In my brain book reading, one of the big guns is Martin Seligman, whose concept of "learned helplessness" was one of big factors that destroyed at least the scientific basis for Behaviorism -- the idea that humans operate largely like Pavlov's dogs and all of our life is merely "response to stimulus".
Here is a link to an article on some of the base of Seligman's critical work, but here is the definition that counts for now:
[Learned Helplessness] "is being repeatedly exposed to an uncontrollable event, such as going on interviews or auditions and not getting called back. After many repeated and failed attempts to accomplish something while in an uncontrollable event, your brain "learns" that success is beyond your control, that you cannot affect the outcome. Once "conditioned" to this belief, the individual gives up hope and effort, even when later exposed to an event where control is possible. In effect, you've learned to become helpless."The Salon article is eminently skippable ... "We have never recovered from Reagan, the Koch brothers are evil, corporations are evil, the free market is a disaster, government is great, government is good, we thank it for our daily bread, Republicans forebears are "fascists" (actually the Fascists were National SOCIALISTS!), etc, etc.
EVERYONE knows what the Salon article says -- it is the core dogma of "The Party" (TP-D), drilled into every school child from day 1 of nursery school until they graduate from state sponsored indoctrination at the end of their education, and reinforced in the mainstream media and entertainment every day. It is the dominant social message -- everyone is soaking in it 24x7 and 90% are not even aware that there may be an alternate message.
I submit that Learned Helplessness has become the dominant state of the vast majority of Americans of any age. We are nearly ALL convinced that we are completely helpless against the direction the country is headed -- constant vast increases in government programs, intrusion, debt, regulation, taxation, control of speech, religion, etc. The continued destruction of individual rights, responsibility, freedom and independence.
Now a little more than half of the population including Salon, TP, the media, the educational system and the legal system, finds this massive swing to government control, incentives, payments, regulation, etc to be POSITIVE -- but nevertheless, they certainly find it to be INEVITABLE -- as do I, and AFAIK pretty much anyone including the Koch Brothers. We dissidents may have hopes that it might be SLOWED to some small extent, but even the much demonized Reagan never REDUCED any of the government takeover -- at the very most, he only SLOWED THE RATE OF GROWTH.
We know how much the left has won when Salon is still gibbering about "not recovering from Reagan" nearly 30 years since he left office, having never managed to even gain ANY reduction in government, and only VERY slight reduction in the rate of growth that didn't last.
While science gave up on behaviorism by the late 1970's, Socialism, Communism and Fascism are behaviorist ideologies -- they assume that large masses of people can be controlled by "carrots and sticks". Typically, they start with more carrots (welfare, medical care, "free stuff"), and when the population is nearly universally impoverished by those efforts (other than the elites) and becomes peevish, they move to "sticks" -- locking dissidents up, sending more and more to the gulag, starving ethnic groups that "don't seem to get it", and often mass "purges" like Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, etc where millions are slaughtered -- if you kill enough people, behaviorism is BOUND to be declared correct! Even Global Warming can be a fact if you kill everyone that dares point out things like Antarctic glaciers growing and temperatures failing to rise.
The 2nd Amendment remains the last real obstacle to ultimate lefty victory -- an armed populace, even though beaten down by decades of socialist propaganda and policies is not TOTALLY helpless as long as they have their arms. It is the only exceptional ace that the Founders left us that keeps some dim spark of hope alive.
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