Monday, 6 June 2011

Yet again, 'Kasey Chang' and Trivedi prove that 'a little learning is a dangerous thing'

I'm sure you will agree that it would be very difficult to imagine either 'Kasey Chang' or Trivedi admitting that they are wrong, but they both continue to behave as though we are inflexible and humourless fanatics who take some sort of perverse pleasure in insulting them. 
Recently, we have had 'Kasey Chang' steadfastly pretending moral and intellectual authority and offering us his unsubstantiated fatherly opinion on Corporate Frauds Watch that 'MLM is prone to abuse, but MLM is not inherently unethical or illegal'. 'Mr. Chang' has put forward his demonstrably-dangerous notion that MLM companies with products to sell, are less evil than MLM companies without products to sell. However, he has stated on his own Blog, that some MLM companies are considered to be cults in Australia and New Zealand, but, typically, he didn't care to explain exactly who has arrived at this definitive conclusion or what specific criteria these unidentified antipodean experts have used to identify 'cultism.'
Although I have very deliberately avoided descending into a pointless verbal wrestling match with the inflexible and humourless 'Mr Chang', he has again revealed his true nature by posting a series of puerile, abusive, false and defamatory statements on his own Blog, 'Random rants by KC,' entitled: 'How NOT to debate: assume other guy's insulting you,' in which he poses as an innocent, fair-minded victim offering an 'olive branch' to an aggressive person who has made an unwarranted personal attack on him.
Without any real supporting evidence, 'Mr. Chang' then viciously tries to character-assassinate me as a self-appointed 'Anti-fraud crusader,' a mindless 'hate'-filled 'fanatic' with a 'chip on my shoulder,' who has 'insulted his intelligence' and called him a fraud sympathizer. This is simply because I poked fun at (and pointed out the obvious danger in) Mr. Chang's flat refusal to examine the wider-picture, let alone see that 50 years of quantifiable evidence proves beyond all reasonable doubt that, without exception, 'MLM' has been the impressive, technical-sounding, made-up name for a classic cultic pseudo-science.
Self-evidently, 'Mr. Chang' is not quite what he appears, and he now deliberately avoids mentioning our names.  Your free-thinking readers should note that, at no time, have I invited Mr. Chang to join me in denouncing 'Amway', nor have I tried to pick a fight with him by accusing him of 'insulting my intelligence' or of being 'against' me. Indeed, all I ever ask anyone to do, is to forget his/her ego and to think very deeply. Yet, this is the strangely-familiar, reality-inverting fiction which 'Mr. Chang' posted  as fact on June 3rd 2011 (without the slightest consideration of the damage it might cause):
'If you read my earlier blog posts you'll see that a certain anti-fraud crusader had somehow concluded that because I didn't join him in denouncing his most hated scam (hint: starts with A) I must somehow be against him. 
Recently, he started denouncing some OTHER scam in Asia, a fake survey company. So I offered an olive branch, posting a comment that basically said great job, don't you see that there are scams even MORE evil than your most hated scam? "Most hated scam" actually have products to sell, whereas this scam has nothing, similar to that other scam (which is what got our verbal war started). I then cited Michael Shermer, head of Skeptic Society, and his 10 rules to detect baloney. 
Instead of taking the olive branch, it was slapped away. According to this "crusader", I had somehow assumed that he and his readers don't know about Michael Shermer, which is an insult to his intelligence. Then he proceeds to insult me about my lack of intelligence in order to understand his point of view, and proceed to call me fraud sympathizer.
He had assumed that I had assumed that he doesn't know about Michael Shermer.
It is clear at this point any sort of olive branch would be utterly wasted. A simple name reference was construed as an insult to his intelligence, by making DOUBLE assumptions. Who's being insulting now?
Clearly, an innocuous remark about the weather will likely be construed as insulting his location or something. 
LESSON LEARNED: Don't talk to fanatics, even if they have their hearts at the right places. They will only drive you crazy.
Fanatics act as if they have huge chips on their shoulders, so they are basically out to pick fights with you, provoke you at every opportunity. It's either join them or be their enemy. It's false dilemma.'
Meanwhile, the compelling body of evidence that groups like 'Amway' are, in fact, totalitarian cults in disguise, continues to mount up. Your resident unquestioning 'Amway' adherent, Trivedi, has obviously been exposed to co-ordinated devious techniques of social, psychological and physical persuasion. These have shut down his critical and evaluative faculties without his fully-informed consent and given him the illusion that he has made free-choices.
During the 1950s, American journalists published unscientific accounts of Christian missionaries who had undergone radical personality transformations whilst being held prisoner by the totalitarian Chinese 'communist' regime. It was as though the polarity of the circuitry in their brains had been flipped. In brief, it was observed that these ex-prisoners had experienced a form of sudden revelation, exactly like a religious conversion. They had become completely convinced that they had once been the brainwashed dupes of capitalist lies, but that now they realized that only the communists were telling the truth. At that time, the techniques which produced this disturbing effect became popularly known as 'brainwashing' (a translation of an ancient Chinese phrase which literally meant 'to wipe the mind clean').
In 1961, Professor Robert Jay Lifton (an insightful American psychiatrist who had worked closely with US servicemen who had been held prisoner by the same totalitarian regime during the Korean War) published, ‘Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.’ In this standard, medical text-book, Professor Lifton identified 8 ‘themes’ which, if present in any group, indicate that its members are being subjected to a mixture of social, psychological and physical pressures, designed to produce radical changes in their individual beliefs, attitudes and behaviour:

