“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan
“It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them.”– Adolf Hitler
“What good fortune for those in power that the people do not think.”– Adolf Hitler
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”– Joseph Goebbels, German Nazi “Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment”
“Propaganda must always be essentially simple and repetitious. The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly… it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”—Joseph Goebbels
The question posited by the title of this three part series explores the dilemma faced by truth-seekers who have the facts that totally refute the Big Lies about 9/11/01.
These so-called “9/11 Truthers” or “conspiracy theorists” (pejorative terms designed to demean them) have been attempting to inform individuals and institutions that have chosen to disregard and/or disbelieve the overwhelmingly provable and documentable truths about the pre-planted controlled demolitions that pulverized into fine dust the three WTC towers on 9/11/01 could not have been accomplished by anybody other than insiders.
It is obvious to many that 9/11/01 was a false flag event that has successfully destabilized the world and has started a state of perpetual US-led wars all around the world, wars that have destroyed and are continuing to destroy the lives of soldiers (and their families), unarmed innocents abroad, women and children, tribes, cultures, religions, economies (including our own) and the very planet we live on. And, it must be mentioned, our illegal, ill-advised and stupid military aggression has raised up billions of mortal enemies all around the world whose enmity and justified desire for revenge will never be appeased until “the Great Satan” is finally beaten.
The dilemma raised by the title question, “Why Do Good People Remain Silent”, has been faced throughout the history of the world by a multitude of truth-seekers and truth-tellers long before 9/11/01. A short list of American examples that have shaped world history was enumerated in last week’s column, available at (http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-cias-invention-of-the-conspiracy-theorist-smear-campaign-to-discredit-dissenters/5403876).
The “bamboozle quote” from Carl Sagan should help us understand one of the psychological reasons why both human and non-human entities (such as corporations and the corporate-controlled news media) so readily accept – and even promote – Big Lies and then, when the truth comes out that disproves the lies, refuse to admit that they have been bamboozled. Nobody likes to admit that they were duped.
The quotes from Hitler and Goebbels (which could have been made by J. Edgar Hoover, long-term, dictatorial head of the FBI and his neo-fascist minion from Wisconsin, GOP Senator Joe McCarthy) should help us understand how the misleaders of militarily powerful empires are able to manipulate their “Good Germans” (both civilians and soldiers of every nationality) into believing Big Lies.
Psychologist Frances Shure, who was an early skeptic of the official White House conspiracy theories about what happened on 9/11/01 has experienced her share of criticism from those who tend to implicitly trust their leaders. Her story, in a 9 part series on the subject, discusses the psychological background about how public opinion and beliefs can be manipulated. The series can be found athttp://www.ae911truth.org/faqs/821-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-.html, Shure says:
“It is my firm belief that 9/11 skeptics—and true skeptics of any paradigm-shifting and taboo subject—who publicly expose lies and naked emperors are heroes …They have suffered the ridicule and wrath of those emperors, their minions, and the just plain frightened.
“In our American society, many of our (authority figures) routinely lie to us, but nonetheless, many citizens continue to look to them for truth and safety—especially when fear is heightened. This strong tendency to believe and obey authority is another obstacle with which skeptics of the official 9/11 account must contend.
“By unquestioningly believing and obeying authority, we make very bad decisions, which often negatively affect others. This can be equally true for the four human proclivities studied by social psychologists: doublethink, cognitive dissonance, conformity, and groupthink.”
There are a number of psychological realities that can explain what motivates otherwise normal people to believe or act in a certain way when they are confronted with a crisis situation and find themselves needing to form an opinion that must be based on their life experiences. Issues of abandonment, shunning, isolation, loneliness, bullying, shaming or any number of other forms of neglect, abuse or violence can result in psychological wounding that shapes one’s ability to believe what one is told. Whether one “fights, flees or freezes” in response to a crisis, for example, and whether one responds violently or nonviolently, depends a lot on one’s ethical upbringing.
Shure’s point about the adverse effects of authoritarian parenting above is an important one to comprehend.
