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The elite are the most likely to censor themselves out of fear


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by Patrick   $0.52 total tips   💰tip   follow   2021 Apr 6, 8:11pm  

https://quillette.com/2021/04/03/persuasion-and-the-prestige-paradox-are-high-status-people-more-likely-to-lie/

Many have discovered an argument hack. They don’t need to argue that something is false. They just need to show that it’s associated with low status. The converse is also true: You don’t need to argue that something is true. You just need to show that it’s associated with high status. And when low status people express the truth, it sometimes becomes high status to lie. ...

The idea is that there are two paths, or two “routes,” to persuading others. The first type, termed the “central” route, comes from careful and thoughtful consideration of the messages we hear. When the central route is engaged, we actively evaluate the information presented, and try to discern whether or not it’s true.

When the “peripheral” route is engaged, we pay more attention to cues apart from the actual information or content or the message. For example, we might evaluate someone’s argument based on how attractive they are or where they were educated, without considering the actual merits of their message.

When we accept a message through the peripheral route, we tend to be more passive than when we accept a message through the central route. Unfortunately, the peripheral route is more prevalent because we are exposed to an increasingly large amount of information.

The renowned psychologists Susan Fiske and Shelley Taylor have characterized humans as “cognitive misers.” They write, “People are limited in their capacity to process information, so they take shortcuts whenever they can.”

We are lazy creatures who try to expend as little mental energy as possible.

And people are typically less motivated to scrutinize a message if the source is considered to be an expert. We interpret the message through the peripheral route.

This is one reason why media outlets often appoint experts who mirror their political values. ...

But why does this matter? Because by understanding how and why we come to hold our beliefs, we can better understand ourselves and guard against manipulation. ...

In short, people have a mechanism in their minds. It stops them from saying something that could lower their status, even if it’s true. And it propels them to say something that could increase their status, even if it’s false. ...

Furthermore, knowing that we could lose status if we don’t believe in something causes us to be more likely to believe in it to guard against that loss. Considerations of what happens to our own reputation guides our beliefs, leading us to adopt a popular view to preserve or enhance our social positions. We implicitly ask ourselves, “What are the social consequences of holding (or not holding) this belief?”

But our reputation isn’t the only thing that matters when considering what to believe. Equally important is the reputation of others. Returning to the peripheral route of persuasion, we decide whether to believe something not only if lots of people believe it, but also if the proponent of the belief is a prestigious person. If lots of people believe something, our likelihood of believing it increases. And if a high-status person believes something, we are more prone to believing it, too. ...

People in general favor mimicking prestigious people compared to ordinary people. This is why elites have an outsized effect on culture, and why it is important to scrutinize their ideas and opinions. ...

... people across the world view media figures as more prestigious than respected members of their local communities. People on screen appear to be attractive, wealthy, popular, and powerful. Barkow writes, “All over the world, children are learning not from members of their own community but from media figures whom they perceive as prestigious… local prestige is debased.” As this phenomenon continues to grow, the opinions and actions of the globally-prestigious carry even more influence. ...

Which brings us to a question: Who is most susceptible to manipulation via peripheral persuasion? It might seem intuitive to believe that people with less education are more manipulable. But research suggests this may not be true.

High-status people are more preoccupied with how others view them. ...

Students and graduates of top universities are more prone to myside bias. ...

...researchers have found that university-educated people were two to three times more likely than high school graduates to say they supported the Communist Party. White-collar professional workers were likewise two to three times more supportive of communist ideology, relative to farm laborers and semi-skilled workers.

Patterns within the US today are consistent with these historical patterns. ...

They found that highly educated people are the most concerned about losing their jobs or missing out on job opportunities because of their political views. Twenty-five percent of those with a high school education or less are afraid of getting fired or hurting their employment prospects because of their political views, compared with 34 percent of college graduates and an astounding 44 percent of people with a postgraduate degree. ...

In the 1950s, at the height of McCarthyism, 13.4 percent of Americans reported that “felt less free to speak their mind than they used to.” In 1987, the figure had reached 20 percent. By 2019, 40 percent of Americans reported that they did not feel free to speak their minds. ...

