Astroturfing – a Slick 21st-Century Manipulation of Fake Support

On the heels of my segment on Propaganda, it makes sense to also share this methodology of modern propaganda called “Astroturfing.”

What is Astroturfing?  Essentially it’s the attempt to create an impression of widespread grassroots support for a policy, individual, or product, where little such support actually exists.

I stumbled on this excellent video by Sharyl Atkisson, an ex-CBS investigative journalist who apparently still holds the ethics of journalism in high regard (a rarity in the last decade). She does a stellar job of explaining this aspect of Propaganda.

Give it this 11 minute enlightenment a listen….. Astroturf and manipulation of media messages, TedX Talk by Sharyl Attkisson:

From Sharyl Attkisson’s website:

The whole point of astroturf is to try to convince you there’s widespread support for or against an agenda when there’s not.

The language of astroturfers and propagandists includes trademark inflammatory terms such as: anti, nutty, quack, crank, pseudo-science, debunking, conspiracy theory, deniers and junk science. Sometimes astroturfers claim to “debunk myths” that aren’t myths at all. They declare debates over that aren’t over. They claim that “everybody agrees” when everyone doesn’t agree. They aim to make you think you’re an outlier when you’re not.

Astroturfers often disguise themselves and publish blogs, write letters to the editor, produce ads, start non-profits, establish Facebook and Twitter accounts, edit Wikipedia pages or simply post comments online to try to fool you into thinking an independent or grassroots movement is speaking. They use their partners in blogs and in the news media in an attempt to lend an air of legitimacy or impartiality to their efforts.

In today’s world of social media it’s extremely easy for shills to set-up fake Facebook and Twitter accounts, control Wikipedia content, as well as create activist groups to push the agenda of an entity and its policies, while attempting to appear to be honest, grassroot individuals or groups.


Some relevant supporting articles on the obscene practice of Asrtoturfing:

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.






Propaganda – An Introduction

My last article on Social/Cultural Conditioning naturally leads into a discussion about Propaganda.

While Social Conditioning is concerned with the life-long process of molding people’s thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors to what society and peer groups want them to be, propaganda can be viewed as the continual fuel to keep those minds and emotions in line.  And specifically, to condition people to follow the desired directives of those in power “selling” the message.

Most of us, it seems, grew up with the indoctrination that propaganda was something used only by the evil Nazis, Communists, and Fascists in the early-to-mid 20th-century to brainwash their citizens into supporting maniacal dictatorial control.

No way did propaganda ever apply to us here in the Land Of The Free – the United States of America!  Right?  Not only would our government never consider its use (because they look out for the best for its citizens), but residents of the USA are much too smart to fall for it.  Right?

If only that were true.

It’s time for American citizens to arise from their indoctrinated stupor.

What is Propaganda?

At the time of the drafting of this article, Wikipedia tells us:

Propaganda is information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view. Propaganda is often associated with the psychological mechanisms of influencing and altering the attitude of a population toward a specific cause, position or political agenda in an effort to form a consensus to a standard set of belief patterns.

An excellent definition as referenced in The Propaganda Project:

Propaganda is the deliberate and systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”  -Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, ‘Propaganda and Persuasion”

What are the primary attributes and qualities of Propaganda?

  • deliberate manipulation of information
  • deliberate selective presentation of facts (half-truths, incomplete truths)
  • deliberate misrepresentation of facts – misinformation & disinformation (distraction via outright lies)
  • deliberate omission and/or distortion of facts (half-truths, or less)
  • deliberate loaded language to trigger emotional, rather than rational, responses – appealing primarily to knee-jerk emotional reactions (which the general public – the mob – shows themselves to regularly embrace)
  • deliberate focus on forming opinions rather than increasing knowledge
  • deliberate intention to avoid a free exchange of ideas (emotionally-triggered reactions rather than thoroughly inform)
  • attempt to influence people to believe a certain ideology whether that ideology is right or wrong
  • and of utmost importance: deliberately pounding these manipulated messages at you repetitively – – over and over and over again.  The more you hear it, the more you will believe it to be factual and self-evident.

Yes, he actually said it


And all of it – – its entire intention – – is to indoctrinate, manipulate and mold beliefs.

Think of it as a battle for men’s minds –  a form of Psychological Warfare.

It’s all about influence, persuasion, indoctrination, manufacturing consent, controlling information to shape what is held as unquestionably “true” (media and education), all done in a covert approach to control large groups of people.


