Monday, May 20, 2019

"Divide & Conquer" -- Russian Political Manipulation in the Last Century (1920 to 2019)

A good ten years of observing the chain-mail I have received from some people I know suggests that someone was certainly developing finely tuned and often quite subtle propaganda messages designed to sway pre-disposed readers towards even more simplistic, authoritarian, morally absolute, emotionally triggering, reductionistic, polarized, stereotypical and sometimes ideological beliefs and interpretations, evaluations, assessments, judgments and attributions of meaning about everyday, as well as "political" ideology. The objective of which seemed to further condition, indoctrinate, instruct, socialize, habituate and normalize the recipients to be amenable to later delivery of political propaganda, regardless of source. 

It became evident to me that whoever was doing it was targeting messages at...

authoritarians (see Adorno et al, Altemeyer, Arendt, DiRenzo, Fraley et al, Freud, Frimer et al, Fromm, Graham et al, Greenwald, Grunberger, Hamm et al, Haslam & Reicher, Heck & Krueger, Hedges, Henry, Hetherington & Weiler, Hitler, Johnston, Kramer & Alstad, Lifton, Milgram, Strozier et al)

emotion-driven thinkers (Brown, DiRenzo, Greenstein, Grunberger, Guess et al, Hamm et al, Hook, Ruggiero, Tworek & Cimpian)

high irrationality / low rationality (per Brandt et al, Grunberger, Guess et al, Hook, Horkheimer, Jaspers)  

rural / agrarian resentment (per Cramer, Gamino, Grunberger)

"stupid (often inherited) wealth" (per Ewen)

the insecure, anxious & paranoid (per Federico & Malka, Grunberger, Hofstadter)

simplistic moral absolutism (per Feinberg & Willer, Guess et al, Kaplan, Kohlberg, Lakoff, Mueller et al, Neumann, Riezler, Schreiber et al, Strozier et al)

dichotomizers & polarizers (per Friedman & Jack, Groenendyk, Grunberger, Guess et al, Kearney, Lick et al, Major et al, McLuskey et al, Pew Research, Ruggiero, Strozier et al)

traditionalists (per Hobsbawm & Ranger, Mondak et al)

"true believers" (per Hoffer, Jaspers, Lerner, Pew Research, Phillips, Rokeach, Tullett)

religious fundamentalists (per Hood et al, Sharlett, Strozier et al)

linguistic reductionists (per Khan et al, Lifton, Marchlewska et al)

the undereducated in general (per Ewen , Langer et al)

the credulous and suggestible (per Hoffer, Lebon, Rokeach)

stereotypers (per Lick et al, Marchlewska et al, Ruggiero, Strozier et al)

populists (per Marchlewska et al)

the impulsive (per Lasch, Roberts), and

the deeply ideological (per Tullett et al)

I'm not going to write the post-doctoral thesis on this because I have way too much to do already. But anyone else of a mind to do so is welcome to bag the concepts and the assembled evidence in all the books and articles on the lists that follow further below. 

There are several pertinent high concepts to examine, including...

1) The conversion of idealistic communism from an anti-royalist and anti-elite,  utopian, philosophy targeting the urban and better educated idealists and social moralists in the working class Europe of the mid- and late 19th century... to a "bait-&-switch" mechanism designed to seduce the poorly educated, frustrated, emotional, rural agrarian, simplistic, religious & morally absolutistic, credulous & suggestible, and populistic and easily manipulated peasants of both Russia and China in the early and middle 20th.

2) The near-immediate efforts of Lenin's and Stalin's minions to spread the idealistic message by any all means to the rest of the world in the 1920s and '30s... in front of a small army of brainwashed true believers who would quickly move in and quite ruthlessly take over the new party operations there. The same exact scheme was utilized by Mao in China and elsewhere in Asia in the 1930s and '40s.

3) The mostly ignored role of Ivan Pavlov's government-funded research into animal behavior and re-conditioning, and the nearly immediate use thereof by the communist regime in Russia on both small and large scales (see Sargant, and Meerloo, as well as Watson, Skinner, and Bandura on "behavioral conditioning"). The Russian techniques were further enhanced in China and North Korea (as "thought reform," see Lifton, Schein, and Singer et al) with the inclusion of cultic mind-control practices adapted from both Hindu and Buddhist meditation systems.

4) The application of these newer applied behavior modification & conditioning techniques as an overlay upon the "old-school" use of the Abrahamic deistic concepts of omniscience, omnipresence & omnipotence as employed in the West at least since the middle ages in the Holy Roman Empire -- and perhaps as far back as the third millennium BCE -- to organize cultures to produce and defend the wealth of the elite classes.  

