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CENSORSHIP: How Compulsive Conformity Can Get People Killed


REPORTED BY: STELLA MORABITO | MARCH 30, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/30/how-compulsive-conformity-can-get-people-killed/

shock therapy

Two dynamics are at work: the conformity impulse and the manipulation of that impulse by power brokers to promote the illusion that their view is the majority opinion.

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Our survival instincts are going to get us all killed.

I’m specifically referring to our hard-wired conformity impulse. That’s what causes us to go along with politically correct absurdities like pronoun protocols. It also causes people to join mobs, and to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at the command of a cult leader. In primitive environments, the herd instinct serves as a means of survival. If some sense danger and rush to safety, all follow. But how does such a conformity impulse work in a high-tech society like ours? It doesn’t really.

Sure, a certain level of conformity is normal for a society to function. But an unchecked conformity impulse in a technological society like ours acts more like slow-motion suicide than a survival mechanism. We think we’re saving ourselves by conforming, but in the long run the opposite is true. In fact, our instinct to conform has become a weapon tyrants use to control us by threatening social isolation for those who don’t obey. This is especially the case when a monopoly of tech overlords can broadcast propaganda to the herd, instantly and globally. In such cases there is no “wisdom of crowds.” When the masses obey the propaganda to avoid social punishment, they only prop up propaganda and thereby spread social turmoil.

Propagandists Manipulate our Conformity Impulse

We should be aghast at the high level of American conformity to the demands of propagandists: Mask your toddler! He’s a girl and she’s a guy! Mind your pronouns! He’s a white supremacist! And so on. Nobody is safe if we can’t challenge the truth of what the elites who presume to rule us are saying.

Meanwhile, they keep pushing the envelope to get us to say things we know are false and to do things against our own interests. Demonizing those who hesitate to comply fosters a mob mindset that protects their narratives. Hence, people with different views feel alone and tend to be intimidated into silence. This is how resistance to tyranny is eroded.

Demonization campaigns are key to this process. Suddenly, you’re a bigot if you don’t celebrate men invading women’s sports. Or you’re an “insurrectionist” if you don’t applaud punishing people with 24/7 solitary confinement (without a trial date) for “parading” around the Capitol for a few hours on January 6, 2021.

Or you’re selfish if your toddler isn’t wearing a mask. Or you should be expelled as a Yale law student if you don’t take part in shouting down a conversation about free speech at Yale Law School and then sign a statement intended to abolish freedom of speech.

The Conformity Impulse Is Juvenile and Deadly

Teenage girls provide an especially clear-cut example of how the conformity dynamic works. Too many of them are notorious for engaging in relational aggression, a type of bullying that damages someone’s social status, causing others to shun and isolate the victim. This type of aggression is inherent to mob behavior.

For example, pundit Kathleen Parker’s recent hit job on Ginni Thomas in The Washington Post is infused with a smug little middle school flavor. It includes a huge dose of projection, such as Parker’s hallucination that Thomas has a sense of self-importance, when it’s obviously the Parker girl who’s infected with egotism.

Hillary Clinton is perhaps the ultimate case of the “I’m important and you’re not” mentality. The subtext of Clinton’s 2021 wistful reading of her 2016 acceptance speech is that Americans were obligated to elect her because she wanted to be president ever since she was a little girl. Men with a similar mentality include MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and humorless late-night “comics” like Stephen Colbert.

Their followers imitate and repeat what they’re told by the approved talking heads. They laugh at unfunny lines on cue, regurgitate the assigned opinions, and label the non-compliant with the “eewww” factor. Many are eager to become influencers so they too can dictate what others must say and do on pain of being socially rejected.

The Secret Laws of Social Psychology

Far too many have been marching in lockstep with media-pushed narratives, and too few seem to be speaking out. Two dynamics are at work: the conformity impulse and the manipulation of that impulse by power brokers to promote the illusion that their view is the majority opinion.

To resist this absurd state of affairs, we must first learn about the dynamics and understand our vulnerabilities. The information is out there, but it doesn’t get much circulation.

Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing once observed that people are dangerously ignorant of the laws of mob psychology. In 1987 she recommended everyone be schooled in them, especially children. She speculated that power elites are invested in such ignorance. If such knowledge were widely understood, people would be insulated from the manipulations of propagandists.

A lot of the research on conformity was the result of scholars asking how small groups of fanatics could take over whole societies — e.g., Bolsheviks in Russia and Nazis in Germany — resulting in millions killed while the vast majority of the population sat back in silence and fear.

