Here comes The Nudge.
According to Fox News, the Obama administration is building a team of experts in psychology to come up with ways to subtly persuade Americans to change their behavior in ways the government approves of – kind of like lab rats, Pavlov’s dogs or teachers unions.
The “Behavior Insights Team” team is only in its formative stages, but its goals are all ambitious, according to a recruiting letter Fox said it obtained from a university professor who was identified for membership:
“Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals,” it says.
The letter shows that the White House has already begun projects to “experiment” with behavior modification at Cabinet-level agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services – otherwise known as the Obamacare People.
And now a lot of things start to make sense.
Remember that blizzard of half-baked ideas to promote Obamacare over the past few months – enlisting celebrities, librarians, motherhood, even trying to enlist the NFL, for God’s sake? They all only looked like typical ham-handed efforts by Democrats to try to get Americans to suck it up and surrender their freedom to the central government, as Democrats have been suckering them into doing since at least the Wilson administration.
They were all experiments of The Nudge.
The nickname – used by the professor who received the recruiting letter – comes from “Nudge,” a 2008 book by Cass Sunstein, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School who served as administrator of the Obama White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and Richard Thaler, a professor at the Chicago Booth School of Business, according to Fox.
The premise, according to the book’s Amazon.com, is “how sensible ‘choice architecture’ can successfully nudge people toward the best decisions.” It’s a “must read,” Amazon says, “for anyone interested in our individual and collective well-being.”
Connect those dots: Two Chicago professors, one of whom becomes Obama’s regulatory czar, publish a book in 2008 – the same year a former University of Chicago constitutional law professor got himself elected president – about how to push people toward “collective well-being.”
And lo and behold, that becomes the playbook for a government bent on manipulating a population into voluntary servitude. Even better, it’s harmless, it’s warm, it’s friendly – it’s just a “Nudge.”
But as one economist summed it up for Fox: “Nudges can turn into shoves pretty quickly.”
Especially when it’s for the collective.