By John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead
America is in the midst of an epidemic of historic proportions.
Contagion spreading like wildfire turns communities into battlegrounds and pits Americans against each other.
Normally gentle individuals caught up in the throes of this disease were transformed into belligerent fanatics, while others inclined to pacifism began to stockpile weapons and practice defensive exercises.
This plague on our nation – which has spread like wildfire – is a powerful mixture of fear coupled with unhealthy doses of paranoia and intolerance, tragic characteristics of the post 9/11 America in which we live and constantly evolving crises that keep the population on high alert.
Everywhere you turn, those on the left and the right fosters mistrust and division. You cannot escape it.
We are fed a constant diet of fear: fear of a virus, fear of the unmasked, fear of terrorists, fear of illegal immigrants, fear of overly religious people, fear of people not religious enough, fear of extremists, fear of the government , afraid of those who fear the government. The list is lengthened increasingly.
The strategy is simple but effective: the best way to control a population is fear and discord.
Fear makes people stupid.
Confuse them, distract them with mindless gossip and entertainment, pit them against each other by turning minor disagreements into major skirmishes, and tie them in knots on issues of no national significance.
Most importantly, divide people into factions, persuade them to see themselves as enemies, and have them yell at each other so that they muffle all other sounds. That way, they will never reach consensus on anything and will be too distracted to notice the police state closing in on them until the final crushing curtain falls.
This is how free people enslave and allow tyrants to prevail.
This Machiavellian ploy has so trapped the nation that few Americans even realize that they are being manipulated into adopting an “us” versus “them” mindset. Instead, fueled by the fear and disgust of phantom opponents, they agree to spend millions of dollars and resources on political elections, militarized police, spy technology, endless wars, warrants. COVID-19, etc., hoping for a guarantee of safety that never comes.
Meanwhile, those in power – bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporations – push their costly agendas forward, and ‘we sucker’ them grapple with tax bills and subjected to searches, raids and raids. 24 hour surveillance..
Turn on the TV or open the newspaper on any given day, and you’ll find yourself faced with reports of government corruption, corporate malfeasance, militarized police, marauding SWAT teams, and blatant attacks on citizens’ rights. .
America has already entered a new phase, one in which communities are locked up, employees are forced to choose between keeping their jobs or exercising their freedoms, children are arrested in schools, military veterans are forcibly detained by government officials and law-abiding Americans have their movements tracked, their financial transactions documented, and their communications monitored.
These threats should not be underestimated.
Yet even more dangerous than these violations of our fundamental rights is the language in which they are expressed: the language of fear. It’s a language effectively spoken by politicians on both sides of the aisle, shouted by media pundits from their cable TV chairs, marketed by corporations, and codified in bureaucratic laws that do little to help. make our lives safer or more secure.
Fear, as history shows, is the method most often used by politicians to increase the power of government.
So far, these tactics are working.
An atmosphere of fear permeates modern America.
Every successive crisis of recent years (COVID-19 pandemic, terrorism, etc.) – fabricated or legitimate – has succeeded in reducing the American people to what commentator Dan Sanchez calls “hundreds of millions of [who] rush to the state for safety, bleating at Please please be stripped of their remaining freedoms.
“I am not terrified of terrorists; that is to say that I am not myself terrified. On the contrary, I am terrified of the terrorized; terrified of the cattle masses who are so easily manipulated by terrorists, governments and the terror-amplifying media to allow our country to slide into totalitarianism and all-out war …
“I don’t irrational and disproportionately fear bomb-wielding Muslim jihadists or gun-wielding white weirdos. But I fear rationally and proportionately those who do, and the regimes that this terror reinforces. History shows that governments are capable of slaughter and slavery far beyond what rogue militants can muster. Terrorists on an industrial scale are those who wear ties, chevrons and badges. But such terrorists are a helpless few without the consent of many terrorized people. There is nothing to fear that the cowards themselves …
“Stop swallowing the exaggerated alarmism of the government and its media cronies. Stop letting them use hysteria over small threats to lead you into the arms of tyranny, which is the biggest threat of all.