1). ‘Milieu control’ — the attempted control of everything an individual experiences (i.e. sees, hears, reads, writes and expresses). This includes discouraging subjects from contacting friends and relatives outside the group and undermining trust in exterior sources of information; particularly, the independent media.
2). ‘Personal or mystical manipulation’ — charismatic (psychologically dominant) leaders create a separate environment where specific behaviour is required; leading to group members believing that they have been chosen and that they have a special purpose. Normally group members will insist that they have not been coerced into group membership, and that their new way of life and beliefs are the result of a completely free-choice.
3). ‘Demand for purity’ — everything in life becomes either pure or impure, negative or positive, etc. This builds up a sense of shame and guilt. The idea is promoted that there is no alternative method of thinking or middle way, to that promoted by the group or by those outside it. Everything in life is either good or bad and anything is justified provided the group sanctions it as good.
4). ‘Confession’ — personal weaknesses are admitted to, to demonstrate how group membership can transform an individual. Group members often have to rewrite their personal histories and those of their friends and relatives, denigrating their previous lives and relationships. Other techniques include group members writing personal reports on themselves and others. Outsiders are presented as a threat who will only try to return group members to their former incorrect thinking.
5). ‘Sacred science’ — the belief in an inexplicable power system or secret knowledge, derived from a hierarchy who must be copied and who cannot be challenged. Often the group’s leaders claim to be followers of traditional historical figures (particularly, established political, scientific and religious thinkers). Leaders promote the idea that their own teaching will also benefit the entire world, and it should be spread.
6). ‘Loading the language’ — a separate vocabulary used to bond the group together and short-circuit critical thought processes. This can become second nature within the group, and talking to outsiders can become difficult and embarrassing. Derogatory names, or directly racist terms, are often given to outsiders.
7). ‘Doctrine over persons’ — individual members are taught to alter their own view of themselves before they entered the group. Former attitudes and behaviour must then be re-interpreted as worthless, and/or dangerous, using the new values of the group.
8). ‘Dispensing of existence’ — promotion of the belief that outsiders — particularly, those who disagree with the teaching of the group — are inferior and are doomed. Therefore, they can be manipulated, and/or cheated, and/or dispossessed, and/or destroyed. This is justifiable, because outsiders only represent a danger to salvation.
Bearing all this in mind, perhaps we should ask 'Kasey Chang' and Trivedi to offer us their explanations of a transcript of a typical 'Amway training tape’ (only available to core-adherents) entitled: ‘How to Handle Negative Websites’. This was produced in 2001 and distributed by the‘InterNet Services Corporation,’ an organization registered in the USA as a ‘privately-controlled limited-liability commercial company’ (apparentlyindependent of ‘Amway’), but owned by ‘Amway Diamond Distributor’, the self-styled ‘pastor’ Dexter Yager and his wife 'Birdie.' The speaker was Pastor Mark Gorman:
‘I'm convinced more and more each day that this (‘Amway’) business was God's idea. What  I'm saying is God created this (‘Amway’) business so that we could pull families together and help people — and the Devil does not like that ! If you don't believe there's a Devil, go on the Internet  !  Man I'm telling you, there's a Devil ! The Devil does not like this (‘Amway’) business ! - He does not like the unity in this (Amway’) business ! All I want to say to you is:  guys, if I were the Devil and I saw a business that was keeping marriages together, where that men learned how to love their wife … they're taught from stage in Leadership sessions how to love their wife … where women are taught how to really integrate the marriage … the husband and wife relationship … where parents are taught how to bring up their children and encourage them to speak life and positive things into them so that those children have good healthy self-images and believe that they can really do anything that they put their minds to do .  If I saw a business that was responsible for holding those marriages and families together, and getting people out of debt, and learning how to treat people with dignity, respect and kindness … a business that gave people hope for freedom, hope for their financial future … that a person could not even succeed in this (‘Amway’) business without helping somebody else, and that the more people you help the more money you make… a business that teaches the principles of morals and ethics and integrity, that gives dignity to human life, that validates marriages an institution that should be reverenced that should not be put down or criticised or belittled .… If I saw a business that did all those things and so much more for humanity .… If I were the Devil, I'd hate it with a passion ! And I am convinced that not only does Satan hate the Church, I'm convinced with all my heart that Satan has good reason for hating this (‘Amway’) business. He has good reason for hating Dexter and Birdie and every Leader in their organisation. Satan hates this (‘Amway’) business with a passion, because this (‘Amway’) business stands for everything he hates ! And if you want to know whose behind those Websites, all I ask you is, who could it be… huh  ? … Could it be Satan ?’


