Thursday, September 14, 2017

MLM and "Adam Ruins Everything"

Today's blog post is about a show called, "Adam Ruins Everything", and in particular his episode titled, "Nutrition". I want to mainly focus on the beginning part of the episode as it pertains to vitamins and in particular "vitamin supplements". "Vitamin supplements" have been hawked for over 100 years as a cure-all for many different sicknesses, such as, various types of cancer, the common cold, various mental illnesses, and more. However, every clinical test, that has been conducted using proper scientific techniques, has proven these claims to be false. There are no cures for cancer or the common cold at this time, and if there were vitamins that could do it, then everyone would know about it. The two biggest problems with these "vitamin supplements" are, "experts" are regularly paid to say they work, and the media regularly uses bad scientific studies to advertise new products. Because the industry is consistently deregulated due to massive amounts of donations, hiring current and former FDA members to work for supplement companies, and getting senators, such as Orrin Hatch of Utah, to lobby on their behalf, there is no proper group to monitor and punish these fraudulent people.

Here is the episode:



Adam does a great job satirizing Dr. Oz while giving a healthy dose of entertainment and information. He also does a great job neutralizing an angry crowd and demonstrating that people can get very angry, and sometimes violent, when confronted with the truth. He understands he has a responsibility with his show, and he wants to make sure that people are informed rather than radicalized. This is one of the things I like most about his show, he gives very important and well-researched information and he tries to make sure people don't get "triggered".

This is something completely opposite from the current media and political landscape. Their goal is to be as divisive and provocative as possible, which is why we have groups like "Antifa". They have lost sight of their responsibility to the people, and they have gone out of their way to make people as hostile as possible because of wedge issues. The media wants to stir the pot and get people angry at each other, because it stops people from thinking about important topics and also keeps people from rallying together against the media and political figures.

MLMs utilize the same tactics and create an "us vs. them" mentality. By creating such a vicious division between themselves and everyone else, it makes MLM adherents isolate themselves from the outside world. This allows MLMs to have more control over their members and their information. By doing this, they can keep MLMers in their "businesses" longer and extract more cash.

MLMs purposely target the "vitamin supplement" market because of two very important benefits for their scheme. First, the "vitamin supplement" market is heavily deregulated, which allows them to put anything in a bottle and call it a miracle cure. This industry is perfect for creating a cheap and useless product while not having to answer to an agency or governing body. Which leads me to the second, and arguably biggest advantage, they have magically bottled hope. This is extremely powerful because most, if not all, long time MLMers, excluding the narcissistic sociopaths at the top, have very low self-esteem. This allows MLMs to provide the answers to their physical and mental issues and helps to ensnare their members for longer durations. By giving them a lotion, potion, or pill, and calling it an answer to everything, they are giving the MLMer what they truly desire, hope.

The FDA and the "vitamin supplement" industry need a serious overhaul. It is time for the government to step up to the plate and create meaningful laws against the "vitamin supplements", "nutritional shakes", "body wraps", "skin patches", and any other ridiculous product that has not gone through rigorous clinical trials with real scientific methods applied. The FDA is an organization founded on the principle of keeping consumers safe, and at this point, they are doing the exact opposite.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MLM and 12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Pt. 2

Today's blog post is going to go through more of the propaganda techniques utilized by MLMers to condition their prospects and lower-ranking members. These techniques are not exclusive to MLM and should be treated as potential threats to our critical faculties. Some other common places in which these propaganda techniques can be regularly seen are, the news, advertisements, major sporting events (yesterday had a lot of football games focusing on the 9/11/2001 events), and especially the internet. It is up to each individual to be cognizant of these techniques and understand their effects, otherwise, they will not be able to identify what is fact and what is fiction.

Without further ado, we go back to our list and start with "exaggerating".

