Category Archives: Mind Control

Batty Bioweapons, 5G, and Star Wars

An interview with myself, Paul Haeder, a radical Marxist from the Pacific Northwest and my ideas about what is going on to drive the 4th Industrial Revolution and the Great Reset.

It’s not pretty, for sure, how I go all crazy and fugue like, in the interview (man, the lack of teaching 30 students face to face has turned me into a dervish, nodding, head shaking wacko). But I enjoyed these three socialist interviewers, and while I sort of take over the discussion, and I do have a set of nervous ticks and habits [and I can rationalize those by saying I don’t like looking at a screen, an external camera, and in this episode, I had to prop the smart/dumbphone onto the keyboard since Zoom Doom was cutting out on the computer], I think there are harvestable points the four of us made. Again, thanks to Andy, Kenny and Eduardo for the time capsule moment. The Jab, Star Wars, and the Bubble Net of Digital Gulags.”

It maybe forcing the three into a lumping process, but that is what ideas and brainstorming and plain old historical looks at all the bullshit thrown upon the human race by a sliver of people we call the elite, the beautiful people, the controllers.

It is a fundamental discussion now, we on the left-left, looking at the various nefarious activities, plans and invented narratives the controllers have unfolded in the past, currently and for the future. If it feels like Blade Runner or Minority Report , then it must be somehow in the reality slipstream of our times to actually force us to admit the fact that AI and the fascist billionaire club are looking way beyond the horizon of Miami under water. Way beyond disease and viruses and pathogens.

Here’s a fascist:

In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.
Klaus Schwab

And here’s the reality of the USA and other western countries citizens afraid to look in the mirror or at their own controllers:

Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil by Gavin Mayhew

I talked a lot about books, about authors, even newspapers of old, in this interview. For very good reasons —

There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.

— Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, page 48

See the source image

The idea is to drum up and initiate and converge people into conversations, and deep analyses, but without a truckload of books under one’s belt, well, the conversation stays shallow, stays controlled, stays right smack in the center of the mainstream mush media’s lies of omission and submission, the controlling media, the media of government controllers, owned and served by the corporations, and the billionaire class who are nefarious, who are the drivers of destruction and culture. That we have to know Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic might “beat” Jeff Bezos into space as a bug-eyed sociopath billionaire, well, that news takes another breath of sanity away from people consuming it and contemplating it and talking about it as a valiant thing. We have to educate the masses on healing, farming, medicine, aging, self-sufficiency, mutual aid, how to rattle the cages and shake the trees and beat these sons of bitches!

Richard Branson poised to beat Jeff Bezos into space | Financial Times
Jeff Bezos Risks It All for His Space Dream | WIRED
How Elon Musk Became Space's Top Entrepreneur With SpaceX and Starlink | Observer

These are more of the perversions of our times, and while I touch upon them in the interview above, well, come on folks — all those billions, all those tax dollars, all those S.T.E.M. graduates, all the time and mental energy with satellite constellations and the macho “I am going into orbit first” bravado, man, if that is not enough to occupy real left-left journalists’ shows and mindsets, then I have no idea what does. Because, we are on a planet of forced starvation, forced feedback loops of no water, depleted soils, ag collapses, rising seas, inundation, no infrastructure, housing issues, war-war-war materials/equipment sales. These human scum above should be, well, tanked. They represent beyond hope, beyond humanity. Playing with space trips, and then, the mega constellation, and the telecoms and corporations tying to internet of things/nano things, all of that, it ties into self-indulgence and massive profits beyond anything Carnegie or Rockefeller of JP Morgan of old could have imagined.

It is about total surveillance and tracking and subjugation of man, woman, flora, fauna.

Tax payers foot the bills — triple or more taxation on everything; paying for infrastructure to supply these felons with everything, from roads to communication to air space; then, all the externalities of the fallout of their predatory and casino capitalism; all the trained/educated men and women coming from tax payer funded schools who end up working for these billionaires, in their companies; all the dead-cultural crap these people are infecting the world with; all the lies of Hollywood and others in media propping them up or even covering their lives and their schemes at the expense of the real stories.

These space programs, trips to the moon, man-womxn in the cans/rockets/shuttles programs, take away from the hard scrabble life stories and struggles of the 90 percent of the global population. We can fix and mitigate and compensate/end a world of nukes, forever chemicals, endocrine disrupters, deforestation, ocean acidification, over-harvesting, bad education, bad farming, and the like, including bad medicine, no medicine and even antibiotic microbial resistance and viruses, and income inequality and so much more, maybe even violence.

But we need to get rid of the billionaires and multi-millionaires!
Get rid of despots and lords of war. Because these Bezos and Gates and Branson and Walton, et al. characters are plain ice cold murderers who have TV shots, platforms and stolen trillions from the workers, the tax payers. They are normal, their behavior valorized and we are the chumps, expendables.

*****

Bats in Switzerland harbour viruses with ability to jump to humans

“Whitey on the Moon”

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey’s on the moon)

I can’t pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)
Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.
(while Whitey’s on the moon)

The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night.
(’cause Whitey’s on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)

I wonder why he’s uppi’ me?
(’cause Whitey’s on the moon?)
I was already payin’ ‘im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes takin’ my whole damn check,
Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin’ up,
An’ as if all that shit wasn’t enough

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an’ arm began to swell.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)

Was all that money I made las’ year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain’t no money here?
(Hm! Whitey’s on the moon)
Y’know I jus’ ’bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)

The post Batty Bioweapons, 5G, and Star Wars first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Capitalist Pandemic, The Assault on Consciousness, and America’s Status as Chosen People of the Planet

The new CEO fronting for America Inc. completed his first meeting among our Euro lapdogs – officially known as NATO – and had a more important meeting with Putin in which, according to media servants of market forces, he let him know who’s boss of the universe. Politely, of course, because even this glorified clerk understands the danger of provoking a world war which would spare few of us, if any. An unedited interview of the Russian president, available online if American authorities of freedom and democracy haven’t already removed it, clearly reveals the infantile ignorance of a network assailant posing as objective reporter and the often amused reactions of the Russian statesman and leader of a nation once hanging on the ropes under the abuse of global capital now a world power again and much of that due to his leadership. It, like so many other examples, glaringly highlights the descent of the American empire with little global power remaining but its ability to blow up earth and commit mass murder more effectively than any other nation. But it is also susceptible to almost as much horror as it might inflict on powerless nations by powerful nations now able to retaliate in kind, which we can all be thankful for since it’s the only thing stopping us from attempted greater slaughters than we already conduct which we sell as advancing the cause of peace and democracy.

While the corona virus has created a menace seemingly beyond what was already becoming obvious about the end of private profit domination of earth, it also unleashed the greatest outpouring of high, low and no IQ speculation, charges, countercharges and more surpassing past reactions at times of great crisis with moments of extreme fantasy bordering on dementia being experienced and practiced both by people of supposed expertise and higher education in the sciences to folks who may still dance under a full moon with their bodies covered in slime as a way to avoid cancer. Sadly, so far the slime-covered dancers are making about as much sense as the allegedly more critical gang.

The horrendous death toll inflicted by the virus is thought by many to be the work of a Chinese plot to exterminate everyone on earth but the Chinese and blame it on America, an American plot to exterminate everyone on earth but Americans and blame it on China, and assorted tales of twitness and omni-anti-social media to make those two sound relatively thoughtful. The fact that capitalism has transformed nature and made it far more easy to spread a lethal virus than to feed, clothe and shelter billions of people has escaped many, even some critics of capital who seem shocked that big pharma profits from illness. Hello? As does every and all other business entities and aspects of free market private profit pursuit which has less to do with evil individuals and far more to do with a corrupt debased system controlled by minorities at ever great cost to the majority. Dog food, bombs, broccoli, burgers, health food, high fashion, health care, garbage, death and every other aspect of life are all subject to market forces creating private profit at the mall, school, factory, lab, convenience store and all other venues where goods are exchanged by one and all except for those without enough market force, and they can just drop dead.

And this is only a small part of the dis-mis-cis mind attacks on the population to assure mass confusion that doesn’t notice billions the world over, and hundreds of thousands in America, unable to afford food, clothing, and shelter while a relatively tiny number increase their wealth to become the equal of gods while their subjects cringe at threats to what is called “our” democracy originating from people with little to no political economic power save to vote for candidates mostly bought, rented and leased by the richest of the rich who look down on them lined up at the polls, malls and battlefields from their wealth created mountain-top fortresses and smile at the blessings of capitalist democracy.

What’s a failing empire to do but continue failing, as in rushing to increase aid to Israel when a global majority has reacted in critical anger over its most recent abuse of the indigenous people whose land was taken on behalf of Europeans and the Palestinians were made to pay and are still paying for European atrocities? While the new American CEO leads a struggle to return to a form of social democracy that spreads a few more loans among the barely surviving and more taco-pizza-burgers to the fast food hungry while assuring that the system responsible for creating hunger is maintained and billions of American tax dollars continue to be rewarded to a colonial apartheid nation? And this while decent Americans in great numbers are enraged by the conditions of life of America’s indigenous people robbed of their land, culture and heritage long before Israel or the Middle East occupied any of the consciousness of Americans.

Confusing?

Like the humanitarian decency at the root of all Americans when reaching out to immigrant populations having the usual difficulties of discrimination inflicted first by their cheap labor exploiters and later by the native people whose jobs they take and at whose expense they frequently survive. Not to mention the difficulty of having to step over the bodies of Americans reduced to sleeping in the street while on our way to rescue an animal to save it from, um, having to sleep in the street. Are we confused? Does a snake have wings? Is a bluebird blue?

Of course, all of these systemic curses of inhumanity and often near madness can be written off as Russian and Chinese assault on our sacred democracy, enshrined in the constitution-bible, written by slave owners and others of the 1% who believed the common people should leave the important business of ruling to those with the most money, purchased knowledge and sanctification by those biblical gifts handed down – or up? – by an invisible force called god, or later, high finance.

The financialization of capitalism has cursed the world with worse contradictions than existed in the time of the system’s birth when Marx pointed out most of them. Now, money makes money without the production of anything but more money which may soon lead to much of humanity with indoor toilets eating bitcoins and excreting buttcoins while trying to live with junk filled oceans, overflowing sewers and forests turned to deserts while praying that nobody pushes the nuclear button. On the hopeful side, workers here and all over the world are acting up, unionizing and fighting for democracy in political economic dictatorships worshipped as democracies by Wall Street and its wholly owned subsidiary: the American government.

Time is growing short for Americans to get beyond symbolic challenges to capitalism that merely offer more profits by “branding” various movements with marketplace stature assuring that Gay Inc., Feminist Inc., Black Lives Matter Inc., and Latino-a-x Inc.  do not, perish the thought, turn into American Democracy Inc. That is still to come and as always, we’d better hurry to join up with much of the world our media mind managers don’t tell us about but which is setting an example for everyone by opting for a system that puts the public good before private profit. So far, as expected, the American regime of warfare, petcare and egomaniacal behavior personified by Trump – which is why they had to get rid of him for exemplifying what the nation really is – has succeeded in keeping division, individual mental illness and group therapy uppermost in consciousness while social reality sinks more deeply into a massive sea of moral sewage.

The “memes” of an all too often me-me-me-me culture need to and will soon become a plural “we “encompassing all of us and leaving no one out. Capitalism cannot be saved but humanity must be, from the social pandemic of private profit first, humanity later, if ever. The viral brain surgery performed on our collective consciousness by our rulers is an aspect of capitalism and could not exist without market forces under minority and anti-democratic control. The sooner “we” understand that, the sooner “we” end pandemics and thought control on our way to real democracy in a collective human environment favoring the best for all and leaving no one out.

You gotta problem with that?

The post The Capitalist Pandemic, The Assault on Consciousness, and America’s Status as Chosen People of the Planet first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Left-Wing Psychotherapy Cults: Sullivanians from Hedonism to Group Terror

Photo Image:  FilmDaily

Orientation

My Purpose

A few months ago, I wrote an article titled “Political and Spiritual Cults“. My purpose was to show the commonalties among all cults, whether they are political, spiritual or psychological. In this article I want to narrow the focus to discuss a left-wing psychological cult, the Sullivanians, a countercultural organization that made its mark on the Upper West Side of New York City between 1970 and the early 1990s. Why bother to do this? Because as a socialist I have to face that any socialist organization I join, whether it be social democratic, Leninist or even anarchist has the potential to become a cult. The more we know about the conditions under which cults emerge, the more we can combat them.

Overcoming Media Biases Against Cults

When mass media compares cults members to the general population, cult members are portrayed as:

  • Mentally unstable
  • Less educated
  • Lonelier
  • From the poor and working-class backgrounds
  • Physically intimidated into joining
  • Brainwashed
  • Drawn from criminal elements
  • Less moral as people

Research has shown none of this to be true.

Plan of the Article

For the most part I will be following the architecture I built in my previous article, including what is a totalistic institution; the ten characteristics of cults; the stages cults go through; the mechanisms of control in each stage; why people stay; what kind of qualities the leaders have and what is the impact of leaving on cult members.

I will be adding a short section on the theoretical assumptions of the Sullivanians at the beginning. For each of these units I will say something about how it applies to the Sullivanians. Besides my article, I will be referring to two books on the Sullivanians: Amy Siskind’s sociological analysis, The Sullivan Institute/Fourth Wall Community: The Relationship of Radical Individualism and Authoritarianism and a book by a participant, Artie Honan How Did A Smart Guy Like me….For my general understanding of cults, I owe the most to Margret Singer, Janja Lalich, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad.

Theoretical Assumptions

The Sullivanian Institute was a spin-off organization that broke away in 1957 from the work of Harry Stack Sullivan. Sullivan was sensitive to the social side of psychological dynamics and among other insights blamed the nuclear family for the formation of the ideal capitalist consumer. Both Dr. Jane Pearce and Saul Newton took these criticisms of the nuclear family much further. In 1963, Pearce and Newton coauthored a book called Conditions of Human Growth. In that book they identified the family as socially isolating the individual from developing healthy relationships with friends, especially in adolescence and adulthood.

Open-ended friendships, both sexual and otherwise, were the way out of the infantilization of the nuclear family and the road to maturity. For them, friendships are the first potential of experience of love between equals. A big part of therapeutic work was to get their patients to expand their friendships as they withdrew from their families. Newton and Pearce considered the desire for the security of exclusive relationships among their patients to be a neurotic symptom. In fact, one of the first things on the agenda of the Sullivanians therapists was to separate the patients from their parents. On the whole the two foundation stones of the Sullivanians community were:

  • To break from their family of origin
  • To have non-monogamous sexual relations among friends

What is a Totalistic Institution?

Calling an organization a cult has more to do with how an organization is run than what people believe. Cults are a subcategory of organizations which includes mental health institutions, prisons, army barracks, orphanages, and religious institutions such as monasteries. As opposed to this, in what Erving Goffman calls “pluralistic institutions”, people come and go as they please in and out of various institutions throughout the day as they go from playing one role to another. Within each institution, the group dynamics and power relationships vary. An individual can have great control in one area and little control in another. What produces critical thinking within the individual is the habit, whether conscious or unconscious, of comparing one institution to another, each with their strengths and weaknesses.

In totalistic social formations, all institutions are rolled into one. Economic exchanges, livelihood, sacred beliefs, political dynamics, living situations and sexual encounters are all concentrated within a single institution. In the more extreme institutions like prisons or in the military, working and play activities are done all at the same time, in the same place with uniform expectations. Boundaries between inside and outside are rigid. The authorities are centralized and there is little room for feedback. There are surveillance systems, spying and little privacy, and this breeds insecurity and paranoia.

Sullivanians as a Total Institution

The Sullivanian community was divided into four tiers. The four therapists at the top were Saul Newton, Joan Harvey, Ralph Klein and Helen Moses; a secondary tier of therapists in training; a third tier of psychotherapy patients and lastly, community members who were friends of the people in the first three tiers. When the Sullivanians morphed into the Fourth Wall Theatre community in 1977, the fourth tier were people living in Manhattan who came to see the plays, often from poor areas of the city. The biggest factor that made the Sullivanians a totalistic institution was the collapsed boundaries between the tiers. Members of all tiers were invited to have sex with each other, including therapists with clients, clients and those in therapy training. Sleeping alone was considered an interpersonal failure. Furthermore, the therapists ignored confidentiality and talked openly about the problems of their patients. The most important people – the therapists – knew everyone else’s business and encouraged others to be spies to report on any dissatisfactions anyone had with the leadership. This led to mistrust among people in the second and third tiers as well as paranoia.

The Sullivanians were not as rigid as a prison or an army barracks. Community members worked at different jobs and they lived in different apartment buildings.  However, all households occupied most of an apartment building and each household apparently consisted only of members of the Sullivanian community. These households made enough money to hire people from the outside to cook, clean and babysit. House members had regular meetings in which they talked about household problems but also about their lives. Members also knew each other’s weaknesses and these weaknesses got back to the leadership in one way or another.

The dependency of community members on the leadership ran deep. Therapists in training were dependent on leadership economically to provide them with referrals. People were dependent personally for their identity through therapy. Interpersonally they played together, lived together and in the 1980s, did political work together. All this supported the authoritarian control by the leaders and made the Sullivanians a totalistic institution.

Ten Characteristics of Cults

From my previous article on cults, I named ten characteristics.

  • It emerged out of a political, economic or ecological crisis.
  • It recruited young adults between 17 and 24 of middle-class and upper middle-class origins who were likely to be undergoing some developmental crisis in their personal lives.
  • It has an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
  • It has a revolutionary, dualistic ideology.
  • It possesses a social-psychological array of tools for luring in new members and sustaining their commitment.
  • It lacks mechanisms for critical feedback from the membership.
  • It requires a small group of lieutenants to isolate and keep atomized the membership through spying so that no coherent opposition can form.
  • It develops rituals, myths and celebrations that allow the group to mark time.
  • It demonizes outside groups that are in competition with the cult.
  • It has rigid, terrorized boundaries that make it extremely difficult to leave.

Sullivanians’ Characteristics of Cults

It is not true that the Sullivanians cult emerged as a reaction to a political, economic or ecological crisis. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the economy was not contracting. It was possible for community members to work at low paying jobs in the arts, have leisure time and still make the rent, especially because of group living. However, the decline of the Sullivanians community in the 1980s was definitely connected to contracting economic conditions where rents skyrocketed and jobs in the arts shrank. AIDS and the nuclear reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island added to the group paranoia.

The Sullivanians did appeal to upper middle-class adults. They weren’t in any serious psychological crisis. They were relatively healthy adults who were attracted to an alternative lifestyle including art. music, theatre and dance. Sexual exploration was part of the counterculture and not unique to the Sullivanians. In Saul Newton they had an authoritarian working-class leader who was once a member of the Communist Party and claimed to have fought in the Spanish Civil War. Both men and women in the community agreed he was charismatic. Newton was also erratic and explosive and most members were scared of him. There were no institutionalized feedback mechanisms for criticizing the leadership. Complaining behind his back was dangerous because of surveillance and could easily get back to the leaders.

