Making the Opposition the Enemy –

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 am, November 13th, 2015 - 18 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, activism, brand key, Environment, john key, journalism, labour, making shit up, national/act government - Tags:

John Key is working directly from the Dueling Loop Playbook. He has to, because being who he really is won’t keep him as Prime Minister of New Zealand.

It’s clever, and it is destructive.

John Key is this week using the False Enemy Play

When it comes to creating false internal enemies, the winning strategy is to attack early and attack often. This becomes doubly successful when those attacked are politicians in the opposing party: (1) The fight or flight instinct is evoked, which clouds the judgment and causes people to want a strong militaristic leader to lead them out of harms way. The attacker proves his militaristic capability by the viciousness of his attack, causing those witnessing the attack to frequently swing their support to him. (2) Attacks cause the attacker’s own supporters to fervently support him even more, because he has just pointed out why the opposition is so bad. This form of deception works so well that attack politics has become the central strategy for many degenerate parties. Look around. Are there any political parties whose most outstanding trait is they are essentially one gigantic, ruthless, insidiously effective attack machine?

Of course to win the Game you need more than 1 play, so cue – Pushing the fear hot button

When a politician talks about almost everything in terms of terrorism, or communism, or crime, or threats to “national security” or “our way of life,” and so on, that politician is pushing the fear hot button. It’s very easy to push. Just use a few of the right trigger words, throw in a dash of plausibility, and the subconsciousness is automatically hoodwinked into a state of fear, or at least into wondering if there is something out there to fear. Whether or not an enemy actually is out there doesn’t matter—what matters is that we think there might be one. Fear clouds the judgment, making it all the harder to discern whether there really is an enemy out there. Because we cannot be sure, we play it safe and assume there is at least some risk. Since people are risk averse, the ploy works and we become believers. We have been influenced by statements of what might be lurking out there. Our fear hot button has been pushed and it worked.


The most important thing is not let your supporters know that you are pulling their strings like puppets to achieve your goals, not theirs. They are unwittingly helping you achieve what you and your backers want, and will even disseminate your plays for you.

That leads us to the Wrong Priority

A wrong priority is a goal that’s promoted as high priority, when if fact is should be a medium or low priority, due to presence of other goals with legitimate high priorities. Wrong priorities stem from hidden agendas.

A hidden agenda is a plan or goal a politician must conceal from the public, due to an ulterior motive. There are many ways a hidden agenda can come about. A politician may support a certain ideology, and so bends everything to support the goals of that ideology. He may have accepted donations and/or voter support from special interests, such as corporations, and therefore must promote their agenda. Perhaps he had to cut a deal.

A politician with a hidden agenda must make the wrong priorities seem like the right ones in order to achieve what’s on the hidden agenda. How can he do this? For a corrupt politician such matters are child’s play—manipulate the public through false promises, create a false enemy, push the fear hot button hard and often, repeat the same lie over and over until it becomes “the truth,” and so forth.

Finally, you need the Secrecy Play. This holds everything else together

Secrecy is so important to the success of the first four types of deception that without it they would crumble into ineffective mumblings. But with secrecy they work most of the time, because there is no way for the population to tell if a politician is telling the truth or not. When you see a politician, administration, or party using much more secrecy than normal and there is no reasonable justification, you can be certain its purpose is deception

Mostly, once you understand the strategies are from a playbook, you might feel stupid or foolish  for supporting and defending the person using it, and you.

No one likes to feel foolish

It takes fortitude to admit you are wrong. That’s right, not weakness but, strength, courage, resilience, grit, determination, endurance, guts, and staying power.  When you won’t admit you are wrong you end up having to justify wrong decisions. John Key won’t admit he’s wrong. Because of this he has to keep going down several paths of “wrongness”, and because he is Prime Minister, he is taking us all with him. His almost pathalogical resistence to admitting he is wrong suggests he is totally consumed by what is best for him. The opposite of what makes a good leader. Some people think he does admit he has made mistakes. But when you examine the few instances closer (if you can find them), it looks like something else (read the article).

For those of you with courage, read the article I have quoted from in full here

This appies to those equally rabidly blinded when Labour is in Government.

18 comments on “Making the Opposition the Enemy –”

  1. Roflcopter 1

    When you see a politician, administration, or party using much more secrecy than normal and there is no reasonable justification, you can be certain its purpose is deception

    Labour Party Conference – Palmerston North 2015.

    • tracey 1.1

      Good to see you agree with the article roflcopter. As I said in my comment I don’t care which party behaves this way, it’s insidious and it is designed to get around “Democracy” for very select personal interests. Hopefully you will shine the light as closely on National as you did just now on Labour. Be courageous.

      • Roflcopter 1.1.1

        All parties do it, they always have and always will.

        Hopefully you will shine the light as closely on Labour as you did just now on National. Be courageous.

        • tracey


          with thanks roflcopter

        • vaughan little

          different types of secrecy exist.

          what you saw with labour in Palmerston North is a benign sort of secrecy, where everyone knows what’s really going on and which every party legitimately does – smack heads together, speak frankly, for the purpose of arriving at a unified position/agenda. anyone can join the party and participate.

          there’s a quote out there, “every family survives by its secrets”. something like that.

          what’s illegitimate is for a government to obfuscate and throw up barriers to journalists / interested parties as a matter of course. in a healthy functioning society you need to be able to explain your work to your peers and have them hold you accountable, at the ballot box or through other democratic avenues.

