Any time the word “brainwashing” gets used, it’s never good.
It’s usually associated with cults and other people trying to assert evil influence. Consider this description/explanation:
…a process in which a group or individual “systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated”. The term has been applied to any tactic, psychological or otherwise, which can be seen as subverting an individual’s sense of control over their own thinking, behavior, emotions or decision making. In Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, Jacques Ellul maintains that the “principal aims of these psychological methods is to destroy a man’s habitual patterns, space, hours, milieu, and so on.”
Theories of brainwashing and of mind control were originally developed to explain how totalitarian regimes appeared to succeed in systematically indoctrinating prisoners of war through propaganda and torture techniques. These theories were later expanded and modified to explain a wider range of phenomena, especially conversions to new religious movements (NRMs).
To the detriment.
Subverting an individual’s sense of control over their own thinking.
Aims to destroy a man.
So… I’d like to hope we can agree that those engaged in brainwashing aren’t up to any good.
Thus, it becomes really bothersome when the Attorney General, Eric Holder, casually throws about the term.
“We just have to be repetitive about this. It’s not enough to have a catchy ad on a Monday and then only do it every Monday. We have to do this every day of the week and just really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”
Folks, you don’t have to like guns. You can be the biggest gun-banner out there if you want to.
But when people are put into positions of power and authority, and they wish to use that power and authority to brainwash? That’s not just scary, that’s really damn scary. Our own government? Brainwashing? If they’re willing to do it for one topic, it’s not too far a stretch for them to do it to another… whatever your favorite may be.
This is not right. This is not freedom. This is not how a free country is supposed to operate.