How social justice and cults control language to control you
Language manipulation is an important thought control strategy used in cults–as well as in the Social Justice movement. Cult researcher and psychiatrist Robert Lifton calls this strategy “loading the language”. Being required to learn complex terminology, like we see in Scientology, affects members in a number of ways.
This is the 4th article in a series on how cults and social justice warriors use the same psychological manipulation strategies to control people. Read the previous articles here.
Within a cult, the cult doctrine is sacred. It can never change, and it can never be criticized. This is true even when the doctrine contradicts itself.
In her book, Cults in our Midst, cult psychologist Margaret Thaler Singer explains that cult doctrine is protected with a closed system of logic.
If you criticize or complain, the leader or peers allege that you are defective, not the organization. In this closed system of logic, you are not allowed to question or doubt a tenet or rule or to call attention to factual information that suggests some internal contradiction within the belief system. If you do make such observations, they may be turned around and argued to mean the opposite of what you intended. You are made to feel that you are wrong. In cultic groups, the individual member is always wrong, and the system is always right.
You are always wrong, the cult is always right.
For example, let’s look to Antifa. Antifa is infamous for violence against people they disagree with. So much so, that in an all-too predictable move, they threatened violence at UBC in order to shut down an event discussing Antifa’s violence. Since then, they’ve also assaulted a Democratic Socialist politician in Texas. And that’s just in the last few weeks.
But if you dare to oppose Antifa for this behaviour, you will quickly be admonished as a fascist. The logic being, Antifa stands for “Anti Fascist”, so anyone opposing them is therefore pro fascism.
Of course, the idea that we should judge a group by their name, rather than their actions, is ridiculous. The use of a label as a means of defense also illustrates the cult manipulation strategy of language loading.
Remember; you are always wrong, the cult is always right.
Or we have the case of biological men competing against biological women in women’s sports. Of course, women’s sports were invented to give women a level playing field on which to compete, since women simply aren’t competitive with men in terms of muscle mass, height, weight, bone density, lung capacity, etc.
But women who speak out against biological males competing in female sports are told that they are the problem.
This is coming from trans athlete Dr. Rachel McKinnon, a biological male who set a world record in women’s cycling.
The hypocrisy of McKinnon’s statement is outstanding.
But–you are always wrong, the cult is always right.
Most disturbingly, we see how social justice treats parents who do not bow to cult doctrine. It’s normal for parents to refuse to allow their child any kind of permanent body modifications, such as tattoos or piercings, until they are legal adults. It’s also normal for parents to refuse invasive, experimental medical treatments for their children. If children are suicidal because they are unhappy with their bodies (such as in the case of anorexia), it’s normal to send the child to counseling or a rehabilitation center to develop a positive body image.
But what about when your 13-year-old daughter wants to halt puberty, take drugs to grow a beard instead of breasts, and send herself down a path towards sex change surgery, all while permanently sterilizing herself?
Well, in that case, any opposition to these procedures makes you a terrible parent, if not downright abusive. You’ll barely escape charges of “family violence” for even attempting to talk your child out of it.
Not that it will matter, of course; because when it comes to healthcare for your child, you are always wrong, the cult is always right.
The fact that the father was not allowed to talk to the press about this story also contributes to the strategy of control of the environment; there are no interviews showing the father’s side of the story, or the side effects that such treatment would entail. There aren’t even comments open on the article, leaving us with only one perspective.
Looking at another manipulation strategy, we see that one of the tenants of social justice states that certain identity groups are oppressed, and therefore, no one outside the group should be allowed to criticize it. For example, everyone with a non-LGBT sexual orientation or identity needs to suspend any criticism on all things involving LGBT subjects, including legislation, school curriculum, public events, etc.
But, because social justice doctrine must be protected from all criticism from everyone, we end up with the concepts of internalized homophobia, internalized racism, internalized misogyny, etc. This means that people are shamed and cancelled for criticizing the actions of their own identity groups.
This concept is also used to shame people as traitors to their identity group if they hold the wrong beliefs or politics.
Remember: you are always wrong, the cult is always right.
And when the cult finds that you are wrong, punishment is severe. Next week we’ll go into further depth on what is probably social justice’s most famous cult manipulation strategy–cancel culture.
This is the second article in a series on how the social justice movement uses the same manipulation strategies as those used by cults. Read the first article here.
One of the most well-known cult manipulation strategies is control of the member’s environment. Cult members go off to live in an isolated commune, like the Rajneeshees in Netflix’s documentary, Wild Wild Country. Spending all of one’s time in an environment completely controlled by the cult reduces the ability of cult members to question cult doctrine or consider outside norms or information.
