Leadership and Ethics Training

at the U.S. Naval Academy©


Gerald L. Atkinson

20 June 1999

Suppose you became aware that our public school system over the past 30 years had become subject to methods and techniques which weakened the moral fiber of children and adolescents. Further, suppose you found out that this program had a name -- 'values clarification.' It is the teaching of 'situational ethics,' the name given to the relativism of moral values. That is, we are a 'multicultural' society. Consequently, I have my morals, you have yours and one is as valid as the other. So, who am I to judge your morals. And you cannot judge mine. There are no absolute standards, even religious standards, that are guides to sound morals and ethical behavior.

Suppose you also became aware that graduate students in solid M.B.A. programs at major U.S. universities were judged by their professors to be budding young Marxists. That is, the students equate ethics with correct views on social and political issues rather than honesty and integrity. One might wonder how such ideas became glued to the psyche of America's young.

Suppose we awakened one day and learned that members of our military, all of them from the highest ranking officer to the lowliest recruit, were being subjected to a process of thought control called ‘sensitivity training.’ And suppose that on further inquiry we learned that this harmless-sounding phrase in actuality describes a process of indoctrination that reaches into the furthest depths of one’s being.

Furthermore, suppose you awakened from a long slumber and found that the same virus that has infected our 'multicultural' public schools (K-12), some of the nation's premiere business schools, and our active-duty military establishment had also taken root at a prize military education establishment, the U.S. Naval Academy. If so, would you not want to know more about this situation?

While conducting research into the history, personalities, and techniques of 'sensitivity training,' I have found convincing evidence that the U.S. Naval Academy has been indoctrinating a future generation of naval officers in a political correctness, actually a 'cultural Marxism,' that has a long dark history and portends a dangerous future. And all of this is being conducted under the 'cover' of a 'leadership and ethics' program that has the blessing of high-ranking Navy Flag officers and other honorable and well-intentioned naval officers, active duty and retired. I have found direct evidence of just such a program at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, the premiere educational facility for our future naval officers.

Behavioral scientists, over the past 120 years, have perfected techniques involving psychological manipulation using small-group encounter methods that can modify a person's psyche to the point that he or she 'can hate a life once cherished and espouse ideals that once would not have been tolerated.' The story of this 'sensitivity training' is fascinating, as well as cause for great concern. Its present form evolved from World War II research in Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States as a means of carrying out psychological warfare on an unsuspecting enemy. It is being carried out at the U.S. Naval Academy via a moral leadership program to inculcate a moralism that is ominous. In fact, it has roots in philosophy that leads directly to Karl Marx -- the father of the Communist Manifesto.

The Superintendent of the Academy, ADM Charles R. Lawson USN, has described a new program. "We have implemented a comprehensive, four-year, integrated character development program. It includes a new required course in ethics ... What I would like to describe in this article is our concept of Integrity Development Seminars (IDS), another part of this important effort."

The Superintendent describes the IDS seminars. "Once each month we hold a Yard-wide 'stand-down' to consider and discuss ethical issues, ... led by a trained facilitator. For 90 minutes during the middle of the day, midshipmen are divided by company and class into 252 groups of about 15 peers."

This is right out of Kurt Lewin's methods of how to 'brainwash' individuals in a peer pressure environment where a 'trained' facilitator can work his or her 'magic.' This type of 'leadership' training is right out of the Tavistock Institute, Kurt Lewin's National Training Laboratory (NTL) at MIT, and the 'change agent' movement at the University of Michigan in the early 1970s that has so destroyed our public schools. And it is being implemented as 'leadership' training at the U.S. Naval Academy!

The Superintendent continues to describe his intentions. "By grouping the midshipmen in this manner, they are prone to more open discussion about the moral issues presented in the readings. The intention of these discussion groups is to allow all participants to look within themselves to define and clarify their basic moral values [that is, change those traditional moral values imprinted during their youth by their families and churches -- if they had such institutions in their lives] and to see why those values are important and how they relate to our profession." And you better believe that if those moral values are based on fundamental, traditional American values, they will be weakened and changed to the relativistic morals and values that 'facilitators' and 'change agents' have been inculcating in the minds of public school children over the past two decades. In fact, many of the midshipmen receiving this indoctrination will have come from a public school system that preached 'values clarification'[1] in K-12. They may be ripe for further indoctrination in the New Age Religion of secular humanism. These new 'moral values' will surely be based on the rebellion against authority. The doctrine of the Frankfurt school will be implanted firmly via the psychological brainwashing techniques developed by the Tavistock Institute, Kurt Lewin, and the Rand Corporation. Small group encounter techniques will work their magic on the unsuspecting minds of our nations future military leaders.

