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A Reign Of Terror

November 1, 2012

There is an overwhelming body of evidence that we are fast approaching a new phase of terror in the west. If one were to look closely at the growing number of reports about a full return to ethnocentric and racial politics, under the guise of patriotism and love of nation, or to look more closely at the way in which highly motivated political groups on the extreme right are mushrooming all over the world, then it becomes crystal clear that we are under siege from the extremist elements of our society worldwide.

Here, where I live in Greece, the movement known as Golden Dawn have been making ever greater inroads into the seats of power and influence over the last few troubled years. The economic climate, the insecurity of a Union of nations on the brink of collapse, the rise and rise of Germany as a central, bullying power in the heart of Europe, not to mention the imminent dissolution of Spain, Portugal, Ireland and possibly Italy into chaos have all bolstered the idea that the continent is in full tail spin and will with the slightest push descend into total chaos.

The Right historically and traditionally find absolutely fertile ground for growth when these conditions become the central mode of life in any country. It is riding the prospect of chaos and especially economic strife that they traditionally soar into popularity and power. Unchecked they will always use this atmosphere, especially when it comes in conjunction with ineffective, corrupt, cowardly and weak government, to take over the reins of leadership and bring about their brand of strong arm politics as the only political choice to save the people. And people in such circumstances tend to angle about looking for any straw of hope they can grasp. The philosophy of the Right is always a very efficient framework for producing results in such conditions since it is simple and broaches no argument nor allow its hermetically simplistic answers to be questioned. It offers simple, easy to grasp populist answers to complex historical conundrums, while retaining a purity of argument. It is easy to understand a political answer when it has no ambiguities, when it simply presupposes a root problem, usually some outside force thus effectively absolving the local populace from blame or blemish, and then suggests a simple answer. It is surgical in its directness. “Mr. Doe you have a malign growth and that is why you feel ill, if we cut the growth out of you, you will recover and all will be well again, as it was in the golden past”. Diagnosis to cure in a few easily digested soundbites, always direct and simple to grasp, no matter what your intellectual capacity.

The Left on the other hand always proposes multiple factors, pros, cons, rebuttals, philosophical musings and theoretical flights of analysis; arcane and complex and out of reach of the majority and requiring too much erudition and pre-knowledge from it’s audience, for most of us not to get confused and lost in it’s maze-like complexities and minutiae.

Of course we all know that politics and more importantly the very fabric of society are far too complex and intricate in all their convoluted variety for simple answers… yet we never cease to demand simple, easily digestible answers from our leaders. And that is the kind of answer that the Right always offers society. Much like religion it understands clearly and fully that what people really want is to be told what their problem is and then to be given a complete solution without being asked to analyse, judge and waste any time in thought and reflexion in order to arrive at a real long term and solid solution.

The groundwork for this type of evangelical salvation is already well built into our social systems, so there is no need for the Right to create this from scratch. We are already well spoon-fed by decades of preparation as consumers of all kinds of things, from products to ideas; our entire psyche is well keyed into being sold solutions and objects of desire.  All the Right need do to offer us the complete package is to ride on the back of this Pavlovian training and simply displace the consumerist training in which we are full fledged experts with their politics.

And really what is their politics? What is the basis, the entire substance of their argument?

Simply this. Society is descending to chaos. Some societies are higher in the hierarchy of the evolutionary ladder. We are a superior race and therefore are the natural beneficiaries of this and perhaps the next world. If this blood right is polluted by the inferior races of the world then only chaos will follow. Therefore by cutting out the pollutant from our midst we shall clean our system from the disease that threatens us and return us to that mythical state of grace that we once held. All this, of course, is dependent on a preexisting set of notions that lead people of each race to regard themselves as superior to those of other races, over-riding the notion of oneness in humanity at large. Add to that the fact that most educational systems around the world glorify their national history and ignore or worse denigrate the history and achievements of others and you have fertile soil in which such ideas of superiority and natural/blood rights can take seed and grow profusely.

The problem with cowardly or worse still deliberate moves by weak governments and politicians is that they seem to traditionally make the gross mistake of thinking that by forging a clandestine alliance with the forces of the extreme Right, they somehow improve their own chances of remaining in power for longer. What they rarely seem to take into account fully is that the Nazis have a clear, and amply stated goal. They wish to take all power; to gain complete control of everything. They are not satisfied with a portion of power; indeed in order for Nazi ideals to come true, they must own the power in totality. Without it they will always be no more than a certain ratio in a society they envision as the ideal.

