I was assigned in English class to make a biography of sorts centered on an object, person, place, or concept that had some meaning in my life. While my classmates chose things like soccer, dancing, reading etc., I made it extremely political as always and chose indoctrination. This wasn’t meant to be an extremely well researched and cited intellectual paper, nor is it by any means, but nevertheless, I wanted to post it here as an introduction to a series I am planning to make my summer hobby. I plan to elaborate on the points that I made in this short creative writing piece, and I hope that it will not only try to express my experience with indoctrination but be meticulous with evidence as well. The citations in this one are where I first heard about the subject, but I will get a more reliable set in the next installment. Enjoy!
Indoctrination is something that is pertinent in everyone’s lives, though some people are more aware of it than others. Whether it has been harmful or beneficial, we all get some of our opinions and ideas from our parents. It’s an evolutionary behavioral trait to unconditionally follow and believe our parent’s every whim. It is also how every ideology, especially religion, perpetuates itself. For example, in Catholicism, if you get married in the church, you are obligated to have children and when you do, you have to raise them in the church. This method of recruiting is built into the doctrine because if it wasn’t, the religion would have died off by now. This is because if people were given the time to think for themselves, preferably during a time of maturity, they would most likely have found the holes in the ideology. No matter if you think that this is a good or bad thing, it’s indoctrination nonetheless, and no one can deny that.
Despite the side of the aisle that you’re on, there is a common misconception that everything is related to either Nazism or Communism, but in this example, I believe both to be relevant. Both of these ideologies traded children’s freedom for their political domination. Since both of them were such illogical ideas, the dictators that led them had to make sure that no one would doubt them. And what is the best way to do this? Brainwashing the youth, of course! Dictators throughout the ages, such as Stalin and Hitler, had put their teachings in the school curriculum without the slightest differing opinion. This is effective because children are the most impressionable, and like I said before, so caveman kids didn’t jump off cliffs. But in “modern” times, humans use this in an even more primitive way: for citizens to grow up ignorant and happy.
While it seems like some kind of dystopian fantasy, it’s still happening. It may be more obvious in some places of the world, but consciously or not, parents and teachers want kids to agree with them. That’s why this issue is so important to me. I’ve focused my political studies on this topic because it’s connected to almost everything. It’s the cause for the rise of all religion and ideology. It’s a twisted way of manipulation that has stemmed from biological behaviors. It’s such an intricate and complex concept that happens every day, yet people deny it and use it do make other people deny other concepts that happen every day and are integral parts of our lives (insert evolution). And it doesn’t even have to be bad.
When I was first introduced to this fascinating part of human psychology, it was probably one of the first things that I learned when I jumped into the deep rabbit hole that is internet atheism and politics. On one side, people could see the indoctrination in religion that I had already stated. It was the foundation of religion, and kids couldn’t leave the church even if they wanted to. There are countless amounts of personal stories of people not being able to leave after they had learned the ills of said church and didn’t believe anymore. We soon found out that somewhere in the deep south, children were being killed due to not getting medical attention in the name of prayer and religion. (1)
On the other side, a religious person could say that atheists are the ones indoctrinating children. Yes, by someone’s own research on the subject, seeing the holes and rejecting said religion with the help of other people is indoctrination, apparently. The problem with this is that they have not been raised atheist since birth. There is no doctrine of secularism that tells parents to raise their kids atheist and feed them talking points, and if there were, we would most likely see it in the population of atheism. Currently, only 3.1 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheists. This spares children constant berating and argument. I have been told multiple times that I have been indoctrinated into nonbelief. They’ve told me that I’ve been indoctrinated into thinking that I’m indoctrinated. It’s frustrating but fascinating.
There’s also controversy about the LGBT community, specifically the transgender community participating in indoctrination as well. Kids of LGBT activist parents have come out as gay or trans before they have even hit puberty, which is concerning. It could be that it’s actually genuine and these kids can just be very open about it in the household they are in, but it could also be that they think their parents will be fonder of them if they “came out.” Nevertheless, it’s a scary thought that kids will go on puberty blockers because of their parents. (2)
You can probably clearly see how passionate I am about this subject. I would like to reiterate how I fronted my writing: this issue affects all of us, whether we realize it or not. Even if your parents did a great job raising you, they did teach you manners, morals or other lessons that affect the outlook you have on life today. Is indoctrination necessary, or should children have the right to their own beliefs completely in their own hands? I agree with the latter, but I am diffidently biased. It is, of course, a very difficult and heavy issue.
I have spent countless nights debating and getting very emotional with both my friends and parents about this issue. I have found no one that completely agrees with me on how serious it is, and how it should be regulated; if it should be regulated at all. Laws put in place to reduce indoctrination and its effects is a trade off, give the parents liberty to chose and restrict children’s thoughts and beliefs, or give children liberty and restrict the parents’ right to raise children as they please.
There are some people that I’ve talked to that have even said that I haven’t been indoctrinated at all. My parents are one of them. They think that I’ve had all the free will to choose if I wanted to be religious since my birth which is simply not true. I was born on a Sunday, so exactly one week from birth was the first time that I went to church. Saying that I had a choice is false because there was no other option for me. I liked it because my parents did, and I was praised when I parroted talking points. And now that I have seen both sides and I want to leave, I don’t feel like I can.
I’ve seen this happen multiple times with friends and strangers. It makes me sick to my stomach whenever I see a pre-teen being scarily theologically accurate because it reminds me of how I was.
How could this affect someone’s relationship with their parents? With this new knowledge of how much your parents have manipulated you your whole life, should you resent them? I don’t want to hate my parents, but is this good reason to? This is probably the most frustrating part of the topic for me because I want to have a good relationship with my parents like we all do, but they have forced me to do things that I don’t want to do. My dad always tells me to “have an open mind,” but only an open mind to what he believes in.
I don’t want to jump to conclusions about all of these things because I am always learning more and changing my opinion on this, as I do on almost every political subject. That doesn’t change the fact that this is the most captivating political topic for me. All I want is for kids to be able to develop their own opinions. But while I’m still developing mine, I’ll just have to wait and see.
I am completely convinced that as I go deeper into this subject during this series there will be new doors open to me about indoctrination that I have never heard about or seen before. I hope that while reading this, you too will change your thoughts on this subject.
Stay updated to when I post part two by either following me on Twitter or following this blog. I will be writing on other subjects in the process, and Matt will be too, so stay tuned!
For more information: