Property Rights: Nanny State The psychology of power


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Power corrupts, but it corrupts only those who think they deserve it…


Hate Thy Neighbour
October 3, 2014
“Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behaviour of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at another’s expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive, devious, and deceptive. Social influence is not necessarily negative. For example, doctors can try to persuade patients to change unhealthy habits. Social influence is generally perceived to be harmless when it respects the right of the influenced to accept or reject and is not unduly coercive. Depending on the context and motivations, social influence may constitute underhanded manipulation.[i]”
I find this definition of psychological manipulation from Wikipedia very interesting, not least the comment following on from, “exploitative, abusive, devious, and deceptive,” being the addition that, “Social influence is not necessarily negative.” The example given to justify this is, doctors, using psychological manipulation ‘to change unhealthy habits.’ However the circle completes with, “Depending on the context and motivations, social influence may constitute underhanded manipulation.”
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Margaret Chan: fully occupied?
13 OCTOBER 2014
By Christopher Snowdon
Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, delivered a speech about the Ebola pandemic today.
Except she wasn’t able to deliver it personally so an underling did it for her. He explained…Except she wasn’t able to deliver it personally so an underling did it for her. He explained…

Incidentally, her Ebola speech is quite a piece of work; full of self-justification and her usual political rhetoric about ‘inequalities’ and’ profit-driven industry’. She doesn’t sound particularly interested in Ebola and she certainly doesn’t sound like she has a strategy. The terrible thought crosses my mind that when she talks about ‘the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times’ she wants people to think she means Ebola but she is actually thinking about tobacco. That way, in her own mind she wouldn’t be telling a lie about her whereabouts.
Surely not, though. The entire media have assumed that it’s a reference to Ebola. What do readers think: outright lie or mere deceit?
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That’s why they will not survive.
June 24, 2014
As with all Puritan movements of the past, present and future, there is one reason they fail, one reason they will not or cannot understand.
I am knackered, three shifts in a row, so you have to do some (probably illegal) self-think for this one.
The Wanker’s Hopeless Orgasm hates to be seen for what it really is so when its real machinations are exposed, it does what all Socialists do and declares all opposition mad and/or illegal.
It is not just me. I just chose the name. Millions did not and yet they have the name too. Even if they don’t know it. Those in ‘power’ do not fear us because they believe in the ephemera of the safe seat, in the ovine herd they tend until it’s slaughterhouse time. They believe underdogs never bite upwards. They really believe that.
They do not fear us. This is not a bad thing at all. That which they do not fear, they do not try to fight. They will fight UKIP but will do nothing to sway its supporters. They dismiss us with a wave of the pompous hand. They fear us not at all.
That’s why they will not survive.
Watch the music video from Spoon – “The Underdog”

Rule from the Shadows – The Psychology of Power
It has always been in the interest of the ruling class to cultivate illusions which obscure the true nature of the game. Time to look behind the curtain.

Not just the “end game” but poverty!
Bear with me on this, as this is Margaret Chan’s speech to the selected few in India regarding tobacco control-and the end of tobacco as a legal plant growing in a field.
Smoking Bans KILL businesses- FACT !
WHO Director-General considers the tobacco endgame
Keynote address at the International Conference on Public Health Priorities in the 21st Century: the Endgame for Tobacco
New Delhi, India
11 September 2013
Excellencies, honourable ministers, distinguished scientists, representatives of civil society, ladies and gentlemen,
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Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Other Bad Guys

