No matter how hard the media works to show a pro-vaccine attitude among the public, the polling numbers tell another story. According to The Washington Examiner, just over half the population oppose President Biden’s recent mandates. While many people were shocked to see him conscript the nation’s employers to enforce his will, those paying attention were expecting it.
In October 2020, The New England Journal of Medicine suggested that constitutional, due process concerns could be avoided by having employers force the shot instead of the government. How that equates to an effective strategy when it is the government forcing your boss to do so is anyone’s guess. In any case, opposition to the mandate is high enough that public health officials are concerned that people will begin rejecting all vaccines that are currently taken as a matter of routine. Mandate or not, there are still enough people considered vaccine-hesitant, from the government’s perspective, that a conscious effort must be taken to persuade people into compliance.
According to the Journal of Medical Ethics, government polls showed as early as January 2021, that there would be considerable resistance to a Covid-19 vaccine from most of the population. This means that before the vaccine was even available, they were studying the population to see who was most likely to comply. They cite reasons such as the speed of its development and the limited availability of safety and efficacy data on the shot. The JME even admits that it is reasonable, due to the politicization of the issue and lack of data, for citizens to be skeptical of the gene-altering jab.
There are many questions concerning the potential health effects of the shot considering the FDA admitted in their approval press release that the long-term effects remain unknown. There is also a great deal of confusing information circulating in media. Vaccinated people are undoubtedly still getting sick. There is also a great deal of research that exists concerning mRNA vaccines and something called Anti-body Dependent Enhancement. This is a process where the spike proteins being inserted into your cells after vaccination are more likely to reproduce when exposed to the virus, which in turn makes you sicker. Questioning the government’s efforts to mandate the vaccine is certainly reasonable.
In an article entitled “First Do No Harm”: Effective Communication About COVID-19 Vaccines,” published in the American Journal of Public Health, the authors admit that information going against the mainstream narrative is being censored, and this is leading to an increase of people unwilling to participate in the experimental vaccination program. There is a need, they state, to tailor the message, targeting populations “in a manner that is comprehensible, but not simple-minded, and connecting rationales for vaccination to culturally contingent values.”
This is an example of framing narratives in a way that is consistent with the morals and worldviews of the targeted population. The authors of this article are saying that new methods of gaining compliance are necessary to shift the attitudes of those that are entrenched in their opinions, and unlikely to submit to any vaccination efforts.
“Cynics might question whether even the most effective communicator can change the minds of antivaccination crusaders. We certainly will not if we do not try. Even controversial opinions that seem firmly entrenched can change when contact opens one’s mind to different perspectives. In our opinion, a large social media cluster hosting objectionable conversations about vaccines represents an untapped opportunity to encourage both participants and bystanders to engage in healthy behaviors, building trusting relationships, and potentially changing minds. Social media platforms, working in close collaboration with health experts, could implement targeted and tailored campaigns that could reach clusters of vaccine hesitant users that would otherwise be unreached.”
They believe that the problem lies with public health officials not being properly trained in communication strategies. Strategies that they believe are effective in targeting the perceptions and motivations of those they are trying to reach. What they are suggesting, then, is persuasion, advocating the use of evidence-based practices in communication techniques.
The Journal of the American Health Association ran an article entitled The Science of Persuasion Offers Lessons for COVID-19 Prevention. The author, Jennifer Abbasi, interviews communications professor Dominique Brossard, Ph.D., who is a part of a research team called the Societal Experts Action Network. One of their main areas of research is communication strategies to gain compliance with the Covid-19 agenda. Much of what Brossard has to say comes from documented communications research suggesting people are easily persuadable simply because they lack the cognitive ability to process information effectively.
The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion, for example, breaks people down into different categories and how effectively they can process the messages they are receiving. It is mistakenly assumed that people cannot think for themselves and because of this, Brossard assumes simple environmental cues, like signs enforcing social distancing mandates, will be effective for most of the population. Unfortunately, she may be right. One of the bigger, more significant points she makes concerns gaining compliance with mask mandates and the science of behavior behind it. She states the same thing Skinner highlights in Beyond Freedom and Dignity, people have a fear of social isolation.
Creating the perception of compliance with mandates is essential because it reinforces the feeling of fitting in with social norms that is so important to people’s identity. This is coming from a professor of communications. She is essentially admitting that taking advantage of human frailty is an effective strategy in getting people to do something they may not want to. Just as censoring information may be proving to be a backfiring strategy, so too may be persuasion because it targets and exploits vulnerability and values instead of using reason.
While the government is looking for ways to increase vaccine compliance, they are failing to realize the reason people are hesitant. With information about safety and efficacy set aside, there is a fundamental flaw in the approach that addresses the way the scientific elite view humanity. For instance, Brossard, in her interview with JAMA, keeps referring to people as social animals. She believes, as indicated by many of her responses to Abbasi’s questions, that people’s behaviors are controlled by the environment more than personal choice.
This is a very Darwinist view of man, which suggests we have no free will of our own. Even people who choose to not get the shot do so not because of independent choice, but because of the social cues from the so-called misinformation being spread on the internet. Misinformation, mind you, that the American Journal of Public Health admits is being heavily censored. While it stands to reason, it is being censored to limit exposure, there are other purposes.
According to the book Political Persuasion and Attitude Change, it is difficult to ascertain the effectiveness of persuasive communications when it comes to their abilities to change attitudes. By limiting the amount of information available, and balancing the canceling out effect of equal exposure to opposing messages, researchers are better able “to locate individuals who received one message but not the other.” So, preventing people from seeing the opposing message is an effective way of ensuring people see the right message? Imagine that.
The problem is that the government, along with the social and scientific elite, uses sciences of behavior that deny individuality and assumes that we are nothing but animals who can be trained simply by manipulating our surroundings and choices. This is a social consequence of Darwinism. In Beyond Freedom and Dignity, Skinner states that when it comes to the study of human behavior, it should be done from a scientific, as opposed to a pre-scientific worldview, because our behaviors are traceable to our evolutionary instincts.
“In what we may call the pre-scientific view (and the word is not necessarily pejorative) a person’s behavior is at least to some extent his own achievement. He is free to deliberate, decide, and act, possibly in original ways, and he is to be given credit for his successes and blamed for his failures. In the scientific view (and the word is not necessarily honorific) a person’s behavior is determined by a genetic endowment traceable to the evolutionary history of the species and by the environmental circumstances to which as an individual he has been exposed. Neither view can be proved, but it is in the nature of scientific inquiry that the evidence should shift in favor of the second. As we learn more about the effects of the environment, we have less reason to attribute any part of human behavior to an autonomous controlling agent. And the second view shows a marked advantage when we begin to do something about behavior. Autonomous man is not easily changed: in fact, to the extent that he is autonomous, he is by definition not changeable at all. But the environment can be changed, and we are learning how to change it. The measures we use are those of physical and biological technology, but we use them in special ways to affect behavior.”
We are not animals. It is not implausible that we can make well-informed and researched decisions for ourselves and our families, based on our own experiences and relevant information. Research is readily available, despite their attempts to censor it on social media, showing plenty of reasons to be vaccine-hesitant.
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