Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Do You Know Your Own Mind?

I have been thinking about an issue for a while that I consider to be of some importance - so I thought I'd take a few weeks and address some of my thoughts as regards the matter.  Before we go any further, I would like you to indulge me and participate in a few quick surveys.  Don't worry about sending in your answers, they are for you and you alone.

Are you ready?

Please read through the following set of questions, and answer with either a YES or a NO. Please answer each honestly:

Would you find it offensive if another person tried to force their system of beliefs upon you?

Do you believe that you are smart enough to make decisions that are in your own best interests?

In your opinion, does the government at times think that it knows better than its citizens what is right for them as a populace?

Do you think that the government might try to take away your personal liberties if they have a pretext for doing so?

Are you concerned about the creation of a governmental nanny state in which state and federal laws dictate to you how you can live your life?

Do you believe that the opinions of experienced doctors should weigh more heavily than those of politicians when it comes to creating drug and pharmaceutical policies on a government level?

Would you support, as do many doctors, the legalization of a soft drug like marijuana as long as it was not sold to minors?

Have you finished that survey?  Splendid!  Let's move on to the next one:

Please read through the following set of questions, and answer with either a YES or a NO. Please answer each honestly:

Do you believe that the decisions of others can create negative effects more broadly in society?

With the proven carcinogenic properties of secondhand smoke, would you be concerned about exposing yourself of your non-smoking loved ones to secondhand smoke?

As marijuana is five times more carcinogenic than tobacco, would you be worried about potential physical harm from secondhand smoke from marijuana?

Do you agree that the most important role of a government is to protect its citizens?

Would you oppose the legalization of so-called "soft drugs" like marijuana?

Thank you for taking the time to indulge me in this experiment.  What I am curious to know, and what I'd like you to reflect on, is did you surprise yourself with your answers to each survey?  

Before we continue, I want to say that I am not even remotely political, and have just picked a topic offhand.  

The purpose of these posts is not to push a political agenda - I don't have one - but to challenge whether we as individuals are making up our own minds based on logic and genuine research, or whether we are led to our opinions and then conned into believing that they are informed.

Each of the above surveys was designed to point a person to a specific answer to the final question.  In fact, I would be extremely surprised if you did not find yourself answering "Yes" to all the questions leading up to the final question in each survey.  If you then found yourself saying "No", I suggest that you felt a bit awkward doing so, especially in light of all the seemingly contradictory "Yes" answers that led up to that point.

In fact, I can't count how many times I have seen conflicting polls distributed within days of each other, each pointing to wildly different results.  And when I see something like that, I know that we have entered into one of the specialties in my field - the ability to influence others.

Over the next few weeks, we will talk about how the questions in these surveys were originally written and refined to ensure that each would terminate in a predominately uniform result.  


Well, it is because I honestly value individual thought.  Whatever your ideas or beliefs are, so long as they are the process of rational and constant intellectual scrutiny, the world will be a better place.  

My worry is that some of us are too lazy to do anything but follow the crowd, and pollsters are usually the ones who tell us what the crowd is up to.  Some of these pollsters are reputable, some are not.

It is my hope that by taking a look at the numerous ways that some of these polls are rigged, we will have a better educated public - with citizens capable of taking informed decisions that allow a more peaceful, kinder world to exist.



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