What do personality labels contribute to popular discourse?
January 15, 2013
by Steven Reidbord, M.D., Psychology Today
A patient of mine recently observed that the increasing use of the the term “psychopath” in popular media is really a disguised way of criticizing selfishness. Dressing up selfishness as an odd and frightening clinical disorder — slapping a diagnostic label on it — makes for catchy news copy, and grants pundits emotional distance between themselves and those monsters who look just like us, but who lack the empathy and remorse that make us human.
I immediately thought of how narcissism had its heyday in popular culture very recently as well, and to similar ends. Narcissists and psychopaths care only about themselves, and have no qualms about hurting and sacrificing others when it suits their purposes. These are dangerous people lurking among us; all the more reason to publish lightweight magazine and newspaper pieces on how to spot them in the wild.
Both labels sound like psychiatric diagnoses, but actually they’re not. According to Heinz Kohut and other theorists, narcissism is a quality everyone has to a greater or lesser degree. It normally develops in infancy: the sense all babies have that the world revolves around them. However, we gradually learn that we are not the center of the world, and that other people, including our primary caregivers, have their own goals and perspectives separate from our own. Infantile narcissism is thus tempered by the reality of healthy relationships, although its vestiges are present in our self-pride, and perhaps in our proven tendency to overestimate our own efficacy and performance. Pathological narcissism in this view is infantile normality carried abnormally into adulthood. It only becomes a psychiatric diagnosis when the condition fulfills certain observable criteria and impairs social and/or occupational functioning. Likewise, psychopathy is a personality trait, not a diagnosis. Renowned psychopathy researcher Robert Hare notes that “psychopathy is dimensional (i.e., more or less), not categorical (i.e., either or).” DSM-IV doesn’t include a diagnosis called “psychopathy” or “sociopathy.” Instead, there is antisocial personality disorder, which overlaps with psychopathy but is not the same thing.
These terms, psychopath and narcissist, are loosely applied personality labels when popularized in the media. What do they add over simply calling someone callous or selfish? First, they offer an explanation — a pseudo-explanation really — of frightening and/or mystifying behavior. Our feeling of powerlessness is eased by the label, as though now that the threat is identified, we may be able to do something about it. Second, such labels imply that misbehavior is a function of one’s character, a categorical determination. Yet categorical psychiatric diagnosis, especially of personality, is controversial in general. Moreover, we often overestimate personality factors and underestimate situational ones (the “fundamental attribution error“) in explaining the behavior of others. Using a label like psychopath or narcissist to describe another person (whom we’ve only heard about in the news, and haven’t formally evaluated) reaches for a premature conclusion about the cause of that person’s behavior. In a way, we are falsely reassured.
Third, the label adds power to our verbal disapproval. We have a long history of abusing psychiatric labels in the service of putting others down. Consider “idiot,” “moron,” and “imbecile,” all originally coined as official categories describing low IQ. Or “cretin,” which originally referred to physical and mental disability due to congenital thyroid deficiency. Or the casual use of “crazy” and its synonyms. Some patient advocates argue further that any diagnostic label used as a noun is demeaning, i.e., calling someone a schizophrenic, a neurotic, a borderline, etc. Instead, it is more respectful to refer to a person (or patient) who has schizophrenia, or a narcissistic personality. But that’s exactly the point of the popular use of terms like psychopath and narcissist: To show disrespect and disdain, to disapprove. And to underscore the difference between ourselves and the person with the label.
Our earliest social categories are “good guys” and “bad guys,” defining one against the other. From “cops and robbers,” to team sports, to bipartisan politics, to our allies and foes on the world stage, we divide self and other at every level, calling the former good and the latter bad. Callousness and selfishness are in all of us to some degree, and it hurts to admit it; it damages our self-image. Instead, we psychologically defend against this realization in ourselves by projecting these traits onto others using a broad brush and pejorative terms. While some people truly are unusually callous or selfish, the popular use of scientific-sounding labels serves our own psychological needs by identifying “bad guys” and making us feel better about ourselves.

Is Dr Margaret Chan The Most Dangerous Woman in the World?
12 June 2013
Most certainly there is a slippery slope, and now it’s a veritable avalanche of New Inquisition hatred against capitalism and consumers, all designed to force you to live your life precisely in the manner that Public Health deems fit.
In the last 30 or 40 years, Public Health has transmogrified from a group of compassionate scientists and doctors, who strove to eradicate communicable diseases all over the world, into what I call The New Inquisition, which is a self-serving socio-political / activist taxpayer-funded industry staffed with socialists (i.e. anti-capitalists who hate that people make money) and prohibitionists of the worst kind.? Public Health, in its present incarnation, is the greatest threat to freedom and civilisation the world has seen since National Socialism ran roughshod over continental Europe in the 1930s.
Read More.

