Control the people’s thinking

Related to my post ofn Freedom to information, there is this big issue of modifying behavioural thinking in the media today. Peter Ong, the Head of Civil Service, touched on the discussions in the social media. He said policymakers would need to study human behaviour, particularly in the social media, to nudge the discussion in the right direction. To do this, the first few postings would normally set the trend and tempo of a discussion, ie you can control the discussion.

So, by getting in early, the trend of thoughts in a discussion could be guided and modified in a way to suit the intent of the people wanting to lead a discussion. It is all about behavioural control.

What is missing in this line of thought, similar to those who claimed that everything can be explained away with good communication, is that the advocates are trying to treat a symptom but not the cause. If there is no cause, if govt policies are right and good for the people, there would be no need for opposing views and negativity. If policies are wrong, no amount of explanation can change that, no amount of behavioural modifications or control can change that. Any change would be momentary, when a clever argument may pull wool over the eyes for a short while. But the bad policies stayed and would still invoke objections and opposition when the wool is removed.

The crux of the matter is to get the policies right, administer policies that are good for the people, not silly policies pushed through by applying power logic. So many policies in housing that were silly and against the interests of the people were pushed through and have to be rectified but not before doing so much harm to the people. In a way, Murphy’s Law is also applicable to bad policies. Bad policies are bad policies and would bounce back at the face of the policymakers in a matter of time. You cannot get away with bad policies. No amount of foolish and contrived explanations or behavioural modifications can change a bad policy to a good policy.

There is one condition that may make it an exception. Use of power logic. Use of power to impose on the people, shaft it down their throats like before. Oh, there is also another assumption that may make such a thinking works for a while, if the people are really daft and cannot see the difference between what is good or bad for them.

Power logic and behavioural control are just that. Nothing is changed, bad policy is bad policy. It would be wiser to go to the root cause of the problem and save the need to explain what cannot be explained away, or to modify people’s behaviour and thinking that it would work.

You can bluff the people all the time. You can’t bluff the people and get away with it forever.


Anonymous said...

"Power logic and behavioural control are just that. Nothing is changed, bad policy is bad policy."
But if power logic and behavioural control can work for 5 years. Good enough liao.
5 years means I am a Millionaire 5 times over liao.

"It would be wiser to go to the root cause of the problem ..... "
This way take too long lah.
It means I have to do some real work.
Discover the cause of the problem (which may be my boss).
I make enemies and maybe get sacked from the inner circle.

Think about it.
I discover the root cause of the problem then how?
Maybe I might end up being diagnosed with a mental problem because nobody dares to acknowledge the truth. Right?
Some more, the boss will now make me responsible for solving the problem without giving enough resources and authority to do the job properly.
Then how? Forced to resign right?

Now you know why I prefer to use power logic in my job.
Because it makes me rich and I am always on the "correct" side.
What's wrong with collecting more money?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Follow George Yeo's advice, 'Go with the flow'.

patriot said...


Power Logic is might.

Warped Logic is reasonable.

Fuck Logic is reproductive.

Sick Logic is useful.

Go with the Flow is smart.

Going against the Flow is suicide.