We can see this by looking at how social justice permeates universities, the public school system, the mainstream news, entertainment, social media, Google, and YouTube. Any ideology that is, in fact, able to control these institutions will gain enormous control over a person’s daily life and beliefs—a key strategy used by cults. But, unlike a cult member who moves to a commune, it’s less detectable as to what is happening.
Control of Schools & Universities
First, let’s look at schools and universities, and how social justice has permeated students’ daily environments. For example, the Ryerson University student union was torn apart over an on-campus brunch event in which a non-Indigenous student sang Colors of the Wind from the Disney movie Pocahontas. This incident lead to the resignation of a member of the student union.
Yes, the race of the person who sang a Disney song mattered enough for a student union rep to resign. These are the representatives elected by students.
Or, consider the University of British Columbia, and the fact that their Equity and Inclusion office has a staff of 24 people. That’s 24 people on staff to promote social justice on campus. For perspective, this is a fifth of the size of the entire engineering department, which has a staff of 115 people.
Or look to Humber College, where the literary editor for the Humber Literary Review was fired for supporting the free speech rights of gender critical feminists. We’re beyond the point where opposition to social justice is a fireable offense on a university campus. Now merely supporting the rights of critics to speak is enough to get yourself fired.
Keep in mind, these examples were not mere spats among over-zealous student activists. This is the student union, the equity and inclusion office, and the school paper; these are the campus institutions that determine which events and ideas all students are exposed to. One of the strategies of environmental control is providing a series of rewards and punishments to cult members based on compliance with cult goals and doctrine. As we can see, there are plenty of jobs available for people who support social justice; those who dissent lose their jobs. Also keep in mind that these are only the latest incidents, covering the past month.
The ideas of social justice are also being taught to elementary school and high school students. These lessons go far beyond what is needed to prevent bullying of marginalized students, or to prevent pregnancy and STDs. Ontario schools are directing students to soft porn (links have titles like “fisting” and “fucking ass”). They’re also using videos where a teddy bear teaches children about medical gender transitioning. Another school gave a 6-year-old an existential crisis by teaching her that “there is no such thing as girls and boys”. Quebec parents who are concerned about the possibility of their children learning about these ideas are told that sex education is mandatory, beginning in kindergarten, and parents are not given any options to dissent or pull their child out. Recently a UK school instructed 6-year-olds to imagine they were a gay man and write a love letter proposing marriage to another man. And according to a photo posted by this Twitter user, a high school in Toronto is demonizing the political right while glorifying social justice.
Control of News Media
Next let’s look at the mainstream media and how they’re promoting the ideology of social justice. For example, how did the mainstream media cover the recent murder of transgender woman Julie Berman?
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media like the Globe and Mail and the CBC focus on Berman’s identity as a transgender woman and transgender rights activist, painting her murder as an act of transphobia. The Independent adds, “trans and gender non-conforming people are forced to endure unprecedented levels of violence around the world.”
But The Post Millennial looked into the killer’s social media history. In fact, he shared posts supporting LGBT rights and social justice positions, there were even posts where he identified as genderless and depicted himself in woman’s dress.
Given their similarities in terms of gender identity and politics, it’s unlikely that this tragedy had anything to do with gender non-conformity. In fact, it is likely a tragic but run-of-the-mill case of violence committed by someone close to the victim.
But will this new information be promoted by the mainstream media? The LGBT community has been reeling with news of the murder of one of their own. Don’t they deserve the comfort of knowing that this murder likely wasn’t born of transphobia, that it’s little different from murders committed against the broader population? Letting trans people continue to believe this was a case of transphobic violence isn’t support—it’s cruelty.
However, a key tenant of social justice is to promote all trans people as oppressed, rather than viewing them as individuals. We saw the same approach with the CBC’s story painting Jessica Yaniv as a victim, rather than covering the multiple allegations against Yaniv for pedophilia or Yaniv’s arrest for illegal weapons. These stories only provide two examples, but readers of The Post Millennial will be highly familiar with the way the mainstream media promotes the ideas of social justice while ignoring facts that complicate or refute the narrative.
The environmental control started by the mainstream media is further propagated by Big Tech. The stories that push against the social justice narrative are covered by independent media, journalists, and YouTubers. But, these independent sources are deranked by YouTube and Google, making them harder to find. Worse, critics are completely deplatformed. Andy Ngo was suspended from twitter for reporting true facts that refuted the narrative of transphobic violence. Meanwhile, Megan Murphy was banned from Twitter for tweets that stated “men aren’t women”.
