a chance to give them voice. Just look around. Already, if a child is difficult to teach; if he's a nuisance to somebody important; if he's a class clown or quirky; if he makes politically indiscreet remarks--his parents are intimidated into seeking counseling and psychiatric drugs (for the child's own good and that of society, of course). Mind-controlling drugs are well-known to break down resistance and augment suggestibility.
With judges forcing accused criminals to undergo forced psychiatric evaluations and to take medications prior to trial, the handwriting is on the wall for the rest of us. At the very least, one's reputation and position will be irrevocably tarnished by a mental illness accusation.
Can forced placement in a psychiatric facility be far behind? Most will insist that it can't happen here. But who, even 20 years ago, would have imagined courts forcibly removing the Ten Commandments from public places, including schools, or public school students being forced to read homosexual literature?
The National Institute of Mental Health/ National Science Foundation finding that traditionalists are mentally disturbed is not an aberration; it is instead symptomatic of how--under the false flags of political correctness, tolerance, etc'.--once-mainstream thoughts are now being dismissed as abnormal, hateful and dangerous.
Beverly K. Eakman, a former teacher turned speech-writer and science writer, is executive director of the National Education Consortium and author of Cloning of the American Mind.
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|Title Annotation:||Culture War|
|Author:||Eakman, Beverly K.|
|Publication:||The New American|
|Date:||Dec 29, 2003|
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