“We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not..? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know.. it — now.” Patrick Henry, 1775.
In this era of perpetual warfare, escalating domestic tyranny, government-sanctioned torture, and a Nazi-like pursuit of Middle-East domination, one would expect, at the very least, an audible outcry from the People who proclaim resolute devotion to the ideals of liberty and justice for all. Yet for the most part, Mainstream America continues to assume a posture of apathy, bitterness, or eery silence.
When confronted with hard facts and scientific evidence linking key government officials to the attacks of 9/11, ostensibly intelligent, levelheaded people angrily and defiantly reject said information without a moment’s deliberation. Sincerely compassionate and peace-loving individuals support the criminal invasion of Iraq and close their eyes to the U.S. slaughter of 600,000 Iraqi civilians, choosing instead to believe in the myth of American supremacy, at the heart of which lies the notion that foreigners alone are capable of such atrocities.
And now, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the subsequent establishment of Homeland Security, previously rigid supporters of civil rights quietly tolerate the piecemeal deconstruction of the U.S. Constitution under the pretext of protection, and to their own peril, disregard increasingly strident warnings and signs of a growing and imminent police state. Clearly, Mainstream America has surrendered to the subjugation of a power-crazed, despotic administration whose control continues to expand exponentially with each passing rumor of imminent peril .
Why,when confronted with a black-and-white record of autocratic offenses, are so many sensible Americans ignoring and even endorsing the current administration as it openly paves a tyrannical road to hell? Are we so deluded by rhetoric and weapons-grade propaganda, that we are no longer able to distinguish truth from fiction, thereby allowing, if not abetting our own enslavement ?
Inarguably, a collective set of circumstances exist to explain the acquiescence of the American People. What follows is the first in a series of explorations by which this writer will attempt to identify possible core factors contributing to the scourge of apathy in American society today.
Fear, the Nemesis of Rationality
One cannot analyze the dynamics of a post 9/11 society without examining one of its principal characteristics: fear, anxiety, dread, apprehension… in a word, Terror. To those who benefit from its proliferation, fear is a currency, a commodity, and a powerful marketing tool. If one is aware of the devices by which leaders have garnered power and support for any given war or agenda historically, one can easily discern the same machinations at work today. A key ingredient to any successful war rally or acquisition of power is the exploitation of fear through the manipulation of perception.
On September 11, 2001, corporate media and the government elite launched an aggressive political and media campaign upon and against the American people. With Madison-Avenue expertise, purveyors of fear heightened our perception of imminent threat by inundating the airwaves with continual, repetitive, easily-learned sound-bytes, words brimming with emotionally-charged meaning, “…Bin Laden, Taliban, Axis of Evil, Saddam Hussein, Terror-Threat, Terrorist…” with just enough intensity to successfully persuade the American people to procure security at any cost.
Comprehensive and firmly-entrenched fear is the means by which the current administration manages to sell the “War of Terror” and, allowed to flourish, has solidified mechanized cooperation from the masses as our leaders appeal to the most basic of all human needs– security.
The groundwork has been laid. Today, newly identified “threats” are announced with almost predictable regularity. Now firmly embedded in the collective unconscious of America, fear is employed to rationalize unprecedented dictatorial powers in the White House, to justify the erosion of privacy and the stripping of human rights once sacredly guarded by the Constitution. Yet, what should one expect from an administration whose platform is built upon a substratum of fear, except for fear itself?
Fear attempts to silence dissenters. As the Truth Movement gains momentum and amasses credibility, the fear profiteers have begun heralding yet another “threat” to National Security – inquiring minds. This is both good news and bad news. We are no longer ignorable. Fearing exposure, the Czars of Propaganda know that “Truthers” must be branded and discredited if government corruption and corporate fraud is to flourish unabated. This said, prepare for an intensified Smear-and-Fear Campaign. Any group or individual who vocally questions the official story of 9/11 or who exercises the right to demand Government accountability will be labeled “Anti-American and Anti-Patriotic”.
A well-documented strategy of propagandists throughout modern history, dissolving credibility through character assassination is a calculated tactic utilized to persuade the uninformed public to turn a deaf ear, to, in effect, remain uninformed. It remains to be seen if this line of attack will succeed, and success is dependent upon each individual proponent of freedom. As with the human longing for security, the natural desire for affiliation and acceptance works in favor of the war-mongering, power-hungry elite, for they know only the bravest of the brave will dare risk ostracism for a noble cause.
Fear begets fear and dulls rationality. Under fear’s influence, the autonomic nervous system shifts into fight-or-flight mode. Perhaps this either-or response clarifies the bipartisanship of laboring freedom fighters and the willingly deceived. The former empower themselves with knowledge. The latter, so fearful of annihilating reassuring illusions, continue to defend the crimes of their pseudo-conservative leaders, and in so doing, stave off the anxieties which would surely accompany enlightenment. So desperate to believe in an imaginary benevolent Big Brother, We the People unknowingly and sometimes willingly turn a deaf ear to the truth, choosing instead to believe a lie. We lull ourselves into complacency or forced submission. We allow fear to breed a culture of silent ignorance and unthinking loyalty by which dictatorial regimes are allowed to flourish.
We would do well to remember, a fear-struck population is easily led.