Can We All Agree To Abandon Torture and Slavery as Tools of Social Control?
By Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator
Do Evil People Believe Everyone Is Evil?
It seems that good people tend to believe everyone is good or that most people are good at heart. Take for example, Anne Frank, enslaved by Nazi Germany and who died of Typhus while held in a brutal concentration camp, who said: "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart." (Sources: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/annefrank109060.html and http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/01/europe/anne-frank-date-of-death/)
But, do evil people believe everyone is evil? It would seem that it is a common trait for people to believe that other people are like them to a large degree and this is identified as the "false consensus effect" in psychological terms. So, it would seem that sociopaths and "evil people" are to an extent "normal" when it comes to believing that everyone shares their beliefs and motives as well as potential for extraordinary self-interest and enacting any and all harm they see fit for their purposes which includes pursuing and securing great influence over large populations.
One blogger writes:
"Those of us who are real Republicans know that people are by nature bad. We're driven to selfish means of survival, excess and animus. It takes a very stable thoughtful mind to avoid these instinctual drives. Fear and lust will drive a man to do horrible things and he may come back down and look at the result of his amok time with disgust and despair, but it's pure humanity in its primal hysteric. Is there anything more human than revenge? Those of us at the top of the food chain are beholden to societal rules because if you're caught with your hand in the cookie jar, you get it cut off. We are civilized as long as we are privileged... A sociopath thinks everyone would break the rules if they could get away with it." Source: http://gopcore.blogspot.com/2011/03/false-consensus.html
Where Do We Get The Idea That People Are Born Bad?
John Calvin wrote:
"...our nature is not only destitute of all good, but is so fertile in all evils that it cannot remain inactive. Those who have called it concupiscence have used an expression not improper, if it were only added, which is far from being conceded by most persons, that everything in man, the understanding and will, the soul and body, is polluted and engrossed by this concupiscence; or, to express it more briefly, that man is of himself nothing else but concupiscence. (Institutes, Vol. I, Bk. II, Chap. 1, Para. 8; Allen translation.)" Source: http://www.prca.org/fivepoints/chapter1.html
How Does Calvinism Effect US Policies Today?
"As the New Right gained power, Republicans-and Democrats-began to support repressive and punitive criminal justice policies that were shaped by one of the historic legacies of Calvinism: the idea that people arrested for breaking laws require punishment, shame, and discipline." Source: http://www.publiceye.org/defendingjustice/overview/berlet_calvinism.html
Horrific human rights violations are prevalent in US institutions including prisons, treatment centers, and detention centers. (Sources: www.heal-online.org/teennews.htm, www.heal-online.org/prisonnews.htm, and www.heal-online.org/humannews.htm) These sick abuses are justified by the perpetrators as a means of converting the dehumanized captives into productive and obedient servants.
"According to Philip Greven:
The authoritarian Christian family is dependent on coercion and pain to obtain obedience to authority within and beyond the family, in the church, the community, and the polity. Modern forms of Christian fundamentalism share the same obsessions with obedience to authority characteristic of earlier modes of evangelical Protestantism, and the same authoritarian streak evident among seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Anglo-American evangelicals is discernible today, for precisely the same reasons: the coercion of children through painful punishments in order to teach obedience to divine and parental authority." Source: http://www.publiceye.org/defendingjustice/overview/berlet_calvinism.html
"In 5 years as magistrate of the Geneva “church-city-state,” Calvin oversaw 58 death sentences and the exile of 76 people. He wasn't the sole decision-maker in those cases, but personal correspondence and city council records betray his extraordinary influence. When Jacques Gruet, a theologian with differing views, placed a letter in Calvin’s pulpit calling him a hypocrite, he was arrested, tortured for a month and beheaded on July 26, 1547. Gruet's own theological book was later found and burned along with his house while his wife was thrown out into the street to watch." (Source: http://www.reenactingtheway.com/blog/john-calvin-had-people-killed-and-bad-bible-interpretation-justified-it)
Calvin's totalitarian demand for absolute adherence to his interpretation of biblical doctrine was inspired by St. Augustine, the man behind the Spanish Inquisition. (Source: https://blog.logos.com/2012/01/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-john-calvin-and-should/) And, St. Augustine believed in using torture to convert people to his beliefs.
"As Augustine saw it, therefore, we must distinguish between two classes of people. For the righteous "who thirsteth for God," "there is no need of the terror of hell, to say nothing of temporal punishments or imperial laws . . ."; but for those who have fallen into heresy, "many must first be recalled to their Lord by the stripes of temporal scourging, like evil slaves, and in some degree like good-for-nothing fugitives."5" Source: http://www.thomastalbott.com/terror.php
It would seem that those who believe in oppression and torture justify this with the beliefs that people are born evil and that temporary torture and enslavement are justified if they believe it will "save" someone from eternal torture and enslavement in Hell. This belief appears to be used to justify "conversion therapy" in the 21st century which uses torture, institutionalized coercion and persuasion, humiliation, and forced labor to "convert" gay youths to heterosexuality and "anti-social" youths to blind obedience to authority.
