Seven Stages of Personal Political Development

Revision 20
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When speaking with people about politics, it is helpful to know what stage they're at in their education about the subject, much as if you were talking with someone about cars or computers.

To use the computer analogy, one could ask yourself: Why waste your breath talking with someone about how to secure their Wifi router by limiting access to specific MAC addresses if they don't know what cut-and-paste means?

It's the same with politics. Different people are at different stages of personal development as regards politics. Rank beginners are unfortunately easy prey for propagandists and parties. Few people reach an advanced stage because their personalities limit their advancement.

The Stages: How the individual progresses or not

1. FLIRTATION: Choosing a team

Many people initially hear about the left-wing and right-wing parties, typically during their teen years when they are attempting to resolve what type of person they are.

In America, they learn of Liberal and Conservative factions, and there is typically confusion about whether these are the same as Left and Right (they aren't) but each team's partisans typically claim they are. This hides the fact that leftism was largely decimated in America before World War II.

If ever the question arises as to what teams, other than a few might exist, partisans in the media, politics, and even academia are eager to explain that minor parties (third parties in the USA) are of zero practical importance, nor are alternative ideologies as they are bound to lose any important election. And according to the dominant parties, the big elections are all that matters.

Because the USA does not have Proportional Representation (a fact that is largely not known outside the USA), the big parties matter far more in the US than do small parties, because only they have a chance of winning any seats in Congress in most states.

In this skewed context, the young American chooses what team he is on, or chooses neither. The fact that leftism is rejected by both major Amerian parties (even most Democrats) may be a reason to choose neither party.

2. INFATUATION: The individual invests his time in his team

At this stage, the individual forms an intuitive sense that politics operates a bit like a competitive sport, in which each side has:
  • Cheerleaders (pundits)
  • Players (politicians)
  • Sponsors (corporate contributors)
  • Something like coaches: older respected men either of the party or allied ideologues.
The individual, who in America will often remain emotionally immature well into his or her 30s, enjoys:
  • Bemoaning the gains of the other team.
  • Scoffing at their taunts or threats.
  • Bickering with members of the other team (at protests, at university and online) and showing them disrespect and rejecting their beliefs.
  • At worst, insulting and provoking members of the other team.
  • At worst, undermining and sabotaging the other team with dirty tricks.
Not surprisingly, right-leaning individuals are more inclined toward dirty tricks and even violence.

The immature individual finds politics to be fun, even thrilling. He has pride, exhibits bravado and may seek conflict. However any sense of outrage that he has is more about points scored far more than for instance the plight of actual people who may be harmed by whatever political programs the opposing team espouses.

At this stage, the individual has never read a piece of legislation and has no desire to.

Even a very old person can be stuck in this stage, if that person has remained emotionally immature. In America, they will be loyal Democrats or outraged Republicans.

The individual is induced to remain stuck at this stage by the deployment of propaganda, including:

  • Encouragements to engage in petty self-serving behavior against the other team. This builds upon grievances and low self-esteem while providing cheap gratification.
  • Discouragements against his joining third political parties because they are well-known to be "losers", on the fringe or "fanatics". In American culture losing is stygmatized in the way that leprosy used to be.
  • Patronage in the form of business deals, government grants, jobs and so on.

The other team and its various factions are disrespected and even demonized:

  • The religious puritans come to think secularists are amoral baby-killing monsters.
  • The socially conservative homophobe thinks of liberals as sexual deviants.
  • The paranoid liberal automatically considers any suspected non-liberal to be a racist.
  • The careerist greed-head views anti-corporate people as worthless unmotivated hippies.
  • The racist ethnic minority person projects his racism onto whites, claiming they are racist to the core.
  • The racist whites view non-whites as being depraved deadbeats perpetrating crimes.

All teams are ultimately connected to entrenched power. Therefore team members project hatred to people who remain unconnected to team. This makes sense: Non-team-players represent what is a loathsome idea for team owners: That a person can be free to think and act for himself. This idea makes the infatuated team-centered person seem a fool.

3. SOBER REALITY: The individual tires of the childishness of politics.

At times goes on, the individual either becomes more emotionally mature, and/or observes more and more bad behavior by his own team. He hears about disturbing excesses and even corruption within his team. These may exist at the highest levels. He learns more and more about the real consequences of his team's ideology on everyday people.