Denormalizing: 2 thought-provoking pieces

The fag end of the argument
Attempts by anti-smoking zealots to smear a report on civil liberties reveal just how bankrupt their arguments are.
5 July 2011
Rob Lyons
Yesterday, I received an email from Amanda Sandford, research manager of the anti-smoking organisation ASH UK: ‘We understand that a report published by the human rights “watchdog” organisation Privacy International has been released today. Please note that this is a tobacco industry-funded report published over a month ago in association with the tobacco manufacturers front group, FOREST.’
Phew! Not only has ASH long been a guardian of the nation’s collective health, protecting us from the nasty smoke spewed out by cigarette abusers, but now it is stepping up to the plate as moral guardian, too. Many easily led people may simply have checked out the report, Civil Liberties: Up in Smoke by Simon Davies, and fallen into the trap of judging the arguments within on their merits. Never fear, because ASH has saved us from that. Some money from Big Tobacco helped to fund the report, so there’s no need to read a word of it or engage in any debate about it.
Such is the nature of the discussion today about smoking, where anti-smoking campaigners seem to take the jokey name for tobacco – the ‘evil weed’ – quite literally, and regard anyone who has a good word to say for cigarettes and smokers as somehow infected with the evil, too.
Taking my life in my hands, I decided to examine the contents of this contraband report. Does Davies argue that children should be forced to chain-smoke from the age of three so that they are hooked on nicotine and set up for a lifetime of addiction? Does he at least argue that smoking isn’t that harmful? Er, no. The report explicitly does not examine the evidence about smoking and health. Instead it looks at how, in a remarkably short space of time, smokers have gone from being the life and soul of the party to latter-day lepers.
The report highlights the way in which momentum for tobacco control has turned into the personal targeting of smokers. For example, a ban on smoking in workplaces and certain public spaces came into force in Scotland in 2006 and in England in 2007. But that ban has been expanded well beyond the letter of the law. Railway companies have banned smoking on open sections of station platforms, even though there seems no legal basis to this. Hospitals and universities have banned smoking in their grounds, for no apparent reason other than to set an example. Even workers alone in vans and lorries – sometimes even vehicles that they own – have been warned against smoking.
Davies highlights seven worrying trends:
•?An increase in non-statutory penalties and controls on smoking:
Ever more bodies, from local councils to private companies, are imposing restrictions on smoking, even when smokers are in their own homes or outside working hours.
•?An extensive widening of the scope for imposing restrictions:
Restrictions are imposed on displaying cigarettes, for example, while employment contracts can prohibit smoking simply on the basis of reputation rather than health.
•?A shift towards ‘people’s policing’ of smoking:
In many countries, there are now hotlines and anonymous tip-off facilities to report illicit smoking, and whistleblowers are protected through legislation. This is encouraging a Stasi-like relationship between the population, companies and the state.
•?A shift from an evidence-based approach to a morally based approach:
In council and parliamentary debates, there is less recourse to actual evidence and restrictions are justified by sweeping moral arguments instead.
•?An increase in surveillance of smokers:
Employers, health authorities, the insurance industry, family and neighbours have all been found to be engaged in covert and not-so-covert monitoring of smokers, including random testing for nicotine. The use of ever-expanding age checks by shops ensures that smokers are made aware of the dubious nature of their purchases.
•?A sharp increase in cases of discrimination:
Smokers have been subjected to hounding by employers and colleagues.
•?A drift from public-health protection to demonisation:
Davies writes: ‘As with almost all substance-control legislation, tobacco control moves in a short space of time from a cautiously balanced set of limitations to a prohibitionist trend energised by hatred or fear of the substance itself… Open season can effectively be declared on smokers, regardless of how sensitive is their use of tobacco.’
Smokers are not alone in facing such regulatory trends. There has been a creeping increase of control over a variety of aspects of life that were previously regarded as a matter of individual choice in recent years. Privacy and personal autonomy have been assaulted in a wide variety of ways, from outdoor-drinking restrictions and criminal-records checks to the regulation of leafleting.
One way in which this assault has sallied forth is in the perversion of the ‘harm principle’. In his essay On Liberty, John Stuart Mill put forward the argument that ‘the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others’. This idea has been a powerful shield against attacks on personal autonomy.
Yet in recent years, health authorities and prohibitionist lobbyists like ASH have taken insignificant risks and blown the level of harm out of all proportion, in order to justify state intrusions into our personal lives. The evidence that inhaling ‘secondhand’ smoke is any more than a very minor health risk is extremely flimsy, while the attempt to create a category of ‘third-hand’ smoke is utterly ludicrous. Yet such arguments have been treated as a valid basis on which to impose restrictions on our private choices.
The response of those under attack has been to try to point to the evidential weakness of these ideas. But, as Davies’ report illustrates, this response – while important – is quite insufficient in the face of these moral crusades. Smokers have been foolishly thinking that give-and-take, the normal process of sorting out interpersonal relations, would be enough to resolve such disagreements. That sort of sane and sensible response is no use when zealots like ASH are on the march, and every busybody and jobsworth is emboldened by this anti-smoking mania.
Perhaps what is required is a more muscular defence of personal freedom. Don’t like my choice to smoke here? Go somewhere else. Offended by me sitting in the park quietly drinking with friends? Tough.
Above all, we need an uncompromising defence of open discussion and free debate, something ASH seems allergic to. As the examples in Davies’ report show, smokers and non-smokers alike should be mightily worried about the authoritarian trends that anti-smoking campaigns create and reinforce.
Rob Lyons is deputy editor of spiked.
“Normalizing the Unthinkable, ” article. by Lisa Peattie, in the March 1984 issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.”
Her subject is civil defense but the thrust of the article is about how society organized itself in Nazi concentration camps even as it was being uber-organized by the Nazis.
?Several things popped out at me here:
First, that the prisoners “got used to” their environment. Camp life became “normal.”? and they –literally, in some cases– fiddled while their fellows –also literally– burned. It was hard to stoke a rebellion and the rebellion when it came (too little, too late) was? spectacularly a rout.. But herein my fear? –that smokers will (already have) simply “get used to” the restrictions on their lives and try to carry on by establishing their own new normality within the madness. Perhaps seeking work outside the (once) “normal” workplace, for example. Or entertaining at home and pretending that’s fine, preferable even, and trying to be “light” about it, because even nonsmoking friends don’t understand and it would be gauche or unseemly to make a point of the unfairness or express one’s bitterness..?? I have no idea what to do about this, I think rapid acculturation is already taking place, nor, since it’s almost impossible to start a rebellion) have I any idea of what alternatives would be. But the danger surely lies in the normalization of our own denormalization.
The second thing I got was the Nazi’s canny compartmentalization of the whole nasty project. Those who planned the Jews’ fate were never the ones to execute it.? (The legislatures that enact smoking bans in nursing homes are never the ones who actually throw the grandmas out in the snow and Siegel, who editorializes for smoker-free? housing doesn’t actually have to bodily evict the weeping? mother or witness her desperation so the planners can plan “cleanly.”? No blood — or tears–on their hands.) And w/i the camp setting, the soldiers who escorted the fresh meat from the trains were never the same ones who escorted them to the gas chambers. IOW, no one who eventually saw? them as cattle had ever seen them as human.
A final and actually minor observation:? The anti-smoking vapers seem often to act a lot like those Jews who managed to stay alive by being “good” prisoners and yanking the gold teeth from the corpses. Ironically, likely in exchange for cigarettes.

