Monday, March 20, 2017

Russian Hacking and Frustrated Parenting

To understand "how the Russians 'hacked' the US elections" requires an analogy that is far too familiar to parents these days.

Imagine you are a parent that preaches to your child the moral and ethical failings of taking drugs, as well as legal and health consequences. That is the voice, your reality based voice, that you want to influence your decision. But drugs and alcohol have their allure. It feels "good" to be "high", and there is reason for your child to not want to believe you. More than there is TO believe you.
But you are NOT the only voice. Media, peers, and even watching you get wasted during the football games, and telling stories about "sipping daddy's beer" presented a contradictory message. Hearing "the government just doesn't want us to have it", "If an adult want to do it..", and so on. The voice of their friends, media, and things said by your actions become more "believable", that it is fine and even a "right" to do drugs of any sort. So as a parent, you become frustrated when their irrational belief that the "dangers are over stated" and the voice of their friends, telling them what they want to hear, becomes the thing they believe over "reality". As a parent, you are disadvantage by telling them what they don't want to hear.
Now imagine you had a society that is full of racist, bigots, dim witted, short sighted, non-scientific, and easily manipulated (very immature in the "enlightenment" terms") that are all given an "equal vote". Enough of the electorate that wanted to hate the black president, wanted to diminish the woman candidate, and felt good to have their irrational and illogical and unrealistic suspicions confirmed by hearing it from some popular angry white men. (The same can be said of pandering to the poor, minority, and addicted by the other party.) The news stories about birth certificates, hacked emails, failed security, voter fraud, endless racist and bigoted emails and memes, false spin on unemployment numbers, contradictory to the research bodies on healthcare programs, death panels, flag pins, and on and on all saying things that a large portion of voters want to believe.

What Russia did was flood those who wanted to believe with false information inspiring baseless and false fear. With the advent of the wide open internet, a Russian state sponsored and financed operation to send false information to inspire and share among those who want to believe it.  Especially older and/ or uneducated people, who don't understand technology, but want to believe the material. They have no way or desire to "fact check" the information. And it is disseminated among their peers who also want to believe it. Inside this country we have "equal time laws" that force media outlets to give equal time to the candidates. Because our psychological research has shown "time of exposure" can shape perception and belief without regard to truth and accuracy of the information. (Or as some of you know it, if you keep repeating a lie, it eventually gets believed.)

THAT is how the Russians "hacked" our elections. The same way that some boy "hacked" the morals and ethics you had instilled in your daughter about sex and the dangers of getting pregnant. And now here she is, Knocked up, and there are very few options available for it, and she wants to "keep it". So it is with America. We got an "unwanted presidency" and very few option to deal with it, and the dammed bigots and racists want to "keep it".

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