Friday, 15 January 2010

Troll Infiltration Theory (or the metaphysics of TITs)

[W]e suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of believers by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.

Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, "Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures". (J. Political Philosophy, 7 (2009))

I think they're trying to say - in a uniquely annoying way - that the government should employ real trolls and virtual trolls (not that they don't already, in case you hadn't noticed (hey! that sounds extremely like a conspiracy theory, don't it?)). But there's nothing new about the concept of "cognitive infiltration" or, as I like to think of it, the good professors' silly and egregious rehash of propaganda theory. Or is there? May be the idea that you could use cognitive infiltration is itself a kind of cognitive infiltration, i.e. they break into your mind by making you think they can break into your mind: a kind of meta-infiltration technique using reverse - "backward engineered" - infiltration psychology. Or some such piffle and balderdash.

... have I broken you yet?

For more Goebelizing see: A Strategy of Terror.

Remember: It's not really paranoia if they're virtually out to get you.

And, for the record: there is no necessitating a priori fact that rules out the existence of conspiracies, indeed, the above quoted paper suggests that the government, or their privatized intelligence "allies", should actually engage in them, and especially considering the entitlement to free speech. Just a free thought.

Yellow Cake
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Operation Gladio
Bay of Pigs Invasion
Savings and Loans
The Kuwaiti Incubator Baby Hoax
The Bank Bailout

...and so on.

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