Although Newton was either a Stalinist or a Maoist, in the first nine years of the community, he was not heavy-handed politically. It was in the descendent phase when the nuclear meltdown occurred, the AIDS epidemic spread and Yankeedom had become more conservative in the 1980s that his Stalinist or Maoist politics became more hard-edged.  Relations between the Sullivanians and other leftists became increasingly hostile, and their political ideology became more dualistic and sectarian. Here is where the characteristic of the demonization of outsiders took place.

The psychological array of tools for drawing people in and holding them was pretty straightforward. In all cults, sex is used to control people. However, in most cults sex flows one way, from the members to the leaders. Among the Sullivanians sex among members was immediate and expected. Secondly, unlike other cults, women were encouraged to have more than one partner at a time. Besides immediate and sustained sex for both men and women, there was the opportunity to work with therapists on their problems and to do so for a low fee, compared to the much higher going rate. Thirdly, friendships were made quickly and developed through household living arrangements. Fourthly, the Sullivanians were very supportive of the members developing their creativity. Siskind points out that many of them became famous in the arts, filmmaking, and dance. The Sullivanians were also a utopian community, so joining it helped people to feel that they were a special group, superior to others, in addition to being part of a movements which was going to overthrow capitalism.

Symbolism and ritual were a strong part of the Sullivanians community. They played hard together at parties and vacations, but this was all secular enjoyment. There was no celebration of revolutionary holidays or the singing of the Internationale, as we might expect of an aspiring socialist community. Neither was there a dramatic change of identity based on change of hair or clothes that I found.

Stages of Cults

As I said in my article Political and Spiritual Cults:

In their book, The Guru Papers, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad identify two stages of cults: the proselytizing stage and the apocalyptic paranoia stage.

In the proselytizing ascendant stage, the guru sees the possibility of realizing his ambitions. The group is touted as being at the cutting edge of new knowledge. Outsiders are welcomed although they are treated with a kind of benign superiority. In the ascendant phase, the guru rewards the enthusiasm of his followers and grants them positions which have opened up within the hierarchy. The tone of the community is celebratory. The guru is accessible to the public and is charming and playful. In terms of the recruitment, this is the “honeymoon phase”. The focus is to expand the organization and the emphasis is on the present.

The apocalyptic, paranoiac, decadent phase is when the numbers of recruits have leveled off and explanations need to be found. The public is now seen as too stupid and blind to acknowledge the merits of the cult. In the declining stage, the message becomes pessimistic, with a doomsday “I told you so” tone. Outsiders cease to be welcomed in a spirit of satisfying their curiosity. Rather they are seen as enemies out to destroy the organization. Part of the descendent phase also involves the guru making more grandiose claims while promising to invoke occult power. The membership begins to have doubts.

Sullivanians’ Stages of Cults

The Sullivanians definitely went through these stages. Siskind, in her sociological analysis of them, calls the proselytizing phase the “Halcyon Years” from 1969-1978. Siskind calls the apocalyptic phase “the Revolutionary period of 1979-1983. Between 1984 and 1992 there was a steep decline in membership. In the first period the emphasis was on the psychology of the individual and their full development, including taking classes and the practice of the arts. The full enjoyment of life through sex, friendship, creativity and community was all supported. They also had a comedy club run by a very talented member, Luba Elman who was also responsible for early theatrical productions which later turned into the Fourth Wall Theatre Company. Between 1970 and 1974 the Sullivanian community grew at a steady rate of 100 new members a year, culminating at a peak of 400 in 1974. Political relations with other leftists had some tension but that did not stop cooperation in large protests.

There were four shock waves which were scattered across the landscape of the Sullivanian community between 1977 to 1983 that turned it from growing, hopeful community into a more stagnant, paranoid and isolated community. The first was the driving out of Luba Elman as the organizer of the Fourth Wall Repertory Company and her replacement by therapist turned playwright and actress, Joan Harvey. Both she and her partner Saul were dictatorial in their expectations of the members of the stage crew and everyone else in the Fourth Wall community.

Another very dramatic event was the Fourth Wall takeover of the Truck and Warehouse Theatre. The previous company refused to leave the building although the lease was up. They were forced out in an orchestrated attack, with waves of Fourth Wall people invading the building. Some took over the stage sets, rebuilt them with the carpentry and electrical skills of the Fourth Wall community. Two hours after the initial takeover, 160 more members came to support the takeover and guard the building. Then they set up an elaborate security system to guard the building. The violent nature of the whole process must have affected the moral of people. Artie Honan, one of the chief organizers of the takeover, said: ”Looking back, I feel that this was a senseless act of violence. Something I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t been taking direction from Saul. (What’s a Smart Guy Like Me…) I doubt he was alone in these sentiments. Later he said I was preoccupied about having to organize security coverages …I had no time to reflect on the experience or to think about how it ran against the grain of my values. Lack of time to think is characteristic of all cults.

A third major event was the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979. This spread fear in the community. It led to a panic in which 200 community members en masse fled to Florida to avoid radiation. This event turned the Sullivanians into an explicitly political community as Saul’s Maoist orientation came to the fore. House meetings went from every day discussions about household and personal problems to political book readings and discussion groups. It was in this period that Saul implemented a Maoism anti-intellectual campaign in which community members would renounce their class background in group self-confession circles.

A fourth major event was the AIDS crisis of the early 1980s. This directly impacted the size of the community and the sex-economy of the organization. The Fourth Wallers were naturally wary of having sex with outsiders and limited the sexual activity to the already existing members. Since, on average, the women outnumbered the men two to one, the shortage affected the women more than the men. There was even a Male Chauvinism campaign within the community to force the men to have sex with women who didn’t have partners! Please see Table A for a contrast between the two stages within the Sullivan community

Characteristics of Sociopathic Leaders

In their book Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships, Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias identify fifteen characteristics of a sociopath that could apply to a cult leader. Here they are:

  • Glibness and superficial charm
  • Conning and maneuvering
  • Grandiose sense of self
  • Pathological lying
  • Lack of remorse, shame or guilt
  • Shallow emotions
  • Incapacity to love
  • Sensation seeking
  • Impulsivity and lack of behavioral control
  • Early behavior problems with juvenile delinquency
  • Scapegoating
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior and infidelity
  • Erratic work history of fits and starts
  • Materialistic lifestyle
  • Criminal and entrepreneurial versatility

Saul Newton as a Sociopath

As repulsive as Saul Newton might be to you and to me, he did not have all fifteen characteristics of a sociopath. I will begin by eliminating the characteristics he did not possess. We know very little of his history, so we don’t know anything about whether his teenage behavior might be categorized as juvenile delinquency or whether he had an erratic work history. From my reading I did not find instances of sensation-seeking. He put members in the Sullivanians community in risky situations, but he seemed to be sure that he and any of his wives were well-protected. It would be unfair to characterize him as having shallow emotions. He had problems controlling his anger, as in beating his wives. There is nothing I’ve read that indicated that Newton showed any deep emotion but anger. It is reasonable to say he was emotionally repressed, rather than being shallow.

Criminal and entrepreneurial creativity in cults usually means if one cult group fails and goes bankrupt, the leader wheels and deals and repackages himself with a new name and organization as Werner Erhard did. As far as I know, Saul Newton did not do this. He stuck with the Sullivanian community all his life. Lastly, a “materialistic lifestyle” is a very vague term. How many cars, boats, planes and houses does a leader have to possess to qualify as being materialistic? From my reading, I would classify Newton as upper middle-class, akin to a doctor, lawyer or architect living on the Upper West Side of New York City. He and his wives had their own chefs, childcare providers and shoppers. He owned a brownstone building. Newton lived well, but he didn’t have seven Cadillacs, as Rajneesh had. He did not own any boats or planes, nor did he buy other buildings and deal in real estate. He did not have the lifestyle of L. Ron Hubbard, Reverend Moon or Werner Erhard.

However, Newton had all the remaining characteristics of a sociopath big-time. He had superficial charm, and as I said earlier, both men and women characterized him as charismatic. He clearly was conning and manipulating the community all his life. He got them to take over a theatre building, told them who could and couldn’t date and set up an elaborate surveillance system for tracking people while convincing the members to do all the work. He maneuvered with Joan Harvey to oust Luba Elman from the Fourth Wall community and put themselves in the leadership position. He seemed to be a pathological liar, meaning he lied so much he lost track of the boundaries between truth and falsehood. There is no indication in either of the books I read that he has the slightest regret or remorse for anything he did. Neither were there any examples in which Newton claimed to love anyone. He was not loved by community members, but feared. In a small funeral gathering in 1992 not a single member of the Sullivan community showed up.

Newton definably had a grandiose sense of himself. What kind of person would have put himself at the head of a psychotherapy organization with no degree in the field or even having been in therapy himself? He was almost compulsively promiscuous. He had no problem asking his female patients for sex as part of the sessions. At the end of his life when he was suffering from dementia, he continued to see clients even when his memory was failing him. Newton was clearly impulsive (at least around getting angry) and could not control himself. However, in other situations he was extremely deliberative as he plotted and schemed to manipulate community members. Lastly, he was always blaming community members when things didn’t go right. He showed no power of self-reflection in seeing how his behavior was partly responsible for anything.

Reasons People Stayed in the Community

Why do People Stay?

Lalich and Tobias lay down the following most common reasons people stay in cults:

  • Attachment to new beliefs
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Entrapment
  • Peer pressure
  • Exhaustion from overwork allows little time for objectivity or self-reflection
  • Burned bridges separate members from their past
  • Being ridiculed and called names by cult members is very painful
  • Fear for your life
  • Guilt and embarrassment over having participated in the group to begin with

From the two books I’ve read about the Sullivanians, I would say virtually every one of these psychological conditions were operating. In the early years, the major belief centered around a conviction that their nuclear family was the major part of their problems. Giving up their belief would mean facing they were dupes who then burned their bridges and hurt their families badly. It would definitely cause cognitive dissonance. Community members were clearly entrapped. Most spend anywhere between 5 and 20 years in the community, forging deep friendships. They spent hundreds of hours in therapy and in the last years of the community, that was not cheap. For many, their livelihoods were dependent on the community and their living situations were all tied together. It is completely understandable they would not want to cut their losses.

There was a great deal of peer pressure to stay in the group. It was difficult to think clearly about whether or not to leave when they could not easily discuss openly their reservations about staying. They could never be sure if what they said would get back to the leadership. In addition, by the early 1980s, the economy was contracting, requiring members to work longer. Also, Newton was becoming increasingly demanding of members to be available for work on the Fourth Wall community. As Artie Honan says many times in his autobiography, there was little time to reflect on the big picture. Most were like frogs in slowly boiling water. They couldn’t see what was happening to them.

Unlike other leftist cults, there didn’t seem to be a great deal of name calling, but Saul Newton was brutal about getting rid of any community member he felt was too much trouble and, perhaps more painfully, community members executed his wishes. People were kicked out of the community quickly, often told they had 24 hours to leave their group housing situations. In at least one instance a person’s things were thrown in the street. Ex-members were shunned and ignored in public and the Upper West Side of New York is not a place to easily find anonymity.

Saul Newton was a violent man. He beat his wives and occasionally publicly punched a few of the men in the community. The violence he used in orchestrating the takeover of the theatre was probably never forgotten by anyone. When one of Saul’s psychological proteges decided to leave, upon Newton’s instruction he was followed, grabbed from behind and held over the subway tracks.

If members decided to leave, they had little in the way of a support system. Their families were heart-broken, angry and some members were disowned. The road back was unknown, lonely and full of doubt. There was no recovery groups from cult in those days. I don’t really know that the Sullivanian community felt a sense of guilt upon leaving the way members of other cults might. If a member got into the cult early, in the good days of the first seven years, those memories must have been breath-taking, intense and not easily forgettable compared to whatever normal life followed. It was the period from the early 1980s on they might have felt regretful about.

Aftermath for Cult Members

In their book Cults in Our Midst, Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich identify five major areas of life ex-cult members have to deal with:

  • Practical everyday life
  • Emotional volitivity
  • Cognitive inefficiencies
  • Theoretical instabilities
  • Lack of a social network

How Ex- Sullivanians Members Managed Their Lives in The Aftermath

Practical, everyday life

The two books I read on this subject do not have much information about how group members managed after the community broke up. Most of what follows will be what I would call reasonable speculation. In the area of everyday living, I believe the Sullivanians did better than ex-members of other cults. For example, Sullivanians had to find work to support themselves while in the cult and they succeeded in landing jobs in the arts or doing technical work. While ex-members who became therapists were dependent on referrals, this was not a community that was totally dependent economically. The same was true about managing money and finding an apartment. Members had practice in doing these things even when in the cult. While the Sullivanians were not provided with their own medical and health care, as upper middle-class urbanites they would not go without health and medical care as many members of other cults did. All this doesn’t mean they did not suffer. But compared to other cults, the climb back up might not have been as steep.

Emotional volatility

In terms of emotional volatility, I suspect the Sullivanians were more like other cults in that members suffered from PTSD, insomnia and dissociation at times. I don’t think difficulty concentrating or flashbacks were part of the psychological processes they had to constantly fight off because there were not that many bad experiences. I don’t believe a loss of a sense of humor was a psychological condition. Membership in households provided opportunity for play and laughter. It wouldn’t take much to bring them back. Depression over loss of the Sullivanian community and its vision must have been great. Before the community as a whole broke up, Saul‘s treatment of those who left would give them every reason to fear for themselves and their loved ones.

Cognitive inefficiencies

Many members of other cults have trouble thinking critically when they leave. Especially in spiritual cults which place a great deal of emphasis on meditation, and other altered states of consciousness, where critical thinking is frowned upon. Some young members of cults never learned to think critically. They simply did not know how to set up spread sheets for weighing the pros and cons of different job offers, school choices or romantic partners. After being in cults which for years explained causes and consequences by good and evil forces, it is difficult to reason about complex causes and intended and unintended consequences. I don’t think members of the Sullivanian community ran into these problems much. While they suspended judgment and criticality when under the spell of the leadership, they had to make analytical and comparative judgment while at work, with their partners and at house meetings when they were away from the leadership.

However, there is one area of cognition which must have been difficult and that is de-toxifying their vocabulary. All cults control their members thinking by narrowing the complexity of their language. When the leaders train someone’s vocabulary to use virtue and vice words, they are training them in dualistic thinking. Dualistic thinking makes people more controllable. This definitely went on in the Sullivanian community. It would take time to reintroduce previously “banned” vice words and repressed virtue words.

Theoretical instabilities

The overwhelming majority of cults are spin-offs from major theoretical schools in the fields of spirituality, politics or psychology. Spiritual cults might be spinoffs from Buddhism, Hinduism or Christianity. Political cults may draw from the work of Marx or Lenin. Psychological cults may have drawn from Freud, Jung or Humanistic psychology of Maslow. Upon leaving the cult, the ex-cult member is in a theoretical no-man’s-land. Does the psychological cult member whose leader drew from Freud therefore reject Freud completely or are they able to separate Freud from the cult interpretation of Freud? In the case of spirituality, can a member of the Hindu cult like the Hari Krishna’s reject the cult but hang on to Hinduism? In the case of the Sullivanians, Saul Newton was probably a Maoist. Can ex- Sullivanians separate Maoism as practiced by the Sullivanians from Maoist groups in general? Will they remain Leninists and switch from Mao to Stalin? Will they remain Leninists and become Trotskyists? Will they become democratic socialists?

A more extreme strategy is to reject the field entirely. So, a follower of a spiritual cult may become an atheist. A member of a political cult might become anti-political or apolitical. A member of a psychology cult might join a group that is anti-psychological, such as Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist who led the movement against his own field. This may be a good choice because you are starting from scratch. This may also be a bad choice because you are starting from scratch with no infrastructure. There are no easy answers.

Lack of a social network

As I mentioned earlier, leaving a cult is devastating for a support system. Most cult members have burned bridges with their family and friends, church and clubs they were once a part of. However, relative to other cults, with the Sullivanians the situation may have been different. I can imagine that anybody who left the cult in the early 1980s when the community was still functioning well would have a rough time. However, once the community itself was disbanded, it was a different story. Why? Because the members of this cult had lived together for years unsupervised directly by the leadership. They played together, they made art together and they made love together, hard and often. These types of connections are easy to remember and hard to forget. Artie Honan says he is still Facebook friends with many former members. He also reports that in 2007, they had a reunion in Harlem. One hundred and fifty people came. Considering the Sullivanians peaked in membership in 1974 at 400, this turnout shows there is something of quality in this community that superseded Saul Newton and the rest of the cult leadership.

How the Sullivanians Compared to the Experience of Other Cults

I have a number of reasons for suspecting that the Sullivanians had it better than other cults. In the first place, they did not emerge out of an ecological, economic or political crisis. Neither did they come into the cult at an impressionable age of late teens or early twenties. My sense is that most members were in their mid to late 20s when they joined and were probably more grounded. That meant people were less desperate when they joined the group. Secondly, unlike most, if not all cults, the sexual economy was far more horizontal. Members slept with each other, not just with the leadership, as in other cults. Thirdly, women were as sexually free as the men. Though Saul Newton was definitely patriarchal, women still had many sexual relationships with their peers, just as the men did. Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, the social networks that were built had relative autonomy from the leadership, especially in the living situations. This allowed them to form subgroups with their own experiences, independently of the leadership. In most cults, subgroups are not allowed to form. It was these experiences in subgroups that made it possible not to lose complete touch with each other after the Sullivanians broke up as an institution. It made it possible to have a reunion 15 years later.

The Socialist Political Spectrum: Which Tendencies are Most Likely to Form Cults

So, what does the fate of the Sullivanians tell us (if anything) about which tendencies on the political spectrum are likely to form cults? Are Leninists, democratic socialists and anarchists all equally likely to form cults or are some more likely to form than others? Remember earlier I said that the key element in determining a cult is not the beliefs but rather how the cult was organized. In addition, charisma, by itself is not enough to institutionalize a cult.

A good example of a socialist organizer who was charismatic but never turned his group into a cult was Murray Bookchin. I met Murray 50 years ago on the lower East Side of Manhattan and I can testify that he had a great deal of charisma and a significant following among young hippie anarchists. This continued as he moved to Vermont to teach and founded the Institute for Social Ecology.  But the Institute for Social Ecology or any other organization he was involved in did not became a cult because the egalitarian principles of anarchism blocked this from happening.

It would be unfair to characterize the Sullivanians as a pure political group. It was not a real political group until the 1980s. Yet the leader of the organization, Saul Newton, was a Maoist and during the last years of the group, he did use Maoist tactics like self-confession of the members’ class backgrounds, along with criticism and self-criticism.  In my previous article, a major focus was on a group called the Democratic Workers Party which definitely was a cult with a Leninist focus. What about other Leninists groups?

In their hostile analysis of Leninist organization, On the Edge: Political Cults Right and Left, Dennis Tourish and Tim Wohlforth identify five other Leninist groups that were either cults or might have at least cultlike characterhoods. Harvey Jackins’ Reevaluation Counseling and Fred Newman’s New Alliance Party and social therapy, Gerry Healy; Ted Grant and Gino Perente also led organizations that had cult-like characteristics which were either Stalinist or Trotskyist in orientation. Each received a chapter’s attention in the book On the Edge.

