Policy makers and their supporters claim that people's behaviors are becoming worse. More specifically they claim that children's behavior is becoming worse. However, these same policy makers and supporters are claiming that behavioral products, and the techniques are advancing.
For the purpose of my focus here; whether their evaluation of behavior is correct doesn't really matter. My point is the claim behavioral conditioning is advancing or that the products are become more sophisticated and humane doesn't fit how the attitude toward the people receiving them is becoming more desperate. This desperation is causing more severe and dangerous methods of control along with those who implement them often becoming less empathetic toward those receiving them.
The behaviorists in the U.S. are involved in turf wars, which include how Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is marketed. The kinder and gentler Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) is being marketed by some as the answer to outdated and no-longer-appropriate "old school" ABA. However, the foundational principals set by earlier behaviorists who found ways to market the application of this new science provide the newest products their legitimacy. Now that it's been established that people don't possess what their treatment harms, there are fewer objections.
You of course can't read much about how the entire approach of behaviorism is inappropriate at best and very dangerous at worst because there is no market for such criticism. In the same way that the mental health industry is designed to improve the lives of everyone but the one who receives treatment, behavior modification is evaluated by those who live with, educate, and implement the treatment rather than those who receive it. This means that professionals and other authorities are prohibited from knowing the harmful effects as well as prohibited from sharing views that would harm the marketing potential of the product.
It's important to understand how those who receive behavior modification are trained to be compliant. Therefore, it's likely that someone who would otherwise tell how abusive the treatment has been will be concerned about the likely punishment that results from doing so.
The work of behaviorists could not become more humane during the same time that the lists of types of people who are seen to need the service is growing, the behaviors being treated are seen to be more severe, and the laws which provide protection for the treated are increasingly aiding the treatment providers with protection instead.
There are reports that advocacy efforts have increased during this time. However, this has not been nearly sufficient to meet the demand for the protection needed. While institutions over the years have added carpet and air conditioning, this has been disguised as and substituted for the needed protection against abuse. Furthermore, protection agencies which have been developed during this time have primarily provided more power to a specific subset of parents of children with disabilities while providing the disabled with powerful sounding names like consumer as a substitute.
More people are being incarcerated now than ever before and there are a broader set of laws for which they can be punished. Behaviorists work toward providing children with particular grades and labels, which will determine their path at earlier ages. Their goal is to have more rules (and have only a single set) and have them be applied to a broader set of people. It's ideal to believe that morality and ability won't be lumped together, but it's not practical.
The same type of marketing specialists who promote Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks by using fruit names and describing how including oats will benefit your heart will use positive names and the endorsement of well compensated scientists to sell behavior modification. Until or unless those who receive the treatment begin to be consulted and continually monitored and questioned as to its effectiveness and potential for abuse, you can be sure that along with better behaviorism you are buying sugar-coated law enforcement at the expense of the heart, mind, and soul of the most vulnerable people.