Trading on fear
July 12, 2003 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Trading on fear
"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 ... 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." - Nazi Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering
posted by carfilhiot (27 comments total)
 
It's a good quote, but so often used it has entered the realm of Godwin.
posted by stbalbach at 10:33 AM on July 12, 2003


No to mention that it's even easier to tell us we're under attack when we're sitting together in the breakroom one September morning watching the towers collapse.
posted by alumshubby at 10:55 AM on July 12, 2003


The posters which accompany the paper version of this article are great...
posted by plep at 11:14 AM on July 12, 2003


Like alumshubby said. I don't need to be "dragged along" by the leaders of my country, after having witnessed ~3,000 of my fellow citizens (and brothers in arms) murdered.
posted by davidmsc at 11:16 AM on July 12, 2003


The Politics Of Terror
posted by homunculus at 11:21 AM on July 12, 2003


The irony is, while the Bush administration plays on the legitimate fears of the nation, their policies do little to protect us from the threat.

Nearly Two Years After 9/11, the United States is Still Dangerously Unprepared and Underfunded for a Catastrophic Terrorist Attack, Warns New Council Task Force
posted by homunculus at 11:26 AM on July 12, 2003


And despite davidmsc's patriotic cheerleading, it's arguable we Americans are not under attack, or at least, not any more than we were prior to September 2001. What credible events have actually been prevented because of the loss of personal freedom and abridgement of constitutional protections we've experienced? Even the responses we have been "dragged along" to have arguably been failures. Two years on and despite billions of dollars spent and hundreds more dead Americans, we've yet to even apprehend either the acknowledged perpetrator of the September 2001 attack or his purported as-yet-completely-unproven accomplice. Yes, we've toppled the ruling regime in two Middle Eastern countries, neither of which were demonstrably a part of the attack in New York and in neither of which do we have real control or any realistic mid- or long-term plan for governing. Plain common sense says we're no "safer" now than we were two summers ago.
posted by JollyWanker at 11:35 AM on July 12, 2003


what jollywanker said.
posted by quonsar at 11:46 AM on July 12, 2003


what quonsar said
posted by y2karl at 11:49 AM on July 12, 2003


it's arguable we Americans are not under attack, or at least, not any more than we were prior to September 2001.

If Friedman's theory that the terrorism "bubble" has burst is right, then we're in less under attack now than we were just before 9/11. I hope he's right.
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on July 12, 2003


alhumshubby and davidmsc - you're missing the point. It's not a question of whether you're under attack (who know maybe you are), but of how people exploit this situation for their own good. read the article - its quite good.
posted by carfilhiot at 1:20 PM on July 12, 2003


Another article that takes the quote out of context for it's own purposes. Who said it, when was it said, under what circumstances, and how did it fit into the entire conversation that Goering was having at the time? It's a good quote, but there was a whole lot more that went on in that conversation during the Easter recess in 1946.
Sweating in his cell in the evening, Goering was defensive and deflated and not very happy over the turn the trial was taking. He said that he had no control over the actions or the defense of the others, and that he had never been anti-Semitic himself, had not believed these atrocities, and that several Jews had offered to testify in his behalf. If [Hans] Frank [Governor-General of occupied Poland] had known about atrocities in 1943, he should have come to him and he would have tried to do something about it. He might not have had enough power to change things in 1943, but if somebody had come to him in 1941 or 1942 he could have forced a showdown. (I still did not have the desire at this point to tell him what [SS General Otto] Ohlendorf had said to this: that Goering had been written off as an effective "moderating" influence, because of his drug addiction and corruption.) I pointed out that with his "temperamental utterances," such as preferring the killing of 200 Jews to the destruction of property, he had hardly set himself up as champion of minority rights. Goering protested that too much weight was being put on these temperamental utterances. Furthermore, he made it clear that he was not defending or glorifying Hitler...
Personally, I don't use the moral ponderings of suicidal, mass-murdering war criminals as a touch point for my political philosophy, but I can understand why some people might.
posted by Alwin at 2:51 PM on July 12, 2003


zing!
posted by quonsar at 3:06 PM on July 12, 2003


what quonsar said
posted by cortex at 3:12 PM on July 12, 2003


No to mention that it's even easier to tell us we're under attack when we're sitting together in the breakroom one September morning watching the towers collapse.

Like alumshubby said. I don't need to be "dragged along" by the leaders of my country, after having witnessed ~3,000 of my fellow citizens (and brothers in arms) murdered.

None of the 9-11 propoganda leading to our evil empire strike backs has anything to do with the US being in Iraq. The threads that bind the terrorist attacks on our soil and Iraq are imaginary at best and outright lies that have lead to evil slaughter in the name of jesus soaked in oil at worst.
posted by jdaura at 3:17 PM on July 12, 2003


I just love how only the deaths of American civilians really count.
posted by majcher at 4:06 PM on July 12, 2003


zow!
posted by quonsar at 4:42 PM on July 12, 2003


majcher: Like American corpses are somehow different from any other flavor of people. But since apparently you believe they are, what about 38,000 dead Americans lining the streets of this nation. (PDF link) Makes 3000 seem kinda pale by comparison. Other states make the point even more clear. We haven't accused Iraq of causing heart disease or North Korea of causing cancer. Why not? It would justify yet another preemptive war.

