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Preference Falsification & White Nationalism

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Timur Kuran

One of the many interesting things about the election of Donald Trump is how spectacularly wrong the mainstream media were in their predictions. In part this was, quite obviously, loosely (?) coordinated psychological warfare designed to intimidate and demoralize potential Trump voters. But their predictive failure was also the result of a more organic phenomenon, one ultimately rooted in the same maelstrom of Jewish culture war that produced these coordinated efforts, but expressed in the concept of preference falsification, defined by the Turkish-American economist Timur Kuran (the man who coined the term and developed the concept) as “the act of misrepresenting one’s own wants under perceived social pressures.”[1]

As the election results came in this past November, it became glaringly obvious that a massive portion of the American population had simply kept their mouths shut about their support for Trump. Though there is always a percentage of dutiful fencesitters that make up the undecided voter bloc, this in no way explains the tremendous amount of support that the candidate, whose campaign was said by pundits to have crashed and burned every few days, ended up having. Preference falsification provides us with a theoretical model of what many of us knew intuitively: that people were simply too afraid to tell the truth about their preferred candidate. Of course, the Trump phenomenon is but one recent case in which the concept of preference falsification applies. The ideas in this book can be transposed onto virtually all of the issues with which White Nationalists are concerned. Indeed, it could easily be argued that it is the single most important problem we have as a movement.

Dr. Kuran writes:

. . . preference falsification generates inefficiencies, breeds ignorance and confusion, and conceals social possibilities. Yet preference falsification is not an unmitigated social menace. It can benefit others by suppressing communication of knowledge that happens to be false. It can harmonize our social interactions by restraining impulses like malice, envy, and prejudice. And further, it can enhance vital social cooperation by silencing minor disagreements of opinion.[2]

While the author generally sees preference falsification as a negative, he recognizes that it can be socially useful. However, in discussions of social theory, society is usually (various specific topical qualifications aside) assumed to be a blank slate. That is to say that broad context and contingencies are often ignored for the sake of clear argumentation. And context is everything. For example, a White Nationalist would probably not disagree with anything in the above paragraph given a white society. But in the current sociopolitical climate, the above is likely to be interpreted as describing, in part, a form of harmful social control. The restraint of “prejudice” is something that works against whites. It hardly needs saying that negative attitudes towards, or even coolly realistic assessments of, those of different races left unexpressed allow for the continuation of the deracinated, ethnomasochistic social orientation which has allowed Jews and Leftists to reduce white social and political capital across the globe. However, this same mechanism could in the future allow for the social censure of whites who retain the anti-white biases currently inflicted upon them from birth. The point is that social control systems are not static. They are products of time and place and, most importantly, power. Preference falsification enables those in power to retain it. As such, it is to be considered entirely detrimental to our cause at this point in history, with the current sociopolitical configurations, and our position of global subalternity.

If we dissect the totality of the Jewish Zeitgeist we can see that there are, broadly, two very basic methods employed by which whites are subjugated: direct political and economic pressure (directed at elites), and control of our culture-producing institutions, from which intense but mostly veiled social pressure is applied upon the masses. This social pressure results in conditions in which preference falsification becomes a regular part of daily life. To speak openly about even such middle-of-the-road questions as border control and support for the president of the United States (!) is to invite ridicule, social and family tensions, and even create risks to job security and physical safety. And, of course, to express any concern for the health and survival of the white race is considered so radical as to restrict those who might express it from existing in “polite society,” and for them even to be considered evil.

White Nationalists are very much aware of the parasitism, hypocrisy, and hate-based daily attacks on whites by Jews and those who have been indoctrinated into unthinking (and sometimes willfully ignorant) acceptance of those ideas which benefit the racial interests of Jews at the expense of whites. The results of these attacks include an epidemic of preference falsification. Racially-conscious whites and even deracinated civic nationalists and some conservatives are put into a position of either having to lie, to keep silent, or to put themselves at social and physical risk (as we have seen with the recent epidemic of doxing and continued violent clashes with antifa). The system of Jewish social control is, at its core, simply the creation and maintenance of a climate of fear of speaking one’s mind about anything that goes against the current of Jewish tribal interests.