5. "Exaggerating:  Stretching the truth to extremes to get credit, eliminate doubt, or coerce someone.
Narcissists have grandiose personas. Exaggerating is second nature to them.
Example:  Reaction from a narcissist when a friend suggests theirs is a one-sided relationship:  'I’m the best and most generous friend you’ve ever had. I’ve done more for you than anybody in history has done for another.'"
Image result for Exaggeration brainy quotes

This propaganda technique can be a bit vague, therefore we need to put this in specific context. This isn't the same as "the big lie", and often "exaggerating" can be a combination of lying, "intentional vagueness", and "glittering generalities". In MLM, "exaggerating" is used at every level, therefore, I would like to focus on what the "exaggerating" will look like at each position. Again, some of this may look like "the big lie", and some of this may look like "glittering generalities", but it is based on an original truth that has been morphed into a lie.
Entry-level MLMers (equivalent to MLMers that have limited or no downline) "exaggerating" example: An entry level MLMer may say, "MLM doesn't require a lot of money to start". First of all, "A lot of money" can be subjective, which goes along the lines of "intentional vagueness", and second of all, some MLMs can cost thousands to start, which goes along the lines of "the big lie". The MLMer may try to combat this by saying, "but 'traditional' businesses cost hundreds of thousands or even millions", which is not necessarily true and is an exaggeration in itself, but that also doesn't mean that MLM is inexpensive. This type of "exaggerating" can be extremely misleading.
Mid-level MLMers (equivalent to members with substantial downlines, but not top ranking members) example: A mid level MLMer may say, "MLM has freed me from my job and I am now working the 'business' full time". Again, this has two exaggerations in this statement. First, it hasn't freed them from anything, but rather replaced one job with another. The idea of them being "freed" is a fallacy. Second, this inherently implies they are making a stable income through MLM, which according to the income disclosure charts, would suggest they are not. Only the top 1%, or less, are making any substantial monies from MLM, therefore, any money the mid level MLMers are making is not going to be adequate as a lone income stream.
Top-level MLMers (equivalent to "Amway" diamonds and crowns) example: A top-level MLMer utilizes exaggerations the most. One of their most frequent examples is the lifestyle videos. They will show videos of mansions, cars, boats, and vacations. These videos resemble the celebrity lifestyle and the idea that their money stream is infinite, but that is not accurate. Many top-level MLMers make a modest living, according to the income disclosures, and almost none make enough to have the lifestyles they portray. Instead, they rent fancy cars, fancy mansions, or even plunge themselves into huge amounts of debt to create the facade. A previous "triple diamond" from "Amway", Greg Duncan, bankrupted himself after claiming he paid for everything in cash. Also, at my first "Amway" meeting, Mike Carroll, an Amway diamond, claimed to pay for everything in cash but brought out an "Amway" credit card at the end of the meeting. These top-level MLMers utilize the "exaggeration" technique extremely effectively.

6. "Minimizing:  The opposite of exaggeration, minimizing denies or downplays anything that doesn’t fit with a propagandist’s goals.
Narcissists are desperately image conscious so they frequently minimize the negative consequences of their actions. They also discount others’ feelings and needs, which narcissists tend to see as nuisances.
Example:  A narcissistic parent’s response to adult child who wants to discuss the parent’s past neglect or abuse:  'What are you talking about, you had a great childhood. Yes I was strict but all parents were in those days. You have nothing to complain about.'" 
Image result for Minimization Propaganda quotes
"Minimizing" is one of the most underappreciated techniques used by a MLMer in my opinion. MLMers have the uncanny ability to completely minimize the nearly 100% failure rate while simultaneously exaggerate their income claims. They also regularly minimize the results of lawsuits and act as though settlements are victories. One of the most notable moments was when "Herbalife's" CEO, Michael Johnson, came out and said the FTC and "Herbalife" had finally reached an "agreement", and it "comes at a time when our business is growing bigger and better than ever before". That was his description of having to pay a $200 million dollar settlement and completely restructure in North America because, as Edith Ramirez stated, "We did not determine 'Herbalife' not to be a pyramid". This brazen disregard for the accuracy of the situation is not unique, and most major MLMs have had to go to court and settle, yet they act as though nothing ever happened or it isn't significant.

One of the other ways MLMers utilize "minimizing" is in the prospecting or recruiting process. They act as though it is an easy "duplication" process, but in actuality, the process is nearly impossible and extremely lengthy. In fact, when I was being propositioned for "Amway", I had to go to three "meetings", read a book, and attend an "FED" before they felt I was ready to join. Not only did that require a lot of my time and effort, but it required an immense amount of theirs as well as money for my tickets. The process in which I was subjected was anything but simple.