The increase is especially pronounced among the educated class. The researchers report, “It is also noteworthy and perhaps unexpected that those who engage in self-censorship are not those with limited political resources… self-censorship is most common among those with the highest levels of education… This finding suggests a social learning process, with those with more education being more cognizant of social norms that discourage the expression of one’s views.”

Highly-educated people appear to be the most likely to express things they don’t necessarily believe for fear of losing their jobs or their reputation. Within the upper class, the true believers set the pace, and those who are loss-averse about their social positions go along with it. ...

More sobering, though, is that higher education was consistently related to less positive views of other people. In their paper they write, “to understand people’s feelings, behaviors, and social relationships, it is of key importance to know which general view they hold about others… the better people are educated, the less positive their other-perceptions are.”

So affluent people care the most about status, believe they have little power, are afraid of losing their jobs and reputation, and have less favorable views of others.

In short, opinions can confer status regardless of their truth value. And the individuals most likely to express certain opinions in order to preserve or enhance their status are also those who are already on the upper rungs of the social ladder.

Comments 1 - 34 of 34   

1   clambo   2021 Apr 7, 1:55pm  

I only temper my comments
1. out of etiquette in groups
2. to not offend a female

Lately I care less about both; attractive females don't care about me.

"He was shot down in flames; I hope he had a parachute."
2   GNL   2021 Apr 7, 2:08pm  

clambo says
I only temper my comments
1. out of etiquette in groups
2. to not offend a female

And this is how the truth stays hidden.
3   Shaman   2021 Apr 7, 3:08pm  

Holy fuck that’s a great article!
Here’s a comment that was pure 24k GOLD from a user named “The Snark.”
“ Now consider Jonathan Haidt’s observation that smart people don’t usually use their intelligence to objectively analyze a question in order to consciously reach a logical conclusion, but far more frequently use their smarts come up with plausible justifications for the opinions their subconscious told them that they want to hold or already have.

Combine those two, and you have a good insight into our current problems: our elites tend to subconsciously reach conclusions based on what their peers are saying (who in turn are saying because others of their peers are saying it), and then use their education and intellect not to question those conclusions, but to come up with plausible justifications for what they already want to believe.”

Whoever this guy is, he’s much more intelligent than I am and almost anyone I’ve ever met.
4   Shaman   2021 Apr 7, 3:16pm  

Patrick this article is the kill switch for woke culture. It’s the little boy pointing at the naked emperor and saying “But he’s got no clothes on!”
In a much more scholarly way, of course.
5   Patrick   2021 Apr 7, 5:28pm  

Thanks. It kinda blew me away too. It's a bit long, but makes amazingly good and useful points about elite self-indoctrination and conformity.

Today I was getting in trouble at work for rightfully pointing out the good doctor's comments in this video:

https://patrick.net/post/1338647?offset=80#comment-1743550

But I was polite about it in spite of the vitriol directed against me. All I wanted was to be able to make my points.

Lol, what are they going to do, fire me? I have only 7 work days left until retirement.
6   stereotomy   2021 Apr 7, 6:02pm  

This seems like a reiteration of Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow."

There has been some pushback against the methodology underlying the book. I think it's instructive to think "both ways" when presented with an argument or an appeal. At first, react via the "fast" cognitive alternative. Later, think about it "slowly," perhaps before you fall asleep, and re-examine your conclusions of the day. I find that it is a potent learning tool with respect to confirmation bias, reactive rather than proactive motivations, etc.
7   rocketjoe79   2021 Apr 7, 6:10pm  

Patrick says
Thanks. It kinda blew me away too. It's a bit long, but makes amazingly good and useful points about elite self-indoctrination and conformity.

Today I was getting in trouble at work for rightfully pointing out the good doctor's comments in this video:

https://patrick.net/post/1338647?offset=80#comment-1743550

But I was polite about it in spite of the vitriol directed against me. All I wanted was to be able to make my points.