Steve Sailer famously wrote, “Political correctness is a war on noticing.” The real and/or perceived need for preference falsification amounts to a Jewish war on speaking about the things that one has indeed noticed. Though it is self-evident that this concept transcends politics, race, and geography, it has become a way of life for whites in historically white countries. The guilt and self-hatred inculcated by Jewish philosophy, Jewish art, Jewish media, and Jewish law has, for most whites, forced any and all residual concerns with their race’s biological survival deep down into the lockbox of their internal mental worlds. Unable to be spoken, often even a source of tension within their own minds, this uncomfortable knowledge collides with the imposing psychological wall between the self and society. Upon this wall the Jew stands guard.

In his book, Dr. Kuran deals with a number of issues in which preference falsification played a role in shaping the trajectory of political discourse. In his discussion of affirmative action he writes, “If millions have misgivings about a policy but only hundreds will speak up, one can sensibly infer that discussion on the policy is not free.”[3] He relates some of the basic facts and statistics concerning affirmative action: that it disproportionately helps the black elite; that the value of having black faces in leadership positions in businesses and academia is such that they routinely get chosen over whites with similar or better credentials and are often paid more; that less intelligent blacks regularly get preferential treatment in various organizations, thereby creating inefficiencies and so on. He also acknowledges that whites have tended to view affirmative action negatively since its inception, even if this is an affront to their cherished belief in “equality.” However, the fear of being seen as racist is so intense that relatively few have spoken out against it, and even fewer have done so without facing severe personal consequences. These consequences are then observed by others who become scared and decide to maintain the secrecy surrounding their own political positions.

Preference falsification is not a hard concept to grasp.[4] It is merely a term for various forms of silence based on fear as manifested in any number of social contexts. It does not necessarily have to be about something of great import but, in our immediate political landscape, it most certainly is and its effects are wholly negative. Greg Johnson has written about the fear of social stigma within the White Nationalist movement and how it affects activism and levels of commitment. He encourages honesty in order to attract sympathetic associates:

If you state your views openly and honestly, you will hear from people who actually agree with you, people who will respect you for your views and forthrightness. If you spend your life hiding your beliefs – aside from an occasional wink, nudge, or hint – you will surround yourself with dupes or squishy people who would flee from and denounce the real you.

The above is undeniably correct. However, the vast majority of us are already surrounded by dupes and squishy people, some of whom hold terrific power over our lives. What then? One must try to bring about an environment in which they can allow themselves to have their minds changed without having to face particularly harsh social consequences – if any.

We are at a momentous point in history. There is a palpable acceleration of contradictory sociopolitical forces that will inevitably result in a massive pile-up on the freeway of the global political landscape. It appears that this collision will happen sooner than many of us had thought and, due to the current interconnectedness of the world, will probably occur on an unprecedented scale. Though still mostly a metapolitical project, White Nationalism and its broader offshoot, the Alt Right, have succeeded in changing the political climate of the United States. This was, to a large degree, due to the ability of anonymous social media users to not falsify their preferences. With anonymity comes a release, however “virtual” or temporary, from the fear that creates the need for preference falsification. Social media users, by being honest and direct about such things as the power of the Jewish lobby, the warmongering of neoconservatives, and the obvious cover-up of Hillary Clinton’s rampant corruption, found that there were many others who felt the same way. This honesty worked both to attract the like-minded as well and to make converts, and to strategically infuriate our enemies by bypassing the traditional methods of social control. Where there is no fear, there is no preference falsification; where there is no preference falsification, there is a tilt in the balance of power.

There is a great deal of truth and unplumbed depths of complexity in the idea of the “Great Meme War of 2016.” But, at its root, it occurred because social media are technologies by which masses of people can find a way around the need for preference falsification. The freedom to interact honestly with one another, combined with an extraordinary degree of direct and publicly visible access to journalists and pundits who were antagonistic to our interests, resulted in a dramatic political shift. There are many lessons to be taken from the recent presidential election, but among the most important is the power of honesty, of unflinchingly speaking one’s mind, and of not cowering before the social controllers.

It is impossible not to see how important these things were in the election of Donald Trump. But, as most readers will recognize, this election really does little more than buy us some time and a bit of relief from the hysterically anti-white policies of previous administrations. It is absolutely crucial to make good use of this bought time. While continuing to engage our enemies on any and all social media platforms, it is now more important than ever to be as explicitly pro-white in social situations as is possible, given one’s personal risk assessment. There will always be room for what Dr. Johnson refers to as “secret agents,” and indeed there are situations in which stealthy involvement would be objectively preferable, as for example in the case of a wealthy businessman who, if he were to lose his job, would not be able to funnel money into the movement. But for many of us, especially those who are not publicly associated with the movement in any way, concerted efforts should be made to introduce our ideas into our “real life” social circles. By deliberately resisting our urge towards preference falsification, we can create real-world “free thought zones” in which those who might secretly share some of our beliefs know that they can now speak freely. Just as memes spread on Twitter, so too can a relaxation of sociopolitical taboos spread among one’s friends, family, or co-workers.