It's amazing, though, the Goering quote invokes no introspection on the part of those most vehemently waving the flag and calling for more killing. At least step back and try and gain some persective or have you already been hopelessly drug along without thought on your part?
posted by shagoth at 5:29 PM on July 12, 2003


what quonsar onomatopoeiasized
posted by y2karl at 5:37 PM on July 12, 2003


In addition to the Hummer, the war helped to launch a broader sports utility vehicle (SUV) craze. Psychiatrist Clotaire Rapaille, a consultant to the automobile industry, conducted studies of postwar consumer psyches for Chrysler and reported that Americans wanted "aggressive" cars. In interviews with Keith Bradsher, the former Detroit bureau chief for the New York Times, Rapaille discussed the results of his research. SUVs, he said, were "weapons" - "armoured cars for the battlefield" - that appealed to Americans' deepest fears of violence and crime.

This is bad journalism. The SUV was a Detroit design from the 1970s.
posted by the fire you left me at 5:37 PM on July 12, 2003


"Like alumshubby said. I don't need to be "dragged along" by the leaders of my country, after having witnessed ~3,000 of my fellow citizens (and brothers in arms) murdered."

I know it isn't the way you meant it, but this has always been my belief-- that the 9/11 attacks were just that, 'murder'. Murder in the sense of a criminal act, not murder in the sense of an act of war. For better than two years I've been wondering when the US started declaring war on criminals? Take out Al-Quaeda, makes perfect sense. Leveling two entire countries, seems a bit excessive.

I don't understand why we haven't bombed Buffalo-- there are better confirmed ties to terrorism in a small upstate New York suburb than in the entire country of Iraq.
posted by cedar at 5:38 PM on July 12, 2003


I'm confused - Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Actually, neither did Afghanistan (officially.)

We bombed Afghanistan not because they bombed us, but because after they arrested Osama bin Laden, they wouldn't hand over one guy to us. We then told them that, if they weren't with us, they were against us and reduced the country as best we could to chaos. Our "promises" to the international community were so quickly forgotten that we've actually made Afghanistan more polarized...against us.

Same with Iraq. We had no problem with Iraq - we had a problem with Hussein. So, we bombed Iraq into chaos because we wanted one guy and we couldn't get the Iraqi people to cough him up.. Again, our "promises" were but hot air - remember when this war was going to take a few months? Now, we're looking at years and years. With a populace who's just as inclined to shoot us as grin at us - and it's our damn fault.

So sick of this crap. I really am.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:34 PM on July 12, 2003


>I don't use the moral ponderings of suicidal, mass-murdering war criminals as a touch point for my political philosophy, but I can understand why some people might.

Oh gee, I don't know, maybe because the Nazi party used ultra-nationalism in a democracy to devolve into fascism and warmongering when it was thought that democracy was immune to such a dramatic and destructive change. Voice of the people and all that. The common good of the everyman and "people get the government they deserve" was proven to be an illusion.

I guess you don't have much interest in the US space program because of Von Braun's hand in developing all those V-2 rockets too, eh?

Personally, I think effective propaganda from history should be taught in every high school civics class.
posted by skallas at 8:39 PM on July 12, 2003


Skallas, that was very well said!
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:00 AM on July 13, 2003


Could people please stop using that quote? (Goering) I'm really getting sick of it.

The article is basically liberal porn but after reading it I think, How can anyone not be liberal? Then I think about the complacency, the "Oh Yeah? What has your country done?", the "What about Nazi Germany? And those fascist dictatorships? Why aren't you criticizing them instead?" and worst of all those that sit there in denial, hiding behind a flag they are waving franticly at anyone who would say anything bad about America.

Anecdote; A girl I know takes a political science course over here in New Zealand. The lecturer is an advisor to the American government on muslim relations, IIRC. They had an American girl in their class who broke down crying and covered her ears, shouting "NO! IT'S NOT TRUE!" over and over again when her classmates, backed up by the teacher put forward Oil as a motive for the war in Iraq.

Could someone tell me, because I'm not very well informed on the American economy; Can it handle the occupation of Iraq? The oil profits which would otherwise pay for the occupation seem to be going off to Haliburton(sp?) instead.
The US seems to have been able to convince a few other countries to join in the peacekeeping effort but it is still an expensive endeavor, and from what I've read on Mefi alone it would seem the US economy is currently a delicate house of cards that gives the illusion of stability if you stand back and squint a bit.

All in all, interesting read, though it kind of felt like someone had gone through all the posts by us commie pinkos and listed them, albeit more articulately. (Is that even a word? Heh.)

Also, The fire you left me, I believe they were saying that the sales of the hummer helped launch the SUV into the market, rather than help "create" the SUV. In that sense, I agree with the article.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 3:59 AM on July 13, 2003


What's to be done with the POWS ???
Nineteen months later.
posted by johnny7 at 7:07 AM on July 13, 2003


I love Quonsar.
posted by Dantien at 10:17 AM on July 13, 2003


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