Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cass Sunstein Threatens Freedom of Speech & Calls for 'Cognitive Infiltration' of 9/11 Conspiracy Groups

As much as I disagree with the 9/11 conspiracy theories, I do think that the people who support these types of theories have a right to free speech which is guaranteed in our consitution. Cass Sunstein wants a 'cognitive infiltration' of 9/11 conspiracy groups.  This seems to me that our government is crossing a line here and trying to quash free speech in this case.  I have no problem with Obama or his administration speaking out against these kinda loony theories but to have an all out campaign against these citizens freedom of speech is ludicrous and kinda fascist.  What does this adninistration consider to be "extremist theories"?  It seems like this could lead to the Obama administration targeting anyone who disagrees with their political positions.  We must save all freedom of speech and stand up for our rights which are outlined in our constitution.

From The Raw Story, Sunstein's article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that "our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a 'crippled epistemology,' in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources."

By "crippled epistemology" Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public -- the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated.
 Sunstein, whose article focuses largely on the 9/11 conspiracy theories, suggests that the government "enlist nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories. It might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts."

Sunstein argued that "government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories." He suggested that "government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action."
"We expect such tactics from undercover cops, or FBI," Estrin writes at the Rag Blog, expressing surprise that "a high-level presidential advisor" would support such a strategy.

Estrin notes that Sunstein advocates in his article for the infiltration of "extremist" groups so that it undermines the groups' confidence to the extent that "new recruits will be suspect and participants in the group’s virtual networks will doubt each other’s bona fides."


H/T Raw Story


bluepitbull said...

My prayers, as well. Is adoption something you have considered?

Teresa said...

Thanks so much. Yes, we have considered adoption and that is an option. The only thing is that it isn't financially viable for us right now. We would need get a few things in order before we adopted.

Anonymous said...

As like you, I too disagree with the 9/11 Truther stuff. Nonetheless, I too, agree they have a right to be idiots in believing as they do.

Furthermore, the goverment has no right or power to tell them not to believe as they do.

To do so would harm all of us and our rights to say as we please.

Good post, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Ron Russell said...

During my lifetime I have seen federal agent infiltrate many non-violent groups in this country and consider it a way of life although I don't like it. I have had close friends come into contact with these agents and seen threats by the federal government on individuals just for practicing what should be an unrestricted constitutional right. I've learned that was a dream world I was living in and that freedom is very restricted under "big brother", for he is always watching those who poise what he, and he alone considers to be a threat to the "public good". Public good or public safety has cost us more freedoms that any other single thing.

Sorry I haven't been around much, things are very unsettled here and I stay tired so I had to make cut backs on my normal routines and commenting has been a victim of my circumstances. Thanks for your many visits and I hope eventually things will get back to normal, if that is possible, with me.

Amusing Bunni said...

Hi Teresa. Thanks for finding out more about these sneaky, evil czars and wacko's obummer surrounds himself with.....they want to infiltrate everything.

They should infiltrate a sewer somewhere and stay there.

Anonymous said...

Ironic isn't it? The same government which gives us a dumbed down educational system, now finds it must silence that system's products.