5) PSYOPS (see King in the list below) utilizing far more sophisticated techniques built on adaptations of Pavlov's, Watson's, Skinner's, Bandura's and numerous ancient Asian systems of "thought reform" and mind control.

6) Authoritarianism, Affective Polarization, and Economic Ideology at may move the intrigued to a grasp of what I'm talking about fairly quickly if they have a basic knowledge of modern "psychology."

7) Vladimir Putin was a career employee of the KGB (mostly in East Germany) who rather suddenly became a major figure in Russian politics during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin... but who had been deeply involved with the mayor of St. Petersburg and others known to have been "fans" of Lenin's and Stalin's, utterly cynical, "ends always justify the means," bait-&-switch techniques. 

8) Putin has been cozy for decades with several Russian oligarchs who have expressed a desire to get revenge for what they see as American and European "economic rape" of the Russian Federation during the Yeltsin years. 

Connect the dots?

The Bibliography (all of which can be seen in synoptic detail at

Theodor Adorno, Daniel Levinson, et al: The Authoritarian Personality: Studies in Prejudice; orig. pub, 1950, New York: W. W. Norton, 1993. 

Saul Alinsky: Reveille for Radicals; New York: Random House, 1946.

Robert Altemeyer: The Authoritarians, Charleston, SC: Lulu, 2006.

Kevin Arceneaux & Ryan Vander Wielen: The Effects of Need for Cognition and Need for Affect on Partisan Evaluations, in the Journal of Political Psychology, Vol. 34, No, 1, February 2013.

Hannah Arendt: The Origins of Totalitarianism (The Burden of Our Time), orig. pub. 1951, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1973.

S. E. Asch: Effects of Group Pressure upon the Modification and Distortion of Judgments; in H. Guetzkow (ed.): Groups, Leadership and Men; Pittsburgh: Carnegie Press, 1951.

Aaron Beck: Prisoners of Hate: The Cognitive Basis of Anger, Hostility and Violence; New York: Harper-Collins, 1999.

Peter L. Berger & Thomas Luckman: The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge; New York: Doubleday, 1966. 

Edward L. Bernays: Crystallizing Public Opinion; New York: Boni & Liveright, 1926.

David Berreby: Us & Them: The Science of Identity; U. of Chicago Press, 2005.

Allan Bloom: The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987.

Mark Brandt, Jarrett Crawford, J.: Answering Unresolved Questions about the Relationship between Cognitive Ability and Prejudice, in Social Psychological and Personality Science; July 29, 2016. DOI:10.1177/1948550616660592

Zbigniew Brzezinski: The Grand Chessboard: America’s Primacy and it’s Geostrategic Imperatives; New York: Basic Books, 1998.

L. B. Brown: Ideology; New York: Penguin, 1973.

Trigant Burrow: The Social Basis of Consciousness; New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1927. 

Dana Carney, John Jost, et al: The Secret Lives of Liberals and Conservatives: Personality Profiles, Interaction Styles, and the Things They Leave Behind; Journal of Political Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 6, 2008.

Chapman University: "What do Americans fear?" in Science Daily, 12 October 2016.

Robert Cialdini: Influence: Science and Practice, 4th Ed.; New York: Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

Aleksandra Cichocka, MichaƂ Bilewicz, John T. Jost, Natasza Marrouch, Marta Witkowska: On the Grammar of Politics -- or Why Conservatives Prefer Nouns; in Political Psychology, January 2016. DOI: 10.1111/pops.12327

Joshua J. Clarkson, John R. Chambers, et al: The self-control consequences of political ideology, in PNAS, June 22, 2015.  DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1503530112

Charles Cooley: Human Nature and the Social Order; Piscataway, NJ: Transaction, 1902, 1986.

Sarah M. Coyne, Laura Stockdale, et al: Pow! Boom! Kablam! Effects of Viewing Superhero Programs on Aggressive, Prosocial, and Defending Behaviors in Preschool Children, in Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, January 2017.  DOI: 10.1007/s10802-016-0253-6

M. A. Craig, J. A. Richeson: On the Precipice of a "Majority-Minority" America: Perceived Status Threat From the Racial Demographic Shift Affects White Americans' Political Ideology, in Psychological Science, 2014. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1503530112

Catherine Cramer: How Rural Resentment Explains the Surprising Victory of Donald Trump, in The Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2016, at

Adam Curtis: The Century of the Self; a BBC documentary broadcast in 2002 (based on Ewen's PR!: A Social History of Spin, see below).