Tourish and Wohlforth summarize their book:

Each and every Marxist Leninist grouping has exhibited the same cultic symptoms: Authoritarianism, conformity, ideological rigidity, fetishistic dwelling on apocalyptic fantasies. Not all Leninist groups are full-blown cults. However, we have yet to discover one that did not have some cultic features (213).

As Lenin spelled out in 1910 in What is to Be Done, socialist ideas were to be introduced to the working class from the outside by professional revolutionaries drawn largely from the middle class. They view themselves as a chosen people, the possessor of a gnosis beyond the grasp of ordinary folk. Therefore, a separate organization is in order, tight discipline is required and superhuman sacrifice is demanded from members. Democratic centralism is required so that all members publicly defend the agreed positions of the party, whenever opinions they might hold to the contrary in private. (214) The communist front organization is particularly suited to political cult-manipulation (216).

In contrast to this, the organization of the Democratic Socialists of America has loosely associated chapters and the whole organization is opposed to any kind of authoritarian organization. In fact, they organized themselves intentionally so they would have no resemblance to Leninism.

Qualification

I do not mean to imply that Leninism is not successful as a political tendency in the world. Russia, China and Cuba have all offered working class people significant improvements in their lives by way of steady employment, good wages, safe and reasonably priced housing, free healthcare and literacy over the last 100 years. With the exception of Sweden between the 1930s and the 1970s, social democracy has not had a good track record with the poor and working class. As for anarchism, it certainly had a great deal of success in revolutionary movements in Russia, Spain and recently in Rojava. The problem with the anarchists is that it is harder to tell what successes have carried over after the revolutionary period ended.

The issue in this article, however, is not how successful each of the three socialist tendencies are in the end. Which group is most likely to use cult-like methods to get there? It is clear to me that Leninism has the most cult-like potential according to the criteria in this article.

• First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post Left-Wing Psychotherapy Cults: Sullivanians from Hedonism to Group Terror first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Covid:  Threats, Vaccine Injuries and Deaths Abound

The well-reputed online magazine Nature.com published on May 24, 2021, a research-report finding that people who had a corona infection have also developed antibodies and will most likely be immune against the disease for the rest of their lives.   (Note: The link to the Nature.com article, still working on 4 June, has since been “fact-checked” out.)

Censuring the truth. What a pity! What can now be called “Covid Deep State” – the same “superior and super-rich elite” buys practically all the mainstream media – television, radio and print – in basically all the 193 UN member countries. Looks like there is no escape. That’s what they would like. That’s why the entire world had to be locked down for the virus at once on or around the 15th of March 2020.

It is an epidemiological impossibility that the entire world at once is affected by a virus, let alone by what WHO then dared to call a “pandemic”. However, the truth always seeps through, sooner or later. Just think of Leonard Cohen’s extraordinary anthem There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. The truth will always sooner or later penetrate the darkness.

Right now, it looks like the time is coming when the huge heavy vessel that carries this somber elite’s lies and deceits straight ahead, ignoring all objections and arguments, and as if there were no obstacle to hold it back – as money buys everything – this vessel is slowly but gradually and it seems unstoppably turning. People are awaking around the globe.

Independent scientists, virologists, medical doctors with integrity and the warmth of true humanity have abandoned the matrix and taken the Red Pill. This is in reference to the 1999 movie, The Matrix, where taking the red pill means the willingness to learn a potentially unsettling or life-changing truth, or remaining in contented dark ignorance with the blue pill. Amazingly, the movie has not yet been banned and “fact-checked” off the screens and internet.

And so, the study referred to by Nature.com of acquired immunity – probably for life – makes vaccination not only redundant, but outright dangerous. The text is also available in German. The study has revealed that after 11 months of infection antibodies are still present.

Dr, Mike Yeadon, former Vice President of Pfizer and Chief of Science at Pfizer, a top virologist, has studied SARS cases in 2019 from the SARS outbreak in China of 2002/2003. He found antibodies still in all of his examined former SARS-infected people. He concludes that SARS, alias covid, antibodies are therefore effective for at least 17 years and following his experience he assumes for life. See here

This actually means that all those who have had the covid infection have developed various degrees of antibodies which make vaccination not only unnecessary, but dangerous, as the vaccine, especially the mRNA-type “emergency gene therapy” – never approved by CDC / DFA as a vaccine – could affect and destroy a person’s naturally acquired immune system, not only against covid, but against a wide range of diseases. Therefore, coercing people with natural antibodies into taking the jab is a crime. So-called mRNA “scientists” know exactly what they are doing.

Dr. Mike Yeadon goes a step further, claiming that the mRNA-jab contains a spike protein, called syncytin-1, vital for the formation of human placenta in women. If the “vaccine” – or rather the CDC-called emergency gene therapy – works, Yeadon says, “we form an immune response against the spike protein, then we are also training the female body to attack syncytin-1 which could lead to infertility of women of an unspecified duration.” In other words, likely for the rest of their child-bearing life.

On 1 December 2020, Dr. Yeadon and German Doctor Wolfgang Wodarg wrote to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), urging them to carry out vaccine trials, including for their effect on women’s infertility. They never received an answer.

In an article published by Global Research on 22 April, here, Nathaniel Linderman referred to a study by Dr. Bart Classen, claiming that mRNA Pfizer jabs – allow me to repeat: Not vaccines but emergency gene-therapies – caused different kinds of neurodegenerative diseases, including the risk of Prion disease.

Dr. Bart Classen’s research indicates that the Pfizer untested mRNA vaccine creates new proteins that can actually integrate into the human genome as reported by the National Library of Medicine. In other words, degenerative brain conditions may appear at any time in your life after receiving the vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine is, however, not the only type of untested inoculation that causes neurodegenerative defects, many of them deadly and most of them unreversible or only partially curable. There are Moderna, J&J, AstraZeneca and more.

Founder Robert Kennedy Jr. of Children’s Health Defense – The Defender – reports on 2 June 2021 about a 38-year-old woman, who nearly died after a J&J covid-vaccine. She suffered various organ failures. The woman was healthy until she received the J&J untested covid “vaccine”. Within a week, she started experiencing headaches, abdominal pain and nausea and was eventually diagnosed with severe blood clots that caused most of her vital organs to fail. Only intense medical treatment, 33 days of hospitalization, of which 22 days of intensive care, saved her life – and left her with a medical bill of over a US$ 1 million – for which nobody admits responsibility. See here.

God only knows how many unreported cases there are – some very likely even worse and many deaths. And more injuries and death may be expected by vaccinated people as time goes on – see Dr. Yeadon’s suspicion that we may be set up for mass depopulation .

The young lady, who received the untested J&J covid “vaccine”, is now in occupational and physical therapy. She has to learn basic motor skills, including writing and using a fork, and she had to relearn how to walk. However, she will never again be the same as before the disastrous jab.

And there is as of yet no relief for her one-million-dollar medical bills.

Since the government shields vaccine makers from law suits under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 which effectively granted vaccine manufacturers freedom from civil tort liability. Instead, several years later, the US government established the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICO), which turns down most of the applicants; i.e., fewer than one in ten injured people receive compensation. And this is in the US. In other countries such compensation does not exist, unless the government assumes the risks which is not (yet) formalized in most countries, if in any.

For example, in Europe, no EU country has declared assuming the covid-vaxx injury compensation risk. When not too long ago a journalist asked the Swiss Health Minister, what about compensation for vaccination injuries? He was taken aback by the question and stuttered something to the effect, “We haven’t thought of it yet, but there are unlikely going to be injuries.”

In the meantime, by the end of May 2021, the EU recorded more than 12,000 deaths related to covid vaccines and more than 100,000 serious injuries and these figures may be vastly underreported. Yet, no official compensation scheme has been established. And governments who follow the Covid Deep State orders on fulfilling quotas of vaccinated people are quiet and ignore the topic.

No wonder, the Covid Cabal, those ultra-rich who claim to call the shots on covid and its eugenist agenda, are getting nervous. With such messages of immediate vaxx-injuries and predictions of mass depopulation within the next 3 to 4 years, people may wake up and start resisting. See here and here and this by Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Mike Yeadon.

In the heat of the vaxx-haste and people becoming increasingly alert, representatives of the Deep Dark Covid State, the instigators of the crime of recent human history, have to take recourse to threats. The Editor in Chief of the reputed Natur.com online research paper claimed having recently received two anonymous calls from people who pretended to work for the US government – is it true? – saying that they are themselves not taking the vaccination, but there was a quota that on average 70% of the world population had to be vaccinated by 2022.

See this testimonial video (28 May 2021) from Natural News:  – the Vaccine Deep State issues a DIRECT THREAT to Natural News – “you follow our orders or else…”.

Something to think about but always with the premise they will not win. Our human spirit and will power to resist is much stronger than their Luciferian plan.  We must wake up in solidarity, and we will. That’s why they are so desperate to “vaccinate” as many people as possible. 70% of the world population is their target – as fast as possible, before we wake up. Once you are vaccinated it’s too late to change. The effects may be irreversible.

But we are already awake – right?

As of 2 June 2021, according to WHO, a worldwide total of 1 581 509 628 have been vaccinated. See this . Out of an estimated 7.8 billion (2020), that’s about 20%. There is a long way to go to 70%, notwithstanding the hundreds of millions, if not in the billions, who outright refuse the jab. And if 70% is really their target, then coercion might have just begun.

But not to worry.

People are just about to wake up, as they start realizing that there is a much more sinister agenda behind the forced and coerced vaccination, and especially as their injury and death rates increasingly surface and are becoming known. Our human mind and collective will-power is much stronger than their diabolical darkness  no matter the money they put behind their sinister objective.

The post Covid:  Threats, Vaccine Injuries and Deaths Abound first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Etymological Animal Must Slip Out of the Cage of Habit to Grasp Truth

Life is full of slips.

Words slip out of our mouths to surprise us.  Thoughts slip into our minds to shock us.  Dreams slip into our nights to sometimes slip into our waking thoughts to startle us.  And, as the wonderful singer/songwriter Paul Simon, sings, we are always “slip sliding away,” a reminder that can be a spur to courage and freedom or an inducement to fear and shut-upness.

Slips are double-edged.

It is obvious that since September 11, 2001, and more so since the corona virus lockdowns and the World Economic Forum’s push for a Fourth Industrial Revolution that will lead to the marriage of artificial intelligence, cyborgs, digital technology, and biology, that the USA and other countries have been slipping into a new form of fascist control.  Or at least it should be obvious, especially since this push has been accompanied by massive censorship by technology companies of dissenting voices and government crackdowns on what they term “domestic terrorists.”  Dissent has become unpatriotic and worse – treasonous.

Unless people wake up and rebel in greater numbers, the gates of this electronic iron cage will quietly be shut.

In the name of teleological efficiency and reason, as Max Weber noted more than a century ago in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, capitalist elites, operating from within the shadows of bureaucratic castles such as The World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Health Organization WHO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Bank (WBG), The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Google, Facebook, the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, etc., – run by people whose faces are always well hidden – have been using digital technology to exert increasing control over the thoughts and actions of people worldwide.  They have been doing this not only by diktats but by manufacturing social habits – customary usages – through which they exert their social power over populations.  This linguistic and ideational propaganda is continually slipped into the daily “news” by their mainstream media partners in crime. They become social habits that occupy people’s minds and lead to certain forms of behavior.  Ideas have consequences but also histories because humans are etymological animals – that is, their ideas, beliefs, and behaviors have histories.  It is not just words that have etymologies.

When Weber said “a polar night of icy darkness” was coming in the future, he was referring to what is happening today.  Fascism usually comes on slowly as history has shown.  It slips in when people are asleep.

John Berger, commenting on the ghostly life of our received ideas whose etymology is so often lost on us, aptly said:

Our totalitarianism begins with our teleology.

And the teleology in use today is digital technology controlled by wealthy elites and governments for social control.  For years they have been creating certain dispositions in the general public, as Jacques Ellul has said, “by working spells upon them and exercising a kind of fascination” that makes the public receptive to the digital life.  This is accomplished slowly in increments, as permanent dispositions are established by slipping in regular reminders of how wonderful the new technology is and how its magical possibilities will make life so free and easy. Efficient. Happiness machines.  A close study of the past twenty-five years would no doubt reveal the specifics of this campaign.  In The Technological Society, Ellul writes:

… the use of certain propaganda techniques is not meant to entail immediate and definite adhesion to a given formula, but rather to bring about a long-range vacuity of the individual.  The individual, his soul massaged, emptied of his natural tendencies, and thoroughly assimilated to the group, is ready for anything.  Propaganda’s chief requirement is not so much to be rational, well-grounded, and powerful as it is to produce individuals especially open to suggestion who can easily be set into motion.

Once this softening up has made people “available,” the stage is set to get them to act impulsively.  Ellul again:

It operates by simple pressure and is often contradictory (since contradictory mass movements are sometimes necessary).  Of course, this dissociation can be effective only after the propaganda technique has been fused with the popular mores and has become indispensable to the population. This stage may be reached quickly, as, for example, in Germany in 1942, after only ten years of psychic manipulation.

The end result, he argues, is the establishment of an abstract universe, in which reality is completely recreated in people’s minds.  This fake reality is truer than reality as the news is faked and people are formed rather than informed.

In today’s computer driven world, one thing that people have been told for decades is to be vigilant that their computers do not become infected with viruses.  This meme was slipped regularly into popular consciousness.  To avoid infection, everyone was advised to make sure to have virus protection by downloading protection or using that provided by their operating systems, despite all the back doors built in which most have been unaware of.

Now that other incredible “machine” – the human body – can get virus “protection” by getting what the vaccine maker Moderna says is its messenger RNA (mRNA) non-vaccine “vaccine” that functions “like an operating system on a computer.”  First people must be softened up and made available and then “set in motion” to accept the solution to the fearful problem built in from the start by the same people creating the problem.  A slippery slope indeed.

But slipping is also good, especially when repetition and conventional thought rules people’s lives as it does today in a digital screen life world where algorithms often prevent creative breakthroughs, and the checking of hourly weather reports from cells is a commonplace fix to ease the anxiety of being trapped in a seemingly uncontrollable nightmare.  It seems you now do need computer generated weather reports to know which way the wind blows.

In our culture of the copy, new thoughts are difficult and so the problems that plague society persist and get rehashed ad infinitum.  I think most people realize at some level of feeling if not articulation that they are caught in a repetitive cycle of social stasis that is akin to addiction, one that has been imposed on them by elite forces they sense but don’t fully comprehend since they have bought into this circular trap that they love and hate simultaneously.  The cell phone is its symbol and the world-wide lockdowns its reality.  Even right now as the authorities grant a tactical reprieve from their cruel lockdowns if you obey and get experimentally shot with a non-vaccine vaccine, there is an anxious sense that another shoe will drop when we least expect it.  And it will.  But don’t say this out loud.

So repetition and constant change, seemingly opposites, suffuse society these days. The sagacious John Steppling captures this brilliantly in a recent article:

So ubiquitous are the metaphors and myths of AI, post humanism, transhumanism, et al. that they infuse daily discourse and pass barely noticed. And there is a quality of incoherence in a lot of this post humanist discourse, a kind of default setting for obfuscation….The techno and cyber vocabulary now meets the language of World Banking. Bourgeois economics provides the structural underpinning for enormous amounts of political rhetoric, and increasingly of cultural expression….This new incoherence is both intentional, and unintentional. The so called ‘Great Reset’ is operationally effective, and it is happening before our eyes, and yet it is also a testament to just how far basic logic has been eroded….Advanced social atomization and a radical absence of social change. Today, I might argue, at least in the U.S. (and likely much of Europe) there is a profound sense of repetitiveness to daily life. No matter one’s occupation, and quite possibly no matter one’s class. Certainly the repetitiveness of the high-net-worth one percent is of a different quality than that of an Uber driver. And yet, the experience of life is an experience of repetition.

A kind of flaccid grimness accompanies this sensibility.  Humor is absent, and the only kind of laughter allowed is the mocking kind that hides a nihilistic spirit of resignation – a sense of inevitability that mocks the spirit of rebellion.  Everything is solipsistic and even jokes are taken as revelations of one’s personal life.

The other day I was going grocery shopping.  My wife had written on the list: “heavy cream or whipping cream.”  Not knowing if there were a difference, I asked her which she preferred.  “I prefer whipping,” she said.

I replied, “But I don’t have a whip nor do they sell them at the supermarket.”

We both laughed, although I found it funnier than she.  She slipped, and I found humor in that.  Because it was an innocent slip of the tongue with no significance and she had done the slipping, there was also a slippage between our senses of humor.

But when I told this to a few people, they hesitated to laugh as if I might be revealing some sado-masochistic personal reality, and they didn’t know whether to laugh or not.

It’s harder to laugh at yourself because we get uptight and are afraid to say the “wrong” things.  Many people come to the end of their lives hearing the tolling for their tongues that never spoke freely because of the pale cast of thought that has infected them.  Not their own thoughts, but thoughts that have been placed into their minds by their controllers in the mass media.

Freud famously wrote about slips of the tongue and tried to pin them down.  In this he was a bit similar to a lepidopterist who pins butterflies.  We are left with the eponymous Freudian slips that sometimes do and sometimes don’t signify some revelation that the speaker does not consciously intend to utter.

It seems to me that in order to understand anything about ourselves and our present historical condition – which no doubt seems very confusing to many people as propagandists and liars spew out disinformation daily – we need to develop a way to cut through the enervating miasma of fear that grips so many.  A fear created by elites to cower regular people into submission, as another doctor named Anthony Fauci has said: “Now is the time to just do what you are told.”

But obviously words do matter, but what they matter is open to interpretation and sometimes debate.  To be told to shut up and do what you’re told, to censor differences of opinion, to impose authoritarian restrictions on free speech as is happening now, speech that can involve slips of the tongue, is a slippery slope in an allegedly democratic society.  Jim Garrison of JFK fame said that we live in a doll’s house of propaganda where the population is treated as children and fantasies have replaced reality. He was right.

So how can we break out of this deeply imbedded impasse?

This is the hard part, for digital addiction has penetrated deep into our lives.

I believe we need to disrupt our routines, break free from our habits, in order to clearly see what is happening today.

We need to slip away for a while. Leave our cells.  Let their doors clang shut behind. Abandon television.  Close the computer.  Step out without any mask, not just the paper kind but the ones used to hide from others.  Disburden our minds of its old rubbish. Become another as you go walking away.  Find a park or some natural enclave where the hum and buzz quiets down and you can breathe.  Recall that in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four the only place Winston Smith can escape the prying eyes and spies of Big Brother, the only place he can grasp the truth, was not in analyzing Doublethink or Crimestop, but “in a natural clearing, a tiny grass knoll surrounded by tall saplings that shut it in completely” and bluebells bloomed and a thrush sang madly.  Here he meets his lover and they affirm their humanity and feel free and alive for a brief respite.  Here in the green wood, the green chaos, new thoughts have a chance to grow.  It is an old story and old remedy, transitory of course, but as vital as breathing.  In his profound meditation on this phenomenon, The Tree, John Fowles, another Englishman, writes:

It is not necessarily too little knowledge that causes ignorance; possessing too much, or wanting to gain too much, can produce the same thing.