Their main followers and adherents seem traditionally to be from poor and disaffected backgrounds with low levels of education, limited experience of the wider world and with the feeling of frustrated access to all the things that they are sold through the media and advertising. I simplify and, perhaps, understate the complexity of the roots of adherence but I think in a very general sense the argument holds and is certainly sufficient in the context of this writing. The historical model which for our present thesis is clearly apropos is the rise of National Socialism in Germany during the Thirties.

It seems in broad terms that the leadership is usually made up of a charismatic and voluble chief surrounded by far more intelligent or at least devious disciples who see their advantage in manipulating society by propaganda, fear mongering and an historical glorification of a mythical past presented as proof of an ancient right to superiority and then compare the present with this glorious past to highlight the degeneration of the nation. Having established this, they then go on to point the finger at what or whom is at fault. Usually this constitutes the easiest target, immigrants, foreigners, radicals, people of alternative life style… really anyone who can be presented to the majority as different and “not like us”. Having established, of course, what that “Us” actually is. In other words the argument is almost always the same type. It goes something like “We were once the chosen and noble children of god and we were a proud and pure race. But we were let down and betrayed by our cowardly leaders who were most likely in the pay of evil foreign powers, jealous of our nobility and truth. These outside elements and our local degenerate traitors led us deliberately into a trap to destroy us. All we need do is open our eyes and see the treachery and lies they have enforced upon our once noble land, and to rise up as one and smite them into the filth that they came from and we shall once again rule this land in the ways of our heritage and noble ideals, that always set us apart from the lesser men of the world…” you get the picture. It is in all its simplicity, almost redolent with a kind of base genius. It simply gives a message of hope for better days while not so subtly giving the solution and at the same time glorifying each true native in his own mind. Therefore encouraging the conclusion that “We” are born to be rulers and nobles, while “They” are jealous, lower men who in their hatred of our greatness and nobility would do all in their power to pollute and destroy our lives and must therefore be removed, culled as we would vermin that bring disease and death to our lives.

It is in my opinion of absolute vital importance that all societies remain eternally vigilant for the inevitable rise of these elements. There will always be some who go on holding on to this kind of thinking and this kind of need for superiority and for absolving themselves of any blame when their societies are in trouble. Not to forget those, of course, who are sincerely convinced of the permanent danger from foreigners to their skewed historical perspective. In every country that I have lived or visited there are always certain types who doggedly need to hold on to the notion of themselves and their “kind” as they identify that to be the superior race or people. But in times of crisis their obsessions are allowed free rein and unleashed on a population in fear for its present and future and their insecurity gives the Nazis the exact recipe for building their support to a point where they can take over control of the sociopolitical and religious spheres completely.

Let us also take the other side of the same coin. As of the time of this writing the United States is fighting two seemingly endless wars of attrition on two fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq. These operations were initially sold to the public as wars of self-defense, not as wars of aggression. To this day, the reasons for engagement are not by any means clear to anyone. Yet, Americans go on contributing the flower of the country’s youth to the struggle over there. And that, perhaps, is at least part of the problem. These wars are invariably over there. They are always backed up by the simple argument that it is better to take the war to “them” before they bring it to “us”. But in the middle of the rhetoric what gets lost is why would they want to bring war to us at all? If any politician is bold enough to ask the simple and vital question, “why, if this is true do they want to go to war against us?” he will be shouted down, because we have been told for years that “they” hate our way of life and are jealous of our freedom. Also that Muslims, in this case, uniformly want to kill everyone of all other religions because that is what their holy book tells them to do! Interestingly, the media are at the same time full of programs about the “good” muslims, the ones that are friendly, nice and non-threatening, so creating a sort of confusion in the minds of the audience since the same item is often followed by a news program that creates the opposite impression in semi-hysterical tones.

What I suppose I am trying to point out is that as much as we’d like to say that the Nazis lie about and demonise foreigners for their own gain, they differ only slightly from the mainstream in that. The news media have always set up an outsider to set off the public and get their cooperation, to ensure that they abide by the status quo…

Think of the revelations that Bush and Blair lied to the public in accusing Iraq of responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Remember the years of demonisation that went before the groundwork was ripe for selling an idea such as that to the public, without presenting a shred of evidence. The ahistorical claims made against the Iraqis, the easy way in which the notion that whole nations sit daily brooding over their hatred of the West and Christianity, how easily the idea was bought by the majority in the West, hook line and sinker as they say. And remember also, how little effort it needed to get the majority to agree that “we” needed to go to war in order to protect ourselves against monstrous, religious fanatics who would tear our babies heads off if we gave them the chance.