The Superintendent presents a reading list which is assigned the midshipmen for preparation for the IDS seminars:

· 'A Defense of Moral Relativism' by Ruth Benedict

Here again is the 'values clarification' doctrine. Everyone decides his or her own set of morals. Morals are what make us 'feel good about ourselves.' No one should judge the morals of another.

· 'The Child as a Moral Philosopher' by Lawrence Kohlberg

Here is the concept of 'child as decision-maker.' Any authoritarian attempt to impose parental control via constraints on behavior accumulated over ages of experienced 'wisdom' is bad. We must remove all constraints and allow the child to misbehave.

· 'Egoism and Moral Skepticism' by James Rachels

· 'Good Will, Duty and the Categorical Imperative' by Immanuel Kant

Kant was the forerunner of Georg Hegel and Karl Marx. Kant leads to Hegel who leads to Marx.[2] Kant laid the foundation for today's 'secular humanism.' He believed that a 'moral sense' transcends religion and God. To him, religion must not be based on the logic of theoretical reason but on the practical reason of the 'moral sense.' Any Bible or revelation must be judged by its value for morality and cannot itself be the judge of a moral code.

To Kant, "Morals are not absolute; they are a code of conduct more or less haphazardly developed for group survival, and vary with the nature and circumstances of the group" [that is, the concept of 'situational ethics' which has pervasively captured contemporary American 'modern liberal' society].

To Kant, "An action is good not because it has good results, or because it is wise, but because it is done in obedience to this inner sense of duty ... by placing morality above happiness, we can cease to be beasts and begin to be gods." This philosophy later became the basis of the Universalist movement in the U.S., embraced by the Unitarian Church. Man would no longer serve God, but God would serve man as men became gods.

So our future Navy leaders are being brainwashed by a 'leadership and ethics' program that indoctrinates them into the philosophical mold of Karl Marx. Their 'character development' program reading list travels inexorably from Kant to Hegel to Marx. And undoubtedly the 'facilitators' or 'change agents' will use the techniques of the small-group encounter to mold their psyches into the socialist 'moral imperatives' of today's 'cultural Marxism.' Critical theory will be a paramount element in this process. That is, criticize everything in American culture with the objective of undermining that culture. The required reading list continues:

· ‘Virtue or Duty’ by Bernard Mayo

· ‘The Moral Virtues’ by Aristotle

· ‘The Judeo-Christian Tradition’ (Various Biblical Pieces -- presumably chosen by the 'facilitator' to assure the elements of the Frankfurt School 'critical theory' method will be applied). Observe that Judeo-Christian ethics based on traditional moral teaching has been relegated to last -- a mere peripheral role in the 'moral' leadership training at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Superintendent further explains, "These texts are intended to offer a unique opportunity for the midshipmen to discuss, debate and internalize moral concepts. Moral dilemmas are seldom simplistic or entirely straightforward" [watch out for the ensuing 'cognitive dissonance' in the discussion materials]. "The IDS offers an opportunity for midshipmen to search their souls and critically self-examine their moral values" [watch out; after the cognitive dissonance is sown by the facilitator, you are ripe to have your fundamental belief system criticized, challenged, and destroyed. You better believe that the concept of anti-authoritarianism will be imprinted on their minds -- reinforced by the techniques perfected over the years by the Tavistock Institute, John Lewin and the NTLs, the Rand Corporation, the University of Michigan -- by their 'sensitivity training.' If you don't go along with this training, peer pressure will be brought to bear to embarrass you, intimidate you, frighten you, and if still unrepentant, you will be expelled for 'unclean thoughts.' Indeed, the whole process is a method of purging the officer corps of the U.S. Navy of any who would oppose the inculcation of 'cultural Marxism' into their psyche.

Several examples, which reveal the hidden objectives of this new character development program, are taken from essays in the January-February 1999 issue of Shipmate, the official magazine of the Naval Academy Alumni Association.

The underlying objectives of the Integrity Development Seminars (IDS) and the required 'ethics' course at the U.S. Naval Academy are revealed by Professor Aine Donovan[3] who teaches there. First, in typical Frankfurt School fashion, she indulges in the Critical Theory approach to discredit the reputation of the academy. "When I tell people that I teach ethics at the United States Naval Academy, a common response is a snicker and a self-righteous remark such as 'good luck, they need it.'"