Dr. Kuran writes, “As an inhibitor of change, preference falsification gets the status quo accepted publicly through the stick of punishment and the carrot of social acceptance. As a distorter of knowledge, it gets the status quo accepted privately.”[5] In a discussion of “unforeseen political revolutions,” he takes this concept and applies it to politics. It is worth quoting one particularly important paragraph in its entirety:

Individuals who become increasingly sympathetic to political change do not necessarily publicize their evolving dispositions. If the government enjoys widespread support and is thus very powerful, such individuals remain outwardly loyal to the status quo. In the process, they keep the government, outside observers, opposition leaders, and even one another in the dark as to the regime’s vulnerability. They conceal the developing latent bandwagon that might topple the regime. They disguise the fact that the government’s public support would collapse precipitously if there were even a slight growth in opposition. Sooner or later, an intrinsically minor event brings a few individuals to their boiling points, They take to the streets, unleashing the long-latent bandwagon. The opposition darts to power.[6]

By minimizing preference falsification in our daily lives, as described in the first quote, we can help create the precursors for the political change described in the second. We live in massive, overlapping networks of ideas and people. For example, it is impossible to know which idea shared with whom might be the subject of a conversation between the original recipient and a third party, or which relaxed utterance could pique the curiosity of someone who then proceeds to investigate White Nationalist writings. Even a casual remark about the value of a border wall could be enough to cause someone else to question the latest frenzied tirade about the President from a mainstream news source.

We cannot know what specific effects will be generated within our various social networks by speaking with increasing honesty about our views, but we can be sure that there will be effects felt somewhere, in some way, by someone. That person will then have only two choices: to maintain the status quo (by either being hostile to our ideas or ignoring them entirely), or to undermine the status quo (by either sympathizing with White Nationalism or becoming a White Nationalist). Given current political trends, the likelihood of the latter is almost certainly increasing every day. And the former cannot hurt us: the status quo is the status quo and will remain so – until it is not. In order to replace it with our desired system of social control, we must push ourselves harder to be more honest in our daily lives so that others can be more honest in theirs. We have everything to gain in doing so.



1. Timur Kuran, Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), p. ix.

2. Ibid., p. 6.

3. Ibid., p. 138.

4. I do strongly recommend reading Timur Kuran’s book. It goes well beyond the scope of this paper. He discusses in great detail many important topics related to preference falsification in a wide variety of contexts accompanied by very compelling analysis.

5. Kuran, p. 194.

6. Ibid., p. 256.


  1. Don Advo
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    “Preference falsification?”

    Is this a joke? White people do not have the protection of the law and you keep your mouth shut to avoid getting your ass kicked.

    Why can’t we call this what it really is? Tyranny. Ethnic cleansing.

    • Donald Thoresen
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      You failed rather impressively to grasp the entire point of the piece. I am not suggesting that ethnic cleansing is not happening. Would I even be writing for Counter-Currents if I had not already accepted that fact? My goal is to offer one more way to help stop it as, I believe, would be clear to most readers.

    • mark miller
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      There is a middle way: you needn’t – in fact you probably shouldn’t – wear a MAGA hat (mine is safely tucked waaay back in my dresser). You also shouldn’t make “oop oop” sounds at NAMs.

      I have tentatively and diplomatically sent up flags to friends and acquaintances at first obliquely but then with increasing clarity. Most are hostile to my ideas and they’ve been culled from my social circle. A handfuul value the friendship enough to not impale it on our ideological divide. And a few more are clearly ambivalent and could go either way. One or two have become openly sympathetic.

      I could afford to do this with my boss, but my situation is unique. I would as a rule not advise doing that.

      Point is: subversion is possible. Keep Calm and Carry On.

  2. Norman
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Of all the things I have quoted and sent to my friends as links, this article seems to best summary and exposition of the what and why and how behind recent political surprises.