I am not proposing that such a retreat is a permanent answer to the propaganda that engulfs us.  But without it we are lost.  Without it, we cannot break free from received opinions and the constant mental noise the digital media have substituted for thought.  Without it, we cannot distinguish our own thoughts from those slyly suggested to us to make us “available.”  Without it, we will always feel ourselves lost, “shipwrecked upon things,” in the words of the Spanish philosopher Ortega Y Gasset.  If we are to take a stand against the endless lies and a world-wide war waged against regular people by the world’s elites, we must first take “a stand within the self, ensimismamiento,” by slipping away into contemplation.  Only then, once we have clarified what we really believe and don’t believe, can we take meaningful action.

There’s an old saying about falling or slipping between the cracks.  It’s meant to be a bad thing and to refer to a place where no one is taking care of you. The saying doesn’t make sense. For if you end up between the cracks, you are on the same ground where habits hold you in learned helplessness.  Better to slip into the cracks where, as Leonard Cohen sings, “the light gets in.”

It may feel like you are slipping away, but you may be exploring your roots.

The post The Etymological Animal Must Slip Out of the Cage of Habit to Grasp Truth first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Americans Minds are Artificially Intelligent

I advocate the thesis which holds that the tendency towards totalitarianism is part of the essence of the machine, and originally proceeded from the realm of technology; that the tendency, inherent to every machine as such, to subjugate the world, to parasitically seize upon the fragments that have not yet been subjugated, to merge with other machines and to operate with them as pieces of a single, total machine: I maintain that this tendency represents the fundamental fact and that political totalitarianism, as horrible as it is, only represents an effect and variant of this fundamental technological fact. While the spokesmen of the technologically advanced world powers have been claiming for decades that they are engaged in resistance against the principle of totalitarianism (in the interest of the “free world”), their claims are fraudulent or, in the best cases, are the effect of a lack of intelligence, for the principle of totalitarianism is a technical principle and, as such, is not fought—nor will it ever be fought—by the “anti-totalitarians” From the times of the dictatorship we know that, from the moment when one considers that it is possible that one is under surveillance, one feels and behaves differently than one did before, that is, in a more conformist way, when not in an absolutely conformist way. The unverifiable possibility of being under surveillance has a decisive capacity for molding: it molds the entire population.

— Gunther Anders, The Obsolescence of Man, Volume II.

The acceleration of innovation, made possible by an exponential increase in calculating power, led straight to a hyper-technological Ancien Regime where the positions to be occupied in the hierarchy of jobs, incomes, assets, education, living spaces, etc., depend on birth exactly as they did before the French Revolution. Thus, from the transhumanism of Silicon Valley there emerges not a post-human self but a very familiar figure, the aristocrat, having become cyber and with a head, cut off in 1789, that has grown back. Confidence in technology as a means of creating more liberty, more democracy, and less enslavement is belied once more by the truly deplorable actual results of this reproduction of power relations.

— Maurizio Lazzarato, Capital Hates Everyone

Artificial Intelligence: Adults

It is tempting to think that free-will exists. Unfortunately, it does not, particularly in America (tip of the hat to Baruch Spinoza writing in his Ethics). Taste in music (rap, rock, pop, etc.), fashion and food; political orientation whether left, right or center; what sports team to support, or vehicle to drive, or television series to watch is all supplied by media/corporations to American brains that are as malleable as silly putty.  The mind easily succumbs to the totalitarian machinations of the American domestic/global capitalist network as its marketers, advertisers, and politicians/ideologues pound content into the brain via television news, hand-held computers/telephones, the world wide web, social media, and legacy media. Alberto J. L. Carrillo Canan believes that “the dominant technological forms determine the way we conceive reality, human life and mind.”

How does one account for a meaningful life in American society? What would be contained in a meaningful life’s ledger? How do you determine if you are free and not programmed? Two days of administered freedom at the end of the workweek? A new car? A two-week vacation at the beach? A mammoth flat screen television? A new iPhone? A new season of a television series on Netflix? A college degree? A mortgage on the house?  A yearly bonus for productivity? The ability to vote for only two candidates for the President of the United States? An opinion you really believe is yours?

All these “things” are supplied to you and all courtesy of the bio-capitalist, totalitarian machine. No one can escape it. Young or old, the American mind is captive to the totalitarian technological order. Ideas, products, news, and opinions are supplied, recycled/rehashed and delivered. But what about the spontaneous protests and demands of, say, Black Lives Matter (BLM), you ask? Notice how quickly BLM’s agenda was absorbed by the entire totalitarian capitalist enterprise who made easy money available via donations to BLM activists, advertised their cause, and promised to hire more Blacks. BLM is now a fading blip on the American capitalist radar shot down by the capitalist totalitarian system. Indeed, BLM has cashed in. The same story/process is repeated over and over again no matter the issue or the protest or the time.

Not Your Opinion, Your Meaningless Life

“It does not matter whether someone who is expressing himself thinks that his expression is his own bona fide expression, or even if he asks himself ‘is this my opinion or not?’, or even if he does not even understand the question; in any case, what is not permitted is that what he expresses should be his own opinion; it must always be a supplied opinion. Even when it seems to be advisable to allow variations, they must be predictable variations on the pre-established theme…Most of those who lead meaningless lives are not even conscious of their misfortune. By way of the life that is imposed upon them they are prevented from perceiving its lack of meaning. That is why they cannot do anything to counteract this lack of meaning, either. Or, more precisely: even what they do to counteract it is something that is done to them, that is, something that is supplied to them,” claims Anders.

According to Lazaratto, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft (plus consolidated media) are the masters guiding the behaviors of the governed. “By constantly soliciting one’s attention—giving rise to an activity as absurd as compulsively consulting one’s smartphone…they tirelessly fabricate and information designed to affect subjectivities circulating through billions of telephones, televisions, computers, tablets, whose connections envelop the planet in a thicker and thicker net.”

It is not just the corporations, though. Republicans, Democrats, the US Military, interest groups, and lobbyists (collectively, the neoliberal order) all get their products/messages on the airwaves and into the minds of the American human herd. The “masters” would likely be happier automating/digitizing American citizens/slaves.

Glutaraldehyde Fixation: Duh, What?

The digital dissection of the human being, individually and collectively, is proceeding apace. Uploading “the human” is no longer the stuff of science fiction. In a few generations, a parent may say to a child, “Hey, let’s upload great grandpa and see/hear what he has to say.” Why not pull the brain out of a dead body, preserve it in a special solution, and then mine it for memories that can be turned into 0’s and 1’s.

Macabre, you likely say, but the research is underway and funded. Ah, the beauty of capitalism. Consider the enterprising company Nectome. They are in the business of preserving the brains of the dead in hopes of digitally retrieving long term memories.

According to MIT Technology Review, “Nectome has received substantial support for its technology, however. It has raised $1 million in funding so far, including the $120,000 that Y Combinator provides to all the companies it accepts. It has also won a $960,000 federal grant from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health for “whole-brain nanoscale preservation and imaging,” the text of which foresees a “commercial opportunity in offering brain preservation” for purposes including drug research.”

Tracking digital footprints and then converting them into behavioral models able to predict the next set of keystrokes, online and offline habits/geolocations, and spending preferences are well known practices undertaken by companies like Alphabet-Google. For example, today’s software programs learn what words and individual uses to compose letters, articles, emails and once enough verbiage has been collated by the machine, a human writer can cut out the thought process used to seek out an adjective, a noun or verb. Just one more human function taken away from the brain and absorbed by the software in the machine.

In some not to distant future, the human mind/person will be digitized and exist in a bio-machine.

Artificial Intelligence: Youngsters

What kind of adults are being created by the totalitarian technological education system? I used to believe that an innovative education based on critical thinking and systems analysis, beginning from about 4th grade level through high school, might provide a check on the monstrous technology/system that is dominating every facet of life.

But having experience education as a teacher in both public and private settings, I have stopped believing that youngsters are going to be anything more than unconscious routers, servers, or surveillance sensors for the totalitarian machine. They will be more conformist than their parents or the adults that are nominally in charge of the United States.

The teachers/system set a pace that is relentless which means there is no time for a pause or a gaze into thoughtfulness/thinking. It is not learning but programming that the students are subjected to.

I asked an 8th grader recently what he would change about school if he could. “I would not teach boring,” he responded. “All the students I know don’t like school because it is so boring. Teachers need to change. We are not learning anything,” he said in frustration. Add to this the crazy reality that the World Wide Web is barely used by teachers for science, math, politics, history, or geography. It is largely a cut and paste enterprise with teachers selecting documents from the Web, printing them out in paper form, and distributing them to their classes.

The  public and private schools I have been in (K-12) are a dizzying mish-mash of things and frenetic human activity: wires, electronic white boards; non-ergonomic 19th Century desks and chairs  (plastic and aluminum); Apple iPads; robotic parts; Lego’s; classrooms adorned with cardboard signs with annoying cliches (You’re Special or The Future Starts Here); laptops; boxes of crayons and pencils; decade old paper files in equally old file cabinets; hallway banners proclaiming “Award Winning School, 2020”; half empty classrooms due to the COVID19 Pandemic; virtual students on Microsoft Teams at home who log in and leave the class, never responding to a teacher’s question; layers of management (assistant principals); constant teacher meetings/professional development courses; waves of substitute teachers; and curriculum focused solely on achieving high scores on a State’s Standards of Learning.

Many of the software programs used for learning, particularly in grades K-8, are equivalent to an arcade game or pinball machine: carnival music accompanies the student through, say, a science lesson. Answer correctly and the sound of a bell or whistle can be heard. Answer a question wrong and later a “power up” function gives you a chance to correct your mistake and add points. There are also competitive learning games that students participate in. Cartoonish software programs like Kahoot, Nearpod, Gizmo, Quizizz, Brain Pop all amp up the level of excitement to create an experience similar to a popular video game.

I was substituting in an 8th grade science class recently where the subject being taught was weather. I asked the students if the teacher was using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA.GOV) website to help them learn about the subject. They looked at me like I was an alien creature. “What’s that,” one student responded. I explained but to no avail as I had to get to the instructions left by the teacher that I was to follow.

Red Guards

I was substitute teaching in a classroom full of 8th graders (12-13 years old, I am 65) not long ago. I was talking about something or other and inadvertently pulled my mask down below my lips for a few moments exposing my face. It was an error in judgment, a mistake for which I had no excuse (I am fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and was 6 feet away from the nearest student). When I was finished speaking to the class, I pulled my mask back up and thought nothing of it.

Turns out that I was surreptitiously being recorded by a student who turned the video over to an assistant principal. I was nearly released for the mistake but the assistant principal that first received the video argued on my behalf to the principal and I was kept on staff. My punishment was to write a memo for record/file explaining what I had done. The next step was to apologize to the 8th graders in person.

I thought immediately of Mao’s Red Guards: “The first Red Guards groups were made up of students, ranging from as young as elementary school children up to university students…The Red Guards also publicly humiliated teachers, monks, former landowners or anyone else suspected of being “counter-revolutionary.”

What happened to, “Hey, Mr. Stanton, you need to put your mask back up.”

Not long ago, I was in a class with a new substitute teacher, fresh out of college. He politely asked the class of 6th graders what time the class ended. What he got was this from a student, “You are the substitute, you should know.

The post Americans Minds are Artificially Intelligent first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Socialist Rhetorical and Dialectical Communication: Overcoming Brainwashing, Propaganda, Entertainment

Orientation

How effective is the socialist left at winning over people in public meetings who are not already socialists? I would think that being socialists would make the people practicing socialism very good at being social. How true is this? There are two purposes in this article. One is to identify the similarities and differences between six forms of information control. The second part is to assess how good leftists are in using the two forms of control called “rhetoric” and “dialectic” at making their points. My claim is that the socialist left knows or cares little for these argumentation forms. This is one of many reasons why it is difficult to persuade or convince the public to become socialists or support socialist programs. These attempts could be in public gatherings such as rallies, city council meetings or in the workplace.

Six forms of information control

In my last article, I contrasted seven theories of propaganda, highlighting the work of sociologist Jacques Ellul. But as it turns out, propaganda is one of six forms of information control. Moving from right to left, from most to the least authoritarian we have:

  • Brainwashing
  • Propaganda
  • Mass entertainment
  • Public entertainment
  • Rhetoric
  • Dialectic

Brainwashing is the most conservative form of information control because it uses force to change minds. Propaganda, as we have seen in my last article, can be used by both conservatives and liberals. Both forms of entertainment are really politically apathetic, as they try to distract and provide escape from political and economic realities. Rhetoric is the essence of liberal viewpoints dating all the way back to debate among the classical Greeks. Dialectic was also used among the Greeks. It was used for conservative purposes by Plato and later by Hegel while Marx used dialectic to understand capitalism along with human history.

As in my article on propaganda, this article will cover information control that existed before the world-wide web and the rest of interactive media was created. Interactive media introduces a whole new level of interaction, which I am not experienced to comment on.

Origins of the terms

Of all the forms of information control, “brainwashing” is the most recent on the scene. It was coined by a CIA agent, William Hunter, in the early 1950s to describe the interrogation methods of Chinese Communists on American soldiers during the Korean War. The first use of the term “propaganda” was in early modern Europe by the Catholic Church to characterize the Protestant methods of conversion through print media.  The term “entertainment” was first used in the 17th century to describe activities in Europe that were considered to be amusement. Both rhetoric and dialectic have their beginnings in ancient Greece in the context of either developing an argument through one-on-one exchange (dialectic) or in persuading a public audience (rhetoric). Rhetoric settings were law courts. Aristotle and the Sophists were early theoreticians. Dialectic was originally associated with the dialogues connected to Plato and Socrates.

Overcoming bad reputations

Interestingly enough, all forms of information control except entertainment have bad reputations and are mostly used for political purposes by the Yankee state. For example, the word “brainwashing” was imagined as a product of seedy conspiracies of communist governments and practiced on dissidents. The movie The Manchurian Candidate most obviously depicts the fantasies of what the US state imagined the communists were doing. As can be seen by Robert J. Lifton’s book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, this had little resemblance to what the Chinese were really up to. As I said in my article on propaganda, the stereotype of propaganda, at least in Yankeedom, is the picture painted of it by reactionary conservatives. They say propaganda is solely political and it is engaged in by foreign, usually “authoritarian” governments. This stereotype also implies that there is no propaganda engaged in by the Yankee state. Of course, there are six other schools of propaganda, but the stereotype that is most powerful is the reactionary conservative one.

The last form of information control used by Yankeedom for political purposes is the stereotype of “dialectic”. Here, dialectic is associated with Hegel’s concept of the state being rational and self-justifying. Reactionary ideologists imagine that Hegel was anticipating the authoritarian states of Russia, China or Cuba. In history, the dialectical process was imagined by them to be a rigid description of a spiral of stages of human society being driven by conflict and taking the same of thesis-antithesis and synthesis. There was no room for individual freedom.

The stereotype of the term “rhetoric” usually means “empty words”, which usually are contrasted with taking action. Rhetoric is also contrasted with content, being form with no content, being superficial, or shallow. Rhetoric is usually associated with deception, exaggeration or the use of emotions, prejudices or sex. Plato has had a heavy hand in giving rhetoric a bad name.

Entertainment is the only form of information control that does not have a bad reputation to overcome. Its definition is to hold attention and divert it to something that is pleasing. It could be at a public event such as puppet shows, musical concerts, sporting events, theme parks, amusement parks, casinos, or circuses. In the case of mass media, there is amusement through movies, radio or television. Public and mass entertainment are created for the purpose of making money through delivering an experience or selling a product or a service.

Defining Brainwashing Propaganda, Rhetoric and Dialectical 

Paraphrasing Kathleen Taylor’s book Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control, brainwashing is a physiological attempt to do three things:

  • Erase existing thoughts, memories and cognitive content
  • Replant in the brain new content
  • Control the person’s actions remotely so they will obey without the presence of the persecutor

In a case of the pot calling the kettle black, some of the most extensive attempts at actually brainwashing people did not come from communist countries. It came from a Canadian psychiatrist Ewen Cameron in the 1950’s (see Adam Curtis’ Documentary, Century of Self II) who was eventually on the CIA payroll. The tale of Cameron is also documented in the book Brainwash by Dominic Streatfeild and in Journey into Madness: the True Story of CIA Mind Control and Medical Abuse, by Gordon Thomas. The CIA conduced its own experiments in Brainwashing as did the British physiologist, William Sargant in his book Battle for the Mind. Typically, brainwashing in its most severe forms takes place in hospitals, prisons, and the military in the form of torture. It also occurred at the hands of Catholic or Protestant religious institutions in early modern Europe. Its victims were heretics or witches.

The bad news for these terrorist spy organizations and the psychiatrists who worked with them is that they have been unsuccessful. The techniques of brainwashing described in the books have been successful in turning people into vegetables, making them dysfunctional. But they haven’t been successful in erasing, replanting and controlling people remotely.

Paraphrasing the Jowett and O’Donnell book Propaganda and Persuasion, propaganda is the deliberate, systematic and often covert attempt by institutional elites to control:

  • Perceptions
  • Cognitions
  • Emotions
  • Behavior

Who are they controlling?  Masses of people through mass media, while censoring, hiding, restricting, distorting or exaggerating the claims and evidence of their opposition. Propaganda can be white, gray, or black. (See Jowett and O’Donnell’s book for more information, along with my previous article). Propaganda can be easily found during political election campaigns, inaugural speeches, religious recruiting, news reporting, film and, some say, sports.

Rhetoric is the systematic and overt study by an individual speaker of the strategies and techniques for how to convince (change the mind) or persuade (take action) a public audience on a controversial issue.  This is done through the use of Aristotle’s “rhetorical triangle” of argument which consists of logos (the evidence, facts) ethos (having credible sources) and pathos (the appeal to emotions and imagination). It is practiced in courts of law, political debates, scientific conferences and at public community meetings such as city councils.

Dialectic is most clearly present in educational institutions while at their best between teachers and students. Dialectic is the co-creative process by which educators and sometimes debaters:

  • Encourage and bring out the experiences of individual students for public discussion
  • Encourage students’ self-reflection on the relationship between cultural information and their personal experience
  • Face honestly the contradictions which may arise between their personal experience and cultural institutions
  • Feed-forward (plan) and integrate the work experience school has trained them to do into the cultural pool of knowledge and expertise for the next generation

The heart of an active dialectic process is that through constructive creative conflict between teacher, student, a cultural body of knowledge and work experience, a synthetic body of knowledge arises with is more than either educators (as the transmitters of cultural information), students or a public audience had when they first started.

Setting, Intention of the Influencer and Dynamics of Information Flow 

Settings

It is important to understand who is interacting with who; i.e., whether the sender and receiver of information are elites, individuals, the public or a mass. In the case of brainwashing, it is an elite interrogator interacting with an isolated individual. In the case of propaganda and entertainment elites attempt to influence either masses of people or publics. In the case of both rhetoric or dialectic a single speaker appeals to the public or another individual.

