Monday, May 13, 2019

Generation Brainwashed

Kudos to Daniel Greenfield, of the Sultan Knish blog, for an illuminating essay on brainwashing. We have long since been aware of the brainwashing that totalitarian dictatorships visited on those who refused to believe. Robert Jay Lifton wrote a seminal work, entitled Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism where he showed how Mao Zedong and his minions practiced it in the early days of his takeover of China.

As Greenfield explains, brainwashing begins when you force someone to believe something that isn’t true:

Brainwashing happens every day. It doesn’t have to mean a complete transformation of identity. On the simplest level, it means compelling someone to believe something that isn’t true.

If we were of a more perfervid disposition we would suggest that the current mania over transgenderism involves brainwashing. Convincing the nation to believe that a male who comes to believe that he is a female is really a female must register somewhere on the brainwashing scale. And surely, persuading a child that he or she was born in the wrong body must count as forcing someone to believe in something that defies reality.

Greenfield does not offer this example, but it cries out for recognition. He describes what happens when two police officers persuade an innocent suspect that he really did it. It’s one thing to get the suspect to confess. It’s quite another to convince him that he really did it, even if he didn’t:

It’s as simple as two cops browbeating an innocent suspect into believing that he’s guilty. The officers and the suspect won’t see their interaction as brainwashing. The officers can honestly believe in his guilt. And, at the end of the process, the suspect will also believe that he committed the crime. He will even be able to describe in great detail how he committed it. That’s common, everyday brainwashing.

The suspect has to choose between continuing a struggle that he knows he cannot win or acquiescing to his tormentors. Apparently, he is faced with a choice between breaking down entirely, being destroyed entirely, and fulfilling his interrogators’ expectations. He is choosing between being rejected and being embraced. In time, reality loses and he chooses the latter.

Better yet, Greenfield continues, once the issue no longer concerns who did or did not do the crime, but whether or not the interrogators are correct, the suspect can gain a strange sort of virtue by confessing. He will have achieved goodness by admitting how bad he is. Because goodness is now defined, not in terms of what he did or did not do, but in terms of whether or not he believes what the police want him to believe:

The belief can be anything, but the pseudo-religious ritual taps into an emotional core requiring them to believe that they were bad people, and that by accepting this new belief, they are now good people.

This false conversion is the essence of brainwashing and of leftist political awakening narratives.

Obviously, this resembles a religious conversion. In it an individual who accepts his guilt and atones for his misdeed will gain a new status as a virtuous person who belongs to a new group. That means, he ill gain status in something like the Communist Party of China, by becoming a party member in good standing.

Why do they continue to believe in something that is manifestly untrue… after the stress has been reduced? First, because they have been rewarded for it. Instead of being pariahs, they have become good party members. Second, Greenfield posits, because they believe that the crisis is ongoing and that they must define themselves on one side or the other, on the side of those who will solve the crisis or the side of those who have produced it.

Among the crises being peddled today by the American left, is the climate change apocalypse. Chicken Littles are running around predicting the most dire environmental catastrophe… one that can only be solved by the Green New Deal:

Control the national environment, force a crisis on the country, and tap into their fear and guilt. And then you can outlaw planes, cows, skyscrapers, straws, plastic bags and the rest of the Green New Deal.

The environmental crisis is just one example of how leftist movements can brainwash a nation….

Global Warming panic is one of a succession of manufactured leftist crises in America that began with a class crisis. transitioned to a racial crisis, and then to an environmental crisis.

Among the other great crises are the Trump administration, American racial divide, the prevalence of income inequality:

Each of the crises claimed that society was on track to an inevitable apocalypse, that the nature of the crisis, economic, racial or environmental, had been verified by experts, that we were all complicit in the crisis, and that the only solution was radical change administered by the crisis experts.

The best place to brainwash children is the classroom. It fulfills most of the conditions that prior despots imposed by using the criminal justice system:

Classrooms and campuses provide physical control over students for nearly two decades of their lives. That control was initially used for simple dogmatic preaching. Then it escalated to cult behavior with classroom role-playing rituals encouraging mass expressions of love and hate, transformations of sexual and gender identity, detachment from friends and family, and violent displays of pain and rage….

