Posts Tagged ‘rewards’

The Psychology of Socialism #3: Weakening Our Behavioral “Immunity”

February 14, 2021

 

The Psychology of Socialism #3: Weakening Our Behavioral “Immunity”

In my blog entitled “The Psychology of Socialism #1,  I began with some questions including the following two:

1. “Why does Socialism keep reoccurring in spite of its tendency to morph into an even more tyrannical and murderous  form of government, called Communism?” 

2. “Why does Socialism keep reoccurring in the face of indisputable historical evidence that Socialism/Communism has caused the death of around 94 million citizens (some say over 100 million)?” These deaths were caused by disease, starvation, torture, and execution; in or out of concentration or so-called “reeducation” camps.

I began my second blog within this theme entitled, “The Psychology of Socialism #2 (Modernity) with the following statement:

“I judge that the the social and political infestation of Marxist Socialism in America is analogous to any disease that sickens its host.  When hosts immune system is sufficiently weakened, they become increasingly susceptible to many diseases; some of which are lethal.” The socio-economic “disease” of Socialism is lethal to societies that strive to provide liberty and prosperity to it citizens.

In this second blog, I further explained some of the ways that modernity and the Principles of Psychology work-together to weaken a a population’s resistance to the short-term rewards of socialism, at the expense of longer-term disaster.

You may recall from a post, #2 on this topic, that more immediate, more frequent, and easily accessible rewards tend to weaken the tenacity, perseverance and creative generativity of citizens. Furthermore, when these rewards suddenly are cut-off, or become insufficient, the psychological principle of “extinction” kicks in. The transition from a thick and easy source of rewards frequently leads to growing trends of emotional behavior and aggression among citizens.

Therefore, normal psychological principles within Socialism are transformed into an increasingly pathogenic social and economic system leading to in a pandemic of loss of freedom and prosperity for citizens; as well as increasing hostility and aggression among citizens and escalating tyrannical counter-control measures by the  governmental ruling class.

Understand that socialist and communist activists have long used this predictable chain of psychological events, and they work to activate it in order to over-throw existing governments. 

The following appears to be some of the main behavioral components of this sick social-psychological feed-back system of cultural decline and collapse.  These are the destructive psychological mechanisms hidden within the many failed iterations of socialism; including the so-called Democratic Socialism now being propagandized through our media, and implemented in America. 

  1. As People become more dependent upon modernizing technology (health safeguards, easy relief of physical pain, insurance against calamity, available civil/governmental services, transportation; as well as more immediate, more plentiful, more sizable, and and more frequent rewards in a broad array of categories; they tend to loose behavioral strength, perseverance and independence. The population’s learned expectancy of a less effortful life-style will not fit reality when the government inevitably cannot continue to supply their basic needs.
  2. As people become more emotionally, financially, and physically dependent upon the government (at all levels), the “government animal”, a conglomerate of more privileged people, grows in size and power and exerts incrementally more and more control over the people they govern. 
  3. The increasingly massive and expensive Socialistic government inevitably forages and preys upon its population for increased wealth (tax increases and fees), to gain more control and to support its own growth and development. They “tax the makers and give to the takers”. They “tax those who have and give to the have-nots”. 
  4. They do this by differentially dispensing the material, financial, and welfare rewards they control to their supporting population who will then vote for them and turn against those who vote for those opposing these socialist trends. 
  5. In response to citizens who oppose the growing popularity of the socialist government and its political operatives; it attacks them through hateful propaganda, social defamation, and censorship. It uses the popular media and governmental agencies to assault opposing citizens with legal and financial ruin.
  6. Inevitably, bloating socialist governments become increasingly inefficient at managing the increasing scope of their population control and the socio-culture becomes increasingly maladaptive and unstable. 
  7. This national decline is often viewed by international enemies as an opportunity for military attack. From a political perspective, war can be an advantage to the government and citizens under attack because it is thought to often solidify a population’s support the for their existing government.
  8. In the end, socialism always fails at the cost of great physical and psychological trauma to its citizens and their children.

Much like any behavioral “addiction” (more accurately, a learned habitual dependency), the population’s immediate schedule of rewards eventually turns from happiness to delayed and diminishing rewards, frustration, fear, and pain. All of this, all too often, is associated with population displaced aggression, self-destructive behavior, civil war and increased tyranny by the controlling government.

Socialism is a social-psychological disorder. It tyrannically catalyzes all forms of psychopathology within its population. As it progresses, it leads to social, cultural and economic decline and can easily lead to the collapse of the afflicted society.