Some History of Propaganda

It’s believed that propaganda has been in use since the Greeks, specifically by anyone attempting to persuade others to adopt the beliefs they’re propagating; particularly those in power desiring belief and support. The Greeks studied rhetoric and prided themselves in their logical oratory abilities.

The term didn’t get coined though until 1622 when the Catholic church created a group called Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Propagating the Faith).  This group’s purpose was to spread (propagate) the Catholic faith with their missionary work in non-Catholic locations.

Since the break-up of feudalism it’s most likely been in use by politicians in every country in order to keep their populations in line and supporting the leadership’s desired policies.

My main concern for this article is with modern propaganda – the proliferation of its use since the early 20th century.  The word “propaganda” didn’t take on a hugely negative connotation until its use in WWI by the Creel Commission wherein deceit was used to whip up citizen support for the United States entering World War I.

The golden age of propaganda is considered to be the time-frame leading up to and including WWII.  All sides of the war used propaganda to foment patriotism and support for their war policies. Each country had their own departments for propaganda (or whatever euphemistic name they gave it).

Since WWII, propaganda’s use has progressed to become almost a sure-fire science of psychological manipulation


Propaganda: Isn’t it Education?

Propaganda theoretically differs from “education” because an educator should objectively present information in an unbiased nature to their students – sharing all sides of an argument, all evidence and information, and encouraging students to critically think about what is presented. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really happen in education, but that’s an article for another time.

This brings up a notable point, in that some propagandist may actually view themselves as educators – purveyors of truth and fact – when, in fact, they are only presenting “education” that is extremely slanted and biased to their belief structure.

By the same token, those hearing the propagandist’s message may believe it to be the most solid truth, because the information presented by the “educationist” confirms their own biased beliefs – making them True Believers.

Propaganda then, is about manipulative persuasion, and education (true education) is about fully informing the student from all aspects of a topic. That’s quite a difference.


“The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate the truth.”           – Garry Kasparov


Who Are Propagandists?

Who produces propaganda?  Propagandists can be found in the Political, Academic & Corporate consumerism world.  It’s spread throughout our pervasive media to trigger irrational emotions and influence opinion and beliefs.

According to Encyclopedia Brittannica, they are highly skilled and trained in history, psychology, politics, social sciences, survey research, and statistical inference.

Traditional forms of media such as newspapers, posters, radio, and television have been hugely boosted in the last decade by social media and the internet.  Social media is an incredible way to spread propaganda in a VERY rapid fashion.

Propagandist can be causally referred to as “Spin Doctors” – although that term seems to have a much less sinister title as they truly deserve.

When it comes down to it, if someone can control public opinion then they have all the power. A government cannot have power if it does not have the support of the public. In order to gain support of the public, propaganda is used to promote the government and the ideals behind it.


Propaganda – Its use for War

Fomenting war seems to be where propaganda is most widely used.  A set of simple steps ensures the population is drawn in to total support for war:

  • Run continuous “news” stories in the papers, magazines, television and social media about the evils of the perceived far away “enemy”.
  • Paint the “enemy” as lying, viscous, sub-human animals without a shred of morality (whether true or not)
  • Fabricate whatever atrocities you need to get the desired irrational, emotional reaction from the populace (whether any of it has even a shred of truth to it). The slaughter of women and children are particularly effective (whether true or not).  Remember: None of the people you’re propagandizing can possibly verify if any of your stories are true; they’re not personally there in some god-forsaken country and can’t validate any of the stories you create.
  • Remind the people about your military strength.
  • Remind them that you’re on the side of a higher power and moral standards. Your side is just and righteous.
  • Continually present “experts” to the public to back the substance and ideals of your propaganda narrative.  Play on people’s inherent obedience to authority in all avenues of power – media, academia, military and government representation.
  • Stir up good old patriotism with its unquestioned emotional appeal.
  • Wash, rinse, repeat – ad infinitum – escalating the fabrications until you have the populace foaming at the mouth to destroy the “enemy.”
  • If the continued hammering of the above doesn’t do the trick soon enough for your tastes, plan a convincing False Flag to seal the deal!

