My Interview with Sandy Rios about Mass Delusion

I sat down recently with radio host Sandy Rios to talk about propaganda, political correctness, and the mass delusion that seems to be enveloping our society.  Click here for the podcast from American Family Radio.  Sandy had several questions for me about my Federalist article “How to Escape the Age of Mass Delusion.

We talked about how political correctness creates a spiral of silence that ends up separating people as never before.  PC not only squashes civil discourse, but creates a strange and rigid polarization in society that spawns destructive caricatures of others.  As someone who used to identify on the Left, I understand well what a mindset that stereotypes others can do to people’s ability to connect. The point of this kind of propaganda is to centralize power by first dividing people, quite often by demonizing those who don’t subscribe to the narrative.  It breaks up personal relationships.  And this allows those wielding power to control who says what to whom, and to dictate who relates to whom. People who obey the narrative are allowed to partake of society, while those who don’t subscribe to the narrative end up as “nonpersons.”  This taps into my theme that personal relationships are the ultimate source of human power.  Ground zero for functioning relationships is the family unit.  That’s exactly why the family is the prime target for destruction by today’s forces of political correctness.

PC corrupts the language, and when the language is corrupted, thought processes become corrupted as well, and people are more easily manipulated into mindless conformity.  And when the masses can be mobilized to support the agendas of power elites, things never end well for human dignity.  History has taught us this lesson time and again.

We have no choice but to resist.  Ultimately, this is an asymmetric war that has to be fought persistently, one-on-one, and face-to-face by putting a human face on what we believe. By engaging with those we know in daily life, we can re-create the ripple effect of true community that political correctness is designed to destroy.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.

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, Part II

Edvard Munch, Separation  (1896)

There is a common thread that runs through all agendas that increase the power of the State:  Separation of human beings from one another.  Obamacare meddles in the doctor-patient relationship.  Common Core meddles in the teacher-student relationship.  Excessive regulation of businesses meddles in the customer-merchant relationship.  No fault divorce meddles in the husband wife relationship and the child-parent relationship. Abortion especially meddles in the mother-child relationship. Same sex marriage meddles in the child-parent relationship by insisting that no child needs — nor should they even desire — a relationship with both of their biological parents, parents of both sexes.  We can deny these facts all we like, but the State’s role in separating us undeniably exists in each of these policies.

Central planning has always been about separating and isolating people.  And the attack on the family has always been about centralizing the power of the state for the benefit of the few elites in control of it.

“Marriage equality” and transgenderism has been such a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s transformation agenda precisely because undefining marriage jump starts the process of separating families.  The separation of families inevitably snowballs into the separation of people in other kinds of relationships, particularly friendships.  Family breakdown can’t help but play a key role in the breakdown of social trust and the disintegration of once functioning and vibrant communities.   Every totalitarian society depends upon a sense of alienation among its people. Central planning agendas are always pushed in the name of something positive-sounding like “love makes a family” or “authenticity” or any number of platitudes. Tyrannies always claim to support the very thing they intend to destroy.

The marketing boom in artificial reproductive technologies — especially for same sex households — shows us the extent to which ART serves to deliberately sever a child’s bond with either the mother or the father or both.  Transgenderism separates us at perhaps an even more intimate level, because it ultimately renders all sex distinctions meaningless, thus separating us from our identities as either male or female, father or mother, son or daughter.  This may seem counter-intuitive in an age when transgender individuals like Bruce Jenner portray an exaggerated image of the female persona.  But the ultimate goal of gender theory is the obliteration of all sex distinctions.  We might say that the Jenner phenomenon simply manifests the “transitional” moment we are passing through in the interim.

We ought to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the LGBT agenda was ever about the rights of a minority demographic. It’s always been a convenient vehicle towards the centralization of power.  Which depends upon human separation.  Always in the name of togetherness.

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 . . .

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

 

 

War on Free Speech is about to Get a Lot Worse

A deserted “Speakers’ Corner”

Today I write in the Federalist about the next phase of the LGBT agenda: “LGBT Activists Arm for Further War on Free Speech.”  Assuming the Supreme Court signs on to the notion of “marriage equality” in June, we can expect an all-out war against free expression that will come to us in the guise of anti-discrimination law.

