Disinformation Campaign

1) An effort to deprive human beings of knowledge so that they cannot see what choices are available to them.

2) A tactic used to prevent people from making decisions based on the facts or in their best interests because the facts are withheld from them, cast in doubt or buried in lies.

3) An effort by an entity or company to mislead or confuse the public about the consequences of the company’s actions in order to destroy any resistance to those actions.

4) A ploy by a company or entity to conceal harm or risks imposed on the public or to ecosystems; a way to increase informational asymmetries between the company and the public.

The purpose of lies and misinformation is to deprive people of choices.
The purpose of lies and misinformation is to deprive people of choices.

For example, cigarette makers were aware for decades of the dangers of smoking but claimed in public that smoking was safe. This disinformation distorted public policy in order to guard their profits.

Another example is the actions of Exxon. Exxon, whose own scientists warned as early as 1989 of the catastrophic consequences of increased CO2 levels and greenhouse gases (caused by the burning of fossil fuels), funds organizations that run campaigns of disinformation whose purpose is to sew doubt in the public’s mind about the existence or dangers of the warming of the planet. Doubt in the public about the dangers of greenhouse gases has delayed action against this threat.

One report showed that Exxon gave, despite knowing the dangers of climate change, almost $16 million from 1998 to 2005 to organizations who sought to discredit the scientific evidence related to climate change and convince the public that climate change was a hoax. Exxon also spends (if the company’s 2010 expenditure is typical) between $100 million and $300 million a year in advertising. Media companies are the beneficiaries of much of this expenditure.

See also risk asymmetryinstitutional pathology and media.

Leaf blower

1) A gasoline-powered rake.

2) A device that lifts pollutants such as lead into the air where they are inhaled by sapiens and other animals.

3) A device used to remove a source of fertility (leaves) from the soil and plants below.

The leaf blower, with its cost and high energy use, shows the extent to which the practice and principle of thrift, so important to humans in prior ages, was abandoned as both a practice and a value. However, the greatest example of the abandonment of thrift may be the daily use of single use plastics (such as plastic grocery bags or take-out food containers).


What can you do? Here are some choices that are available to you.

1) Share this definition, and these ideas, with others.

2) Use a rake or let the leaves stay where they are so they can fertilize the soil, guard the plants below them from frost and support important microorganisms.


1) A condition among sapiens that results when the beliefs, fears and rewards behind the formation of the status quo are more emotionally salient than the warnings that the continuation of the status quo will result in harms to them or others.

2) A state of inaction accompanied by feelings of satisfaction, feelings which may require the dismissal or avoidance of information by the complacent individual.

3) An individual’s denial of the role they play in the degradation of ecosystems.

For example, many enjoy feelings of satisfaction about their lives despite the continued dumping of CO2 waste into the atmosphere. These pleasant feelings discourage individuals from taking action against this dumping of CO2 (which may eventually cause the collapse of oxygen production, the collapse of certain food chains and shrinking land mass).