In order to bring a nation to support the burdens of maintaining great military establishments, it is necessary to create an emotional state akin to war psychology. There must be the portrayal of an external menace. This involves the development to a high degree of the nation-hero, nation-villain ideology and the arousing of the population to a sense of sacrifice. Once these exist, we have gone a long way on the path to war. - John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State

Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. - Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials


Propaganda – Its use in Academia

The world worships science, and science is academia.  Academia, due to hierarchy and tenure, can shove certain flawed paradigms on to the public, as well as lesser academicians in their employ who must tow the line or be ostracized if they don’t push the latest/greatest “approved” paradigm.

A future article about paradigms and their stifling of progress is also in the works.  Suffice it to say, paradigms are the only accepted “truth” at government-funded universities, high schools, middle and elementary schools.

Any studies into the realm of knowledge and information that is outside (and/or opposing) the accepted paradigm must be pursued in an auto-didactic manner (self-education) or it is never learned.  In fact, how is one supposed to even realize there are other viewpoints beyond the accepted paradigm?  Most people feel that if it isn’t taught in the school they attended then it can’t be relevant or true.  They have been entirely propagandized as to what is and isn’t education.

But always remember . . .

Who supplies the dollars for academic funding?  Who fuels the very engine of academia? Who supplies the grants and funding to pursue the so-called “pursuit of truth”?  Government and corporatism.  Can we naively believe that a university who obtains hundreds-of-thousands or millions of dollars in grants will ever produce research results in opposition to the interests of those funding them?

The government and corporate grants are going to get the results they desire – or the grants (and payrolls of the academicians) dries up.  It’s as simple as that.  Follow the money.  The money drives the results. Only a naive adolescent could believe otherwise.


Propaganda – Its use for Advertising

Effective advertising makes use of psychological triggers (as does all propaganda).  Advertisers have known for decades how to trigger certain psychological reactions in us to buy their product.  They also have progressed to the point of successfully creating “brand evangelists” – getting consumers to proselytize the company’s brand to everyone in their social group.

There are published books that share the methodology the corporate world uses to increase sales and indoctrinate consumers.  A few of the most direct ones:

  • Mind Control Marketing by Mark Joyner
  • Triggers by Joseph Sugarman
  • Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale

Some of the psychological ploys advertisers use against us include: conformity to group norms (herd mentality), obedience to authority, celebrity endorsements, Zeigarnik Effect (attraction/curiosity of an unfinished story), cognitive dissonance, convincing us that “wants” are “needs”, framing, false claims (deception), storytelling, involvement/ownership, guilt, fear, greed, hopes/dreams, laziness (something for nothing), social status, exclusivity/scarceness, repetition. Essentially – sell everything with emotional manipulation.


The Challenges to Identify Propaganda and How to Deal With It

Few people actually double-check what they learn in school – so propaganda can be repeated by journalists, politicians, clergy, friends and family as though it’s a well known fact – when it isn’t.

And what makes it worse, the average individual has no time, money or inclination to dig in and research the “facts” and stories they’re being told.  All the propagandist has to do is bring in an “expert” to support the narrative and – boom – everyone believes. Who can argue with an “expert?”

Answer:  Independent thinkers, researchers and journalists – that’s who.

Propagandists are betting on humanity’s laziness, insufficient time/effort/money, and lack of exposure/influence to a large enough group of people to really make a difference.

So. . . what can you as an individual do?

First of all, understand that nearly everything you’re exposed to via television news, print media, advertising, academic proclamations, reporting of any kind on our government’s actions, as well as global economics and politics, are all propagandized (from a small to a large extent).

Second, you must decide whether you’re going to accept everything you see and hear as fact (no matter the source of media), or will you awaken to the fact that you’re being played by the narrative?

Realize that the news, education and advertising you’re exposed to is designed to mold your belief and responses to an accepted narrative/paradigm that those in power (or selling a product) want you to embrace.