She then makes her case for correcting the perceived situation through a new kind of moral training. She relates that an overwhelming redundant response by midshipmen to the new 'ethics' training is, "We already know what it means to be moral, why do we need a class?" This straightforward and reasonable response is to be expected from youngsters from solid, traditional Christian families who trained their offspring to know right from wrong based on the fundamentals of Christian theology (a majority of USNA midshipmen, I might add, if church attendance at the academy on Parents Day is any indication).

But Professor Donovan gives herself away by stating, "No one, it seems, sees a need for moral education except the professional gadflies who persist in challenging assumptions and behaviors of future military leaders." She identifies herself as one such 'gadfly' and states her objective is to "...transform the soul of a twenty-year-old." But the transforming of such 'souls' is not to be conducted in the sense of a Christianity that defines the 'soul.'

ADM Leon A. Edney, USN (Ret.) supports Professor Donovan's goals at the academy. He was the first holder of the Distinguished Chair of Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy and was the professional cover for the 'cultural Marxist' 'ethics' training now being conducted there. ADM Edney served as Commandant of Midshipmen from 1981-1984 and as the Vice Chief of naval Operations during his distinguished career.

In an essay[4] that John Paul Jones would have found exemplary in stating the traditional morals and ethics handed down to generations of naval officers, ADM Edney restates the case for the importance of ethics and integrity in the military leadership of this great country of ours. His reiteration of the value of trust and confidence, based on ethics and integrity, is right out of John Paul Jones' '...nicest sense of personal honor.'

But then in the middle of his essay, ADM Edney succumbs to the failed logic that Eakman[5] has warned us about in our K-12 public school system. That is, claiming 'victimhood' by circumstances beyond the control of traditional methods. The Naval Academy, in the mode of our public schools before it, must 'dumb down' its standards to accommodate the principle of non-discrimination so that preferred minority groups may achieve equitable outcomes -- that is, quotaed groups are to be represented in the output of Academy graduates.

Listen to ADM Edney explain the problem. "What ethical messages are our children getting from afternoon TV talk shows, as well as prime time violence and comic titillation on TV in the evening. Now this same material is easily available on the Internet." He excoriates the incidence of cheating, suicide, crime, and drugs in today's teenage population. He complains that these values and lessons of life are being transferred to our youth.

What ADM Edney does not tell us is that most of these people came from groups that are being afforded preference in admission to the academy to remedy perceived 'discrimination.' A majority of the academy Midshipmen come from Christian homes where their parents have brought them up to avoid the social pathologies that result from broken homes, illegitimate births, and single parenthood.

Nevertheless, ADM Edney continues the 'victimhood' hypothesis to justify the Academy's new 'ethics' training. "It is often a message that subtly implies the idea, 'so what if it is wrong, everyone is doing it.' This is the background from which our entry level enlisted and officers are coming from."

This is simply nonsense. Without affirmative action, there would be no pressure for accepting the morally challenged at the U.S. Naval Academy. Without pandering to political pressure to accept and promote preferred groups, there would be no moral vacuum. This 'victimhood' premise is simply a guise under which our Midshipmen -- all of them-- are indoctrinated in a corrosive 'cultural Marxism,' cover for a new set of 'ethics' that are aimed at 'transforming the souls' of all Midshipmen. The fact-of this 'transformation' is nowhere more apparent than the academy's celebration of a prize-winning essay by a female Midshipman.

Midshipman 3/C Carmella M. House won top honors for the Ethics and Moral Reasoning for Naval Officers course at the annual Ethics Dinner sponsored by the Class of 1964. Her award-winning essay was published in the January-February 1999 issue of Shipmate, the official publication of the USNA Alumni Association. The title of her essay was, 'Preparing for the Future: Lessons Learned from Tailhook.'

The essay is a classic example of Critical Theory[6] straight out of the teachings of the 'cultural Marxist' Frankfurt School. Consistent with the objective of Critical Theory, Ms. House presents a biased and purposefully negative criticism of everything 'male,' including high--level Flag-rank Navy leadership -- at the Tailhook '91 bacchanal while remaining completely silent regarding the equally appalling behavior of females, especially female naval officers, at the event.

Ms. House uses the writing of the 19th century philosophers Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stewart Mill to evaluate Tailhook '91. Of course, Kant was the founder of the 'dialectical movement' which led to Hegel, whose philosophy led to Karl Marx, the father of 'dialectical materialism' (the progenitor to Joseph Stalin's communism).

