The Government Funds Persuasion Techniques to Sell BS

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The Government Funds Persuasion Techniques to Sell BS

I keep feeling a need for a place to highlight the sheer amount of government money that goes into studying and deploying propaganda and covert persuasion techniques.

In a recent exchange on the Story Wars thread, I felt frustrated because my meaning was being presented as the exact opposite of what I hold, so I had to explain myself. In this case, I was talking about the government controlling and funding the physical outlets for public communication. 

On 12/13/2022 at 7:39 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I don't claim that the Predator Class can control the Story Wars as if it were merely something they choose to do or not. In fact, I mean the opposite. The Predator Class DOESN'T control the Story Wars. And it can't because its propaganda stories suck.

It controls the physical outlets where the Story Wars unfold. They try to control the narrative by allowing only one side--a bigoted side at that--to have physical presence, and they try to shut down the others--physically.

Another way of saying this is that the main strategy of the government these days is to blank out opposing narratives by force and by money.

For this strategy to work, the government doesn't persuade. It strives to promote one overall public narrative and force all other narratives into silence. 


But the government also wants to persuade for real. And it spends gobs of money on trying. I will be talking about DARPA's research into storytelling and things like that later, but for this post, I have a small item that gives the gist of what is going on.

Here is the article by Natalie Winters:

EXC: Government Funding Research Into ‘Correcting False Beliefs’ From ‘Misinformation.’


The U.S. government is funding research on how to 'correct false beliefs' held by Americans in partnership with...



Launched on July 7th, 2021, the grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) is titled ”How False Beliefs Form and How to Correct Them.”

The project originally allocated $444,345 to Vanderbilt University’s Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development Lisa Fazio, but since its inception, has amounted to $506,478 in funds for the researcher.

Doesn't this particular research sound like mind control and reeducation camps CCP-style?


But it is also based on modern studies in behavioral science, neuroscience and things of that nature.

One study from a link for Natalie's article jumped out at me:

The effects of repetition on belief in naturalistic settings.


We find clear evidence that repetition increases belief. Initial repetitions produced the largest increase in perceived truth, but belief continued to increase with additional repetitions.

This study is a Trojan Horse because it says it is trying to combat misinformation (mostly right-wing) on the Internet.

However, this is also a blueprint for how to sell any kind of bullshit, including Predator Class bullshit.

And the government pays for it all.


As an aside, I used to think Rand's constant repetition of certain ideas in Atlas Shrugged was a stylistic weakness. But she openly said (I forget where) that in terms of propaganda, she was trained by the best. Also, she never made any bones about her novels being vehicles of persuasion. So I believe she did all that repetition on purpose to implant certainty in the reader by means other than the ideas themselves. She did it on purpose and she got away with it, meaning her works still sell. (I keep saying she was a very good writer. This is one example, and nobody ever talks about it.)

It's one thing to come up with counter-narratives, for effective as they may be. It is another to try to present these narratives when the government has unlimited funds and guns to shut down your ability to do so.

Thank God for the Internet. That information network platform makes it impossible for government goons to do their oppression in darkness, and that means their project a lost cause in the end, especially if the counter-narratives and alternate narratives are compelling.

As the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Still, the government has a lot of money and a lot of goons to do its bidding. On Twitter alone, the government was paying for 80 full-time FBI agents to read tweets all day and flag the ones they didn't like (see here on OL).

We need to keep an eye on those suckers. They're like cockroaches. You squash one and a dozen more appear. Government money allows that to flourish. Exposure is the first step to getting rid of the government funds for this stuff. 


So enjoy this thread as it grows.


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