If you choose to awaken, your range of response can vary from:

  • Disengagement:  Screw it….just stop watching the news and reading popular print and internet media.  Choose not to participate in their psychological operation.  Check-out and disengage.  Why bother with any of it? It’s all negative energy anyway.
  • Acknowledgement:  Expose yourself to the media, but realize . . . none of this impacts you directly.  You can’t verify any of it. No one you know can verify any of it.  It isn’t impacting your daily life. It isn’t stopping you from pursuing your goals.  (You do have goals don’t you?)  You can’t do anything about it. It’s just a distraction.  So . . . there’s nothing to be gained by embroiling yourself in the emotionally-triggered chaos.
  • Awakened:  Watch and experience the narrative, and consciously notice how it psychologically triggers people.  Take notice the selective use of “facts”.  Realize they omit facts – – they could very easily NOT be reporting on several things that defeat their narrative.  Take notice of the intentional emotional manipulation. Watch carefully as the repeated narrative and stories are designed to get people to react in a very base, emotional, irrational way.  Realize that the never-ending stories are designed to gain your acceptance of war, hate, division, racism, laziness, ignorance, violence, government control and waste. Notice all this, but don’t let it ruin your attitude for personal life.
  • Activist:  Go all-on Activist (not for the weak or faint of heart). This is typically your initial reaction once you’re awakened.  Blast your friends and family with the anti-propaganda message. Blog on it.  Make resistance videos.  Attempt to educate the sheep.  Reveal the deceit and manipulation. The problem?:  Unfortunately, indoctrinated people aren’t open to finding out they’ve been duped regarding the core beliefs of their life.

The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Business men, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.
Morpheus, The Matrix

So this effort is likely to end with you experiencing a huge amount of frustration and defeat.  Pearls before swine.


The Father of Propaganda:

Who better to sum up this overview of Propaganda than the man who is considered the father of it all, and was extremely successful throughout his life working with government and corporations teaching them propaganda’s covert methodology:The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind. - Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda (1928)


Relevant quotes from those in-the-know . . .


Some decent online sources: (there are many others of course)

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.










I could write a long article about Conformity, but really … what could be more convincing than this representative example? (video: Brain Games – Conformity (Waiting Room) )

If this is video link is no longer active, check the Wayback Machine here:


Peer Pressure

We are pressured and convinced through a lifetime of social conditioning to conform, get along, go along, agree with, regardless of the rationality.

This isn’t complicated. You will have a natural tendency to conform to the group – the majority.  You simply need to have attended high-school to experience it.  If you’re honest, you understand this to extend to your adolescent social platform and definitely into your adulthood social platform. Repeated psychological experiments, one after another, confirms the same.


Rather, Consider This Approach . . .

(Dead Poets Society – On Conformity)

Wayback link:


Think.  It’s not illegal yet.

(I actually have this t-shirt . . . . 🙂

Break from the herd!



As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.



Social Conditioning

Related very closely to the concept of Groupthink is a process called Social Conditioning .  However, where Groupthink relates to cognitive issues in a small group, Social Conditioning is concerned more with broad social implications – typically nationwide.


Social conditioning is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society.

Manifestations of social conditioning are vast, but they are generally categorized as social patterns and social structures including nationalism, education, employment, entertainment, popular culture, religion, spirituality and family life. The social structure in which an individual finds him or herself influences and can determine their social actions and responses.

Other terms to refer to Social Conditioning include Social Engineering, Herd Mentality and Cultural Conditioning.

Mob Mentality, while seemingly related, is different in that is refers to cognitive issues and behavior of people in large groups brought together for a single event and purpose, such as with protests and demonstrations.  It describes how people will do things in a large group that they would never do as an individual.  I will save discussion of Mob Mentality for a different article.



Each of us on planet Earth are a product of our culture – its biases, norms, beliefs, morals, etc.  Over days, weeks, months, years and decades we’re indoctrinated in the culture within which we’re raised.  Parents, teachers, clergy, family, friends, coworkers, peer groups, books, media, advertisements, radio, and leaders of any sort, all mold and influence us in terms of what is normal/abnormal, right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable.

Pressures to conform do a pretty stringent job of keeping everyone in line with society’s expectations. Propaganda also plays a huge role in keeping the majority in line with the desired mindset and beliefs – but I’ll leave that to a future article.

Think of Social Conditioning as being “domesticated” by the thoughts and beliefs of others.


Read that again and let it sink in.  Domesticated – as in sheep and cattle.

SC10Your implicit social conditioning directives:

  • Go along with the majority (the herd)
  • Don’t stand out from the herd
  • Don’t challenge or rock the boat
  • Don’t question ‘authority’
  • Go along, get along – or face ostracization
  • Shut up and blend in
  • Believe what you’re told by your leaders and media
  • Who are you to question anything?


As early as 1952, an article by William H. Whyte, Jr. in Forbes about Groupthink identified the creeping movement of social engineering and the movement away from individualism, independence and self-reliance of individuals in the United States:

“In a country where “individualism” – – independence and self-reliance – – was the watchword for three centuries, the view is now coming to be accepted that the individual himself has no meaning – – except, that is, as a member of a group.”

