Our Gordian Knot, Part III

Ostriches acting like a lot of people these days. (Hey, maybe we can  try talking to the one on the Left? He probably doesn’t even know he’s on the Left.)

Sometimes it feels as though we’re living in a tangled maze-like machine with a thousand moving parts. If we focus on any given issue, any particular moving part, we lose lose sight of the big picture.  Sometimes we deliberately ignore the big picture. Sometimes we just can’t see it.  And, yet, other times the big picture might seem so daunting and scary we put our heads in the sand, like the ostriches in the photo here.

But it’s critical we step back and assess this machine in its entirety.  What is its fuel?? What does it  feed on?  In a word, dysfunctional relationships  — and especially the declining ability of  people to relate to one another as human beings equally deserving of human dignity. We can see this in the hype that directs us to view ourselves as members of select identity groups or only as a part of an activist community.  Only certain lives matter in this scenario. We’re all being pigeon-holed based on what we look like or where  we come from. We’re being driven apart.  Polarized. Atomized. This sort of polarization is pure poison for happy and healthy human relationships.

And that’s the  big picture we all need to step back and see.

What causes people to paint themselves into such corners? I think people get sucked into this trap for a variety of reasons, but the trap cannot be laid without two essential ingredients:  ignorance and enforced silencing.  Cultivated ignorance and enforced silencing is the fuel of dysfunctional relationships that feed this machine.

Ignorance

Ignorance disables a person’s ability to think deeply and independently about an issue, and even about themselves and their own motives. Family breakdown is a huge contributor to ignorance because it separates children emotionally and often physically  from their first teachers about  the world around them  — their parents.   Sadly, our public schools and universities have been cultivating ignorance for decades.  This happens not only through dumbed down curricula, but also through enforcement of conformity through a regime of political correctness.

Enforced Silencing Kneecaps Relationships

Let’s  never forget that  when you cut off communication, you cut off the potential for human relationships. While practical ignorance undermines the ability to think clearly and discern manipulations, political correctness cultivates the fear of being ridiculed and isolated for speaking logically about anything.  PC cultivates ignorance by preventing people from hearing anyone share insights on a non-PC view. It encourages them to smear the “other” and prevents them from seeing such people as human.  School curricula also rely more and more on the raw emotion of students in “thinking” about things.  (You have Bill Ayers to thank for th at.) Popular culture is steeped in blindness to reason. And, in the end, an ignorant person is a dependent person and great fodder for mass mobilization and a culture of grievance, spite, and anger.

I think if we could bring this picture into focus, people would be better equipped to slice through the overall problem and see the humanity in others.

Our Gordian Knot

“Alexander Cuts the Gordian Knot” by Jean-Simone Berthelemy, 18th c.

A complex problem is sometimes referred to as a Gordian Knot. You may know the Greek legend or myth in which an oracle prophesied that anyone who could undo the complex and intricate knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia would rule all of Asia.   Many tried and failed.  But when Alexander the Great was confronted with it, he didn’t bother with convention.  Legend has it that he stepped back and just sliced right through the knot with his sword. We sometimes call this kind of solution “thinking outside the box.”

I ponder this story as I consider how crazy and complicated our modern problems have become.

In my teen years at school we used to refer to the news as “current events.”  Homework sometimes included looking at a newspaper or a network news program.  Then there’d be a report to the class.

Fast forward to today and things are moving so fast and furious in unpredictable directions that “current events” seems an antiquated term.  We have layers upon layers of crises that have congealed into a problem so humongous that it confronts us like a complex Gordian knot of cosmic proportions. How can the damage ever be undone? The past month alone contains enough angst and lunacy to last generations. We’ve seen the expose of Planned Parenthood’s racket in trafficking organs from aborted children, with graphic videos that give us a fresh perspective on the horrors and sorrows of abortion.  Then we have the transgender hype being fed to us 24/7 by Hollywood and the media, with a ramped up campaign to push gender confusion hard onto school children.

