Cults in our midst: Patty Hearst and the brainwashing of America

When we’re in a vulnerable state of isolation and subject to degradation, the brain’s defenses kick in, even if we sense we’re being manipulated. Self-doubts, rejection, and degradation cultivate the yearning for even the illusion of human acceptance. So when Larry King asked Patty Hearst if any of the SLA members were “likable,” she responded that being “treated well” usually means you “weren’t killed.” Translation for everyday life in a PC world: Being treated well usually means you’re not being socially shunned.

When a captive of political correctness feels that there is no way out, quite often the only way to make it stop is to bond with the captors and try to fit in.

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. As people become increasingly fearful of expressing a heretofore innocuous understanding of marriage as a man-woman institution, they silence themselves and thereby fuel the opposing agenda. The threat of isolation – labeling, shunning, and firings – is a powerful motivator because human survival is tied to it. For Exhibit A, see this article on one Eich, Brendan, of Mozilla.

If we step back and take this all in, there should be no question that coercive persuasion can happen on a mass scale in America. Those pushing the agenda first cultivate a climate that creates social punishment for dissent and social rewards for compliance. 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.

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