[Paleopsych] Global Gulag: Steven Hassan: Political Propaganda is Cult Brainwashing

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Steven Hassan: Political Propaganda is Cult Brainwashing
[Thanks to Laird for this. There are hundreds of theories about persuasion. 
Apparently this is just one man's theory. I don't know how his theories compare 
with other theories, how compatible they are with each other, and so on.]

A successful induction by a destructive cult displaces a person's former 
identity and replaces it with a new one. That new identity may not be one that 
the person would have freely chosen under her own volition.

-Steven  Hassan


Nothing is unusual about office holders, political parties and agency 
bureaucracies taking liberties with facts, when they frame their case and sell 
their policies and programs. But how many people look upon this process as one 
designed, not to persuade you; but to indoctrinate you into accepting causes 
that are not in your own self interest. The techniques of agenda shaping and 
peer pressure guiding is sophisticated and Sub-Rosa in intent.  According to 
Margaret Thaler Singer, “_Thought Reform_ 
(http://www.factnet.org/Thought_Reform_Exists.htm?FACTNet)  is not a mysterious 
process. It is the systematic application of psychological and social influence 
techniques in an organized programmatic way within a constructed and managed 
environments. The goal is to produce specific attitudinal and behavioral 
changes. The changes occur incrementally without its being patently visible to 
those undergoing the process that their attitudes and behavior are being 
changed a step at a time according to the plan of those directing the 

The _Six Conditions_
for Thought Reform  are:

1) Keep the person unaware of what is going on and  how she or he is  being
changed a step at a time.

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

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

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.

5) Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to 
promote learning the group’s ideology or belief system and group-approved 

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.

Since _Singer_ (http://www.caic.org.au/general/singer.htm)  claims that 
techniques to achieve power through mind control are readily comprehended, the 
key inquiry is to understand the reason why the general public is so unaware of 
the assault upon their thought process? The factual historic record leads one 
to conclude that the limited and select group of participants that seek and 
attain positions of influence, share one crucial trait. Namely, a desire to 
preach their adherence to the “Will of the People”; while they exhort 
democratic rule, their actions conform to governance by the privileged few. 
Citing the significance of 1984 we find the answer: “Orwell reasoned that if 
a government could control all media and communication, meanwhile forcing 
citizens to speak in a politically- controlled jargon, this would blunt 
independent thinking. If thought could be controlled, then rebellious actions 
against a regime could be prevented.” Because of the nature of lust for 
power, moral means to achieve political objectives becomes irrelevant; thus, 
the motive to conceal real intentions from the citizens. The Sub-Rosa character 
of the elites is not who they are, but the actual hidden goals they achieve 
with their policies and control of the State.

Singer concludes: “Orwell’s genius centered on seeing how language, not 
physical force would be used to manipulate minds. In fact the growing evidence 
in the behavioral sciences is that a smiling Big Brother has greater power to 
influence thought and decision-making that a visibly threatening person.” Now 
review the following Chart that identifies the progression from individual 
education to mass control:


Thought Reform

Focus of body of knowledge

Many bodies of knowledge, based on scientific findings in various fields.
Body of knowledge concerns product, competitors;  how to sell and influence via 
legal persuasion.
Body of knowledge centers on political persuasion of masses of people.
Body of knowledge is explicitly designed to inculcate organizational values.

Direction & degree of exchange

Two way pupil-teacher exchange encouraged.
Exchange can occur but communication generally one-sided.
Some exchange occurs but communication generally one-sided.
Limited exchange occurs, communication is one-sided.
No exchange occurs, communication is one-sided.

Ability to change

Change occurs as science advances; as students and other scholars offer 
criticisms; as students & citizens evaluate programs.
Change made by those who pay for it, based upon the success of ad programs by 
consumers law, & in response to consumer complaints.
Change based on changing tides in world politics and on political need to 
promote the group, nation, or international organization.
Change made through formal channels, via written suggestions to higher-ups.
Change occurs rarely; organization remains fairly rigid;  change occurs 
primarily to improve thought-reform effectiveness.

