Erica CarleJune 20, 2007
Do you have free will? You may think that is a stupid question. However, many materialist philosophers and social scientists believe that free will does not exist. They state that all human action is automatic at all times, that nothing can be credited to human will, inner control, or volition. They say we became what we are by the process of evolution, and everything we do depends on material conditions. Heredity and environment determine our destiny. We have no real part in making ourselves what we are or what we will become.
I heard a religious broadcaster protest that idea. He said that we do have free will because God allows us to sin. Sorry, but that proves nothing. We don't need free will to help us give in to sin, bad habits, or stupidity. Persons who lie, cheat, steal, murder, commit adultery, envy, intoxicate and drug themselves, are slothful, who blaspheme, exhibit violent temper, betray trusts, etc., are not demonstrating free will when they do these things. They are reacting to their environments like biological robots or automatons. They actually become unrestrained and uninspired biological machines. Free will is not involved. They do automatically what they think will give them pleasure and avoid what they think might cause them pain. Consideration of others is non existent in their reactions. No cerebral activity, inner control, or effort at restraint is required.
Free will is needed to build character and resist temptations--not to give in to them. Will is not self-abandonment, but self-control. Instead of saying that God allows us to sin, the preacher should have said that we have free will because God gives us the power NOT TO SIN.
There was a good deal of literature, discussion, and debate about this subject in the later part of the 19th Century. On the one hand, materialists such as Harriet Martineau, Professors Huxley and Clifford claimed that the feeling of volition is not the cause of a voluntary act, but merely its symbol in consciousness. It signals, but does not cause the action. This idea was compared to the blowing of a steam whistle on a locomotive. It signals, but does not cause, the starting of the locomotive.
In opposition, physician/ biologist William B. Carpenter agreed that there are many human actions that are purely automatic and others that become automatic after much practice, and repetition. There are also persons having little or no self control who, for most of their lives, might be compared to biological machines.
In his book, PRINCIPLES OF MENTAL PHYSIOLOGY WITH THEIR APPLICATIONS TO THE TRAINING AND DISCIPLINE OF THE MIND AND THE STUDY OF ITS MORBID CONDITIONS1. Carpenter wrote, "It is in the control he acquires over the automatism in his nature, that man's freedom of choice essentially consists; whilst on the other hand, it is in virtue of his want of power to gain a complete control, that his freedom is limited."
At the time Carpenter's book appeared, the so-called social sciences were gaining prominence. Through them the idea was promoted that right was merely behavior of which Society, the Great Being, approved; and wrong was what Society, disapproved. According to social science--Scripture, the Ten Commandments, and the Golden Rule are no longer relevant. Public opinion replaces them, and social scientists direct and control public opinion. Free will and personality have to be phased out.
Auguste Comte, the father of social science stated, "We must get rid of personality in every shape. . . if we would found a powerful and enduring discipline in the name of humanity." SYSTEM OF POSITIVE POLITY, Vol.IV. 249.
More recently, Harvard psychology professor, the late B. F. Skinner, argued that free will, if it exists, is not only useless, but dangerous and destructive to "social scientists" plans to redesign culture for the future of the human race. Skinner wrote:
1. A scientific analysis of behavior dispossesses autonomous man and turns the control he has been said to exert over to the environment. The individual may then seem particularly vulnerable. He is henceforth to be controlled by the world around him, and in large part by other men. . . environmental contingencies now take over functions once attributed to autonomous man, and certain questions arise. Is man then abolished? Certainly not as a species or as an individual achiever. It is the autonomous inner man who is abolished, and that is a step forward. . . His abolition has been long overdue. BEYOND FREEDOM AND DIGNITY, B. F. Skinner; Bantam/Vantage Book, 1971, P.196, 205. (NOTE: Book funded by the National Institute of Mental Health).
2. We want to know why men behave as they do. Any condition or event which can be shown to have an effect upon behavior must be taken into account. By discovering and analyzing these causes we can predict behavior; to the extent that we can manipulate them, we can control behavior. SCIENCE AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR; B. F. Skinner; The Macmillan Company, 1953, New York, P. 23
3. A government may prevent defection by making life more interesting--by providing bread and circuses and by encouraging sports, gambling, the use of alcohol and other drugs, and various kinds of sexual behavior, where the effect is to keep people within reach of aversive sanctions. The Goncourt brothers noted the rise of pornography in the France of their day: "Pornographic literature," they wrote, "serves a Bas-Empire. . . one tames people as one tames lions, by masturbation." BEYOND FREEDOM AND DIGNITY, P. 32
Skinner sought to control people by studying the stimuli which influence behavior But he sought much more than that. His long term goal, the same as Auguste Comte's, was to change the entire culture by shifting control by the "organism itself" to that of its environment. To do this the culture designers need to be in control of the environment--both the human and the natural environment. They need to tame the people and control the use of their property. This, they call social science.
