How to Speak to the Brainwashed

brainwashedLast week, I posted an article entitled “Man Is Not Always Blind.” And quite understandably, I received comments from readers who disagreed. After all, when you are surrounded by people who wish to not see – who hate you for trying to make them see – it is natural to take that opinion.

(And since the word is so often fitting, I will go with “brainwashed” to describe those who wish not to see.)

But rather than debating “Is it getting any better?” I’d like to move on to actually making things better. And that means talking to people.

So, since there is something of an art to speaking to the brainwashed, I will direct the rest of this article to that art.

To Begin

Let’s start by removing the divide: You and I have made the same mistakes these people are making. We may be a few steps ahead of them in leaving the swamp, but we started in the same swamp with them.

In all of human history, there may be no greater conditioning system than our modern government schools (including all the private schools that follow the same pattern). From infancy to adulthood, it affects most human minds in the West. And I dare guess that 98% of my readers bear its scars.

So, you must start by understanding that these “brainwashed” people have spent a huge portion of their lives inside a massive mind-warp. Don’t be too quick to toss them aside. Learn patience. Breaking out of their mold is scary, and it takes time.

The Roots

The roots are deep and old; they are backed up with violence and fear. It comes down to this:

The very existence of the state requires you to be brainwashed.

Every state (communist, fascist, theocratic, whatever) rests on the concept of legitimacy:

It is right that one group of men take everyone else’s money by force and tell them what to do.

It is right that they punish or kill anyone who doesn’t obey them.

It is right that they send your children to die fighting their competitors.

If I wanted to apply this to Marvin and Bob who live down the street, you’d tell me I was crazy, and you would be right.

Why, then, is this same idea holy and glorious when applied to brigands and deceivers, as it has been for some 6,000 years?

The usual response to such a question, by the way, is this:

<sound of crickets>

And please notice that this is precisely the way to phrase things to the brainwashed. You have to create moments of clarity.

Sometimes it will work, and a seed will be planted. Other times, they’ll hate your guts for forcing them into punishable thoughts.

The One-Size-Fits-All Answer

I don’t care how trite this may sound, but the right way to get through to the brainwashed is simply to love them.

Loving them means that you have to get over the need to win, to prove yourself right. Get clear on the facts: If you are promoting personal liberty, true free will, true free speech, and so on, you are already right. You don’t have to prove anything. When you try to “prove” your rightness, you get dragged into their “winning” game, and you slide into their pit.

The people who fight you are trying to keep their mental universes free of contradiction. They haven’t the courage to see past their fences; they are defending their dogma from your heresy.

Your job is to speak the truth, to take their shots, and to smile. It doesn’t matter that they are flat wrong; so were you at one time.

Love them. Help them see. Don’t rush them. Let them come to you.

And when the loudmouth plays his game, tell him he’s an attack artist, substituting gorilla-style dominance for human understanding. Then smile and walk away.

We Are the Heretics

I dedicated a full issue of my monthly newsletter (FMP #58) to the subject of successful heresy, and I certainly can’t go through much of it here, but I would like you to understand that we are heretics to the majority culture, to the brainwashed culture. We cannot expect them to simply come along at our first statement of truth. Agreeing with us is far more than an act of reason; it is an act of courage… and people require time to work up to that.

So, don’t get sucked into heated debates. You’re the outsider, and you shouldn’t argue inside their frameworks. When they hit you with a barrage or with a “gotcha” question, step back, slow down, and examine what they’re actually saying. You don’t have to respond in 14 milliseconds. That’s a trap.

As the outsider, you should be addressing their root premises, not the political argument de jour. Such arguments seldom accomplish anything. Let them jump into their political furors while you keep addressing deep principles and things that “are not to be questioned.”

In other words, go ahead and be the heretic – they’re going to punish you for it anyway.

In the End…

In the end, we don’t speak to other people so we can convert them, and certainly not to prove we’re right, or (God forbid) to assemble a movement.

And, honestly, talking to people isn’t even about freeing life to flourish on this planet, as right a goal as that may be. When we talk to people, we are already expressing life… presentlynow… not “after we win.”

When you speak to people with love – in honest concern for their wellbeing – you are directly creating a better world, right now, word by word.

Do it.

Paul Rosenberg

25 thoughts on “How to Speak to the Brainwashed”

    1. Hi SW:
      No, you can’t apply the same things to religion. Religions don’t employ armed men to take your money. They don’t lock people in cages for failing to keep their rules. And so on.

