The concept of Information Echo Chambers is a troubling social issue I found while researching my latest book, The Little Boy Asked – WHY? The Search for Answers.
What I found led me to share this information, its effect on every American, today and in the future.
Our young adults are a special concern, because they are in greater danger.
Then – Election 2010
During the 2010 elections, I attended the Johnson/Feingold Senatorial debate at the University of Wisconsin, Marathon Campus.
One of Senator Feingold’s criticisms then was that his opponent Ron Johnson, a successful business owner, had stated his favorite book was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957.
The reason Senator Feingold picked this point for criticism was semi-elusive at the time. Ron Johnson went on to defeat Senator Feingold in the election, so I put the book and research aside, and moved on to more pressing priorities.
And Now – Election 2016
For the 2016 election cycle, these two candidates are in a rematch, with former Senator Feingold attempting to take back his old job from Senator Johnson.
With the old and new research in hand, the reasons for Feingold’s disagreement over the book are now more clear, raising significant questions about government power and control.
Who has the power?
Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is a huge 1168 page volume. The title is telling. Atlas holds the weight of the world on his shoulder. To free himself, he must shrug his shoulders and allow the burden to fall away.
The analogy of course is the weight of big government, and the people shrugging off the over-control imposed by the politicians.
These were the less subtle points in the Feingold vs. Johnson debate.
The key issue faced by voters in 2010, and again today in 2016, is the continuing conflict between powers accruing to big government, versus returning power to the people.
Former Senator Feingold and Senator Johnson clearly understand, and are on opposing sides of the issue.
Senator Russ Feingold is a career politician and a staunch advocate of big government. He believes that elitist politicians have superior knowledge, and advocates for greater centralized control, spending, and regulation.
Feingold labels himself an entrepreneur, but most entrepreneurs I know want government to get out of the way so they can focus on their business (for more, see my book Decision-making in a Disruptive Reordering).
Senator Ron Johnson, a demonstrated successful business owner and true entrepreneur, believes exactly the opposite. Individuals must be free to start a business, innovate, self-actualize, and build America.
Government’s role is to enable, not control business activity. Industry, not government, is the engine for economic growth.
To gain clarity, it is useful to couple Alas Shrugged with another classic, George Orwell’s 1984. The concept that unites the two themes is a dystopia, defined as “an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly”. (Source: Merriam-Webster dictionary).
Dystopia, per Orwell, is a very dark place, with ‘big brother’ in total control, surveilling every aspect of human life, including people in their own homes.
The form of dystopia portrayed by Ayn Rand is national decay, where government over-regulation and greed drive industry from the country, leaving the people destitute. It has a dark and insidious aspect, where a smaller number of elites completely control a people unaware of the cause for their quandary.
Rand predicted our current situation, and I offer this point to support the contention that America is close to reaching the sorry state portrayed in Rand’s fictionalized world.
The DOJ and FBI failures to hold Hillary Clinton accountable for misconduct in office are proof of a two-tiered dystopian justice system, not a free republic. It is hypocritical for Hillary Clinton to run on a policy of equality when street criminals selling cigarettes go to jail, while she gets a pass.
In addition, do not forget Benghazi. A casual observer knows that Hillary Clinton gets special treatment. Intellectual laziness and delusional ideology are excuses for dismissing the implications of her actions.
Rand was correct. This type of fuzzy thinking will allow Hillary Clinton and Russ Feingold to complete the job of making us “wards of the state.”
The technological mechanisms of control, specifically the Internet, did not exist when Atlas Shrugged or 1984 were written. However, the advancing state of dystopia, facilitated by the digital disruption and inability of the people to face the hard truth, has proven accurate.
Building the Echo Chamber
There are three related concepts in the technology of digital control, but the complexity is too involved for this newsletter.
These are alternate reality games (ARG), transmedia, and Cross Platforms.
The most relevant to this post is the ‘alternate reality’ game (ARG), where players alter the perceived realities in a virtual game and attempt to modify the original story to match their desired outcomes.
Like all technology, an ARG is neutral, neither good nor bad. The problem occurs when government uses the concept to program and deceive the people. Here is how it works.