Jared Diamond: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed; New York: Penguin, 2005.

Gordon DiRenzo (ed.): Personality and Politics; New York: Anchor Books, 1974. 

G. William Domhoff: Who Rules America? Challenges to Corporate and Class Dominance, 6th Ed.; New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities, 2009.

Emile Durkheim: The Division of Labor in Society; orig. pub. 1883, London: The Free Press, 1933.

Jacques Ellul: Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes; orig. pub. 1965; New York: Vintage, 1973.

Stuart Ewen: Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture; orig. pub. 1976, New York: Basic Books, 2001.

Stuart Ewen: All Consuming Images: The Politics of Style in Contemporary Culture; orig. pub. 1988, New York: Basic Books, 1990.

Stuart Ewen: PR!: A Social History of Spin; New York: Basic Books, 1996.

Christopher M. Federico, Ariel Malka: The Contingent, Contextual Nature of the Relationship Between Needs for Security and Certainty and Political Preferences: Evidence and Implications, in Advances in Political Psychology; Vol. 39, Supplement S1, February 2018doi/10.1111/pops.12477/full

Matthew Feinberg, Robb Willer: From Gulf to Bridge: When Do Moral Arguments Facilitate Political Influence?, in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 41, No. 12, 2015.  DOI: 10.1177/0146167215607842

Niall Ferguson: Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire; New York: Penguin, 2004.

R. Chris Fraley, B. N. Griffin, et al: Developmental Antecedents of Political Ideology: A Longitudinal Investigation From Birth to Age 18 Years; Psychological Science, Vol. 23, No. 10, October 2012.

Sigmund Freud: Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego; orig. pub. 1921, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002. 

Jared Parker Friedman, Anthony Ian Jack: What Makes You So Sure? Dogmatism, Fundamentalism, Analytic Thinking, Perspective Taking and Moral Concern in the Religious and Nonreligious, in Journal of Religion and Health, 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s10943-017-0433-x 

J. A. Frimer, D. Gaucher, N. K. Schaefer: Political Conservatives' Affinity for Obedience to Authority is Loyal, Not Blind, in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 40, No. 9, September 2014.  DOI: 10.1177/0146167214538672

Erik Fromm: Escape from Freedom; New York: Harper & Row, New York: Farrar & Reinhart: 1941.

Lazaro Gamino: Urban and Rural American are Becoming Increasingly Polarized, in The Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2016, at

Rodger Garrett: Boxed Up in Political Polarities? Or Watching the Show from Outside the Box? Escape Hatches from Mediated Normalization to "This" or "That." Online at

Kenneth J. Gergen: An Invitation to Social Construction; London: Sage Publications, 1999. 

Jesse Graham, Brian Mosek & Jonathan Haidt: The Moral Stereotypes of Liberals and Conservatives: Exaggeration of Differences across the Political Spectrum; in PLoS One, Vol. 7, No. 12, 2012.

Fred Greenstein: Personality and Politics: Problems of Evidence, Interference and Conceptualization; New York: W. W. Norton, 1975. 

Alan Greenwald: The Totalitarian Ego: Fabrication and Revision of Personal History, in American Psychologist, Vol. 35, No. 7, July 1980. 

Eric Groenendyk: Competing Motives in a Polarized Electorate: Political Responsiveness, Identity Defensiveness, and the Rise of Partisan Antipathy, in Advances in Political Psychology; Vol. 39, Supplement S1, February 2018. 10.1111/pops.12481.

Richard Grunberger: The 12-Year Reich: A Social History of Nazi Germany 1933-1945; New York: Da Capo Press, 1971. 

Andrew Guess, Brendan Nyhan, Jason Reifler: Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, January 3, 2018

Joseph A. Hamm, Corwin Smidt, Roger C. Mayer: Understanding the psychological nature and mechanisms of political trust; in PLOS ONE, 2019; 14 (5): e0215835 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215835; see also

Alexander Haslam, Stephen Reicher: Contesting the "Nature" of Conformity: What Milgram and Zimbardo's Studies Really Show; in PLOS / Biology, Vol. 10, No. 11, November 2012. 

Patrick Heck, Joachim Krueger: Social Perception of Self-Enhancement Bias and Error; in Social Psychology, October 2016.  DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000287

Chris Hedges: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle; New York: Nation Books, 2010. 

