Gaslighting the voting public to sow confusion

Friday, 8 November 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Politicians are hell bent on gaslighting the voting public to sow confusion and prevent a more rational view



  • The Vince Lombardi standard of ethics: ‘winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing’

‘Ethics’ encompass a belief system defined by honesty, responsibility, and trust. Further, sincerity, truthfulness, competence and reliability should be at the root of our politics. Winning the trust and confidence of the constituents we serve, requires a pattern of behaviour based upon an acceptable belief system. 

What we see and experience is political manipulation in elections and its dubious and questionable methods, which are constantly getting more vigorous in Sri Lanka. The problem we see is the unconscious desire of people to be misguided. Sometimes we rely on intuition and let ourselves relax. At this moment our consciousness is vulnerable. It is necessary to constantly assess the situation soberly not only in politics, but also those relating to public welfare.

If the manipulation object believes that everything that happens is natural and inevitable, the success of manipulation is guaranteed. The goal of political manipulation is obtaining, implementation and maintenance of power.

Politicians are hell bent on gaslighting the voting public to sow confusion and prevent a more rational view. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory and doubting their own perception and sanity.

Since the mind does not readily tolerate complexity and uncertainty, a person needs to form a reality. The gaslighter wants to impose his ‘reality’ on the person to prevent him from being aware of his perception of reality.

The media, particularly television and the internet, permit the widespread dissemination of false statements that become accepted as true as a result of their repetition that learning a word physically changes your brain through repetition, as the word becomes physically instantiated in your brain. 

Thus, the repetition of an inaccurate statement can become accepted as true. This explains the process by which propaganda is accepted, but not the motivation to use the initial lie. Therefore, the motivation to lie is appetite for power, ego and greed.

Webster defines power as domination over others to achieve personal gain. Greed is avarice, a voracious desire with few boundaries. Ego is defined as a sense of self that exceeds reality.

A government that derives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed can only stand if the governed have faith in the process by which they lend that consent. 

In any institution in which a majority of citizens or members can pass laws or rules that apply, not just to themselves, but to all members of the group, judgment is required to distinguish potential laws which are reasonable and fair from those which are tyrannical because they are unnecessary, unfair, and justifiably intolerable to the minority that opposed them. And formal mechanisms need to be in place, wherever feasible, to prevent tyrannical laws from being passed by those whose judgment in such matters might fail.  

When the majority community imposes its will, it creates a sense of discrimination amongst the minority. This results in the creation of social conflict among the people which may further lead to violence and political instability undermining the unity of the nation. Therefore, tyranny of the majority is not just oppressive to the minority, but brings ruin to the majority as well.

The essence of democracy is majority rule, the making of binding decisions by a vote of more than half of all eligible persons who participate in an election. However, constitutional democracy requires majority rule with minority rights.

In every genuine democracy today, majority rule is both endorsed and limited by the supreme law of the Constitution, which protects the rights of individuals. Tyranny by minority over the majority is barred, and so is tyranny of the majority against minorities. 

It is of great importance that not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.

Our Constitution has not solved the problem of the majority’s imposition of tyrannical laws, or imposing unnecessary and unfair or unreasonable laws tyrannically without attending to the needs of the minority. And because the problem of the tyranny of the majority is still not resolved today, nor even generally understood, it needs to be addressed as much as ever. 

The greatest safeguard against the tyranny of the majority is the large number of sects, castes and divergences of interests and opinions that divided people in ways that made it virtually impossible for coalitions to form stable majorities. 

In contrast, race, ethnicity, castes are such characteristics in our societies today that those in a minority too has no likely possibility to be in the majority in the near future or within even a few generations.  

Moreover, majorities in any legislature often merely impose their will on those numerical minorities with opposing philosophies. Even though the minority viewpoint may be ‘represented’ in the legislature, but it is not attended to by the majority, and is therefore not what might be called ‘effectively represented’. 

Moreover, the minority community is also slapped with percentage ceiling in entry into universities or other government institutions, they go about without proper education, without proper employment, without socialisation. Hence, a climate of prejudice, hate, and fear are made to proliferate within the minority communities against the majority.

Majority rule, therefore, has to be limited in order to protect minority rights, because if it were unchecked it probably would be used to oppress persons holding unpopular views. Unlimited majority rule in a democracy is potentially just as despotic as the unchecked rule of an autocrat or an elitist minority political party. 

We emphasise the fact that governments have not only a negative duty to respect human rights, but also a positive duty to safeguard these rights, preserve life and protect people from having their rights violated by others.

This fundamental principle of constitutional democracy, majority rule coupled with the protection of minority rights, is embedded in the constitutions of all genuine democracies today. Political decisions must stem from the will of the majority, expressed by means of a free vote. 

However, the majority’s decisions must heed the protection of the minorities. It is the duty of every government to guarantee civil liberties, and it is their irremissible obligation to not violate which they are empowered to protect. 

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