Structure of persuasion

Uses teacher-pupil structure; logical thinking encouraged.
Uses an instructional mode to persuade consumer/buyer.
Takes authoritarian stance to persuade masses.
Takes authoritarian & hierarchical stance.
Takes authoritarian & hierarchical stance; No full awareness on part of 

Type of relationship

Instruction is time-limited: consensual.
Consumer/buyer can accept or ignore communication.
Learner support & engrossment expected.
Instruction is contractual: consensual
Group attempts to retain people forever.


Is not deceptive.
Can be deceptive, selecting only positive views.
Can be deceptive, often exaggerated.

Is not deceptive.
Is deceptive.

Breadth of learning

Focuses on learning to learn & learning about reality; broad goal is rounded 
knowledge for development of the individual.
Has a narrow goal of swaying opinion to promote and sell an idea, object, or 
program; another goal is to enhance seller & possibly buyer.
Targets large political masses to make them believe a specific view or 
circumstance is good.
Stresses narrow learning for a specific goal;  to become something or to train 
for performance of duties.
Individualized target; hidden agenda (you will be changed one step at a time to 
become deployable to serve leaders).


Respects differences.
Puts down competition.
Wants to lessen opposition.
Aware of differences.
No respect for differences.


Instructional techniques.
Mild to heavy persuasion.
Overt persuasion sometimes unethical.
Disciplinary techniques.
Improper and unethical techniques.

Propaganda leading to Indoctrination has the ultimate objective of Thought 
Reform. While many citizens would contest overt indoctrination, most accept 
that propaganda is a fact of life. But how many are even aware of the final 
stage - _Thought Reform_ (http://www.xjw.com/whatcult.html) ? And even more 
important, how many are willing to admit to themselves that this conclusive 
level effectively eliminates all individuality - subjugating each person to 
endless servitude to the cult regime run by approved elites. Yes, the State is 
a Cult. The World Book Encyclopedia explains that "traditionally, the term cult 
referred to any form of worship or ritual observance." We have been conditioned 
to propaganda - under ability to change - to promote the group nation.  Then we 
have been subjected to indoctrination - under focus of body of knowledge - 
explicitly designed to inculcate organizational values. And finally we have 
been manipulated into Thought Reform - type of relationship - to accept group 
attempts to retain control over people forever. These techniques are all 
designed to create and maintain worship to a strong authority figure. We are 
told to accept that the State is the absolute embodiment of authority. The 
“Supreme Being” has been replaced with the coercive totalitarian temporal 
cult, that requires homage, tribute and obedience. The ritual of prearranged 
elections orchestrates an opera of musical chairs that has the fat lady singing 
before the first candidate enters the race. The franchise has become a fallacy, 
the group mission protects the government sect and the existence of independent 
conduct turns into an illusion. That is the purpose of Thought Reform. “There 
are three forces, the only three forces capable of conquering and enslaving 
forever the conscience of these weak rebels in the interests of their own 
happiness. They are: the miracle, the mystery and authority.” - F. 
Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov Cults want wealth and power for the 
leadership, to be supplied by members. Government conforms to this model.  Both 
employ the following:

     *   Miracle - ideology imputing miraculous power to leaders and/or

     *   Mystery - secrecy obscuring actual beliefs and practices.

     *   Authority - claims on members' time, talents, bodies, or property to
meet group needs.

_Robert Lifton and Mikhael Heller_ 
(http://www.rickross.com/reference/brainwashing/brainwashing14.html) conducted 
studies on Thought Reform. Today we see those applications in our society. The 
miracle becomes the utopia that politicians promise from their policies 
administered by an all persuasive government. The mystery incorporates an 
obsession with secrecy, limited access of forged accounts, with significant 
news going unreported. And authority being centralized with state power 
supreme, with the destruction of competing political ideologies.

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