Pollster Pestilence - Alcyonenews

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Posted May 31, 2024

Pollster Pestilence

In school exams you get marks by repeating what the teacher taught you about the subject of the exam.  The more accurate you repeat, the higher you score.  There are exceptions, but the rule is that answering the questions as you were taught to answer them is rewarding.  In a sense school exams are “polls” and so are the infamous church  confessionals.

What is a “poll”?  In this discourse poll means soliciting the opinion of a number of people, proclaiming them “representative of the whole” population and extrapolating their opinion to grasp the collective thinking of the society.  But this leaves indeterminate the definition until we define “opinion”.

An opinion is a belief based either on casual impression or on knowledge.  The former is merely a “belief”, such as the belief that the Earth stands still.  The latter is exemplified by the “knowledge” that the Earth turns (eppur si muove, Gallileo phrased that).  The latter is a “learned” opinion, the former is not.

There is not much use to polling people who are “learned” in the subject of the poll.  If for example, one steps on a rusty nail in the spinach patch of the garden, all physicians will be of the opinion that the “nailed” person needs a tetanus shot.  In contrast, randomly chosen people polled on the same event will come up with a number of remedies that may or may not include a tetanus shot.  This manifests the versatility  of polls, which in turn makes them prolific producers of deception.   

Polls are especially well suited to voter manipulation in adversarial politics which is sold to us as “democracy”.  To begin with the Pollsters control the discourse of the poll.  It is they who foster the “all aboard the bandwagon” and the “abandon a sinking ship” phenomena.  

The advertisers who script the skits the politicians play on stage each day on the campaign trail are driven by the Pollsters who determine what bait the voters will bite.

Not unlike the butcher who never asks his customer to explain how he/she got the money to pay for the roast, the pollster is indifferent to whether the polled people are sincere of sinister, intelligent or stupid, knowledgeable or ignorant on the subject matter.
The truth is singular, the rest are plenty.  A randomly assembled group of people is bound to include people with a variety of views on the subject of the poll. There may be no one knowledgeable among the polled, they all may have encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject matter, some may lack even that.  The absence of knowledgeables could very well be due to them seeing no purpose in being “head-counted” alongside the  “Innocents” from whom a pollster will extract “opinion”.  In the general case, the polled group includes smart and  stupid people, learned or ignorant, “junkies” of the subject or people who “do not give a damn” about the subject of the polls.

At best  polls reflect current public opinion.  But the prevailing attitude may be the result of information manipulation.  The government may have withheld information or may have spread disinformation inadvertently, or intentionally to create what the Pollster will harvest to produce the desired result.

Pollsters prosper most during electioneering periods.  They work overtime to detect peoples reaction to various issues raised in the campaign.  They feed their finds to the propaganda team of the political party they serve who uses it to tweak their rhetoric for maximum gain or minimum loss, as the case may be.  In the words of a PR guru, (whose identity I forget), polls are taken to guide the “internal stakeholders to disempower the “external stakeholders”.  In other words, polls are tools for manipulating the people.

Information is power, and in a democratia it must be kept in the hands of the people. Each distinct branch of governance should rely on its own Ideas Bank for people who have something to say, to say it at the time it occurs, when they are ready to present it to their fellow citizens and to the Magistrates.  The Ideas Bank will expose it to interested people and they will support it, reject it or, hopefully improve it.  All done in the open, including the reaction of the Magistrates to each idea.  That is Democratia, the current practice is surreptitious despotism.

In parallel with the school exams which gauge the transfer of knowledge from the teachers to the young, the polls measure the hold the Mighty Social Myths and contemporary propaganda have in the peoples’s minds.  It is imperative that we, the people, do away with the “professional”, self-appointed “communication specialists”  and speak out loud our own minds.

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