“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 a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. (Hermann Goring, commander of Hitler’s Luftwaffe, aka ‘Air Force’)
I came of age in the 1960’s and remember so clearly the hysteria of “creeping Communism” and the Domino Theory that falsely legitimized our involvement in Viet Nam. I even owned, and read several times, John A. Stormer’s, “None Dare Call It Treason” which I now recognize as one of the greatest conspiracy-theorist treatises of all time. But I drank “that kool-aid” at the time and was always looking for more, announcing even…so to speak…”gimme more! Give it to me straight. Just gimme the undiluted poison.” For my fear-based young mind and heart desperately needed to see bogey-men “out there” and readily imbibed any message which would feed this deep-seated paranoia of mine. Related to this hysteria that I was immersed in, I was caught up in a fear-based fundamentalist religion which taught me that “evil” was “out there” and taught me to totally ignore paying attention to how it was firmly entrenched in my own heart…and in the heart of the culture that was teaching me this. Goring knew that fear was the great motivator and that any tin-horn demagogue could succeed if he offered a steady diet of hysteria that would feed the fear-base of his constituency’s core.
Life is precarious as the “grim reaper” is always near by and will eventually claim us all. This fear of death is the primal source of all fear, insecurity, and vulnerability and people like those in Hitler’s “cabinet” knew how to exploit this. Spiritual teachers, such as Jesus, understood this fear and taught that the solution was to confront this fear boldly and “die” before physical death and discover that the “sting of death” could then be abided. Psychologist Irvin Yalom in recent decades taught this also, noting that only those who had confronted this fear and “died” while yet living could live rather than bide their time beneath a fear-based persona that prevented them from living; they could then recognize the meaning of Jesus’s famous teaching, “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul; or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” But political and religious leaders, so often already enslaved by their own fear-based demons, cannot understand this and cannot help but mindlessly proffer a fear-based belief system to people who are susceptible to this enslavement.
I close with a note from Jesus, “Perfect love casteth out fear.”