The Socialist philosophical “germs” of destruction lay dormant in every society.  They await a decline a societies’ “behavioral immunity”. In some cases there comes an explosive plume of this social psychological pathogen. When the population’s “tipping point” is reached, the “transformational” breakdown occurs.

The afflicted nation then becomes a new host to the ageless socio-economic Ponzi Scheme; simply known as Socialism.   

Please, trace the growth of the many socialist/communist seeds long sewn into the fabric of in America, starting from the early 19 century to our present time. This growth is appears to be nearing exponential proportions as I write. (2/14/21) 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_socialist_movement_in_the_United_States

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., Health Services Provider in Psychology

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Indiana University South Bend

 

 

 

 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

The Psychology of Socialism #1 (The People )

January 3, 2021

The Psychology of Socialism #1 (The People)

Why is Socialism so resurgently popular around the world?!

How could this ever happen in America…”The Land of The Free and The Home of The Brave”?!

Why does it keep reoccurring in spite of Socialism’s countless failures?

Why does Socialism keep reoccurring in spite its certain progress into tyrannical and all-controlling bloated central governments.

Why does it keep reoccurring in spite of the great tendency of Socialism to morph into an even more tyrannical and murderous  form of government, called Communism?  Read: “The Road To Serfdom”, by Friedrich Hayek. 

Why does Socialism keep reoccurring in the face of indisputable historical evidence that Socialism/Communism has caused the death of around 94 million citizens (some say 100 million)?! The statistics of these victims include deaths through executions, man-made hunger, famine, war, deportations, and forced labor. See Wikipedia, “The Black Book of Communism”.

Many answers to these questions are far from simple; but they are very clear and easily found within the Laws and Principles of the Science of Psychology. One of these main Laws is the “Law of Effect”.  The Law of Effect simply states that Consequences Control Behavior.  Read: “Elementary Principles of Behavior”, by Dick Malott and Co-Authors.

These basic principles were first observed with various animals, and were found to also greatly influence the thoughts, beliefs and emotions and behaviors of humans. 

Unfortunately, our sense of superiority and vanity has historically blinded many of our leaders and the rest of us to this critically important fact-of-life. But, unless we wish to conclude that we are minerals, vegetables, fungi or bacteria, etc., we we must accept the fact that we are animals.  This perception is a great advantage because it confirms critical aspects of our nature and points the way to understanding the social, cultural, and political systems that can strengthen our best human characteristics and avoid those that catalyze our worst.

For individuals to improve themselves though cognitive behavior therapy it is important that they come to know and understand their own behaviors and the Psychological Laws and Principles of behavior that influence them. The challenge then is learn new beliefs, rewards and their environments to achieve beneficial results. It is no different with entire societies and the political systems that govern them.

Given all of the above understood, let us return to the penultimate questions:  Why do humans, like moths, repeatedly fly into the destructive fires of socialism? Why do we repeatedly leap into the deadly Venus-Fly-Traps of Socialism and Communism? 

The answers are contained within the fact that, like all other animals, we tend to work to obtain things and activities that are rewarding to us. Just as importantly, we tend to work, escape, and avoid things and activities that are unpleasant, painful, demand  greater effort, or deprive us of rewards. We move about (forage) to obtain, escape, or avoid such things and activities; just like other animals.

Moreover, we tend to forage to get, escape, or avoid such events as fast and as conveniently as possible.

When we experience pain, or the deprivation of rewards, we may be motivated to remain where we are located and try to remedy our situation. Or, we may forage in search of safer and/or more rewarding environments to inhabit. For example, observe the current movement of America’s populations from high crime, high blight and high tax-rate cities and states to more rewarding/less unpleasant social and political environments.

We love our rewards to occur as immediately as possible (i.e., fast food, microwaves, faster computers, 5g phones, etc., etc.). We do not like it when rewards are terminated, reduced, or delayed; or we experience pain (i.e., pay checks, mechanical/technological failures; or job loss, friends lost, injury, sickness, death, etc., etc.).

Tragically, humans easily fall prey to behaving in ways that bring the joys of immediate rewards, but often lead to painful delayed consequences (gambling, lying, cheating, stealing, drug/alcohol abuse, gluttony, disloyalty in social relationships/marriage, “buy now but pay later” acquisitions, and other forms of immediately rewarding; but ultimately harmful impulsive behaviors. Behavioral Psychologists refer to this all to common behavioral trap as: “The Tyranny of Deferred Consequences”. 

