Shaming as a COVID Strategy

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by Tim O’Brien, American Thinker:

When it comes to social engineering, there is more than one kind of war. We’ve been witness to the war on drugs, the war on crime, the war on obesity, and most recently, the war on COVID-19.

Psyops strategies are often used in these non-traditional “wars” and some of the strategies applied are the same ones used in real warfare scenarios.

From “divide and conquer” to fearmongering, mass persuasion strategies have been deployed in the campaign to make a viral pandemic with an extremely high survival rate and virtually no threat to healthy children feel like the plague.

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The pandemic is real, but quite often there is a huge gap between the picture the regime paints through its persuasion campaigns and actual reality.

One of the foundational strategies that has enabled so many of the other strategies to gain traction is the targeted and widespread use of shaming, both public and private.

Shaming exploits basic human vulnerabilities

In order for shaming to work, you need to deputize the public. You need to give them license to break all of the rules of polite society, even if it involves people they love, to publicly embarrass them and shame them into conformity.

Shaming applies social pressure to enforce existing societal norms, or the new behaviors the shamers wish to establish as norms. Shaming assigns maliciousness, be it intentional or careless, to behaviors shamers don’t condone. By framing someone as malicious, you can dehumanize them, which makes shaming them more palatable.

Most people want to obey authority, and they want a sense of righteousness. They want to feel that they are on the side of what’s right. Shamers know this. It’s their superpower. Most people don’t want to be called out and stigmatized for being on the wrong side of a social issue, or be on the wrong side of the people in their lives. This is the vulnerability shamers exploit.

The goal of the shamer is to make someone else feel inadequate, to feel bad about themselves, and to become more self-conscious. It’s designed to sting and create enough discomfort so as to modify the behavior of another.

As altruistic as the justification for shaming often sounds, shaming doesn’t truly prevent viral spread, cure an illness, or change climate conditions (Remember “climate-change denier?”). It’s not designed to do that. Shaming is about staking out loyalties on a particular issue. Where are your loyalties? To whom are your loyalties? Are good or are you bad?

We’ve been told that giving kids peanut butter and jelly in school is “lunch shaming.” We’ve learned that the simple act of celebrating fit models or actors is “fat shaming.” Any act you passively carry out in your daily routine can be mischaracterized as the active shaming of those who cannot or choose not to do the same thing in their own lives. If we engage in these behaviors, we are bad, we are told. Think about it. Who’s doing the shaming in these instances?

But to actively and aggressively demonize and shame your own mother or father or brother or sister in the name of mitigating a pandemic, that’s a noble gesture. It’s for the good of society.

So how are otherwise good people motivated to shame others?

They’re told in so many words the end justifies the means. That in order for society to achieve a great goal for the common good, some people must be shamed into obedience and into formation. That way, once everyone has conformed to a set of dictates prescribed by the elites in authority the problem will be solved.

So how does shaming play out as regards COVID?

“Just wear the damn mask”

“Just wear the damn mask,” was the precursor. Before vaccination could be wielded like a sledgehammer against anyone with independent thought and a sense of individual rights, mask-shaming was the thing.

Anyone who doubted the efficacy of wearing masks in such places as the privacy of their own home, their car, or out in the fresh air of sidewalks or on walking trails, was told to, “Just wear the damn mask.”

After all, how hard could it be?  It’s just a minor inconvenience, and if everyone would “just wear a mask for 100 days, the pandemic would subside.” That’s what we were told.

Once a simple message like that takes hold throughout society, the mechanism for shaming is at work. Anyone found not wearing a mask was fair game for shaming. How many smartphone videos did we see on social media where a digital vigilante decided to shame someone for not wearing a mask in a grocery store or some other public place?

“A pandemic of the unvaccinated”

“This is the pandemic of the unvaccinated,” is a calculatingly inaccurate and cynical message designed to shame anyone who has remained unvaccinated. It’s not only designed to bring public shame upon them, but it’s designed to plant the seeds of blame and shame within friends and family, in social circles, in business and work environments.

At its core, it’s a message intended to appeal to those who’ve been vaccinated and turn them against people they know personally. It’s structured simply so that its messengers have a consistent message to rationalize and justify the shaming of their unvaccinated friends, family, coworkers and others.

Shaming only works if you permit it

Shaming can be a form of abuse, but here’s a little secret. You can only be shamed if you permit it.

There are numerous psychological case studies where abuse victims become so numb to the emotional or physical abuse that the abuse itself no longer has the same effect.

In other instances, the general climate is such that the stigmatized behavior becomes so common that it starts to enter societal norms and shamers lose their ability to stigmatize their targets.

If you need an example of this, just watch five minutes of daytime TV. From the Maury Povich Show to Judge Judy, we see everyday Americans who seem to have no problem airing their dirty laundry for the world to see. These people are shameless, and they may not be people we want to have a beer with, but they can teach us something.

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