photo of Herman Goering posterized to red, white and blue

On Patriotism

posted in: Social Justice | 0

I suppose I may be a little late joining in on this chorus, but I’ve been reflecting on some things lately; Specifically, some stuff related to the war. (you know which war)

I was watching some youtube videos of Roy Zimmerman. If you’ve never seen his work, you must check it out. He’s a guitarist/singer who plays hilarious satires set to folksy music. One of the songs was entitled “That is the war on terror” (viewable here). The last verse he mentions a rather long quote, originally spoken by Herman Göring. The name and the quote both sounded very familiar, and on a hunch, I searched for him on Wikipedia. But before I post the link, read the quote first:

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

I would hope that Herman’s affiliation should be plainly obvious after reading that quote. If not, check out the wikipedia entry (hint – he said it in the early 1940’s).

Yes indeed, he was a rather outstanding member of the Nazi party. I liken him to Karl Rove, but with a more prolific military background.

But what I find interesting about the quote is that it seems to be a distilled concentration of much of the propaganda purported by the President’s political pundits. Particularly the “denounce the pacifists for being unpatriotic” and the “announce that we are being attacked.”

I totally agree with Göring that it’s a highly effective method. From a psychological perspective, the issues of personal safety / security are at the lowest (and thus most primal) levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Appealing to the lower levels tends to bypass the critical mind (i.e. morality becomes a bit fuzzy when the you perceive the safety of your family to be in jeopardy) and is a classic rhetorical method of rallying the masses. But in spite of agreeing with him, I still think it’s a rather dispicable and reproachable way to rule.

I think we can all agree that the government played up the “We are under attack” issue. (September 11th anyone?) I seem to vaguely recall a number of newspaper headlines, television news coverage headlines, and talking-head official statements saying that in one way or another. And as of late, the administration has a rather sordid history with throwing around the adjective “unpatriotic.” In fact, I remember a time back in 2002 where Bush actually said “if you aren’t with us, you’re against us.” (A false dichotomy, for those of you keeping score at home)

Now, I’m not implying that Bush = Hitler; Nor am I implying that Republicans = Nazis. I’m simply pointing out the similarities in their rhetoric. The administration is intentionally engineering and manipulating the public in order to keep us in a constant state of acquiesence.

Quite honestly, I’m not really sure what needs to be done. I also don’t think that I’m the only person who feels uncertain and a little lost about what to do (Democratic Congress, for example). And this temporary uncertainty / apathy is an implied green light for the administration to basically run amok and do whatever they see fit to do. It’s like we’re being hypnotized by over-stimulus and we stand their dazed while someone robs us blind.

Anyone? What’s a good way that we can snap out of it and start taking action? (Preferably legal, but feel free to think outside the proverbial box)