Lol, what are they going to do, fire me? I have only 7 work days left until retirement.


7 days? Bravo, sir! I'm right behind ya. Targeting Jun 30.
8   richwicks   2021 Apr 7, 7:17pm  

Patrick says
Highly-educated people appear to be the most likely to express things they don’t necessarily believe for fear of losing their jobs or their reputation.


I think highly educated people are simply more gullible, not that they are unconsciously trying to attain "status".

"Highly educated" people mostly learn from "experts" and as a result, they HAVE to be gullible in order to assimilate the information as people wouldn't waste their time getting a degree that they think is entirely bullshit.
9   GNL   2021 Apr 7, 7:37pm  

richwicks says
Patrick says
Highly-educated people appear to be the most likely to express things they don’t necessarily believe for fear of losing their jobs or their reputation.


I think highly educated people are simply more gullible, not that they are unconsciously trying to attain "status".

"Highly educated" people mostly learn from "experts" and as a result, they HAVE to be gullible in order to assimilate the information as people wouldn't waste their time getting a degree that they think is entirely bullshit.

IMO, the really smart people, those with wide understanding, are those who forge their own paths. We used to have lots of them. They were entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs wear many hats and deal with many problems on a daily basis. Problems ranging from finances to planning and implementing new services to forecasting.
10   Shaman   2021 Apr 7, 7:48pm  

Our intelligentsia class is mostly concerned with doing less work for more unearned money while gaining more underlings to abuse.
11   richwicks   2021 Apr 7, 9:44pm  

WineHorror1 says
IMO, the really smart people, those with wide understanding, are those who forge their own paths. We used to have lots of them. They were entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs wear many hats and deal with many problems on a daily basis. Problems ranging from finances to planning and implementing new services to forecasting.


I'd agree with that point of view. It's my contention that people who are traditionally considered "smart" - aren't really. They are complex solving algorithms.

I am shocked by how few people are skeptical of this pandemic for example, and I'm in Silly Con Valley. I really thought people were smart here. I actually got into a little conversation with somebody at work and I brought up that several governors, including our own, had placed sars-cov2-19 patients in nursing homes. You know what his response was as we were talking in our almost entirely empty office building?

"well, where else are you going to put them?"

There's PLENTY of space now. Hotels are empty, tech buildings are empty, gyms are empty - but it's a great idea to place sick people into the most vulnerable population we have. I was disgusted. I think it was at that point I decided fuck this job and fuck the people I work with. I am so, very, disappointed with "smart" people.

The upside to this is now I realize how the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany came into being. I couldn't understand it quite until recently. I didn't think it would happen in the "land of the free and the brave" - turns out that's just propaganda. It's the land of slaves and cowards. People are afraid to think.
12   Patrick   2021 Apr 7, 9:47pm  

rocketjoe79 says
7 days? Bravo, sir! I'm right behind ya. Targeting Jun 30.



Happy to hear that, @rocketjoe79
13   Patrick   2021 Apr 7, 9:50pm  

richwicks says
"Highly educated" people mostly learn from "experts" and as a result, they HAVE to be gullible in order to assimilate the information as people wouldn't waste their time getting a degree that they think is entirely bullshit.



Right, I think there's something to this.

Maybe everything.

Note how conformity and self censorship goes straight up with "education". It makes sense. Education is about obedience and accepting what you're told is true, not questioning the teacher.
14   richwicks   2021 Apr 7, 10:38pm  

Patrick says
Note how conformity and self censorship goes straight up with "education". It makes sense. Education is about obedience and accepting what you're told is true, not questioning the teacher.


Precisely. Teacher was always right when I was a young, stupid, child. My history teacher in high school was only, exclusively, teaching propaganda.

That caused me quite a bit of confusion when I hit college. Same with physics, we were given simplified equations in Newtonian mechanics, and I remember the frustration of when I learned Relativity. Relativity simplifies to Newtonian mechanics, but why didn't they just teach Relativity and start out with "these don't matter for speeds at below 1% of the speed of light"?

