The Propaganda Game Exposed Part 1 — BPA Case Study

by Dr. David Gruder

As you might imagine, I receive an awful lot of "sign this petition" requests from the left, from the right, from advocacy organizations, and also from concerned individuals who pass these along to me. I received such an e-mail today from someone wanting me to sign a petition to have the FDA ban BPA. Even though research has more than made it clear that BPA is a chemical that appears to pose significant risks to human health, I will not be signing the petition despite there being exteremely compelling reasons to do so. The reasons for my decision go far beyond BPA and the FDA, though. They have to do with my wanting to obliterate the vicious propaganda game in which you and I, and Republicans and Democrats, and corporate America, are all ensnared.

This IntegrityWatch Blog post is about that game. It merely uses the BPA issue as an illustration of that game. So, whether or not you even know what the initials BPA (or even FDA) stand for, this is one blog post you’ll want to read from start to finish. (If you don’t reside in the United States, the FDA is the US Food & Drug Administration. If you’re unfamiliar with BPA, it is the abbreviation for a plastic whose chemical name is Bisphenol A.)

Regardless of whether you care about BPA, you should absolutely be over-the-top furious about the propaganda game that the BPA issue so perfectly illustrates. You should be furious because the game I am about to describe is responsible for our health problems, our political polarization, the deterioration of our adherence to our Constitution, our financial meltdown, and a whole host of other issues that deeply and personally affect you every day of your life! You should be furious because this game has made you fat, dumb and miserable while not even knowing you’ve become ensnared by it.

This IntegrityWatch Blog post is your wakeup call about the propaganda game manipulating us each and every day.

Here’s all you need to know about BPA for the sake of this case study: BPA (Bisphenol A) is a plastic that is used in water and food containers. BPA has been shown to leach into food and beverages — and from there into our bodies. Research has linked BPA to breast and prostate cancers, diabetes heart disease, and reproductive abnormalities. Canada and some U.S. cities and states recently restricted its use in children’s food and beverage containers because of the potential health effects. The research evidence is so compelling that the independent nonpartisan Consumers Union (publisher of the advertiser-free Consumer Reports magazine) has called on manufacturers and government agencies to act to eliminate the use of BPA in all materials that come in contact with food and beverages.

If you want more information about the dangers of BPA, feel free to explore these links (what I’ll say about this as a personal note is that Laurie and I replaced all of our BPA water bottles and whenever we open a can that contains a plastic liner we don’t buy that brand again):

Okay. Now that you know enough about BPA, let’s get to the really juicy stuff, which as I said is the vicious propaganda game in which you and I as citizens and consumers, and Republicans and Democrats as politicians, and corporate America as proft generators, are all ensnared!

Here is how this game goes, using BPA as the case study:

  1. Big businesses start using BPA to package foods and manufacture water bottles before their health dangers are known.
  2. A significant amount of research evidence ends up indicating that BPA is unsafe to use with foods.
  3. These businesses are asked to voluntarily stop using BPA in food packaging and water bottle manufacturing, as an act of social responsibility.
  4. The socially irresponsible ones don’t.
  5. Liberals then call for a new FDA regulation to protect the public.
  6. Conservatives then bash liberals for wanting bigger and more controlling government that robs citizens of their freedom.
  7. Socially irresponsible businesses then pour lobbying dollars into supporting conservatives who support policies that protect their social irresponsibilty and defeating liberals who support policies that reduce their social irresponsibility.
  8. As liberals and conservatives clash over policy strategies, political gridlock results and political hatred mounts.
  9. Sometimes government over-control wins, sometimes socially irresponsible profitability wins, but either way citizens always lose.

There is a name for this game. Eric Berne, in his classic book, Games People Play, called it "Let’s You and Him Fight." The way this sick game is played is that I manipulate you and your friend into a fight with one another that will keep you both preoccupied enough so that I can get away with doing something neither of you would allow if you were paying attention to what I’m doing.

The BPA situation is a classic example of "Let’s You and Him Fight." The "you" and "him" are the liberals who focus on the common good over self-responsibility and individual freedom, and the conservatives who focus on individual freedom and self-responsibility over social responsibility and the common good. Who is pulling the strings? The socially irresponsible propagandists who are retained by socially irresponsible big businesses to manipulate public opinion into supporting their ability to maximize profits through minimizing social responsibility.

This is how the propaganda machinery of businesses dedicated to maximizing profits at the expense of social responsibility co-opt politicians, the media, and citizens into a perverse form of dark-side capitalism. This is how consumers end up not only tolerating but rewarding profit at the expense of social responsibility.

(By the way, a growing number of businesses have no desire to operate this way, especially including smaller businesses! This is why the important field of Corporate Social Responsibility — CSR — has been gathering steam over the past decade. Unfortunately, even though many smaller businesses are truly committed to ethical socially responsible profitability, the percentage of larger businesses and their propagandists that are committed to true CSR principles continues to be small compared to the percentage of larger businesses that are not.)

