Intelligence is a piano.
"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people." - John Adams, second president of the United States
Intelligence is a piano. And ours is out of tune. It takes practice to use it for the purpose for which it was intended. But we all have intelligence, since we developed it ourselves during the process of evolution, arriving in the present as a group of self-aware beings possessing free choice.
"So imagine if you will, that you live in a world where the 'laws' of economics are a mystery confined to the high priests of finance (much as the workings of the weather used to be solely the province of shamans). Holding on to this knowledge is vital, and explains why so many opposed, and still oppose, the creation of a real education system. Indeed (the fact that) so many aspects of our life flow from restricting knowledge of the workings of our economy is why, when push comes to shove, capitalism is presented to us as a 'force of nature' over which we have little or no control." - William Bowles
We have several levels of intelligence and, after we've learned a set of rules, can use them simultaneously, putting "the basics" on "auto-pilot" while we attend to something else. Our most basic functions, like breathing, blood flow, growth and digestion, are under the automatic control of our involuntary nervous system. But we can brush our teeth - and read at the same time, walk or weed the garden while we talk to our spouse, or knit, watch TV and talk to our spouse. Once we learn how to do some things, we can almost ignore the fact that we're doing them, and do them under the most obvious level of consciousness, while we do something else closer to the surface of our immediate awareness. For instance, I can write this sentence in longhand without thinking about how to form each separate letter, or spelling out each word as I write. And many of us do it while we drive. NOT a good idea.
In the Middle Ages, without Blackberries, Palm Pilots, and computers, people exercised their intelligence by committing long lists of things to memory. They were able to remember up to 300 separate items by imagining each one of them "attached" to an object in a house, real or imagined. As they "walked" through that house and "saw" each of the objects in it - pieces of furniture, clothing, kitchenware, doors, halls and windows, a fireplace, etc. - the "sight" of each of these objects called up the memory of the matching item on the list that had been "attached" to it, like a computer matches your "search words" to the same words in the almost infinite list of words available on the internet. When we cease, or don't bother, to exercise our brains, we begin to lose this capacity. This is one of the things that can hasten the development of Alzheimer's Disease, and it is for this reason that people are advised to do crosswords, to read or to do anything that flexes their mental muscles. Use it, or lose it.
Any skill can be honed and heightened if we're willing to work at it, to practice. Beethoven and Brahms practiced the piano, doing the same exercise over and over and over and over and over again until it was "right" - by their own standards. Tiger Woods began to play golf when he was two years old. But it's never too late to start. Grandma Moses didn't begin to paint until she was eighty years old. And Ice T, Public Enemy's Chuck D, Eminem and Beyonce's boyfriend Jayzee all practice those eloquent rhymes that just seem to fall out of their mouths, though with practice it gets easier as the habit is formed and the pathway is laid down. The mind itself begins to reach for and connect rhymes with less and less effort as time goes by and the process becomes more and more automatic, a habit, an infrastructure, a brain super highway. Think Aldous Huxley, "The Doors of Perception", free association.
Now. If you wanted to run a scam on someone it would be in your best interest to shut down those highways so there wouldn't be many subconscious connections made, in order to keep the workings of your scam out of the public eye. It would work to your advantage to keep your target from thinking about the point of your scam, or even venturing into any of the areas adjacent to it, in fact, to keep them from thinking - at all. You could do this by making them believe in you, in magic, in miracles, in "change you can believe in" or in "laws of nature" you just ... made up, until like Maggie's Thatcher's TINA, they believe There Is No Alternative. You want them to accept and believe what you tell them without evidence, obediently, comfortably, so as not to make them anxious about being co-opted or having second thoughts about having their morals/ethics violated.
"First: Strauss believed that a leader had to perpetually deceive the citizens he ruled. Secondly: Those who lead must understand there is no morality, there is only the right of the superior to rule the inferior." - Richard Collins, from his review of Shadia Drury's "Leo Strauss and the American Right" Strauss is the father of neoconservatism.
The Divine Rights of Kings. American Exceptionalism. Manifest Destiny. 9/11. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Ownership Society. Cadillac-driving Welfare Queen. Liberal Media. White Supremacy. Rugged Individualism. Greed is Good. The workings of the "free" market. Social Darwinism. Tax Relief. Big Box Stores. The market is consumer driven. Neo-conservatism. Single-payer health care and unions are the slippery slope to socialism. If we don't fight 'em there, we'll have to fight 'em here. It's for your own good. Raise your hand and ask permission.
Say it over and over and over and over and over again and allow no opposing points of view. "See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." - George W. Bush "People will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it. - Joseph Goebbels
If possible, criminalize dissent with something like the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798, the Espionage Act of 1917, or the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Over and over and over and over and over again until you've completed the brain shampoo. That stops all those nasty subconscious connections, the uppity thinking that leads to unrest, so they'll settle down, knuckle under, accept the scam as fact and get back to work producing the "surplus" value off which their "betters" live. The lie has become the truth. It doesn't get any better than that.
In the "secret agent trade" this is known as "perception management", or psy ops (psychological operations), and has traditionally been used on the populations of countries with democratically-elected governments of which the US did not approve. Think colored-coded revolutions in Eastern Europe, Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973 and Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. But the "secret agent men" were never supposed to use this startlingly efficient technique at home - on Americans. Or so "they" assured us. But since it's worked so well for so long in other countries, its use in the US has accelerated rapidly over the past thirty years and has come more and more out into the open as perception management comes home to roost. It's just too good not to use. Think Condoleeza's Rice's Office of Public Diplomacy, which is just a euphemism for perception management.
"Fear, ignorance and gullibility, effects of decades of mind control and accelerated dumbing down - they have weakened us into allowing our government to become what it has long and insidiously strived to be at home, the Uncle Sam the rest of the world at large has seen pretty much from the beginning."
- Rand Clifford
For most of history us commoners couldn't read. In the Western World most knowledge belonged to the Church. And just to make sure it stayed put, even the bible wasn't written (hand-copied by monks) in the vernacular - English for the English, French for the French, German for the German, etc. Enter Gutenberg and his filthy printing press. Suddenly there were hundreds of bibles. And other books. And all of them printed in the vulgate (vernacular) for all and sundry of us vulgar commoners to see - if we learned to read. Henceforth it would not be quite so easy for the Church to maintain not only its monopoly on interpreting the bible, but on the people's perception of reality itself.
"Thirdly: According to Drury, Religion 'is the glue that holds society together.' It is a handle by which the ruler can manipulate the masses. Any religion will do. Strauss is indifferent to them all." - Richard Collins (ibid)