Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some More Old Stuff.

Something I found on an old 3.5 inch floppy disk. I think I submitted this somewhere... I did polish it a bit before posting it here.

Once upon a time ago the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (a.k.a. the Star-Pravda, or as my former landlady (Years before "she" had "the operation") simply called it: "the Hammer and Sickle") ran on page F14 on the January 7, 1996, Sunday edition, a review of the second edition of "Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change" by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman. (Stillpoint Press, $14.95 SC)

I don't know if the review accurately portrays the content of the work, but the StarTribune did have (and still has) a statist agenda and this review does appear to promote it.

I'll try to summarize the review and throw in some comments.


The reviewer "Tom Di Nanni," (whom I am quoting) claims that the book "offers some credible and chilling possibilities," in answer to the question of how such events as the tragedy of Waco and bombings of the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City.

The authors believed that they a common element in the behavior of cult members. "Former members consistently talked about a moment when their minds seemed to 'snap'."

"Snapping" was the term the authors used to describe the sudden, drastic alteration in personality that was fast becoming an American epidemic.

The authors believe that snapping was not the result of "classic mental illnesses such as paranoia or schizophrenia," but of something they named "Information Disease," in which the communication techniques used by "cults ... and so-called 'Christian' survivalist militia ... can alter the way the brain processes and assimilates information."

"Information Disease" is a fundamental alteration of a person's information-processing capacities, the fundamental way a person thinks, feels, remembers and makes choices. Simply put, if the human mind is subjected repeatedly and persistently to information that contradicts what it previously "knew," the new information will replace the old. In order to accommodate the new and contradictory information, the mind will alter how and what a person remembers and how that person perceives his or her environment.

The "new" information can be packaged in hours of Krishna chants or in hour after hour of David Koresh's "Bible studies." It can enter and alter the mind in the apocalyptic sermons of religious fundamentalist preachers or in the incessant claims of militia leaders that "the government is out to get us."

Furthermore the authors:

... describe a predictable "death spiral" that ran wild in Jonestown and Waco as believers became fanatic zealots. The spiral is evident in the message and tactics of "Christian Patriots" whose cult-like recruitment methods and ritualized indoctrination could have contributed to, and may have even spawned, the events in Oklahoma City.

If the authors are right:

... "snapping" is a threat to all of us. we are inundated with masses of information and mountains of technology. Many of us feel overwhelmed and overloaded as our minds try to turn that information into something meaningful. In that state of confusion, we become susceptible to information manipulation -- by advertisers, political "spin doctors," idealogues, and religious extremists.


The distinction between reason and faith is completely blanked out.

With the exception of the philosopher kings, represented here by Tom the Nanny, man is merely an automaton that responds to stimuli. Any actual evidence that the government is acting in a consistently criminal manner is dismissed as invalid. Everyone who attempts to resist the forces of treason and tyranny is identified as being insane and should be dealt with as such.

The between the lines message is damned obvious.

Since no man is to be trusted to run his own life, the all-knowing state, so beloved by the Star-Tribune, will run his life for him. In order to save man from "Information Disease" it will be necessary to institute a program of censorship.

The act of censoring prevents men from obtaining the knowledge they require to exercise rational judgment in the course their lives, often being reduced to acting on emotional impulse. Censorship reduces man to a less than human mode of existence. In such a state a man is driven, as livestock is, along a course he would never have rationally chosen.

In short, censorship is an act of enslavement. My favorite Science Fiction author, Robert A. Heinlein had this to say about the practitioners of slavery:

If the human animal has any value at all, he is too valuable to be property. If he has any inner dignity, he is much too proud to own other men. I don't give a damn how well scrubbed and perfumed he may be, a slaveowner is subhuman.

In my personal view, slave owners and those who seek to act as such are subhuman creatures fit only for extermination.

The practitioners of censorship have chosen to behave as slave owners, I seek only to treat them as such.

[I must admit that during the earlier media hysteria campaign about cults in the late '70's, I was once literally in fear of being grabbed off the street by cultists and "programmed". This fear was certainly unfounded. On the one and only time I was approached my a member of the Unification Church, I simply told him that I was an atheist and he simply went away.]

Now, what are your questions on this block of instruction?

No comments: