Do you think our government also try to manipulate us?Do you think our government also tries to manipulate us?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Thoreau said, "That government governs best that governs least."  However, in modern times, whatever political party is in control directs the agenda for its own constituents and purpose.  This perspective is obvious.  Witness the recent appearance of our current president before the AMA who booed him when he made it apparent that he supports the trial lawyers and malpractice cases.

Tabloid news, sound bytes, and "perception is reality" [thank you for this phrase, Mr. Dean Koontz, fiction writer] media are doing a great job.  Thank you, for your closing remark, Mr. Brady!

timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Manipulation is a charged word. It has some negative connotations. But basically, manipulation involves just influencing the thought of action. When we look at such an action in a positive way, we call it by positive names such as leading, and when we look at it in a negative way, we call it by positive names like manipulating.

For example, take the famous words of John F. Kennedy:

Ask not what the nation can do for you. ask what you can do for the nation.

This call by Kennedy is considered to be a high mark of leadership, but we can give it a negative connotation by saying that he brainwashed people to stop holding government responsible for the welfare of the people, and instead encouraged them to accept sacrifices for benefit of other people.

So let us discuss this question without using any emotionally charged words. Then we can say that all good and effective governments do try mould the behaviour of people to in interest of collective and greater good of all.

  I agree with you, but I think there is a difference between propaganda which emphasizes one truth rather than another (your viewpoint over the opposing one), and on that creates facts/realities that intend only to manipulate and not to argue for a point of view.

There is an excellent discussion of the concept of propaganda and how it is often used at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda.  If you want to see it in action, you might want to review 1984, Brave New World, We, or many other books who show us societies where the people are manipulated for the benefit of the people in power rather than for their own benefit.

Of course, you could save yourself the cost of the books and just read the daily newspaper ....

 

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Of course they do.  All governments (really the people who are in charge...presidents, prime ministers, kings, parliament, congress, house of representatives, etc.) make decisions that will be, in their minds, the best decision for the greater good of all the citizens.  Not everyone will be happy with the decisions governments make, but like parents, governments are in charge of protecting and guiding its people.  Of course, in democratic societies, there are safeguards in place to "balance" the power of the government so that the people are informed of the decisions and the reasons behind them.  If we like the job they are doing, we choose to reelect.  If not, we elect a new set of people to act on our behalf.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Manipulation is a charged word. It has some negative connotations. But basically, manipulation involves just influencing the thought of action. When we look at such an action in a positive way, we call it by positive names such as leading, and when we look at it in a negative way, we call it by positive names like manipulating.

For example, take the famous words of John F. Kennedy:

Ask not what the nation can do for you. ask what you can do for the nation.

This call by Kennedy is considered to be a high mark of leadership, but we can give it a negative connotation by saying that he brainwashed people to stop holding government responsible for the welfare of the people, and instead encouraged them to accept sacrifices for benefit of other people.

So let us discuss this question without using any emotionally charged words. Then we can say that all good and effective governments do try mould the behaviour of people to in interest of collective and greater good of all.

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