May 9, 2011
by Frank Davis
It wells up in me from time to time that a smoking ban is a such vile thing to do to smokers. For a smoking ban effectively expels smokers from society, by removing anywhere that they can comfortably be themselves. Even if smokers still hang on outside pubs and bars and cafes, they have still been expelled. Even if they never went to them anyway, they have still been expelled too.
It’s a terrible, terrible thing to do to people – particularly old people who have lived blameless and productive lives, and sometimes put their lives at risk for their fellow countrymen -, to thus expel them. And to vilify and demonise them as well.
It’s an utterly obscene thing to do.
Shame on the people who did this vicious thing.
Can anything justify such an act? I suppose that the antismokers would say that smoking causes so much harm that it simply must be eradicated from society, and it’s unfortunate if some people get hurt in the process. They’d probably add that you can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs.
But the antismokers never look at the damage they do to society, to the networks of friendships that make up the fabric of society. There’s no recognition whatsoever by them of any downside to smoking bans. They won’t even admit that smoking bans cause pub closures. And this is profoundly dishonest.
I think that in the end the truth will come out, and everyone who still remains blind to it will see the sheer obscenity of it. And those who helped make it happen will feel ashamed of themselves.
Except I don’t think antismokers are capable of shame.
All the same I think that a day will come when politicians and pundits will recognise the irreparable harm that has been done, and belatedly act to prevent further harm. They’ll quietly lift or relax the ban that they once so gaily put in place.
And that will mark the end of the war on smoking, and with luck of lifestyle engineering as well. The costs will have proved too great, and the benefits too small. And they will wonder why they ever thought it might be worth it. They will wonder how they could have been so blind. They will wonder what kind of madness afflicted them.

