In 1999 I had to exercise an enormous feat of will in order to break free of an organization that was very systematically and effectively implementing the eight criteria for thought reform as detailed by Robert Lifton in his excellent book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China. I do believe this experience has helped me to see the enormous deception currently being perpetuated by the media/industrial complex.
I had a good idea that I had to leave the place in 1999, but I wanted to make sure that it was my own decision. My mom took me on a trip to the Grand Canyon while she was visiting. I hiked halfway down the canyon by myself and sat on an isolated ledge. I was far away from other influences and people. I prayed to God to show me what to do. The cult leader had made it clear that if we had learned his teachings but chose to reject them, our soul would be extinguished. While praying in the Grand Canyon, I realized that this would not be a bad thing. I distinctly remember the message that came to me: “If Tony [cult leader’s name] is truly a leader and example to look up to in this universe, then I am better off having my soul extinguished.” In other words, I had to get to the point where I was willing to dispense with my own existence in pursuit of truth.
Most people don’t have a moment like that where they consciously choose to put the existence of their soul on the line. Looking back, I believe at that moment I took my soul back from Satan. But everything I had been told for years was pointing the opposite way, that I would be leaving God behind if I left there. Many Leftists are making the same choice today, whether they realize it or not. If they refuse to look beyond what they are being told by their SJW friends, if they refuse to pursue logic and truth, they have sold their souls to the devil.
Ironically it was while I was in that cult that I first registered as a Republican. Previously, such an idea would have been abhorrent to me. We were encouraged to get involved in local politics and in many parts of Arizona, only the Republican primary matters because only Republicans ever get elected. The local candidates often ran unopposed in the general election, and you had to register as a Republican to vote in the primary. Also, I voted for Dole in 1996, which was the first time I ever voted for a Republican in a Presidential election. It was really weird for me as an ex-hippie to do this. Supporting Donald Trump as a Republican is clearly the path that many liberty-lovers need to take today, if they truly are “liberals”. Unfortunately, too many cling to rhetoric and refuse to reexamine long held bigotry against Republicans.
Dr. Robert J. Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform:
Milieu Control. This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.
- Mystical Manipulation. There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes.
- Demand for Purity. The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection. The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.
- Confession. Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members’ “sins,” “attitudes,” and “faults” are discussed and exploited by the leaders.
- Sacred Science. The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.
- Loading the Language. The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating clichï¿½s, which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.
- Doctrine over person. Member’s personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.
- Dispensing of existence. The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not. This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group’s ideology. If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members. Thus, the outside world loses all credibility. In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also. (Lifton, 1989)