Social Mood Conference  |  Socionomics Foundation

By Alan Hall | Excerpted from the June 2017 Socionomist


 

In the May 2014 issue of The Socionomist, Robert Folsom identified similar characteristics in four negative mood periods within America’s history. He said that during these periods, U.S. presidents promised to stay out or get out of war but soon joined, escalated or prolonged the conflict. Another characteristic of these periods was heavy propaganda: The demonization of foreign enemies became a tactic that was employed in domestic political disputes and agendas. Today propaganda is a global issue. In the June 2017 issue of The Socionomist, Alan Hall notes that mood is not negative enough to drive countries into global war. But disinformation is proliferating as these countries engage in belligerence-on-the-cheap. Following are excerpts from Hall’s article.

A 2003 documentary film about a former U.S. Secretary of Defense is titled The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. Widely regarded as the “architect” of the Vietnam War, McNamara later realized that he had seriously underestimated the enemy, and he created a list of cautionary lessons that could guide future military leaders and heads of state. …

But leaders are less likely to read or heed such lessons during times of negative social mood. Negative social mood impels feelings of uncertainty. And history shows that trends toward negative social mood generally precede wars—in general, the bigger the trend, the bigger the war. Thus, we’re inclined to postulate that the “fog” of war is also the “fog” of negative social mood. …

It’s All the Same Fog

As we mentioned in the Q&A, the February 2012 issue of The Socionomist assessed the global social mood landscape and called for “more social conflict, but not global war.” We listed several manifestations to watch for, including, “ … even more belligerence-on-the-cheap. Verbal threats, espionage, trade wars, financial conflicts, internal terrorism, cyber attacks, authoritarian clashes, border conflicts, drone attacks and anti-satellite attacks should all increase.” …

We can now add disinformation—an old military tactic that has lately resurfaced in the news—to the list. This cost-effective form of tactical persuasion is particularly well suited to today’s instantaneous globalized communication infrastructure and belligerence-on-the-cheap mentality. In August, The New York Times reported,

The flow of misleading and inaccurate stories is so strong that both NATO and the European Union have established special offices to identify and refute disinformation, particularly claims emanating from Russia. … Dmitry Kiselyev, Russia’s most famous television anchor [said,] “Today, it is much more costly to kill one enemy soldier than during World War II, World War I or in the Middle Ages. … if you can persuade a person, you don’t need to kill him. …

They say truth is the first casualty of war. Truth is also a casualty of negative mood. …


 

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