August 03, 2010

Propaganda and Mind Control

July 30, 2010

The Crazy Legacy of Jim Jones

Posted by jdlech on @ 11:57 am
source: http://blogs.alternet.org/jdlech/2010/07/30/the-crazy-legacy-of-jim-jones/


November 1978 found me in fifth grade, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was one of those events, like Pearl Harbor, the assassination of Kennedy, and 9/11, that sears itself into your mind. The news of over 900 dead in Jonestown Guyana at the hands of a religious madman. To me, it left a lot of questions nobody could answer. The lack of answers disturbed this little boy far more profoundly than the answers ever could.

How could so many follow one man even to their own deaths? What spell did he cast upon them?
Could someone do the same to me? Can I resist?
Is this something one can learn? Can even I learn to do this?

These are tough questions for an 11 year old boy. Questions no adult around me could (or would) answer. But I had determined then to learn these secrets no matter where it took me. And it was quite the journey into lots of blind alleys, bizarre occult rituals, secret organizations, and finally to the banal truth. I’ve read books on the occult, interviewed practicing pagans, witches, evangelicals, and satanists. I’ve interviewed minor cult leaders, business leaders, a few minor political leaders, and even some professional salesmen. I’ve delved into conspiracy theories, learned about secret organizations, secret programs, secret practices. I’ve studied certain aspects of psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, religion, mysticism, and so much more. I’ve always been fascinated by leadership and charisma (having so little of each myself). As I wrote earlier, I’ve been down a lot of blind alleys. All of it done in my spare time, of course. I’m no professional researcher.

So what are the common threads between guys like Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Lee Iacoca, Martin Luthor King Jr., and all those others who seem to pull the world in whatever direction they go? It seems like quite the motley lot, all jumbled together. One might think there must be multiple ways. But really, there’s not. Each had established a base of authority uniquely theirs. Each stuck to a few very simple messages and hammered on them over and over again. Literally to the point of filtering the whole world through the lens of their message. Of course, politicians tend to have others give them the message, but the presentation is all their own – perfected through many years of practice.

And here’s the part that I find scary; anyone can learn to become a cult of personality. It only takes a willingness to learn and lots of practice. A few simple techniques done over and over again.

The techniques of indoctrination are well documented, so I won’t bother going over that. Suffice to say, many of these techniques were learned from various cult leaders, developed by psychologists, then practiced and perfected by people such as salesmen, politicians, public relations experts, and even bureaucrats. Believe it or not, a large part of the advertising surrounding you every day was developed using techniques learned from cults.

And this also scares me. It’s everywhere. It’s in advertising, it’s in the papers, it’s on billboards, it’s on the radio, television, the Internet. You cannot go a day outside your home without being exposed to the mind control techniques developed over the course of the last 90 years or so. Yes, it’s mind control; the same thing that invokes thoughts of MKULTRA, bizarre cults, and manchuran candidates. All of that, plus decades of legitimate research into psychology and sociology all goes into controlling your thoughts, your feelings, your beliefs, your habits, your spending, and your vote. We cannot escape it.

Ronald Reagan, for instance, left a failing acting career to take what was then a huge salary as an official spokesman for General Electric. He had a natural oratory talent and a common man image. But during those 8 years, he was almost never seen alone. Edward Langely was a PR expert who studied the giants like Edward Bernays, Walter Lippman, Joseph Goebbels, and had studied the cultish techniques of the Nazis during WWII. During those 8 years, Ronald Reagan visited every GE facility in the country and had met with nearly every one of the quarter million GE employees. He also gave up to 16 speeches per day. But all the travel time was spent at the knee of Edward Langely who fed him the company line. It was the classic mind control technique of constant memorization and regurgitation of the same thoughts in an infinite number of ways; driving out all contradiction. By the end of 8 years, Reagan had gone from a New Deal liberal to a Corporatist conservative. Towards the end, he started giving speeches for an organization called the National Association of Manufacturers as well. Their message was nearly a carbon copy of the GE message.

Reagan’s speech patterns was so smooth because he rarely spoke a word after 1965 that was not already given to him in the 8 years of programming. Everything he said was from memory without much thought. He rarely had to hesitate to think about any response. This gave him the air of confidence that so many look for in a leader. Plus, he still retained a “common man” image from his Hollywood years. He was the first American Manchurian candidate – created by a corporation to do exactly as they desired. His presidency reflects this. Since then, we’ve had several attempts by PR experts to duplicate their success with Reagan. George W. Bush was another one hand picked by PR experts.

But it’s not just about Americans being fooled by Manchurian candidates. It’s also about us being manipulated directly. The PR industry – which is the most egregious violator of our free will – now has 90+ years and billions of dollars in research behind it. Experts already know exactly what percentage of the American population will accept message X if presented using technique B. As Edward Bernays once said, it works because "it is a logical result of the way our democratic society is organized". What’s even worse is that these experts know exactly how to craft a fallacious argument so that most people of average intelligence will not detect the fallacy. One of my greatest fears is that the more we learn about psychology, the more effective the mind control used on us shall become. And make no mistake, propaganda IS mind control. They are as equivalent as gravity and acceleration. We already have little defense left to us. Nothing we read, see, or hear can be trusted, (and I hope, dear reader, that you include me in that statement). People have managed to insert propaganda into every form of media, even university studies and alternative news sources. Few have the desire, the skill, and the time to track down and verify everything we hear, see, and read. So we’re faced with a choice of either accepting and basing our opinions on very little trustworthy information, or we must accept that our opinions will be unduly influenced by lies deliberately designed to manipulate our thoughts, our opinions, and all our subsequent words and actions.

What are our opinions but the very things upon which we act?

Democracy can only function when the participants are informed and reasoning. This was the original purpose for educating the public in the first place. But with the advent of mass media, the ongoing perfection of propaganda, and the inadequacy and slow demise of liberal education, we are now faced with a problem that has grown into a national crisis. Propaganda is now being applied to us on an industrial scale. Through this cradle to grave inundation of false information and sophistry, large segments of the population are convinced of things that are actually against their own interests. Propaganda is using the first amendment right to free speech to undermine the very basis of democracy itself.

And don’t think that elevating public education is a solution. That only causes the propagandist to adjust the delivery; to craft the message to account for the new level of education. It does not solve the underlying problem.

So can anyone learn to be a cult leader? Sure, just study to become a PR expert and practice, practice, practice. Can you defend yourself against it? It’s becoming increasingly difficult and may someday become impossible. The legacy of Jim Jones is all around us. All of America is slowly becoming a cult. Democracy is dying as a result.

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