Her choice of John Stewart Mill as the major yardstick for her ethics essay is especially revealing. His philosophy was at the heart of the counter-culture's emphasis on the hedonism of the 1960s on America's college campuses. 'If it makes you feel good, just do it! That which makes the most people happy is good.' Of course, the women's liberation movement was based on this view. The fact that the sexual liberation of women that followed resulted in disaster for millions of young women is lost on today's new 'ethics' movement. Impoverished single mothers, soaring illegitimate birth rates, and an irresponsible generation of youthful fathers testify to the unintended consequences of this counter-culture movement.

On a larger scale, we witnessed Critical Theory in action during President Clinton's impeachment trial when his defenders brought up negative tales regarding George Washington (owned slaves) and Thomas Jefferson (sired a son via liaison with one of his slaves -- they all did it!). The net affect was to trash America's Founding Fathers, thus sow the seeds of disgust and dissatisfaction with American civilization.

Two quotes from Ms. House's essay[7] are revealing, not only for her world view but that of her professors who teach the new 'ethics' at the Academy.

"To rational beings it appears a simple matter of logic. Considering myself a scientist and

mathematician, I agree with the inequalities behind pleasure and pain as presented by

Bentham, and the greater value placed on mental sensations than those physical, as argued

by Mill. However, despite disagreeing with Kant's absolute view of lying [Kant said lying

was immoral], and despite the potential abuse of rationalization, it is his philosophy of the

categorical imperative that seems most applicable in evaluating Tailhook. It is this theory to

which I subscribe, as I have found it gives me the greatest utility in evaluating my own actions

and those I observe in my life."

Oh yes! Washington to Jefferson to Lincoln in good old traditional American civilization becomes ' Kant to Hegel, to Marx' at the Navy's premier officer educational institution -- the U.S. Naval Academy.

How can it be that America's youth, the cream of its crop of patriotic young men and women, most of whom were raised as Christians with concomitant morals, ethics, and a sense of right and wrong, are being indoctrinated in a New Age 'cultural Marxism? How can it be that our future military leaders are to have the moral values and ethics of Karl Marx's foot soldiers?

Listen to Ms. House's testimony regarding her personal ethics and those of our future Navy leaders. "Upon entering the naval service, we must decide our own maxims -- what we stand for personally, and what the Navy stands for morally." Oh yes, right down the path of moral relativism that has destroyed our public schools -- values clarification. I have my moral values, and you have yours. One is as good as the other. Who am I to judge another's morals? Right out of the teachings of 'cultural Marxism.'

Midshipman House is but a pawn[8] in a very dangerous game being played by the counter-culture revolutionaries of the Boomer generation. In their mid-life years, this elite has come to power in every American institution. As in all other institutions, they are destroying the U.S. military. It is another step in the long march through our American institutions. It is nowhere more apparent than at the U.S. Naval Academy. Indeed, they are on their way to destroying American civilization while we sleep.



[1] Witham, Larry, "Panel puts moral relativism under a secular microscope," The Washington Times, pp. A2, 16 June 1999.

[2] Durant, Will, "The Story of Philosophy," pp, 192-226, Simon & Schuster, 1961.

[3] Donovan, Aine, "The Case for Ethics Education," Shipmate, pp. 7, January-February 1999.

[4] Edney, Leon A., ADM, USN (Ret.), "Leadership Starts at the Top," Shipmate, pp. 12, January-February 1999.

[5] Eakman, B.K., "Cloning of the American Mind: Eradicating Morality Through Education," Huntington House, 1998.

[6] Critical Theory is the label given to the practice of negative criticism formulated by the Frankfurt School. The 'theory' is simply to criticize. The objective, in the large, is to 'destroy Western Civilization.' In the small, as practiced by Ms. House, it is used to justify affirmative action and reduced standards for preferred groups (including women), which in time will destroy the institution of the U.S. military. A concise, understandable discussion of Critical Theory and its founders in the Frankfurt School is presented in a 45-minute video entitled, 'Political Correctness: The Dirty Little Secret,' by Paul Weyrich and William Lind of the Free Congress Foundation, America's Voice, April 1999.

[7] House, Carmella M., "Preparing for the Future: Lessons Learned from Tailhook," Shipmate, pp. 10, The United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, January-February 1999.

Midshipman House is a perfect example of a young all-American woman. She is majoring in physics and intends eventually to earn her doctorate in astrophysics. She is planning on a career as a naval aviator and hopes to become an astronaut. She is a private pilot, and is a member of the Debate Team, Powerlifting Team, Naval Academy Flying Squadron, and the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference Committee. Any father and mother would be proud to have a daughter with such special talents. It is a disgrace that she is being used by those with an agenda aimed at destroying the U.S. military.

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