Brainwashing & "Education Reform"


"Brainwashing is a system of befogging the brain so a person can be seduced into acceptance of what otherwise would be abhorrent to him. He loses touch with reality. Facts and fancy whirl round and change places.... However, in order to prevent people from recognizing the inherent evils in brainwashing, the Reds pretend that it is only another name for something already very familiar and of unquestioned respect, such as education or reform." Edward Hunter, Brainwashing (New York: Pyramid Books, 1956), pages 185-186)

If you have read our articles or Brave New Schools or followed the implementation of Goals 2000 -- the massive education program signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 -- you would know that "education reform" has turned our education system upside-down. Our master plan comes from UNESCO, which published the blueprint for "lifelong learning" in 1973. The six goals announced by UNESCO at its World Conference on Education for All in 1990 became the original six goals for the American version of the global education system (See "Zero Tolerance for Non-Compliance").
Back in 1985, President Reagan and Soviet President Gorbachev signed the U.S. - USSR Education Exchange Agreement. It put American technology into the hands of Communist strategists and, in return, gave us all the psycho-social strategies used in Communist nations to indoctrinate Soviet children with Communist ideology and to monitor compliance for the rest of their lives.
The parallels between the Soviet education system and our Goals 2000 have been well documented by researchers such as James Patrick.1 But few have recorded the practical horrors of Communist brainwashing more thoroughly than did Edward Hunter in his book, Brainwashing. 2
It's time to take a closer look at the well-tested tactics used by Communist regimes to alter minds and create "the new Soviet man," for it's happening here. Once the international system is fully in place, neither we nor our children will remain free from socialist indoctrination and unthinkable controls. It's all part of Goals 2000, the school-to-work legislation, and the process of "lifelong learning" which is essential for building the planned "sustainable communities" around the world.
Edward Hunter based most of the following observations on personal interviews with victims of the Chinese "education reform". These survivors include Western missionaries, prisoners of war, teachers, and business men who were trained through cruel but sophisticated "brainwashing" tactics to betray their nation, embrace dialectic materialism, "confess" lies, and serve the Communist propaganda machine. Later, we will show how some were able to resist the process.

Compare Mr. Hunter's findings with present-day realities. Notice the references to words such as "democratic" and "discussion." Both point to the quest for social solidarity through the Hegelian dialectic or consensus process now used to mold minds through group facilitators in our schools, government, and workplaces from coast to coast.
"This was war! Some called it psychological warfare. A better name would be brain warfare. The only difference was that formerly weapons were aimed principally at bodies, to incapacitate and destroy them, whereas now they were aimed mainly at minds, so subvert and control them. In brain warfare ultimate victory lay in the conquest of attitudes and feelings." (p. 47)
"The Reds wanted people to believe that it could be described by some familiar expression such as education, public relations, persuasion - or by some misleading term like mind reform and re-education." (p. 5)
"...classes had virtually stopped. Varieties of 'learning' meetings were taking up all the time. The students were working on confessions, as were many of the faculty members." (p. 50)
"Meetings were being held in vacant rooms and open spaces wherever a group could gather to discuss, self-criticize, and confess." (51)
"They went about this in the 'democratic discussion' manner this was the new principle of unanimity [now we call it solidarity]. He felt so tired that his minds did tricks on him.... God knows how little sleep he got." (43)
"What was truth anyway? Nobody knew. What was false? Others had confessed the same as he. Everyone couldn't be wrong. Could they? Weren't they all one team: A collectivity." (44-45)
"They work then on persuading the prisoner to rid his mind of the 'bourgeois poison' he had been carrying about of seeing good on all sides! That is patently ridiculous, they point out to this weary mind. Their patient then is taught that there is good only on one side, that the other is 'all bad' and the enemy. When an individual reaches this upside-down stage in his theorizing, he can then be freed." (198)
"The long-range objective of brainwashing is to win converts who can be depended on to react as desired at any time anywhere. This is the inside-out meaning they give the word voluntary and is why they condemn free will with such ferocity, for its existence is basically inconsistent with communism.
"Even when he stands by himself, the truly indoctrinated communist must be part of the collectively. He must be incapable of hearing opposing ideas and facts, no matter how convincing or how forcibly they bombard his senses. A trustworthy communist must react in an automatic manner without any force being applied. Only then is he the 'new Soviet man' that Lenin foresaw." (184)
"Brainwashing was made up of two processes.
  • One is the conditioning, or softening-up, process primarily for control purposes.
  • The other is an indoctrination or persuasion process for conversion purposes." (182)
"[Conditioning and indoctrination] operate strictly within the 'practical' framework of dialectical materialism, which recognizes only power. They want to make sure that their followers will not grab the first opportunity to turn against them. That is the dilemma they have been unable to solve short of creating a 'new Soviet man' with the instinctive obedience of the termite instead of a free will which is subject to reasoning faculties and is therefore never 'reliable'." (183)

