NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE ‘ Nxivm: How a Sex Cult Leader Seduced and Programmed His Followers,” reads the New York Times headline. “Former Nxivm members testified they were brainwashed into being branded and assigned to have sex with him.”
None of that is quite true.
Blame Richard Condon.
Contrary to the New York Times, there is no such thing as “brainwashing.” It is a concept without scientific basis that, so far as the scholars can tell, does not really exist in a way that is distinct from such quotidian concepts as persuasion, conformism, or bullying. During the Korean War, American intelligence operatives studied the possibility that American prisoners …
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