The "simplified" propaganda and physics (and math) went a long way to forcing me to distrust what I learned. What finally killed my trust was my Aunt gave me a gift subscription to the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs. You might find that publication to be anti-Semitic (which I did when I got it, and I was shocked to learn my Aunt was "anti-Semitic") when in reality I later realized is that everything in the publication (at least at that time) was entirely true. Our news media lied through omission. Now they just lie.

For example news media stated that Palestinians had sent in rockets into Israel - what it never stated was how pointless (and mostly harmless - not entirely harmless) Qassam rockets were, or that Israel had been bombing the West Bank for the previous 3 months and it was retaliation.

That fundamentally changed me and got me to reach out to other people in the world to just talk with them. Back in the 1990's, the ONLY people on the net were academics and researchers and a FEW people not in that area. I found a lot of people like me also reaching out. It was a golden age. I learned so much. I wonder if that can be recreated? I need to create something that allows other people to see, just as I was able to 30 years ago.
15   PeopleUnited   2021 Apr 8, 4:34pm  

Patrick says
rocketjoe79 says
7 days? Bravo, sir! I'm right behind ya. Targeting Jun 30.



Happy to hear that, @rocketjoe79


Congrats Gentlemen!
16   PeopleUnited   2021 Apr 8, 5:04pm  

Patrick says
richwicks says
"Highly educated" people mostly learn from "experts" and as a result, they HAVE to be gullible in order to assimilate the information as people wouldn't waste their time getting a degree that they think is entirely bullshit.



Right, I think there's something to this.

Maybe everything.

Note how conformity and self censorship goes straight up with "education". It makes sense. Education is about obedience and accepting what you're told is true, not questioning the teacher.


What you are describing is indoctrination. Obedience and conformity are hallmarks of successful indoctrination.
18   Patrick   2021 Jul 31, 1:28pm  

https://graymirror.substack.com/p/for-the-times-they-are-a-changing

The current American “regime” is most accurately described as a “theocratic oligarchy” in which an elite class of progressive “priests” ensconced in the bureaucracies of the administrative state, and at Harvard, The New York Times, and other leading institutions of civil society, promulgate and enforce their own version of “reality.” ...

And as we see, this oligarchy is neither liberal nor democratic. It is illiberal because it uses physical force to defend itself from disturbing ideas. It is undemocratic because its whole design is a fortress against populist politics, which it mocks and despises. Indeed, it is unconstitutional—since its purpose is to pervert the Constitution, creating a government in reality which is completely alien to the one specified on paper.


This guy sounds kind of crazy at times, but these points are spot-on imho.
19   FortwayeAsFuckJoeBiden   2021 Jul 31, 5:14pm  

For a long time I felt rich fucking hate us and demean working class Americans every step.

Forcing people to go along with absurdities is a sign of fucking abuse. Some ego shit for culture of corruption.
20   richwicks   2021 Aug 1, 1:55am  

Patrick says


It's a way to identify who is listening to the propaganda.

Haven't you ever noticed that the pronunciation of leader's name's change over time or locations? It only identifies who up to date you are in propaganda and if you are listening to propaganda. If you are reading propaganda, how an event is characterized can identify what propaganda you are reading.

The people consuming propaganda are anything but the elite. The are the lowest status people in our society.
22   Patrick   2021 Aug 7, 1:44am  

https://www.nzz.ch/english/swiss-phd-students-dismissal-spotlights-chinas-influence-ld.1638771

A tweet cost him his doctorate: The extent of China’s influence on Swiss universities

A Swiss Ph.D. student tweeted critically about China. Afterward, his professor at the University of St. Gallen wanted nothing more to do with him, worried that her own ability to get a visa would be at risk. ...

He had been tweeting for just 10 days, and had fewer than 10 followers. No question, he had been harshly critical of the Chinese government. For example, on March 21, he had posted, in English: «#CCP made fighting #COVID-19 plan B. Only to be executed if Plan A – covering it up – fails. Those are the actions of paranoid cowards. They neither deserve my respect nor gratitude #ChinaLiedPeopleDied».

