Political Mind Games
My new book — POLITICAL MIND GAMES: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What’s Happening, What’s Right, and What’s Possible — describes and debunks the manipulative appeals that today’s plutocrats use to protect their extraordinary wealth and power at the expense of everyone else.
These mind games keep many Americans from recognizing what’s gone wrong, who’s to blame, and what can be done to make things better. That’s because we’re inundated with artfully crafted public relations campaigns. We’re seduced by charismatic but disingenuous spokespersons. And most importantly, we’re often easy prey for disingenuous arguments that target the fundamental psychological issues in our daily lives.
What are these key issues? My research reveals that there are five concerns that profoundly shape the way we understand ourselves, our lives, and the world around us. They revolve around issues of vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness. Each is linked to a basic question:
Regrettably, our uncertainties about these issues are soft targets for appeals crafted to misdirect our anger, fragment our opposition, and even garner our support for an agenda that actually serves only the privileged few. That’s how so many have come to mistakenly believe climate change is a hoax, taxes are too high, the military budget is too low, public education needs privatization, workers have it too easy, voter fraud is everywhere, healthcare isn’t a fundamental right, poverty befalls only those who deserve it, and more.
Especially as the Trump White House and Republican Congress routinely spread “alternative facts,” recognizing and countering these psychological mind games is an urgent matter for anyone interested in helping to chart a different course and build a more decent society.