Smoking Down, Lung Cancer Up
April 18, 2011
Soren Hojbjerg
In 1950, the first substantial post war antismoking statistics were published. They marked the starting point of a great stampede against smoking. Until now that stampede has lasted 60 years. Although it is showing signs of decay, it has not yet run out of steam.
The pretext for the antismoking stampede was, that by ‘eliminating’ smoking, lung cancer would be ‘eliminated’. While smoking has certainly lost some of its former popularity in the ‘western’ world, lung cancer remains on the rise. In the United States, cigarette sales topped in 1981, with 636 billion cigarettes. While cigarette consumption has almost dropped to half of this figure, the same cannot be said of lung cancer. Lung cancer does not seem to mind whether people smoke or not.
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Nudgers vs. Nannies
The civil war between British busybodies
Brendan O’Neill from the April 2011 issue
There is a new divide within Britain’s political classes. It’s not the old conflict of left vs. right, or a return of the 17th-century clash of Roundheads and Cavaliers. The new split divides those who believe the fat, feckless masses should be nudged toward better behavior and those who believe the fat, feckless masses should be nannied toward better behavior.
Prime Minister David Cameron leads the nudgers. He has established a Behavioural Insight Team (BIT) to furnish him with ideas for how to nudge the “illogical” masses (its word) toward the lifestyle approved by Cameron’s government: nonsmoking, alcohol-free, slim, no fun.
Public health officials and their cheerleaders in the media lead the nannies. They believe nudging isn’t enough and that, in the words of Catherine Bennett of The Observer, there will be “a surge in obesity and mass poisoning” by booze and junk food unless the government adopts rules forcing people to become more health-conscious.
Thus far, the nudgers are leading the field. Having taken Downing Street in last year’s general election, they promise to override the previous 13 years of New Labour nannying, which included smoking bans, legal restrictions on junk food advertising, and various anti-booze measures. But their alternative is anything but a renewed respect for individual moral autonomy.
Inspired by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s 2008 book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Wealth, Health, and Happiness, Cameron set up BIT when he arrived at Downing Street last May. With Thaler and various psychologists as advisers, the BIT brain cops aim to use social psychology and behavioral economics to push people into adopting approved forms of behavior. The nudgers plan to do away with old-style Blair/Brown bossiness in favor of offering incentives, using subliminal messaging, and changing the “choice architecture” of our daily lives to influence us toward “healthier decisions and healthier lives.” Instead of using taxes to make it more expensive to drive cars, for example, the nudgers will aim to rebuild public spaces in such a way that choosing to walk or ride a bicycle becomes easier than it currently is. In short, they will physically re-engineer public space with an eye toward socially engineering those who inhabit it.
Some of the team’s propaganda is gobsmackingly Orwellian. BIT is built on the idea that people lack both the intellect and the free will to improve themselves and therefore must be secretly signposted toward approved behavior. A March 2010 Cabinet Office paper explaining the importance of nudge policies argues that “people are sometimes seemingly irrational” and therefore the state should “influence behaviour through public policy.” And because many of our behavior-related choices are made “outside of conscious awareness,” there is no point trying to convince us through public information to change our behavior; experts can simply toy with our gray matter instead. “Providing information per se often has surprisingly modest and sometimes unintended impacts,” says the Cabinet Office paper. Therefore, government should “shift the focus of attention away from facts and information and towards altering the context in which people act.”
In short: Never mind reasoning with people; just deploy underhanded nudging techniques. The same paper informs us that the government ultimately aims to be a “surrogate willpower” for the public. Because we the people are so fickle and clueless, the state must become our will.
Fortunately, a war of words has been launched against the nudgers. Unfortunately, it’s been launched by the ousted nannies, who only want to recover their old power to legislate against so-called bad behavior.
In the run-up to Christmas, that apparently wicked period of overeating and over-boozing, the nannies came out of the woodwork to accuse Cameron’s government of failing to force through an immediate campaign to correct people’s behavior. Under the headline “Nudge or Fudge?,” The Independent informed us that more and more public health officials are concerned that “tougher regulation of junk food, smoking and cheap alcohol [has been] cast aside by a government that prefers to ‘encourage’ public health.” Apparently such “encouragement” is not enough; people must instead be forced to change their habits through bans and the threat of legal sanction.
A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association says “what we need to see is more action on pricing, taxation and advertising.” That is, we should make bad things such as cigarettes and alcohol more expensive, to keep them out of the hands of the self-destructive poor, and we should curb or ban ads for these bad things as well.
The nannies’ battle against the nudgers has encouraged sympathetic commentators to pipe up and demand tougher legislation to control the masses’ reckless lifestyles. A writer for the liberal Sunday broadsheet The Observer says the idea that “we can be gently pushed into self-improvement…smacks only of neglect.” The problem with nudging, she says, is “its feebleness in dealing with the biggest threats to health.”
Both sides take for granted that it is the role of the state to tell people what to do in their private lives: what to eat, what to drink, whether to smoke, how to travel from A to B, even how to have sex (always “safely,” of course). It is a testament to the lack of libertarian instinct in modern British politics that no one is standing up to say these issues are none of the state’s business. Anyone who respects individual moral autonomy should reject both the nannies, who believe we exercise our autonomy in the wrong way, and the nudgers, who believe the state should exercise our autonomy on our behalf. We need a third army in this unsightly war, one that chucks some serious intellectual hand grenades right into the middle of the nudger-nanny clash.
Brendan O’Neill ( is the editor of Spiked.

