Cognitive Infiltration

“Cass R. Sunstein graduated from Harvard Law School in 1978 and then, after clerking for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, taught at the University of Chicago Law School from 1981 until 2008, at which time he became the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. After Barack Obama — who had become a friend of Sunstein’s while teaching at Chicago’s Law School from 1992 until 2004 — entered the White House, he made Sunstein administrator of his Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.”

That is the first paragraph of the book, Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory, in which David Ray Griffin analyses an essay, Conspiracy Theories, published by Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, in 2008.

Excerpt from Conspiracy Theories:

“How can government get behind or around the distinctive feature of conspiracy theories — their self-sealing quality, which tends to fold government’s denials into the theory itself as further evidence of the conspiracy?

“An obvious answer is to maintain an open society, in which those who are tempted to subscribe to conspiracy theories do not distrust all knowledge-creating institutions, and are exposed to corrections. But we have seen that even in open societies, conspiracy theories have some traction; and open societies have a strong interest in debunking such theories when they arise, and threaten to cause harm, in closed societies. Here we suggest two concrete ideas for government officials attempting to fashion a response to such theories. First, responding to more rather than fewer conspiracy theories has a kind of synergy benefit: it reduces the legitimating effect of responding to any one of them, because it dilutes the contrast with unrebutted theories. Second, we suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such theories. They do so by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.”




















































3 Responses to Cognitive Infiltration

  1. Thank you for the likes, Marley! We have to continue this good work. Cognitive Infiltration was the first book by David Ray Griffin I read. It’s a good introduction to all of his work, and to the field of 9/11 research. Good on you to promote the book here!

  2. P. S. I’ve inferred your first name from your WordPress handle. If I have it wrong, sorry, and correct me if you like. /SG

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