Milieu control is a basic mind-control tactic. Severely restrict the environment, and you limit the mental world of its inhabitants. Robert Jay Lifton’s Mind Control and the Psychology of Totalism is still the best primer on how this is done. He identifies eight factors for successful “brainwashing.” Lifton’s subjects were American POWs from the Korean War and former Chinese labor camp inmates, but stop me if this sounds familiar:
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. The manipulation of experiences that appears spontaneous but is, in fact, planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority, spiritual advancement, or some exceptional talent or insight that sets the leader and/or group apart from humanity, and that allows reinterpretation of historical events, scripture, and other experiences. Coincidences and happenstance oddities are interpreted as omens or prophecies.
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 clichés, which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.
Doctrine over person. Members’ 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.
Sounds like “How to Build an SJW in Eight Easy Steps,” doesn’t it? American colleges have spent the past half-century perfecting it.
The first trick, that starts even before you arrive on campus, is “mystical manipulation.” Obviously it doesn’t take a prison camp somewhere in the jungle to control a milieu. In their long march through the institutions, our Gramscian Leftists have successfully co-opted the “rah-rah-sis-boom-bah” going-off-to-college thing, using the form while subverting the content.
Think about it for a sec: Where are you likely to find the most “offensive” team nicknames? For as hot and bothered as our mini-Maos get over the Washington Redskins, there’s no comparable outcry over the Fighting Illini (Indians), the Hoosiers (yokels), the Fighting Irish, the Jayhawks (abolitionist guerrillas), the Seminoles, the Aztecs, and all the other horribly racist mascots and team names out there. Some of that can of course be attributed to college kids’ vast, cosseted ignorance (I myself had no idea who Francis Redding Tillou Nicholls was), but some of the others are pretty obvious. Ditto campus traditions like the University of Iowa’s famous pink visitors’ locker room. This gets a little squib in the sports news every fall, as feminist professors and students stage their annual protest. But it never gets changed, even though football is as Patriarchal as it gets and Iowa, like Wisconsin, Michigan, and the rest of the corn-country bolsheviks, prides itself on its progressive bona fides. The answer is pretty simple: love them or hate them, the act of either loving or hating them is one hell of a team-builder. Nobody who didn’t go there has ever heard of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, but I promise you that every current and former student has a very strong opinion on whether or not the “Vaquero” mascot is offensive. And that’s not even considering all the “offensive” high school nicknames and mascots out there. Grade school “educators” and administrators are the most PC people on the planet. Don’t you think the Midgets and the Arabs would be changed in a heartbeat in any other context? It’s by design.
Our declawed modern adolescence plays right into their hands. Teenagerhood is a frantic quest for an identity. That’s what all those hokey high school rituals used to be about. You get some girl to wear your letter jacket, and you write her name on your book covers, not because you’re the love of each other’s life, and certainly not to stake a claim or whatever the feminists would have you believe. It’s an identity claim: I am the type of person who can get a girl to wear my letter jacket / get a boy to write my name on his book covers. And you go to prom together, and you have “your song” that you have to stop and kiss whenever it plays on the radio, and all that other gloopy Leave It to Beaver crap. And so too with any of the other identities high school kids used to put on and take off, like the clothes that marked them — “goth,” “stoner,” “preppie,” whatever. It didn’t matter that you didn’t actually like The Cure all that much, or if your girlfriend lived in Canada; everyone pretended to believe your identity claim, because you were pretending to believe theirs, and that’s how you got the mental, emotional, and social tools to actually construct a real identity for yourself when you got out on your own.
Cultural Marxism killed all that. Technology played its part, too — nobody has “their song” in the iTunes era — but mostly it was deliberate. Now everyone gets a letter jacket and it’s some kind of hate crime to hold hands with someone of the opposite gender — if, of course, you still believe in such an outdated and hateful concept as “gender” — in a public place. Nobody’s different and everyone’s the best at everything, as Principal Skinner put it.
So identity formation gets put off until college. You start out as a Wolverine or a Tiger or a Banana Slug or whatever, but you end up a Social Justice Warrior. You come to college decked out in all the gear, your dorm is festooned with the mascot, the streets of the town are all named after famous alumni, and every business seems to cater just to you (complete with “welcome to campus!” specials). The word “townie” enters your vocabulary, and if you’re in a big city, you learn that the surrounding area is a no-go zone (the “townies” in that situation invariably being Vibrant and Diverse, but in a non-celebrated way). Nobody learns the fight song or wears the freshman beanie anymore, but thanks to campus-specific social media, you learn right away, and in great depth, what it means to be a Directional Tech Fightin’ Whatever. You’re already separated from you hometown, your high school, your parents, and your friends (even your best buds, and especially if they went to hated rival Regional State). You’re primed and ready, in other words, to believe anything your indoctrinator tells you.
And then you go to class.
Part II soon.