        1. but you can argue these are no more authentic “religion” than caitlyn is a woman…religio= to tie back (to source)

          1. Yes, please, argue that Islam is not an authentic religion. That should be entertaining. Argue in one hand, and hold the other hand above your head, and see which one gets shot first (probably a tie).

      1. My apologies for this very delayed reply, but I just discovered your website through and began reading the various articles. I am very glad to have found it as I enjoy your thoughts. With respect to this comment: while you are right that religions do not threaten your physical property and life, they do employ metaphysical coercion when they threaten the damnation of non-compliant souls. As a believer so to speak, this haunts me far more than the prospect of merely losing my physical life. If a religion holds a monopoly on truth, perhaps this threat is justified. I just wanted to point out that religion is not free from coercion in every form. And as much as I hold Austrian economics and libertarianism in high esteem, I can not bring myself to totally embrace it as I can not –thus far in my intellectual pursuits — morally condemn the man (who has lesser talent and hence lesser resources and who works hard and acts prudently but who nonetheless falls on hard times) who steals from someone (who has far more than he needs and who obtained those resources in a perfectly ethical way) but who nonetheless refuses to share with the man who finds himself in an emergency. The question then I guess — in both religion and politics —is: how do we reconcile objective truth and morality with the idea that Machiavelli was right at least on some level? This is all so interesting but also so confusing.

  1. One man’s ‘brainwashed’ is another man’s ‘I follow scientific consensus’. No matter how wrong.

  2. First let’s say that if the very few awakened have to talk the brainwashed into opening their mind, one by one, tangible results, as far as numbers are concerned, may be long in coming…
    Having said that, I would split the so-called brainwashed into two different groups: those who actually defend the system, and those, far more numerous, who don’t care.
    The latter who, in essence, are grown-up children made up for the vast majority of the population and are far more difficult to talk to because they are not interested, they don’t have time (the sickness of our times) and they don’t have the required attention capacity anyway.
    People have been brainwashed into believing in the system, but more importantly they have been brainwashed into not being to focus, thanks to television (by far the worst invention ever…not the machine by itself, but the way it has been used) and its derivatives such as zapping…
    The system will change, not by the will of awakened people, but by collapsing because it was doomed to fail from the beginning…

  3. And thus my email address – heriotbayheretic. I get this. Thanks Paul. You are one of the truly sensible people with a voice loud enough to reach a significant number of people. It does make me hopeful.

  4. thank you Stephen, I appreciate such honesty, to suit those of us who have tried to keep our minds clean when all else seems dirty

  5. I dare says, Paul, you are “preaching to the converted”, at least with regards myself.
    I had the “good fortune” of being born BEFORE the massive, intrusive and more thorough “brainwashing’ began. I further was the Grandson of an IRA Rebel in Ireland who fought the British for the REPUBLIC of Ireland. YES he influenced ,along with Ayn Rand, Ira Levine, Orwell etc., my thinking.
    I am now 74 and am a CONFIRMED,Anarchist, Philosophically; Atheist, non-religiously and thus a SOVEREIGN Citizen
    I do hope you, too, will evolve, with age, REASON and experience, thusly
    The REWARD is HAPPINESS spiced with Imagination and CRITICAL thinking
    Keep up the good work

  6. Evolution is ALWAYS right by definition: In 2009 I wrote this article entitled orwells boot. If you do a search on orwells boot, then my article will almost be the first one that you see, at least after paid ads and links.
    In that article I offer up evidence and logic to show that evolution works to make us stupid and obedient to authority. We are wired to “live in the state” The only option is to change how the state works. Now it is almost entirely a hierarchy. Our founders understood the problem with hierarchies and created a network of states. That worked as a good first shot. The Swiss also use this model. We simply need to make our culture more of a network system than a hierarchy.
    By the way, for all you testosterone poisoned people out there. This means that we need a culture organized along more feminine lines then our current hierarchy ones.
    One more thing. Hillary is a man in drag. At least insofar as her preference for structure goes.
    Before you comment, if you can muster the mental energy and attention span, first read my 6000 word article

  7. What an awesome article. Have been there many times and many times I do fall into the TRAP. Thanks for the great suggestions.

