Herbert Philbrick on Mind Control: “Man, like an Animal, Conditioned to Respond to Certain Impulses, Can be Conditioned to Respond to Words, Phrases and Symbols.””

In a Freedom Forum presentation entitled “Inside U.S. Communism” by Herbert Philbrick, at Harding College, Searcy, Arkansas and distributed by the National Education Program, Mr. Philbrick had this to say about cybernetics (brain-washing):

The Communists, I have discovered, have a favorite term for their system of influencing people in devious ways. The word they use as an over-all title of this technique is “cybernetics.” Cybernetics as a pure science has a very legitimate and worthwhile function. It has to do with how to improve conduits and cables, how to make better coaxial cables for television, how to improve telephone service, how to make more efficient electronic brains, etc. It has a very legitimate service as a pure science. But since a human being, to a Communist, is simply another machine; since human nerve centers have exactly the same function as an electronic circuit; since a human has not a soul—he is only a mechanical apparatus—the Communists have decided that this particular science has a very useful application—not on machines but on humans. Now we’ve heard a great deal more recently about brain-washing. Back in 1940 that word wasn’t familiar to us, but what was going on inside these Young Communist League cells was a technique of cybernetics, a technique of brain-washing, if you will; the highly developed science of demolishing the minds and the spirits of men. [emphasis in original] The Communists brag that theirs is a “technique of Soviet psychiatry.” Now Soviet psychiatry is based on the same basic principles as that of our own doctors and psychiatrists except that the Communists have a different purpose in their psychiatry. Our doctors work with unhealthy minds and try to make them healthy and whole again. The Communists have decided that cybernetics provides a very wonderful way to go to work on healthy minds and to destroy them. And of course we are now getting a bit of that picture from our own prisoners of war who were jailed and imprisoned by the North Koreans and the Red Chinese. One of my good friends is Robert Vogeler. We’ve learned a great deal from Bob Vogeler about the technique of brain-washing. It’s a horrifying story.

I would suggest that you folks who are interested in this subject, perhaps some of you students, could adopt for special study this field of cybernetics. It is brand new. I don’t know of a single book on the subject in connection with what the Communists are doing with it. As a matter of fact, my own knowledge is very limited because the only facts I have are those few things which we have gathered from inside the Communist Party which indicate that the Reds have been working around the clock in this study of the scientific manipulation and control of information. It is based on the findings of Pavlov which say that a man, like an animal, conditioned to respond to certain impulses, can be conditioned to respond to words, phrases and symbols. Therefore you pour in the words, phrases and symbols to which he will respond without thinking [emphasis in original]. And then you withhold other certain words which will cause him to respond  in a way which you may not desire. It is the scientific control of human beings by means of control [of] information.’

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