One of the things that always amazes me is the readiness of some people to call other people brainwashed. As Wikipedia reminds us, the term comes from the Korean War (see Brainwashing). The North Koreans and, latter, the North Vietnamese treated our POWs abominably. That included abuse that came to be called brainwashing. POWs in Korea or Vietnam provides some the stories of what people who experienced the sort of suffering that real brainwashing entails.
What are the closest things to brainwashing in this country?
- Many people have little choice about where they send their children to school, and if some people had their way every school in the country would teach exactly the same politically correct truths.
- A relatively small number of large corporations owns what we call the mass media. For obvious reasons, these corporations promote beliefs, news stories and political candidates that are conducive to their own special interests.
So what can we do? Four things stand out.
- Put parents in control of the education of their children. That includes who teaches them and what they learn.
- Cross-check news sources. That includes visiting news sources that promote views contrary to our own.
- Strive to severely limit the government’s power over the education system and the mass media.
- Keep the Internet free from the abuses of government power. In spite of all the abuses by people promoting spam and pornography, the Internet still provides relatively unfettered access to a wide variety of information sources.
If we value knowing the truth, then regardless of our political or religious affiliation we must strive to keep our government or anyone else from limiting anyone’s access to information. The most effectively brainwashed soul is that person who never has the opportunity to learn the truth. If our brain has never been “soiled” by the truth, then there is nothing to wash away.