Like every cult, the modern campus claims to serve an educational purpose, helping students find meaning and purpose, but insisting that they must first be cured of the subconscious evils such as white privilege and toxic masculinity that are holding them back through a process that deconstructs their barriers, encourages confession, expressions of trauma, shame and guilt, to create new identities.

This isn’t education. It’s not even dogmatic lecturing. It’s the same basic set of techniques used by any major cult in the country. Once colleges began trying to cure their students of subconscious evils at closed sessions, under the guidance of unlicensed therapists associated with a movement, there was no longer any difference between them and that of any cult, except billions in taxpayer dollars.

The sessions at which white privilege or toxic masculinity can be cured, or at which students are put in touch with the trauma of their oppression as minorities, duplicate cult indoctrination in every regard.

Thus, those who bear the burden of being white and male are browbeaten by their teachers into believing that they are the problem, not the solution. And they are forced to accept the belief lest their future be compromised by bad grades. If they do not accept the guilt and do not do sufficient penance they will be packed off to mental health counselors, most of whom are licensed, who will teach them to get in touch with their guilt.

And then, they can go out and join Antifa, or become activists and save the world. In truth, they are saving themselves by guaranteeing their place in a cult of true believers. Between belonging to a cult and belonging to nothing at all, they happily embrace the former… because it offers something vaguely resembling salvation.


trigger warning said...

The climate scam is about one thing: seizing control of the energy economy. If a political institution controls the flow of energy to citizens, control of citizens follows.

On that note, one of the more amusing and progressive things coming from CA is PG&E's solution to decaying electrical transmission infrastructure: cut the power to "vulnerable" (unmaintained) lines on windy days. The SF Chronicle reports that some customers are "troubled" by this. I can't see why. I think of it as randomly scheduled, random duration Erf Hours. A perfect excuse to eat everything in the refrigerator, thereby virtuously avoiding gratuitous food waste.

I note for the record that "Bugs" Ocasio-Cortez chicksplains that her 12-year apocalyptic time horizon comment was all just a joke - i.e., "dry humor + sarcasm". I agree, and I'm still laughing. She's a better natural comedian than former Sen. Al "Titman" Franken ever dreamed of being.

Sam L. said...

Climate Change: What it's been doing ever since the earth's atmosphere was formed. The state I grew up in was half-glaciated...until 15K years ago and the warming started.

MikeyParks said...

The truly horrifying reality is that brainwashing isn't even necessary for pre- and elementary school children. They come with blank slates and the Leftists fill those slates in with their toxic ideas. Then it requires reverse brain washing to undo the evil. A very, very difficult task.

UbuMaccabee said...

The root of all evil is the lie.

whitney said...

That is the truth.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

What satay are you in, Sam?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Trigger @7:01 AM:

All of here know that “dry” humor requires intelligence and intentionality. AOC has neither. Nor does David Hogg. Same person.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I begin every day with:
- Drudge Report
- Had Enough Therapy?
- The Conservative Treehouse
- Sultan Knish

trigger warning said...

I note for the record that the Nature group, once one of the elite science publishing platforms, just published an article entitled "Children can foster climate change concern among their parents".

"The collective action that is required to mitigate and adapt to climate change is extremely difficult to achieve, largely due to socio-ideological biases that perpetuate polarization over climate change. Because climate change perceptions in children seem less susceptible to the influence of worldview or political context, it may be possible for them to inspire adults towards higher levels of climate concern, and in turn, collective action."

A quick review of the nearly-unanimous female list of authors reveals not one actual scientist. Most [please restrain disruptive guffaws until you have left the conference room] are from the... [ahem] NCSU Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

To be fair, the "research" was published in Nature: Climate Change.

Sam L. said...

Iac, I am not in a satay, though I do like SE Asian foods. I gave up on Drudge some years ago.