We easily fall prey to novel and addictive things and activities (sex, drugs, pornography, and gimbling. We also become addicted to the stimulating adrenalin and dopamine highs produced by many these and other activities such as fighting, war, rule-breaking and escape from various dangers.

Science and Technology has allowed us to experience all of the highly arousing harmful and addictive activities listed above, and more. Psychologist Albert Bandura and others have demonstrated, without a shadow of doubt, that one of the most important ways that humans learn their behaviors and appetites is through modeling and imitation.

By now, dear reader, you should be thinking about some these powerful Laws and Principles of the science of Psychology and how they can help or hurt or the successful evolution of America. 

There is more of this analysis to come. 

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 1/3/2021

“Shaping” New Socialists in America

April 5, 2019

“Shaping” New Socialists in America.

In psychology we call all that follows, the “Differential Reinforcement of Successive Approximations”, or “Shaping”, for short. You need to know about this because it is the method that socialist/communist revolutionaries are using to transform America.

Shaping is a technical term that refers to a procedure in which a desired end-state behavior pattern that is not present in someone, or in this case, a population of someone’s….slowly becomes prominent.

At the beginning of the procedure, any action that even remotely resembles the desired end-state behavior pattern is rewarded. As part of this approach, behavior that is incompatible, or competing with with the desired end-state behavior pattern. is not rewarded. The lack of rewards for non-desired behaviors reduces the frequency of occurrence of those behavior patterns, while the rewarded behavior patterns increase in frequency. 

It is often useful to combine measures of frequency with units of time. It is appropriate to call an increase of frequency of some behavior pattern in a fixed unit of time, an increased rate of that behavior pattern.

While shaping a behavior pattern, punishment can be added for incompatible or competing behavior in the form of social censure, legal persecution, material/financial loss, imprisonment, the administration of pain (torture), or threats of all of the previous and other forms of aversive treatment. The addition of punishment for unwanted behavior patterns can speed-up the shaping progress. But, if the punishments are too intense, or too often used, they can cause individuals and populations to rebel and counter-aggress against the shapers. Much as America did during its revolution against Great Britain.

Skilled shapers provide rewards to individuals or populations following the desired behavior patterns, at each of a series of successive steps, until the desired end-state behavior patterns happen at acceptable rates of occurrence. 

The shaping procedure is like atomic energy: It is neither moral or immoral, it is amoral. Its morality is determined by the uses to which it is applied as well as its produced outcomes.

It is best that this “shaping of behavior” process move in small steps and at a reasonably slow pace, over a some workable period of time. If punishment is used along the the teaching way is is best used very sparingly and ideally, not at all. 

It is important to note that if this process moves along successfully; individual’s or populations of individual’s thoughts, beliefs and attitudes will normally also changed in support of the the learned end-state behavior patterns.

Many other psychological laws and principles will be concurrently embedded within the procedure of shaping. However, they are too numerous and complex to describe here and unnecessary to understand the main message of this blog.

But, please understand the following:

  • Many socialist/ communist revolutionary’s have learned how to skillfully employ this shaping method.
  • They understand that revolution using primarily punishment, at the point-of-a-gun, and  the harsh control of populations can lead to counter aggression and counter-revolution against the shapers.
  • They know that it is most effective to target children and younger citizens, who’s behavior is more easily shaped in comparison to that of adults. 
  • They use many other psychological principles to influence the actions, thoughts, beliefs and attitudes of the young. 
  • If done well, the shaping method will likely lead to pacified and dramatically changed population’s preference patterns in favor of its own changing behavior patterns.

It is important to understand this: Socialists/communists and their allies have been shaping the population of America away from its founding behavior patterns, beliefs, and attitudes towards their own for many decades. Tragically, this shaping procedure  is working exactly the way the science of psychology predicts that it will!

Finally, understand that when socialist/communist behavior and preference patterns are shaped in a young population, within a Democratic Republic such as our own, all that is needed for great success, is that “the shapers” have success with only a  determinant percent of the voting population.

Know also, that the youthful population, over-time, will out-reproduce the aging generation. This is also true of youthful immigrant populations. These parenting generations will likely teach their children their own behavior patterns, beliefs and attitudes. 

There is much more to the Psychology of America’s Decline, but that is for my future blogs.