  8. For some govt is a bad word, a code word for dictatorship. And there is plenty to show in the past and today that it is a fair and true assessment. However if a govt is of the right size as Jefferson would tell us, it can do our will, protect us and do things individuals could not do. The difficulty in keeping it from growing too large, too powerful, and ultimately just the haven for the Plutocrats to lord over us and others. Right now the Plutocrats and their Theocrats, Nationalists and Militarists who want Empire. They want domination and control turn the Earth into flat, hot and a global plantation.
    We are at the disadvantage in most every area but one. Numbers. The top 10% are vastly outnumbered by our lower 90%. Except for those who agree with them and help them to get what they think they want as well. So as long as most of us are not aggressive or bothered enough to rebel, they are safe. This has happened before and when the rabble (us) would over throw the few there was blood shed and other terrible things before order was resorted and The People were happy again with the plutocrats were put in their place till it happened again. We are in the beginning of the Second Gilded Age and it continues to Regress in that direction not just here but everywhere.
    It would be nice to stop it without violence but it seems they may win and we will sooner or later rebel against it to stop it. I hope I am wrong in my assessment and the assessment of others who see it in a way similar to mine.

  9. A great article and well written. Love is and will be the ultimate winner regarding man’s journey toward knowing his creator. I would like to add one important aspect which keeps those that rule the system and Lord over us on a global basis, due to having control of creating and regulating the monetary systems of the world, They are able to keep many busy so as to not care or feel that they can not make a difference. Until the masses learn how to change the use and or rules of the monetary system from within or outside of, then all will remain the same. Bones will be thrown to just enough of the population so as to keep the defenders of the system strong enough to defend it on many fronts. However, history shows that change does happen, and may it be with us finding the way to use their own strength to the benefit of all instead of having blood on the streets.

  10. You can keep on banging your head against the wall, trying to get the sheep to wake up, but I, for one, have realized this is an exercise in futility. They won’t wake up, not one in one hundred, you will have wasted your time and you will have endured many insults and threats of violence. You are far better off getting yourself and your family prepared and dropping out of their corrupt system than trying to wake up the truly stupefied sheeple infesting this country.

  11. Governments are merely middlemen serf farm managers acting on behalf of the owners and the top-down pyramidal money system.
    Intel services began as spies for royalty. They still exist to protect the establishment, not us.
    Military are nothing but duped whore cattle fighting lie-based wars of piracy for the establishment.
    Mass compulsory schooling started in Prussia c1800 to “produce more soldiers and more obedient citizens”
    Mass media is plantation radio, owned by the establishment.
    Theism and religion are man made tools of control exploiting man’s existential vulnerability.
    Police are the sheep dogs of our serf farm owners, rarely ever pursuing highest level crime.
    REALITY is we live on free range serf farms structured around a top-down pyramidal money system, maintained via mass conditioning schooling and mass programming media.

  12. Conventionalist Emotional
    Characteristic (CEC): An emotionally based sociopolitical mental
    characteristic and potential personality disorder rooted in the political
    psyche. People with CEC emotionally defend the conventions, institutions, and
    sanctioned political thought established by their political/social engineers
    against anyone who questions, challenges, criticizes, or attempts to disprove
    the legitimacy of these established conventional assumptions. CEC is thought to
    be acquired during social mental development by people who are possibly
    extra-predisposed to suggestion and eventually develop a deeply ingrained and
    binding emotional attachment to conventional sociopolitical assumptions. The
    impetus of the development of CEC is indoctrination and then inculcation from
    officially controlled state information sources which eventually establishes
    trust of these sources as presumed fact without reasonable verification.
    Physiologically, the symptoms of CEC are triggered by a conditioned response
    when sociopolitical conventionality is challenged by the expression of
    independent, non-sanctioned, non-government thought, investigation, research,
    and analysis, which creates dissonance and instantaneous reaction to relieve
    dissonance which is usually manifested by the use of dismissive language or
    gesture, evoking and repeating official disinformation, seeking support from
    others who share the conventional beliefs, avoidance or abortion of
    confrontation, or by the use of belligerent ad hominem attacks. This process is
    sometimes known as belief disconfirmation paradigm.

  13. In more than 25 years as a broadcaster and a writer, nothing has transformed my approach to speaking the truth like this essay did. I started incorporating its approach in my radio show, my columns and in my personal interactions with others.

    It works. It hasn’t made me rich or famous. But it has definitely magnified my personal impact by opening more hearts and minds and creating more lasting friendships than I could have imagined.

    Thanks for your insights, Paul. You have become a welcome and trusted mentor to me and my audience.

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