First, some background and current applications in “learned helplessness” from a Guardian report on torture.
Torture victims will bear psychological scars long after CIA report scandal fades http://gu.com/p/446dp/stw
Long before the theory of “learned helplessness” was identified, the methods of “breaking people’s spirit” were well-known to tyrants and slave-owners through the ages.
The subjugated person, sometimes obviously imprisoned or imprisoned within the invisible confines of a family or group structure, such as a cult, has their life and circumstances completely controlled by another person. The person in control abides by no recognisable legal or moral standards of behaviour. Rationality is thrown out of the window. The person in control mimics the behaviour of a mad person or a person seriously mentally defective. That is they do not respond to reason. They are deliberately inconsistent. The target is subjected to arbitrary punishment, supposedly because they have broken the “rules” which the person in charge has enforced. But the controller is inconsistent, sometimes punishing, sometimes not, and arbitrarily changing the rules on no rational basis. The objective is to destroy the victim’s inner values, so that they feel the only course of action available is to comply with every demand made by the person in control.
People who have experienced this are victims of bullying, battered wives, abused children, slave prostitutes, slaves, members of cults, prisoners of war, and inmates of communist “re-education” camps.
It occurs to me that methods of inflicting “learned helplessness” are being incorporated into Western institutions. Politically it is nearly impossible for the electorate to vote for a party which will represent their interests against the undemocratic power interests of the wealthy. The fastest route to wealth is through exploitation and creating monopoly conditions. This disengages people from the democratic process which accelerates their helplessness as citizens.
Political correctness is using a variety of techniques to replace the ideal of everyone as equal before the law, into a situation where special interest groups get favoured treatment. In the process groups which should get favoured treatment, such as the ill, disabled, elderly and poor, are being de-prioritised, and the view that these groups should be entitled to some consideration is being replaced with stigmatisation – that all such people are scroungers.
Political correctness is also undermining the ability of people to reject the manipulation bring forced on them by not only altering the language, altering the meaning of words, but doing so continuously so that there is no general agreement of accepted terms. This has most obviously been used with respect to race. Most people would accept that the word “nigger” is unacceptable. Words that have been viewed as acceptable since have included black, coloured and each in turn has been reinterpreted as derogatory, even though the choice of words was chosen to be non-derogatory. Now people are accused of racism for using the word black in completely unrelated settings – such as being told not to use the word “blackboard”. The latest shift in acceptable language has had people criticised for using the term coloured instead of person of colour. In line with the principle of applied helplessness involving arbitrary changing of the rules on no rational nor reasonable basis, tiny infractions of these arbitrary rules, arbitrarily applied have included penalties such as people losing their jobs.
The political correctness police are vigilant in attaching labels of racist to school children in the school playground who use the “wrong” word in a childish squabble. Yet the same authorities are helpless to prevent bullying, even bullycide and sexual abuse up to and including rape.
In the UK welfare claimants are now facing a Kafka-esque nightmare when attempting to access their just entitlement paid out of a lifetime of taxation. Tax freedom day in UK is now in June. When dying claimants are denied sickness benefit while the bureaucracy claims they are fit to work, and the system is designed that way, and the methods of learned helplessness are clearly being applied, there is reason to suspect the motivations of our political establishment.
Are the methods of learned helplessness being applied to the general population?