He recognizes that politics is not a sport but is a serious game with serious consequences, which attracts rash and reckless people, who can do quite a lot of damage with expensive and even irreparable consequences.

Therefore his sense of moral outrage and self-righteousness ceases to be limited to the other team and now points toward his own as well. He becomes disgusted by some of his fellow team members, but remains loyal to the team.

A sense of shame about his team grows in him but he does not take action. He perhaps laments that politics is inherently dirty.

He is induced to remain stuck at this stage by two factors:

  1. He has as yet failed to link the bad behavior with the purpose of the team or with its ideology. He has not examined either critically.
  2. The older respected men emotionally reassure him that the team is just (its ideology is correct) even if fellow team members act badly. They discourage disloyalty.

Team leaders may also forestall the individual's disgust by keeping him involved in pro-team busy work that discourages him from engaging in critical thinking.

  • Consuming the propaganda of the team on TV, online.
  • Encouraging him to tune in to propaganda-filled talk radio.
  • Being drawn into pointless activism about trivial topics.
  • Being drawn into earnest fundraising activities.

But he starts to understand that important projects and causes can be stopped or ruined as a result of bad behavior of team players and petty skirmishes between the teams.

The individual has by now discerned what causes actually matter to him, and they may be bigger interests than a team.

4. DEFECTS: The individual asks What is wrong with these teams?

The individual has come to identify what matters to him and he recognizes that his own team neglects projects and issues that he values, or undermines them.

He has exerted himself for his team, if only by taking the time to consume their propaganda, but his causes are not moving forward. He experiences a disappointment and even a sense of betrayal.

He recognizes that his team is defective, but the defect is more than the presence of bad players in his team. Some of the goals of the team are actually wrong. Some of the leaders of the team are corrupt or stupid or deranged. The team is unresponsive to criticism. Like buying a car that later proves to be defective, this team is not the product he thought he was buying. Time is money. Effort has value. He realizes he was wasting both.

The other team is still worse, but now the individual is freed from his former infatuation and from being a partisan.

He asks the bigger question: Why are the teams so defective? Perhaps the teams are trying to be too much. Perhaps the teams are taking in too many different kinds of people. Perhaps he will experience disillusionment, and remain stuck at this stage.

If he wants an answer, he will not approach the other team. He still holds onto the chance that the ideology of his team was correct, even if nobody in the team takes it seriously. But how did the ideology lead to so many bad outcomes?

He remains myopic, viewing his team as the only viable starting place to look for a deeper understanding. He has effectively ruined his chances of gaining understanding by not having an open mind.

He decides the answer to the defectiveness of political teams is to be gotten from the "older respected men". Ideologues, career pundits, authors.

The individual can become stuck at this stage in many ways:

  • He gets hopelessly lost in the clever propaganda of the "older respected men".
  • He is fooled by the propaganda into thinking he knows something.
  • He ceases his questioning.
  • He cynically accepts that political factions are permanently defective: They are too hetergeneous. Greed and power-lust corrupts all.

5. REJECTION: The individual realizes he is being used.

Upon reaching this stage, he has dealved into the propaganda of the various "older respected men" but he has realized their writings and other media do not really stand up to critical analysis.

There is no way that their ideology could handle every cause that the teams espouse and provide a correct solution to each problem. The fact that the "older respected men" are trying is suspicious. No ideology could even address all causes unless its purveyors are connected with power having definite vision on how it will control all things.

Thus he questions whether the "older respected men" are acting on behalf of established power, be it publicly known or covert, doing so either obviously or covertly, as the main viable explanation for why these men have their curious and often faulty prescriptions.

The individual's liberation may have come about because he lends an ear to investigative journalists or truth-seekers whose discovered important facts that dispell the lies, disinformation, concealments and logical fallacies of the "older respected men". Or perhaps he himself put 2 and 2 together.

The individual, having become enlightened by logical thinking or uncovered truths, has neither been fooled and nor given up on politics. He concludes that his team exists to perpetrate a scam on behalf of some power.

Because political teams are scammers, he begins to contemplate how their scams work. How do they manipulate the masses? How do the teams' leaders and lieutenants organize? Are there front groups? Are there secret meetings? Are elections being rigged?

He may not know it yet, but established wealth has co-opted all teams and installed key persons such as the "older respected men" and prominent "young turks" to manipulate and use the public.