The following is from my latest book, The Little Boy Asked-WHY? The Search for Answers.
FACT: the press prints what the White House provides and ignores the important and controversial issues at the heart of honest governance.
This is a bold statement, but readers are justified for insisting that I “prove it.”
Presidential advisor Ben Rhodes, in mid-May 2016, admitted to misleading the press and the American people to sell the nuclear deal with Iran. It is similar to the manipulation the administration used to sell the Patients Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPAPA or ACA).
The following websites provide the details and narrative.
Rhodes, and others like him, believe they have super intelligence and everyone else is stupid, therefore, any means justifies the end, as long as they define the objective. The Obama administration was determined to complete the Iran agreement as part of the Presidents’ legacy, ignoring any future cost.
Of greater importance is for us to understand exactly how they set up a propaganda system to deceive the American public.
This chart is a visualization of Ben Rhodes words:
The administration, primarily under Rhodes direction, developed a fictional narrative supporting the agreement, then lies and denials to explain every question, concern and time line.
To accomplish this deception required knowing precisely what Americans would reject, and what Congress would push back on. Drilling down, it meant they knew it was a horrible deal, and jeopardized us anyway. Their real reasons are unknown, but it was not for our greater good.
The narratives (propaganda) were fed to politically friendly non-news organizations, experts and think tanks that supported the administration, which journalists contacted to verify information. Ben Rhodes called them “echo chambers.”
The administration issued press releases (propaganda) to journalists, many of them young and inexperienced, who validated the information by contacting the experts who echoed the administrations narrative, lies, and denials.
The press publishes the reports for our consumption. We either accept it as fact, or Google the sources that echoed the misinformation for validation.
When Congress attempted to call Mr. Rhodes to account for his actions, the White House refused to allow him to testify.
Fool Me Once – Fool Me Twice
Given this insight, the deceptions involved with the Affordable Care Act are obvious.
The press upon which the public once relied for honest reporting apparently abdicated responsibility in reporting the ACA, either buying the “any means” argument, or were so deeply biased that the truth was invisible. Perhaps there was also an echo chamber.
Mr. Rhodes was also responsible for some of the narrative surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law in 2010.
The logical question is, did the voting lawmakers who approved the legislation know about the echo chamber? Did they participate in deliberately misinforming and deceiving the citizens on one of the most important and expensive programs (affecting one-sixth of the economy) in the history of the Republic?
History proves the answer is yes.
Government officials, legislators, health care executives, and education experts were involved in the artificial reality game (ARG), but our game elements are still incomplete. The information echo chamber is clear, but we need to identify the people and what role they played.
Politicians used the most convoluted and possibly illegal process in our history to pass the ACA. The act received final approval through the budget reconciliation process, an end run around the normal legislative process.
The ACA schemers had a problem developing a method to justify the cost in a way it would sneak past the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), but they found the money in a convenient but diabolical way.
Throwing the students under the bus.
The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act was attached to the ACA as a rider. The opportunity was too great to pass up. Politicians transferred nearly $7 billion dollars per annum of student-loan subsidies to help “pay for” and justify the ACA.
The mechanism was simple – only the government could give student loans. Not coincidentally, student-loan debt is approaching $1.4 trillion dollars, while the Federal government has potentially raked in hundreds of billions of dollars in interest on the backs of the young adults.
The precise amount is difficult to find, because those numbers are trapped, like many others, in the maelstrom of the information echo chamber.
Adding insult to injury, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act set aside $2 billion dollars for intercity schools, but little, if any, of it appears to have reached the classroom level.
Today, these same politicians are running (again) on promises of fixing a problem the taxpayers already paid for. Where are the results and accountability? What did they do with the $2 billion dollars?
The public received verification of the nefarious process resulting in the ACA when Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at MIT, spoke at the University of Pennsylvania. He repeated the essence of the concept in multiple videos.
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. … Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. … Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”
To the Obama political advisors, this was all a game; a form of ARG. Mr. Gruber added the lack of transparency and purposeful deception to the equation. Mr. Rhodes told us about the echo chamber and our role in a real-life alternate reality game.