Intentions of the Influencer

In brainwashing, the purpose of the psychiatrist or interrogator is to change people by force in the hopes of changing their mind and their actions. In the case of propaganda, the propagandist wants to narrow the focus of the mind or their actions so there are only two choices. Propagandists want to control people by setting up parameters, not to force them to do one thing. The creators of both mass and public entertainment are not interested in changing minds, but they are interested in persuading people to act. In the case of mass entertainment, they hope that the associations between the celebrity and the product they are trying to sell will stick in the minds of the audience. In public entertainment, the hope is to have the audience swept away either by a very competitive ball game or the daring-do of a circus performer. Rhetoric’s emphasis is to open minds and change behavior. Dialectic more than any other source of information control wants to open minds as a way of life.

Dynamics of information flow

In terms of the dynamics of the information flow, the most asymmetrical exchange is in brainwashing where elites have all the power, and the victim is in some kind of forced restraint. In the case of both propaganda and mass entertainment, the relationship between elites and masses is asymmetric but the masses do give some feedback in terms of statistics such as votes received, tickets sold, or products bought. Public entertainment and rhetoric are still asymmetrical but less so because both the performer (music) or public speaker (rhetoric) does receive feedback in terms of audience responses, whether booing, silence, cheering and in the body language of the audience. When teachers are committed to having participatory classroom, dialectic is the least asymmetrical because part of education is to bring out the past experience and current work history of the individual into the public discussion.

Mediums

In terms of mediums used, brainwashing and public entertainment have a lot in common. They both hope to disorient the public. In casinos, clocks are removed, exits are difficult to find, loud music blares, free drinks are offered by sexually provocative wait staff, extra oxygen is pumped into the building to cause lightheadedness, and there are faked sounds of customers winning filling the air.

In brainwashing spatial and temporal disorganization are key. Both propaganda and mass entertainment use movies, radio, television and billboards. Public propaganda is more likely to use billboards. Public entertainment is more likely to use images and various theatrical tricks such as lighting, stage sets in addition to electronic billboards. Both rhetoric and dialectic are critical of the use of mass media because it tends to draw attention away from the relationship between speaker and public and the individual. The medium for rhetoric is the words of a speaker with no more technology used than a microphone. Dialectic uses writing exercises, small group work along with debates.

Quality, timing of Evidence, Alternative Views

Brainwashing is the least likely to provide real evidence. Because of the compromising position they have their victim in, they can engage in character assassination, manufacturing false evidence, distorting or omitting evidence. There is literally no opportunity for the victim to weigh or integrate the information. The torturer is likely to withhold information or time the deliverance of information in a predetermined way. In brainwashing, there is no alternative source of information provided. What alternatives are available are in the memory of the victim before they were captured.

As I discussed in my previous article on propaganda, propaganda can be based on facts or lies (black propaganda). It too can also distort or omit evidence. Like brainwashing, in propaganda evidence does not flow in a spontaneous manner. Information is withheld or released at the most opportune time. For example, declarations of war are rarely timed just before an election. Because propagandists cannot completely control their masses, alternative sources of information are available, but the propagandists will do everything they can to censor, minimize, exaggerate, distort or vilify their opposition. Capitalism’s treatment of socialism and communism are some of the clearest examples.

With mass entertainment, the only evidence presented is what fits with the stereotypes people have of how celebrities are supposed to act. So, in the 3rd Hunger Games episode, Katniss has to have a baby because the producers of the movie have no confidence that the audience can tolerate a female heroine without children. All mass entertainment has to be sensitive to current fads and fashions, in the case of movies, or the existing consumer patterns in the advertisements that are linked to the radio or television programs. Unlike either brainwashing or propaganda, mass entertainment has to compete with other forms of mass entertainment so they cannot transmit a single message to their audience. Public entertainment also must conform to stereotypes of the audience as well, but there is more room for unconventionality because public entertainment is not quite as heavily scripted. In addition, public entertainment has to be more sensitive of the collective emotions of the audience that go with the seasons and the holidays. In public entertainment the information flow to the public is more focused since at a musical concert or a circus, you cannot change the channel.

Both rhetoric and dialectic are far more rigorous in their expectations about evidence. In good rhetoric, it is expected that the evidence follows Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle, and that the presentation of the evidence considers the time, place and circumstance. The idea is to maximize the chances of being convincing and persuasive. Rhetoric at its best will not rest itself on representing one other viewpoint.  It may include other viewpoints before attempting to refute them. Lastly, dialectic will most actively cultivate many viewpoints. For example, in the fields of sociology, psychology and philosophy there are generally 4-6 schools within a field. In an educational setting, the teacher should be able to present all the schools and compare them to each other. The quality of the research in dialectic educational setting should come out of the research in textbooks which are cross-culturally and historically sensitive. Dialectic is less sensitive than rhetoric in consideration of time, place and circumstance because the goal is to change minds, not behaviors, so it wants to cultivate self-reflection, rather than getting the audience to do something.

Appeal to Audience, How the Audience is Treated, Outcome Expected

Psychological hopes for the audience

What does the controller of information hope to do to their audience psychologically? In brainwashing the purpose is to create fear, desperation and ultimately dependency, as in the Stockholm syndrome. The victim has no privacy. The propagandist appeals to the lowest common denominator in people, demagoguery related to racism, nationalism and religious fanaticism. People have some privacy and they have some power to distance if they need to. But usually not for long. If the political propagandist wants to get people to feel a narrow range of emotions deeply, both mass and public entertainment appeals to the surface of emotions: what is insipid, petty, and needy. They both pander to unrealistic desires and vicarious living in the audience, all grounded in immediate gratification. In both mass and public entertainment, the audience can gain privacy by either turning off the radio or TV or to leave the entertainment site. Both rhetoric and dialectic at their best appeal to what is good for people in the long-run and each respects the privacy of the audience’s thoughts.

How is the audience characterized?

In brainwashing, the victim is treated as a pawn in a much larger game. They are demonized and treated as less than human. In propaganda, the audience is treated as a target, as a means to a larger end. In mass and public entertainment, the audience is considered passive, naive, gullible, stupid (Bernays) and lacking in long-term judgement. In rhetoric, the public audience is treated respectfully and capable of participating in decision-making. In dialectics, the audience is treated the best, as ends in themselves.

What is the audience expected to do?

The hopes of CIA brainwashing attempts were to find a drug that could erase the memories of the retired spies to reduce the chances of then turning against their masters and spilling the beans. Generally, the ultimate hope of religious brainwashers is to get the heretic to give up previous beliefs and be converted to new beliefs. Once that happens, they want the converted to stay passive and frightened so they can be controlled, even when there are no authorities around. In political propaganda the expectation is either to vote a certain way, go to war or to support the overthrow of another state. For mass entertainment, if the program is ongoing, the intention is to leave the audience partly satisfied but still wanting more. In the case of public entertainment, the entertainers want the audience to be fully satisfied, and hopefully talk to others about the event in the hopes of expanding the audience for the next public event. In the case of rhetoric at its best, the speaker hopes the audience will seriously consider mentally what was expected and then act accordingly. Lastly, in the case of dialectic, the hope of the teacher is that the student will become more curious, wonderous, critical and creative in their outlook towards the world and themselves.

Brain Routes, Minds and Impact on Thinking

In cognitive psychology there are two brain routes. The central brain route and the peripheral brain route. When people receive new information, they have to decide how seriously to take it. When people are experienced in a subject, they have a great stake in the outcome. They have some training in the subject and the problem may be complex but comprehensible. They are likely to use their full deliberation and critical thinking processes (central brain route). However, when people don’t have experience or training in a subject, they have little personal stake in the outcome and the problem seems convoluted. They are then likely to use what is called the peripheral brain route. This is also called using mental shortcuts.

Suppose I take my friend’s car to a mechanic. The engine light is on and I ask the mechanic to take a look at it. I know next to nothing about cars and neither does my friend. Two hours later the mechanic calls me back with a very technical description of what is wrong, along with the cost of fixing the problem. The problem seems convoluted to me and I don’t have a much of a personal stake in it. What I will likely do is use the peripheral brain route. What this means is I will move from using my own mind, to go to another source. I will contact other car mechanics, get a second opinion and find out what they would charge to fix it. There is nothing wrong with using the peripheral brain route under these conditions.However, there are five other conditions under which people will use the peripheral brain-route that are counterproductive, and these conditions are what propagandists and entertainers will promote to get people to by-pass the central brain route. They are:

  • If there is time pressure (in sales, “time is running out”)
  • Volume scarcity (in sales, “get the commodity now, while they last”)
  • Sensory overload (as described in my casino example earlier)
  • Emotional appeal is superficial (titillation, sentimentality, infantile fantasies)
  • If the person is fatigued

The job of the propagandist and the entertainer is to create the five conditions above that will increase the chances of using the peripheral brain route rather than the central brain route where critical thinking takes place. The ultimate hope of the brainwasher is to restructure the brain itself by using drugs and sleep deprivation. If they cannot do that, they will also hope to keep the victim using the peripheral brain route constantly. Rhetoric at its best, as well as dialectic, will strive to build the self-confidence of the audience or the student so that they always use the central brain route as much as possible.

Ideology, Mythology

All forms of information control are either directly or indirectly connected to liberal conservative, socialist or fascist ideology and some of them also contain mythology. If we look at the practice of ideology, political attempts to brainwash are mostly related to fighting communism. Brainwashing experiments in prison, including experiments with LSD, were connected to the conservative belief that blacks were inferior so using them as guinea pigs was acceptable. Political propaganda is used by all four political tendencies to start and sustain wars, to influence voting or overthrow regimes.

Neither mass nor public entertainment have a political ideology to support them, but both forms of entertainment have mythologies designed to sweep people away. For example, the Lord of the Rings stories and characters, Harry Potter and Star Wars not only sweeps people away during the movie, but they set up future episodes with suspenseful endings. In public entertainment we have sports teams with stirring stories played out in pennant races stretching the drama out over seven months. Sports figures of the past and present are treated as modern day gods and goddesses by their fans.

Rhetoric is clearly identified with the liberal ideology of truth being found from debating different points of view, where controversies are the norm, and no single authority has all the answers. Rhetoric is a monologue where the speaker, at least initially, argues two or three points of view before determining their effect on the audience. The Sophists and Aristotle represented this rhetorical tradition while Plato stood for the conservative authority who does have all the answers.

Dialectic begins conservatively where learning the truth is not the result of the interacting of viewpoints, but as already contained in the authority of Socrates. The heart of dialectic is dialogue back and forth between two people. Later in history, dialectic becomes more liberal with the back-and forth no longer necessarily involving one authority figure. In the hands of pragmatic dialecticians, dialectic is not only connected to content but to process. Dialectic involves rules of conversation. Whereas in rhetoric, logical fallacies are more connected with the qualities of reasoning or tricks played on an audience, in dialectic fallacies are detected in the violations of the rules of dialogue. More on this later.

Symbiotic and Sensual Orchestration

Sensual orchestration

Sensory orchestration is the manner in which the senses are controlled to create altered states of consciousness. The two extremes are sensory deprivation with all the senses but one turned off, or sensory saturation where all the senses are used and they are intensified. Brainwashing involves sensory deprivation with gagging, being blindfolded, and living in solitary confinement. Religious propaganda can be used to saturate the senses. Examples of this are the Catholic Church with its stained-glass windows, incense, church music, holy communion, rich wood and fabrics all being part of the atmosphere of the Mass.

Mass entertainment is often designed to create sensory overload with special effects and multiple sounds coming at the audience in a disorganized way to create astonishment and a diffused attention-span. This encourages using the peripheral brain route when being sold commodities during the show. Public entertainment is more guided, at least in terms of musical concerts and sporting events with the hope of providing vicarious satisfaction, inspiration or awe. Both rhetoric and dialectic look down upon the manipulation of the senses as taking the audience away from using their reasoning processes. They are content with the moderate use of the five senses to experience the world as it really is rather than through what they consider to be “smoke and mirrors”.

Symbolic orchestration

Religious and political symbols are very powerful in motivating people to fight and die for their political beliefs or religion. The crucifix, the American flag, the bible or the Quran exert a great hold over the emotions of an audience, a target or a victim. That’s why in brainwashing torture situations, the victim’s religious books will be torn or flushed down the toilet and their flags will be burned, defecated upon or used as rags. In propaganda, these same flags and books will be used to mobilize people to action.

Mass entertainment will include corporate logos which are stolen from political and religious symbols which have already built up a collective association in people’s minds. For example, look at the colors of the Bank of America or a Chevron credit card. In public entertainment, sports contain the heaviest dose of symbolic orchestration. Think of the baseball caps and jerseys the players wear as part of every major league team. This is part of the major league pantheon that fans participate in when they go to sporting goods stores and buy these hats and jackets, put bumper stickers on their cars and live and die with every win and loss if their team is lucky enough to compete for the pennant. Both rhetoric and dialectic steer clear of all symbols because they appeal to unreasonable elements that will distract from critical reasoning.

Use of Space, Architecture, Monuments

With the exception of mass entertainment, forms of information control are rooted in space and architecture and these containers can accentuate or dampen the form of information control. For brainwashing, the most effective spatial arrangement is solitary confinement before interrogation begins. Rooms have no windows and are poorly ventilated. A space that has windows reminds the victim there is life beyond the prison or hospital. Religious propaganda is most successful in cathedrals which overwhelm the devotees with their scale and high ceilings. Religious propaganda in cozy churches with modest decoration are likely to be less successful. Political propaganda is most effective near patriotic scenes—Bunker Hill, Lincoln Memorial or Mount Rushmore. In addition, Ellul’s sociological propaganda is at work when streets are named after presidents and monuments are made of them.

Public entertainment is made more powerful when held in stadiums which can accommodate thousands. Much of public entertainment is not just this particular concert or this particular ballgame. Rather it is a reflection of the history of the field. This includes the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or the Country Music Hall of Fame. In movies, the reflective day of reckoning is at the Academy Awards.

Rhetoric outdoors is a special challenge because there are not the indoor spatial acoustics to contain the voice even with a microphone or a loudspeaker. Since the heart of dialectic is small groups or one-on-one and held indoors, in educational settings the spatial concerns should be a quiet room with a horseshoe-shaped seating.  This allows for dialectical crosstalk between members, rather than only a one-to-one relationship between the student and the educator.  

Theoreticians 

There are many theorists for all six forms of information control. I will limit myself to the most famous and theorists and practitioners of late 19th and 20th century. For brainwashing, the Canadian psychiatrist Ewen Cameron and the British psychiatrist William Sargant are probably the best representatives. For propaganda, there are Edward Bernays, Herbert Lasswell and Jacques Ellul. For mass entertainment, there are Ivy Lee, Ernest Dichter, Bernays along with by Paul Lazarsfeld. Two of the masters of public entertainment were P.T. Barnum and Walt Disney. Rhetoric has a long and interesting history of theories, but the most famous theorists in the 20th century would be Kenneth Burke, Chaim Perelman and Stephen Toulmin. The realm of dialectic has been recently given a shot in the arm by two prolific schools. One comes out of Amsterdam and headed by Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst. The other school in Canada was founded by Douglas Walton.

How Good are Socialists at Convincing and persuading the Public at Rallies, City Council Meetings and Workplaces?

In everything that follows I will be speaking only from my personal experience watching and participating in rallies, organizing meetings, city council meetings and workplaces on and off for fifty years in the United States. 

Rhetoric for Radicals

Starting on time and welcoming

As I said earlier, rhetoric comes out of a liberal tradition and there is a great deal of research about how to convince and persuade an audience (Billig, Arguing and Thinking, Mccroskey Introduction to Rhetorical Communication). Do socialist organizers know about this research or pay any attention to it? Unfortunately, the answer is “no”. In political organizing meetings run by radicals, they ignore the protocols of good speech-making. One is starting on time. The anarchists especially make it a badge of honor and a sign they are not “uptight” or “hierarchical” by not starting the meeting on time. Secondly there is little or no welcoming of strangers. Religious organizations such as the Unitarians, know better. There are greeters who welcome people as they come in, help them find seating and ask them if they had been there before. What do these socialists who claim to be social do? There is usually no greeter. Newcomers have to find their own way. Socialists already there talk to each other and ignore new people. This is true of anarchists and all the various kinds of Leninists groups I have experienced. I have to say that the Social Democrats are better about these formalities and generally have better social graces.

Five canons of rhetoric

Now let us look at the structure of the speaker’s talk. In addition to a political meeting run by radicals, let us add imagining the socialist speaker is addressing a city council meeting. In rhetoric there are five canons of classical rhetoric:

  • Invention (deciding on a claim and marshalling evidence)
  • Arrangement (deciding the order of placement of the evidence based on the audience)
  • Style (choice of language and expressive devices)
  • Delivery (the speaker’s clothing, use of voice and body movement on the stage)
  • Memory (the use of mimetic devices to help the person remember their speech so they don’t have to read it)

How do socialists do with these canons? Not very well, I’m afraid. While the intention is usually good, socialists usually have no knowledge of the research on the primacy effect or the recent effect in deciding where to place their pieces of evidence. They usually have no justification for the sequencing of their evidence in particular places. The style of socialists is usually insensitive to the choice of words. The language remains pretty much the same regardless of the audience and socialists very often know nothing about expressive devices. Most socialists have bad delivery styles. They don’t dress for the occasion, imaging that such preoccupations are “bourgeois”. They mostly don’t have command of the stage and their movements are awkward. Most socialists I have watched do not commit their speech to memory and simply read it off a paper, breaking consistent eye contact with their audience.

Setting the right atmosphere

Radicals inadvertently carry over Plato’s hostility to rhetoric. Plato saw Truth as independent of time, place and circumstance. Like Plato, too many socialists are convinced they have the truth and do not want to waste time spoon-feeding it to people or finding out what the masses think. Good form, stage presence, flowers, inspiring decorations are seen as superficial and not to be taken seriously. So, it is no problem that chairs are broken-down or uncomfortable, podiums are made out of plywood, there is bad lighting and acoustics. These things are not seen as having any relevance to the content of the message.  The talks are often not well-organized and go on too long. Breaks are not built into the meetings.

Importance of charisma

Most socialists do not understand that there is a rational basis for charisma. Charisma is not just linked to spiritual possession, speaking in tongues and inviting people to fall apart. As I remember it, something like 90% of the presidents who won elections were the taller of the candidates. Why is this? Because there is unconscious evolutionary psychology at work. People judge taller people as having better genes. The same is true with body shape – wide shoulders, narrow waist for men and large breasts and wide hips for women. Facial symmetry, hair sheen are all factors that make someone politically appealing as a speaker. Any leftist political candidates who ignore physical appearances may congratulate themselves in being politically correct, but they are working against the unconscious preferences of the overwhelming majority of humanity. Whatever we think of Obama politically, he had charisma and all the trappings of a good rhetoricians. How many socialists can match this? Richard Wolff, Cornell West – not many more.

Sympathetic, neutral and hostile audiences

Rhetoric theorists divide audiences into sympathetic, neutral and hostile. At rallies I’ve seen socialist speakers give the same speech assuming the audience is sympathetic and make no effort to reach liberals in the crowd who are neutral. City council meetings are the most demanding for a socialist speaker because both the public audience, as well as the city council members, are not socialists, and some will be conservative. Will the socialist have something to offer a conservative, hostile audience? The answer, I think, is they will have nothing.

