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Developing and Sustaining Thought Deprivation (Part 3)

29 March 2019

This is the third in a series of columns. Here is the opening from the first and will be repeated in each column in this series:

There is a dangerous, but tremendously effective, political approach being employed in America. It could be called “Thought Deprivation”. That is, conditioning people so that they do not think with depth regarding the issues that face us as a nation. Sadly, allowing this “Thought Deprivation” approach to become routine and embedded in the political process has brought us to a point of real danger in the governing, and very survival, of this nation.

My observations as to how “thought deprivation” is developed and sustained in a person, by others, were presented as including seven steps. The first two steps were addressed in the first column; steps three and four in the second. The final three will be explored here.

Step five is to convince a target group, or groups, that they are entitled to certain benefits. Accomplishing this step is pursued by way of several tactics. Primary among them is the civil rights argument. Before examining this argument, consider the following from “What are human rights?” at https://www.equalityhumanrights.com:

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life.

They can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security.

These basic rights are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence. These values are defined and protected by law.

Lock in on the last line of the quote above where the basis for human rights is addressed. Now move to the civil rights argument. The following segments are from an article by Rebecca Hamlin, at www.britannica.com, titled “Civil rights”:

Civil rights, guarantees of equal social opportunities and equal protection under the law, regardless of race, religion, or other personal characteristics.

Unlike other rights concepts, such as human rights or natural rights, in which people acquire rights inherently, perhaps from God or nature, civil rights must be given and guaranteed by the power of the state. Therefore, they vary greatly over time, culture, and form of government and tend to follow societal trends that condone or abhor particular types of discrimination. For example, the civil rights of homosexuals have only recently come to the forefront of political debate in some Western democracies.

This tactic, alone, allows politicians and other agenda-promoting individuals and groups to argue that certain individuals or groups are entitled to benefits, accommodations, or privileges not currently available to them. This action, almost always, garners political support for the offering party, or parties, from those for whom benefits are pursued.

In my estimation, a prime example of how this tactic is employed, and the profit to entitlement-promoting politicians, shows through in North Carolina’s recent battle over allowing individuals to use the public bathroom consistent with their gender identity. Without doubt, politicians who embraced the change enhanced their support among the LGBTQ community. This is only one example of civil rights shaped by time and a changing culture overriding human rights where, from www.equalityhumanrights.com, “These basic rights are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence.” The course pursued here certainly seemed unfair, from a human rights perspective, to those of us who opposed allowing gender identity bathroom use. However, this kind of action works for winning votes.

Once citizens are convinced they are entitled to certain benefits, the sixth step is promising to deliver the benefits to which people have been convinced they are entitled. The examples at this step seem without end. Here is a sampling of what is being proposed by various 2020 presidential candidates from an article by Quartz Staff titled, “Meet all the Democratic candidates in the crowded 2020 race”: Free college tuition; health care for all; jobs for everybody; saving the environment from climate change; middle-class tax cut; program that would give every newborn a bond that would increase in value over time; increase in Social Security benefits; $1000 per month to every citizen over age 18; reparations to Black Americans; higher taxes on the wealthy.

Every idea listed above and, almost certainly, any others put forth, will appeal to the needs and wants of citizens. Except for calls to tax the wealthy more, there will not, likely, be a single

proposal that requires sacrifice or taking of individual responsibility on the part of citizens. No, this is: promise the world, win the election, and start running again while using the same tactics.

What I have addressed to this point in the series of columns works because the math is solid. Following are segments from an article by Catey Hill titled, “45% of Americans pay no federal income tax”:

An estimated 45.3% of American households — roughly 77.5 million — will pay no federal individual income tax, according to data for the 2015 tax year from the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington-based research group. (Note that this does not necessarily mean they won’t owe their states income tax.)

On average, those in the bottom 40% of the income spectrum end up getting money from the government. Meanwhile, the richest 20% of Americans, by far, pay the most in income taxes, forking over nearly 87% of all the income tax collected by Uncle Sam.

When the richest 20% of Americans pay 87% of all federal income taxes and 45.3% of households pay nothing, the math is easy…turn the 80% against the 20%. In the process, take from the 20% the funding that is needed to win the votes of the 80%.

Here is where the rubber meets the road. There comes a time when taxing the rich heavily is not sufficient to keep promises to the 80%. That is because the rich are no longer motivated to take the risks necessary to maintain high incomes or they move to lower tax countries. Further, if all the assets of the wealthy were confiscated, I hardly believe it would pay the cost of all that is being promised by so many of today’s politicians.

That brings us to the final step – step seven. That is, when the promised benefits do not materialize, blame others. This is particularly the case with political parties. When a promise is not kept, blame the other party. Since the voting public, for the most part, depends on sound-bites, headlines, and emotions, promise-breaking politicians are hardly ever held accountable. The public keeps experiencing the abuse. That abuse happens because developing and sustaining thought deprivation is an extremely effective strategy that has been mastered by far too many American politicians and others who influence the political process.

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