Story Must Be Told, Pt 10: Sensitivity Training — This Is Your Brain, In a Group

In my past columns, I’ve led you though a series of events that have allowed “progressives” (they’re actually Cultural Marxists) to take over virtually every major institution (starting in the 1920’s or so) in America. The most disastrous of these takeovers has been in education. But, how has the Left been able to so successfully take over education, and the other institutions? Well, it wasn’t easy, but they eventually found a way to make it easy. Part of the answer, in my opinion, comes from the practice that we commonly refer to these days as Sensitivity Training. Of course, this is simply a new term for an old practice that’s been around since the early 20th century: Brainwashing.

In 1932, Kurt Lewin, a German psychologist, emigrated to England and began a collaboration with members of the Tavistock Clinic who were involved in psychological warfare techniques for the British government. He was also associated with the Frankfurt School – who would’a guessed that! Tavistock’s pioneer work in behavioral science along Freudian lines established it as a world center for this ideology. After coming to the US in 1933, he worked at Cornell, MIT, and in 1947 established the National Training Laboratories (NTL) where the term “Sensitivity Training” was coined.

Sensitivity Training may sound like an innocuous practice, and in many cases, it is. In fact, Lewin developed it after a request from the Connecticut State Inter-Racial Commission hoping that he could help them find a way to effectively combat religious and racial prejudice – a laudable goal. However, as is often the case with powerful psychological techniques, Sensitivity Training also has its dark side.

Adherents to this, such as psychologist Ed Schein (who studied brainwashing techniques in Korea) admit that it derives from Pavlov’s brainwashing methods. In an introduction to one of his papers on it, Schein writes that this method “fits into a context of institutional influence procedures which include coercive persuasion in the form of thought reform or brainwashing as well as a multitude of less coercive, informal patterns.” Yikes!

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It is defined as a three-stage process involving “unfreezing“, “changing“, and “refreezing“:

Unfreezing” physically removes the person from his accustomed routines, sources of information, and social relationships, then undermines the normal social support structures, humiliates the individual so that he sees his old self as unworthy, and supposedly motivates him to change. The process was later compared to those methods employed by the Chinese Communists in their attempt to instill Communist attitudes into their youth or into prisoners.

Changing” was defined as directing the person towards learning new attitudes, quite often through coercion.

Refreezing” was defined as “…the integration of the changed attitudes into the rest of the personality.

In reality, Sensitivity Training is the invalidation of the individual through the refuting, denying, degrading or discrediting of anything he considers to be a fact or a certainty, as in a principle of moral conduct. This effectively knocks whatever props the person may have right out from under him/er. The inevitable disorientation that follows is then used to force another person’s or group’s point of view (or set of values) onto the individual. In practice, it destroys individualism, moral judgment and personal responsibility.

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Like Clash? Like Clash.

Clark Howell is a 50-something, former Liberal who, sometime in the mid 1980's, began to take notice of Ronald Reagan and the positive policies that he and his political allies brought to the table of American life and politics. Since first leaning about Barrack Obama and his ambitions in 2004, he has begun a quest to understand the motivations behind modern "Liberalism" and "Progresivism." Mr. Howell is a professional Marketing Consultant in Central Massachusetts.


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