“. . . . social engineering with its emphasis on the planned manipulation of the individual into the group role.”

“. . . . the man we are now presented with is Social Man – – completely a creature of his environment, guided almost totally by the whims and prejudices of the group, and incapable of any real self-determination of his destiny.”

Because we’re raised to mold to society and authority’s directives and cultural norms, we become adults who seek approval from all of our influencing entities.  We seek validation from our social and peer groups that we’re doing the right thing – that we “belong.” We need and seek group approval. We want to conform.


We find ourselves not really thinking for ourselves – although we think (feel) we do. Instead we just go along with the herd – what the majority think and do.  After all, since it’s the majority, what they think and believe must be true and good, right?

A Leed’s University study discovered that it only take 5% of “informed” individuals to influence the direction of a crowd of 200 or more.  We seem to be ‘wired’ or conditioned to follow – rather than lead with individualism.

A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that we’re prone to be copycats – not original thinkers.  When people didn’t have a strong opinion or knowledge about their choices, they simply mimicked others, regardless of whether the mimicked choices were right or wrong or even made any sense.


We’re programmed to be followers.  We’re conditioned to follow the herd and popular opinion.  We’re conditioned to be repulsed by and denigrate anything and anyone that’s different or rebels against the “norm.”  Our Cognitive Dissonance and (Dis)Confirmation Bias keep our minds in line with the accepted mindset of the masses.

“Most of the time, we see only what we want to see, or what others tell us to see, instead of really investigating to see what is really there. We embrace illusions only because we are presented with the illusion that they are embraced by the majority. When in truth, they only become popular because they are pounded at us by the media with such an intensity and high level of repetition that it’s mere force disguises lies and truths. And like obedient schoolchildren, we do not question their validity and swallow everything up like medicine. Why? Because since the earliest days of our youth, we have been conditioned to accept that the direction of the herd, and authority anywhere – is always right.”                  – Suzy Kassem

Our self-concept is shaped by a lifetime of conditioning and cultural indoctrination. Everything we look at, think, feel and accept in life are shaped by a lifetime of cultural indoctrination.  We don’t even pause to step back and examine our basic assumptions and beliefs in life.  We’re not taught to question anything.  Why do we believe what we believe?  What basis in truth and reality actually support those cultural, indoctrinating beliefs and behaviors?

The indoctrinated don’t want the foundation of their ingrained beliefs questioned.


Challenges For Escaping The Herd

Unfortunately, if you’re faced with the fact that Social Conditioning has molded you since birth, you must also realize that it takes work to pull yourself beyond the grasp and influence of the herd.  It means seeing and comprehending “the forest from the trees.”

And this is where some of the challenges come into play:  time, energy, focus


Anyone working in the United States is faced with the stark reality that a full 1/3 of their life (or more) is solely dedicated to working for a wage.  And since 1/3 of our life also includes sleep, that leaves 1/3 left for “living” life – whatever that means to each of us.  We have 1/3 of our time on this wonderful Earth for relaxation/downtime, pleasure, meals, social gatherings, home maintenance, family responsibilities, raising kids, paying bills, spiritual growth, personal growth, knowledge adventuring, tackling projects, etc.

We have to make a choice as to how we spend that 1/3.


With all the constraints of time as outlined above, how much energy can we expect to have to focus on anything outside of the required things we have to do and can’t ignore?  How do we choose to spend our “discretionary” time?

If you have kids (or expecting to) you’re discretionary time will be essentially non-existent until they become teens and somewhat independent.

For most of the masses, exhaustion takes its toll.  For others who actually do have discretionary time to slice away and explore life expansion and growth, laziness takes over and the hours of each day are squandered away.


Which brings me to the last challenging element – focus.  Let’s assume you have the time.  Let’s assume you have the energy.  What will you need to focus on to address what’s important?

Answer:  passion.
What’s important to you?  What’s not important to you?  What will you focus and give your time to?  Can you say “no” to those things that are not important to you?

Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself if you want to lay on your death bed and regret not having lived as a true individual.

As I’ve said numerous times before, these principles I share are not for the masses. They’re for the rare individuals who know they must have more to their lives than birth, school, work, conformism, taxes and death . . . Unique people who truly want to seek, grow and soar.  These are the only people who care about accuracy, truth, accountability, and intellectual integrity and personal growth.