Grabbing and holding attention

In rhetoric it is normal to expect that when people first come into the room, their attention is elsewhere, and the speaker has to earn the attention of the audience. About the worst offender of this is Noam Chomsky, who regardless of time, place and circumstance starts droning on as if the audience was already captured. Only a tenured academic with a captive audience of students could get away with this anti-rhetoric. In a large group of people, especially strangers, some kind of icebreaker, joke, or inspirational quote needs to be given to get the audience warmed up and focused.

Defining key terms

One of the major steps in making an argument is to define key terms. In argumentation theory, a person’s claim usually has a word or two that needs definition because the word has many meanings and can easily be misunderstood. So, in any presentation about, say, pornography, the word must be carefully defined before an argument proceeds. Most of the time socialists do not do this. They just assume words like “imperialism”, “neoliberal” and “working class” are self-evident.

The rhetorical triangle

In terms of the rhetorical triangle we discussed earlier, socialists are not well-rounded in covering all three parts. Often the pathos part of the argument – the appeal to emotions and imagination – are ignored, as mass psychologist Wilhelm Reich pointed out in the 1930s. The Nazis were far smarter than the socialists in understanding that audiences can be moved by the worst kind of emotions – racism, blind loyalty to the state and infantile wishes of superiority. All the facts and the right sources are not enough.

Appealing to the short-term self-interest in the audience

Those on the left mostly do not appeal to the short-term self-interest of the audience because they think that would be selfish.  Everyone is assumed to be an altruist. There is an absence of understanding that the audience attended to get something tangible from the meeting before leaving. The appeal is often to far-away places and middle or long-term time frames. This leaves most audiences cold and unlikely to return.

Making predictions

Leftists do not attempt to treat the argument they are making as subject to any expectations approaching the scientific method. For example, there is no promised follow- up to see whether what one is proposing was successful or not. Just like bourgeois politicians, there is little attempt to put parameters around the claim, like the exceptional circumstances in the present that might come up that would make the speaker withdraw the claim. There is little quality control in leftist arguments, at least the public ones.  Neither does the leftist make a prediction of falsifiability. Falsifiability means, if the claim was put into practice what are the conditions under which you can be proven wrong?

Having transition plans

The final part of a good rhetorical argument is to have a plan: a step-by-step procedure for how to get from where we are now to where we want to be. This includes a three to five step process for putting the claim into practice, including a timeline. The plan would need to include the costs of all the steps, a feasibility analysis and the benefits to the audience. All this is essential strategy if leftists want to appeal to anyone who is not already convinced. Leftists are very weak in presenting the methods of how to realize the goal with given a set of procedures. The Trotskyists’ call for a transition program is one step in this direction but it lacks the concreteness of my description. The weaknesses of radicals in relation to rhetoric has come to the attention of Jason Delgado, who has written a book about it, Rhetoric for Radicals.

Dialectical Dialogue for Radicals

Marxists claim the word dialectic as their own and imagine that if they have read Hegel and Marx, they know everything there is to know. Typically, dialectics refer to a way of thinking about how capitalism works, or it refers to a stage theory of history. But what the overwhelming number of Marxists don’t know is there is a history of dialectics that has an entire field of speech communication. That means how people talk to each other interpersonally.

Presenting the maximum number of viewpoints

As mentioned earlier, in educational settings dialectics will present between 4-6 points of view because in many human sciences from psychology to sociology to economics to politics, there are usually 4-6 theoretical schools. Do socialists in any setting present four to six schools in addition to their own? No, they don’t. They merely present a capitalist opposition, and then present their own theory. Leftists cannot even bring themselves to treat fairly the positions of contending socialists, let alone liberals and conservatives.

Supporting individual self-development

Referring back to our definition of dialectics earlier, do socialists attempt to bring out the experiences of individuals in public in order to give them an opportunity to self-reflect on their own life? No, they don’t. They may use the life of a single individual preselected in the audience to make a point. Everyone else remains passive. Rarely are individuals invited into the sweep of history. They may refer to history, but the present audience is rarely invited in.

Questions from the audience and cooperative argumentation

The heart of dialectics is question, answer, deeper questions, deeper answers and so on. Most radicals do not invite questions from the audience, in some cases because they think they already have the answers (many Leninists) or because they are afraid of losing control of the audience. In some sense, this is understandable because at city council meetings or at rallies the audience does not know how to ask open-ended questions. They want to make speeches themselves. But in what is called “cooperative argumentation” by argumentation theorists, the conflict between speaker and audience leads to synthetic knowledge which is new and more than what either the speaker or the audience possessed before the discussion began.

Types of dialogue

In his book The New Dialectic, Douglas Walton identifies seven types of dialogue: pedagogical (teaching), deliberative (politics), debate (law), inquiry (science), information seeking (interview or advice), negotiation (business transactions like making deals) and persuasive dialogue (advertising). All these types of dialogue have their own set of rules, customs and violations. Do socialist organizers know about the seven types of dialogue? They may know something about dialectical deliberation, but I would be very surprised if they knew about any of the others, let alone knowing how using the other types selectively may improve their own deliberative dialogue.

Understanding fallacies as mistakes in the process of conversations

Most socialist organizers have probably taken a class in college in critical thinking and/ or public speaking and have learned the various kinds of thinking fallacies. Others have gone on to be lawyers and have training in debate. But virtually no one has learned that the fallacies can be organized according to violations in conversation rules. In their book Argumentation, Communication and Fallacies Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst identified ten rules for critical discussion. Instead of thinking of fallacies as intrapersonal thinking mistakes, the founders of the pragma-dialectical perspective organize all the fallacies as violations of the ten rules of critical discussion. These fallacies are linked to include unauthorized changes in the situation and roles; changes in topics; changes in the physical setting; changes in goals; changes in methods; and changes in rules.

Do socialist organizers know anything about either of the two dialectical schools of speech communication, their principles and methods? I have never met or seen a socialist organizer who knew about this.

Conclusion

In the first two thirds of this article, I compared the similarities and differences of six schools of information control. In the last third of my article, I examined how knowledgeable socialists are about the two forms of information control which are the most anti-authoritarian: rhetoric and dialectic. Sadly, what I’ve found is that most socialists, even socialist organizers, have not systematically used nor continue to use research on rhetoric and dialectic in their work, whether it be rallies, city council meetings or community or labor organizing. I find this very sad and ridiculous considering that socialist claim to be social while ignoring knowing little about research in two of the most prominent fields in speech communication, rhetoric and dialectic. 

• First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post Socialist Rhetorical and Dialectical Communication: Overcoming Brainwashing, Propaganda, Entertainment first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Covidian Cult (Part II)

Back in October of 2020, I wrote an essay called The Covidian Cult, in which I described the so-called “New Normal” as a global totalitarian ideological movement. Developments over the last six months have borne out the accuracy of that analogy.

A full year after the initial roll-out of the utterly horrifying and completely fictional photos of people dropping dead in the streets, the projected 3.4% death rate, and all the rest of the official propaganda, despite the absence of any actual scientific evidence of an apocalyptic plague (and the abundance of evidence to the contrary), millions of people continue to behave like members of an enormous death cult, walking around in public with medical-looking masks, robotically repeating vacuous platitudes, torturing children, the elderly, the disabled, demanding that everyone submit to being injected with dangerous experimental “vaccines,” and just generally acting delusional and psychotic.

How did we ever get to this point … to the point where, as I put it in The Covidian Cult, “instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it?”

To understand this, one needs to understand how cults control the minds of their members, because totalitarian ideological movements operate more or less the same way, just on a much larger, societal scale. There is a wealth of research and knowledge on this subject (I mentioned Robert J. Lifton in my earlier essay), but, to keep things simple, I’ll just use Margaret Singer’s “Six Conditions of Mind Control” from her 1995 book, Cults in Our Midst, as a lens to view the Covidian Cult through. (The italics are Singer. The commentary is mine.)

Six Conditions of Mind Control

1. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group.

Looking back, it is easy to see how people were conditioned, step by step, to accept the “New Normal” ideology. They were bombarded with terrifying propaganda, locked down, stripped of their civil rights, forced to wear medical-looking masks in public, to act out absurd “social-distancing” rituals, submit to constant “testing,” and all the rest of it. Anyone not complying with this behavioral-change program or challenging the veracity and rationality of the new ideology was demonized as a “conspiracy theorist,” a “Covid denier,” an “anti-vaxxer,” in essence, an enemy of the cult, like a “suppresive person” in the Church of Scientology.

2. Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time.

For over a year now, the “New Normal” authorities have controlled the social/physical environment, and how New Normals spend their time, with lockdowns, social-distancing rituals, closure of “non-essential” businesses, omnipresent propaganda, isolation of the elderly, travel restrictions, mandatory mask-rules, protest bans, and now the segregation of the “Unvaccinated.”  Basically, society has been transformed into something resembling an infectious disease ward, or an enormous hospital from which there is no escape. You’ve seen the photos of the happy New Normals dining out at restaurants, relaxing at the beach, jogging, attending school, and so on, going about their “normal” lives with their medical-looking masks and prophylactic face shields. What you’re looking at is the pathologization of society, the pathologization of everyday life, the physical (social) manifestation of a morbid obsession with disease and death.

3. Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person.

What kind of person could feel more powerless than an obedient New Normal sitting at home, obsessively logging the “Covid death” count, sharing photos of his medical-looking mask and post-“vaccination” bandage on Facebook, as he waits for permission from the authorities to go outdoors, visit his family, kiss his lover, or shake hands with a colleague? The fact that in the Covidian Cult the traditional charismatic cult leader has been replaced by a menagerie of medical experts and government officials does not change the utter dependency and abject powerlessness of its members, who have been reduced to a state approaching infancy. This abject powerlessness is not experienced as a negative; on the contrary, it is proudly celebrated. Thus the mantra-like repetition of the “New Normal” platitude “Trust the Science!” by people who, if you try to show them the science, melt down completely and start jabbering aggressive nonsense at you to shut you up.

4. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person’s former social identity.

The point here is the transformation of the formerly basically rational person into an entirely different cult-approved person, in our case, an obedient “New Normal” person. Singer gets into this in greater detail, but her discussion applies mostly to subcultural cults, not to large-scale totalitarian movements. For our purposes, we can fold this into Condition 5.

5. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group’s ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors. Good behavior, demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of the group’s beliefs, and compliance are rewarded, while questioning, expressing doubts or criticizing are met with disapproval, redress and possible rejection. If one expresses a question, they are made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to be questioning.

OK, I’m going to tell you a little story. It’s a story about a personal experience, which I’m pretty sure you’ve also experienced. It’s a story about a certain New Normal who has been harassing me for several months. I’ll call him Brian Parks, because, well, that’s his name, and I no longer feel any compunction about sharing it.

Brian is a former friend/colleague from the theater world who has gone full “New Normal” and is absolutely furious that I have not. So outraged is Brian that I have not joined the cult that he has been going around on the Internet referring to me as a “conspiracy theorist” and suggesting that I’ve had some kind of nervous breakdown and require immediate psychiatric treatment because I do not believe the official “New Normal” narrative. Now, this would not be a very big deal, except that Brian is impugning my character and attempting to damage my reputation on the Facebook pages of other theater colleagues, which Brian feels entitled to do, given that I am a “Covid denier,” a “conspiracy theorist,” and an “anti-vaxxer,” or whatever, and given the fact that he has the power of the state, the media, etc., on his side.

This is how it works in cults, and in larger totalitarian societies. It isn’t usually the Gestapo that comes for you. It’s usually your friends and colleagues. What Brian is doing is working that system of rewards and punishments to enforce his ideology, because he knows that most of my other colleagues in the theater world have also gone full “New Normal,” or at least are looking the other way and staying silent while it is being implemented.

This tactic, obviously, has backfired on Brian, primarily because I do not give a fuck what any New Normals think of me, whether they work in the theater world or anywhere else, but I am in a rather privileged position, because I have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish in the theater, and would rather stick my hand in a blender than submit my novels to corporate publishers for review by “sensitivity readers,” so there isn’t much to threaten me with. That, and I have no children to support, or administrations to answer to (unlike, for example, Mark Crispin Miller, who is currently being persecuted by the “New Normal” administration at NYU).

The point is, this kind of ideological conditioning is happening everywhere, every day, on the job, among friends, even among families. The pressure to conform is intense, because nothing is more threatening to devoted cultists, or members of totalitarian ideological movements, than those who challenge their fundamental beliefs, confront them with facts, or otherwise demonstrate that their “reality” isn’t reality at all, but, rather, a delusional, paranoid fiction.

The key difference between how this works in cults and totalitarian ideological movements is that, usually, a cult is a subcultural group, and thus non-cult-members have the power of the ideology of the dominant society to draw on when resisting the mind-control tactics of the cult, and attempting to deprogram its members … whereas, in our case, this balance of power is inverted. Totalitarian ideological movements have the power of governments, the media, the police, the culture industry, academia, and the compliant masses on their side.  And, thus, they do not need to persuade anyone. They have the power to dictate “reality.” Only cults operating in total isolation, like Jim Jones’ People’s Temple in Guyana, enjoy this level of control over their members.

This pressure to conform, this ideological conditioning, must be fiercely resisted, regardless of the consequences, both publicly and in our private lives, or the “New Normal” will certainly become our “reality.” Despite the fact that we “Covid deniers” are currently outnumbered by the Covidian cultists, we need to behave as if we are not, and hold to reality, facts, and real science, and treat the New Normals as exactly what they are, members of a new totalitarian movement, delusional cultists run amok. If we do not, we will get to Singer’s Condition 6 …

6. Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order. The group has a top-down, pyramid structure. The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing.

We’re not there yet, but that is where we’re headed … global pathologized totalitarianism. So, please, speak up. Call things what they are. Confront the Brians in your life. Despite the fact that they tell themselves that they’re trying to help you “come to your senses” or “see the truth,” or “trust the Science,” they are not. They are cultists, desperately trying to get you to conform to their paranoid beliefs, pressuring you, manipulating you, bullying you, threatening you. Do not engage them on their terms, or let them goad you into accepting their premises. (Once they’ve sucked you into their narrative, they’ve won.) Expose them, confront them with their tactics and their motives. You will probably not change their minds in the least, but your example might help other New Normals whose faith is slipping to begin to recognize what has been done to their minds and break with the cult.

The post The Covidian Cult (Part II) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Jacques Ellul: Controversies in the Rise of Propaganda

Orientation

Controversies within propaganda theory

When I was preparing for a course I had created, “Brainwashing, Propaganda and Rhetoric: Dark Psychology in the 20th Century” I came across the name Jacques Ellul over and over again. Many of the quotes from his book Propaganda amazed me, considering the book was written almost 60 years ago. Still, when I decided to read the book, I had some reservations, thinking it would be dated in many places. In this article I hope to show that not only is it not dated, but it is still among the top theories in propaganda today.

Before we can begin to compare the propaganda theory of Jacques Ellul to other theories, we must address issues within propaganda theory. After doing that we will be able to see how the seven theories of propaganda (including Ellul’s) line up in relation to the controversies. How do we define propaganda? Is propaganda always bad?  What is not propaganda? Most people think propaganda is fundamentally irrational. But can propaganda be rational too?

How far does it reach? Does propaganda exist in all countries or are some more likely to use it than others?  Does propaganda try to change society, or does it reinforce what is already there? Is propaganda limited to the printed word and to images, or can it include monuments, music, coins, postage stamps or billboards? Does propaganda’s intent to change attitudes or behavior, or both? Are some social classes more susceptible to propaganda than others? Are people more vulnerable to propaganda in collectivist societies than individualists’ societies or is it the reverse?

Is all propaganda covert or is some of it out in the open? Is propaganda about facts, interpretations or evaluations? Can propaganda be truthful in fact or is it all lies?  How do propagandists treat their audience? What is propaganda’s relationship to political ideology? In other worlds do liberals, conservatives, fascists and socialists all use propaganda or do some use it more than others? Are propagandists Machiavellian, cynical manipulators behind the scenes or do they really believe in their propaganda? How fast does propaganda work? Is it a gradual process or does it impact its audience suddenly, like a conversion experience? Typically, propaganda is thought to exist in “authoritarian” states. But what about bourgeois representational “democracies”.

My sources for this article are Jacques Ellul’s great book, Propaganda, two terrific books by J. Michael Sproule Channels of Propaganda and Propaganda and Democracy and Jowett and O’Donnell’s textbook Propaganda and Persuasion.

The seven schools of propaganda

Moving from the right wing of the political spectrum to the left there are at least seven schools of propaganda:

  • Reactionary conservative political:

In the 1930s and 1940s this would include Thurman Arnold, Huey Long, Father Charles Edward Coughlin, the Radio priest. In the 1950s there was Joseph McCarthy and William F. Buckley. Contemporary examples might be Bill O’Reilly and the shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck. They are also consistent with neoconservatives or religious fundamentalists.

  • Commercial practitioners:

In the 1920s there was Ivy Lee, and George Creel and most famously, Edward Bernays, who for propaganda reasons changed his advertising campaigns from “propaganda” to “public relations”. These are typically advertisers.

  • Mass communication scientists:

These are the liberal institutions that do polling, most famously the Gallup Poll. Theorists include Paul Lazarsfeld, Elton Mayo, the later Walter Lippmann and Harold Lasswell. Often these are mass media academics who accepted grants from the state or from capitalists such as the Harvard Business School or the Carnegie Corporation.

  • Critical thinking movement:

In the center-left of the political spectrum is the critical thinking movement. Unlike all other schools, this movement says that the issue is less the presence of propaganda than it is the lack of critical thinking schools that can see through the propaganda. Theorists include the later John Dewey, Monroe Beardsley and Robert Ennis. Most often these theorists are college instructors.

  • Reform oriented liberals:

These are the writers and journalists that back in the day were called “muckrakers”. They think that all that is needed is for propaganda to be exposed. After that the critical thinking skills of the masses would take over. The first theorists included Upton Sinclair, the early work of Walter Lippmann, Alfred Lee (the director of the short-lived organization that conducted propaganda analysis), Robert Staughton Lynd and Vance Packard.

  • Sociological school:

This is the school of Jacques Ellul that I shall highlight in this article. Ellul thought that propaganda is the inevitable byproduct of a division of labor in society. He believed it is due to modernization and mass technology. Others with a sociological orientation included Charles Merriam and Graham Wallas.

  • Radical left:

These folks, like the extreme right-wing, think propaganda is the result of class warfare driven by capitalists. The anarchist, communist left was slow to develop theories of propaganda. One of the first was Start Ewing. Noam Chomsky is the most famous example, but his theory was developed in 1988, too late for the research referred to in this article. Besides college instructors, the radical left includes self-educated anarchists and feminists as well as others from different social movements.

The time span for this article is from World War I through the early 1970s. My focus is on mass media and does not include interactive technological breakthroughs such as the internet and various social media such Facebook and Twitter. The forms of media propaganda referred to here will be soapboxes, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, polls, books and film. I think you will find that mass media is a foundation for whatever additional forms of electronic media propagandizing that follow.

