To consolidate and increase failing political power, the first step is to find an enemy. Demonize this enemy in every way possible. Label it unpatriotic to question the evil of this enemy. Then rally around the flag and kick some serious butt.
Sound familiar? It certainly should!
Subsequent to the horrors of 9/11, those very tactics took a president with a 49% approval rating – the danger point for any smart politician with an eye on history – and launched him to the highest approval ratings of any president in American history. It enabled the passage of the abomination called the PATRIOT Act (quickie review here: “Label it unpatriotic to question . . .”) which gutted our Constitution and ended our way of life forever. It brought the average American on the street (who is a fundamentally decent human being) to support the bombing of a barren and helpless 10th century country right into submission in order to punish the sins of a few evil fanatics.
And, of course, those tactics also made the old dream of an Afghan natural gas pipeline a reality.
Dubya may be pushing the limits with his planned attack on Iraq. He is running out of time – and approval. Nevertheless, those tactics bought him the best eleven months of any president in history. If he failed to use them wisely, that does not diminish the usefulness of the overall plan.
But Dubya didn’t invent the tactics he used to such good advantage.
Dubya’s daddy used them with enormous success in the Gulf War. Do you remember all the stories about Saddam’s troops snatching babies from incubators and throwing them on the hospital floors in Kuwait City? It seems now that they were completely fabricated. It simply never happened, but it gained an awful lot of popularity for a war that never had a thing to do with us! It also gained a lot of popularity for a president who looked America in the eye, said, “Read my lips.” – and lied.
Dubya learned well from his daddy.
Adolf Hitler used similar manipulative tactics very successfully in the years leading up to World War II. He demonized Jews, Gypsies – everyone who had committed the hideous sin of being born other than “Aryan” – which handily distracted German citizens from the horror of their economy at the time, and then he invaded Poland and started some serious whupass. Despite the determination of most of the world to stop him, his own people worshipped him almost as a god right up until the bitter end.
Subsequent to Pearl Harbor (and some believe prior to Pearl Harbor), Roosevelt used similar tactics with great success in the early days of our entry into World War II. They continued to carry popular support right into the last days of the war, when Truman made the decision to use the bomb.
The earliest description of tactics such as these that I have personally read can be found in the writings of Julius Caesar, but I am sure that even earlier soldiers and thinkers used them to control the unruly masses and get an unpopular job done.
Why did these leaders resort to these tactics? They used them quite simply because they work. I should also mention that they also work especially well for leaders who are losing support – or who never had much support in the first place.
Are you taking notes? Good. Because tactics of this type don’t just apply to nations. They work for any identifiable group that is opposed to any other identifiable group.
Another quick review here. What are the elements? (1) Failing popularity or support for your group, (2) find an enemy group, (3) demonize that enemy, and (4) kick some you-know-what. Result? Fantastic popularity, loyalty, support, ad nauseam.
This morning, I had the misfortune to read an ad for the August issue of Whistleblower magazine with some excerpts from the theme – how Paganism is destroying America by fostering the “New World Order.” Normally, when I read material as ridiculously false as this, I just wonder about the intelligence and/or the education of the author.
Today was different.
Right now, I am especially sensitive to the use of manipulation of public opinion in this manner to gain power and money. So what might have gone unnoticed by me yesterday rose up and smacked me in the face today.
I do not ascribe this sort of nonsense to sincere Christians. Sincere Christians are not insecure in their faith. They have no need to play games with manipulation.
No, the authors of these stories – and others like them – are not sincere Christians. They are opportunists, cold-bloodedly seeking power and money by methods historically proven to work. In addition, their blatantly money-grubbing so-called “churches” are losing popularity at a surprising rate. Which happens to constitute Element 1.
Paganism is the fastest growing religion in western civilization, despite our adamant refusal to proselytize, so the authors have found their enemy ready to hand. Element 2 is complete.
Element 3 is to demonize the enemy. That’s pretty easy. The Roman Catholics started that some centuries ago with the lie that Pagans are Satanists. Since Pagans do not believe in the Judeo-Christian pantheon at all, belief in Satan – let alone worship of Satan – is a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless, that ghastly lie resulted in literally millions of deaths at the hands of the Inquisition, and is still believed by many ignorant people today.
Interestingly enough, Pope John Paul, himself a sincere Christian, has only a few months ago formally admitted his Church’s responsibility and made public apology for those very deaths, among many others. how to start a company in Singapore