Early on in my writing adventures, shortly after my experience in Social Work education, I focused a great deal on two specific topics. Psychopolitics, and the forty-five goals of the communist party. The former is generally referred to as a way of maintaining coercive control over the thoughts and loyalties of the masses. The book Brain-washing: A Synthesis on the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics is a fascinating read in the methodologies allegedly employed by Stalin’s henchman, Lavrenti Beria, in subduing the Russian population. The latter comes from the book The Naked Communist and is exactly as it sounds. A list of forty-five goals the communists set to accomplish their takeover of America. People feel many of these goals, if not all, have been reached. While the Communist takeover, and the book on Psychopolitics in particular, have been largely discredited as a hoax or conspiracy theory, it does bare some frightening correlations to the arts and sciences of coercive persuasion and the field of psychiatry. This article will focus on some select similarities between psychopolitics, theories on conditioning and, an article entitled An ethical analysis of contemporary use of coercive persuasion (“brainwashing”, “mind control”) in psychiatry found in the Journal of Alternative Medicine Research.
One of the first stand out similarities is the revelation that psychiatry itself, in an effort to keep its patients subdued and in the dark, treats itself like a sacred science that only they understand. The issue of mental illness and the workings of the mind are far too complicated for the average person to grasp and the expert knowledge of the psychiatrist should just be accepted at face value. “The patients must accept the sacred psychiatric science, an imposed categorical psychiatric diagnosis as a personal fault, and must obey and comply with the treatment.” Comparing this to the forty-five goals of the communist party and the book on Psychopolitics there are two considerations. One, communist goals number thirty-eight and thirty-nine explicitly state that all behavioral problems should be treated like psychiatric disorders that only psychiatrists understand and, that psychiatry itself should be used to create mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control. Perhaps even more astonishingly, on page 32 of Brainwashing there is the suggestion that those teaching psychology in our universities refrain from teaching all that is known about human beings as stimulus response mechanisms. This keeps the most advanced understandings of human behavior to themselves. Furthermore, it is all but admitted that the tenants of communism are taught through the principles of psychology and psychiatry.
Although the psychopolitical operative working in universities where he can direct curricula of psychology classes is often tempted to teach some of the principles of Psychopolitics to the susceptible students in the psychology classes, he is enjoined not to do so. He must limit his variations on the teaching of psychology to transmitting the tenets of communism under the guise of psychology and do so in a way that will cause the students to accept Communist tenets as their own idea or as modern scientific thinking. The psychological operative must not at any time educate students thoroughly in stimulus-response mechanisms, and must not impart to them, save those who are to become his fellow workers, the exact principles of Psychopolitics. It is not necessary to do so, and it is dangerous.
There is a theory of coercive persuasion discussed in An ethical analysis of contemporary use of coercive persuasion (“brainwashing”, “mind control”) in psychiatry that is very similar to what B.F. Skinner discussed about human behavior in Beyond Freedom and Dignity. People want to fit in, and Skinner states on page 91, that people are easily controlled through the “mild contingencies of approval and disapproval,” and that the fear of standing out can be more of a control on behavior than a full blown police state. The theory, which is called Dispensing of Existence, builds on this principle by forcing people to conform to a group think mentality or face being ostracized. People will most likely conform their opinions to fit the group out of a fear of being alone. Then, there is the topic of changing loyalties. In Brainwashing, loyalties are described as being be re-aligned by demonizing an individual’s object of loyalty and attributing all negative aspects of their life to the subject they were loyal too. Take the issue of gun control for instance. A politician that argues for gun rights can be effectively brainwashed by creating the impression that they are losing popularity because of their misaligned loyalties. By creating the impression that pro-gun control politicians are more popular, their loyalties can be moved. This is just an example, but one we see playing out almost everyday in several ways. The forty-five goals continually suggest the discrediting or demonizing of all American values and traditions. This is something that is carefully executed in our universities as Americanism itself is equated with racism.
Dispensing of existence is one of eight different principles of coercive persuasion discovered by Robert Lifton in his study on Chinese thought reform. Ironically, his description of this technique is remarkably like one of my own. As a student in a Social Work program at Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow Oklahoma, I was instructed to not only write an essay on white privilege, but also to stand in front of the class and admit that I was unaware of my own racist attitudes until writing this paper. Of course, I refused to do this, resulting in my being told I wasn’t for the profession. In Lifton’s essay, he describes the students in China being forced to self-criticize based on the new worldview being presented to them.
But more than this, he is expected to both anticipate and expand upon them through the even more important device of self-criticism. He must correctly analyze his own thoughts and actions, and review his past life-family, educational, and social-in order to uncover the source of his difficulties. And the resulting insights are always expressed within the Communist jargon-corrupt “ruling class” and “bourgeois” influences, derived from his specific class origin.
There is another article entitled Attitude change: Persuasion and social influence, which clearly backs the idea that attitudes can be changed, and people can be coerced into conformity through social pressures. This is done by challenging the integrity, and positive evaluation of the self. When a person is isolated, they can develop feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. Attitude change is also achievable based on the idea that people have a desire to appear knowledgeable, or to stand on the correct side of an issue. Studies have shown that people, when attempting to make a favorable impression upon another, are more likely to let their opinions shift towards that persons opinions. This is all because they want to fit in and be a part of something.
This article barely scratches the surface on the relationship between psychiatry, coercive persuasion and communist techniques of brainwashing. The intent was to draw on some correlations that readers may best be able to identify with. For some time now I have avoided the book Brain-washing: A Synthesis on the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics because it has been discredited as something that wasn’t real. The more I study persuasion, inducing compliance, and the principles of conditioning, the more I am convinced that there is a connection between the study of human behavior and communism. Our behavior, as I have claimed for some time, is being studied and manipulated in a way that teaches them how to better persuade us to their ends. I will certainly be diving deeper into the articles I cited. I wrote this piece because I recognized the connections immediately when I began reading An ethical analysis of contemporary use of coercive persuasion (“brainwashing”, “mind control”) in psychiatry.