Yet the student was shocked. This was supposed to be «neo-Nazi-like» content? He was sure there had been a misunderstanding. He replied at 11:11 p.m., wanting to know who the «angry emails from China» were from.


And that's how CCP censorship works in the west as well as in China.
23   clambo   2021 Aug 7, 10:38am  

I think I have a little understanding of the reason “elite” have absurd liberal views.
It’s largely to fit in and not be “outed” as a “racist” or “bigot” among others who are themselves afraid to be called such names.
This happens when someone is climbing the economic and social ladders, and he wishes to maintain a good reputation and continue with whatever job or career he’s in.
I don’t have such limitations so I’m unafraid, but I’m not immune to the things that I hear sometimes.
Talking to a rich liberal once about the illegals she said that I still wasn’t “a bad person”, as if I were evil for wanting to enforce the law and stop invaders.
Another guy tried to lay a guilt trip on me, even bringing up religion “Jesus would help them up here.”
I said “Jesus would go down to them where they are.”
Since I have no need to be accepted by a “community” or group, I am free to speak my mind.
I rarely go to a dinner party so I don’t have to bite my tongue too often.
Dinner out with someone is to try and get down her pants, otherwise I go everywhere stag.
Entertainers and their ilk the talking heads are concerned about their image, and they are generally not very bright either, rather paid minstrels.
I say to people that I don’t give a fuck, and I can say what I want to except to 1. A guy with a badge and a gun 2. A judge
24   Patrick   2021 Aug 10, 6:26am  

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/08/no_author/its-just-why-i-wont-submit/

It astounds me that my Progressive friends — the same ones who claim to support “social justice” — are welcoming a fascist society in which government crushes any opposition and individuals cannot make choices about their own lives.

I will not comply because I do not want to live in the society that is being created by extraordinary submissiveness to government. I do not want to be complicit in this era’s atrocities.

What is the point of living if one merely exists to obey the elite to one’s own detriment? Is it even living if one lacks the agency to direct one’s life? I’ve already submitted in contradiction of my values to a shameful extent. One might say, “Well, what’s one more compromise,” but it won’t be just one more compromise. It will be just the next cut in a slow death by a thousand cuts.

Submitting only validates tyrannical displays of power and ensures that there will be more such displays in the future.

And what does one get for compromising? Merely your continued membership in a society that will only have you if you immolate yourself and become nothing more than a reflection of the desires of the ruling class.

If you cannot be truly yourself in a society, is that society worth clinging to? I think not. As much as leaving the stability of my comfort zone terrifies me, staying in it means continuing to silence and shrink myself for a disingenuous feeling of acceptance. In that way, it is more of a discomfort zone.

Each time I expressed my fears about the future direction of society, my friends said “it won’t happen.” Each time it did happen, they shrugged their shoulders and reminded me that compliance was an option.


Lol, he should not be surprised. The essence of "progressivism" is submission to totalitarian control.
25   Robber Baron Elite Scum   2021 Aug 10, 7:00am  

I never censor myself.

I am scum.
27   AmericanKulak   2021 Nov 23, 11:23pm  

The only people who should censor themselves are the guys who post dick pics on the old Newsgroups and call it "Samantha Fox Page 6.bmp"

I will never forget 14kbps and UUDECODE hours lost to be disgusted.
28   just_passing_through   2021 Nov 23, 11:27pm  

true story; happened to me as well.
29   Patrick   2021 Dec 18, 7:42pm  

https://brownstone.org/articles/a-note-to-my-well-credentialed-friends/?source=patrick.net


It really isn’t that complex.

The injections you and many others were dragooned into taking under the threat of losing your job and your basic civil liberties do not protect you from getting Covid or passing it on.

Nor have they liberated you from mask-wearing, social distancing, the ongoing threat of lockdowns, and helpful advice from the government on how, and with whom, you can socialize at Christmas.

Among some populations, the risks of adverse effects are higher than from exposure to Covid.