In the 1950s psychologist Solomon Asch conducted his famous experiments on the conformity impulse. At least 37 percent of the time people would deny the evidence of their own eyes — about the obvious fact of a line’s length — if everyone else gave an incorrect answer. The experiment has been replicated thousands of times with the same or worse results. Here’s a video of that experiment conducted in the 1970s:

Stanley Milgram later took that study to a new level with his famous “shock machine” experiments. When Adolf Eichmann said he was “just following orders” while on trial for his leading role in the Holocaust, Milgram wondered how often ordinary people would inflict harm if told to do so by an authority figure.

Participants in that experiment were told it was a study about how punishment affected learning. If the “learner” gave an incorrect answer, the “teacher” was supposed to shock him in increments. The learners were actors who could not be seen but, although not really shocked, would scream in “pain” from the next room. The “teacher” was the subject.

Sixty-five percent of the subjects gave the highest voltage shock when asked to “please continue” by the administrator. For more background, watch “The Experimenter,” a 2015 film about Milgram. Other related research includes the Robbers Cave Experiment; Robert J. Lifton’s research on thought reform and totalitarianism; and Margaret Thaler Singer’s research on cults. All illustrate how elites can manipulate our urge to conform.

Everybody needs to learn about the dynamics of conformity. Blatant censorship, hostility to free speech, and campaigns to demonize mainstream American views were all unthinkable scenarios for most Americans just a few years ago.

But here we are. When we start self-censoring because we’re afraid of not fitting in, we open the door to oppression and social chaos. That unchecked urge to “fit in” can kill us all, and we need to stop.


Stella Morabito is a senior contributor at The Federalist. Her essays have also appeared in the Washington Examiner, American Thinker, Public Discourse, Human Life Review, New Oxford Review. In her previous work as an intelligence analyst, she focused on various aspects of Russian and Soviet politics, including communist media and propaganda. She has also raised three children, served as a public school substitute teacher, and homeschooled for several years as well. She has a B.A. in journalism and international relations from the University of Southern California and a Master’s degree in Russian and Soviet history, also from USC. Follow Stella on Twitter.

Eleanor Bartow Op-ed: 13 Happenings In 2021 That I Never Would Have Believed 5 Years Ago


Commentary BY: ELEANOR BARTOW | DECEMBER 27, 2021

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2021/12/27/13-happenings-in-2021-that-i-never-would-have-believed-5-years-ago/

Homeless man directing traffic

Events happened this year that would have been believed impossible not long ago, with new lows and technological advances.

The world seemed to get closer to spinning out of its orbit in 2021. If you’d told me five years ago that men would be treated as women, criminals would not be prosecuted, and censorship would be widespread, I wouldn’t have believed you.

What were once considered the most basic, scientific truths (such as that you’re born with your sex and can’t change it) have broken down. Governments are no longer serving their primary function of providing security and protecting borders.

There are many more. As I reflected on the past year, here are just some of the many things that happened in 2021 that I never would have believed possible if someone had foretold them to me just five years ago.

1. Men As Women

The trend that most would have shocked my grandparents is transgenderism. Men are now competing with women in sports and being housed with women in prison. In 2021, President Biden appointed a man as a four-star admiral and proclaimed this was the “first” “female” “four-star officer.” 

2. Blocking Puberty

A second shocker is that parents are enabling young children to try to change genders with dangerous surgeries and puberty blockers. Many public schools have a policy of not telling parents if their son or daughter has adopted a transgender identity at school.

3. Drafting Women

Third, the United States narrowly avoided a draft for women, which was supported by many elected officials in the “conservative” party.

4. Not Prosecuting Crime

In many U.S. cities, serious crimes are not being prosecuted and crime has surged, with a dozen cities breaking annual homicide records.

5. Massive Illegal Immigration

Millions of immigrants have crossed illegally into the United States this year, in record numbers. The Biden administration also considered paying $450,000 in reparations to illegal immigrant families separated at the border.

6. Widespread Censorship

The former president of the United States is still banned from Facebook and Twitter. Big Tech censors debate on the most important topics of the day. Comedians can’t make jokes.

7. Parents Labeled Terrorists

Parents were labeled “domestic terrorists” by the Biden Justice Department for showing up at school board meetings with complaints. Schools aren’t telling parents what they teach and politicians are denying the obvious – young children are being taught, using public funds and institutions, that their country is racist.