What sort of an organization seeks to dissociate its core-adherents from reality by convincing them they are engaged in a never-ending struggle against evil?  
David Brear (copyright 2011)

1 comment:

Kasey Chang said...

Mr. Brear,

I noticed that in your "response", you never once disputed my description of the events, only the terms used.

I wish to point out some inconsistencies in your writing and the chain of events.

You wrote:

"'Mr. Chang' then viciously tries to character-assassinate me as a self-appointed 'Anti-fraud crusader,' a mindless 'hate'-filled 'fanatic' with a 'chip on my shoulder,' who has 'insulted his intelligence' and called him a fraud sympathizer. "

Let's take "self-appointed anti-fraud crusader" first.

Did any one appoint you to be fighting fraud? No. So you did appoint yourself, yes?

Why is "anti-fraud crusader" considered "character assassination"? I thought it was an accurate description and probably a compliment! Why would you consider that statement "vicious character assassination"?

Maybe you meant the next sentence:

"a mindless 'hate'-filled 'fanatic' with a 'chip on my shoulder,'"

Except I didn't write this sentence. You chopped words and pieced them together like a ransom letter. You created this sentence. You even have to throw in "mindless".

Let's see, what's next...

"who has 'insulted his intelligence' "

I think I may have misquoted you. I think you wrote that I, KC, have insulted intelligence of the free-thinking readers of Shyam's blog here, by insisting there is such a thing as a legal MLM. (We'll discuss that next)

As for "chip on your shoulder", that is a figure of speech, but hardly "character assassination".

Mr. Brear, again, you and I don't really disagree that much. You refer to everything in terms of Amway, and I refer to everything in terms of TVI Express. The difference between you and me is a matter of definition, and language.

FACT: Amway (and MLM) is legal in the US.

FACT: Pyramid schemes are illegal in the US.

FACT: There is a difference (albeit a blurry one) between a MLM and a pyramid scheme

OPINION: Amway (and MLM) should be illegal)

Opinion backed up by facts are still opinions, albeit they are worth much more than unsubstantiated opinions.

LEGALLY (in the US) there is a difference between MLM and Pyramid Scheme. Whether that difference actually exists in practice is subject to debate. Falsehoods perpetrated by unscrupulous MLMers and new conventions like "autoship" (which is basically inventory loading spread out over time) tries to blur the line.

I have corresponded with Dr. Robert Fitzpatrick and I understand his viewpoint (and yours): the currently legal MLM system cause more financial harm to more people than the illegal pyramid schemes and ponzi schemes. However, that does not change the fact that such schemes ARE legal in the US, if they manage to follow some stringent guidelines. (and they have a legion of lawyers to argue their side) Being legal, however, has nothing to do with being profitable and ethical.

Since our verbal sparring, I have since FURTHER revised my opinion of MLM downward.

MLM has fatal flaws (first identified by Dr. R, Fitzpatrick) that is inherent and endemic in its pyramid-like nature, that makes it easily slip back to its pyramid scheme roots without CONSTANT correction, yet its distributed nature makes it impossible to offer constant oversight correction.

Furthermore, its (dubious) legality offers scams a chance to masquerade as legitimate business, further defrauding the public.

Mr. Brear, you are a formidable individual with a sharp mind. As I've said all along, we're on the same side. If we can't be friends, at least let's not be enemies.