Wake-Up America! But it may already be too late.

https://scontent-dfw5-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/51562108_10161354463420297_8627345535264620544_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-2.xx&oh=e3433bbbc26a06a52ec33618d2a6aa92&oe=5CF1DF0A

I want to thank my dear friend Howard Hawkin’s for sending these displays to me; thus inspiring me to put them in a science of psychology context.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 4/4/19

Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Health Services Provider in Psychology

 

 

 

Fixing A Corrupt Congress: Term-Limits #1b

September 9, 2016

Fixing America’s Corrupt Congress: Term-Limits #1b

The title of this first blog on Term Limits asserts that Term-Limits are an important partial cure for  a Corrupt American Congress.

In order move to assertion # 2 in the title, that Term-Limits are a fix, it is important to provide evidence of assertion #1, that our Congress is corrupt.

I am a psychologist, not a political scientist. Therefore I will draw heavily on the writings of those who are experts on this matter and also the intricate workings of our complex government that are shaped by the various financial, political and social influences that forcefully impinge upon it.

As a psychologist, I was taught that there is no such thing as human nature. After 36 years a professor and concurrent practicing psychologist, I must assert that there definitely is something that deserves to be called “human nature”. The thoughts, perceptions, emotions and behaviors of human-beings are heavily determined by the Laws and Principles of Psychology. Of these, there are too many to discuss in this context. However, it is our characteristic great susceptibility to these influences that I view as human nature.

Any modern Introductory College Psychology Textbook will help establish the validity of what I am stating. We now know more about the determinants of our own behavior than ever before and most of our population, including those who serve in our governments are ignorant of what makes all of us behave as we do.

With regard to the application of principles of psychology to the design of a better socioculture, we remain in a primitive state.

What is considered by many psychologists as the premier Law of psychology, constantly shaping human behavior, is the “Law of Effect”. This law can be simply stated: “consequences control behavior”. 

Speaking non-technically, the lack of rewards; the presence of rewards; or the presence of punishments following various human behaviors will influence the future probability (frequency, or rate of occurrence) of our behaviors. When we behave in certain ways and we are not rewarded, these behaviors tend to occur less frequently. When we behave in certain ways and we are rewarded, these behaviors occur with increased frequency. When we do certain things and our actions are followed by punishment, we tend to do these things less often.

Such changes in our behaviors are not perfectly certain to occur, in all individuals, under all circumstances. But statistically speaking, among our species, they are very likely to occur the ways that the science of psychology can easily predict.

There is much more to this picture, but the Law of Effect and its many influences upon everyone is a great place to start.

Corruption can be defined as dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, normally involving some form of bribery to behave in unethical or illegal ways.

I know of no statistics on this matter. But, I am confident that there are many highly principled people who are very hard to corrupt. However, based upon my 55 years of adult observations (since 20 years of age), a great  many humans are easily corrupted. Furthermore, many citizens who live apparently moral and ethical lives have long been corrupted, but skillfully disguised this fact.

Now to the point: The politics of Congress (and politics in general) have evolved into a system of rewards and non-rewards, with very few punishments for bad behavior, that bring powerful corrupting forces to bear upon all of our elected servants. Of course, these forces have always been present. However, for many reasons, they have increased in both frequency of occurrence and magnitude in recent times. The result is, predictably, an increase in frequency and magnitude of corruption among our politicians.

Too many in Congress are strongly shaped into dishonest and/or fraudulent behavior patterns by those who have the power to reward them with glory and fame, political longevity, sexual favors, money, blocks of voters, lucrative consulting or business opportunities, and the ability to vote themselves various privileges, comforts, and recreational rewards, etc..

The recent actions of American politicians in-and-out of Congress should be enough to confirm my observations. However, if you are a skeptic please consider the following, which predates many of our more current examples of political corruption flooding the media.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/5432:license-to-profit-legalized-corruption-in-the-us-congress

At the end of this blog is the URL for an entire article that I will draw upon for short authoritative quotes in my series of blogs on this topic. I hope you will read this article in its entirety when you have the time.

Fixing America’s problems with political corruption will require the imposition of  Term-Limits.

The following is quoted from, Term Limits: The Only Way to Clean Up Congress, by Dan Greenberg of the Heritage Foundation.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Argument #1: Term limits are undemocratic.

Perhaps the most popular argument against term limits is that they restrict the choices available to voters. Voters, say opponents, should be able to vote for as wide a field of candidates as possible. Additionally, the ballot box makes statutory term limits unnecessary. “In effect, there are term limits in place every two years — candidates have to go before constituents and get reelected,” says Jeff Biggs, press secretary for House Speaker Tom Foley. (Debbie Howlett, “Speaker Foley Challenges Home State Term Limit,” USA Today, June 8, 1993, p. 8A.) But arguments that term limits are undemocratic because they restrict voters’ choices run into two problems: (1) the tremendous electoral advantages enjoyed by incumbents make it difficult to argue that the elections they win are truly democratic, and (2) term limits would be more likely to expand the field of candidates than to restrict it.