And now that the Supreme Court has legally abolished marriage as a male-female institution, we are about to see the biggest piece of censorship legislation ever. It pretends to be an anti-discrimination bill and goes by the name “Equality Act.”  The idea is to mete out punishment to anyone who doesn’t get with the agenda to re-program en masse our language and our thoughts.  In particular, it aims to re-design everyone’s thoughts about personal relationships. That’s because ultimately all personal relationships emanate from organic marriage.  How so? you may ask. Because that’s the union that produces citizens who build communities in which other personal relationships are spawned.  Destabilize marriage and you’ve destabilized the basis for functioning families.  Without functioning, autonomous families, we can’t have functioning and self-reliant communities.  In the end, the State wins big.

But the landscape is becoming littered with more and more rabbit holes being dug on a daily basis by our government: data-mining, the replacement of personal medical care with medicine-by-bureaucracy, debilitating multi-trillion dollar debt, the cultivation of ignorance in the schools through enforced conformity by programs such as Common Core, the non-stop attacks on religion.

On the international scene, it’s just as much a Twilight Zone.  We have the Obama Administration’s weird Iran deal that puts the world closer to war. At the same time, the White House turns a blind eye to the mass killings of Christians in the Middle East.  The cult of ISIS marches on to replace the Rule of Law with Sharia Law. In the meantime, the Administration is intent on force-feeding the gay agenda on a global scale, including to under developed countries like Kenya where he lectured the leadership last month. The list goes on and on and on.

That, in a nutshell, is our Gordian Knot.  To be continued . . .

The Supreme Court’s Diktat on Marriage

Wedding in Delhi

I was on vacation all last week.  Thankfully, I was able to avoid the internet most of the time.  I heard about the Supreme Court’s edict on marriage in passing, during a layover at JFK Airport yesterday.

Also yesterday, the Federalist published my article “Fifteen Reasons Why Marriage Equality is about Neither Marriage Nor Equality.”  It’s my little compendium of overlooked realities and my expectations for what the future holds.  In short, we can expect the State to meddle a lot more heavily in all of our personal relationships as a result of this ruling.

No doubt the Court’s action is a major watershed moment in the transformation of American law. But for those of us who have been pondering the same sex marriage trend line for about 20 years, this whimsical ruling comes as no surprise.

That’s not only because of the abuses of power by the Judicial branch (especially the corrupt nature of Justice Kennedy and similar infections in Justice Roberts) but mostly because there’s been too much brokenness in society — all around us — to sustain laws that protect family stability. Consider how Roe v. Wade dictated to all of us that the State must regard all unborn children as completely non-human.  This knowledge alone doubtless has damaged the psyches of many children growing up post-Roe.  Consider also how no-fault divorce allows children’s homes to be busted up at whim, forcing them to do the shuttling, forcing them to put up or shut up.  And consider how the epidemic of fatherlessness has broken the lives of youth.  With artificial reproductive technologies and same sex marriage, the law can now impose by design both fatherlessness and motherlessness on children.  In the end, it looks and feels not only like a war waged against the intact, organic family, but also against all personal relationships.  After all, the family is the default starting point for building true community.

All of these developments have created a heightened sense of separation anxiety and profound loneliness in society.  K12 and college education have piled on, saturating us with political correctness and the cultivation of ignorance, which further prevents anyone from building relationships that might help them learn how to navigate through all of this confusion.  This has softened the ground for the social engineering that’s been taking place under the convenient mask of “marriage equality.”  We really need first to look with fresh eyes at all of the dismantling and machinations that lay behind us before we can meet the challenges ahead.  The task is daunting, but it all comes with the territory of our human condition.  (I hope to write more on this in the future.)

Let’s also not forget that central planners have always targeted the organic family.  Utopians regard family bonds of loyalty as a thorn in their side and an obstacle to building a centralized state.  Totalitarians always demand state loyalty above any other kind. This may be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true.  History is filled with examples.

So, at the end of my “15 Reasons” piece linked above, I end with the reasonable question:  “What will the authorities decide to do to dissenters?”   We should persist in asking them this question directly, as much as possible.

