Just following orders: The ‘stupid voter’ and the Gruber Effect

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy share a laugh as Romneycare is signed into law.

WASHINGTON, November 14, 2014 — If you’re a conservative, libertarian or a member of the Tea Party, you can stop worrying about President Obama. November fourth’s electoral shellacking rendered the Chicago community organizer an ineffectual lame duck.

Whatever unilateral actions he undertakes during his remaining two years in office can be undone by a smart and crafty Republican Congress — provided it uses its power of the purse.

The new focus of evil in the modern world has a profession and a name: MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber. Gruber represents the tyranny of the unscrupulous and agenda-driven “expert.” The hypnotic spell cast by these experts should be known, now and forever, as the “Gruber Effect.”

Any honest discussion of the Gruber Effect must begin with Republican Governor Mitt Romney. Remember that Romney was easily dazzled (cowed) by Gruber’s MIT credentials. As Massachusetts governor, Romney consulted with Gruber to concoct the Bay State’s government-run health care monstrosity, along with its dictatorial “individual mandate.”

Back in 2011, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin interviewed Professor Gruber:

Gruber says in the one face-to-face meeting he had with Romney, it was clear Romney had made the ‘final call.’ Gruber tells me: ‘He was the champion of the plan. He really was the consummate management consultant.’ And, Gruber says, the [Obamacare] plan that passed and is now operating is not fundamentally different from the individual mandate plan that Romney ‘championed.’ Gruber says, ‘The framework is basically the same.’ Moreover, Romney understood that the bill would be a framework, with the details to be filled in later (e.g., the definition of ‘affordable’ health care). ‘He said so at the signing ceremony,’ Gruber recollects. So the notion that the plan was hijacked by the Democratic-controlled legislature is simply not so, he asserts.

That means one of two things: A) Romney agreed with Gruber’s scheme to construct an authoritarian government program that was so convoluted it took an “expert” to explain its complexities to “stupid voters”; B) Romney is as weak-minded and gullible (“stupid”) as the average Obama supporter. You know, the “47 percent of the people” Romney told a gathering in Boca Raton, Florida “who will vote for the president no matter what.”

In either case, Romney’s association with the condescending and dissembling Gruber disqualifies him from seeking the presidential nomination in 2016, unless, of course, it’s the Democratic Party nomination.

Rubin’s warning to Republican primary voters in 2011 is relevant today:

In short, Gruber is the most powerful voice (and the most dangerous one for the Romney campaign) for three fundamental points: 1) Romney championed the individual mandate, overriding concerns about personal freedom; 2) the plan today is pretty much the same as what Romney signed into law; and 3) without it in all likelihood we wouldn’t have Obamacare today. That might sound like a reason for Democrats to vote for him, but in a Republican presidential primary all of that may be the death knell of the Romney candidacy.

Experts in the media, joined by many expert Republican pundits, said Romney’s moderate views made him an ideal candidate to face Obama in 2012. So, in a moment of sheer insanity, Republicans nominated Mitt Romney for the presidency.

Republican voters fell victim to the Gruber Effect.

The Gruber Effect has another designation: The “Agency Theory,” formulated by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram.

Beginning in 1961, one year after Hitler’s henchman Adolf Eichmann was tried and hanged in Israel for his part in the Holocaust, Dr. Milgram sought to understand if the millions of Germans that participated in the organized slaughter of 6 million Jews were accomplices to murder or, as many of them insisted, gullible dupes who were “just following orders.”

In what became known as “Milgram’s Experiment,” an associate pretending to be a participant in the study sat in one room with electrodes attached to his body. He was called the “Learner.”

In an adjacent room, another study participant, referred to as the “Teacher” (in this case a genuine volunteer), sat in front of a phony electric-shock generator. The machine’s settings ranged from 15 volts (slight shock), 350 volts (danger) to 450 volts (certain death).

Another ringer for Dr. Milgram was dressed in an authoritative white lab coat. He was called the “Administrator” and stood alongside the unsuspecting Teacher.

The experiment went something like this: The Teacher asked the Learner a series of written questions; the Learner intentionally answered most of the questions incorrectly; the Administrator (the authoritative-looking guy in the white lab coat) instructed the Teacher to give the Learner an electric shock for every wrong answer, increasing the voltage along the way.

If the feigned screams of the Learner caused hesitation in the Teacher, the Administrator was instructed to give the Teacher one of four verbal prods:

  1. “Please continue.”
  2. “The experiment requires you to continue.”
  3. “It is absolutely essential that you continue.”
  4. “You have no other choice but to continue.”

100 percent of the Teachers participating in the study were willing to shock the Learner up to 300 volts. A whopping 65 percent were willing to subject the Learner to a lethal 450 volts of electricity for his incorrect answers.

They were following orders from the authoritative expert in the authoritative white coat.

In an article published in 1974, Dr. Milgram noted, “Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and with the subjects’ ears ringing with screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.”

MIT’s Jonathan Gruber said the “lack of transparency” he built into Obamacare is responsible for its passage; that the lies and complex formulations which shielded the law’s dictatorial nature prevented “stupid voters” from derailing it.

“I’d rather have [Obamacare] … than not,” said Romney and Obama’s egotistical expert to 310 million American souls.

“You have no other choice but to continue,” Gruber effectively said.

Now, it falls to a Republican Congress to cripple and then repeal this liberty-crushing machine before its crackling electrical current rises to a deadly 450 volts.


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  • ginjit.dw

    The purse power of congress will on!y work if they use it. If leadership is already in the other camp, then there is only bloviating, something booth speakers are quite adept at.

    I saw where Gruber is already being shunned by the democratic leadership; it didn’t matter that they quoted him; they have no idea who he is. Typical politics…

    We need real leadership in both houses TODAY, I do not trust either of these two fossils.

  • Tim Kern

    “Whatever unilateral actions he undertakes during his remaining two years in office can be undone by a smart and crafty Republican Congress,” which exists… nowhere.

    Worse, Republicans no more want to stop the progress of Executive Imperialism than they believe they won’t soon seize it.