Majority = Truth?

So, because the masses don’t have the time, energy, or focus to understand, learn, comprehend the social and natural world around them, they will default to rely on “official” sources to mold their beliefs and decisions. No questioning.  No seeking.  No independent thinking.  No validation.

Religion becomes their “truth.”  Science becomes their “truth.” Government becomes their “truth.” Corporate America becomes their “truth.” Media becomes their “truth.”  Social norms become their “truth.”

Does the herd majority hold the keys to the truth?  Simply . . . . NO


There are numerous times in history where the majority (driven by its culture and authorities) held ridiculous, crude, stupid cultural norms (beliefs) that stray far from truth or moral rightness:

“The aggregate testimony of our neighbors is subject to the same conditions as the testimony of any one of them. Namely, we have no right to believe a thing true because everybody says so unless there are good grounds for believing that some one person at least has the means of knowing what is true, and is speaking the truth as far as he knows it. However many nations and generations of men are brought into the witness box they cannot testify to anything which they do not know. Every man who has accepted the statement from somebody else, without himself testing and verifying it, is out of court.”    – William Kingdon Clifford, The Ethics of Belief (1877)


Your Choice: The Herd or Independent Thinking

Do you want to be part of this Mass Groupthink?  Do you want to be part of the herd?  Do you want to cruise through life lazily and never question anything or anyone?

If so, then move on with the collective herd. Let others shape your mind as they see fit.  Let them do your thinking. Let them trigger your emotions to react the way they desire. Fit in. Get along. Conform. Follow the herd’s desires. Don’t question. Refuse to think for yourself. Be complacent.

For those of you who are repulsed by this choice, you have another option:  Independent Thinking

SC7“To breath comfortably, to feel free, to think better and to find the beauties of the unknown paths leave your herd!”  – Mehmet Murat Ildan

It’s not fast; it’s not easy; it’s not the lazy person’s solution.  Learn to think on your own.  And I don’t mean deceive yourself into thinking that you truly think for yourself.  Discard the confirmation biases, the cognitive dissonance, the groupthink, the partisan bullshit.  Assume your beliefs and life assumptions are in error. Practice intellectual integrity.  Practice the Clinical Attitude.  Drive for accuracy, truth and reality.

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of “crackpot” than the stigma of conformity.” Thomas John Watson


Ramifications of Independent Thinking and Breaking From the Herd

Standing alone in the midst of the herd isn’t an easy task. As an independent thinker, depending on how much you share with others, you may find yourself:

Isolated – the herd will think you different, odd, unpleasant and keep their distance; you’re an outsider

Pressured – the herd and its supporting tools/structure will continue pressure to conform to mass groupthink

Labelled– you may be called names or regarded in certain derogatory terms (negative social label & stigma)

SC13As you proceed in knowledge adventuring you’ll uncover incredible and enlightening facts that conflict directly with herd mentality.  There are a few approaches available to you as to how you deal with this.  In fact, you may find yourself on an evolutionary path adapting one or more of these during your lifetime:

  • You can choose to be argumentative with an intention to change others’ beliefs and life assumptions – being an activist. This is your first reaction as you uncover knowledge and facts not known to others, and you want to shout them from the rooftop.  It took me quite some time to understand that you won’t change others’ minds due to their ingrained herd-mentality biases. They themselves have to truly want to uncover reality and change their beliefs.
  • Or you could keep your alternative views hidden from your social, work and family groups and not discuss with others at all – only sharing with people of like mind you happen to meet online or in person.
  • Or you could simply stand proud and confident, and only respond when others inquire, and then in a non-apologetic “teaching” manner. Then, let them react the way they will.

Ultimately your approach should probably be informed after completely understanding the analogy of “casting pearls before swine.”  Your desire to change others’ beliefs with enlightenment will be met with zero appreciation or even the ability of others to comprehend.