And, these beliefs regarding the justification of torture, abuse, and slavery are being protected in many states throughout the US in the exemption of faith-based institutions that reportedly engage in torturing who they deem to be "modern-day heretics" as part of a protected first amendment freedom of religion. And, it should not be official policy to permit any group or groups (religious, political, or otherwise) to engage in what would otherwise be deemed illegal acts of gross human rights violations, violence, and abuse in order to further their private and/or public agendas, regardless of their claimed motivations and intentions.
"As early as 1962, Dr. Edgar Schein described the methodology at issue rather more straightforwardly in an address to all federal maximum security prison wardens in Washington, D.C.: "In order to produce marked changes in behavior, it is necessary to weaken, undermine, or remove supports for old attitudes. I would like you to think of brainwashing not in terms of... ethics and morals, but in terms of the deliberate changing of human behavior by a group of men who have relatively complete control over the environment in which the captives live...[These changes can be induced by] isolation, sensory deprivation, segregation of leaders, spying, tricking men into signing written statements which are then shown to others, placing individuals whose will power has been severely weakened into a living situation with others more advanced in thought reform, character invalidation, humiliations, sleeplessness, rewarding subservience, and fear." (http://www.beyondbusiness.net/openletter.htm)
In 2008, Patricia Ruland writing "Rehabilitation or Torture" for the Austin Chronicle reported:
"The SAFPF "therapy" model is based upon a practice known as "therapeutic communities," which had its origins in a Sixties-era California drug-abuse program called Synanon. Critics and proponents alike date the peer-based TC methods to the "attack therapy" popularized by Charles Dederich in the Santa Monica-based Synanon, which eventually degenerated into a brutal and murderous cult, as reported in a 1979 Pulitzer Prize-winning exposé in the Point Reyes Light by then-publisher Dave Mitchell. "It's unfortunate that Synanon became the model for therapeutic communities; basically a large portion of drug treatment is based on a cult," Mitchell said in an interview. Synanon was eventually shut down by the authorities, in part because in addition to abuse of patients, staff were assaulting defectors from the program and threatening detractors with death. Available for committee testimony should be survivors of other disgraced programs that operate on the therapeutic communities model. Some said they would testify just how closely the SAFPF accounts resonate with their own victimization in TCs incubated at Synanon. "The women [in SAFPF] have charged they must often sit silently, rigidly, face-forward, in plastic chairs for long hours or days, occasionally through periods of weeks on end. This was true of Straight, Inc. as well," wrote Shelby Earnshaw, director of a survivor support group, the International Survivors Action Committee (www.isaccorp.org) in an e-mail." Source: http://www.heal-online.org/safep071808.pdf
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was using SAFPF, a conversion through torture and cult-like thought reform to "rehabilitate" women prisoners in 2008. Even after the abuses have been exposed in newspaper articles and other reports, SAFPF still exists and is in operation today. (Source: http://tdcj.state.tx.us/divisions/rpd/rpd_substance_abuse.html)
Whether we look at prisons, schools, treatment programs, or faith-based institutions, we find the Calvinist ideology that supports torture and coercive thought reform as a valid means of changing behavior and/or conversion to subservience. If you are not familiar with John Calvin, he was a "founding father" of Protestantism who was born in 1509 and died in 1564.
"One of the churches which openly supported apartheid and racism was the Dutch Reformed church of South Africa . Calvinism gave the necessary basis for the Church's racist agenda. How a Church could ever support any form of discrimination is still surprising. How the Dutch reformed Church went to the extent of supporting and maintaining apartheid is still more puzzling. But the support for the Apartheid policies came from Calvinism's view of the world and not from Christ... George Whitfield, the friend of John Wesley was a Calvinist and he owned slaves. John Wesley , did not own much earthly wealth, let alone slaves. The slavery of blacks in America was not questioned or stopped by the reformed churches there. Instead the reformed theologians like George Whitfield , practiced slavery." (Source: http://crosstheologie.blogspot.com/2012/09/calvinism-slavery-and-apartheid.html)
"According to Sulzer and Mayer: (emphasis added) “If the causes of our behavior are to be managed, and certainly will be managed, then we might still consider ourselves free as long as we remain ignorant of those causes and how they are being managed in our own case. At least, we will feel free. One hundred years ago, that ignorance was the essential freedom available…” Sulzer and Mayer provided a manual for behavior modification in the Public School System in the United States in the early 1970s. The idea discussed is that powerful people have and will continue to implement behavior controls that go beyond mere public safety and into the realm of private freedoms. This is highlighted by the fact that educators are being told to give students the freedom of ignorance. This may be shocking to many who are yet unfamiliar with the deterioration of quality education, and society in general. Sulzer and Mayer go on to say, “A political craftsman such as Machiavelli could offer some incomplete rules of thumb…based on partial appreciation of punishment.”3 Merriam-Webster defines Machiavellian as “characterized by cunning, duplicity, and bad faith.”4 Most readers (hopefully all) will agree that an education system based on manipulation, deceit, and bad faith is not in line with the goals of a free or just society. And, it is the widespread implementation of these practices that have become an industry of torture and fraud destroying American families. (Source: http://www.heal-online.org/ebook.pdf)
Do People Often Believe Everyone Is Like Them And Shares Their Beliefs?