Rush Limbaugh’s Discussion of my “Mass Delusion” Essay

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh talked at great length about my recent article in The Federalist: “How to Escape the Age of Mass Delusion.”  As you can imagine, I was thrilled to see this topic get exposure to such a wide audience.  Because, as I’ve said before, it is absolutely key that we understand the processes and methods of coercive persuasion if we are ever going to be able to defeat them. Let’s set aside the swirling mess of issues for a little while — Obamacare, Common Core, climate change, immigration, marriage, transgenderism, and on and on and on and on . . . .   Those pushing “transformation” know that pitching us this vortex of chaos is a critical element in the game of attrition they are playing with us.

So I propose that we should instead focus on the Machinery itself.  What exactly drives the propaganda machine and how does it work on us?  I fear that people of goodwill have been in the dark about these dynamics for too long.  Let’s shift focus and look behind that curtain.  Because we’re dealing with a war on reality itself.  You and I know that we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Here is the link to the text of Rush’s lengthy commentary related to my article:

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2015/06/15/our_overnight_orwellian_unraveling

 

 

Mind Rape and Mass Delusion

Yesterday I had an article in the Federalist in which I explore some of the “hows” and the “whys” of the current cultural mess we are in.  It’s titled “How to Escape the Age of Mass Delusion.”   In it I quote at length from Joost Meerloo’s book “The Rape of the Mind,” which I discussed in a previous post, and which I would love to see widely read today.

No doubt you’ve noticed that we are deeply into a phase of “transformation” in which we are being told to step off of the solid ground of reality and take ourselves for a little walk through a large pool of quicksand.  The Bruce-Jenner-as-a-woman stunt is the latest signpost in our journey into the Twilight Zone. And not because Jenner says he wishes to be called “Caitlyn” or because he tells us he is a woman.  We generally all agree that he can say whatever he wishes however he wishes and dress as he wishes. The fact is that this has far less to do Bruce Jenner than it has to do with all the rest of us.  What’s going on here is a very hard sell of Anti-Reality by a few power elites who seem to control the media, Hollywood, and what passes for universities these days.

The problem is that Americans let their guard down and weren’t paying enough attention while the groundwork was being laid for this insanity. And once we are persuaded en masse — through threat of social punishment — to buy into the notion that Jenner is a woman, we have agreed as a society to descend into that rabbit hole.  This is a perfect trial balloon that shows how easily we can be manipulated to go along with just about anything. Not good. Such stunts amount to attempts at mind rape.  And we must resist.   In the article I note that love and laughter are the best antidotes to delusion.  Resistance involves outreach.  It means cultivating strong and healthy relationships and speaking truth in love.

I hope you get a chance to read my essay and share it.  Here’s an excerpt:

The whole image of such mass delusion in America is surrealistic, especially to comfortably insulated Americans who believe our first freedoms could never really be thrown away in the face of such a full-frontal, PC-induced attack. Most cannot grasp that such mobs are mentally detached from reality. And participants in the mob action cannot comprehend that they are actually cutting off their own freedom of expression, as well as everybody else’s.

Why would anyone want to build such a culture of coercion? In a word, power. “Equality” is not the reason for what is happening with such mobs. It is the pretext for what they are doing. Like all such deceptions, its sole purpose is as a vehicle to transfer power from individuals to an increasingly centralized state. The fuel, as usual, is the emotional blackmail of people of goodwill, the uses of mass mobilization to exploit that goodwill, then, finally, to render all such goodwill meaningless.

Just released! “Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family ‘Equality'”

Cover image:  “The Sacrifice of Jephthah’s Daughter,” William Blake, c. 1803 (British National Museum)

This month six adult children from same sex households are submitting an amicus brief to the Supreme Court opposing same sex marriage.  Two of them — Robert Oscar Lopez and Rivka Edelman — have co-authored/edited a just released book which explores the fallout from the social experimentation we are all living through.  Please click here and “look inside” the text of Jephthah’s Daughters at Amazon.  I hope you decide to buy a copy.