Even though these two techniques are technically opposite, their design has the same intention. They want to deceive the person into believing something other than the reality of the situation. They have cleverly designed their words and ideas to disguise their intentions while shutting down any room for rebuttal. They are instrumentally utilizing thought-stopping techniques to better themselves and take consumer's hard earned dollars.
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Source: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism-decoded/2017/09/12-classic-propaganda-techniques-narcissists-use-to-manipulate-you/
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6MwGeOm8iI&t=68s

Friday, September 8, 2017

MLM and 12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Pt. 1

Today's blog post is inspired by an article on Psychcentral.com called, "12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Narcissists Use to Manipulate You". If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you probably realize why I chose this article, and for the sake of staying on topic, we will transpose narcissists with MLMers (one could argue they are the same thing anyways). I have written about issues with propaganda in the mainstream media, but I haven't specifically focused on techniques used by propagandists. Hopefully, after we go through these techniques, we will be better armed to defend ourselves against MLM proponents.

1. "Ad Hominem: From the Latin meaning “towards the man,” an attempt to shift the conversation by getting personal.
If you bring up a topic that threatens a narcissist’s ego, he may resort to name-calling, questioning your intelligence or attacking your character. This technique is designed to distract from the topic at hand and make you feel you have to defend yourself.
Example:  When you voice an opinion opposite of what a narcissist believes, the narcissist may say, 'You’re delusional. You’re clueless, as usual.'"

Image result for ad hominem brainy quotes


MLM adherents don't typically utilize ad hominem attacks in person, because they are taught it is important to remove negative from their lives. This means no negative thoughts, therefore no negative speech. However, the internet is an entirely different story and a breeding ground for pent-up anger. MLMers often go to anti-MLM blogs and anti-MLM YouTube videos to pour out their vitriolic rhetoric. They will attack an author's credentials, their intelligence, or their modus operandi, instead of focusing on the content. This type of distraction can be extremely effective at derailing the purpose of discussions and videos.

2. "
Glittering Generalities:  Using glowing words and statements to describe ones self, ideas, or behaviors without providing evidence.
Narcissists are in love with their words just as they are in love with everything about themselves. They think superlatives make them look good.
Example:  A narcissistic husband tells his spouse:  'I’m the most amazing husband ever. I’m super-thoughtful, smart and always available. I provide a world-class lifestyle for you.'"

Image result for Glittering Generalities quote

MLMers love to rant and rave about their success, and they try to utilize their success as well as their upline's success as proof that the "business opportunity" is viable. Both online and offline MLM prospects and members have been subjected to grandiloquent videos and rhetoric designed to appeal to a person's sense of desire. These "glittering generalities" do not directly correlate with the MLM "business opportunity", and are often half-truths or outright lies about their success. Anyone, especially MLMers, trying to suggest MLM is legitimate because someone, somewhere, has had some form of success should immediately be rejected as a form of evidence.
3.  "The Big Lie:  Spinning a lie so outrageous that others are at a loss where to even begin to refute it.
Narcissists are convinced that whatever they say in the moment is 100 percent true just because they are saying it. Lying often comes naturally. They know that the bigger the lie, the more it may overwhelm others’ critical faculties.
Example:  A narcissist when confronted with a credit-card bill evidence of an extra-marital affair:  'I’ve never been to that hotel in my life. That hotel is notorious for making up fake check-in records and then blackmailing innocent people like me. There was a big article online about that a while back. You probably saw it. I might even have an email from the hotel trying to blackmail me in my inbox right now. I will fight this slander all the way to the Supreme Court. They will be sorry they ever made up this lie about me.'"

Image result for The Big Lie brainy quotes


MLMers utilize this technique constantly! Some regularly used MLMisms are, "2-5 year plan", "10,000 hour rule", "10-15 hours a week", "residual income", and one of my personal favorites, "a fool-proof system". These lies are utilized constantly, and no MLMer has ever supplied any evidence to support any of these claims. These MLMisms are repeated tirelessly to shut down the prospect or MLM adherents cognitive faculties and lull them into a false sense of confidence in the "business opportunity".

