Science Reporters Promote Communism by "Framing" Arguments
What on earth are science reporters doing promoting communism by “framing” the language of redistributive tax policy?
One might hope that science should steer clear of political ideology. But look at this headline that appeared on both Science Daily and PhysOrg: “Want to influence support for redistributive tax policies? Choose your words carefully.” This sounds like naked advocacy for income redistribution, a key element of communism. The articles are unmodified echoes of a press release from the Association for Psychological Science, making these two leading science media sites complicit in advocating a communist principle.
The article described supposed experiments that showed conservatives less likely to oppose income redistribution if the questions were phrased in terms of how much the rich made over the poor, versus how much less the poor made with respect to the rich. The pseudo-empiricism of this “experiment” was undermined by a clear goal of figuring out how to soften the opposition to redistribution.
Redistribution of wealth is a core concept of communism. Perceiving the distance between poor and rich, Marx built his system as a means of taking from the rich and giving to the poor (income redistribution), with the revolutionary government taxed with punishing the bourgeousie to reward the proletariat, to achieve a utopia of equality of outcome. Capitalists, instead, believe in equality of opportunity. They believe that the free market motivates the entrepreneur to take risks with the hope of reward. The capitalist is further incentivized to please customers by lowering prices and creating better products. Wealth is not seen as a zero-sum game. Instead, the economy grows, the pie enlarges, and everyone benefits when free market competition creates wealth. Capitalism is built on initiative, responsibility and reward rather than class envy.
The psychologists at Carnegie Mellon employed the euphemism “income inequality,” a phrase conjuring up class warfare. That the researchers were interested in softening opposition to the communist principle of redistribution of wealth is seen in the statement that the research suggested “a simple manipulation of language might be able to influence support for policies aimed at addressing income inequality.” But should scientists create tools of psychological manipulation to enable the efforts of political idealogues? (See 9/27/2012, “Will elitist science lead to mind control?“)
One can conceive the experiment being framed in an opposite way. Anti-communist psychologists (if such a species exists) might frame their questions in terms of “equality of opportunity” and “personal responsibility” or freedom. They might use liberal subjects to measure how much the “framing” of the presentation changed their views. That the Carnegie Mellon psychologists did not do this is further evidence of a pro-communist bias in their construction of experiment. It undermines any pretense of objectivity. An objective experiment (assuming experiments on humans are valid in the first place) should have used equal numbers of conservative and liberal subjects (assuming such categories could be reliably identified), and had a control group. Even so, experiments on psychological manipulation raise serious ethical issues. This appears to be an experiment for identifying the most effective psychopolitical propaganda, not a scientific experiment.
In another example of trying to influence the election, Live Science used scare tactics to suggest, “Could Romney Overturn Roe v. Wade?” If this were a simple neutral question answered with facts and probabilities, it might claim to be scientific. The language, however, described Roe v. Wade as “the Supreme Court decision that protected a woman’s right to have an abortion” instead of “the decision that denied an unborn baby’s right to life” (life being one of the inalienable rights deemed self-evident in the Declaration of Independence). In other words, the article scares the reader that Romney could reduce an alleged right, not that Obama is reducing a more fundamental right. Further evidence of advocacy is seen at the end of the article: “Pass it on: It’s possible Roe vs. Wade could be overturned if a new Supreme Court judge is appointed who takes a stance against abortion rights.” Should a science report tell its readers to pass it on? Should it use the phrase “abortion rights” instead of “right to life”?
It’s pretty shocking that so-called scientists and science news outlets would promote leftist ideology, using leftist terms, just a few days before America’s presidential election where tax policy issues revolve around the validity of redistribution of wealth. This press release plays into the Obama campaign that employs class envy to promote taxing the “rich” more in the belief it will somehow help the middle class. The idea is that the rich (the job creators) should “pay their fair share,” a euphemism that overlooks the truth that they already pay the lion’s share of federal taxes, whereas many of the “poor” pay no taxes. A subjective term like “fair share” begs the question of what is fair. Is 75% fair? Is 90% fair? Taken literally, one could argue that the poor who pay no taxes are not paying their fair share. Paying a “fair share” could be a slogan for a flat tax, but instead is often used to make the tax system more progressive than it already is.
The point is not the validity of either economic ideology. The issue is whether science reporters should be dallying in political advocacy at all. A survey of our entries in the Politics & Ethics Category shows that leftist ideology predominates in science reporting. “Science” (a term so broad it borders on the meaningless) has been co-opted as a tool to promote leftist ideology. Since PhysOrg and Science Daily acted blatantly as willing accomplices in a communist propaganda proposal, readers are tasked with remembering another free-market proverb, caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.