Skip to comments.Bushwhacking Johnny
Posted on 09/21/2002 5:19:52 PM PDT by A. Pole
From the September 2002 issue of Chronicles :
by B.K. Eakman
At dinner, ten-year-old Johnny is sullen and uncommunicative. It has been a bad day. His parents pass off his ill humor as "going through a phase." Actually, it was an easy day--taken up with "another stupid school assembly." Johnny had sat there, bored, listening to people drone on about diversity and tolerance. When a lesbian took the stage, Johnny and his soccer buddies had guffawed. Later, the school counselor cornered him at his locker: "You're a big boy now, Johnny. Your Mom and Dad are from another generation, you know, so it's not surprising they wouldn't be tolerant of gay people. You can make up your own mind. You wouldn't want someone looking at you and your friends as 'dumb soccer jocks,' would you?"
Johnny has been subjected to cognitive dissonance, a tactic often used to mold public opinion. Not only does the technique neutralize unwanted input, it's a nearly foolproof method of manipulating groups for political ends. An adult subjected to it at least has the benefit of maturity and experience. He may recognize, however belatedly, the cause of his annoyance. Johnny, however, is too young to weigh matters, so he broods. His confusion may fester for months below any conscious level of awareness.
Technically, cognitive dissonance is "a stressful mental or emotional reaction caused by trying to reconcile two opposing, inconsistent, or conflicting beliefs held simultaneously." In practice, it is a form of mental coercion. (I ought to know: I sat through enough workshops as a prospective educator and practicing teacher. We learned how to disrupt logic, how to make it difficult for the uninitiated to sustain a train of thought.)
Creating a disorienting psychological environment doesn't require an expert agitator or professional provocateur if you can get gullible third parties--teachers, factory workers, even parents--who don't realize what they're doing to do the dirty work. Educators often think that they are using scientific methodology to transmit "thinking skills" or that they are "empowering pupils to be decisionmakers." Budding journalism students may believe they are perfecting interviewing techniques. Political-science majors typically encounter it as "negotiating tactics," which is closer to the truth. But the goal of cognitive dissonance, as with all surreptitious opinion-molding, is to get the target to respond to contrived "stimuli" (especially hot-button topics or situations) with knee-jerk, emotional reactions, leaving reason behind. In so doing, the victim "internalizes," briefly or permanently, an alternate view of reality.
In today's politically correct schools, this is sold as intellectual and academic freedom. Take any controversial issue--e.g., homosexuality--and examine the method used to bushwhack ten-year-old Johnny.
As a pre-adolescent, Johnny naturally looks to his parents as the primary source of authority. But they have made it clear that teachers and other school staff are also his superiors, requiring obedience.
Enter the school counselor: In one fell swoop, she shakes Johnny's confidence in his parents and himself. At ten, Johnny is not mature enough to understand what homosexuals do, but judging from the counselor's comment, it's apparent to him that his parents oppose homosexuality. (The counselor is sure of this because Johnny has completed untold numbers of questionnaires revealing details about his family--from what they read to how they worship.)
The counselor blindsides Johnny on five levels. First, she provides a justification for not abiding by his parents' values. ("They're from another generation.") Then, she strokes Johnny's ego by implying he is more mature than he actually is. ("You're a big boy now.") Next, she plants the idea that his parents' ethics are shallow. ("It's not surprising they wouldn't be tolerant.") Then, she forces Johnny to choose between two opposing authorities under the pretext of thinking independently. ("You can make up your own mind.") Finally, she legitimizes a lifestyle his parents probably oppose. ("Would you want someone looking at you as a 'dumb soccer jock'?")
How can Johnny go to his parents with this? He probably won't even remember the context in which this conversation occurred. How will Johnny resolve the conflict? He doesn't have the opportunity to do that, because the counselor's question called for a response on the spot.
When cognitive dissonance is employed against an unsuspecting person--or worse, against a captive audience such as schoolchildren--the short-term objective is to prompt insecure individuals to find company, leading to a group (mob) mentality. This makes it easier to reverse values held by the majority. "Truth" can even be turned against itself--for example, "freedom of speech" is now used to legitimize pornography. The very people freedom of speech was designed to protect are left not only vulnerable but suspicious of the principle itself.
What "new values" are educators trying to instill? Here is a seven-point list, given to educators in North Carolina at an in-service workshop:
There is no right or wrong, only conditioned responses.
The collective good is more important than the individual.
Consensus is more important than principle.
Flexibility is more important than accomplishment.
Nothing is permanent except change.
All ethics are situational; there are no moral absolutes.
Notice that all of the items on this list involve no particular issue; rather, they reflect ethical "outcomes" that a child is supposed to "internalize."
There are no perpetrators, only victims.
So cognitive dissonance is not quite brainwashing, and it's not quite subliminal advertising, either. It's more like setting somebody up for a psychological fall. It plays with the mind by pitting various perceived "authorities" against one another and exacerbating tensions. After a while, intellectual deliberations shut down, and emotions take over. Only the strongest-willed individuals can hold out--the "troublemakers."