Meanwhile, the mandates, enforcements, track-and-trace rituals, and now the bio-passports, continue to crush small enterprises and exclude huge swaths of minority populations from participation in public life.

The segregation in major cities is palpable and becoming more entrenched. Classes and events in large northeastern universities are being cancelled due to rising cases, and this is despite high vaccinations and masking.

The rituals and draconian impositions have not given us our lives and freedoms back. They continue to grind down marginalized peoples not only in the US but all over the world.

It’s all there to see for anyone disposed to going beyond the mental parameters established and enforced by legacy media.

So, the real question at play here is a psychological and spiritual one.

And it can be summarized more or less in the following fashion.

Are you as a member of the well-educated Western elite class prepared to explore the possibility that members of the sociological cohort to which you belong are capable of highly organized evil and deception rooted in a deep disdain for the core humanity and inherent dignity of all people?

Are you open to imagining that people—to borrow a phrase much-loved in certain circles— “who look like you,” live in “nice” neighborhoods like you, and want all the markings of the good life for their children like you, are also capable of monstrous deeds and the propagation of extremely damaging herd-induced stupidities?

Do you ever think of using the knowledge of history your prestigious education might have afforded you for something other than establishing favorable comparisons with the past that prop up the idea of Western man’s triumphant march of progress and, of course, your sociological cohort’s starring role within it?

For example, do you ever think about how Europe’s best and brightest sent millions of people to senseless deaths between 1914 and 1918, well after it was clear that doing so would do nothing to achieve the announced objectives of the conflict, objectives which were themselves based on deeply flawed logic and analytical assumptions?

Or will you avoid all that by mentally invoking a key, if largely unstated, conceit of late modernity’s meritocratic mind: that success within the games established to distribute elite power (such as entry into Ivied schools with big endowments and plum jobs in finance) confer upon the games’ winners a moral weight that effectively exonerates them from the type of moral scrutiny that they compulsively apply to other, “less accomplished” human beings?

This is a question that those of us of fortunate to be reasonably well-educated, reasonably well-fed and reasonably well-sheltered must now urgently confront.

And the manner in which the majority of us choose to respond to it will go a long way toward determining the shape of the world our children and grandchildren will inherit from us.
30   Patrick   2022 Jan 6, 1:04pm  

https://notthebee.com/article/yale-is-enforcing-a-quarantine-for-all-students-until-february-7-at-the-soonest-not-allowing-students-to-visit-local-businesses-or-restaurants-because-covid?source=patrick.net


The very smart and educated people of Yale have decided to quarantine all of their students for the next month due to the very scary Omicron variant of Covid-19. ...

This is insanity.

And these are supposedly the smartest people around – the ones going to school here and the ones running the Ivy League institution!
31   Patrick   2022 Jan 10, 5:39pm  

https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/open-letter-cornell-president-end-booster-mandate/?source=patrick.net


Open Letter to Cornell President: Do the Right Thing, End Booster Mandate
More than 325 students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff of Cornell University signed an open letter to the university’s president and board of trustees opposing Cornell’s COVID booster mandate, warning the university would have to bear responsibility for death or disability caused by vaccines.


A tiny glimmer of hope that the elite see that they also will be murdered by vaxx if they keep complying.
32   FortwayeAsFuckJoeBiden   2022 Jan 11, 3:28pm  

Most people self censor, they see no benefit to rocking boat out of fear of cancel culture.
33   Patrick   2022 Jan 22, 6:41pm  

https://www.revolver.news/2022/01/can-biden-reprogram-covid-hyptonized-npc-base/?source=patrick.net


In big picture terms, then, that means the crusade against misinformation is not a tool designed to enforce belief in any particular piece of information, or “the truth” write large. Instead, it is designed to enforce loyalty to certain sources of information. The only way to be entirely safe from the misinformation label is to mindlessly reaffirm the latest declarations from a handful of official and quasi-official outlets. The push to demonize misinformation is therefore a push to consolidate all narrative control in the hands of a few regime-approved (and regime-compliant) institutions.

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