Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Brave, independent readers – I’m so proud to be one of you


I WROTE some months ago about stupidity and how it was responsible for the behaviour of many people during the covid hysteria. How could some people behave in such a way that a sizeable minority could only look upon with disbelief? 

However, stupidity is surely only part of the explanation. The question is why did the majority of people go along with the narrative while a good number recognised straight away or early on that the whole thing was fiction on an international scale, co-ordinated by those whose motives were not in the interests of humanity?

If you are reading this then you are most likely:

* Not stupid.

* A free and independent spirit.

* Possessing a moral code that is your own and not influenced by crowd behaviour.

Since the end of the Second World War, civilised countries have been puzzled as to how the German populace could have gone along with Nazi atrocities. Of course all of them didn’t and the execution of the young founders of the ‘White Rose’ are testament to this.

But the vast majority either participated enthusiastically at one extreme or turned a blind eye at the other. These are questions concerning human psychology at its most basic: how do we recognise right from wrong? how do we respond to the leadership (good or bad) that we are subjected to when we live in society? And perhaps the biggest question of all: how do we as individuals react when we know in our hearts that our government is acting against the interests of its people? Do we go along and keep our heads down, or do we resist in our own way?

Covid was a testing ground for how we as individuals would discover what makes us tick. Watching TV documentaries, war films and reading books about our heroes makes us want to be heroic. This is how we would like to see ourselves. So how is that we can be so manipulated whereby the vast majority, who surely want to be the best of ourselves, submit to base instincts and cowardice when put to the test?

Two famous experiments were conducted in America some years ago which were to prove groundbreaking in their findings.

Dr Stanley Milgram in 1963 conducted an experiment where volunteers were paired with ‘learners’ who were actually part of the Milgram team. The learner was strapped to a chair with electrodes attached to his wrists. He had been required to memorise pairs of words, and if repeated correctly, the volunteer would do nothing. If however, the learner made a mistake the volunteer had to flick a switch that administered an electric shock. These shocks got progressively worse as the mistakes increased.

In truth the shocks were non-existent and the man was acting when he yelled in pain. But the volunteers did not know this and fully 65 per cent of them carried on blindly obeying their instructions, going on to administer shocks that would have killed the man if the electricity was real. How could this be? How could the overwhelming majority inflict pain in spite of the man’s cries?

Unfortunately, this experiment proved a very disturbing human characteristic that was best summed up by Brian Masters in his autobiography Getting Personal, that the Milgram experiment demonstrated beyond question that decent souls could become monsters if given the chance.

The Asch Conformity Experiment was of a different kind, but it too was to prove something that is very revealing and indeed worrying about the human psyche. Three people were shown four lines and asked which was the longest. Again, unknown to one of the volunteers the other two were experimenters. The longest of the lines was always obvious and the true answer never in doubt even to those with poor eyesight and limited intelligence. After a couple of rounds where they all chose the correct answer, two of the experimenters began to choose a line that was clearly shorter than the longest. At first the volunteer would protest and point out the truth, but with sustained opposition by the two experimenters he quickly began to fall in line and contradict the facts.

These two experiments prove that many people, though not all, can be led both into acting cruelly and into disbelieving the evidence of their own eyes.

Is it any surprise then that when a government wish to manipulate their population for whatever ends it is done in the knowledge that the majority will go along with it? These past four years have been one long experiment where the population has been subjected to the Milgram and Asch tests writ large. The lockdowns, mask wearing, social distancing and experimental jabbing have seen the cruelty of the majority inflicting pain and distress on their fellow human beings who would not conform. We have witnessed that to be a part of the herd is an emotion that is common to the majority in spite of their real-world experiences.

This is an essay intended to congratulate you, dear readers. Yes, you are the minority, but if you have not been taken in by the evil machinations of recent years and you have stood firm throughout, you can conclusively state that not only are you not stupid, but you are part of the 35 per cent of the volunteers who would not complete the Milgram experiment. Neither would you have given said that the shortest line was the longest just because the majority were telling you so. I feel proud to be among your number and coming up to New Year with the tide turning in our favour, I have no hesitation in saying that here lies true, freedom-loving humanity with generous hearts and the moral courage to remain true to ourselves.

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Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins is a furniture designer/maker who loves to write.

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