George W. F. Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit (aka: Science of the Experience of Consciousness); orig. pub. 1806; tr. Miller, A. V., New York: Oxford U. Press, 1979.

Jules Henry: Culture Against Man; New York: Random House, 1963. 

Jules Henry: On Sham, Vulnerability and other forms of Self-Destruction; London: Allan Lane Penguin Press, 1973.

Elena Hensinger, Ilias Flaounas, Nello Cristianini: Modeling and Explaining Online News Preferences, in Pattern Recognition - Applications and Methods Advances in Intelligent and Soft Computing, 2013. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-36530-0_6.

Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky: Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media; New York: Pantheon, 1988, 2002.

M. J. Hetherington & J. D. Weiler: Authoritarianism and polarization in American politics; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Adolph Hitler: Mein Kampf; orig. pub. 1925/1926 in two volumes, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1943. 

Walter Hixson: Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture and the Cold War, 1945-1961; London: Macmillan, 1997.

Eric Hobsbawm & Terence Ranger (ed.): The Invention of Tradition; Cambridge: Cambridge U.  Press, 1983.

Eric Hoffer: The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements; New York: Harper and Row, 1951, 1966. 

Richard Hofstadter: The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966; Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press, 1996.

Ralph Hood, Jr.; Peter Hill; W. Paul Williamson: The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism; New York: Guildford Press, 2005. 

Sidney Hook: Reason, Myths, and Democracy; Buffalo NY: Promethius Books, 1940, 1991.

Max Horkheimer: Authoritarianism and the Family Today, in R. N. Anshen, ed.: The Family: Its Function and Destiny; New York, Harper, 1949.

Neil Howe & William Strauss: Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, New York: Quill Harper Collins, 1992.

Karl Jaspers: The Axial Age of Human History, in Maurice Stein et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960.

Christopher D. Johnston: Authoritarianism, Affective Polarization, and Economic Ideology, in Advances in Political Psychology, Vol 39, Issue Supplement S1, February 2018. DOI: 10.1111/pops.12483.

Jonas T. Kaplan, Sarah I. Gimbel & Sam Harris: Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence; in Scientific Reports, December 2016. DOI: 10.1038/srep39589

Michael Wayne Kearney: Analyzing change in network polarization, in New Media & Society, 2019.  DOI: 10.1177/1461444818822813

Sara B. King: Military Social Influence in the Global Information Environment: A Civilian Primer; in Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 11, No. 1, December 2011. 

R. Khan, K. Misra, V. Singh: Ideology and Brand Consumption; in Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612457379.

Jeffrey Klaehn, ed.: The Political Economy of Media and Power; New York: Peter Lang, 2010.

Lawrence Kohlberg: The Psychology of Moral Development: The Nature and Validity of Moral Stages, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1984.

Claudia Koonz: The Nazi Conscience; Cambridge MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard U. Press, 2003.

Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad: The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power; Berkeley, CA: Frog , Ltd., 1993. 

Gary Langer, Gregory Holyk, et al: Huge Margin Among Working-Class Whites Lifts Trump to a Stunning Election Upset; ABC News, November 9, 2016.

George Lakoff: Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, 2nd Ed.; Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 2002.

Gustav LeBon: The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind; orig. pub. 1895, Minneola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002.

Melvin Lerner: The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion; New York: Springer, 1980.

David Lick, Adam Alter, Jonathan Freeman: Superior Pattern Detectors Efficiently Learn, Activate, Apply, and Update Social Stereotypes, in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, July 2017.  DOI: 10.1037/xge0000349.

Robert J. Lifton: Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of Brainwashing in China; New York: W. W. Norton, 1961. 

Walter Lippmann: Public Opinion; orig. pub. 1922, New York: Simon & Schuster / Free Press, 1997.

Edward Luce: The Retreat of Western Liberalism; New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017. 

Nancy MacLean: Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of The Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America; New York, Random House: 2017.

B. Major, A. Blodorn, G. Major Blascovich: The threat of increasing diversity: Why many White Americans support Trump in the 2016 presidential election; in Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, October 2016; DOI: 10.1177/1368430216677304.

Marta Marchlewska, Aleksandra Cichocka, et al: Populism as Identity Politics, in Social Psychological and Personality Science; 2017; 194855061773239 DOI:  DOI: 10.1177/1948550617732393.

Jane Mayer: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right; New York: Doubleday, 2016.

M. McCluskey, Y. M. Kim: Moderatism or Polarization? Representation of Advocacy Groups' Ideology in Newspapers; in Journalism & Mass Communications Quarterly, September 6, 2012, DOI: 10.1177/1077699012455385.

