I’ve been long struck by a comment attributed to Adolph Hitler: “If there were no Jews, we’d have to invent them.”((Which it seems he did say, though in a slightly different form.)) This callous sentiment lies at the heart of rulership, including the rulers of our day. Power needs a frightening enemy. The systems that be, after all, are wholly organized around our fears. Without something to be terribly afraid of, the core justification for rulership fails.
Think of it this way: If we didn’t have scary things to fear – if politics operated on reason – our overlords couldn’t get half the compliance they get now. That’s why they market everything that matters to them through fear. Because, as I’ve been saying over and over, fear makes humans behave stupidly; and in particular, it makes them comply with ridiculous things without reason.
If you actually examine it, the saying, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” it’s just another way of saying, “Get the suckers to go along with you while they’re still afraid.”
To put it simply: Nothing bigger than a barebones government could survive if people made the decision to accept or reject policies based upon reason rather than fear.
Adios USSR; Hola Terrorista
When I was a boy, we were taught to hide under our desks for fear of Russian bombs. And while it’s true the USSR was an evil empire, it wasn’t true they wanted to nuke my home town. Yet that fear remained and was stoked, because it worked.
But the evil empire went away, and the fear of nuclear incineration with it. Partly as a result, we were told by our 1990s figurehead, “The era of big government is over.” Mindless sacrifice in fear of the nuking Russians was gone, and public rhetoric had to be pulled back.
But then, a scant 10 years later, a new fear came screaming across our TV screens. However it came about, 9-11 restored fear to the Western mind. And with fear came another wave of unreasoned compliance. If people had been thinking, they would have made counter-arguments like this one:
Wait… We’ve been spending hundreds of billions of dollars to prevent just this sort of thing, and it failed spectacularly. Shall we now simply reward and expand the system that failed?
Or like this:
We’re told that the various protector agencies knew about this plan shaping up, but they didn’t share information with each other… something they were already required to do. So, the answer is to create another agency? Is there any sane reason to think that they won’t exhibit the same bureaucratic disease?
I could go on, but you get the idea. The vile PATRIOT Act was hustled into effect while the masses were afraid. After that, they had either to defend it or admit they got suckered. And so, since most people hate admitting their errors, they’d defended it.
So, we lost the Soviets, but the overlords replaced them with terrorists. The actual threat level represented by terrorism is much, much lower than that presented by the USSR, but we have much better fear delivery systems these days. So the stupidity remains and accomplishes its necessary service to rulership.
The Foundation of Our World
Please consider this statement carefully:
The world we now live in is arranged around our fears and not around our abilities.
I devoted an entire issue of my subscription newsletter to this issue (#74), and I lack space here. But one of the points I made in that issue was this:
The dominant systems in our world are built upon primitive and low aspects of human nature. They are incarnations of fear and took their shape by about 4000 BC. It’s ridiculous to organize ourselves the same way as people who used stone tools.
So, Could the Elites Survive?
In a word, no. The elites who rule our world from behind the scenes couldn’t continue as they are, without terrorism or some equally telegenic replacement. They must keep fear alive.
And please remember this: Any time someone tries to make you afraid, they’re hacking your brain.
We can do better.
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A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:
I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.
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