Classrooms are rife with examples of cognitive dissonance. Take The Cry of the Marsh, an environmentalist film shown in many seventh-grade science classes. It opens with an idyllic, rustic landscape--birds singing in the trees, mother ducks leading their young on a pleasant excursion down a creek, rabbits scampering over the ground. The scene oozes fresh air, sunshine, and peace.
Suddenly, a tractor-bulldozer appears. The camera zooms in on the word "AMERICAN" on the side of the yellow vehicle, which is actually the name of the company that manufactured the equipment, though young viewers are left to interpret it as "an American bulldozer." Because of the camera angle, the vehicle looks like a tank. It overturns everything in its path--shrubs, grass, plants. Exhaust fills the air.
A man jumps out of the front seat and goes over to the embankment to drain the creek where the ducklings had been following their mother. Another man brings a can of gasoline, pours it over the surrounding area, and ignites it. As the men drive away, flames leap into the air. Trees catch fire. Living creatures run for cover.
Suddenly, the ducklings--which, by that time, have emerged on the other side of the creek--are overcome by encroaching flames and burned alive. Nests of baby birds come crashing to the ground, and the camera zooms in on what is left. In a final close-up, the tractor-bulldozer is shown plowing under the remains of the nest, the ducklings, and some bird eggs.
As the scene fades from the screen, a sentence flashes: "Man cannot foresee or forestall. He will end by destroying the earth." After the film ends, pupils are divided into groups for a canned discussion activity: "Who Shall Populate the Planet?"
Why does this exercise meet the definition of cognitive dissonance? First, there is subliminal deception and psychological impact--the way "AMERICAN" is depicted, the camera angle, the carnage. The last frame in the film condemns mankind wholesale--we will kill off our own species and, possibly, the planet itself. There is no issue to debate. The film aims for the gut, not for intellectual discussion. For all the children know, the men were creating mayhem in the forest purely for pleasure.
Finally, the follow-up exercise requires immediate decision-making--by consensus and under pressure. By the time the children get home, they can be counted on to have forgotten the relationship of the activity to the film and, therefore, will have no context to bring to their bewildered parents, who, no doubt, will hear impassioned outbursts over the ensuing weeks and months about grown-ups "destroying our world!" Parents aren't likely either to see the film or to hear any description of the follow-up activity that triggered this reaction.
With this curriculum under their belt, youngsters are deemed prepared to weigh in on such topics as urban sprawl, nuclear waste, and global warming, all of which require considerably more advanced study than seventh-graders possess. But these particular seventh-graders, prepped as they are, will be quite full of politically correct opinions that they cannot articulate.
Cognitive dissonance is not so much about skewing questions, interjecting bias, or censoring information as it is about a controlled-stress approach to precipitating conflict and overwhelming rational thought. The tactic relies largely on obscuring the lines between "authority," "loyalty," and ego.
You didn't "brainwash" your child into believing that a teacher, policeman, or minister is an authority figure. That's much too strong a term. You did, however, transmit the notion. What happens, then, when one of those authority figures forces your child to choose among them or tries to marginalize the others? The answer largely depends on which authority figure the child spends the most time with and which one the child perceives as being the greater threat to his pride.
Thanks to a culture that increasingly keeps children with their peers and away from their parents, most youngsters today view their classmates as the authority figures--as the persons having the greatest effect on their ego. Unethical educators capitalize on this; they use children to punish and report on other youngsters, then call it "peer pressure" or "classroom dynamics."
Herbert Marcuse identified adolescents as the perfect targets--eager, always, to become independent of their parents but still needy of approval. A fan of Germany's Kurt Lewin, who conducted the first groundbreaking experiments to induce neurosis on a mass scale, Marcuse combined the anti-authoritarianism of Erich Fromm with Karl Marx's theory of alienation (people will do almost anything to avoid ostracism or ridicule) and put it to work. If you could get impressionable young people to believe they were thinking independently, even while performing mob-dependent acts, you could start a revolution, he wrote.
Marcuse went on to foment and organize (usually behind the scenes) many of the campus riots of the 1960's. He understood that it was easier to manipulate groups than individuals. In dealing with team players, you reduce the chance of "lone rangers" who attempt to solve problems on their own initiative.
The key was to blur the lines between dependence and loyalty. Marcuse's students confused group loyalty with herd approval. "We're all in this together" became a recruitment slogan. Today, it's a rallying cry for every agitator with a cause, especially in the social sciences, which, increasingly, includes education.
By placing "interdependence" over "rugged individualism" and a herd mentality over personal principle, educators have scuttled American ideals about self-reliance and personal integrity. If it is politically correct to accept promiscuous behavior as "normal" and monogamy as "religious extremism," then anyone who balks is a pariah.
Thus was my generation (the Baby Boomers) educated to "need" our peers more than we needed our principles, making us easy marks for such tactics as cognitive dissonance. Our children are now sitting ducks, with civilized norms forever under attack.