Shame and Humiliation as Motivating Factors
Adults who have been harshly parented, shamed or punished into submission as children tend to obey the orders that they receive from their political, media and religious leaders.
The desire to avoid experiencing shame and humiliation also motivates humans. Achieving glory, praise, pride, self-esteem, power, fame, wealth, good looks, high fashion, hero status or being an accepted part of a group are powerful factors that motivate human behavior.
It is painful being an artificially demeaned and unfairly criticized “conspiracy theorist” about 9/11. Even though the 9/11 Truth-tellers have the scientific truth behind them, they have been mistreated by the mass media as a despised out-group for the past 13 years.
Being an accused 9/11 “conspiracy theorist” feels like being a Vikings fan among rabid Packers hooligans at a game in Green Bay when the purple and gold are losing badly. Being an out 9/11 truth-teller is probably like being a black-listed anti-fascist author, writer or musician during the proto-fascist McCarthy era. I sympathize with Galileo who was persecuted by the authoritarian church when he proved that the earth revolved around the sun but 99% of the world believed that the sun revolved around the earth because it said so in the bible.
People who have developed critical thinking skills – and therefore are less likely to be bamboozled by Big Lies – tend to be those lucky few who had parents or parent figures who did not harshly discipline them as children. They were, by and large, raised by parents who were not punitive, authoritarian or dictatorial types that demanded unconditional obedience – or else. Their parents gently obtained obedience from their children by strict but loving, non-punitive parenting methods that consistently fostered mutual love, respect and understanding.
Obedience to Authority
There have been any number of psychological observations and experiments that have been done that proves the connections between mental ill health, violence, fascism, nationalism, racism and susceptibility to false beliefs.
One of the most important was Stanley Milgram’s seminal work that was published in his book Obedience to Authority. Milgram and his colleagues did a number of experiments on a large variety of volunteers, all of whom thought that they were in an experiment that was about learning theory. In actuality, the volunteers themselves were being tested on how far they would go in torturing a subject with electric shocks every time a question was answered wrong (the subject was actually an actor who was only pretending to be electroshocked by the volunteer subjects). The subjects were supervised by an “authority figure” who was wearing a white coat and who gently urged that the experiment continue, even if and when some of the subjects objected.
The disturbing conclusion of the experiment (which was replicated many times across the country) was that 2/3rds of normal Americans would continue the incremental electroshocking of the “subject” even after he started screaming with pain and even after he eventually lapsed into unconsciousness and couldn’t answer, thus prompting ever more powerful shocks with each unanswered question.
Milgram’s experiments proved that a majority of otherwise normal Americans would trust the authority figure by inflicting torture on another human – as long as they felt that they could blame the authority figure for the acts. (Think Auschwitz, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and agents torturing terrorism “suspects” in CIA black site prisons overseas).
The final chapter of Milgram’s book makes the connections between the atrocities committed by American troops against hundreds of innocent and unarmed women and children at My La, Viet Nam on March 16, 1968 and the willingness to torture and kill if orders were given (obediently learned at the hands of brutal drill sergeant parent figures during basic training). Of course, most of the soldiers who had participated in the massacre, if they ever regained their lost consciences, would eventually experience nightmares, flashbacks, depression, sleep deprivation and guilty consciences because of what they had done. Another sobering fact about the My Lai Massacre is that none of the higher-ups in the chain of command – where the buck is supposed to stop – were ever court-marshalled, reprimanded or even accused of those obvious crimes against humanity.
Cognitive Dissonance and 9/11
Another psychological factor that helps explain why the Cheney/Bush White House’s official conspiracy theory has become so ingrained is the concept of cognitive dissonance. A good YouTube discussion of the title question – by a number of psychologist colleagues of Frances Shure – can be seen at: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zP0FU46PcE). I highly recommend watching it.
I wrote a Duty to Warn column devoted to the subject of cognitive dissonance a year ago. It has been archived at (http://www.globalresearch.ca/duty-to-warn-911-and-cognitive-dissonance/5347923).