The psychology of power
Power corrupts, but it corrupts only those who think they deserve it

Jan 21st 2010

REPORTS of politicians who have extramarital affairs while complaining about the death of family values, or who use public funding for private gain despite condemning government waste, have become so common in recent years that they hardly seem surprising anymore. Anecdotally, at least, the connection between power and hypocrisy looks obvious.

Anecdote is not science, though. And, more subtly, even if anecdote is correct, it does not answer the question of whether power tends to corrupt, as Lord Acton’s dictum has it, or whether it merely attracts the corruptible. To investigate this question Joris Lammers at Tilburg University, in the Netherlands, and Adam Galinsky at Northwestern University, in Illinois, have conducted a series of experiments which attempted to elicit states of powerfulness and powerlessness in the minds of volunteers. Having done so, as they report in Psychological Science, they tested those volunteers’ moral pliability. Lord Acton, they found, was right.

In their first study, Dr Lammers and Dr Galinsky asked 61 university students to write about a moment in their past when they were in a position of high or low power. Previous research has established that this is an effective way to “prime” people into feeling as if they are currently in such a position. Each group (high power and low power) was then split into two further groups. Half were asked to rate, on a nine-point morality scale (with one being highly immoral and nine being highly moral), how objectionable it would be for other people to over-report travel expenses at work. The other half were asked to participate in a game of dice.

The dice players were told to roll two ten-sided dice (one for “tens” and one for “units”) in the privacy of an isolated cubicle, and report the results to a lab assistant. The number they rolled, which would be a value between one and 100 (two zeros), would determine the number of tickets that they would be given in a small lottery that was run at the end of the study.

In the case of the travel expenses—when the question hung on the behaviour of others—participants in the high-power group reckoned, on average, that over-reporting rated as a 5.8 on the nine-point scale. Low-power participants rated it 7.2. The powerful, in other words, claimed to favour the moral course. In the dice game, however, high-power participants reported, on average, that they had rolled 70 while low-power individuals reported an average 59. Though the low-power people were probably cheating a bit (the expected average score would be 50), the high-power volunteers were undoubtedly cheating—perhaps taking the term “high roller” rather too literally.

Taken together, these results do indeed suggest that power tends to corrupt and to promote a hypocritical tendency to hold other people to a higher standard than oneself. To test the point further, though, Dr Lammers and Dr Galinsky explicitly contrasted attitudes to self and other people when the morally questionable activity was the same in each case. Having once again primed two groups of participants to be either high-power or low-power, they then asked some members of each group how acceptable it would be for someone else to break the speed limit when late for an appointment and how acceptable it would be for the participant himself to do so. Others were asked similar questions about tax declarations.
Only the little people pay taxes…

In both cases participants used the same one-to-nine scale employed in the first experiment. The results showed that the powerful do, indeed, behave hypocritically. They felt that others speeding because they were late warranted a 6.3 on the scale whereas speeding themselves warranted a 7.6. Low-power individuals, by contrast, saw everyone as equal. They scored themselves as 7.2 and others at 7.3—a statistically insignificant difference. In the case of tax dodging, the results were even more striking. High-power individuals felt that when others broke tax laws this rated as a 6.6 on the morality scale, but that if they did so themselves this rated as a 7.6. In this case low-power individuals were actually easier on others and harsher on themselves, with values of 7.7 and 6.8 respectively.