4. "
Intentional Vagueness:  Saying something so vague as to be meaningless or open to multiple interpretations.
This can leave others stymied, trying to figure out what was meant. In so doing, the vagueness distracts attention from legitimate concerns or questions.
Example:  A narcissist when asked why he did something:  'I did what had to be done. I always do what needs to be done. It’s obvious.'"
Image result for Intentional vagueness
Everything around MLM is designed to be vague. Most MLMers won't reveal what the "business opportunity" is during the initial contact. Instead, MLMers will present an exciting, "part-time income opportunity", "side hustle", "extra revenue stream", or some other nonsense to lure unsuspecting prospects into a meeting or second contact. From there, they still may not give pertinent details about how money is earned, but rather will go back to "glittering generalities" or start parroting "the big lies". MLMers will also go out of their way to not explain how much work is required, how often you need to be involved in MLM related activities, and how much money a MLMer has to spend each month. The less information they have to give, the less likely someone will question the MLM and the MLM adherent's "opportunity".

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Source: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism-decoded/2017/09/12-classic-propaganda-techniques-narcissists-use-to-manipulate-you/

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

MLM and the No True Scotsman Fallacy

Today's blog post is about a particularly effective fallacy which runs rampant in MLM called the, "No true Scotsman" fallacy. This fallacy is extremely effective in MLM, because it, much like the other fallacies, does not require any actual evidence to support a claim. Instead, there is a form of closed-logic used to try and shut down any critical faculties in the denier. This type of closed-logic, or sometimes circular logic, is utilized by MLM leaders to neutralize their adherents and keep deniers out. These fallacies are also very easy to parrot, which enables the rhetoric to spread wider and faster, while also creating more cognitive dissonance as the new truth becomes reality.

The "No true Scotsman" fallacy is: "No true Scotsman is a kind of informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to exclude the counterexample. Rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule ("no true Scotsman would do such a thing"; i.e., those who perform that action are not part of our group and thus criticism of that action is not criticism of the group)."


Image result for No True Scotsman

In other words, you can explain away any unique example or criticism by simply saying it isn't a true representation of the group as a whole. MLMs love to explain away any issues they may have by suggesting the MLMer was not a representation of their organization because they, didn't try hard enough, they didn't follow the "system", they didn't explain the "business" correctly, or some other nonsense. This allows them to circumvent any negative statistics, disprove any bad experiences, or justify any losses. Instead of directly addressing the problems, they can simply say, that isn't a true or authentic version of the "business".

It is important to hold the person accountable when they try to use this line of logic. The person needs to provide evidence to assert the example or criticism is unique and is not representative of the group as a whole. Especially when it comes to statistics, it is important for them to provide statistics to refute the point. It is not acceptable for a MLMer to suggest 99% of MLMers failing in their "business" is somehow not important because they didn't follow a "system", or they didn't "try hard enough". That is not a reasonable excuse for the overwhelming failure rates. 


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Source: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

MLM and Life Coaches

Today's blog post was inspired by an article on Psychcentral.com, "Should the Life Coaching Industry Be Regulated?". I have found that life coaches are very similar to the vitamin industry in the lack of regulation, but with "life coaches" it may be worse because of the inherent subjectivity. It isn't possible to be subjective when it comes to results on whether vitamins and supplements actually work, and there have been many clinical trials and prolific institutions that have proven most vitamins don't do what their labels claim. Could life coaches and their results be as quantifiable, or is the placebo effect from life coaches too hard to calculate? Should we completely stay away from life coaches, or is there a way to effectively determine if a person is providing a useful service? These are the questions that need to be asked and answered in order to determine if this is a real industry or a make-believe scheme.

