There is a slogan connected to the Hegelian Dialectic as espoused by German philosopher Georg Hegel. “Problem…Reaction…Solution.” This saying is commonly used by conspiracy theorist on how malevolent organizations are like master chess players thinking three steps ahead. The thinking goes that there is some sort of paradigm shift you want to enact. But people will be against it. So how do you sway them?
Well, you create the problems, without anyone knowing you created the problem. You then react to the problem with outrage. While people’s emotions are still high you offer the solution, which of course is the one thing you wanted to change the entire time. But the narrative has changed. Instead of being the villain trying to upset someone’s ideology, you are the savior. This trope has been around so long that Machievielli and Sun Tzu have commented on it.
This narrative is seen in the news cycle all the time. For example with radical left gun control organizations pushing legislation after a mass shooting. Perhaps the best use of it in history is when the Nazi’s burnt down the Reichstag Parliament building and blamed it on their enemies. Or how we orchestrated the Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify our escalation of the Vietnam War. History is riddled with examples.
The other classic trope is playing ignorance or feigning mental illness when caught doing something illegal or inappropriate. This MO is used masterfully by politicians and celebrities, for example when someone is caught cheating on their spouse they commonly attribute it to sex addiction. If a CEO is embezzling and is caught, he blames it on his gambling addiction.
Or they can pull the mass trump card by blaming some childhood traumatic event. This is what Olivia Pope from Scandal and a host of PR agents make millions for. Getting people or organizations out of how water when they are exposed. You change the narrative. So instead of seeing them as a charlatan, you see them as someone struggling “with a problem” and PR experts know we can all relate to that so we see these cads in a more sympathetic light.
My point is this. Malevolent people will try to get away with doing bad things as long as they possibly can. And when they are caught the spin machine will come in to persuade the masses that they didn’t do a bad thing or that they should be seen as victims. Most of the time they are successful in their endeavor; sometimes they are not (ENRON, Bernie Madoff). In almost all cases the passage of time is the greatest exonerator. (Does anyone remember advertiser in the early 20th century pushing people to smoke cigarettes because it was GOOD for your health?)
It is also seen in the food world. Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Business, Big Chemical and alike are making trillions of dollars off of ingredients, chemicals, medications, and alike that are questionable in nature, if not outright dangerous to our health. They typically know about the hazards found in their particular item, but obfuscate the data so they can continue making loads of profit. If and when someone dies from their product or if those few remaining scrupulous reporters or whistle blowers expose it, the Mad Men advertisers come in to spin it. Let’s talk about some examples of the treachery of Big Business.
The Treachery of Big Business
There are too many examples for the trees in the world to be cut into paper to document. That is a hyperbole, but let’s mention a few.
Vioxx was an anti-inflammatory medication Big Pharma company Merck. It was approved in 1999, but yanked from the market in 2004 after it was revealed that Merck had obfuscated data from its original trial studies that showed that Vioxx greatly increased heart disease and heart attacks in its customers. It was later documented that Vioxx killed 60,000 people, and gave heart disease to hundreds of thousands. But by that time, Vioxx made Merck 2.6 billion dollars. “Money, money, money!” to quote ABBA. Who cares if it killed more people than the Vietnam War….It’s disgusting!
Here’s the thing: the removal of Vioxx from the market was a good thing. But it is the exception. What isn’t the exception is the multitude of adverse effects a large majority of prescription drugs boast. Read the inserts of your medications, for the side effects are plainly listed. Among others: sexual dysfunction, anxiety, heart palpitations, higher rate of strokes, among dozens and dozens.
These are the side-effects that Big Pharma wants you to know to cover their arse. What they don’t want you to know is commonly obfuscated by their scientists pressured by their bosses. The amount of cover-up from Big Pharma is mind-blowing.
One of my favorite targets is Big Food and their pivot to embrace organic or clean eating principles to get the higher-end upper middle class money. Let’s look at ketchup. For decades, Hunt’s, Heinz, and alike have been using High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) as their ketchup sweeteners. In the last few years, enough concerned parents have expressed their concern about this known obesogen and liver destroyer. Reading the tea leaves, these companies have taken HFCS out of SOME of their ketchup.
