Understanding the Effects of Trauma and Political Conditioning

Often, after a traumatic event such as a mass shooting, or an economic crisis of some sort, people commonly ask if “America is at a crossroads.” This implies that Americans face a question that will determine not only the fate of the nation but also their lives on a more personal level. America was at a crossroads long before many of us were born and we crossed the line before any of us could do anything about it. How many young people, for example, know anything about the Federal Reserve, or the removal of the gold standard? How many people can equate the millions of immigrants crossing the border to the Immigration Reform Act of 1965? These are just small examples, but the point I am making is that they exemplify the concept of the frog in boiling water. These are big changes that take place with little attention given by the public that, over time, have dire consequences, and no one knows where to look for solutions because they don’t understand the root cause of the problem. The changes are implemented so gradually that no one notices in time, and when they do, they have little choice but to adapt to the change. Think about the implications of a Central Bank Digital Currency, for example. If they were to put this in place there would be nothing that could be done, and most people would just accept it without question, particularly in the event of massive economic crash. This would be the perfect example of the Hegelian Dialectic, or the problem-reaction-solution strategy.

America seems to be living from crisis to crisis, leaving us in a position where we don’t know where we stand, or how to defend the values we believe in because we are overwhelmed with contradictory information meant to belittle and demoralize us. We are being governed in a manner designed to make us lose hope in our current system, so that we may accept whatever alternatives they present as solutions. Constant mass shootings, continuous threats of government shutdowns, massive debt, war, government corruption, and the constant portrayal of America as a greedy, racist, imperialist nation are meant to do one thing. Make us lose faith. This belief is echoed In a book entitled Media, Persuasion, and Propaganda, as the authors state what scientists know about cognitive overload. It depletes self-control and makes us easier to manipulate. There is more to this than meets the eye. There is a science to understanding the human emotional response to trauma. If for example, the Hegelian Dialectic is real, and we are being governed in a manner meant to take advantage of our reactions to crisis situations, and the preceding demands for change, then this science should be explored. Joost Meerloo writes in his book, The Rape of the Mind, that political conditioning is an attempt to rewire the very nerves and reflexes which drive human behavior into a predictable pattern. This is done through the use of slogans and catchphrases that condition people to respond in a certain way. These slogans are attached to either positive or negative stimuli which elicit strong emotions. Meerloo notes that feelings of constant terror and hopelessness condition the mind to be more susceptible to suggestion and forced conversion. Think about it like this, the constant exposure to mass shootings being committed with an AR-15 rifle makes it very easy to elicit strong emotional responses to propaganda terms like assault rifle. Or, to slowly associate the term terrorist with so-called right-wing extremism as the shocking stress of Islamic terror has already subdued the American mind.

The human response to trauma has been under the microscope for many years. Much of what Meerloo references in his book dates back to Pavlov. According to an article entitled Demoralization and Embitterment, published in Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy in 2018, research has focused a great deal on what they call “the variability of psychological response” to emotional trauma caused by life events. This goes a little beyond the scope of this article, and it will be explored deeper in future writings, but what is interesting to note is that they have several different categories of responses which the authors call embitterment. This is described as a “psychological reaction to a stressful event that is perceived as unjust, or as a “violation”— caused by others who are identified as the main culprit responsible for what happened” (Giulia Nanni et al, 2018).  This reaction prompts hope for change as an initial response, however, this can transgress to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Two different responses also discussed in the article, known as hope for change and internal locus of control, and hope for change and external locus of control, describe the difference between an optimistic push for change characterized by an individual who feels they may retain some control, and the creation of despair which drives an individual towards depression and acts of violence due to a total loss of control. Interestingly, demoralization is described by the authors as a state of existential stress or hopelessness. A feeling of having no control and continually suffering the consequences of actions committed by others. Both embitterment and demoralization, if not described as the same state caused by severe stress, lead to impaired cognitive functioning, reductions in quality of life issues, and an increase in suicidal tendencies.

This brings into question the very nature of the societal conditions we are currently living through. We are constantly being propagandized with news that does little more than confuse and muddy the issues. There are two main media perspectives that drive the opinions and attitudes of viewers on the left and right. These perspectives do exactly as Meerloo states, “keep our  thoughts confined to a narrow, totalitarian concept of the world.” Essentially, it doesn’t really matter what worldview you cling to – it is useful or can be made useful, to the tyrant. It is exactly as the book Media Effects: Advances in Theory in Research states as well. The media is very successful in defining what the public should consider the most salient issues of the day. They define what we are thinking about. It doesn’t matter what our opinion on that matter is, as long as our mind is trapped in the narrative, it can be guided and controlled.

Where does this leave us? We can say we are at a crossroads, and that we must decide what we want the future of America to look like. Do we want to retain our Second Amendment, for example, or are we going to sit back and let them push the issue of gun control every time there is a shooting? Eventually, this is going to come to a head and boil over. The problem is saying we are at a crossroads is a severe understatement. We are so far beyond that and most people, and I may be preaching to the choir here, but most people do not have a clue. The powers that be have an acute understanding of our responses to trauma and stress, and they know that at some point, these events are going to have the desired effect. Little by little, America will reach a point where defending the Second Amendment, or freedom itself, will have lost its appeal because of the emotional responses to these events, mainly by a population who increasingly, is being taught the American constitution was founded on slavery and racism, to begin with. Right now things seem okay. SCOTUS has made some pro-2A rulings that on the surface, seem to secure our rights. When you look at this through the lens of long-range planning and incremental change, however, it paints a different picture. Think about a nation of elementary school children constantly bombarded with threats of mass shootings. How many of them will grow up with the resolve to fight for the Constitution? How many gun owners are easily persuaded by emotional arguments to take the side of the anti-gun left and argue that Americans do not need AR-15 rifles? We see this happening at an increasing rate, and while much of it may be propaganda, it has a persuasive effect on a misinformed, emotionally reactive public.

In closing, I am going to reference Meerloo again. I have been arguing for some time that Americans need to study what it is that social engineers know about our behavior and our responses to trauma. Meerloo writes in Rape of the Mind, on page 36 “that men can build up a defense to mind control if they understand the nature of the propaganda being used against them. Free men must not only understand the nature of this propaganda but also what it is about our own minds that makes us so susceptible to the acceptance of a tyrant’s dictates.” In order to understand the propaganda being used against them, they must first understand the nature of propaganda itself. Everything is designed to get the general public to accept a point of view it may generally reject. To get people to agree with something they may otherwise, disagree with. This is done through the clever manipulation of perceptions and messaging. Putting one issue up against the other, when in reality, both issues advance a portion of the agenda in one degree or another. Full-blown gun control, for example, versus red flag laws. One seems less infringing than the other, but both advance the left’s vision for eliminating the Second Amendment. The only way, in my opinion, to understand this is to do what Cleon Skousen suggests at the end of Chapter One of The Naked Communist, we must study the problem.

If you enjoyed this article consider reading my books as well.

A Critical Look at CRT in Education, Research and Social Policy,  available in paperback.  

And Without a Shot Indeed: Inducing Compliance to Tyranny Through Conditioning and Persuasion.

Leave a Comment


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)