There’s nothing new about the urge to accumulate and centralize power.  It’s an ancient urge with its source in the sin of pride and it requires the old divide-and-conquer routine that involves restricting communication between people.  People have been dealing with it – and accommodating it – for millennia.  So it shouldn’t surprise us that those pushing hardest for the right to gag Americans are well-heeled hedge fund managers such as billionaire Paul Singer.  Such things are always about more power for the powerful.  In this case, LGBT rights serves as sheep’s clothing.  The new PAC intended to get us herded together is called the American Unity Fund.  And its intended campaign goes by the Orwellian name “Freedom for All Americans.”

The laws they propose would neutralize any voice of opposition to the LGBT agenda, which means the cultivation of groupthink, particularly within conservative and evangelical circles.  The net effect of the forced marginalization of dissent will be much more aggressive policing of speech in the workplace, schools, businesses, and public squares across America. But it’s much bigger than the notion of gay rights.  In the end, we get coercive thought reform and collectivism across the board in America.   Much of this has already taken place in Canada, which legalized same sex marriage ten years ago.

I also commend to you two other related articles in today’s Federalist.  Luma Simms writes brilliantly about the meaning of religious freedom and whether or not it can exist in a nation that has lost its moral moorings:  “Can We Have Religious Liberty in Modern America?”  And Robert Tracinski offers a warning to Ireland which is about to have a plebiscite on same sex marriage:  “Ireland: Look to America’s Cautionary Tale on Gay Marriage.”

 

This Past Week Shows that PC is Morphing into TC

Detail of “The Natchez” by Eugene Delacroix (1835.) Natchez father and mother with newborn (uploaded from Wikimedia Commons.)

Several events last week show just how fast certain cultural forces are working to separate us from one another, always, of course, in the name of “equality.” Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana spoke about how important it is for children to have both a mother and a father, and also criticized the use of artificial reproductive technologies in order to deliberately deprive a child of a mother or a father. Rock star Elton John who with his same sex partner has two such children, immediately called for a boycott of Dolce and Gabbana.

Patricia Jannuzzi, a Catholic who has taught for over 30 years in a Catholic school expressed her support for traditional marriage — in line with Catholic teaching — on her personal Facebook page.  She is now the target of an LGBT-supported petition campaign to have her fired, as well as for the school to promote “anti hate speech.”  The Catholic Church itself has not defended her, to put it mildly.

Another adult child raised by lesbians has come out in opposition to same sex marriage.  Heather Barwick’s article in The Federalist,  “Dear Gay Community: Your Kids are Hurting” has so far garnered over 42,000 social media shares and thousands of comments.   She has become an object of vitriol and scorn by the militant LGBT lobby for voicing her opinion.  She and other adult children from same sex households – including Katy Faust, Robert Oscar Lopez, Dawn Stefanowicz, Denise Shick, and Rivka Edelman – will be earning more wrath from LGBT shock brigades as they file amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court voicing their opposition to same sex marriage.

What do all these cases have in common?  Well, I could state the obvious, which is that the critical issue for kids is not so much having a gay parent, but yearning for a missing mother or father. And whether or not a parent is missing because of divorce, adoption, or other conditions is not the point.  The inherent issue with same sex parenting is that it absolutely requires that one parent be missing from the family.  It also requires that the law implicitly deny all children this right.

But there is another common thread that runs through all of these stories.  It’s the brutal silencing of any voice of dissent.  Political correctness is just too cute a term for the sort of fascism that’s running rampant through society today, particularly on the marriage issue.  I commend you to again read “Gay Marriage: A Case Study in Conformism,” by Brendan O’Neill.  PC has become the sort of extremism that ramps itself up to a level that invites savagery.

Which brings us to the topic of tongue cutting.  TC for short.  If we had a spectrum of free speech with civil society on one end and tongue cutting on the other, I would say we have definitely crossed the halfway point and are proceeding in the direction of tongue cutting.  Saddam Hussein used to literally have critics’ tongues cut out. Tongue cutting is also standard operating procedure in the world of Islamic fascism and sharia law.  That’s because whenever you are dealing with totalitarians, the very idea of freedom of expression cramps their style.  Of course we’re not at the literal reality of TC, but I think it’s fair to say that TC is now a virtual reality.

