Indoctrinate: (transitive verb): To teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs.
I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard the word ‘indoctrinate’ (and it’s variations) farily frequently in recent history. It’s practically used by everyone: conservatives and liberals, religious groups and atheists, etc. But, I think the over-usage of the term begs the question: who, exactly, is guilty of indoctrination, and who isn’t, despite accusations they are. Well, that’s the reason why today’s foray into The Zephyr Lounge exists: to finally put to rest the question of who is indoctrinating who.
In all reality, I’m pretty sure everyone mentioned above (and many others) are all guilty of indoctrination at some point or another. Yet, if there is one sketchy best friend for every young person strangled by the grip of downtrodden suburbia, then there is a sketchy best friend when it comes to indoctrination: hypocrisy. Yes, hypocrisy and indoctrination are like John Dorian and Christopher Turk, peanut butter and jelly, or Hall & Oats; they have to be together, for they are lacking fulfillment apart.
Yes, hypocrisy and indoctrination are the ebony and ivory of the national playing field of social and political talking points, and in no form is it more prevalent then when people begins debating religion and atheism. For the most part, you cannot have a functional religion without indoctrination. Religion is kind of an all-or-nothing principle: either you fully subscribe to the faith and all things associated or you don’t, and if you don’t, then the validity of your subscription to said faith is in question, sometimes to the point where drastic measures are taken. Of course, the hypocrisy of it all is that those who are religious are quick to accuse atheists of indoctrinating today’s youth, despite the fact that’s the exact same shit religion does. Religion tells children that they are the “one true faith”, and that every other faith, as well as the lack thereof, is heresy upon the creator and as such, means that upon their leaving of the current realm (usually through death), the person who subscribes to another faith or has no faith at all is subject to eternal torment and damnation (see: Hell). However, when an atheist points out to the terrified kid that there is no scientific evidence that Hell exists, religion waves their finger and says: “Hey, little Timmy, remember Revelation 20:15…”, then berates the atheist for filling the child’s head with “lies”. So, we have an institution that corrupts the ability for someone to make up their own mind about something as important as spirituality, and then chastises another group who present alternate information to their own, citing that the other group is corrupting the ability for someone to make up their own mind about something as important as spirituality. It’s the big, fat, indoctrinating pot calling the big, fat indoctrinating kettle black. Interesting, no?
Pat Robertson seemed like a good segue into another group quick to shouting “indoctrination” at an opposing side, despite their best attempts at indoctrinating people themselves: Republicans. In reality, it’s politicians as a whole, but the Democrats at least have a more stable platform to stand on, since theirs is bent around making the country a land of opportunity again, instead of a paranoid, fully-armed police state. Republican stances follow a very simple string of ideas: God, mom, guns, liberty, freedom, ‘Murica. If you don’t hold even one of these tenants close to your heart, some Republicans will refer to you as a RINO, which is Tea Party jargon for “Republican in Name Only”, or a “poser”, if you will. Everyone knows that being called a “poser” sucks, but it gets even worse if they find out you support something like the Affordable Care Act (which a certain Republican has started comparing to apartheid in the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death). At that point, you are shamed. But, you aren’t politically shamed. You are shamed through citizenship. A typical Republican response is something to the effect of “you aren’t an American unless you believe what we believe (and we believe that Obama is a nigger anti-Christ).” When someone else from an opposing viewpoint tells little Timmy that he’s “still an American and because of that, can believe whatever he wants, and that Obama isn’t an n-word anti-Christ” Republicans wave their finger and say: “Hey, Little Timmy, remember that Obama kills innocent people with drones and got a bunch of our people killed in Benghazi. He’s also a Muslim terrorist…”, then proceed to berate the opposing side for filling Little Timmy’s head with “lies” and “Communist propaganda.” Once again, it’s the tandem of hypocrisy and indoctrination at work.
That tandem also, apparently, gets you a coloring book.
As I said before, you see this combination of variables all the time and nearly everywhere you go, and while it may be commonplace to demand absolute loyalty from people affiliated with you, that still doesn’t make it right. From an anthropological observation, people have a hard time being shunned by other people. It’s why our species tries to so hard to fit in — at least somewhere. I mean, H. sapiens sapiens are social creatures, which is why we live i neighborhoods, have coworkers, and such. Because of that need to be social (a primitive need, I might add), we are quick to manipulate what we believe and what we don’t believe out of convenience and the need to be liked. That flaw in human cognitive thinking is part of the reason why we are so polarized in opinion and why we allow others to think for us, thus leaving ourselves vulnerable to concepts like indoctrination. That flaw is the reason why there is such a backlash against progress. That flaw, combined with how easily we can distort the truth in our own brains, is what enables the creation of racists, bigots, Evangelicals, etc. etc. etc., essentially, everyone with any kind of radicalized opinion. It’s the same principle behind hearing a lie so many times that it becomes the truth.
Despite H. sapiens sapiens being vastly intelligent, as per our dominion over other animals that inhabit the Earth and comparisons to our evolutionary ancestors (the former of which is somewhat debatable), exactly how smart H. sapiens sapiens is can be exhaustively debated when it comes to what the future holds for us. Because our species is still convinced in the validity of things not yet proven or are impossible to prove, our societies ability to rely on technological development is, in some ways, hampered by these flaws. Because out species is so easily manipulated by others of our species (especially when social statuses and acceptance hang in the balance), needs and desires are pretty much synonymous and that, too, cripples the furtherance of the human species. Because primitive explanations for things that are today easily explainable are still considered by a significant percentage of the population to be true, our species is cutting off it’s own legs when it comes to futurism and survival. The future is here, now, among us, and the longer H. sapiens sapiens allows itself to be systematically manipulated, the harder it’s going to be for us to catch up in a future where life and death could hang in the balance.
So in conclusion: