Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Powerful "Think Tanks" We Seldom Think About

Most of us have given little thought to Think Tanks. This includes their purpose, how they are funded, why they exist, and those pulling their strings. These organizations are well entrenched in Washington and most of these think tanks operate 100% in the dark.

Sometimes are lack of pure attention or simply misreading a headline or title results in taking us down a road we might have not taken. Recently, I misread the title; "WTF Do You Think Tanks Actually Do?" Thinking it was referring to the use of tanks and their role in warfare I decided to take a closer look. I expected to find something about tanks being used as line breakers, like shock troops or heavy cavalry in ancient/medieval times. Instead, I found information about Think Tanks and their role in creating public policy.

It was reported near the end of 2021 that the United States now has 2,203 think tanks, a more than two-fold increase since 1980. These institutions generate new ideas for policy-making, assess existing policies, and draw attention to neglected issues. Much of the work Think Tanks do is done behind the scenes, off the record, or in briefings that are not touted publicly. Part of the reason many avoid the light of day is they operate to simply justify every and anything for money. 

Think tanks take donations and then generate the reports and studies that inform and influence the government and those making our laws. Their expensive studies could be described as "vetting the truth in the name of profit." This is a slippery slope. The reports, data, and information they generate often dominate the laws Washington imposes upon us. This should be apparent from the fact they often write a great deal of the legislation. 

In some ways, Think Tanks are, the government lobbying the government. Many of those people taking jobs in Think Tanks are paid very well and are former government employees or politicians. It could be argued that Think Tanks are, the government lobbying the government. With reassuring names such as the. "Institute For The Study Of" or The "American Foreign Policy Council" these groups formulate road maps going forward.  

Their input shapes the future of society and our culture carrying with them huge ramifications. Think Tanks are often used as weapons in the battle for our hearts and minds. About eight and a half minutes into the video that took me down this road, the producers of the piece give an excellent example of just how much this matters. Big Pharma, agriculture, the fast food industry, and weapon manufacturers, all huge sectors of the economy, use Think Tanks to skew information that promotes their goals.

Sounds Like, "Power And Money"
The work done in the shadows paid for by the highest bidder should concern all of us. The information I garnered from the road I inadvertently stumbled down was a bit disturbing. Much of what I discovered when looking into the world of Think Tanks fell into the category of things we probably know or suspect but never really think about. 

The material these groups generate flows directly into the media, in fact, it is often their job to pump it out in a way that promotes an agenda whether right or wrong. The material is often presented to intentionally skew or create conflict that can halt positive change. Much of this is rooted in securing or maintaining the financial position of those funding the studies.

The comments below were under the video I watched. While slightly altered they represent the thoughts of other viewers;

  • Think tanks are like corporate consultants: they may have started as an independent insight, but have since gotten co-opted into inventing justifications for their sponsor’s predetermined decisions and act as a hired scapegoat if those decisions don’t pan out.
  • Finding out that big pharma and big food are fighting is the kind of good news I didn’t know I needed today. This is a "Proxy war" of sorts and we are the pawns. 
  • Think tanks get money from the military-industrial complex. This is why somehow defenseless countries with weaker weapons are threats. 
  • The fact scientists could look at the same data about lead in the environment over time, and some arguing lead in gasoline was fine with others arguing it was a catastrophe waiting to happen. All this makes a person think that 'trust the science' and just listening to one lab, school, think tank, or organization means you're ultimately listening to the opinion of someone who has money linked to things going their way. 
  • Think tanks take a medium amount of money from big business and talk to the Government. Then, they convince government authorities to contract with big businesses for massive contracts. Also, a medium amount of money flows to government authorities in this step. This all results in big businesses making disgusting amounts of money producing expensive parts, maintaining heavy equipment, or providing a "service" for the government that the people never asked for. In the end, we, the people pay absurd amounts of money to the government.

Considering how much Think Tanks influence government policy, they deserve much more thought. Things like, where they get their money or funding matters. Who they employ, and who employs them is also important. Think Tanks are tied to the hip with lobbyists, big companies, power, and more. Whether working for a foreign government, big pharma, or the military-industrial complex, the bottom line is Think Tanks are not working for you and me. A final thought, life is odd and the people determining our fate are scary. 

No comments:

Post a Comment