Established wealth is hard at work distracting most of the public and corrupting key people. The public does not see what is in plain sight. Observe the selective attention test:

The individual can become waylayed at this stage because of pitfalls and manipulations:

  • Cynicism: The individual becomes a cynic and believes nothing can be done to improve things and that the powerful cannot be meaningfully opposed. They are too clever and too established. The common man is too stupid. Checkmate.
  • Escapism: Like an alcoholic always going back to the bottle, the individual gives up and obsesses over money and keeping up with the Joneses to escape his civic duty. He distracts himself with a life of self-obsessed and self-serving careerism and shallow self-gratification.
  • Turncoat: Perhaps the individual decides that it is OK for people to be ignorant. He laughs at the myth of democracy. He embraces the ideology of the rich: The common man is inferior; the rich have the right to lead; democracy is a charade and must be undermined.
At this stage, the individual is at some small risk of becoming an Uncle Tom, a willing servant of the established power-- the same power that would throw him under the bus without a second thought.

6. INDEPENDENCE: The individual pulls the curtain open.

The individual understands that if teams exist as scams and there must be someone pulling the strings, it behooves him to ask: Who? Is it merely the rich? He asks, whose goals to the teams' scams serve?

He realizes that many people, some honest and some not, are engaged in trying to answer the question of who are the manipulators behind the scenes. There are revelations in the news about corporate front groups, revolving doors, secret organizations like the Bilderberg Group. He pays attention.

Knowing what to pay attention to requires identifying good and true information sources and rejecting corrupted ones. If one source lies and is closely associated with a second one, then the second one probably lies too. The individual must become his own judge of what is true about events and allegations.

He has learned that the media are beholden to power, often eagerly so. Perhaps he has observed the media lying about a topic or censoring, all of them in unision, acting to protect some unseen power. As Project Censored has proven for decades, even a hundred liars do not outweigh one speaker of truth.

In the USA, the claim often made by some in the media that the media are reliable and unbiased sources appears as completely bogus, but not from a partisan point of view.

Because so much more is hidden than is seen, as both Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks periodically show, the individual deduces he must also seek out censored information.

Thus, at Stage 6, the individual takes greater responsibility for his own ideas and learning and consciously steers clear of propaganda quagmires.

He may occasionally engage with brainwashed people, trying to make them think, but with many there is little point. He seeks a way to efficiently determine who is brainwashed.

He has become a proud dissenter.

The individual is now an active thinker, not just freed of political team infatuation, freed of exploitation by teams, freed of the false wisdom of "older respected men", but in fact now he is becoming free of society-wide deceptions. The same hands that pull the strings of all political teams are coming into view.

He is learning to see beyond the curtain and predict events by one or two steps.

A person stalled in an early stage of development would be angered by him and write him off.

The manipulators are ready as ever to deflect suspicion and condemn inquiry from the unseen or seen power. That's their job, after all.

  • They encourage ignorant people to condemn dissent and bully dissenters.
  • They condemn independent investigators as conspiracy theorists.
  • They ignore or attack dependent investigators e.g. journalists who investigate election fraud.
  • They employ infiltrators to create irrational divisions within groups of dissenters.
  • They engage in harassment campaigns against dissenters and even gang stalking.
  • They create disinformation campaigns to lead questioners astray.
  • They manipulate ignorant fools into planning or perpetrating evil acts.

But if the individual is wise, he will persist and ask who profits. (Cui bono). Follow the money.

7. CIRCUMSPECTION: The individual embraces a scientific approach to politics.

The individual has reached a state of civic maturity.

When you are raised in a system that is built on an ornate infrastructure of deception, based on illogic and disinformation, the only way to deal with it is to continually seek out better sources, better data, better logic, better theories and above all to question one's own understanding and to spread what one knows.

As Socrates said: I am wise because I know I know nothing.

If a politician or pundit makes a claim, the individual has five or ten questions ready to ask, the same as if a religious fanatic produced a piece of toast and claimed "That's Jesus's face on it". He does not shame those engaging in unthought-out reasoning but asks many questions. He holds their feet to the fire.

He is also a teacher. Spreading the way is as important a duty as self-work. He looks for non-brainwashed people to help. He realizes that brainwashing is easy to impose but hard to undo.