Propaganda Tactics: Marginalization

Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feeling?

Bertrand Russell

The critics of LIFE would have you believe that LIFE uses “indoctrinating language and cult jargon” to manipulate people. But if you learn the truth about propaganda techniques and analyze what the critics are doing, particularly Amthrax, you’ll see very quickly that it’s not merely a few disgruntled people sharing their opinion, but a deliberate, organized propaganda campaign against LIFE.

One of their favorite techniques is to take perfectly normal, mainstreams ideas and behaviors promoted and practiced in LIFE, and make them out to be abnormal or fringe. When they use labels like “cult” or “indoctrination”, they impose a context for interpreting the facts, and most people will simply read and accept that context without question. The target of your propaganda is now “the lunatic fringe”, and otherwise innocuous facts are now interpreted in a way that reinforces that label.

Indoctrinating Language and Cult Jargon?

A 2011 post on Amthrax was entitled “Team/Life Indoctrinating Language and Cult Jargon”.  Among the phrases included on this list were:

  1. Fired-up!
  2. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’!
  3. You can do it buddy!
  4. Your dreams do come true.
  5. Read at least 1 book a month / Leaders read 3-4 books per month / Read 15 minutes per day.

There are over 450 phrases on the post — I’m not about to go through and address every one of them.  Let’s just look at these as a representative sample.

  1. Fired up. Ready to go.” – A common crowd chant in Obama’s first presidential campaign.
  2. What you’re doing, may you keep on doing and don’t stop.” – Clare of Assisi, in a letter to Agnes of Prague, an excerpt of which is now known as St. Clare’s Prayer.
  3. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney
    “If you think you can do it, you can.” – John Burroughs
  4. “The dreams that you care to dream really do come true.” – Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz
  5. “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman

Going through the 450+ quotes, sure, there are some that are unique to LIFE. Every organization is going to develop some specialized lingo. That’s not psychological manipulation — it’s simply communication shorthand.

But roughly 400 of those 450 quotes are either paraphrases or verbatim quotes of prominent leaders, authors, song lyrics, movies, etc.  It’s a huge — and ridiculous — leap to lump them all together and call it “indoctrinating language and cult jargon”.

Behavior Control?

One anti-cult site has an entry on the TEAM/LIFE business. Let’s look at some of the issues they raise.

In the “Behavior Control” section, they say:

Members are strongly encouraged to hang around with ‘The right association’- those people who have the results that you want in life, namely the TEAM.

As popular author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn put it:

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Just Google “five closest friends” to see how common and widespread this idea is. If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, hang around with other people who are living a healthy lifestyle. If you want to focus on your family, hang around other people who are focused on their family. If you’re exploring your faith, spend time with others who are exploring their faith. If you’re trying to work on eight different aspects of your life simultaneously… who better to be around than others who are also trying to work on those same eight areas?

That’s just common sense, isn’t it? And yet it’s made out to be some kind of behavior control?

They also say:

Members are strongly encouraged to attend a Tuesday night ‘Open meeting’ each week, a monthly seminar, and a quarterly weekend ‘major function’ every few months. There are also numerous house plans to attend each week along with ‘showing the plan’ 15 times a month to future prospects, following up with them, having mentoring sessions, and attending periodical women’s/men’s leadership meetings.

Welcome to experiential learning! If reading a book worked on its own, everyone who ever read Napoleon Hill would be a millionaire. The fact of the matter is, most people need peer support for effective learning.


Members are encouraged to ask their upline before making major financial decisions.

Right. Because one of the 8 F’s is Finances. Many, if not most, of the people who come into LIFE have a history of making bad, or at least not the best, financial decisions, and they want to start making better ones. Their upline isn’t going to “approve or disapprove” of the decision, but simply help guide the member through making a well thought out, fully considered decision. How cool is that??? I wish I’d had someone to talk through all of my major financial decisions with — and not an accountant, but someone who considers the whole person, and how those decisions affect other aspects of my life.

The critics put a negative spin on every little detail they possibly can. Break it down and look at it realistically.

There’s an old saying that if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. That may be true, but just because someone says it’s a duck, doesn’t mean it is.


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