    I’ve fielded a lot of emails since November from friends who can’t process “what’s happened” so in conversation I have been sending a few choice links, offering my opinions, slightly diplomatically. Now, three months later and mere weeks after the inauguration, I find myself dissembling less and less. My main point has usually been: if this is a democracy, why should the discussion be limited to moronic, politically correct platitudes? Isn’t that the real reason no one can process “what’s happened”? I mean, either you’re a whining hysteric, and you think voting for Donald Trump is a hate crime, or you can man up a bit and wrap your head around what has really happened to this country in the last several decades.

    A good friend of mine for many years — white, male, middle class, late 40s, educated, intelligent, usually independent minded, but bubbled within academia — commented that the US political situation seems like 1930s Germany all over again. I told him that’s a received idea, not an observation. We live in our own time, in the sordid here and now of this country. Disorientation or despair is no excuse to project a promoted scare pattern upon such dissimilar circumstances.

    The commonest of common pitfalls is the bubble: the expectation that by bringing to bear only what one already knows and understands, we can make sense of what suddenly seems incomprehensible. When I correspond with him, I cite familiar writers, left thinkers, as well as send links to this and other sites. I am not engaging in polemic in order to win, but to broaden the discussion from the narrowness of epithets and shout-downs. I take the bubble to be a good thing, actually, and I encourage those of you who may be sending links to friends and relatives to consider this.

    Emphasize the obvious: the only real conversation is a broad one, and that’s going on now among the new right, alt right, etc. All meaning and relevance within the “allowable” discussion zone dried up long ago, and is characterized by brazen double standards.

    Accentuate the negative: The edgy left is mired in hysteria and self-righteousness. Its dumbest parts — for example, but not only, antifa and their apologists — are becoming the most militant, the most self-satisfied, the most dangerously corrupt.

    Find their pain, and seek to relieve it: The disoriented, the thoughtful, the disappointed, are probably embarrassed or shamed by the movement’s deficiencies, but often cling to the taxidermy of 80s postmodernist cultural critique. Still, intellectual curiosity can make things new — hope springs eternal. You can make life interesting again for them by giving them something to think and read about — the gift of despair!

    After reading Donald Thoresen’s article, I realize that simply shooting down some friend’s bit of parochial cant once or twice too often may close the door, may defeat the purpose. I know my friend is genuinely interested, and that his world is changing too quickly for his bubble to keep up. I’m sure a lot of educated whites are similarly disoriented, but they can relate well to the notion of preference falsification, as day-to-day fact, if not as fine theory. Open a door for them wherever possible.

  3. Montefrío
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    This essay was one of the more instructive I’ve come across here, and that’s saying something.

  4. Riki
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    In my candid opinion, the concept of “preference falsification” and the concept of “silent majority” are basically the same thing, the former being the object of the latter, and the latter being the subject of the former, and the crux of the problem lies in the term “silent”!

    Why “silent”? If tens of millions Trump voters believe they did a right and decent thing and they are honest, moral, patriotic and have the best interest of the nation in their collective mind? The reason is the leftist liberal MSM and their attack ants and foot soldiers such as the Antifa mobs acted to intimidate and cower the majority and made them “silent”. As far as this status quot remains unbroken, there is nil chance to end the dismal reality of “preference falsification”.

    We must take a stand and move to action! We must all bestir ourselves and devote our utmost effort, energy. courage and wisdom to break the monopoly and clout of MSM and their henchmen; Meanwhile we as part of the “silent majority” that has remained silent for too long must now act up, organize and take to the street to face down, stare down and shout down the leftist mobsters, to inflict the same cowering terror on them that they inflicted on us, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. If the majority don’t have the resolve, the guts and the grit to carry it out, there will be no hope and the “silent” and the “falsification” will deservedly and shamefully linger on endlessly.

  5. Proofreader
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Jon Elster’s book, Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), has an interesting discussion of “pluralistic ignorance” that ties in with Donald Thoresen’s discussion of “unrevealed preferences” in the article above (pp. 375-77):

    “In the second volume of Democracy in America, published in 1840, Tocqueville came up with a similar idea to explain the apparent stability of majority opinion:

    “‘Time, events, or individual efforts by solitary minds can in some cases ultimately undermine or gradually destroy a belief without giving any external sign that this is happening. No one combats the doomed belief openly. No forces gather to make war on it. Its proponents quietly abandon it one by one, until only a minority still clings to it. In this situation, its reign persists. Since its enemies continue to hold their peace or to communicate their thoughts only in secret, it is a long time before they can be sure that a great revolution has taken place, and, being in doubt, they make no move. They watch and keep silent. The majority no longer believes, but it still appears to believe, and this hollow ghost of public opinion is enough to chill the blood of would-be innovators and reduce them to respectful silence.’

