We live in a time of unparalleled attacks on free speech, emanating from establishment sources, including the media. One might think that the media, which does not exist without freedom of speech, would be reflexively opposed to censorship, but not anymore. In many cases, those who work in the media are leading the charge to silence what it sees as its opposition.

Calls to deprogram Trump supporters is now one of the most popular strategies for silencing any organization that has praised President Trump’s record. Everyone from Katie Couric to Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post is calling for deprogramming.

The roots of deprogramming are found in Maoism. Once Mao Zedong seized power in 1949, he moved quickly to launch the first of his “thought control” campaigns. Everyone from intellectuals to housewives were chosen for “self-education and ideological remoulding of the liberated people.”

Under Mao, “thought reform” reached a level the world had never seen before. It was a U.S. foreign correspondent, Edward Hunter, who in 1951 wrote a book, “Brainwashing in Red China,” that detailed the workings of “thought reform.” Ten years later, American professor of psychiatry Robert Jay Lifton wrote, “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.” It became a classic.

Lifton fingered two key elements of “thought reform.” The first was “confession, the exposure and renunciation of the past and present ‘evil.'” The second was “re-education,” or the “remaking of a man in the Communist image.” To cite one example, young Chinese students had to confess how wrong they were to respect their parents—they were forced to denounce them. That set the stage for their re-education.

Do people like Katie Couric have any idea what they are promoting when they call for deprogramming? Do they know that there is nothing more totalitarian than having government send in agents to police our mind? This is something that should alarm every American, regardless of their political affiliation.

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