First, is it possible to actually quantify the effectiveness of each life coach and whether they are meeting the objectives of their teachings? According to the article, and my own experience, it is not. There is no way to objectively give credit to the coaches for the success or failures of their students because there are too many other variables that effect the outcome. Also, there is a disclaimer at the bottom of every life coach's page explaining they are not responsible for any results, good or bad, and all testimonials are not to be considered typical. That kind of preemptive warning can lead to the conclusion that this industry is inherently flawed, and the user of these life coaches is completely at risk. The only industries that are able to operate in this manner are other deregulated groups (such as vitamins, oils, shakes), which are prime MLM "businesses". This amount of subjectivity allows charlatans to pose as authorities and take advantage.

Can life coaches actually be certified? This question can be mostly answered above, but there could be some very basic prerequisites which could help to certify the person. The life coach could at least go through a course or degree program designed to give basic information on psychology, business, and life skills, then be held accountable to a certain standard. This would eliminate a lot of the people claiming to have answers without any proof, and it would give consumers the opportunity for recourse in case a life coach did not perform to a certain standard. Life coaches would also need continuing education as the field and society evolves. Nobody wants a medical doctor that stopped learning in 1984 to be operating today, and the same should be applied to life coaches.

If life coaches could be certified, would that cut down on the unethical practices? In short, yes, because they could be held accountable for their teachings, but the field would still be largely subjective making lawsuits extremely difficult to litigate. At least the fear of being sued would prevent a percentage of life coaches from taking advantage of their clients, but there will always be some that have a reckless disregard for the rules. Certifications and licenses are not perfect, especially when it comes to ethics, which is why we have malpractice law firms.

After examining certain life coaches, in particular those that speak at MLM functions, I believe the industry needs an overhaul or it needs to be eliminated. I believe the "industry" needs to be eliminated. I do believe that there is a potential industry out there, similar to personal trainers, but the current life coaching industry is completely warped. I do not believe there is a potential industry out there, and my previous notion was inherently flawed as I thought more about it. There isn't any original concept in "life" coaching. It is a vague and unregulated way to suggest you can do the same very specific jobs as other certified professionals. It is essentially a legal loophole for college dropouts. It is too easy to call yourself a "life" coach, "guru", "leader", or even "teacher", and there are not enough regulations to protect the consumers. I'm also not completely convinced that certifying life coaches will be the remedy the field needs, but at least it is a start. There is no one certificate that can encompass everything a "life" coach claims to be.

If a "life" coach existed, then MLMs, in particular, should never be a market a life coach would speak at, let alone endorse. A life coach should be someone that helps steer a person away from scams, and anyone claiming to be a life coach that associates themselves with MLM should be disregarded entirely. It doesn't matter if they spend most of their time in ministry (Maxwell), personal development (Robbins), or "Real-Estate" (Kiyosaki). These people are taking advantage of a "Criminogenic Syndicate" (Brear), to make a quick buck, which is a complete conflict of interest as a life coach.

Source: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/nlp/2017/08/should-the-life-coaching-industry-be-regulated/

Monday, August 21, 2017

MLM and Double Standards

Today's blog post is about MLMers and their consistent use of double standards. Double standards are frequently used in society and some of the popular topics are, men versus women in the work place, whites versus minority groups in college, or gay versus straight in marriage (not as controversial these days). The main thing these have in common, aside from being wedge issues, is the introduction of a subjectivity standard. The truth is, there shouldn't be any subjectivity when it comes to whether it is right for men and women to have the same opportunity for employment, or if white people and minority groups want to go to college, or if gay people can get married. Whether your personal beliefs lean in one direction or another, there are clear and defined rights in the Constitution and they are not subjective.

It is important to recognize wedge issues for what they are, subjects designed to divide a population. Politicians and the mainstream media utilize wedge issues to promote conflict, generate donations, and distract the masses from important world events. The mainstream media, in particular, utilizes wedge issues to generate ratings, because people are more interested in watching a piece about abortion than Assad gassing his people.

Double standards work the same way, in that they promote an emotional response and are utilized as a way to divide people. The idea of promoting diversity has become so convoluted and strange that people don't know what is considered inappropriate or racist anymore. The idea that two people are not judged solely on their qualifications, but also on their genetic coding, is the definition of discrimination and is a double standard. We are currently witnessing this at Google, as James Damore, a former Google engineer, came out and said Google was showing discriminatory practices. There are more men than women in higher positions and the work environment was not female friendly. These double standards are real, and even extremely left-leaning groups, like Google, are not as diverse as they seem.