The book is a rich anthology of articles and testimonials that describe experiences not discussed in the media.  According to Lopez, “We can help the reader understand why something viewed by so many as beneficial was actually harmful to so many more.”

I am honored to be a contributor, having written the introduction to the chapters on society and the globe.  There are six sections in the book.  The first, “Children,” explores the experiences of children who are separated from at least one natural parent.  This can happen in many different ways, but children of same sex households are separated from a parent by design.  Alana Newman who blogs at AnonymousUs.org was donor-conceived and wrote the introduction to this section.

Section II “Women,” focuses on the effects of artificial reproductive technologies on the health and the lives and psyches of women.  The introduction was written by Jennifer Lahl, founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture.

Section III “Society,” reviews the whole Pandora’s box that same sex marriage is unleashing against healthy human relationships, against children, and against freedom.  Some of the vehicles are transgenderism, polygamy, incest, and sex education as a means of state control of children.  Section IV, “Globe,” discusses the emergence of the LGBT ideology throughout the world and what the growing commodifying of children means for human freedom (hint:  a form of bondage, a form of slavery.)  Yours truly wrote the introduction, and I suppose the bottom line I can’t escape is that this movement is putting us on the fast track to centralized power, and probably on a global scale.  In many ways, it’s a central planner’s dream come true.

Section V, entitled “Gays” includes reflections by those whom the LGBT movement claims to help, but does not.  Jean-Pier Delaume-Myard notes in his introduction that the LGBT agenda actually leads to inequality for gays, not equality.

Section VI, “Bards” explores the McCarthyism of the LGBT agenda — in the arts, the media, academia and throughout society.  Its introduction is written by Michelle Shocked, a world-renowned singer-songwriter twice nominated for Grammy awards.  She asks:  “How did a crusader for children’s rights become the target of a smear campaign?  Answer:  The same way a champion for artists rights did.  By identifying the nexus of non-existent nonsense that is much easier to attach ad hominem to than the question at hand.”

This is an extremely important book with perspectives that have been overlooked — and, in fact, blocked — throughout the entire debate on marriage.  Bobby Lopez founded the International Children’s Rights Institute because, at root, his fight is really about the rights of children.  Children have the right to know their origins.  And nobody has the right to turn them into commodities.

 

 

 

Bookcase: “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays

Cover of 2005 edition of Edward Bernays’ 1928 classic, “Propaganda.”

Propaganda is a little volume, written nearly 90 years ago by Edward Bernays, who happened to be the nephew of Sigmund Freud.  Both he and Walter Lippmann –who authored Public Opinion – wrote about the  “manufacture of consent.”  Or how to manipulate and control public opinion.

I have three observations to share today about this work:  1) Its general theme about manipulation of the “mass mind” is more important than ever; 2) Much of it is outdated because the mechanics of propaganda today have grown ever more toxic; 3)  It seems as though the folks most interested in manipulating the mass mind are the same people who control the study of propaganda in academia.  I see virtually no discussion in the public square about how propaganda works.

The general theme of Bernays’ book can be condensed in this assertion:

“We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way our democratic society is organized.  Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.”

So does this mean we all accept our ideas from these “men we have never heard of” for the common good, like obeying traffic laws?  Or does it mean we cooperate in building a mechanized society that attempts to squash civil inquiry in order to promote a monolithic agenda of central control?  Here’s another nugget from Bernays:

“We are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses.”

In totalitarian fashion, Bernays sees this as a good thing, that controlling people’s behavior is necessary to avoid chaos and confusion in society.

Bernays also stated that “Business today is taking the public into partnership.”  That may have seemed true in 1928, but it’s now outdated. I’d say it’s actually the other way around.  The government is absorbing and amassing corporations at breakneck speed today.

Whereas the propaganda of yesterday was more focused on the manufacture of consent, today the main efforts of propagandists seem to be the squashing of dissent in order to protect its monolithic machine.