Consider the following scenario: A pregnant young woman contracts German measles. After a sonogram and an amniocentesis, she is told her unborn child has serious deformities. Two simultaneous and incompatible messages will plague this woman, both bolstered by the media: First, If I go through with the pregnancy and birth, I am a bad person because I am opting, voluntarily, to commit this child to a tortured existence that I could have prevented. Second, If I terminate this pregnancy, I am a bad person because I have murdered my baby. Conclusion: No matter what I do, I am a bad person.
Enter the "third party," an advertisement: "Just do it!" "Take control of your life!" "Be a decision-maker!" "Do what feels right!"
Unless this woman can "default" to firm principles one way or the other, she is a candidate for suicide. She has been given a justification for not abiding by an earlier generation's values; her ego is stroked by implying she has more decision-making power than she really has (she can't undo the German measles); she has been taught that life-and-death dilemmas are inconveniences, not moral decisions; she must choose between two opposing authorities, God and "science," under the pretext of thinking independently; and, finally, all choices are equally legitimized.
Today, cognitive dissonance is an institutionalized method used to force-feed whatever is politically expedient. In a climate where fear of alienation vastly outweighs fear of moral corruption, what has happened to "intellectual freedom"?
B.K. Eakman, a former teacher and the current executive director of the National Education Consortium, is the author of Cloning of the American Mind: Eradicating Morality Through Education (Huntington House). Her website is www.BeverlyE.com .
At ten, Johnny is not mature enough to understand what
homosexuals do, but judging from the counselor's comment, it's
apparent to him that his parents oppose homosexuality.
BTW, anyone trying to teach adolescents that "consensus is more important than principle" is a damn fool and doomed to total failure and the ridicule they so richly deserve.
Yes, we must love the pedophile, the necrophiliac and those who practice vampirism and bestiality. Can't we all just get along? /sarcasm
A didactic post.
I read B.K. Eakman's The Cloning of the American Mind. That was also very good. B.K. is doing a great service to make people aware of the real mission of government schools: indoctrination.
At 50, I am mature enough to understand what homosexuals do... and to make an informed opinion that it is unsafe, unnatural, and certainly a socicietal and genetic dead end. For our schools to promote this lifestyle as acceptable is a disservice to the students, to society and to the species.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 25, 1999
WorldNetDaily Exclusive Commentary
For your analysis
According to what the mainstream disseminators of misinformation and disinformation tell us, "We won the Cold War and Communism, although not quite dead, is dying." That's their story and they're sticking to it. However, even a casual analysis of facts in evidence suggests a distinctly different reality.
Since 1991 I have been distributing in various forms a list of Communist goals and objectives. First I would mail a list to anyone who asked for it and promised to copy and distribute it to friends, enemies, family and associates. Later (and still) I have an abbreviated list posted to my web page. W. Cleon Skousen authored a 1958 book titled, "The Naked Communist." I have tried, unsuccessfully, to invite Skousen onto my radio talk show, but he is quite elderly now and eschews talk radio. "If I did it for you, everyone else would want to do interviews, and I'm too old and tired. ..."
I have been blessed with being able to interview several great thinkers before mortality preempted future bookings. I shouldn't pout, but rather be grateful for Skousen's body of work ... and I am.
Cleon Skousen has had a rich and multi-faceted life. He was an FBI agent, the police chief of Salt Lake City, Utah, and a full professor at Brigham Young University.
I could (and probably should) write separate columns on each of the following items in the subsequent list of 1958 Communist Goals. However, this information (and commentary) is not an event, but a process. Therefore, as an introduction (as I practice restraint) here is the Skousen 1958 laundry list/wish list of Communist goals. As you read these please note these were 1958 Communist goals. This is not another cyberspace urban legend. Florida Congressman A.S. Herlong Jr. entered this list into the Congressional Records in 1963.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to determine how many of these Communist goals have already been accomplished.
1958 CURRENT COMMUNIST GOALS:
1.U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2.U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
3.Develop the illusion that total disarmament (by) the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4.Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
5.Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.
6.Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.
7.Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
8.Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.
9.Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
10.Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.
11.Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)
12.Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
13.Do away with all loyalty oaths.
14.Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
15.Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
16.Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17.Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
18.Gain control of all student newspapers.
19.Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
20.Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
21.Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22.Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."
23.Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."
24.Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.
25.Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26.Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."
27.Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a "religious crutch."
28.Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the grounds that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."
29.Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30.Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."
31.Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the grounds that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.
32.Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
33.Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.
34.Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
35.Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
36.Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37.Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38.Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand (or treat).
39.Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
40.Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
41.Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
42.Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use united force to solve economic, political or social problems.
43.Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.
44.Internationalize the Panama Canal.
45.Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction over nations and individuals alike.
So? Do you still think we won the cold war? Do you still believe Communism is dead? How many of the 45 goals listed above do YOU think have already been achieved?
In 1791 Thomas Jefferson wrote in "Notes on Virginia," "... the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. For the conclusion of this war (for Independence) we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion."
Geoff Metcalf is a talk-show host for KSFO in San Francisco.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.