8. President’s Mental Abilities Doubted

President Biden misspeaks regularly, to the point that many commentators doubt he’s really the one running the country. 

9. Asking Athletes for Advice

People turn to athletes and actors more and more for their advice and opinions as many other societal leaders seem to have abdicated their duties to lead.

10. Record Debt and Inflation

With record U.S. national debt, the money supply increased by more than a third in 18 months. The United States is experiencing the worst inflation in 40 years. Energy prices are up, and one of the bigger events of the year was in May, when the main pipeline carrying gasoline to the East Coast was shut down due to a cyberattack.

11. Covid Restrictions Continue and Some Increase

Initially sold as “two weeks to slow the spread,” lockdowns, mask, and vaccine mandates continue two years since COVID-19 started. Some U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. are now segregating people from public places to penalize their independent assessment of their medical risks.

12. Major Scientific Advances Not Celebrated

Every year brings some surprises and new scientific advances, but this year, living in a time of such great division in society, these breakthroughs were not universally celebrated.

Surely the greatest impact of science this year was the widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Thankfully, the vaccines have saved countless lives. But many had hoped they would mean life could return to normal; instead, lockdowns and mask mandates continue and vaccines have become yet another point of division, with the vaccinated pitted against the unvaccinated.

A huge portion of the world’s population has been willing to get the jab and trust relatively new Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, but some have been doubtful and resisted coercion and mandates as they have made their own judgments about natural immunity and risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “mRNA vaccines are newly available to the public. However, researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades.”

Doubts have been sown because the vaccines don’t completely prevent infection or transmission, but also because the public has lost faith in science as it was politicized by scientists, the administration, bureaucrats, the media, and Big Tech – from discussion of the origins of COVID to its treatment and prevention.

Surely we could at least joyfully celebrate science when the long-time human dream of private space travel became more of a reality in 2021? Three billionaires made expeditions to this frontier. It was a massive milestone, but was criticized by some as a waste of money and an ego trip.

13. Losing Our Lead

While traveling to space sure sounds sci-fi, the United States is losing its lead in science. China continued its advances toward surpassing the United States in technology, surprising U.S. officials by launching a supersonic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The missile circled the earth once and barely missed its target.

It “approached its target traveling at least five times the speed of sound — a capability no country has previously demonstrated,” according to The Financial Times. The Pentagon is unsure how “China overcame the constraints of physics by firing countermeasures from a vehicle travelling at hypersonic speeds.”

China may also be behind some of the Unidentified Flying Objects seen by U.S. military pilots over the past two decades, according to a long-awaited Pentagon report this year, which could not explain the origin of the UFOs.

Even with all this bad news, our nation has so much to be grateful for. But looking at the societal chaos and dystopian scientific advances, it’s no wonder some think the end is nigh. For now, we can hope that Republican wins last November show that many Americans will vote for change in the next election.

And maybe we should celebrate those billionaires escaping Earth after all.


Eleanor Bartow is the features editor at The Federalist. She worked as an editor at The Daily Caller and an investigative reporter at the Daily Caller News Foundation. She was editor-in-chief of the American Enterprise Institute’s magazine, The American, and a reporter for Congressional Quarterly. Her articles have also been published with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Real Clear Investigations, National Geographic News, The International Herald Tribune, and The American Spectator. She has been interviewed on Fox News Radio, National Public Radio, and WABC. She received a Fulbright Professional Grant in Journalism and was a fellow with the Claremont Institute and National Review Institute.

The Trump Purge Makes Living In America More Like Living In China 


The Trump Purge Makes Living In America More Like Living In China 

After the terrifying ransack of the U.S. capitol Wednesday during a Donald Trump “stop the steal” rally, big tech companies are joining leftist elites in the media and government in their effort to squash the Trump movement once and for all. Seizing on the backlash from the riot, they have seamlessly banned President Trump from TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

What happened at the capitol was an embarrassment for our country. Now, the hypocritical outcries from Democrats, who proudly condoned left-wing Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters as they terrorized American cities all summer, are ushering in a great reckoning.

The Jan. 6 demonstrators, the vast majority of whom were peaceful, were there to protest legitimate claims of election irregularities and voter fraud. But Google-owned YouTube doesn’t want you to know that. They announced Thursday that they will ban all videos about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

The one free speech haven, Parler, Apple is keying up to ban from its app store and bar from iOS devices, claiming content on the website contributed to the capitol unrest. Google has already jumped the gun, banning Parler yesterday.

