I offered “Ten Resources for Hack-Proofing Your Mind” in my Federalist article earlier this week, and I list them below. We need far more conversations about how political correctness – i.e., coercive thought reform – undermines our ability to think independently. We also need to understand that when we lose the capacity to think freely, our minds become extremely vulnerable to being manipulated. On a mass scale, this is very bad for any society.
The resources below can help us inoculate ourselves against the process of extreme undue influence or brainwashing . It’s a process that has no doubt affected the members of the death cult we call ISIS. We can see the dangerous effects of undue influence in various other cults as well. And we can also see that after decades of political correctness, coercive thought reform has become the order of the day on college campuses, coercing conformity among students. In fact, any student who simply wishes to be left alone to pursue studies can end up harassed, like those who were hounded by protesters in the library at Dartmouth recently. You can watch that incident here:
But I don’t believe those student agitators are really free agents. Their resentments have been so cultivated, and their access to diversity of thought has been so cut off, that they behave more like they have been mind-hacked by elites who have shamelessly recruited them for their own purposes.
The “safe spaces” that campus agitators demand really serve as little more than Pavlovian conditioning chambers that isolate them and guard them from exploring unofficial ideas. This way they are kept “safe” as fodder for demagogues and propagandists. What the students really need – what we all really need – are sane spaces where we can exchange ideas and develop friendships and goodwill.
A big part of the problem is that there has been precious little public understanding about the dynamics of coercive persuasion, and too little self-awareness about how vulnerable we all are to it. So I’ve prepared a very select list of materials that I think are well worth exploring. Ideally, people would consider these titles for book club discussions. For a summary of each entry, you can go to my Federalist article:
- Prisons We Choose to Live Inside, ”by Doris Lessing (1986).
- The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Joost A. M. Meerloo (1956)
- Cults in Our Midst, by Margaret Thaler Singer (1995).
- The APA-Suppressed DIMPAC Report (1986)
- The Manipulated Mind: Brainwashing, Conditioning, and Indoctrination, by Denise Winn (1983).
- Influence, by Robert B. Cialdini (1984).
- The Undiscovered Self, by Carl Jung (1957)
- We, by Yevgeniy Zamyatin (1922)
- NJ Safe and Sound, a voluntary non-profit with the mission of educating the public about predatory alienation
- The Power of the Powerless,by Vaclav Havel (1978)