Here is the essence of the article:
“Cognitive dissonance refers to the psychological or emotional discomfort felt when one is confronted with new information or a new reality that contradicts one’s deeply held beliefs. It appears to be especially common among people who have been inundated with television commercials, repeated claims from a “Trusted” talking head on TV of radio and in those who have been indoctrinated by charismatic, deceptive religious cult leaders who profess to have acquired the “truth” by a literal interpretation of selected portions of their “sacred” texts.
“When there is are conflicting, mutually exclusive beliefs, intelligent, open-minded and thoughtful people that have not been victimized by cruelty during their childhood, are usually willing to change their minds by re-evaluating their prior stances, looking carefully and honestly at the new evidence, reassessing the credibility of both positions and then making a decision to adopt or reject the new information, depending on the evidence before them.
“Close-minded, distracted, uninformed, ignorant, too-busy, overly obedient, uber-patriotic, addicted, co-opted or intensely conservative people may not have the time, inclination, intelligence or political will (or courage) to look at the available new evidence that runs contrary to their old, ingrained beliefs. Therefore they may unconsciously or reflexively reject the new information, even if the evidence is overwhelmingly and provably true.”
Shure quotes folks who have experienced cognitive dissonance over the 9/11 issue.
“If what you are saying is true, I don’t want to know about it!”
“If what you are saying is true, I would become very negative. Psychologically, I would go downhill.”
“I know we were lied to. But my work in the world is very important to me, and if I am to continue it, I can’t have my taxes audited!”
“I am aware that our government does bad things, but not this! Not those towers! They would not be that evil.”
“I find your statement that our government orchestrated 9/11 very disturbing and offensive.”
“Well, we are surrounded by the official story; it’s everywhere—the TV, the newspapers, our teachers, friends at school and work. What am I to do?!”
“I admit that I seriously resist anyone messing with my worldview.”
“Obama surely did not know about this 9/11 evidence before he was elected. Maybe he knows now, but he can’t say anything to us. If the country knew the truth about 9/11, there would be chaos; the stock market would plummet. He would probably like to tell us, but he cannot.”
“You can’t expect someone to listen to information that turns their world upside down.”
“I wouldn’t believe that even if it were true!”
And one I remember a telling statement from a local politician: “Don’t tell me about the real facts about 9/11. I don’t want to be thought of as a wing-nut.” And one from the leader of a local organization when it was suggested that the 9/11 issue be discussed:“We don’t want to touch that one!”
Not too many folks seem to want to become dissenters or whistle-blowers, especially in an era of perpetual war where one does not want to be seen as unpatriotic and when recent administrations have been going after them so vigorously. Fascist leaders such as Hitler and Goebbels would have whole-heartedly concurred with how Obama and Bush have been dealing with them. Hitler understood that his military campaigns would eventually result in backlashes, and not too many Good Germans were willing to do the right thing and resist.
Not too many folks who live in punitive, militarized Empires have the courage to do what the whistle-blowing boy did when he saw that his emperor had no clothes on. Not too many folks want to be truth-tellers in a nation that imprisons, expels or executes truth-tellers and suppresses every truth that threatens national/corporate prestige, national/corporate security or national/corporate pride.
Hitler got his timid Good Germans who lived outside the concentration camp fences to believe the Big Lie that “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work makes one free). Relatively free, moderately democratic societies are told that “The Truth Shall Make You Free”, that “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword” and that “The Arc of History Bends Towards Justice”.
Without enough courageous dissenters, whistle-blowers and people of conscience (like the millions of 9/11 truth-seekers), the spiritual progeny of the conscienceless fascists, militarists, racists, colonialists, economic exploiters, bankers and corporatists that almost took over the world during World War II – will probably continue to grow in power and influence – fouling our planetary nest as they go. I would hate to see them have the last laugh.
Dr Kohls writes regularly about a variety of issues that includes corporatism, militarism, economic oppression, racism and fascism. He is a member of Medical Professionals for 911 Truth.