Thus, the majority of people are insulated from news that cover ideas contrary to that of social justice. But the environmental control doesn’t stop there.
Control of Entertainment
Turning off the news and relaxing with some TV won’t give you a break from our social justice-controlled environment. For an idea of just how complete this control of environment is, consider Netflix’s shows about conservative characters—the people, who, if portrayed accurately, would be actively opposed to all teachings of social justice.
Consider The Ranch, a drama about working-class, Republican ranchers struggling to stay afloat. These are the Americans who voted to build the wall. In a show that might feature characters losing jobs or having their wages driven down by illegal immigration, instead we see the protagonists saddened and angered by the deportation of an old friend. Meanwhile, the protagonist is horrified upon hearing that his one-night stand plans to have an abortion, saying “‘bortion is wrong”. However, his mother quickly steps in to teach him that it’s the woman’s choice and his responsibility is to support her in whatever she decides. Having been corrected of his grave error, he dutifully agrees.
Or consider Insatiable, a story set in the Bible belt, following Patty, a teenage pageant competitor, and her pageant coach, Bob. In the show, Bob is happily married with two children, when his nemesis kisses him, awakening feelings he didn’t know he had. He then declares soulfully that he can’t be happy unless he, his wife, and his boyfriend all have a relationship together. After they reject the idea, we watch Bob’s teenage son help him jump into the poly-amorous dating world. The broody teen was originally furious with his father for destroying his family, but apparently, he’s all on board in the name of helping his father have sex with multiple strangers at once.
And let’s not forget the scene when Patty has a pregnancy scare and turns to Bob for advice. Rather than have a conversation about her feelings and options, he announces that as a man, he has no right to tell her what to do with her body. Did I mention that the show is set in the Bible belt? The above events occur alongside a baptism, pageant competitions run by the pastor, and songs about Jesus.
In sum, social justice has enormous control over our daily environments and the information and norms we experience, in much the same way cults control their member’s daily environments. Of course, this short article only provides a handful of examples in each category. For those who are interested in a much fuller proof of the extent of social justice in our daily lives, I recommend Douglas Murray’s book, The Madness of Crowds. Reading alternate sources such as The Post Millennial, True North or The Western Standard are also a good way to get out of your bubble. Unless, of course, you’ve been told that these books and sources are alt-right, far-right, or phobic—and thus, you will steer clear of them before ever evaluating them for yourself. This is yet another method cults use to control their members – which I will cover in further detail next week.
I’m a “racist Nazi.” Not because my hobbies include marching down the street wielding tiki torches, or because I possess some backwards notion that the shade of one’s skin is in any way connected to one’s worth as a fellow human, but for simply trying to ask “How does one express taking issue with the casting of Ariel strictly because she isn’t a redhead without offending anyone?” last summer when the hot-button topic of the day was Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
It happened during the monthly gathering of geeks I nervously stumbled into two years prior in an attempt to make friends in my new home while trying to cope with the death of my mother. As someone who has always struggled to make friends, those pub nights were one of the rare times I could engage in stimulating face-to-face dialogue with others.
Ironically, several topics that night referenced the lack of nuanced discussion on social media where people are less likely to analyze and merely overreact. Things eventually turned to Star Trek as they often did, and one person mentioned thanking Patrick Stewart for normalizing baldness, for he liked seeing a powerful, well-respected character on TV who looked like him.
As a child, other kids had said, “redheads bring bad luck” and used my hair colour as an excuse to not let me play with them. And so I was drawn to beloved oddball redheaded characters like Ariel, Madeline, and Annie (the latter of which was also re-cast as a non-ginger). I even went through a phase where I would all but refuse to leave the house unless I was wearing at least one thing with Ariel on it. And so, I looked towards the previous speaker and began to ask my question, but was cut off after “…casting of Ariel—” with an angry yelp.
I turned towards my fellow geek (who happens to be a person of colour) and tried to finish, but was met with a “talk to the hand” gesture and told “No, no!” before she turned to those engaged in a separate discussion of their own. Blood pounded in my ears as I made out the words “racist Nazi.” By the time I got home, I had been banned from the group.
A version of events surfaced on social media in which I, now referred to as an “angry white woman,” deliberately went out of my way to tell the only person of colour in the room that I objected to her casting because of her skin colour, threatened her right to exist, and said I did not think minorities deserved to have the same things I did. These are serious charges, and definitely not true. While my anxiety and depression spiralled out of control, she was met with an outpouring of sympathy and support from everyone.
