Dr. Fred Schwarz, You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists)

published by the Christian Anti-Communists Crusade
124 E. First Street
Long Beach, California
and Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1960

[On brainwashing and language]

Suggestion is a powerful force even under normal conditions. This has been discovered by advertisers and used to considerable advantage. I myself have frequently carried out an interesting little experiment on the power of suggestion. One of the problems confronting me in my itinerant life is that perfectly well-meaning, hospitable Americans try to persuade me to drink that dark, viscous, bitter beverage called coffee. Sometimes I drink it, but sometimes I say: "I used to drink it, but I carried out some research and discovered what coffee really is. Do you know what it really is? They take the castor oil bean, soak it in shellac until it is thoroughly impregnated. They put on a great advertising racket and pretend that it comes from Brazil so that they can triple the price. They grind it up and they brew it. The castor oil gives it the flavor, the shellac gives it the color, and the idiots drink it." It is ,amazing how many people have looked at me with wide open eyes and said: "Is that true?" No matter how stupid the statement, if it is made with an attitude of apparent sincerity and conviction, there are always those who will be convinced of its truth.

Once people are conditioned so that a certain word is associated with emotions of repulsion or anger, that word becomes a trigger by which those emotions may be discharged. Reason and logic are quite unnecessary. That word is used, the trigger is pulled, and out come the emotions. This was brought home to me very powerfully one evening when I was speaking upon the subject of brainwashing at a church. I used my illustration about coffee to indicate how suggestible people are. I reached the climax: the castor oil gives it the flavor, the shellac gives it the color, and the idiots drink it. To my great surprise, the whole audience broke out into loud, sustained applause. I was startled. I had thought I was telling a joke. Suddenly the truth dawned on me. The audience consisted of a group of coffee haters. This was a group to whom drinking coffee was a sin. They did not examine my argument critically; they responded to the trigger. The word became a stimulus to a reflex response. Once people are conditioned like that, there is no need for logic, reason or truth. All that is needed is for the word to be said and out will come the emotions.

The Communists have taken the words "Capitalism," "American imperialism," and even the word "peace" and made them trigger words and used them in slogans. "Capitalism" immediately conjures up a picture of greed and exploitation, and releases emotions of scorn and anger. "American imperialism," attached to the most altruistic American actions, makes them appear shabby and shameful. The word "peace," associated with Communist treachery, brutality and tyranny, clothes Communism in garments of hope and beauty. To these trigger words, young people throughout the world are being conditioned to respond.

  • Back to Schwarz contents page


    Document URL: http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/schwarz5.html
    Last modified: Thursday, 31-May-2007 09:41:44 EDT