    “A passage from Tocqueville’s Old Regime (1856) makes a similar point about religion. In the course of the French Revolution ‘those who retained their old faith became afraid of being alone in their allegiance, and, dreading isolation more than heresy, joined the crowd without sharing its beliefs. So what was still only the opinion of a part of the nation came to be regarded as the opinion of all, and from then on seemed irresistible even to those who had given it this false appearance.’

    “In these passages, Tocqueville refers to beliefs that people profess to hold (or abstain from disavowing), not to beliefs they actually and sincerely hold. . . . This is not, however, a hard and fast distinction. As I have argued in several places, it is not always clear what it means to ‘believe’ that something is the case. . . .

    “Modern psychology rediscovered Tocqueville’s insight under the heading of ‘pluralistic ignorance.’ In extreme cases, nobody believes in the truth of a certain proposition but everybody believes that everybody else believes it. In more realistic cases, most people do not believe it but believe that most people do. Both situations differ from the pathological cases in which everybody publicly professes a certain belief while knowing that nobody actually holds it in private. Communism displayed this culture of hypocrisy to an extreme degree, at least in its final gerontocratic stage. Pluralistic ignorance and cultures of hypocrisy can be sustained by the same mechanism, namely, fear of disapproval or punishment for stating deviant views. The difference is that in pluralistic ignorance, the disapproval is horizontal — meted out by fellow citizens who falsely believe they have to ostracize deviants lest they themselves be ostracized. As Tocqueville notes, nonshunners of deviants may be shunned. By contrast, the culture of hypocrisy works by vertically imposed punishment: those who do not express enthusiasm for fulfilling the plan or hatred of the class enemy are likely to lose their jobs or worse. The vertical punishment may then induce horizontal measures, if people avoid or punish deviants lest they be punished as deviants themselves.”

    Discussing conformism, Elster writes (p. 379):

    “Suppose that 20 percent of group members show in their behavior that they do not hold the belief in question, and that the remaining 80 percent pay lip service to it because they require more than 20 percent of nonconformists in the group to become nonconformists themselves. Specifically, suppose that in a group of 100, there are 20 nonconformists, 10 who would be willing to ‘come out’ if at least 25 have already done so, 15 who would do so if at least 35 have, and 55 who would join if at least 50 have shown their true colors. As stated, the majority culture is stable. Imagine, however, that 5 of the most conformist individuals leave or die and are replaced by 5 nonconformists. In that case, the majority would unravel. The 25 nonconformists would create the conditions for 10 more to join them; the resulting 35 would attract 15 more, thus generating the requisite threshold for the remaining 50 to join. Instead of referring to the process as the unraveling of conformism, we may also see it as the snowballing of nonconformism.”

    These statics and dynamics are interesting, and they may help explain why popular opinion can be so refractory and so fluid.

    Elster also writes (pp. 379-80):

    “Another mechanism for unraveling [of conformism] is the publication of an opinion survey. Prior to the 1972 referendum over Norwegian entry into the Common Market (as it was called then), the government, the main political parties outside government, and the major newspapers were all massively in favor of entry. Although, as the referendum showed, there was a popular majority against entry, each individual opponent would have been led to believe himself or herself a member of a small minority had not the opinion polls indicated otherwise. Without the polls, the outcome of the referendum would in all likelihood been different. Some of those opposed to entry would have abstained from voting, since the outcome would have been seen as a foregone conclusion. Also, the movement that was formed to persuade the undecided would have remained small and uninfluential. In the period between the introduction of universal suffrage and the rise of opinion surveys, the scope for pluralistic ignorance about political matters must have been considerable.”

    Of course, opinion surveys can be used to misrepresent and manipulate popular opinion. Here, as everywhere else, liberal democrats will resort to jiggery-pokery to ensure that they get the “correct” (i.e., kosher) results.

    The “privatization” of life and the Judaization of the mass media can make it very hard to identify popular opinion or understand its dynamics. How much do we really see or understand about the world around us? Less than we might like to think. We clearly have much to learn and much to unlearn.

    • Proofreader
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      I should have used “preference falsification” instead of “unrevealed preferences” in the very first sentence of my comment above. I sometimes make unusual “slips of the pen” when tired.

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