I have discussed elsewhere why greed is a form of narcissism. Those propagandists who serve those businesses that are socially irresponsible have a huge investment in manipulating us — consumers — into believing a life fulfillment formula that serves them (consumerism), not us. The truth is that life fulfillment has nothing to do with that. Those who experience sustainable happiness do so because they: 1) Are their true authentic selves; 2) Feel bonded and nourishingly connected with others; and 3) Make a positive difference in the world around them. You know all about these three dimensions of sustainable happiness — and how to create them — if you have read my five-award-winning book, The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World.

Here’s the big problem with the true life fulfillment formula, plain and simple: this formula does not maximize business profits! In other words, in order for socially irresponsible businesses to maximize profits, they need to make sure that Americans are fat, dumb, and looking for happiness in all the wrong places!

Ask yourself these two simple questions:

  1. Who benefits when profit becomes so sacred that it trumps social responsibility?
  2. What tactics do socially irresponsible businesses use to successfully manipulate citizens (you and me) into equating our happiness with whatever these businesses want to sell us?

By refusing to demand social responsibility from businesses, conservatives have been supporting irresponsible capitalism (businesses functioning as self-serving sociopaths), not individual freedom!

By refusing to demand self-responsibility from citizens, liberals have been supporting over-responsible government, not the common good!

By both conservatvies and liberals (politicians and media pundits) refusing to join together to effectively instill social responsibilty and self-responsibility in both citizens and businesses, they have colluded to create citizens who are fat, dumb, and entitled — which is EXACTLY what socially irresponsible businesses depend on citizens being so they can maximize their profits!

The reason the Consumers Union is calling upon the FDA (i.e., the government) to ban BPA from food products (i.e., control business) is because food manufacturers using BPA have refused to be socially responsible on their own. But, this misses the point completely because it just keeps this vicious manipulation game alive!

When government over-protects citizens from socially irresponsible businesses, conservatives get enraged over government over-control and its result that citizens become ever-more complacent and non-self-responsible because big daddy is taking care of them. (Ever-increasing government control doesn’t solve problems — it only teaches socially irresponsible businesses to try to get away with whatever they can get away with for as long they can get away with it.)

When government abdicates its responsibility to make sure that businesses create profits in socially responsible ways, liberals get enraged over government under-control and its result that businesses become ever-more sociopathic in how they operate while big daddy is colluding with them. (Over-deregulation doesn’t solve problems either — it too only teaches socially irresponsible businesses to try to get away with whatever they can get away with for as long as they can get away with it.)

This is how both liberals and conservatives co-create the perpetuation of dysfunctional government, while each party manipulates the public into ignoring this by employing propaganda masters to manipulate the public into believing that the other political party is solely responsible for government’s ills.

There IS a better solution than ever-increasing government control AND over-deregulation. The government’s most important function — true education — is the last thing the government seems to be focused on today. Critical thinking is a dying skill, and that’s just how the propagandists want it. Instead of effectively educating the public in how to be manipulation-proof consumers, the government keeps going back and forth between over-controlling all businesses and being over-controlled by socially irresponsible businesses.

You see, the problem is not ‘only’ our individual happiness. It is our societal sustainability. The framers of our brilliant constitution has the wisdom to know that individual happiness and societal sustainability are inextricably entwined.

NONE of the major problems we face today as a society, or as a planet, would exist if the vast majority of businesses were socially responsible, the vast majority of citizens were self-responsible, and the vast majority of conservatives and liberals were constitutionally responsible.

Our magnificent constitution deserves far better than what constitutionally irresponsible politicians are doing. Our wonderful system of free enterprise, capitalism, deserves far better than what socially irresponsible businesses are doing. Our precious society deserves far better than what non-self-responsible and socially responsible citizens are doing.

I hope this BPA example has helped to open your eyes to what’s really going on because this is one small example of what is profoundly broken in one large country. I fervently hope that this post illuminated for you the propaganda, the manipulation, the game being perpetrated on you and me. And I am pleading with you to stop being fooled by this, and to join with me in speaking up about the real issues with both conservatives and liberals: join the transpartisan revolution against using propaganda to dumb down the American people. This is the only revolution that can create sustainable solutions.

Our magnificent constitution depends on it. Our financial sustainability depends on it. Our planet’s sustainability depends on it. Our humanity as a species depends on it. Our personal happiness and individual freedom depend on it.

Read the SIX-award-winning book providing a step-by-step plan you can follow to create sustainable happiness without sacrificing your personal integrity or social responsibility: The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World.

To request REPRINT PERMISSION or ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW with Dr. Gruder on this topic, click here.

© 2009 Integrity Revolution, LLC, Willingness Works® & Dr. David Gruder

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