I had an epiphany the other night, which goes something like this:
“If someone is telling you who to hate or fear, they are trying to manipulate you.”
It’s like the boogeyman, invented by parents in earlier times to get their children to behave. “If you don’t do as you’re told, the boogeyman will get you.” If you couldn’t be bothered to appeal to a child’s reason or good sense, you could scare them into doing what they’re told.
In his novel 1984, George Orwell describes a society that is permanently at war. During a daily ritual called “Two Minutes Hate,” the citizens are shown the image of a well-known traitor, Goldstein, and concentrate their hate on this image. Near the end of the book, O’Brien tells Winston, “The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love and justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement” (sounds like the Int Base!). And he tells Winston, “Goldstein and his heresies will live forever. Every day, at every moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed, spat upon – and yet they will always survive. This drama…will be played out over and over again, generation after generation…”
If you want to control people, give them an enemy.
In his book The True Believer, Eric Hoffer notes that “Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in God, but never without belief in a Devil”
In Hitler Speaks, former Nazi Hermann Rauschning says, “When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew must be destroyed, he answered: “No….we should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract enemy.”
Any totalitarian, fascistic government or organization must have a tangible enemy. Only then can they suspend the rights of their members, call for “heroic” contribution and self-sacrifice, and institute draconian “security” measures. The organization or group must be constantly at war. There must be a constant threat. There must be tangible enemies that are always attacking, always infiltrating. And those enemies, as Orwell notes, must live forever, the same drama of hate and fear being played out over and over and over again.
The Church of Scientology needs to have enemies. A number of people have pointed out that if the Church had simply ignored the Anonymous protests, they would have died out. But they didn’t. They exaggerated them, embellished them, turned the Anonymous phenomenon into this big, well-organized, well-funded, scary terrorist organization – something it never was. They told the press there had been “thousands” of death threats and bomb threats – yet could not produce them. A supposed “Anonymous video” had such high production value that it could never have been “pulled off the internet” as they claimed. They told their members, in breathless confidential IAS briefings (to get donations) that Anonymous was being funded by the “psychs” and by “Eli Lilly,” and that they had to pony up more and more money, make more and more personal sacrifices, to “defeat the enemy.”
And the Church is still “fighting the psychs,” long after the psychiatric establishment has ceased to have any interest in Scientology.
And now the Church has many new enemies – the “squirrels” – by which they mean anyone who has left the Church and is now exposing what really goes on behind the scenes. They distribute huge, 70-page “DA packs” and put up extensive websites, all dedicated to establishing how powerful and evil these “squirrels” are. All of this effort, you might think, is directed to the general public or the press. No, in fact, the Church could care less what the general public thinks. These vast and scary materials have one audience – Scientologists – and one purpose – to keep them sacrificing and donating money and toeing the line.
They are just the latest “boogeymen” the Church uses to scare their “children” into doing what they are told.
So when anyone, inside or outside the Church, goes on a big kick of “this is who you should hate” or “this is who you should fear,” and goes on and on about how powerful and scary this “enemy” is, I just have one response:
“Why are you trying to manipulate me?”