Parents and consumer rights organizations alike laud the company for taking it out. The companies receive good publicity for being “attentive to the health of Americans.” Master spin! The better retort should be “Why have you allowed HFCS in ketchup for decades in the first place?!” Why, because it is infinitely cheaper than sugar and for some other reasons that my conspiratorial mind would love to express, but won’t. Then they have the audacity to INCREASE the price of the ketchup to punish us for desiring a “cleaner” ingredient (you know it is the battle for lesser of two evils when you are vying between HFCS and sugar).
Kraft and Mac N’ Cheese
A few years back there was a grassroots campaign to sway Kraft from taking out food dyes from their Mac ‘N Cheese. Parents were concerned about dyes’ connection to developmental problems and cancer. Reading the tea leaves there, Kraft decided to yank them from SOME Mac N’ Cheese products but not all. Again, advocates praised Kraft for doing so, but like the sheeple we are, we don’t demand an apology or some sort of indemnity for Kraft putting these dyes in their food IN THE FIRST PLACE. Were their children who developed ADD because of their consumption of the product? Perhaps, but who cares. The food dyes are out and that’s all that matters. Casualties, be damn!
The bigger question that we need to ask these well-meaning advocates is “Why did you demand to get Monosodium Glutamate out of the Mac?! That flavor-enhancing neurotoxin and obesogen is still in there! “Gregory, don’t ask those questions. Let’s throw a ticker tape parade for Kraft.”
All the chemicals in plastics, stain-resistant chemicals, cosmetics, toys, air fresheners and alike are getting absorbed by our bodies and essentially estrogen mimickers. These phthalates, parabens, and plasticizers are leading to infertility, lower IQ, obesity, early puberty, and full-spectrum hormone maladies. But does the media cover that? Rarely and when they do it doesn’t gain any traction.
Big chemical bowed to pressure from parents and consumer groups when they “allowed” the FDA to ban Bisphenol-A from baby products in 2012. Again, people were praising this legislation and lauding the venal companies responsible for putting these toxins in the first place. The greatest irony is that our baby (and all Americans) are still exposed to Bisphenol daily since it is in all canned goods, receipts, DVD, and dozens of other products. Vis-à-vis the baby products, Big Chemical just uses another Bisphenol sister chemical (BP-S) in their baby products. So it is a clear bait-and-switch to the highest degree. Then they have the audacity to charge us more money for BPA-free items!
Perhaps the greatest malfeasance of all time. Back in the 1980s, no doubt due to pressure from Big Pharma, passed a law immunizing doctors and pharmaceutical companies from being sued in the event of an adverse reaction. Parents, whose lives are forever changed from a side-effect to a vaccine, have no recourse to sue and be remunerated for the fact that their child is forever damaged due to a “tainted” vaccine.
Sure, there is a vaccine compensation court but the loopholes one must go through to file a claim is worse than an M.C. Escher drawing. And even if you are lucky enough to receive compensation, years after the initial filing, it is a paltry sum. It is absolutely mind-boggling that both doctors, the CDC, and pharmaceutical companies are immune. An outright travesty.
The list of companies pulling fast ones goes on and on. It is human nature to try to maximize profit even if it might damage people along the way. The companies, emboldened by multi-million dollar law offices and public relations offices, know that even when their corrupt ways are exposed, enough money can be thrown at the problem to make it go away in the media or in Washington. Or they just quietly settle of our court with a victim.
All these organizations hire lobbyist and public interests trade industries to look out for them in Washington. These lobbyists commonly “bribe” politicians by contributing to their election campaigns or whatever “pet” case that politician is pushing. This results in much of our politicians being bought off by Big Business. So who is looking out for us?
It is frustrating because the common American has very little recourse or mechanism of change. Sure with the advent of social media, we may develop a unified voice on a given matter (Facebook groups are great for this.). But in the long run they are just venues to let off frustration and be immersed in “group think.”
Either way, we must persevere trying to educate ourselves as much as possible on the treachery and deceit that Big Business exacts on us. We must try to create a toxin-free bubble in our homes and work, and spread the word about the machinations at hand.
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