Most eerie to me is that those who would promote independent thought do not seem to be in the forefront of the study of social psychology and propaganda methods.   Instead, the study of propaganda and communications seems to be controlled by folks in our universities who have an affinity for central planning.

For example, the author of the introduction to this 2005 edition of Propaganda is Mark Crispin Miller who seems cozy enough with politicians who seek to build a centrally-controlled society built on PC-controlled group think. In fact, the entire field of behavioral insight appears to be dominated by people who want to regulate our minds to the nth degree.  Many come out of the University of Chicago, including Cass Sunstein, Obama’s former regulatory czar, and co-author of Nudge. The extreme left linguist Noam Chomsky is another master of explaining propaganda and yet he is fine with the dictates of political correctness and seems intent on squashing independent thought in order to build a centralized state.  It doesn’t take much reading between his lines to see this.  This is exactly the sort of hoarding of information about self-awareness that Doris Lessing warned against, and which I discussed in a previous post.

I think the best antidote to living under a tyranny of extremist thinking is to cultivate truly independent thinking.  And independent thinking does not come about through adherence to political correctness. It happens through real relationships built on real trust with real people in real communities.

Why Study History? Because “WTF?” is a Bad Alternative Question.

Sane folks study history because they know how important it is to understand human behavior and learn from experience.   We ought to understand the psychological imprint on our society so that we might work with it to get a clearer picture of reality and thereby learn how to live freer and more harmonious lives together. Unfortunately, the instability and terror in the world today feels like deja vu all over again. Worse, the serious study of history in our schools and universities has been diluted and downgraded for decades now. Not good.

According to historian Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius (whose superb lecture series “Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century” I recommended in a previous post) wars create psychological transformations that stay with a society and a civilization.  That’s a chilling thought.  Because it’s not enough to try to understand war itself.  We need to understand the human psychology that is both cause and effect of human conflict.  With this in mind, please listen to Professor Liulevicius speak brilliantly about the impact of World War I in the clip below:

 He notes: “The First World War should have taught us something about the intensity of emotions that can seize entire peoples, nations, and societies when they’re in the grip of crisis conditions.  The tragedy of the First World War was so great, so extensive, so huge in scale, that afterwards people found it difficult to wrap their minds around the motivations that led people to fight, kill and die for a cause.”

As the philosopher George Santanyana stated: “Those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  I think we should all be able to understand this on a very personal level. Just imagine you have no clear memory of where you have been in life. You have no known experiences that can direct your intentions.  Only intense emotion.  Where would you go?  What would you do? Chances are, you’d just grope around blindly and live the proverbial brutish life that ignorance so often affords those detached from reality.  You’d mimic others. You’d be great fodder for demagogues. This ignorance of experience and psychology promises insanity and misery.  It also causes us to lose touch with our shared humanity as we descend into our collective dementia.

Demagogues thrive on the ignorance of history because it’s so effective in preventing clear thinking and civil discourse that puts a check on their power.  They also revise and distort the historical record until not much is left of it. They tend to create crises, and then exploit those crises.  And afterwards the survivors are left among the ruins, bewildered. Some wail in innocence.  Those who saw it coming may cocoon themselves.  Many indulge more in blind emotions — of vengeance and rage — than in sober thought.  The few Cassandras who tried to raise warning flags will either be lost to the writing of that history, or if victorious like Churchill, write it.

But too many will scratch their heads with nothing better to say than “WTF?”

That’s why we must study history.

 

 

On Self-Reliance, Kids, Willie Mays, and Blasting Caps

Below is an old public service announcement in which baseball legend Willie Mays helps kids build awareness of the dangers of blasting caps (dynamite detonators) that they might come across while playing.  The 1950’s was a time when children played more freely outdoors than they do today.   Back then the answer to the problem of unattended blasting caps was to teach kids safety.  Not to tell parents to shelter them indoors and supervise them in their play 24/7.

