The following is from an article by Edward Hunter, in American Legion magazine, 1956:
“In my years of research into brainwashing, I have interviewed more brainwashed individuals of different races, nationalities and professions thaan anyone elsed. I put the word into the language and first revealed it as a methodically planned strategy.
[…]Brainwashing works through two channels: a softening-up process and an indoctrination process. The former need not refer to communism at all. Its intent is to put the victim’s mind into a fog to create the confusion without which there can be no brainwashing.”
[Note: the writer is referring to the process which was developed by the Communist captors to be used against American POWs in Korea. Compare with what is now referred to as ‘gas-lighting’ the populace in our current society].
“The contemptible trick is to confuse the victim over what happened and what didn’t happen, until he mixes up the two.
[… ]One of the most important lessons we can learn from the red POW camps in Korea is that the softening-up process was alarmingly easy with a great number of American captives. Many of our men appeared already more or less softened up before they fell into communist hands. Somehow, we had done that part of the job for the reds. Home, school, and church had missed out somewhere. The records showed that resistance boiled down to character. Education and rank could be used for good or for bad, according to the individual’s integrity. The main vulnerabilities that the reds were able to exploit in their victims are frequently glamorized here in America as a misnamed ‘liberal education,’ an extremist ‘seeing the other fellow’s point of view,’ watching out only for ‘What’s in it for me?’ and a host of other supposedly ‘modern’ traits that branded anything as ‘corny’ that wasn’t strictly new. What was progressive was given a pro-red coloration, like that fine word.
American craving for the latest model dishwasher and newest television set had subtly shifted over to the demand for the ‘original’ in human character. This has gone so far that we have extended the slang meaning for the ‘corn’ of a ham vaudeville actor to mean anything that is truly genuine, time-tested, and part of our universal, human fabric.
[…] Conversely, ‘to be different’ has been made into a gospel, and its disciples have tied themselves up with such a precise set of rules that non-conformism has become the deadliest of intellectual sins. The modern sophisticate is a psychological conformist praying at an altar he calls non-conformism. As in red semantics, black is white, peace is war, to be liberal means to be one-sided, and tolerance means appeasement of evil and surrender to it. The other side is always right. Patriotism is brushed aside as chauvinism — and ‘corny.’ “
It seems the home-grown left in all Western countries has a remarkably consistent character, and what Hunter wrote here is still typical of the ‘progressives’ and their inverted morality. And the techniques of old-fashioned ‘brainwashing,’ as pioneered in the POW camps, are still very much in use, though modified for a civilian population.
For what it’s worth, Edward Hunter is credited in the magazine with being the one who coined the word ‘brainwashing’, and he says himself that he put the word into our language.