THE PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONING OF AMERICANS Part 1
By Dennis L. Cuddy, Ph.D.
October 29, 2012
(Note: Perhaps the most troubling thing about the attack on our Ambassador in Benghazi, Libya weeks ago is that Obama administration defenders are saying we have to wait until investigations are completed to know what went wrong, and Republicans are NOT responding that sends a green light to terrorists to attack us today, tomorrow, etc., around the world because we are so stupid or incompetent that it takes us weeks to figure out what went wrong!)
In the past, I have mentioned that Edward Bernays in PROPAGANDA (1928) said: “Those who manipulate the organized habits and opinions of the masses constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of the country….The technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented.” And in THE IMPACT OF SCIENCE ON SOCIETY (1951), Bertrand Russell wrote: “Although this science of mass psychology will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions are generated.”
In 1966, Dr. James McConnell, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, stated: “I teach a course called The Psychology of Influence, and I begin it by stating categorically that the time has come when, if you give me any normal human being and a couple of weeks,…I can change his behavior from what it is not to whatever you want it to be, if it’s physically possible….I can turn him from a Christian into a communist and vice versa….Look, we can do these things. We can control behavior.”
Five years later, Milton Rokeach in “Persuasion That Persists” (PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, September 1971) proclaimed: “Suppose you could take a group of people, give them a twenty-minute pencil-and-paper task, talk to them for ten to twenty minutes afterward, and thereby produce long-range changes in core values and personal behavior in a significant portion of this group. For openers, it would of course have major implications for education, government, propaganda, and therapy….My colleagues and I in the last five years achieved the kinds of results suggested in the first paragraph of this article….It now seems to be within man’s power to alter experimentally another person’s basic values, and to control the direction of the change.”