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  May 5, 2003

Fear, Politics, and Crimes against Humanity

Fear is perhaps the most powerful emotion. It is an alarm that indicates a threat and initiates a response to save the organism from damage, destruction, and death. This response will be as extreme as the threat is perceived to be. In the Thought of the Week "Working with Feelings - Fear & Anxiety," I explore the subject of fear and anxiety in greater detail.

Fear is a response to danger and indicates a lack of safety. If we do not feel safe, we feel fear. In extreme fear, surviving at any cost is the top priority. At that moment we will give up many things just to stay alive.

We will even give up our freedom.

Hermann Goering was Adolf Hitler's designated successor, the second man in the Third Reich. He was Nazi Reichsmarshall and Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe.

Hermann Goering was brought to trial in the city of Nuremberg after the end of World War II. He was found guilty on charges of "war crimes," "crimes against peace," and "crimes against humanity." As an architect of the Nazi drive for world domination, he was responsible for wreaking terror and death through a world-wide epidemic of war. How can a person make such titanic events happen?

By manipulating fear.

On the evening of April 18, 1946, as the Nuremberg trials were halted for a three-day Easter recess, Goering spoke to Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist. Gilbert kept a journal of the trial proceedings and his conversations with the prisoners, which he later published in the book Nuremberg Diary.

The following is a direct quote from Gilbert's book:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, 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 tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

-- Gilbert, G.M. Nuremberg Diary
New York: Farrar, Straus and Company, 1947 (pp. 278-279).

This is happening now in the United States. Many Americans have been told to be afraid of imminent terrorist attack and they are willing to forgo their civil liberties - their freedoms - to be protected from this falsely perceived danger.

In the "Home of the Free and the Land of the Brave," Americans live in fear of being harassed, black-listed, arrested - even killed - if they oppose the present US administration's Goering-like policies. This is not an exaggeration. Death threats have been received by people who have spoken out in opposition.

Fear is the most powerful tool of manipulation. Considering that most people carry a considerable additional load of unconscious traumatic fear, it is a fairly easy task to trigger that fear.

The present US administration are not Nazis. But the US administration and the Nazi administration have something in common - a desire for power and large-scale domination. And anyone with that intent, whether a political leader or a controlling parent, will manipulate fear in order to achieve their purpose.

Natural fear is a call to action. It is a call to remove the danger and get back to normal life. Chronic fear, on the other hand, restricts life and depletes the body's vital energy. It is a dangerous, unhealthy condition. When we live in chronic fear due to internal trauma, we need to release and resolve that fear in order to be healthy. When we live in chronic fear due to the manipulation of others, we need to free ourselves from their toxic domination in order to live our lives in peace and health.

The manipulation of fear is abuse. It is necessary to free ourselves from this abuse.

The spirit of Hermann Goering is alive and looking for his next chance.

Say no.



"Reality Check: A New American Century"
CBC News Online, March 17, 2003

"Iraq is a stop on Bush 'unipolarist' track"
National Catholic Reporter, April 4, 2003

Web site of "Project for a New American Century" policy group.

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