Most Provocative Points of Ellul’s Propaganda Theory

  • Unlike other theorists, Ellul argued that propaganda served both the upper classes and the lower classes for different reasons.
  • Unlike other theorists, he understood propaganda as inevitable in modern societies. There is no getting around it.
  • Unlike most other theorists, he saw masses of people as complicit in their own subordination. He saw them neither as victims of circumstance nor heroic masses.
  • He distinguished between hard, fast, political propaganda and soft, slow sociological. He called political propaganda “agitation”. Education is not outside propaganda. It is sociological propaganda.
  • He identified two techniques of propagandizing the masses. First kind is mithridatization which acts like a sedative and sensibilization which is about riling people up.
  • Unlike most other theorists of propaganda, Ellul followed Joseph Goebbels and said that the best propaganda is based on facts. It becomes propaganda with the interpretation of facts. Propaganda based on lies is a sign of weakness.
  • Most propaganda theorists thought the working class was most impacted by propaganda. Ellul argued that it is the upper-middle classes that create the propaganda and that is most likely to believe it.
  • Ellul distinguished horizontal propaganda, which was made inside the group, from vertical propaganda, which uses centralized power. An example of horizontal propaganda was the educational groups of Yankee soldiers organized by the Chinese communists.
  • For Ellul, propaganda does not come from the ruling class, but from the upper-middle class.
  • Industrialist capitalist “democracies” need propaganda because they depend on public opinion, which is disorganized. It requires propaganda to compete with socialist societies.
  • Unlike other theorists, Ellul makes a distinction between ideology and myth and argues that myth is more powerful.
  • His concept of crystallization claims that the individual has latent drives and stereotypes which are vague (based on the work of Karen Horney), and they then become the foundation of propaganda.
  • Unlike other schools of propaganda, Ellul argues that quantitative study of propaganda isn’t effective. One cannot tell how many people are reached and how effective white vs black propaganda is. At what point do you say it failed? At what point does the payoff justify the cost?
  • According to Ellul, psychological propaganda in foreign countries does not work. Propagandists are too ignorant of the attitudes, centers of interest, presuppositions and suspicions of the foreign population.

Definition, Purposes, Fields of Operation and Pervasiveness

Definition

As might be expected, there are considerable differences among the schools over whether propaganda is sinister or benign. Both the reactionary conservatives and the radical left sees propaganda as a product of primarily economic forces. The radical left sees the use of propaganda by capitalists to maintain control of their wealth. The radical right thinks propaganda is necessary to fight against the forces of communism. Both consider propaganda as immoral as the message, source and means are used by either communists or capitalists to perpetuate their power.

The muckrakers are critical of propaganda and see it as used in a wider span of areas, such as advertising, religion and sports, not just in the service of economics. They believe propaganda is immoral because its message, source and means are used to protect the status quo as it pollutes public opinion and undermines democratic thinking. The critical thinking movement agrees with the muckrakers.

Both the commercial practitioners and the mass communications theorists see propaganda as benign and moral. Bernays sees “public relations” as an outgrowth of more successfully circulation of commercial products to a larger audience. They think there is nothing wrong with that. For people like Bernays, propaganda is only immoral when it fails to disclose the source of information.

Mass communications theorists see propaganda as a benign alternative to force and for this reason, they believe it is moral. They think the polls are designed so political leaders can better control their population in order for the population not to resort to violence. The critical thinking movement interestingly points to the collusion of masses of people in propaganda. If the average person had good critical thinking skills, no one would pay attention to propaganda. Surprisingly, Ellul, as a sociologist, does not see propaganda as a product of class forces. He thinks, as I said above, propaganda is inevitable in any mass society just because people need to know what is going on politically and economically, and they can no longer find out through face-to-face contact. For him, propaganda might not be very moral, but it is necessary.

Manipulable use of the word “propaganda”

There are six forms of information control. On a spectrum they can be lined up according to the extent to which they have control over people. On the extreme right, we have brainwashing. Moving towards the left we have propaganda, then rhetoric (or persuasion), then mass and public entertainment. On the extreme left, and the least controlling, is “dialectic”. I will not define these words here except to say that most of them have negative connotations and so all propaganda theorists have a stake in mixing them together.

For reactionary conservatives, propaganda is mixed with brainwashing on the right and dialectic on the left, Since the CIA used the term “brainwashing” to describe what the Chinese did with Yankee soldiers during the Korean War, communist propaganda is mixed up with brainwashing techniques. At the same time, reactionary conservatives lump in the dialectical view of history as some vast mechanical system used by the communists to explain the world. For them dialectic is a vast, controlling philosophy.

Commercial practitioners like Bernays wanted no part of the word propaganda and turned it into “public relations” which was presented as a form of persuasion, or mass entertainment. Mass communication theories also avoid the term propaganda and suggest that news is simply “information” and movies are entertainment. The critical thinking movement also avoids the word “propaganda” by using the social psychological terms “mass persuasion” or “coercive persuasion”. All three propaganda theories on the left are not bashful about using the term propaganda to describe dominant power. The radical left uses the term dialectic as an alternative to propaganda. The muckrakers and the critical thinking advocates are more sensitive about distinguishing propaganda from what they advocate, which is rhetoric and dialectic. Both rhetoric and dialectic are used by journalists and in argumentation and critical thinking classes.

Purpose

The purpose of propaganda also has a wide variation of stances. The purpose for both the extreme left and extreme right is to unmask either the communist or capitalist threat. For the commercial practitioners the purpose of propaganda is to sell products. For the Mass Communication theorists, propaganda is to act as a safety valve to let the leaders know what the public wants or doesn’t want. For critical thinking theorists, their purpose is to expose the informal logical fallacies that typically go with interpreting propaganda. This might include ad hominem arguments, “either or thinking”, bandwagon and conflict of interests within the authorities. For the muckrakers, exposure is the name of the game whether it be the corporations or the state. Ellul has something interesting to say about this. He says the purpose of propaganda is a) to support existing elites in their competition with other elites and b) it is used by the masses that need propaganda to help them understand the complexities of large-scale social life.

Fields of operation

All three theories on the right of the political spectrum in the fields of operation argue that propaganda is only political. Bernays and his followers would sinisterly deny that propaganda is political, even though Bernays himself used propaganda to convince the American public to go to war (World War I) and to support the United Fruit Company against the Guatemalan government in the early 1950s. Mass communication theorists did not really focus on the impact of propaganda outside of politics. All four of the other theories argue that propaganda is present in advertising, television, and movies.

Discontinuous vs pervasive

How well can propaganda be combatted? Not surprisingly, reactionary conservatives, commercial practitioners and mass communication scientists think that propaganda is discontinuous rather than pervasive. The reactionary conservatives think propaganda is limited to the competition between left and right political wings. All other social institutions are neutral. For the commercial practitioners, propaganda is used by advertising companies and in the competition between them, there is no single message that is communicated. In other words, propaganda cancels itself out and the consumer wins! The mass communications theorists think that science is an island immune from the impact of propaganda. The critical thinking movement argues that educational institutions are less likely to be impacted by propaganda. All left wing propaganda theorists think propaganda is pervasive, but it can be combated by political agitation.

Orchestrated or competitive

How systematic are the propaganda mechanisms? As might be expected, right-wing reactionaries think that communist propaganda is seamless and all-controlling. The commercial practitioners think propaganda is very systemic in communist countries, grinding down the population into mindless robots. But in capitalist “democracies” the competition between Republicans and Democrats cancels each other out and the voter is free to decide. In advertising, commercial practitioners deny any orchestration. Advertising techniques are a set of gimmicks and recipes. For mass communication theorists, competition between fields of science allows no overall propaganda that crosses fields. Critical thinking theorists, muckrakers and radical leftists think that propaganda is systematic and orchestrated. Ellul’s sociologist theory has the most to say about this. For him, propaganda is carefully drawn from sociology and psychological research about the needs and psychological mechanisms of the public. There is knowledge about groups and its laws of formation and dissolution. Propaganda is also based on the Pavlov’s laws of association.

Is mass media a tool of control or is it neutral?

Reactionary conservatives say mass media is a passive tool used by liberals and communists. It accuses mass media of a “liberal bias”. Both commercial practitioners and mass media communications theories see mass media as a pure clearing house for finding out either what consumers want economically or what they want politically (through polling). For critical thinking advocates, all forms of mass media are designed to make people take cognitive shortcuts. Muckrakers think that mass media owners have their own self-interests in making money and they are not completely beholden to the ruling class. As left liberals they might point at neoconservative media like Fox News as controlling mass media. Like reactionary conservatives, radical leftists think of mass media as having no independent power and are the tools of ruling class or conservative forces.

Epistemology, Irrationality and Psychological Mechanisms

Is propaganda about lying?

Both the right-wing reactionaries and the left-wing socialists naively think that propaganda is about lies and that truth has no element of propaganda in it. For commercial practitioners’ propaganda is white propaganda – white lies, tall stories, euphemisms and cliches. Mass communications theorists say propaganda is lies about facts. They agree that propaganda could never be based on the truth. Muckrakers also tend to believe propaganda is usually about incorrect facts. Critical thinking theorists think that propaganda can be about lies or about the truth. Ellul’s understanding was the most sophisticated. He followed what Goebbels said about propaganda. The best propaganda is based on facts. Where the propaganda enters is in how the facts are interpreted. Like stereotypes, no propaganda could stick in people’s minds if there wasn’t more than a grain of truth to them.

Is propaganda about rationality or irrationality?

So, is propaganda rational or irrational? Right-wing reactionaries think that communist propaganda is super-rational and fail to take into consideration the emotional side of humanity. Left-wing socialists think that the appeal of reactionary conservatives, whether religious fundamentalists or fascists, is emotional and irrational. Appeals to God and country, blood and soil have no rational basis. Commercial practitioners and mass communication theorists both agree that propaganda is irrational. Commercial practitioners argue their techniques are to appeal to infantile fantasies, as we will see. Mass communication theorists think that anything outside their realm of science is potentially irrational. They think that privately people are more likely to be rational than as a mass. Both critical thinking theorists and muckrakers understand that propaganda can be both rational and irrational. Ellul agrees, adding that propaganda is mostly rational and that irrational propaganda (citing his book written in 1960) is a thing of the past.

What is the relationship between message, source and medium?

Reactionary conservatives are old-fashioned. They focus on the message and who the source is (is the source a front group for communists?) but they don’t’ take a stand as to whether the propaganda is from books, radio or television, or movies. Radical leftists are in the same boat except that they seek out which capitalist corporations might be behind the message. Commercial practitioners think the message, source and medium are not problematic. All are neutral and individuals are free to make up their own minds. Mass communications theorists are not critical of the message or the medium. They think of mediums as interchangeable. However, they do care about the source of the message and how well the message was received by the masses.

Critical thinking advocates are critical of messages and the political leanings of the sources. They are sensitive to which medium the message comes through because fast mass media will not allow people to digest the information and take it apart critically.  It is the muckrakers who are the most critical of all three. As journalists, they are very aware that movies have enormous propaganda potential for storytelling. Television and radio communicate more quickly and there is little time to think. Books, newspapers and magazines have less propaganda potential because the audience can regulate the information at their own pace. The sociological school of Ellul is more critical of the message and the medium but pays less attention to the source.

Does propaganda want to change attitudes or change actions?

Commercial practitioners were among the first theorists to understand that it is much too difficult to try to change people’s attitudes. It was only later that the reasons came out. Attitudes are based on long-standing socialization processes involving family, friends, religious training and elementary education. These socialization processes are too deeply ingrained to change with any short-term propaganda. Therefore, these practitioners target reinforcing existing attitudes but with a slight twist that might provide an impetus to buy something.

Reactionary fascists like Goebbels also understood this and simply reinforced what the German masses seemed to believe. Ellul agrees that propaganda is not about changing attitudes but rather about strengthening what is already there. Mass communications theorists were not really interested in getting people to act, but they hoped that by studying attitudes of masses in polling, leaders could better match the wants of the masses so that they did not lead to destructive collective behavior. The radical left has been historically the most naïve about this, thinking that working class people’s attitudes could be changed towards socialism. 

Propaganda mechanisms used

As far as the precise mechanisms used to propagandize people, only three of the seven theories have mechanisms identified. Commercial practitioners largely depend on both Pavlov in his laws of association and also Skinner’s rewards and punishment scheduling. Lastly, they used an early version of Bandura’s social modeling, having models who are attractive, powerful and seem to have expertise in the products they are advertising. This social modeling will cue the shortcuts of peripheral brain routes. Mass communications theorist Herbert Lasswell had a lot to say about techniques. In addition to working in mass communication he was also involved with the State Department. Lasswell identified three kinds of symbols:

  • Symbols of demand – the aspirations of the group seeking to produce events
  • Symbols of identification – defining the needs of the protagonist and the antagonist
  • Symbols of expectation – presenting facts as immediate or future objectives

Mass communication theorists also used Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory, which involved manipulating the desire for cognitive consistency.

Ellul also relied on conditioned reflexes but then added two other processes:

  • Mithridatization which acted like a sedative
  • Sensibilization which acted like a stimulant

To paraphrase, Ellul (183) mithridatization (the sedative part) is a toxin antitoxin process whereby a person is rendered immune to a poison by tolerating gradually increased doses of it. Closing up, he becomes insensitive to propaganda as a result of past shocks. He no longer looks at posters. He no longer reads the newspaper, but skims distractedly over it. Yet he continues to obey the catchwords of propaganda.

In a mass communication society, the individual no longer has either the independence or the choice of activities sufficient to release his tensions in an appropriate way. He is forced to keep them inside. Goebbels writes that propaganda should reduce frustrations and artificially resolve real problems and anticipate the frustrations to come when they cannot avoid them. Propaganda is like a cure that would numb the liver of an alcoholic in such a way that he could continue to get drunk without feeling pain in his liver, even though it would still kill him. Propaganda suppresses the warning signals that his anxieties, maladjustments, rebellions and demands once supplied. Now he is no more himself than he is when he reacts biologically to a tranquilizer. Propaganda will appear to be a true remedy, but for a sickness deliberately provoked to fit the remedy. Propaganda will intervene as the fake instrument for reducing these tensions by external action. They will flee contradictions by escape through the contemporary ideology of happiness.

If mithridatization is cooling people out, sensibilization is riling people up. Sensibilization is the increase of sensitivity or susceptibility to stimulation. Ellul says the individualist is more sensitive, not to the content but to the impetus it gives him for the excitement it makes him feel. He needs refreshment, a booster shot. When he goes to political movies it gives an outlet.  Propaganda offers release on a grand scale. Just like in Orwell’s 1984 two-minute hate rants, it will permit hatred and provides an object of hatred. It points out enemies to be slain – Jews, bourgeoisie, or communists. Authoritarian governments allow satirical journals attacking the authorities or a wild holiday paid for by the dictator (The Friday of Sorrows in Guatemala). The bureaucrat becomes the scapegoat, while the party remains above reproach. Letters to the editor by the public serve a similar function in Yankeedom. The sensibilization process has a freshness and novelty which correspond to new situations and gives the individualist the impression of having invented new ideals. It provides humanity with a high ideal and permits him to give into his passions while seeming to accomplish a great mission.

How quickly does propaganda work?

All schools of propaganda agree that propaganda works slowly. However, reactionary conservatives imagine that propaganda can also work suddenly as in a religious conversion. Commercial advertisers know that success is not getting someone to buy a new product but to influence an audience to change brands within a product the person buys regularly. They well understand that their propaganda does not stay with the masses for long. Mass communications theorists agree. Speaking politically, muckrakers understand that propaganda cannot dictate what a person thinks. However, through censorship, they can limit the parameters of what an audience can think about. In other words, political propaganda in Yankeedom cannot convince you to vote Republican or Democrat. However, by their refusal to allow third parties into debates they can define the parameters of what audiences think about. The viability of the capitalist system, the imperialist wars overseas and the prison industrial complex are issues outside the Republican-Democrat parameters, so they get no airtime.

For its time, the most sophisticated dynamical version of the relationship between the speed at which propaganda works is Ellul’s distinction between sociological propaganda and political propaganda. Political propaganda works quickly, attempting to spread a doctrine, dividing and excluding people, as in wars and revolutions. The language is emotional loaded with virtue and vice words. Political propaganda works best in public settings where people are at the same place and the same time. People are swept out of everyday life into a kind of adventure. Political propaganda may be overt at the culmination of a campaign, but much of political propaganda is covert beforehand.

At the other extreme, sociological propaganda attempts to unify rather than divide people. It works slowly and methodically. No crisis is at hand and society is moving along at a normal pace. Whereas political propaganda spreads a political doctrine, sociological propaganda spreads a way of life. While political propaganda works best in public, sociological propaganda does not require being in the same place and the same time. Masses take in sociological propaganda over months and even years. Sociological propaganda such as advertising, movies, sports and education is overt in part because it is not perceived as propaganda. The language of sociological propaganda is not inflammatory. It acts as a sedative, using euphemisms, clichés or vague terminology. The purpose is to support the existing system rather than overturn it. Please see Table A for a full comparison.

How Are the Dominant Institutions and the Public Perceived?

Dominant institutions: Controlling or neutral?

Reactionary conservatives are paranoid, thinking that dominant institutions have been taken over by socialists or communists. The radical left-wingers of propaganda theory think that the state, mass media, the educational system and religious institutions are all determined by capitalists’ drive for profits. They follow a version of Marx’s dominant ideology theory where the ideas of the ruling class became the predominant ideology of the workers.

Both the commercial practitioners and mass communications theorists think these dominant institutions are just fine. Commercial practitioners think these institutions are simply quantitative outgrowths of free speech. Mass communication scientists think state, media, education and religious forces all compete and so there is no central control. Critical thinking theorists will be moderately skeptical of these social institutions, but they say the main problem is people’s emotionalism and suggestibility. Muckrakers are cynical about these institutions because they organize themselves to influence the public in a certain direction before the public can formulate and articulate its own needs. This takes place through think tanks, lobbyists and foundations.

Ellul argues that all the dominant institutions are there to perpetuate their own existence and this applies to both capitalist and socialist societies. Surprisingly, Ellul says that it is not the ruling class that is responsible for mass propaganda. They are too remote to understand how to influence the lower classes. Instead, it turns the job over to the upper-middle class. But as Ellul points out, the upper-middle class does not do a good job with it. The lower classes do not read newspapers or magazines. The lower classes are more susceptible to TV, especially to shows depicting upper-middle class life. The lower classes have their own music and sports which the upper-middle class does not understand or belittles.

Masses: passive, active, neutral?

Up to now, we haven’t clarified how well or badly propaganda works with the masses. Are masses passive, active, neutral or passive and active together? Reactionary conservatives do not trust masses because they are distrustful of mass society. For them, masses are dupes of communist ideology. They believe they are also dangerous when manipulated by communists. It is only at the individual level that the average person thinks more clearly, so they follow a version of Gustav LeBon’s crowd theory.  The commercial practitioners look at the targets of their advertising campaigns as passive and hedonistic. They also agree with Veblen’s emulation theory that masses want to “keep up with the Joneses”. But at the same time, they cynically present the masses as freely choosing consumers. Ellul is rather hopeless about the masses, seeing them as disorganized and passive.

Mass communications theorists are more hopeful about the masses. They are passive but can become active once the facts are given to them by the polls. For critical theorists, there is a big difference between publics and masses. Publics have more potential because they meet in face-to-face gatherings. Masses cannot see each other face-to-face and can be active only if they have overcome the reasoning fallacies. Muckrakers think of the masses as temporarily foolish but as potentially active, capable of cooperation, but simply lack information about how dominant organizations obstruct their judgment. The job of muckrakers is to expose dominant institutions. The radical left understands the public most dialectically. They see the masses as victims of capitalist institutions. But they can become active and revolutionary when not oppressed by capitalist forces.

