Incrementalism and Psychological Coercion: The Slippery Slope of the Fallen and Captive
If you have not heard the term incrementalism it is time to understand the political and psychological implication of this concept. As related to politics, incrementalism was coined by Charles Lindblom, Yale Professor and subversive communist. Despite being criticized for his communistic undertones by the mainstream he managed to publish several books detailing his theory of incremental policy making that subverts rational comprehensive change. Lindblom presented incrementalism as a suitable methodology to policy making where agreement on objectives, sufficient knowledge, and thoughtful predictions of consequences are absent. Instead of demanding accountability to rational based decision making in a polyarchic government, Lindblom promotes policy making based on small incremental changes to existing policy regardless of its success or failure. Incrementalism provides a subversive methodology of moving masses of uninformed citizens toward a presumptive goal and its success is hinged on the apathy of those masses and the indolence of policy makers to preform cost benefit analysis prior to action.
Philip Zimbardo, an American Social Psychologist and Stanford Professor, showed the world the social psychology of incrementalism as far back as 1971. Zimbardo and other social psychologists have extensively dissected the making of evil through incremental manipulations that have led to some of histories more grave tragedies. Much like the political science model that Lindblom touted, incremental indoctrination lacks basis in rational decision making, the means and ends are often intertwined, and decisions are based on the ease of previous actions rather than on logical predictions.
Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Project took average students and had them role play prisoners and guards. Within a short time, the students took on the roles they were playing and guards began to commit evil acts against prisoners. The prisoners began to seek ways to subvert the authority of the prison guards. A short period of role play, along with convincing instructions from Zimbardo himself, who played the warden, incrementally convinced the students to commit acts they would not otherwise ever participate in. Zimbardo concluded that the authority of the Warden opened the gates for their behavior.
In the political model of incrementalism compliance by the masses is legitimized by the authority of the government. The notion that if there is already a rule in place that is similar in nature that it is acceptable to comply with the next variation, and then the next. When you move people slowly and incrementally toward an end and give it false authority then they become blind to the path they are on.
It is undeniable that Hitler’s acts of genocide and the holocaust are at the top of the list of history’s most horrific tragedies. The historical focus on this event throughout the world, has questioned how Hitler was able to employ his army to exterminate millions of people.
The question has been, how could people have conceivably fallen in line with his murderous and hideous plan to march families into gas chambers and kill them? Hitler did not walk on the scene and begin ordering deaths. He came in during national crisis and offered perceived solutions to the crisis. He claimed to have a solution to the crisis and used the emotional and financial vulnerability of the citizens to make incremental changes. He began to isolate and indoctrinate the youth “for their own good.” He used dehumanization to create a loathing of groups of people who he identified as the cause of the problems that plagued their nations.
How did he do it, why did citizens give up their fellow citizens to his Nazi army, how could the army murder all those people? These are the questions that have been unanswered by many in the US. However, one only need to admit to the most obvious situations to understand how this could have happened. Today we have people ready to call the government to report fellow citizens for “non-compliance,” people holding other citizen hostage on the highway to inflict their agenda on them, businesses being destroyed by over-reaching unelected officials’ commands, politicians committing illegal acts of tyranny over the citizens, blind compliance with illogical mandates, and tolerance of violence toward our police and peace keeping forces. Yet no one has begun to fight back against this. So, if you ever wondered how Hitler was successful, just look at the US right now and how the apathy of those who see the wrongdoing is allowing us to go down the same path. All one need do is read Hitler’s own account of his rise to power to understand.
Colorado is a state plagued by many of these overt acts of violence and social destruction. Consider one single crisis and the emotional appeal being saturated in our state in a way that can impact specific legislation. Historically, children who have attended school have been required to provide vaccine reports for attendance. Parents have been able to opt out of vaccine administration with religious freedom and other various reasons. This year SB163 was passed by the liberals, on a Sunday, after suppressing oppositional testimony, to eliminate parental choice and make it more difficult for parents to opt out of vaccines. Now parents must be subjected to “re-education” programs in order to opt out and will be carefully tracked. Additionally, medical personnel who aide parents in making free choice for their children will be subject to reprimand. In the midst of a perceived medical crisis, COVID19, the government is providing a “solution” to the terror of this “pandemic” by creating a fast tracked and unstudied vaccine. The next step in incrementalism we will see by the communist leftists will be to restrict access to public services, such as school, for families who chose not to take the vaccine. Step one, lesson personal control over vaccine, step two mandate a new vaccine, step three restrict services or freedom for those who do not comply. This is a very specific example of incrementalism. The changes that are being made are not based in rational decision making, but rather on the desired outcome. The changes to the existing policy are made in steps only based on the previous policy and not on clear risk-benefit analysis.
Hitler, Stalin, and other left-wing dictators whose ultimate punishment for non-compliance with their mantra was death, were experts on reeducation of the people. The use of this term is one that is frightening and clearly in alliance with the most horrific murderous dictators the world has ever known. Our Democratic party in the US and the leaders of that party are clearly in line with that philosophy and shamelessly use Hitler’s term to describe their own agenda. Any public figure or activist who have come to this country from a fallen nation will clearly speak of the ills that have begotten the Democratic party and the fate that is at hand for the US if this slow march into destruction is not stopped. As the last outpost in the world, the nation whose flag has been an international symbol of freedom, the US has been the destination of people seeking escape from the oppression and horror of tyranny. To imagine when I was 10, that the day would come that openly communist politicians would be allowed to broadcast to the country, let alone be elected, would have been the worst possible scenario imagined. Today we are there and we are allowing it.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
Hayes, Michael: Encyclopedia Britannica: June 2013 Incrementalism https://www.britannica.com/topic/incrementalism
Gordon, David: Churchmilitant.com: June 2020 The Left and Incrementalism https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/the-left-and-incrementalism
Zimbardo, Phillip: TED Talks: 2009 The Psychology of Evil, https://youtu.be/OsFEV35tWsg
McLeod, Saul: Simple Psychology: Updated 2020 The Stanford Prison Experiment https://www.simplypsychology.org/zimbardo.html
Pappas, Stephanie: LiveScience.com: April 2016 Hitler's Rise: How a Homeless Artist Became a Murderous Tyrant https://www.livescience.com/54441-how-hitler-rose-to-power.html
Surve, Sajid: Brain Blogger: November, 2008 Hitler’s Guide to Propaganda http://www.brainblogger.com/2008/11/04/hitlers-guide-to-propaganda-the-psychology-of-coercion/
Werthmann, Kitty: Camp America: October 2010 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr9777ugCiM