Tuesday, June 15, 2021
HomeStatesideBiden calls up the manipulator-in-chief

Biden calls up the manipulator-in-chief

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PRESIDENT Biden has added yet another fissile element to his efforts to change America by appointing  Cass R Sunstein, a ‘Marxist authoritarian’ Obama-era behaviourist, to run the Department of Homeland Security.

Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard, Obama’s alma mater, was the ‘great brain’ who provided the ‘nudge’ for Obama’s social policies. In person he appears rather dishevelled, cloaked in the same faux intellectual trappings of eccentricity as our own Professor Whitty and Dominic Cummings.

Sunstein was administrator of the US Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009 to 2012 and he worked alongside an army of fellow behaviourists who took control of all of the levers of policy-making as outlined by Time magazine’s article ‘How Obama is Using the Science of Change’.

After the Great Reset Agenda was announced in June 2020, Sunstein was recruited to head the propaganda wing of the World Health Organisation, the WHO Technical Advisory Group, where his skills in mass behaviour modification were used to counteract ‘the dangerous spread of conspiracy theories’ suggesting that Covid-19 was part of a larger conspiracy to undermine national sovereignty and impose world government.

The head of the WHO described Sunstein’s mandate: ‘In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, countries are using a range of tools to influence behaviour: Information campaigns are one tool, but so are laws, regulations, guidelines and even fines . . . That’s why behavioural science is so important.’

Doing his part to promote Newspeak and secure globalism, President Biden is reversing all Trump’s policies, especially those on immigration which his minders define as ‘unfair’ and ‘racist’. His aim is the restructuring of US society to save it from the most pressing dangers of ‘white supremacy’ and ‘systemic racism’. He needs ‘right-thinking’ people to do the heavy lifting.  

Sunstein will be responsible for ensuring that the rules put forward by the Department of Homeland Security and its agencies are ‘based on evidence and consistent with the law’, a Biden spokesman said without a hint of irony.

Liberals are concerned about Sunstein joining the new team, pointing to his record with the previous Obama administration,  especially its promotion of ‘Obamacare’, a policy which Republicans regarded as a breach of the libertarian ideal of freedom of choice.

Sunstein is a seasoned Washington insider, having also worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during both the Carter and Reagan administrations. He has been a regular contributor to Bloomberg Opinion, part of Bloomberg LP.

Like Whitty and Cummings, he is considered a big thinker. He certainly has some radical views, having spoken out against marriage and individual freedom of choice. He suggests that government recognition of marriage be discontinued, saying: ‘The word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licences would no longer be offered or recognised by any level of government . . . the only legal status that states would confer on couples would be a civil union, which would be a domestic partnership agreement between any two [or more, surely?] people.’

His second wife, Samantha Power, is also a professor at Harvard Law School and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. She was Obama’s Ambassador to the United Nations and was named one of Foreign Policy’s ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers’. Just confirmed as head of the US Agency for International Development, she disclosed Sunstein’s wide-ranging financial interests in a variety of companies, including Apple and Humu Inc. 

Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project, a political watchdog, described Sunstein as an ‘incomprehensibly prolific academic and pundit who claims expertise in everything. I can think of nothing, nothing, in his record that gives me confidence he can fix a deeply broken department like the Department of Homeland Security.’

Sunstein is best known for Economic Behaviourism, a relatively new field of ‘science’ which ‘combines insights from psychology, judgment, decision making and economics to generate a more accurate understanding of human behaviour’. He has spent decades trying to model human behaviour with computer simulations to try to ‘scientifically manage’ social outcomes.

In his 2008 bestseller, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (co-authored with Nobel Prize winning economic behaviourist Richard Thaler), Sunstein ‘discovered’ that ‘people tend to develop behavioural patterns around certain fundamental drives, such as the pursuit of pleasure, the avoidance of pain, and the drive for sex, popularity, novelty, and greed’. We are ‘as a species fundamentally irrational’. What a surprise for Darwin, Freud, Maslow and Skinner.

Since humans are fundamentally irrational, Sunstein argues it is necessary that an enlightened elite impose ‘order’ upon society while maintaining the illusion of freedom of choice. This is a persistent intellectual stance which draws on thinking from Plato, Galton, Nietzsche, Cattell and T S Eliot, and finds expression in the acts of the great tyrants of history.

It was also at the heart of Obama’s favourite ‘scientist’ John Holdren’s call for world government. In his book Ecoscience, co-written with mentors Mr and Mrs Paul Ehrlich, Holdren envisioned a future utopia governed by a scientifically managed master class, saying:

‘Perhaps those agencies, combined with United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations population agencies, might eventually be developed into a Planetary Regime – sort of an international superagency for population, resources and environment. Such a comprehensive Planetary Regime could control the development, administration, conservation and distribution of all natural resources, renewable or non-renewable.’

For Sunstein, his erstwhile colleagues at the WHO, and for globalists such as Soros and Bill Gates, such an outcome is both feasible and desirable. He regards the technical policy maker as the ultimate ‘choice architect’ – a skilled and intelligent technocrat who uses good data, good ‘science’, and his own intelligence to determine what people would really want to do, if only they were as ‘smart and well informed as the choice architect’. He has clearly not kept up with Icarus.

Despite the theory being old wine in new bottles, policymakers around the world have adopted ‘Nudge’ with great enthusiasm, setting up government units to guide the masses toward the choices which elites judge to be in their ‘best interests’.

In the UK in 2010, David Cameron’s government established the Behavioural Insights Team, our very own ‘Nudge unit’ to apply behavioural science to public policy. Goodness, has it made a difference.

Its initiatives include automatic enrolment for work-scheme pensions and most disturbingly, perhaps, increasing organ donation by changing the law from a voluntary ‘opt-in’ to an ‘opt-out’ system.

Now a ‘social purpose company’, it is reputedly independent of government. Throughout Covid, though, it  has worked with Sage, especially its resident card-carrying Communist, Professor Susan Michie, and the Department of Health in crafting government propaganda.

It designed ‘the communication around hand-washing and face touching – in particular, the use of “disgust” as an incentive to wash hands’. It has been behind government efforts to promote ‘vaccination’ by appealing to patriotism and collective guilt – ‘we are not safe until we are all safe’.   

The problem with ‘nudging’ as a political philosophy is that it is highly manipulative. It seems reasonable, almost paternalistic, but it is an extreme technocratic sleight of hand which assumes that ‘experts’ always know which choices are in the best interests of ‘ordinary people.’ It is the smiling face of authoritarianism.

Sunstein will doubtless be a powerful force in the building of Biden’s New Jerusalem, with his intellect, reputation, his wife and proven international reach. That he is blind to the argument that extreme social and psychological manipulation by governments is always wrong, and may lead to benevolent dictatorship, or worse, is cause for concern.

As Pericles of Athens said in about 430 BC, ‘Although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it.’

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Kate Dunlop
Kate Dunlop is a mediator.

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