This is a simple and very effective tactic used forever to rile the population against any enemy you wish to manufacture. Where in effect is the real difference between this and what the Nazis sell us with their twisted philosophy? I, for one, do not see any distinction at all. Not even the racial nature of their propaganda!

But nevertheless; since especially the Second World War, we have come to expect and require a new paradigm. We have actually been brought up to believe that the world really did change and that those racist, xenophobic elements in our society are few in number and lacking in enough clout to re-emerge in any position of power. Yet this is so obviously a false notion that it seems almost stupidly naive to have ever believed in it.

Our movies and cultural products in general continuously present us with the image of the global village, the world community, painting a picture of a world where the colour of a person’s skin or their religion or nationality no longer supersedes their essential humanity and their equal rights to all the rest. We are shown and show ourselves a world where we are almost uniformly willing to celebrate multiculturalism rather than see it as a pollution of cultural and racial purity. We have managed rather optimistically to present an image of the world as basically decent and understanding. And yes, we still have so many problems to iron out, the environment, poverty, slavery, rape, racism…

yes, these things are indeed major problems still but we no longer think of them as insurmountable. Nor do we think that our institutions are beyond repair. We have grown up to believe that we have successfully tackled our evil nightmares of the past and have at least made a big dent in the injustices of the past. And indeed perhaps we have. Indeed. But nowhere near deep enough uprooting of the sources of prejudice as we would like to believe. And to keep that self-image alive we ignore or diminish the elements within our social constructs and present them as the looney fringe, as pockets of old fashioned thought struggling to hold on to their redundant and dangerous beliefs and that most significantly they do not any longer pose a threat to our shiny new society.

We underestimate their strength and hold over the minds of people at our own peril. Again and again we make the mortal mistake of thinking that allowing them a voice is a matter of freedoms and rights guaranteed by democracy, in full confidence that allowing them to shout their poison will have no effect on society and that it would only show them how small and isolated they are from the mainstream of thought, how unpopular and unwanted their philosophy is. Yet this notion of ours proves false every time and we simply do not learn from it.

The world right now in the second decade of the 21st century is in peril in the deepest sense. We have allowed the end of the Cold War to leave us hungry for the next big threat, and we have been given it. The Muslims are the new Reds under our beds. And in this world of global and constant communication the tools are even better optimised for us to create exactly the kind of enemies we say we fear the most.

I read once that in Kenya in the Fifties the British colonial powers knew that their days were numbered and needed to get intelligence on the elements of Kenyan society that were actively or potentially going to rise against them. They came up with a simple ruse. They spread word that there was a secret terrorist organisation formed, which they named the Mau Mau, that sought to combat their rule. They then paid operatives to recruit malcontents to become members of this secret resistance. Those opposed to colonial rule soon got wind of it and of course immediately wanted to become members. So when they found the “cells” of activists and joined them they gave themselves away to the British authorities and were arrested and put in concentration camps. Now the interesting part is that out of this fake movement a real movement for liberation was formed and it or it’s ideas and demands eventually led to the downfall of colonial rule in Kenya.

Now as I said I don’t know if this story is apocryphal, it most likely is. But it is not so far in the realm of fantasy that we can dismiss it easily. It has been a known method for ferreting out our enemies for as long as history in one format or another. What better way to find out your potential enemies than to create a pretend enemy to encourage the real enemies to ally with them? I know that the Shah of Iran regularly employed this kind of technique to lay traps for his enemies.

My point is this. Our social psyche is already fully geared towards the kind of philosophical methodology that allows our opinions to be swayed. Our individual psyche also suffers from the symptoms of openness to the power of simple suggestions. “You feel bad and impotent at work? It’s because your coworker is undermining you behind your back, and sucking up to your boss and making you look bad”. “You are out of a job? well that’s because foreigners are coming here and doing the same job for half the money”, “You can’t find a place to live? Well our mushy liberal government has given all the cheap housing to cripples and drug addicts while honest working folk like you are left to fend for themselves”… and so on. This kind of propaganda is always more likely to hit the real weak spots in us than some appeal to our loftier ideals and will always supersede any form of altruism in us the moment we feel our comforts and luxuries threatened. So much worse when we feel our very livelihood is in the balance.

I, for one, am not surprised that Nazis and Right wing extremists have been so prevalent and successful in gaining ground at such a rapid pace over the past two to three years of Western financial collapse. Disgusted, terrified, horrified, enraged yes. Surprised. Not at all.

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