Katy Faust, Raised in Same Sex Household, Speaks Truth in Love

Several adult children of same sex households are starting to speak up about the wounds children have when deliberately deprived of one of their parents, and why they oppose same sex marriage.  One such person is Katy Faust.  She’s an engaging, compassionate, brave, and loving voice for the rights of children to know their origins.   Listen to her speak in the clip below:

Katy’s open letter to Justice Anthony Kennedy which was published at The Public Discourse last month got nearly 300,000 shares on social media so far. You can follow Katy’s amazing blog, which goes by the tongue-in-cheek name www.askthebigot.com  In this clip Katy talks about how important it is — especially as Christians — to straddle a fence.  We should not cocoon ourselves, but must reach out in love to the other side while holding fast to the Truth.  This may be very difficult, but it is our calling.  After listening to Katy, I feel the need to strike a more conciliary tone in my writing.  I want to always hold fast to the truth, but I do need to delve more into understanding and conveying the pain people feel.  And the loneliness.  Our human condition so often motivates us to stray and get lost and end up feeling that only hate is coming from “the other side.”

Nevertheless, the mechanics of the same sex marriage campaign has been essentially political in nature.  It will reach a political apex in April’s Supreme Court hearings, which will determine if it is the law of the land.  In the past couple of years a few blue state legislatures legalized same sex marriage after hearing testimonies about how hurt people felt by the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.  Still, it was a close call.  In New York in 2011 Gov. Cuomo had to resort to late night back room deals and extend the session after official adjournment.  There was obviously a lot of arm twisting until he managed to get  the three votes he wanted.  A very similar thing happened in Maryland with Gov. O’Malley in 2012. He also worked overtime to get the three votes he wanted.  Then, after just a few legislatures passed the measures by the thinnest of margins, activist judges sprang into action to strike down laws in every state whose legislatures hadn’t passed same sex marriage.  And that’s where we are today.

Emotions have basically been the fuel of what looks to be window-of-opportunity politics.  Real societal change naturally occurs over time, as people absorb and think through the consequences of policies.  But when it moves at lightning speed like this, from the top down — along with speech codes that punish any dissent as “bigotry”  — that’s a clear indicator that you’re dealing with manufactured consent that has an expiration date.  It can be obtained only under extreme pressure.  Basically “marriage equality” has been a hard core propaganda campaign and a very hard and fast sell.   An excellent article that reflects on it all is “Gay Marriage: A Case Study in Conformism” by Brendan O’Neill in the British publication Spiked.  This goes way beyond gay marriage.  It seems that what we’re really dealing with here is the building of a closed society in which dissent will not be tolerated.  But, no matter what happens, I think Katy has the answer.

 

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.

Acclaimed Author Doris Lessing: Our Future Depends on Resisting Groupthink

British author and Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing (1919-2013)

Doris Lessing died in 2013 at the age of 94, just a few years after winning the Nobel Prize for literature.  She identified as a communist for many years and was also known as an icon of modern feminism. But she came to firmly reject communism as well as the label “feminist.”  A New York Times article from 30 years ago describes how her politically correct followers became confused and annoyed by her exploration into different ideas and trains of thought.

What’s especially fascinating to me is how Lessing developed some keen insights into how humans behave in groups and how we handle dissent.  She could see the noxious effects of groupthink on human relationships.  It disturbed her so much that in 1985 she gave five lectures on the subject, which are contained in a little known volume entitled “Prisons we Choose to Live Inside” (1986).  

It’s a gem, especially given Lessing’s legacy and renown. Consider these two passages that pretty much sum up the mechanics of political correctness:

“ .. . we can stand in a room full of dear friends, knowing that nine-tenths of them, if the pack demands it, will become our enemies. .. . But there is always the minority who do not and it seems to me that our future, the future of everybody, depends on this minority.”

” . . .  whenever people are actually forced to recognize, from real experience, what we are capable of, it is so shocking that we can’t take it in easily. Or take it in at all; we want to forget it.”

Lessing also contemplates the effects of technology and how poorly we use it:

“I believe that people coming after us will marvel that on the one hand we accumulated more and more information about our behavior, while on the other, we made no attempt at all to use it to improve our lives.”

In fact, our blindness to the realities of our own patterns of human behavior will be our downfall.  If we could just take a clinical look at the mechanics of groupthink and how it hurts us, we’d all become freer and happier.

Lessing also ventured to say that she believed that critical knowledge of human behavior is actually being hoarded by elites in order to amass their own power, prompting her to ask this:

“How is it that so-called democratic movements don’t make a point of instructing their members in the laws of crowd psychology, group psychology?”

Today everyone would do well to read this handy 77-page volume.  You may not agree with every opinion Lessing includes in it (I didn’t) but her insights are absolutely essential if we are to remain a free society.  I’ll offer more quotes from Lessing’s work in future posts.  I absolutely love it.