“Whoever deviates from the …. public opinion and stands apart will always have the whole herd against him.”  – Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”   – Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays


Where to Focus


  1. First of all recognize that you are not above the influence of social conditioning.  You’ve spent your entire life under the influence of its propaganda.  Your natural instinct is to tow the line with what society tells you you should be thinking, believing and doing. You are influenced by it.
  2. Comprehend that what society (the majority) believes isn’t necessarily the truth, accurate, moral, or the best basis of behavior.
  3. Question your own beliefs and assumptions. Assume they’re most likely wrong, inaccurate, and untruthful. Practice independent thinking – don’t accept the consensus.
  4. For those topics that align with your greatest interests and passions, dig in and self-educate. Don’t just take the word of so-called authorities who are foisted upon you as the be-all and end-all to a subject. Become your own expert, but ensure you aren’t pigeon-holing yourself due to confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance or any other cognitive errors.  Pursue your self-learning with intellectual integrity. Study a wide range of topics.
  5. Get comfortable with who you are and what you stand for.  Don’t be shy about separating from the herd and standing out. Be a lone wolf. Expect conflict when ideas and beliefs are discussed (if you so choose to participate in those discussions).
  6. Notice how people, especially the media, try to keep you indoctrinated into society’s acceptable beliefs.
  7. As with groupthink, the only sure way out is to lead, not follow. Voice your dissent.  Just let others know you simply don’t agree with the consensus.

SC11Disengage from the herd. Be an independent thinker. Practice intellectual integrity. Seek and grow beyond the mundane. Embrace awe and wonder.




Some decent online sources: (there are many others of course)

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.


Why Is “Liberty & Empowerment” Important?

I have an innate passion and drive about individualism, personal responsibility and freedom. In my ideal world each person would be as self-reliant as possible, the government would stay out of our lives and allow individuals the opportunity for ultimate growth. Any significant achievements of the human race aren’t made by wards of the state sucking from the teet of big government. It’s done with the passion & persistence of independent individuals with vision.

I absolutely refuse to accept a ‘victim’ mindset – for myself or for anyone I know. That type of living is an equation for laziness, excuses and lackluster (unguided) living. Do you want something to change in your life? Make it happen. Get out and do something about it. Make a change. Adapt. Learn. Do. Prevail. Sitting on the couch, doing the same thing you’ve always done (and that everyone does) isn’t going to cut the mustard.

You have to be different, independent, determined, have an exceptional personal work ethic. Do what has to be done. No excuses . . . . results. Excuses are for whiners.

Here’s What “Liberty & Empowerment” Includes For Me:

  • Freedom & Rights
  • Politics & Government
  • Conditioning & Control

Freedom & Rights

What are the true foundations to the creation of the United States of America? How free should individuals be to conduct business with other citizens? How involved should the government be in people’s lives? What is sovereignty? What’s an oligarchy and how is it controlling our lives? What is Problem-Reaction-Solution and how is it used to control the populace? What is true entrepreneurial capitalism versus the nasty corporatism we see today?

Where does money come from and who controls it? How far should government surveillance go, and Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? How far should we take patriotism, or allow it to drive knee-jerk (unexamined) reactions? What part should dissent play in our country? What are our rights and how much are we losing – how and why? What are our alternatives for a life of liberty?

Politics & Government

What role should government play? What forms of government work best? Which serve the rights of individuals best? What purpose should politicians serve versus the real world behavior they display (or hide)? Do politics, government and bureaucrats produce real value? Or do they destroy value?

What are the flaws in the two-party paradigm? How different are these two parties – really? Should we allow special treatment, perks, law-exemptions, benefits, ethics abuse, corruption and elitism with our politicians? What valuable product are they producing that you would voluntarily pay for right now? Who and what are the various ‘think tank’ and foundational organizations that actively involve themselves in political and strategic governmental policy and legislation?

Conditioning & Control

Each human being is born and raised in a particular culture. We’re brought up and taught with a certain set of assumptions and beliefs that we hold as ‘true’ and ‘right.’ Unchallenged, these preconceived rules of life can limit us and hold us back from becoming incredible and enlightened individuals. It can also block our critical thinking skills which would allow us to see the ruse of many of our cherished beliefs.

Running in tandem to our cultural beliefs is a massive set of media and organizations in place constantly pounding out the message that supports the existing cultural, academic, scientific, political and religious paradigms. I’ll be pointing out these paradigm control systems, their manipulations of human behavior and how they shore up the structure of our heavily conditioned existence.

Ultimately . . .

My goal is to operate as free and independent as I can; To be as educated, knowledgeable and aware as possible; To know and see the emotional manipulations of the populace as they occur and realize I don’t have to be pulled along by the game. In the end, for me, it’s Total Life Control.