The Senate narrowly passed the ACA with the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility rider after the administration exerted extreme pressure and coercion on Senate members.
The lawmakers, who are responsible to the people for honest and transparent government, largely voted on and passed this 900-page legislation without even reading it.
The ACA was and still is the most monstrous fraud ever perpetrated on the citizens of America, and the Democrats, including Senator Feingold, exclusively voted for this legislation.
Their actions have resulted in the generational theft of billions of education dollars. Russ Feingold now tells students he is on their side, and will “fix” their problem.
The truth is inconvenient
We have explored all of the elements except one – recognizing the enormity of our predicament.
In reality, truth is inconvenient. Institutions manufacture or sanitize deceptive information products, then test the reaction before releasing it as news. Expert sources, used to verify accuracy, become programmed echo chambers.
We partially live in an alternate reality game (ARG), a parallel universe constructed of artificial images by the government (both parties), and the media. Americans live in a real-life, simulated “Matrix,” where we are the programmed players, “thrashing around,” evaluating problems and endlessly rehashing intellectual garbage based on false information.
Meanwhile in the real world, nothing changes. Breaking this continuous loop means isolating the causes and making positive change.
We have but one life, and it is not an ARG. The game will continue until we bring it to a screeching halt by making significant political changes.
We need a free America filled with opportunities for every citizen to be successful and push the frontiers of science. We need the freedom to convert a disruptive reordering into a nation where the diversity of America once again becomes its strength, and not its perceived weakness.
Use your vote to control the future
This November we have three key issues.
President: Hillary Clinton represents the established continuum towards globalization (new world order) of America. Voting for Donald Trump means change, and a chance to reverse the rapid drift into dystopia.
My only hope is that people will make honest fact-based decisions considering all the critical issues. I do have a question. Are you ready to live with the consequences of your decision?
The Supreme Court: The next President will select three or four new members, who will potentially change the course of the country forever. Stated clearly, we have Clinton’s “Queen” agenda, and know she will pick extremely liberal, global Supreme Court justices who believe in federal power and therefore may void much of the Constitution. Donald Trump has committed to pick strict constitutionalists.
Legislative: In this election, the election in the two houses of Congress may be as important as the election for president. The legislative branch balances and controls the governance result, precisely as the Framers intended.
From my perspective, the Senate is the most critical state race, because the Senate must confirm appointees to the Supreme Court, and oppose actions that will weaken the Republic. Wisconsin voters must choose between Russ Feingold and Sen. Ron Johnson.
Russ Feingold demonstrated his senatorial style by voting for the ACA, ripping off his constituents, and burying them in an echo chamber. It is impossible for him to advocate for transparency after supporting the ACA.
He promises to fix the high-cost of Student Aid, conveniently ignoring his part in stripping the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. He also stated, “Hillary Clinton is ‘reliable & trustworthy’,” excusing her contempt for the law.
Wisconsin voters need to re-elect their outstanding Senator Ron Johnson.
Senator Ron Johnson will work hard to dismantle the dystopia he understood long before most of us, and unlock an opportunity society for everyone. He is a business owner, and knows how to grow jobs and prosperity.
He knows the business tools used to reduce waste and increase efficiency, and rule one is getting rid of unnecessary bureaucracy – the bureacracy that is the very foundation for the Clinton/Feingold Progressive agenda.
Senator Ron Johnson is one of the last guardians of our freedoms. The votes of a Republican Senate may be all that stands between freeing America from Ayn Rand’s failed nation, or sliding more deeply into the black hole of George Orwell’s “Big Brother is Watching”.
Wayne's consulting company Affinity Systems LLC has managed numerous business strategy, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and process improvement projects (VMP) in manufacturing, government, distribution, and convention management.
He has developed training materials for ERP, Supply-Chain Management, Strategy, and Process Improvement. His specialties include systems assessment, software selection and installation, and process improvement. Through his website CompetitiveAmerica.us, Wayne continues to advocate for American industry.
To contact Wayne, click here.