Franklin Borrows a Book: How Consistency Bias Can Be Good But Is Usually The Stalwart of Evil

In his autobiography, Franklin writes about facing opposition to being reelected Clerk of General Assembly. He learned that one of his most vocal opponents had an impressive

So Franklin wrote his opponent a note asking to borrow a specific rare and valuable book from his library. The book was sent immediately. Franklin returned it a week later with a gracious note of thanks.

At the next House assembly, this once opponent approached Franklin and offered to help him anytime in the future (apparently he had never spoken to Franklin before).

This technique is so powerful for a couple of reasons. The one most applicable to today is the idea of consistency bias: the cognitive bias that keeps us following our past behaviors.

By offering his book to Franklin, this opponent became an ally and would unlikely oppose Franklin in the future. And that's exactly what happened: they became lifelong friends.

This concept is a powerful tool for persuasion and a dangerous trap for dogma.

If we look at our political landscape, where everything is documented and filed away for later recall, you see a system in which politicians can't change their minds because they will be called "a liar" or "hypocrite" or seen as wishy-washy.

How do you get change when our "leaders" are unable to change their minds?

You don't.

You get polarization.

I've written lately about the dangers of polarization. Moving humans to one of two extremes is how you get war and destruction.

The political landscape is already at war. It's this side vs. that, with politicians saying and doing things to meet their politicians ends first while considering citizens last, if at all.

This is nothing new. It's been going on for a long time. But recently, it's reached a point where the elites have realized just how fast and easy it is to manipulate an entire population.

You have the Internet to thank for that. The speed at which information, good and bad, can reach the individual's mind is instant.

Bots leave comments for or against a specific cause or keyword. (Coca Cola uses fake accounts that leave fake comments on social media posts critiquing their sugar water.)

Other governments buy ads spreading misinformation and otherwise sowing discontent.

Our media, a dying remnant of the past, perpetuates politically bias one-sided stories rooted in fear, propaganda, and division.

Never before in history has such power wielded by the elite, which is why I believe the phone in your pocket is the greatest threat to our species we've ever seen. The Nazi propaganda machine could only have dreamed of what we have today.

Vu mean ve can deliffer bropagandah in veal-time? Noooo vay, zee vorld is ours!

Look at history and you see that tyrants and revolutions are the standard, not the exception. And in each epoch of human history, the citizens, subjects, peasants, etc., all did their best to stick their head done while hoping things would change for the better... because that is all they could do!

Things usually did change for the better, just not in their lifetime and not without countless loss of life and liberty along the way.

The one difference between then and now is we can access alternative data points to determine if what we are being told is maybe true or complete malarkey. (And unfortunately, most of it is a half-truth AT BEST.)

If we keep fighting each other, if we keep trusting "experts," if we keep talking about problems rather than solutions, we are doomed.

We have to make it stop, each of us, by standing up to dogma, bad ideas, and the easily manipulated and fragile human mind.

Don't let the tech monopolies warp your worldview. Seek out independent sources of information on both sides. Protect your privacy with private email and Brave browser. Use DuckDuckGo instead of Google.

Own some bitcoin and gold. Make sure you have a passport. Visit a few countries you wouldn't mind "escaping" to.  Stop watching mainstream anything: news, Netflix shows, etc.—this is blatant manipulation at worst and subtle persuasive distraction at best.

And most important of all: don't be scared. Don't let the propaganda machine convince you this world is nothing but a dangerous place of racism, stealth viruses, and bad people out to get you.

Nothing could be further from the truth.