In 1971, social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, who was also a professor emeritus at California’s Stanford University, used funding from the U.S. Office of Naval Research to conduct an experiment in which groups of college students became either prisoners or guards in a simulated prison environment. Zimbardo acted as the warden.
The stated intent of the study was to measure the effect of role-playing, labeling and social expectations on individual behavior.
Zimbardo decided to run the experiment during the university’s summer break, while the campus was relatively empty. His graduate students crudely converted the basement level of one of the school’s halls into a makeshift prison. Empty offices were turned into prison cells and outfitted with cots. Hallways were outfitted with hidden CCTV cameras. A closet was turned into a solitary confinement chamber.
The following slides, from Dr. Zimbardo himself, quickly and succinctly summarize the Stanford Prison Experiment. For those interested in this topic, there’s a fairly good movie by the same name that came out in 2015. It’s not difficult to find online.
Arguably, the Covid-1984 lockdowns are voluntary — in the interest of the “greater good.” The Stanford volunteers were also told their participation was essential in the prison research experiment, an experiment that was in the interest of the “greater good.”
Similarly, our lockdowns come suddenly, without warning, and no actual crime has been committed.
Obviously, like these students, we’re not in an actual prison, but we are indeed imprisoned. Will gruesome Newsom’s next step be ankle bracelets perhaps? The state has just launched a Covid tracking app that it’s encouraging everyone to install on their cell phone.
Of course, if you live in a mansion, then stay-at-home orders are like a vacation. For others, however, a university basement might be preferable to their home environment, especially for spouses and children who experience domestic abuse.
The masks we must wear are a constant reminder of our situation. People are also easier to abuse when they’re anonymous. For some people, the inability to get a haircut or other grooming services is a form of humiliation.
“When you tell people to be cruel, they’ll do it, if it’s for the greater good,” a Stanford Prison Experiment guard said in an interview, “especially if the person you’re inflicting it on is anonymous.”
In our situation, it’s like the federal government is the warden, providing guidance, and the guards are the state governors, who have been given free reign to manage the states as they see fit. There are “good” governors and abusive ones.
Student “prisoners” were often blindfolded to impose a sense of helplessness. We don’t need blindfolds because our threat is an invisible virus. To protect us from this invisible threat, we — in California — are given seemingly and increasingly arbitrary rules to follow. Restrictions on small businesses in particular have been quite arbitrary and punitive, with rules changing week by week as owners hop from one foot to the next trying to comply.
During our first wave of federal lockdowns, we, too, were quite compliant. The second federal lockdown created a little bit of pushback. When states, such as California, tried continuing the lockdowns, there were protests. Then we were told to wear masks.
How many people have been arrested and imprisoned for violating Covid restrictions? Has anyone been counting or done a study thus far?
Who, during our lockdowns, has been granted special privileges? “Essential workers,” “essential businesses,” the political class and their minions, and billionaires.
By giving prisoners a visiting day, Stanford experimenters further tormented their captives by reminding them what normal is, and enhanced their longing to escape their circumstances. Similarly, during the scamdemic tyranny, we’ve been afforded short breaks to experience almost-normal life. For a brief time, small businesses were allowed to open with expensive modifications. Patrons could dine indoors or go to a show or the gym. And then — suddenly — our almost normal life is ripped away yet again, and again, and again.
A guard involved in the experiment later commented that he came to the job every day asking himself, “How can we ramp up what we did yesterday?” He added, “I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. I even got off on it a little bit.”
Another said, “I don’t see where it was really harmful. … I wanted to see how much abuse people would take – how much abuse they would let me give — and still people didn’t say anything.”
With each new lockdown comes new restrictions.
Look at the way the news media and social media shames, torments and censors those who don’t comply with Covid restrictions.
The same thing happened with Covid. The plebs were essentially told “this is not a real prison” and life can go back to normal now. And people just say “okay” and go about their lives like nothing happened. I’m not so sure.
Has anyone in a position of authority — ANYONE — effectively argued the morality of keeping children out of school, locking people up in their homes and taking away their livelihood over a virus that’s treatable for 99.97% of the population?
“Don’t ever come between a man and his meal. Taking a man’s livelihood away from him is akin to killing him.” — David Chappelle
The two-week Stanford Prison Experiment was brought to a halt after just six days.
Plenty has been written and observed about the impact of lockdowns on prisoners. What made the Stanford experiment a little different was that it looked psychological transformation of those who were doing the imprisoning. It concluded that the sadistic treatment of prisoners by guards was due to three key things: prisoner anonymity, depersonalization and power.
Dr. Zimbardo later went on to write about his findings in a book called “The Lucifer Effect,” and his study was used to explain the sadistic treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
Have we, like the Stanford students, forgotten that we have free will? Going along to get along does nothing more than continually reinforce the power of authoritarians, who will become increasingly abusive.
The members of a small community in northern California joined together and decided to give the finger to gruesome Newsom. They’re keeping all of their businesses open, even indoor dining. They’ve vowed as a community to fight any infringements on their rights. So far, there has been no consequence.
So the question is this: How long will you continue to participate in the Covid Prison Experiment?