Well, almost everyone.
A prominent media personality and member of the Order of Canada who witnessed the ordeal was the first and loudest to defend me, and to the impromptu organizer’s credit, an investigation was launched for which I remain grateful. Several other attendees verified my version of events in a manner I could not have done by myself. Nobody verified hers.
Although I was allowed back into the group, I was not welcomed. The outraged party was not reprimanded. Incidentally, neither was an individual with a known history of violently attacking those she disagrees with who had expressed a desire to hit another attendee with her cane that same evening. The former continued to spin her victimized yarn, blowing off one witness’s testimony as “mansplaining,” with people I had hardly ever spoken to saying they had no doubt what she said was true.
The media personality was the first to defect. Others soon left as well, whether they witnessed the events personally or sided with facts. We formed a similar group of our own, free of drama and filled with free-thinkers.
Our first gathering was small, but it felt as though a weight had been lifted. Subjects we knew would trigger members of the original group were wide open for discussion provided you remained respectful and could back up your statement with facts. That’s not to say things didn’t get heated: fisticuffs nearly broke out when someone said Spock is a cardboard character, but at the conclusion of his detailed explanation, the offended person said “I’ll drink to that!” and we all had a laugh.
Since then, we have grown exponentially. Our last get-together may have had more people in attendance than the original. New friendships have been made, and old ones reinforced. I receive more invitations in a month than I used to in a year, and spent Christmas (the anniversary of my suicide attempt) in the company of people who went out of their way to make sure none of their friends were alone for the holiday.
They say it takes adversity to discover who your true friends are. While members of the original group stay within the safety of their echo chamber, those at our new one challenge one another through healthy debate, and we have grown closer and more tolerant for it.
Media, and people in general, have a tendency to make everything seem like a doomsday scenario. This could be for a number of reasons.
Perhaps, as humans, we have a tendency to see the negative while ignoring progress. This is certainly the case with many social justice movements, which seem to refuse to acknowledge the large strides made in the past few decades.
While of course things are not perfect, and there are still things to be improved on, a lot has gotten really good, really fast.
According to Reason Editor-in-Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward, it’s human’s tendency to ignore the good that has gotten us to this point: but it’s time to stop and smell the roses.
“If you are a caveman who hears a little rustling in the weeds, and you say, ‘Oh, it’s probably fine,’ the other guy who says, ‘It’s probably a tiger,’ that’s the guy who lives. That guy was our ancestors.”
But the strides made are not just notable, they are life changing, says Mangu-Ward.
In the book Progress: Ten Reasons To Look Forward to the Future, Swedish writer Johan Norberg explains how the past decade has been the most prosperous in human history. Norberg, who also wrote the book In Defense of Global Capitalism, notes that in the 2010s, 28 percent of the current overall wealth was created in that decade, that extreme poverty was halved, and that child mortality was reduced by a third.
On top of that, countries criminalizing same sex acts decreased from 40 percent to 27 percent, countries with laws protecting women jumped from 53 percent to 78 percent, the death rate from pollution went down 19 percent, and the number of “not-free” countries decreased from 34 percent to 26 percent.
There are, of course, notable challenges ahead. Depression has been on a creeping increase for years now, with the LA Times reporting that there’s been an over 50 percent increase in unhappiness.
“On a scale of 1 to 3, where 1 represents ‘not too happy’ and 3 means “very happy,” Americans on average give themselves a 2.18 — just a hair above “pretty happy.” That’s a significant decline from the nation’s peak happiness, as measured by the survey, of the early 1990s.
The change is driven by the number of people who say they’re not too happy: 13 percent in 2018 compared with 8 percent in 1990. That’s a more than 50 percent increase in unhappy people.
Other recent research confirms this trend. The latest World Happiness Report, released this week, finds that a separate measure of overall life satisfaction fell by six percent in the United States between 2007 and 2018,” the Times reports.
Addiction is another major problem, which continues to skyrocket, with the number of Americans being diagnosed with opioid addiction breaking records year after year, with a notable spike in 2016, climbing by 493 percent with some drugs.
On top of this, the privacy of the average American has all but disappeared. In an article by Forbes titled “Privacy is completely and utterly dead, and we killed it,” author Jacon Morgan highlights how mega-monopoly tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple have gathered data on individuals that completely removes any form of autonomy.
All of this doesn’t even acknowledge that artificial intelligence is set to replace 40 percent of jobs within the next couple of decades. So who knows whether things are better or worse. Perhaps it boils down to whether you’re a glass half-full, glass half-empty type of person.