These results, then, suggest that the powerful do indeed behave hypocritically, condemning the transgressions of others more than they condemn their own. Which comes as no great surprise, although it is always nice to have everyday observation confirmed by systematic analysis. But another everyday observation is that powerful people who have been caught out often show little sign of contrition. It is not just that they abuse the system; they also seem to feel entitled to abuse it. To investigate this point, Dr Lammers and Dr Galinsky devised a third set of experiments. These were designed to disentangle the concept of power from that of entitlement. To do this, the researchers changed the way they primed people.

A culture of entitlement

Half of 105 participants were asked to write about a past experience in which they had legitimately been given a role of high or low power. The others were asked to write about an experience of high or low power where they did not feel their power (or lack of it) was legitimate. All of the volunteers were then asked to rate how immoral it would be for someone to take an abandoned bicycle rather than report the bicycle to the police. They were also asked, if they were in real need of a bicycle, how likely they would be to take it themselves and not report it.

The “powerful” who had been primed to believe they were entitled to their power readily engaged in acts of moral hypocrisy. They assigned a value of 5.1 to others engaging in the theft of the bicycle while rating the action at 6.9 if they were to do it themselves. Among participants in all of the low-power states, morally hypocritical behaviour inverted itself, as it had in the case of tax fraud. “Legitimate” low-power individuals assigned others a score of 5.1 if they stole a bicycle and gave themselves a 4.3. Those primed to feel that their lack of power was illegitimate behaved similarly, assigning values of 4.7 and 4.4 respectively.

However, an intriguing characteristic emerged among participants in high-power states who felt they did not deserve their elevated positions. These people showed a similar tendency to that found in low-power individuals—to be harsh on themselves and less harsh on others—but the effect was considerably more dramatic. They felt that others warranted a lenient 6.0 on the morality scale when stealing a bike but assigned a highly immoral 3.9 if they took it themselves. Dr Lammers and Dr Galinsky call this reversal “hypercrisy”.

They argue, therefore, that people with power that they think is justified break rules not only because they can get away with it, but also because they feel at some intuitive level that they are entitled to take what they want. This sense of entitlement is crucial to understanding why people misbehave in high office. In its absence, abuses will be less likely. The word “privilege” translates as “private law”. If Dr Lammers and Dr Galinsky are right, the sense which some powerful people seem to have that different rules apply to them is not just a convenient smoke screen. They genuinely believe it.

What explains hypercrisy is less obvious. It is known, though, from experiments on other species that if those at the bottom of a dominance hierarchy show signs of getting uppity, those at the top react both quickly and aggressively. Hypercrisy might thus be a signal of submissiveness—one that is exaggerated in creatures that feel themselves to be in the wrong place in the hierarchy. By applying reverse privileges to themselves, they hope to escape punishment from the real dominants. Perhaps the lesson, then, is that corruption and hypocrisy are the price that societies pay for being led by alpha males (and, in some cases, alpha females). The alternative, though cleaner, is leadership by wimps.

Most scientists believe a change in prevalence of a health risk behavior in a population will manifest itself between ten and thirty years after the change takes place. Since 1964, the War on Tobacco has caused one of the largest changes in health behavior of a population ever known, over a relatively short period of time. It is now past the time when we have a right to expect profound changes in the health profile of Americans due to the War on Tobacco.

This article examines the smoking behavior of various American birth groups, identifies the years when smoking related disease changes should occur based on the age of these birth groups, and concludes no significant health profile changes have occurred that can be credited to the War on Tobacco, except for a 10% drop in lung cancer and a small drop in laryngeal cancer.

Further, it is concluded? that no cost savings treating tobacco related disease have been realized.? Comparisons are made to the health profiles of Europeans who have had no War on Tobacco prior to the mid 1990s, which confirm our War on Tobacco is worthless. Literature is cited that predict our young generations of Americans can also expect no health bonanza from the War on Tobacco.

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