Thomas Harrington, Senior Scholar at the Brownstone Institute, is an essayist and Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford (USA) where he taught for 24 years. He joins Discernable to discuss what appears to be a worldwide repeat of the infamous Milgram experiment where ordinary people are pushed to commit extraordinary atrocities by authority figures.
As an expert in the formation of identity, culture and language he often sheds light on the rhetorical ‘framing’ techniques used to influence broad populations. An example of is the rise of modern ‘Nudge Units’ within governments known by various names such as ‘Behavioural Insights Unit’ et al. The Professor believes that once a suitably convincing ‘frame’ is established, a subject can be made to accept any proposition contained within that frame even if that proposition is antithetical to the frame itself.
This demonstrates the immense power and danger of ‘framing’ techniques employed by politicians and corporations throughout the globe to achieve their desired end. Thomas shows how this was successfully deployed to recruit a pliant population of ‘police citizens’ or ‘karens’ who zealously enforce the policies and propaganda of governments beyond what is legally stipulated and into the realm of cultural norms.
In this discussion we also looked at identity making vs decision making, the religious impulse of humans and what can replace it in a secular age, the reliability of rationalism and science and parallel societal structures.
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