April 05, 2021

An Experiment in Fear

Timothy Birdnow

The British government is fending off accusations it purposely promoted fear of Covid to gin up public support for lockdowns and other strict measures.

According to this article:

One of the key pieces of evidence cited by those who have complained about "covert" tactics comes from a document prepared for the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) at the beginning of the pandemic a year ago.

Dated March 22, the paper written by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) stated: "A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened; it could be that they are reassured by the low death rate in their demographic group, although levels of concern may be rising ... the perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. To be effective this must also empower people by making clear the actions they can take to reduce the threat."

The same document presented a grid of 14 options for increasing compliance which included "use media to increase sense of personal threat", a tactic which was seen as having a "high" effectiveness though spill-over effects "could be negative".

Some Sage participants now admit to feeling "embarrassed" by such advice.

One regular Sage attendee said: "The British people have been subjected to an unevaluated psychological experiment without being told that is what's happening.

"All of this is about trying to steer behaviour in the direction an elite has decided, rather than deciding if it is the right thing or the ethical thing to do."

Michael Crichton was right; governments use fear as a tool to keep the public in line and move them where they want them to go. In his book State of Fear he theorized how it works:

First academia hatches up some hairbrained scheme with dire implications. Then the media picks it up and runs with it, trumpeting it as doomsday and frightening the public, who demand something be done. Then the politicians get into the act, proposing "solutions" for what was a non-problem created by the academics. In the end they get what they wanted, which was a new law further circumscribing the behavior of people and forcing society to move in a direction it was unwilling to take.

This Covid business is exactly that, proof Crichton's theory was right.

The article continues:

They added: "When someone from SPI-B is saying we need to ramp up the fear and keep it ramped up - there wasn't much questioning of that at the beginning and most of the questioning came from external sources, not from within."

Gary Sidley, a retired NHS consultant clinical psychologist, said: "It's as if there is a little industry around pandemic management and it excludes alternative voices.

"There is growing concern within my field about using fear and shame as a driver of behaviour change."

Mr Sidley was so concerned that he and 46 colleagues wrote to the British Psychological Society (BPS) raising "concerns about the activities of government-employed psychologists ... in their mission to gain the public's mass compliance with the ongoing coronavirus restrictions".

The letter added: "Our view is that the use of covert psychological strategies - that operate below the level of people's awareness - to 'nudge' citizens to conform to a contentious and unprecedented public health policy raises profound ethical questions."

In short, this was a psy-op on a whole nation.

Hat tip: David Redfern

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:25 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 578 words, total size 4 kb.

1 Trading in fear can come back to bite you in the ass, because fear often morphs into something else, usually anger.

Consider relatives of the deceased fighting with each other at the funeral, usually over the estate, but often over nothing. Just pissed off and fighting. Any counselor or clergyman can tell you that it is very common. It happens because grief and sadness is a feeling which is very difficult to experience, so we manufacture some other feeling to cover it up. Usually anger because anger is the feeling most easily manufactured.

Consider also the infantryman going into combat. Only a psychopath can do that without experiencing fear and, contrary to common belief, true psychopaths are extremely rare. So he manufactures a serious hatred and anger for the enemy, and focuses on that anger. Again, easy to manufacture, and a feeling that can be experiences with self respect.

Politicians and the media have been trading in fear for a couple of decades, but have really doubled down on it in the past few years. Fear of terrorism, fear of foreign powers, fear of the pandemic, fear of "opression,” fear of economic insecurity, fear of each other. That’s a lot of fear to carry around, and who can feel good about themselves when they are filled with fear?

But one can feel good about one’s self when one is filled with anger, and anger is easy to manufacture. Being told that police are something to fear turns easily into anger . But the fear of police, though buried by anger, is there so you aren’t going to go shoot a cop, you’re going to direct your anger elsewhere and shoot somebody else. Like a Congressman, or a theater full of people.

Posted by: Bill H at April 05, 2021 05:03 PM (/sW5m)

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Posted by: buy weed uk at April 06, 2021 03:05 AM (EhPcK)

3 Well said Bill!  I agree completely!  Fear and anger go hand in hand.

It's how the Nazis were able to cause the Holocaust; they ginned up fear of Jews which led to anger, which led to the death camps.

Sometimes it's worthwhile; as you pointed out, in war it's necessary to have some anger at an enemy. But to get a whole nation paralyzed in fear is irrational. These arrogant jerks think they can control it and use it. They have enormous hubris.

I suspect the inner core of the intellectual Left wants this anger, to divide us and then to allow them to push forward their radical agenda.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at April 06, 2021 06:26 AM (jqGpL)

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