Dynamics between dominant institutions and masses: mechanical or dialectical?

There are two ways to imagine how the relationship between the dominant order and the masses can be conceived: either mechanically or dialectically. Both the radical right and the radical left have a mechanical understanding of the relationship. Both have what is called a hypodermic needle picture. The reactionary conservatives think that people are helplessly injected with communist propaganda unless combated by the forces of anti-communism. With the exception of mass psychologist Wilhelm Reich, leftist until the 1970s saw masses of people brainwashed by capitalist institutions which could only be overcome by the agitation of socialist organizers.

The commercial practitioners talk out of both sides of their mouths. They present the masses of people as being in control of their desires (the consumer is king) while the advertising agencies are simply doing the bidding of the public. So, the masses are the ones injecting the passive advertisers. But behind closed doors, advertisers think the masses are stupid. However, in practice they are always surprised that their advertising campaigns often fail. Mass communication scientists, critical thinking advocates and muckrakers all agree that the dominant institutions have the power, but the power is not so extreme that it can be called a hypodermic needle. Mass communications theorists understand the people in polls do not always go along with these institutions. The critical thinking movement argues that by utilizing more critical thinking tools masses can resist propaganda. Muckrakers also see people banding together and forming alternative media sources. Ellul sees the relationship between propagandists and masses as mutually constitutive. Masses need propagandists in order to understand more simply the complexity of the world. Propagandists need the masses to fight wars and produce profit.

Who is Most Susceptible?

Which social classes are most susceptible?

Earlier I said that reactionary conservatives had a rather cynical attitude towards the lower classes, dismissing them as dupes. However, they also think that it is the middle-class and upper-middle class intellectuals who promote communism, get carried away with the ideology they create and spin unrealistic prospects for a utopian future. Ellul agrees. He also says the social class most susceptible to propaganda is the upper-middle class for they are the ones who are creating the symbol systems and they are the most enthralled with them. He believes that they are more interested in the social issues that the propagandists target and because they are convinced of their own superiority in understanding them. They are more vulnerable to propaganda because they think they are beyond it.

The commercial practitioners also think the middle and upper middle classes are better targets because they have the money to buy the products. Advertisers spend much less of their money targeting the lower classes because the profit margins are too low. Mass communication theorists think the lower classes are more vulnerable because they are not interested in science and are irrational. Critical theorists think working-class, and especially poor, people fall for propaganda because they are less likely to have gone to college and been more likely to learn critical thinking skills. Radical leftists think working-class people are most vulnerable because they do not have the leisure time to understand precisely how they are being manipulated.

Are collectivists or individualists more vulnerable to propaganda?

Reactionary conservatives think that the individualism of industrial capitalist societies make people more vulnerable to propaganda because city living creates rootless individuals who are alienated from the religions that once gave them comfort. Conservatives don’t think that religion in itself is a form of propaganda. Ellul agrees, saying masses of people are more vulnerable to propaganda than the face-to-face public relations of people living in collectivist societies.

Commercial practitioners agree that the lack of mass media in agricultural or tribal societies make them less vulnerable. People in pre-industrial societies do not seem to have the “infinite needs” of individualists in industrial capitalist societies, most of which is created by advertisers in the first place. Mass media communications theorists, on the other hand, think propaganda is more prevalent in collectivist societies (religious beliefs, superstition) and that democratic processes in industrial capitalist societies would train them to be less vulnerable. Critical thinking theorists think collectivists’ lack of training in critical thinking would make them more vulnerable to propaganda.  Both the muckrakers and the radical left think the individualists of industrial capitalist societies are more vulnerable because they think they are too smart to be propagandized.

Who is easiest to mobilize: the committed, the indifferent or the undecided?

All seven propaganda theorists agree that people who are already committed to a position cannot be propagandized. They have too much of a stake in what they already believe to change. At the other extreme, it is too difficult to move people out of a position of indifference. When people don’t care, something dramatic has to happen like a natural disaster, a stock market crash or a revolution to make them care. Propaganda is not strong enough by itself. The people who are most likely to be moved to change propaganda are those who are mobilized but haven’t made up their minds. This is one reason why politicians in Yankeedom work harder to appeal to voters in swing states. They don’t bother with people who have demographically been shown not to vote, nor with states that have a history of voting consistently for Republican or Democratic candidates.

What is the Relationship Between Democracy and Propaganda?

Superficially it would seem that democracy and propaganda are at opposite points on the spectrum. Societies that were democratic would not have propaganda and those who had propaganda were in some ways not democratic. But the problem is that the seven theories of propaganda do not agree about what democracy is.

Most agree that democracy is defined politically as the right to vote. However, both commercial practitioners and the radical left think of democracy as economic, rather than political. Commercial practitioners think democracy is about consumption, having infinite choices in commodities is what democracy is all about. The radical left think democracy is about controlling the workplaces and deciding economically what is produced, how it is produced and where it goes. Mass communication theorists are the most middle of the road, thinking that democracy is having two political parties and voting for them. Critical thinking advocates think that democracy is less about parties and more about issues. Thus, critical thinking texts often have a section with perhaps, ten or twelve of the typical issues Republicans and Democrats argue about in Congress. The job of a critical thinker is to use critical thinking skills to write about or debate the issues. Muckrakers go further and argue that party debate or examining the issues are both done by individuals. For them democracy is about learning how to participate in small groups, coming to group decisions. An example of that is something called “participatory budgeting” where at city council meetings citizens come together to decide on the priorities of a city budget.

Both Ellul and reactionary conservatives think that democracy doesn’t work, but for different reasons. Ellul simply thinks democracy is impossible in a modern society and the word itself is used for propagandistic purposes to give people the illusion of choice. For the reactionary conservatives, democracy is looked upon as an unfavorable turn of events at the end of the 19th century. For political conservatives there is a natural hierarchy, placing people with superior talent and good breeding at the top and their inferiors at the bottom.  Democracy is understood as the rule of a mob that should never rule. Ortega Y Gasset would be the appropriate theoretician for this view.

Please see Table B for a summary of the seven propaganda theorists and their books spanning from the 1920s to the 1960s.

* First published in Socialist Planning After Capitalism

The post Jacques Ellul: Controversies in the Rise of Propaganda first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Methanol for the CoV2 Hypodermic Chemical Experiment

“There you have it — At-will, AKA at the beckon call, beckon abuse, beckon exploitation, beckon denigration, beckon injurious behavior and workplace environment. These employers are thugs, and from the top down, with their lawyers and MBAs and institutional misleadership yahoos at the executive level, the worker is doomed by this sick system. Forced vaccinations for schools, colleges, workplaces. The systems need to burn!”

Of course, I am asked not to identify the person who wrote this to me. We all are being surveilled by these Stasi folk, whether we work for a governmental agency, school systems, private college, for-profit business, mom and pop lowbrow joint, nonprofit, you name it.

They (bosses, agencies, pre-employment interviewers) sign up for Google search notifications — any time their company is named in the media or on digital platforms, they get notifications. They track what’s said about their business, corporation, nonprofit, agency, school. That is also for anyone they want to put into the Google-Palantir search engine, for a price, monthly rate, be it a person’s name. Like mine, hmm.

This is what these Stasi Americans want in their lives — complete control. Damage control against the truth-sayers speaking truth to power. Damage the messenger, or kill him or her with constant threats of litigation, fines, subpoenas, more. Imagine one writer, me, getting hooked into the Google Gulag, but then, what about anyone with my name? Hmm, children, siblings, spouses? This is how they play their mole game.

See the source image

Below, an example of the blithe and dangerous bullshit fake journalism of the mainstream imbeciles. That the State of Oregon can force vaccinations onto people really is the issue: the state just pushes that onto the overlords running businesses or nonprofits. That’s it, no argument, hands down the policy of the land, man.

The news (sic) story below will not contain push back,  and it will be vacant of civil rights thinkers/libertarians cited, will allude to no one pushing back on these Draconian measures. In fact, the story will not frame these measures as Draconian. The journalist from the Oregon paper of record (Oregonian) is already colonized and co-opted. Then you get some “law” professor (sic) from a for-profit private university pulled into the article, to come on board to yammer on. This is the new normal that’s been pretty old normal — mainstream media faking it, looking like it’s in the hunt for balance, when it’s all false balance, false and manufactured consent. The goal is to question the prevailing party-bureaucratic-company line, and question all governments’ actions. Read here:

“I think ultimately most employers would be able to require it,” said Henry Drummonds, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor specializing in labor and employment law. “But I think most employers probably wouldn’t want to require it. I think employers could first encourage and educate employees about the safety of the vaccine and the desirability of it in terms of protecting yourself and your coworkers.”

Drummonds said that at-will employment standards allow private businesses to dictate and change the terms of employment at any time and fire employees for any reason, as long as they don’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age or any other protected category.

In practice, this means that employers probably could require employees to receive the vaccine to remain employed or return to the office. Both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries have released guidance stating that employers can mandate that employees get vaccinated.

 

See the source image

Already, idiocy prevails: just recently, I witnessed a manager of a nonprofit ask her employee in front of another employee in a public place within lots of people’s earshot: “Well, Rick, got his vaccination. So did I. Most everyone in the company has. But John hasn’t.”

See the source image

I knew this was a nonprofit this manager was a member of because I was within earshot. I offered an unsolicited response, trying to equate calling someone out in public for not having this experimental and not FDA-approved chemical shot. “How’s your BMI? You looking overweight? How’s your hypertension? You looking pink in the face? How’s your probable lung cancer? You just finished off a cigarette. Come on, shaming people for not agreeing to an untested chemical compound with that jab in the arm is unethical, and in public so I can hear your conversation?” She just clammed up and scooted her two employees away.

Imagine, fewer and fewer tough guys and gals can actually make it in USA (elsewhere too) with the power of what they can and cannot decide upon, that is, what they either want to and do not want to be injected into their bodies. Mind you, the jury is far from out on these chemical shots —

On February 27, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it had “issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the third vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” the Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) Covid-19 vaccine.

This announcement is virtually identical to the EUAs previously issued for Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna.

In each of the EUAs, the FDA has been careful to avoid any claim that the vaccines provide protection against infection or transmission of the virus. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have each publicly stated that the vaccines have NOT been shown to prevent infection or transmission.

All of their regulatory documents and commentary addressing the issue state clearly that there is no evidence that the vaccines affect either infection with or transmission of the virus, nor do they prevent symptoms of Covid-19 from appearing.

— Source:  “Covid Vaccine Nonsense” [US-based human rights lawyer breaks down the contradictory claims of “effectiveness”, the incomplete studies and legal minefield of forced use of experimental vaccines] JP Jerome

 

Let’s shift to some compare and contrast between vaccine makers and cigarette makers. I  just read a short but cogent article on the menthol marketing, how 45,000 black Americans die each year from tobacco related illnesses (mostly throat, tongue, and lung cancer). Talk about cool — mentholated cigarettes’ make the poisons go down easier. Everything goes down smoother with a little bit of throat deadening. And this is legal stuff. No massive “take all the cigarettes’ and Juul’s and pipes and cigars and chew cans away.”  “Menthol Marketing Exposes Institutional Racism” by Michael Schwalbe, Counterpunch.

But forced vaccinations, and then this pact with  the devil — at-will, zero protection: screw up and you get the pink slip bullshit about American capitalism. Sort of buyer beware, user beware, consumer beware, worker beware.

In the long run, the solution to the ongoing global pandemic of tobacco-related disease is to abolish tobacco companies. Short of that, we now have an opportunity to significantly curtail the industry’s ability to profit from the destruction of Black lives. If Black lives matter, we must not let the opportunity pass.

— Michael Schwalbe, professor of sociology at North Carolina State University Source.

Low income, lots of working class people, workers in the developing world. Slick multimillion dollar a year ad campaigns: Slick, and Scientific (sic). Data driven.  Imagine, tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. Of these deaths, 1.2 million are caused by secondhand smoke exposure. Talk about an epidemic, pandemic. You know that every rotting Southern pol and every single tobacco lobbyist and every grower and CEO, they pooh-pooh these stats. “Prove it. If it’s that deadly, then why’s it legal?”

The internet seems great at scrubbing information, but the reality is that when Ray-Gun left his criminal enterprise throne, he did some hucksterism stuff for the tobacco industry. He and Edwin Meese did a talking tour overseas to push cancer sticks.

Talk about killing people from his cold-ass grave, Reagan and the long arm of his contra mentality, still with us:

But the industry did not launch its campaign for new overseas markets alone. The Reagan and Bush administrations used their economic and political clout to pry open markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and China for American cigarettes. At a time when one arm of the government was warning Americans about the dangers of smoking, another was helping the industry recruit a new generation of smokers abroad.

Asia is where tobacco’s search for new horizons began and where the industry came to rely most on Washington’s help. U.S. officials in effect became the industry’s lawyers, agents and collaborators. Prominent politicians such as Robert J. Dole, Jesse Helms, Dan Quayle and Al Gore played a role. “No matter how this process spins itself out,” George Griffin, commercial counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, told Matthew N. Winokur, public affairs manager of Philip Morris Asia, in a “Dear Matt” letter in January 1986, “I want to emphasize that the embassy and the various U.S. government agencies in Washington will keep the interests of Philip Morris and the other American cigarette manufacturers in the forefront of our daily concerns.”  Source.

Why the harangue by yours truly against tobacco in a piece about how rotting the at-will mentality of big, small and loser companies run by bigger losers than anyone following the Peter Principle 2.0 [well, Peter Principle update: the worse you are as a human, with no ethics, no character, well, you go up the ladder, food chain, corporate manure pile!] can imagine forcing vaccines onto workers?

Think hard about an experimental mRNA chemical put into a syringe and then forcefully delivered to the global population. Hmm, would this have been acceptable in 2019? 2001? 1990? The year I was born, 1957?

Of course not, and yet, this is it, with people being shamed or called out for reluctance on an experimental, emergency authorized, untested chemical and DNA morphing drug being forcefully put into one’s body. Not once, but with a booster, and then, now, as the world burns, yearly or bi-yearly boosters for the “new” variants of a corona cold virus.

Here, this is science and capitalism, science/capitalism/politics, like leprosery and it’s host —

One way the tobacco industry has manipulated cigarettes to increase addictiveness is by loading cigarettes with chemical compounds. Bronchodilators were added so that tobacco smoke can more easily enter the lungs. Sugars, flavors and menthol were increased to dull the harshness of smoke and make it easier to inhale. Ammonia was added so that nicotine travels to the brain faster.

Specifically, increasing the amount of nicotine was of paramount importance to tobacco company executives. Experts found that Big Tobacco companies genetically engineered their tobacco crops to contain two times the amount of nicotine and adjusted their cigarette design so that the nicotine delivered to smokers increased by 14.5 percent. As Phillip Morris Principal Scientist W.L. Dunn said in 1972, “No one has ever become a cigarette smoker by smoking cigarettes without nicotine.”  — Source

Bronchodilators and ammonia added? Come on, my students at UTEP were finding more dirt on big tobacco and the collusion with the FDA, keeping secret under governmental lock and key all the ingredients they sprayed on tobacco before becoming the stuff of rolled cigs, cigars, pipe filler and chew. Think of secret doses of anti-convulsant drugs, since the higher nicotine content and the other burning chemicals cause many people to get ticks, minor tremors; i.e., seizures. Best keep the seizures down and the sales up.

Shoot, this is just the minor list of smoke by-products — Nicotine (the addictive drug that produces the effects in the brain that people are looking for), Hydrogen cyanide, Formaldehyde, Lead, Arsenic, Ammonia, Radioactive elements, such as polonium-210, Benzene, Carbon monoxide, Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

These Satan’s, these big and little Eichmann types, these Mad Men, these PR spinners, these profiteers and cancer mercenaries, come on, the story is bigger — 600 ingredients can be used in cigarettes, but the actual combustion of the cig produces over 4,000 chemical compounds. And, when burned, these cigarette ingredients mix together and create deadly substances, 69 of which are carcinogenic.

Yeah, how’s that pandemic and pandemic and pandemic on the horizon. SARS-CoV2, 3, 5? Remember, there is no outright statement that declares cigarette smoking causes cancers or any number of other co-occurring diseases or terminal cancers.

So, if Big Tobacco and Gore and Reagan and Clinton and Trump, et al can stump just for this singular felonious Mafia outfit, what do you think might be happening behind closed doors and inside labs and at the top of the heap tied to exactly what this experimental vaccine’s (sic) side effects might do today, next month, a year from now, etc.?

For the good of the world? The economies? For life saving ethos? You got the memo yet? You want life saving? Shit, one product, tobacco, done with, hmm, what’s that life saving factor? Banned from planet earth, more or less. And how much for all the lost labor of huffing and puffing cig smokers . . .  all the flagging physiologies, all the damage, slow and fast, caused by cigs, et al? Ya think there will be a ban tomorrow?

Hmm, NEVER. Now, multiply that a million fold with all the deadly chemicals and toxins and fumigants and fungicides and off-gassing crap in all manner of clothes, combustible materials, food, drinks, drugs. Then multiple one times two, and then factor up. How do these work, hmm, twelve together, the impossibility of really studying the synergistic effects of one chemical interacting with another, or a dozen or 4,000? Hmm, those 4,000 chemicals in one good Marlboro man drag, what’s the toll?

You think there are governmental and private financed studies on that? Think.

According to comments from vaccine scientists in September 2020 (prior to the Covid-19 EUA issuances), no vaccine had ever before been distributed on an EUA basis.

“We don’t do EUAs for vaccines,” [Dr. Peter] Hotez said, “It’s a lesser review, it’s a lower-quality review, and when you’re talking about vaccinating a large chunk of the American population, that’s not acceptable.”

Three months later, the FDA issued EUAs for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but with explicit guidance that the vaccine “has not undergone the same type of review as an FDA- approved or cleared product.”

The idea is that if there are injuries and deaths because of the experimental and untested drugs-chemicals in these shots, well, who foots the bill? Who is responsible? Hmm, in the USA, it’s the US taxpayer.

I have a friend whose niece would not take “death by any other means” as the last answer. She is pushing for an investigation into her father’s death after the vaccine was given to him. He was 74, healthy, but he did have aging issues, like we all do. Blood clots occurred rapidly, hmm, and, then he checked out in a stroke like manner. This is after, right after, vaccination. The county coroner will not do an autopsy, and alas, there are no watchdog agencies in our corner. A simple autopsy would be $6,000. This is a suspicious vaccine-related death, and she has now gone on-line and gotten more people to email her about similar deaths after vaccination. She can’t put it on Facebook, too long or too detailed like, so she is getting contacted through GoFundMe. She’s doing this surreptitiously.  There will be no Ralph Nader’s or RFK, Jr.’s coming to her family’s aid.

Just like you can’t sue successfully the big tobacco and their technicians and chemists and MD’s and lawyers and CEO’s and the politicians and marketers for selling a dangerous product to a billion people, let alone the second and third hand smoke of these cancer sticks.

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