Because the perquisites of office present huge barriers to entry by challengers, incumbents always have the privilege of fighting a defensive war. Taxpayer-funded benefits like franking, staff, and travel allowances tilt the field in incumbents’ favor, and political donors — who typically view their contribution as wasted if it does not go to the winning candidate — magnify these incumbent advantages by disproportionately favoring candidates already in office. In 1992, House challengers raised 28 cents for every campaign dollar received by incumbents, while Senate challengers raised 47 cents. (Ornstein, Mann, and Malbin, Vital Statistics on Congress 1993-1994, p. 81, table 3-5.) Challengers’ donations relative to those of incumbents have been dwindling more or less steadily since 1980. It is no wonder that challengers facing such long odds routinely lose to incumbents over 90 percent of the time.

Term limits will likely end incumbents’ traditional ability to insulate congressional elections from true competition. In fact, experience at the state level suggests that voter choice actually is increased by term limits. In California, for instance, the imposition of state-level term limits in 1990 led to a 1992 increase of over 25 percent in candidate filings for the state senate and over 50 percent for the state assembly; senate candidate filings for 1994 reflect yet another increase, and while assembly candidate filings have dropped from 1992, they remain 15 percent higher than they were in 1990. Although the limits do not take effect until 1996, they have encouraged some incumbents to find other work before they were forced to do so. (Armor, op. cit.)

Term limits also would ensure regular opportunities for candidates’ political advancement. For instance, when George Mitchell announced his retirement from the U.S. Senate, candidates in Maine attempted advances at all levels of government. There were “city council members running for state representative, state representatives running for the state senate, state senators running for Congress, and United States representatives running for the Senate.” (“Mitchell’s Decision Not to Run Sets Off a Statewide Scramble in Maine,” The New York Times, June 16, 1994, p. A24.)

By creating more choices for voters, increased filings like those in Maine and California aid democracy. Nationwide, congressional term limits likewise will create more choices for voters, more competitive elections, and more democracy.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Quote Source:

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1994/08/bg994nbsp-term-limitsnbsp-the-only-way

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 9/9/16

America Needs Term Limits IV

February 26, 2010

America Needs Term Limits IV

I have wondered how the poor starving people around the world who fight with each other over a limited supply of food or water dropped in their midst after some disaster or holocaust differ from us, as we fight for limited federal monies through our political representatives.

 I have also wondered how any of this is different from the hordes of hungry squawking sea gulls that fight with each over the limited supply of stale bread that I have thrown to them on the shores of my beloved Lake Michigan.

The principles are the same, desperate creatures fighting to get at a limited supply of sustenance (rewards or, more technically,  reinforcers). What do you expect?!

What do you think the old phrase, “All politics are local means”?

It means that, normally, people are primarily concerned with their own best interests. Put in pejorative terms, people are selfish and self-centered. So, what’s the big news about that? Our founding fathers designed our government, best they knew how, to take this basic fact of human (animal) nature into account. They really did an amazingly great  job of it!

However, they could never have imagined a technological, communication/ information, or economic-based America and world as it now exists.

One of the reasons that incumbents in congress virtually always win elections is because if they throw enough “bread” to their constituents (the sea gulls), their constituents naturally will “peck the keys” needed to keep the bread flowing. Why should they ever vote for someone who has not demonstrated the ability to keep the bread flowing into their pockets or projects?

A principle of behavioral psychology is the Matching Law. Simplified, it would predict that people will pull the voting  levers, at higher rates, for those individuals who provide them the highest rates of rewards, I.e., money and power to them and their locals. That is exactly what long-term incumbents are able to do best. Think of them as the keys that we pigeons peck maximize our rewards. This is truly a mutually addictive parasitic relationship, masquerading as a beneficial symbiotic relationship. The way to tell that it is an addictive parasitic relationship is that neither party can ever be satiated and  the relationship is killing the host, America.

In all of this, it would be better if our representatives (the money/power dispensers) were less effective.  It would seem good if they were just effective enough to make decisions that would be only moderately beneficial to their home regions and more beneficial to America as a whole.

This will require more than curtailing great contributions to politicians from special interest groups and implementing term limits. But, these appear to me to be very important steps in the right direction.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.


%d bloggers like this: