It examined Communist attempts to brainwash and manipulate US prisoners of war in Korea. It’s become a seminal work in its field, still used and regarded as authoritative to this day.
Numerous Web sites have drawn attention to parallels between what the book describes as manipulation techniques, and measures taken to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. One has to admit, the parallels are ominous. Here’s an example of the infographic that’s been widely circulated.
That’s the problem with measures imposed on society for even a good reason (and, let’s admit, restricting the spread of disease is – at least nominally – a good reason). All too often, the measures are not fully explained, or even rationally analyzed from a scientific perspective. They’re thrown out there in a desperate attempt to do something – anything! – to improve the situation. If they don’t work, the bureaucrats involved try to threaten people into compliance, or manipulate them into cooperating rather than questioning.
That’s how freedom vanishes. By all means, let scientifically valid measures be taken, and let compliance be not just requested, but regulated: but make sure that the measures are, indeed, valid, not just bureaucratic knee-jerks. In the case of far too many measures against COVID-19, the cure has proved worse than the disease. If we beat the pandemic, but destroy our economy in the process, what have we really achieved?
As the late President Ronald Reagan reminded us:
That applies to bureaucrats, politicians and their regulations, too! Let’s not allow them to blind us to reason, or stop us from thinking for ourselves. That doesn’t mean we should willfully disregard their recommendations – it just means we should judge them according to their accuracy, their effectiveness and their validity.
Dictatorial politicians like Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom and their ilk, and their autocratic pronouncements from what they seem to think is the throne of their office, don’t deserve the time of day.