William McDougall: The Group Mind: A Sketch of the Principles of Collective Psychology; orig. pub. 1920, North Stratford: Ayer Company, NH, 1973.

Marshal McLuhan, Quentin Fiore: The Medium is the Massage; New York: Penguin Books, 1967.

Joost Meerloo: The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide and Brainwashing; New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1956; Mansfield Center, CT: Martino, 2015.

Stanley Milgram: Obedience to Authority; New York: Harper, 1974.

C. Wright Mills: The Power Elite; London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1956, 2000.

J. J. Mondak, D. Canache: Personality and Political Culture in the American States; in Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 1, 2013,  DOI:10.1177/1065912913495112.

Allison Mueller, Linda Skitka: Liars, Damned Liars, and Zealots, in Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2017;  DOI: 10.1177/1948550617720272.

Steven Lee Myers: The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin; New York: Vintage, 2015.

Angela Nagle: Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4Chan And Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right; London: Zero Books, 2017.

Franz Neumann: Anxiety and Politics, in Maurice Stein et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960.

Arkady Ostrovsky: The Invention of Russia: The Rise of Putin and The Age of Fake News; New York: Penguin, 2017.

Vance Packard: The Hidden Persuaders; orig. pub. 1957; New York: Ig, 2007. 

Talcott Parsons: Social Systems and The Evolution of Action Theory; New York: The Free Press, 1975.

Pew Research: Political Polarization in the American Public: How Increasing Ideological Uniformity and Partisan Antipathy Affect Politics, Compromise and Everyday Life, June 2014, at and

Pew Research: U.S. Religious Groups and their Political Leanings, February 2016, at

Kevin Phillips: American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money; New York: Penguin, 2007.

Karl Popper: The Open Society and Its Enemies; orig. pub. 1945; Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Neil Postman: Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business; New York: Penguin, 1985. 

Al Ries, Jack Trout: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind; New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. 

Kurt Riezler: The Social Psychology of Fear, in Maurice Stein et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960.

Paul Roberts: The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification; New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. 

Milton Rokeach: The Open and Closed Mind: Investigations into the Nature of Belief Systems and Personality Systems; New York: Basic Books, 1960, 1973.

Vincent Ruggiero: Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking, 5th Ed.; Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, 1998. Excellent college critical think class text- and workbook.

Bertrand Russell: The Impact of Science on Society; New York: Columbia U. Press, 1951.

William Sargant: Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brain Washing, orig. pub. 1957, Cambridge, MA: Malor Books, 1997.

Amity Schlaes: The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, New York: Harper Perennial, 2007.

Darren Schreiber, Greg Fonzo, et al: Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans, in PLoS ONE, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2013. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0052970.

Jeff Sharlett: The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power; New York: Harper Perennial, 2008. 

Margaret Thaler Singer, Harold Goldstein, Michael Langone, et al: Report of the APA Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control; New York: American Psychological Association, 1986.

B. F. Skinner: Beyond Freedom and Dignity; New York: Alfred Knopf, 1971.

J. Michael Sproule: Propaganda and Democracy: The American Experience of Media and Mass Persuasion; London: Cambridge U. Press, 1997.

Chadly Stern, Tessa V. West, P. G. Schmitt: The Liberal Illusion of Uniqueness; in Psychological Science, 2013. DOI:10.1177/0956797613500796

Chadly Stern, Tessa V. West, et al: "Ditto Heads": Do Conservatives Perceive Greater Consensus Within their Ranks than Liberals?; in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2014.

Charles Strozier, David Terman, James Jones, Katherine Boyd: The Fundamentalist Mindset: Psychological Perspectives on Religion, Violence, and History; London: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Kathleen Taylor: Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control; Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004. 

K. Toner, M. R. Leary, et al: Feeling Superior Is a Bipartisan Issue: Extremity (Not Direction) of Political Views Predicts Perceived Belief Superiority, in Psychological Science, 2013. DOI:10.1177/0956797613494848.

Wilfred Trotter: Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War; orig. pub. 1916, New York: Cosimo Classics, 2005. 

Alexa M. Tullett, William P. Hart, et al: Is ideology the enemy of inquiry? Examining the link between political orientation and lack of interest in novel data; in Journal of Research in Personality, Vol. 63, July 2016. DOI:10.1016/j.jrp.2016.06.018.

Christina M. Tworek and Andrei Cimpian: Why Do People Tend to Infer “Ought” From “Is”? The Role of Biases in Explanation; in Psychological Science, Vol. 14, No. 2, July 2016.