MLMers utilize double standards all the time, because it is one of their best ways to defend their "business". In fact, most of their arguments are rooted in some kind of double standard. An example may be, even though 99% of people fail in MLM there are 'systems' installed allowing each MLMer the 'opportunity' to have success". If any other business had failure rates upwards of 99%, then they would be out of business, and if we say something with 99% confidence in science, then that is considered a fact. Only MLMers can suggest that 99% is not strong enough evidence that MLM is a failure of an "opportunity". Another example is, MLMers often suggest that people outside of MLM don't know what they are talking about because they are not involved in MLM. Not only is this logically fallacious because it would suggest nobody can have an opinion about anything unless they had experienced it firsthand, but it also suggests that they are allowed to cast their own opinions about the person even though they know nothing about them or their research. In other words, the MLMer is trying to suggest that a person can't give a good opinion about jumping off bridges being bad for your health, even if they have never jumped off a bridge, and they are suggesting, non-MLMers can't give an opinion about MLM, but pro-MLMers can give opinions about non-MLMers reporting.

MLMers constantly try to create false dichotomies, and act as though the people that are not in MLM are failures and uneducated about MLM. The idea that non-MLMers can't know or understand MLM is ridiculous, especially since it is supposed to be "duplicatable". Let's be fair for a moment. MLMers don't tend to be the highest functioning members of society, and to suggest that they can understand something, that the majority of society cannot, is highly unlikely. Therefore, we can say, with 99% confidence, that MLMers don't understand what they are talking about, and are utilizing double standards to make their arguments seem more plausible.

On a side note, Google has hired a "VP of Diversity, Integrity, & Governance", and I bet you can guess what type of person they hired. It makes you wonder, why would a company that is supposed to be progressive need this department, and how many white men were overlooked for that position?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MLM and the "You are just angry" line.

Today's blog post is synonymous with one of my earliest posts about projection. Projection is a defense mechanism designed to transfer your own emotions onto someone else. It is, logically speaking, one of the worst ways to "win" a debate, and is usually used as a last resort when the person has had all of their more meaningful points refuted. Instead of continuing to focus on the subject, they begin to attack the rival by suggesting the rival can't be logical, because they are being emotional, or more specifically, angry. The United States, in particular, loves to get emotional when debating, which makes things more interesting, but is not good from a scholarly perspective. We also like to argue, rather than debate, because we attach a part of ourselves to the subject we are talking about. We have gotten to a point, in the US, where the ego is so fragile, that any time we are "losing" a debate we have a visceral reaction and become antagonistic.

MLMers have frequently resorted to projection on other blogs, and have commonly referred to authors and other commentators as angry. They may say the author is angry because they failed at MLM, or they have a specific vendetta against a MLM, or even that it has something to do with their biology. These MLMer attacks are both silly and direct reflections of their specific mood. MLMers wouldn't be looking for anti-MLM blogs unless, they lost a prospect or their family and friends recommended reading it. This loss of a prospect and or the rejection of the "business" by a friend or family member can be extremely damaging to a MLMers ego. This in turn will lead to a rage and will result in lashing out over the internet. When MLMers lash out they lose focus and rationality, which leads to ludicrous comments, some of which reflect themselves. 

Unfortunately, as an anti-MLM blogger and regular commentator on other blogs, there becomes a harsh realization about the ability . MLMers are very similar to addicts of controlled substances, and they aren't going to be able receive help from anyone until they are ready to help themselves. The combination of a weakened ego, and clever psychological manipulation, makes logical discourse nearly impossible. The other harsh reality is, the people these MLMers attack and call names, are the people that try the hardest to show them the errors of their ways.

The best strategy, in my opinion, when a MLM adherent devolves to ad hominem attacks and deviates from the subject, then end the discussion and resume it no sooner than twenty-four hours later. They will need time to refocus and calm down, and it may be best to start the conversation with addressing the exaggeration of emotions and how that is inappropriate for dialogue and business.