By Susanne Posel
The Obama administration has decided that with the advances in “social and behavioral sciences” public policies can be better designed to coerce the general public through the use of propaganda.
Based on the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) created by UK Prime Minister David Cameron (a.k.a. The Nudge Unit) was created “to influence British policies through insights from Behavioral Economics in order to achieve the coalition Government’s goal of finding ‘intelligent ways to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves’.”
David Halpern, lead for the Institute for Government, is the spearhead for BIT because of his contribution to the MINDSPACE report which was the foundation for “behavioral insights in British public policy.”
A “nudge” is defined as “any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid.”
The BIT team could be implemented to form policies such as tax collection to “increase net taxes collected”.
A new BIT team is “currently creating a new team that will help build federal capacity to experiment with these approaches, and to scale behavioral interventions that have been rigorously evaluated, using, where possible, randomized controlled trials.”
“Selected individuals” who are “experts in behavioral sciences, experimental design and evaluation” to be part of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) which is “for the temporary assignment of employees between the Federal Government and State, local, and Indian tribal governments, institutions of higher education and other eligible organizations.”
In the name of efficiency in government and society, this team for BIT in the US will work with governmental agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Cass Sustein, former administrator for the Obama administration Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (IORA), wrote the book entitled, “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” that describes how humans make choices and how to steer them into making “better ones”.
In fact, Sustein and Thaler co-authored the book together which offers “a new perspective on preventing the countless mistakes we make—ill-advised personal investments, consumption of unhealthy foods, neglect of our natural resources—and show us how sensible ‘choice architecture’ can successfully nudge people toward the best decisions.”
Both Sustein and Thaler were asked to advise Obama during his campaign for president in 2008. Since Sustein became the head of the IORA, his expertise in socialism proved to come in handy.
With the IORA, Sustein implanted ideology concerning the weight of individual interest against that of the collective and used this to predict future outcomes.
For the Obama administration, this influence could be implemented toward structuring government.
Currently, Maya Shankar, a White House adviser, has been tasked with the preliminary work for the new BIT team.
Shankar has worked previously with the Center for American Progress and has been educated in cognitive science with regard to social activism.
In short, the BIT team will be designed around the idea that the federal government wants to convince the American public to do its bidding. Even to the extent of creating a specialized office that handles such on-going psychological operations.
BIT and its ideology is legal, thanks to the newest version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that has an amendment added that negates the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 (SMA) and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987.
These laws made propaganda used to influence foreigners and US citizens illegal. Without these laws, disinformation could run rampant throughout our information junkets.
SMA defines the prohibition of domestic access to influence information through a variety of means, from broadcast to publishing of books, media, and online sources by restricting the State Department.
The amendment sanctions the US government, without restriction, the use of any mode of message to control how we perceive our world.
As of now, the level of propaganda in the mainstream media (MSM) is quite high, with all of our television, printed media and internet sites associated with MSM owned by only 5 corporations.
Without these laws, the lies purveyed as truth to foreigners would find their way to our doorsteps as a purposeful operation enacted by our government.
And in the name of national security, the US government could, and probably would, disseminate misinformation to gain public support for otherwise decidedly deplorable actions.
Amendment 114 of the NDAA was approved by the House in May of 2012.
The amendment, which was hidden within the NDAA, has remained relatively unnoticed. However, it empowers the State Department and Pentagon to utilize all forms of media against the American public for the sake of coercing US citizens to believe whatever version of the truth the US government wants them to believe.
All oversight is removed with Amendment 114 . Regardless of whether the information disseminated is truthful, partially truthful or completely false bears no weight.