Larry Tye: The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations; New York: Henry Holt, 1998.

Jay Van Bavel, Andrea Pereira: The partisan brain: An Identity based model of political belief, in Trends on Cognitive Science; in press February 2016.

Thorstein Veblen: The Theory of the Leisure Class; orig. pub. 1899, New York: Penguin Classics, 1994.

E. V. Walter: The Politics of Decivilization, in Maurice Stein et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960. 

Hugh Wilford: The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America; Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press, 2009.

Reid Wilson: The 15 Types of American Political Communities in 2012; in The Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2013.

Gary Woodward & Robert Denton: Persuasion & Influence in American Life, 4th Ed.; Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 2000. 

Tim Wu: The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires; New York: Vintage, 2011. 

If one could only read ten of these, which would I suggest? Altemeyer, Hoffer, Klaehn, McDougall, Milgram, Mills, Ries & Trout, Rokeach, Sargant, and Trotter.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Anecdotally Observed Cult Recruitment & Membership Patterns

The early stages of guru-pressured recruitment are often designed to be attractive to those who believe in the idea of "justice," "freedom of expression," "fairness," "rights" and such, on the fringes of what is now rapidly increasing political polarization.
Those who understand the codependent psychology of cult participation as well as the psychology of both substance and behavioral addiction (look up Edward Khantzian, George Koob, Harold Shaffer and Patrick Carnes, chop chop) can see the parallels, for sure. And those with scholastic understanding of cult dynamics and addiction can see an obvious skew toward "addicts" to behavioral processes (e.g.: "cause" addiction; sex, romance & relationship addiction; activity addiction; appearance addiction, exercise addiction) as well as substances in many cult populations. To wit:
1) The Asian-influenced (bogus Buddhist and Hindu, for the most part) meditation cults in the US in the '60s (e.g. ISKCON) were observably jam-packed full of druggies (looking to find another way to get "high?"). 
2) The evangelical / fundamentalist / charismatic, pseudo-Christian cults seem unusually populated with wannabe-covert sex, romance and relationship addicts as well as foodies (I saw a remarkable skew towards this in several Pentecostal churches (e.g. Assemblies of God, Calvary Chapel) over the course of several decades). 
3) The large-group awareness training and human potential cults (e.g. the CoS & Landmark) seem to have an unusual share of highly motivated, political cause addicts. Moreover, CoS and Landmark participants show up so often in county and state political party organizations for fund-raising and voter-motivation, it's hard to ignore the connection. 
If one lives in LA or San Francisco, one runs into a lot of persecuted LGTBQ people, idealistic liberals and bootstrap minorities in LGAT & HP cults. Whereas out in the boons, one runs into a lot of gun clubs and righteously whacko "Christians" (not really), pseudo-Libertarians, "sovereign citizens" and "tax victims." 
If interested in how The (recruitment & manipulation) Game is played, see...


Carnes, P.: Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, Minneapolis: Hazelden, 1989.

Carnes, P.: Don't Call it Love: Recovery from Sexual Addiction, New York: Bantam, 1991.

Carnes, P.: The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships, Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1997. 

Khantzian, E. J.: The self-medication hypothesis of addictive disorders: Focus on heroin and cocaine dependence, in American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 142, 1985.

Khantzian, E.J.: The self medication hypothesis of substance use disorders: a reconsideration and recent applications, in Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Vol. 4, No. 5, Jan-Feb 1997.

Koob, G.; Le Moal, M.: Drug addiction, dysregulation of reward, and allostasis, in Neuropsychopharmacology, Vol. 24, 2001.

Koob, G., Le Moal, M.: Plasticity of reward neurocircuitry and the ‘dark side’ of drug addiction, in National Neuroscientist, Vol. 8, 2005, doi:10.1038/nn1105-1442.

Koob, G.: A Role for Brain Stress Systems in Addiction, in Neuron, Vol. 59, No. 1, July 2008.

Koob, G.: Neurobiology of Addiction, in Focus, Vol. 9, December 2011.

Shaffer, H.; LaPlante, D., La Brie, R.; et al: Toward a Syndrome Model of Addiction: Multiple Expressions, Common Etiology; in Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Vol. 12, 2004.

A Basic Cult Library 

Articles on Cult Dynamics, which includes several articles with exhaustive bibliographies on the psychology of cult dynamics

If anyone has better, large-population survey-based, statistical research on this topic, I'm all eyes and ears.