This Willie Mays spot is astonishing in so many ways.  It illustrates that kids back then were far more independent and self-reliant than today.  We’ve fallen quite a ways in helping kids learn to navigate life.  Last week I wrote about this in the Federalist here: “Kids are Casualties in the War Against Self-Reliance.”

Constant hovering over kids to protect them teaches them dependence, not self-reliance. And the helicopter-parenting trend seems to correlate with a society that’s grown overly dependent on government.  It also correlates with a consumerist society that seems to indulge in excessive doses of passive entertainment from ever-present electronic devices.  Too many have forgotten that the process of growing up is really a process of controlled risk taking.  If we delay children from learning life skills when they are ready to learn them, we stunt their growth as well as their ability to pass those skills on to the next generation.  It creates a vacuum and it promotes a social climate more tolerant of a State that ever more aggressively monitors parents and families.

I wrote about the case of two very attentive Maryland parents who have been harassed by child protective services for allowing their children to walk home from a park unattended.   The kids were eager and ready to do so and had permission from their parents, but no matter.  As government grows, we will see more meddling in the parent-child relationship.  There is a connection between allowing parents to raise self-reliant kids and maintaining a free society.

Okay, we’re living in a big fat nanny state. That’s a euphemism, though. The reality is that central planners have always viewed a child’s first teachers of self-reliance—mothers and fathers—as enemies of the State. The less people learn about basic life skills (think thrift or basic survival) and how things work, the better it is for the bureaucratic tyranny. We ought to keep this in mind every time someone questions our right to think for ourselves or exercise self-reliance.

 

Bookcase: “The Rape of the Mind” by Joost A. M. Meerloo

Joost A. M. Meerloo, M. D. (1903-1976) Author of “The Rape of the Mind”

If you fear we’re living in an age of mass delusion — as do I — then you must read this extraordinary book by Dutch psychiatrist Joost A. M. Meerloo.  “The Rape of the Mind” is subtitled:  “The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing.”  Had it it seen more light of day since it was published in 1956, it may well have served as inoculation against political correctness and groupthink.

Free speech is essential to preventing mass delusion.  Meerloo wrote: “Where thinking is isolated without free exchange with other minds, delusion may follow.”  He adds, chillingly, “Is this not what happened in Hitler Germany where free verification and self-correction were forbidden?”

Meerloo’s writing shows immense compassion for our human frailties.  He understood just how difficult it is to push back against the social pressures to conform.  But push back we must.   Meerloo’s first line of the foreward reads:

“This book attempts to depict the strange transformation of the free human mind into an automatically responding machine.”

We should tremble at the fact that he wrote that back in 1956.  Below is a bit of a synopsis.

Part I “The Techniques of Individual Submission” describes how human beings can be conditioned to do just about anything.  Part II “The Techniques of Mass Submission” explores how totalitarian thinking gets rooted, how man becomes “robotized,” and how demagogues use fear, emotional blackmail, and “semantic fog” to mobilize masses.  Part III “Unobtrusive Coercion” is perhaps the most fascinating of all the fascinating sections. In it, Meerloo provides his theory as to how totalitarians can be “molded” literally from the nursery. He delves into mental contagion and mass delusion and the primal human fear of isolation.  He describes the coercive creep of technology and its paradoxes.  Ditto the bureaucratic mind.  Finally, Part IV “In Search of Defenses” is a welcomed prescription on how to fight back.

Before humans can preserve true freedom, we must first be aware of our inner contradictions:

“Democracy, by its very nature will always have to fight against dictatorship from without and destructiveness from within.  Democratic freedom has to battle against both the individual’s inner will to power and his urge to submit to other people … Essentially, democracy means the right to develop yourself and not to be developed by others.  Yet to develop yourself is impossible without the duty of giving your energy and attention to the development of others.”

In the end, freedom truly depends upon friendship.  (You can read a great article on that here.) After all, political correctness is primarily a tool for separating people.  Clearly, our narcissistic society is oblivious to this. But for me, “The Rape of the Mind” cracks the code. It is a must read for our times.