As history clearly shows, fear leads to fascist and totalitarian regimes.
It’s a pretty straightforward formula. National crises, global pandemics, reported terrorist attacks and sporadic shootings leave us in a constant state of fear. Fear keeps us from thinking. The emotional panic that accompanies fear actually shuts down the prefrontal cortex or the rational thinking part of our brain. In other words, when we are consumed with fear, we stop thinking.
A population that ceases to think for itself is a population that is easily ruled, easily manipulated, and easily controlled.
Here are some of the ingredients for a fascist state:
· The government is led by a powerful leader (even if he takes office by election). This is the principle of fascist leadership (or father figure).
· The government assumes that it is not restricted in its power. It is authoritarianism, which eventually evolves into totalitarianism.
· The government ostensibly operates under a capitalist system while being supported by a huge bureaucracy.
· The government through its politicians utters powerful and continuous expressions of nationalism.
· The government has an obsession with national security while constantly invoking terrifying internal and external enemies.
· The government establishes a domestic and invasive surveillance system and develops a paramilitary force that is not accountable to the citizens.
· The government and its various agencies (federal, state and local) develop an obsession with crime and punishment. It is over-criminalization.
· The government is becoming increasingly centralized while closely aligning itself with the powers of corporations to control all aspects of the social, economic, military and governmental structures of the country.
· The government uses militarism as the focal point of its economic and fiscal structure.
· The government is increasingly imperialist in order to maintain the military-industrial employer forces.
The parallels with modern America are impossible to ignore.
“Every sector is regulated. Each profession is classified and organized, ”writes Jeffrey Tucker. “Any good or service is taxed. The endless accumulation of debt is preserved. Huge doesn’t begin to describe the bureaucracy. Military preparation never stops, and war with an evil alien enemy remains a daily prospect. “
For the last hammer of fascism to fall, it will take the most crucial ingredient: the majority of the people will have to agree that it is not only timely but necessary. In times of “crisis”, expediency is seen as the central tenet, that is, to ensure our security, the government must militarize the police, deprive us of our basic constitutional rights, and criminalize virtually all forms. of behavior.
Not only does fear grease the cogs of the transition to fascism by cultivating fearful, controlled, pacified and intimidated citizens, but it also engages in our very DNA so that we transmit our fear and complacency to our offspring.
This is called epigenetic inheritance, the transmission through DNA of traumatic experiences.
For example, neuroscientists have observed how quickly fear can traverse generations of DNA in mice. As The Washington Post reports:
In the experiment, the researchers taught male mice to fear the scent of cherry blossoms by associating the scent with light shocks to the feet. Two weeks later, they mated with females. The resulting puppies were raised to adulthood without ever having been exposed to the scent. Yet when the creatures first smelled a whiff of it, they suddenly became anxious and fearful. They were even born with more neurons detecting cherry blossoms in the nose and more brain space devoted to the scent of cherry blossoms.
The conclusion? “A newborn mouse puppy, seemingly innocent to the workings of the world, may in fact harbor generations of information passed down from its ancestors.”
Now consider the ramifications of generations inherited from fears and experiences on human beings. As the To post reports, “Human studies suggest that children and grandchildren may have felt the epigenetic impact of traumatic events such as the famine, the Holocaust and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
As I say in my book Battlefield America: The War Against the American People and in its fictitious counterpart Erik Blair’s Diaries, fear, trauma and obedience can be passed down from generation to generation.
Fear has been an essential tool in past fascist regimes, and it now operates in our contemporary world, raising fundamental questions about us as human beings and what we will give up to perpetuate the illusions of safety and of security.
In the words of psychologist Erich Fromm:
[C]that human nature is changed in such a way that man forgets his desire for freedom, dignity, integrity, love, that is to say, can man forget that he is human ? Or does human nature have a dynamism that will react to the violation of these basic human needs by trying to transform an inhuman society into a human society?