As stated above, the answer appears to be "yes". And, the problem with that is that when narcissistic sociopaths obtain wealth and power they see everyone else as a threat because they believe everyone is as corrupt and willing to abuse others as they are and they will destroy everyone else to prevent being subjected to their own practices.
"The false consensus effect is defined as an egoistic bias to overestimate the degree to which others are like us. The criterion for establishing its existence is a positive correlation across subjects (within items) between their own endorsements of a behavior or attitude item and their estimates of the endorsement frequency in a specified group of which they are a member. The effect is labeled “false” on the grounds that because there is an actual endorsement rate in the group, systematic deviations from it in the direction of the subject's own response supposedly cannot result from accurate estimation procedures." Source: http://www.citeulike.org/user/CulCog/article/7229209
The philosopher, Immanuel Kant, said: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law." Source: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3201869/Korsgaard_KantForumulaUniversalLaw.pdf?sequence=2 The issue then becomes that Calvinists and others who would support torture and slavery in order to convert others to their worldview will claim that they would themselves in Kafkaesque fashion subject themselves to the same abuses should they not conform to the tenets of their particular belief system. So, they would justify their use of torture and other cruelties by claiming it would be a universal law to which they would hold themselves accountable in the event they did not share the beliefs of their current authority figureheads.
The problem then becomes one of academic and philosophical debate and that is where public officials tend to leave the discussion while ignoring and often sponsoring conversion by torture of our fellow citizens. That is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated to continue.
Issues with the idea that torture is okay as long as you are torturing for a "good reason", such as converting someone to your religion or political ideology, include that human beings are imperfect and no person nor group of persons should be allowed to impose their views and conditions on others through force, coercion, slavery, and torture. This is true for many reasons including that no individual would want to be coerced or tortured or even condone being coerced and tortured for their individual beliefs. Would a Calvinist accept being tortured and enslaved by an Atheist who "knew for certain" that the only salvation and sanity for a Calvinist would be conversion to Atheism? The answer is "no". Why? Because Calvinists will argue that they are "right" and that therein lies the primary difference and justification for all who engage in serious human rights violations including murder and torture.
So, we're looking at least at one of the seven deadly sins being the culprit that allows Calvinists to vainly and arrogantly claim the right to torture, murder, and enslave anyone who doesn't adhere to their interpretation of scripture.
Ezekiel: 16:49: " Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy."
Arrogance is defined "as an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people" and "an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions." Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arrogance
The bottom line here is that arrogant, narcissistic, fanatical, sociopathic, zealots of any and all belief systems cannot be allowed to impose their views on others through coercion, torture, abuse, and slavery. And, the Constitution has been clearly read to include individual civil rights which should not be permitted to be violated by private nor public institutions and certainly should override any perceived "right" of any group to engage in illegal, inhumane, abusive, torturous, and murderous tactics for the purposes of conversion to any religion or political ideology.
"Fascism is a form of right-wing totalitarianism which emphasizes the subordination of the individual to advance the interests of the state. Nazi fascism’s ideology included a racial theory which denigrated “non-Aryans,” extreme nationalism which called for the unification of all German-speaking peoples, the use of private paramilitary organizations to stifle dissent and terrorize opposition, and the centralization of decision-making by, and loyalty to, a single leader." Source: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:t-5cJaxXk9MJ:remember.org/guide/facts-root-nazi+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
Sound familiar? Well, if not, it should because it is happening here and now and this is why we must stop it and defend human rights and individual human rights for future generations so they are not subjected to a global fascist ruling elite in which all are tortured, enslaved, or murdered.
"As the American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”
Well, it may well [be] on our doorstep. And the oligarchs are plotting their final takeover by using their economic dominance to capture governmental power – specifically, the governmental power which sets the rules for the very marketplace that provides the oligarchs with such massive wealth.
Once the American corporate barons own the institutions that are meant to regulate them, it’s game-over for both rational capitalism (including competition) and for democracy." Source: http://www.salon.com/2015/02/08/fascism_is_rising_in_america_the_koch_brothers_and_the_painful_demise_of_democracy_partner/
No conspiracy theories here. Only a logical conclusion that people believe that other people are usually just like they are and if they are good, then that isn't a problem in most cases. But, when they are evil, they visit their worst impulses on the innocent and brave who refuse to participate in systemic and institutionalized abuse. Sometimes you are the only proof you have that GOOD exists. But, sometimes that is enough. Stay true to the truth, justice, beauty, love, and kindness and fight to protect the future from fascist plutocracy.