Every corner of the Trump movement is being publicly purged from the internet. Thursday, Shopify stripped all online stores for President Trump, including the Trump Organization and Trump’s affiliated campaign account.

Anyone who has supported the president is in for it, as well. Rick Klein, the political director at ABC News, in a now-deleted tweet said that getting rid of Trump is “the easy part.” The more difficult task will be “cleansing the movement he commands.” Democrats have already created a “Trump Accountability Project,” an enemies list to ban, cancel, or fire anyone who staffed, donated to, endorsed, or supported President Trump and his administration.

Trump subverted the elites who run our country. He took on big pharma and China. He negotiated, renegotiated, and destroyed trade deals in his mission to put America and American workers first. He went to war with critical race theory institutionalized in our schools and in government.

He stood for things that those who run our biggest corporations and hold our highest government positions detest. For virtually his entire presidency, they tried everything to delegitimize his administration, beginning with the now-debunked Russiagate. Trump showed their corruption, and now he will pay.

The man, the administration, and his supporters will likely go down in history books as delusional and dangerous. Why? Because the left has a monopoly on power, so they can control what people see and therefore think.

As the left’s arbiters of “truth,” big tech has been banning users they don’t agree with and suppressing stories like The New York Post’s blockbuster investigation into Hunter Biden‘s laptop and sketchy deals with foreign governments and companies with ties to the Communist Chinese government. With the help of their partisan “independent fact checkers,” big tech and the media made sure average Americans never knew about this before they went to the polls.

Following the riot among Trump supporters in the capitol, Facebook removed President Trump’s video calling for peace and rule of law, claiming it instigated violence. Then Facebook de-platformed him. Trump’s speech didn’t fit the narrative that he was a pro-violence, lawlessness insurrectionist.

This disturbing reality we live in, where one political party now has the power to control the narrative in all aspects of our lives — school, work, social media, and government — might make us feel eerie echoes of living under Chinese Communist Party influence instead of in the United States of America.

Perhaps what’s most troubling, and something that we might not have even considered in the chaos of the last few days, is the long-term impact this will have on American children. Generation Z or Zoomers, aged 13 to 21, may be one of the first generations that is more influenced by what they see and read on social media and the internet than what they hear at the dinner table from mom and dad.

A Business Insider’s poll found that 59 percent of Zoomers listed social media as their top news source. While technology used to serve as a way to make information accessible, a way to have the world at your fingertips with just a quick search, it has become something much different. It is teaching the youngest and most impressionable among us that suppression is normal and personal censorship is an important survival mechanism.

Children are being taught to watch what they say and think, lest they be labeled a racist, white supremacist, homophobe, or xenophobe. Indeed, making a pro-Trump TikTok video can get your college admission rescinded and subject you to intense personal harassment. A three-second insensitive or politically incorrect Snapchat video from 2016 can get you featured in a New York Times article and your college admission rescinded, and subject you to bitter bullying.

For young people today, it’s becoming normal to see political leaders in our country deemed “dangerous” to be ousted from public platforms and ostracized from society. They watch their parents self-censor at work, fearful of backlash from employees or coworkers that could get them fired.

Americans used to support the right of people to hold and express opinions others disagree with. Yet the newest generation believes feelings are more valuable than freedom. Study after study finds that younger people are more supportive of limiting speech than are older generations.

A recent survey found that an overwhelming majority of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison think the government should be able to punish “hate speech.” Of course, “hate speech” is simply the left’s ambiguous term for anything veering from the leftist orthodoxy on issues such as abortion, sex, race, and immigration.

Silicon Valley oligarchs have an agenda. They aren’t platforms, they are publishers, which should nullify the privileges they enjoy under Section 230. Will the Democrats who are now running our government do anything to stop big tech tyranny? Of course not.

This problem is not going away. America’s ethos of free speech and expression is going extinct at the hands of big tech and the leftists controlling media and government.

The U.S. Capitol riots are over, thanks to law enforcement. However, the censorship that followed has created a dangerous precedent.

For young people, their “normal” is beginning to feel increasingly like it’s heading towards life in China. It’s less free and tolerant than the America their parents grew up in. Imagine how much worse things will be when today’s youths are running the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Evita Duffy is an intern at The Federalist and a junior at the University of Chicago, where she studies American History. She loves the Midwest, lumberjack sports, writing, & her family. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1

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