Skinner's BEYOND FREEDOM AND DIGNITY was published in 1971. . Since it was required reading for college courses all across the nation it became an immediate million copy best seller. After the 1970's millions of the young were trained and taught that they should make their own individual moral codes. What this meant was that they could adopt any behavior they wished to experiment with, or that had been suggested to them, and claim it as part of their personal morality.
With no rules or guidelines to defend them from vice and self indulgences, their desires became their morality, and no one had the right to tell them otherwise. They were Skinnerized--robbed of free will and self control. They became environmentally-controlled automatons who thought they were free spirits. Parents of "free spirit" students could not understand the changes in the behavior of their offspring. Some young people were permanently damaged. Others did not survive their moral experimentation. Hardly a family was unaffected It was, and is, an ongoing national tragedy, supported legally, financially, and philosophically by all branches of the U.S. government.
The 1970 White House Conference on Children was one example of the support for sociological culture change. Participants claimed:
1. It is now clear that children and their families must be involved in the decision making process if we are to increase the chances that positive innovations will be accepted. Any set of recommendations should be predicated on support for diversity in family life styles. Punitive measures and tactics toward those family forms that differ from the traditional must be eliminated and experimentation in ways of living accepted. Attempts to prejudge and restrict the future shape of society should be discouraged. REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON CHILDREN, Washington D. C. 1970. P. 232.
2. One of our most destructive educational assumptions is that "teachers know and children don't. . . The educational consequence of this myth is teacher-oriented rather than student-oriented schools.
And the rapidity with which the known world now changes provides new perspectives and reduces the ÔstabilityÕ of previous knowledge, so that a teacher may frequently have difficulty keeping up with changes in our society--changes about which students may be more informed. REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON CHILDREN, Washington D. C. 1970. P. 124.
Since the 1970s millions of Americans' minds have been vandalized and robbed of the ability to control their own thoughts and feelings. They have become biological machines tamed and trained for the cultural change of the New World Order. They have been skinnerized2 Some of those who have been skinnerized in the 1970s and after now occupy high positions in business, education, government, and the media. Most of them are intelligent, but they lack free will. They are easily managed by behavior modifiers who know what behavior buttons to push to gain cooperation for the culture changes necessary to bring about the New World Order.
Those who are skinnerized no longer believe that individuals are responsible for their conduct. Responsibility is shifted to the environment. Credit and blame are no longer assigned to individuals. To a skinnerite it is the environment that is responsible for all types of behavior. Loading children on buses and transporting them away from schools in their own neighborhoods is an example of a skinnerite solution to what sociologists determined to be a problem. Airport security, as it is now being conducted, is another example of a skinnerite solution. The environment must be changed for every traveler. Every traveler must be considered to be an enemy. Blame cannot be assigned to any individual or type of individual. Old people in wheel chairs must be patted down, and must remove their shoes. Baby bottles must be checked for explosives and confiscated if they contain too much liquid. We all must submit to this new environment.
Like the bite of the fictional vampire, skinnerites seek to afflict others with their own disability of will and conscience. One who is skinnerized will lie when he deems it necessary, and betray those to whom he owes personal obligations. He has no consistent principles--only goals. Many skinnerites not only ignore, but hate, the Bible, the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, and make every effort to deprive others of their protection.
No matter where they are you can learn to recognize skinnerites by their talk and behavior, and by their attempts to turn individual problems into universal problems. Are you a skinnerized biological robot? Is your neighbor? A member of your family? Your teacher? Your congressman? Your mayor? Your governor? Your president? Is your behavior being modified for the New World Order? Will you allow culture redesigners to deprive you and future generations of free will and self control? Will you continue to allow skinnerized robots to rule? These are questions all of us will have to answer and act on. It is of vital importance that we retain and restore the ability to make right choices.
1. Reprints of this book are now available. It has been republished by Kessinger Publishing's Rare Reprints www.kessinger.net
2. A word I recently coined. It means means robotized. One who has been skinnerized is called a skinnerite. Skinnerites lack free will, love of truth, and independence of thought. Skinnerites have been tamed and trained to surrender their personality to the culture changers of the New World Order. If you find skinnerized, skinnerite and skinnerism to be useful words, they are yours to use at any time.
© 2007 Erica Carle - All Rights Reserved
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Erica Carle is an independent researcher and writer. She has a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has been involved in radio and television writing and production, and has also taught math and composition at the private school her children attended in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For ten years she wrote a weekly column, "Truth In Education" for WISCONSIN REPORT, and served as Education Editor for that publication.
Her books are GIVE US THE YOUNG--$5 Plus $2.00 P&H WHY THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE--$16 PLUS $4.00 P&H BOTH BOOKS -- $25 Total. A loose leaf collection of quotes titled, SIX GENERATIONS TO SERFDOM is also available--$15 Plus $2.00 P&H. Mailing address: Erica Carle; PO Box 261; Elm Grove, WI 53122.