“The methods used to make ‘learning’ and confession palatable and workable are borrowed freely from … evangelism, psychiatry and science. The language and ideals of each other these fields were taken over and given new meanings and new interpretations in accordance with communist need. Brainwashing is a combination of this fake evangelism and quack psychiatry in a setting of false science.” (202)
EARLY CHILDHOOD TRAINING -- Infant and preschool conditioning
"The only real guarantee for this was to grab a baby from its cradle and then to keep it all its life from the slightest contact with outside ideas or places, so a subversive word can never enter its ego." (184)
PURGE BIBLICAL HOPE & ABSOLUTES(Today, China continues to outlaw certain biblical truths dealing with our eternal hope)
"The achievement of this submission is the immediate short-range objective of brainwashing. The man does not have to be a true believer so long as he is convinced that he has no alternative to following Red instructions. Hope -- the prospect of any alternative in life, no matter how slim -- must be wiped out of his mind entirely before communism can fell safe with him." (184)
"The hopelessness-inevitability line permeates communist strategy everywhere." (196)
"The Party's own name is one of its most striking examples of double-talk. Communism is sheer power system, gang rule with modern appliances. So long as the individual submits unquestioningly, he is what is referred to as a "disciplined Party member." (184)
"LIFELONG LEARNING": Everyone -- young and old -- MUST participate
"'Learning' and 'confession [now referred to as authenticity or transparency]' are inseparable from brainwashing. Everyone has to participate in them, whether a party member or not. Learning means only political teaching from the communist standpoint. Confession is an integral part of the rites. In China there are no exceptions from it for anyone, any more than for attendance at 'learning' classes. The retention of his own individuality by a single person is recognized as a deadly menace by the whole monolithic structure." (184)
“There had been a big change in journalism since the Reds had taken over. News was now a weapon. The reporters knew… that the new authorities didn’t hesitate to alter details according to what they wanted to prove, and even to cut the news out of a whole cloth when it suited their purpose.” (

“The Red officials appealed to a man’s common sense. Seeing was believing, wasn’t it?”

“He felt high, from smoking marijuana. The reds had told him not to, but he did. He foxed them; the stuff was growing all over the place. Funny, if they were so anxious to keep it out of his hands, why didn’t they uproot it?"
(48) [DARE and other values clarification programs]
“Now they had the final proof that America had engaged in cowardly and loathsome germ warfare against the poor peoples of Korea and China. They had the details from the mouth of a man who had done so. What a story! Every newspaper… ran the story. They were copied by hand…. Posted on countless house fronts… Farmers were approached in wet paddies where they worked by 'able Party members' who told them the news.”

FACILITATED GROUP DIALOGUES are used to confirm the new Information:
“The radio, with an emphasis all its own, repeated every detail. The routine discussion meetings, held daily in every school, office, or factory, were given over to this news by order of the authorities. The interviews were read out loud, during lunch or after work, by group chairmen who asked in the ‘democratic manner,’ for each person present to express his frank opinion about this ‘unspeakable barbarity perpetrated by the imperialist Americans.’ The repressed burdens each man carried within himself could find vent here. “
“Everyone in China… heard…. Every person was given the feeling of being an eyewitness. Everyone in all of China was called on to swat flies and squash bugs. The authorities explained that there was no telling how many innocent people had been infected with the ‘American plague.’ … A minimum quota was set for insect slayings…. Schoolchildren had to deliver their quota to their teachers. … Nobody could evade his responsibility to the state.”

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)

For a more complete report on this topic, see COMMUNIST PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE, a Congressional interview with Edward Hunter

1. James R. Patrick, America 2000/Goals 2000 (Moline, IL: Citizens for Academic Excellence, 1994).
2. Two editions of this book may still be found today. Brainwashing: From Pavlov to Powers (1960), is available through public libraries. Copies of pages from this book were sent to me by a California friend, Sally Bowman. A friend from Washington, Barbara Whitt, found two 1956 paperback editions of the same book with a different subtitle: Brainwashing: The story of the men who defied it (New York: Pyramid Books, 1956), in a used book store. The above quotes are from this earlier edition. I suggest you try to find a copy for yourself..