          • Tracey

            Such as Minister Groser abusing the OIA and then ignoring a High Court Judge. Which is EXACTLY like the 2015 Labour Party Conference if you are trying to justify erosion of transparency in a Democracy

  2. tracey 2

    Henry David Thoreau wrote in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack
    Rivers, in 1849:

    “It takes two to speak the truth—one to speak,
    and another to hear.”

    Which in turn leads to an observation by the article write

    “It takes two to speak the lie—one to speak, and
    one to be deceived. ”

    Roflcopter wants you to feel powerless, as he/she does. But that is also the lie. Don’t be deceived, it is because each of us is powerful that we are ultimately a threat to the players of this game.

    • vaughan little 2.1

      there is another type of political lie in which the liar knows that everyone knows that they’re lying. the purpose of this kind of lie is to display of power, to say “we both know that i’m so far above you that i can say anything i want and you can’t do anything about it”. the lie is an evocation and acting out of the truth of that power dynamic. politics is dramaturgical.

  3. George Hendry 3

    ‘…and there is no reasonable justification…’

    In this case, there is – bought out, corrupt MSM.

    Roflcopter, do you know that ‘all parties do it’? Of course not.

    And if they did, why did you pick on the Labour party conference when you could have cited a representative selection ?

    Because you are a bought-out troll.

    Please provide a copy of your zero hour contract payslip.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Jack Harich is an interesting bloke. His homepage is an eclectic mix, but the crucial element that immediately piqued my interest is the 13 years of Industrial Systems Engineering study at Georgia Tech. This is my kind of guru. Like Steven Keen – this guy knows his calculus.

    The actual paper tracey links to is quite long, and has lots of graphs. I haven’t had time to look at it all just yet. But jumping through to the conclusion we get this:

    There is, however, a slight drawback to this approach. It doesn’t work.

    That’s because it completely misses the change resistance part of the problem and fails to see the hidden social structure containing the root causes of generations of solution failure. If problem solvers would focus their efforts on why so much change resistance is occurring and where the root causes lie, they might find, as this analysis has, that all they’ve been doing is engaging in “more of the truth.” This is a low leverage point.

    Pushing on this point fails because it is no more than a heavy handed, naive attempt to make the race to the top dominant through the application of brute force. It does not consider that the race to the bottom is inherently stronger and has a more powerful special interest group behind it.

    Thus conventional approaches have no hope of succeeding unless the laws of physics change.

    Fortunately there’s at least one way out. It’s the high leverage point of general ability to detect political deception. Currently this is low. If problem solvers can
    unite and raise it to a high level the race to the bottom will collapse, leaving the race to the top dominant.

    Politicians will then respond correctly to the truth about problems and their root causes because it will now be in their best interests.

    Now read and compare with this article from Bryan Gould today:

    In a proper democracy, we would demand that these questions should be answered, not just because we need to know the particular answers in this case, but because our leaders should be obliged as a matter of principle to be accountable, by providing truthful and accurate information, for what they do in our name.

    In other words truthfulness – and it’s twin virtue trustworthiness – are the absolute foundations of functioning democracy. Without it – democracy simply does not work. Period. And Harich attempts to show this in no mere rhetorical claim, but one which can be demonstrated mathematically.

    Many thanks tracey for unearthing Jack Harich’s work. The geek boy in me is a total sucker for this kind of thing.

  5. Nessalt 5

    Ever going to admit you’ve been wrong about the new zealand public and what their voting says about them?

  6. Sans Cle 6

    Nice article Tracey. Still digesting it, but not sure I agree with it all. One critique is that the ‘social’ pillar of sustainability is a bit of a blunt, catch all category; and needs further dissection – to encompass cultural and political norms, which leads people to behave in certain ways (informal rules); and as such the vices of power seeking politicians falls into “cultural norms”, as NZ politics is seemingly sliding into, where lies, deception, obfuscation, rewriting history and corruption are becoming the norm. Perhaps politics in NZ has always been like that, just we prided ourselves in being straight-up, honest and a country that listened to (the views of) each other.
    I (rather bluntly) see the problem still as vested greedy self interest at the expense of any common public good, and that comes down to a erosion of pride in who we are, and diminishing empathy for others.

    • tracey 6.1

      I am moving my way round the site. The “plays” are not of his devising but the modelling is fascinating. His discussion of corporate proft as an organism is a useful way to convey his ideas.

      The refrain by some here about how long will we deny the voters mind is addressed in here and is what first drew me. His anysis suggests that govts like ours WILL become more popular using deception and lies. And on cue Roy Morgan confirms his thesis

      His basic pemise is one I share that when the goal and the first step is profit or money (greed as you labelled it) social impact/outcome is irrelevant.

      • Sans Cle 6.1.1

        Corporate profit as an organism is interesting, as it does seem to have a life of its own. However, such an argument masks the agency behind corporate profit – people are benefitting from the spoils, and perhaps giving credence to it as an organism dehumanizes the fact that it is people making decisions. The same can be said for “the market”. It bugs me no end when commentators say “the market says” or “the market dictates”… giving a super-ego to groups of people transacting. Michel Callon, in his book the Law of the Markets makes this point – that markets are not entities in themselves, and I think that is an important if not nuanced point. In terms of changing the status quo (if we deem it to be inequitable or not the best system to have), the distinction brings back the argument to addressing behavioral change, rather than having to tackle an anonymous amorphous organism.

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