In "Cults In Our Midst: Patty Hearst And The Brainwashing Of America," Morabito starts by lengthily recounting the horrible Hearst story: kidnapping, isolation, repeated rape, and "a coarse Maoist style program of indoctrination and re-education" in which she was told "that 'Amerikkka' was a racist and evil society, repeatedly calling her a privileged 'bourgeoise bitch' and her father a 'pig' of the 'corporate fascist state,'" which broke Hearst and turned her into Tania.
Regular readers will have already guessed that Morabito connects the closet-rape-Maoist-Amerikkka-fascist state program to mainstream Democratic values. Ah, but how she does it, that's the thing! Her first move is to link Hearst's brainwashing to that time "the White House launched a 'behavioral insights team' assigned with the task of 'improving policies' through insights into human behavior." I covered that "nudge squad" thing last year -- if that's mind-control, then so is advertising. Norabito seems to anticipate that normal people might feel that way, and so goes for the neckrub-that-becomes-a-headlock rhetorical twist:
We take as a given that political persuasion is part of public life. But likewise we take as a given that deliberate government manipulation of the populace using the techniques of unwitting or coercive persuasion represents a grave threat to our freedoms.Tomato, to-mah-to. Later Norabito lists Margaret Thaler Singer's "six conditions that create an atmosphere conducive to coercive persuasion":
- Keep the person unaware that there is an agenda to control or change the person and their thoughts
- Control time and physical environment
- Create a sense of powerlessness, fear, and dependency
- Suppress old behavior and attitudes
- Instill new behavior and attitudes
- Put forth a closed system of logic.
The frightening realization is that these techniques work on mass audiences as well. We can see hints in the phenomenon we call “political correctness"...No, wait, it gets better:
The seismic and manufactured public opinion “shift” on same sex marriage in the past several of years is a glaring example of how coercive persuasion works.That's right -- America has been brainwashed gay-friendly. And you thought Will & Grace was just a funny TV show!
Label anyone who disagrees as a bigot or a "hater," a non-person. Reward those who agree with public accolades. Before you know it, even well-known old conservative pundits who fear becoming irrelevant sign on to it, and thus contribute to the juggernaut.I hope she'll follow up by telling us how the same techniques turned a brainwashed nation against racial segregation. I mean, it can't have been anything else, right?
Conservatives are presently inclined to attribute any election they lose to America's majority of "low information voters." But Norabito points in a new direction: Maybe now when they lose, even in opinion polls, they'll tell themselves it's not because voters are stupid, it's because they're brainwashed! The real fun will come when try deprogramming the voters.
UPDATE. In comments, Roger Ailes and satch confess their gay brainwashing started with The Hollywood Squares. "Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly were not only funny," says satch, "but persuasive, making them early 'Choice Architects.' Damn those subversive game shows!!!"
Similarly, says coozledad, "I was a conservative until Hawkeye Pierce made Frank Burns look like an asshole."
Meanwhile mortimer finds a Morabito essay on Cosmos. Excerpt:
This is propaganda of the crudest sort, reminiscent of how Stalin’s Soviet Union characterized non-communists, or how the Hutus of Rwanda characterized the Tutsis, or, most famously, how the Third Reich characterized Jews.I'd say, "I'll have to start following Morabito," but I fear she wouldn't accept I meant this in the traditional sense of reading her work as it comes out, and assume that I was tailing her for ObamaHitler.