Aristotle on Using Paranoia and Conspiracy Theories To Counter Domestic Discontent

One of the other pertinent passages in Brady’s book The Structure of German Fascism is in the chapter on Nazi pseudo-scientific racism and anti-Semitism. Brady argued that Nazi anti-Semitism was an ‘invented terror’, deliberately created to make the Jews scapegoats for the general problems of German society. This view of the origins of the Nazi persecution of the Jews has also been rejected. Historians now point out that the Nazis were genuinely anti-Semitic, and did not simply persecute the Jews from simple political opportunism. They trace the origins of Nazi anti-Semitism to organizations such as the League of Anti-Semites in the late 19th century, and specifically to the emergence of the ‘Stab in the Back’ conspiracy theory. This blamed the Jews for Germany’s defeat in the First World War.

Brady cites Aristotle’s advice to rulers to use paranoid fears of conspiracies in order to distract citizens from domestic crises and unrest. Brady states

The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, offers this advice to the sovereign who is faced with unrest and the threat of revolution from his subjects: if all other means have failed to settle the trouble, divert attention by “inventing terrors”. Find some insidious plot against the state; whisper that the wells are being poisoned, the food destroyed, the daughters secretly ravished, high official about to be assassinated, the banks subtly undermined, the farmers gouged, military secrets being given away. Find anything that will arouse the people to a pitch of excitement against some common malefactor; then invent a terror against this destroyer of the common weal.

This reminds me of some of the scare stories about immigrants from the right-wing press. I also wonder how far the current rhetoric and tension between NATO and Putin’s Russia has been ramped up on both sides to distract the citizens of both sides from the economic and political failures of their governments.

And it also raises the question of how far reasonable fears about the real dangers posed by Islamist terrorism are also being exaggerated and manipulated as a distraction from the domestic hardships inflicted by the Coalition.

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3 Responses to “Aristotle on Using Paranoia and Conspiracy Theories To Counter Domestic Discontent”

  1. patricknelson750 Says:

    If you look at the actual figures of Islamist terrorism in the West they no way match the hype. This is very easy to gauge by simply asking people ho many Islamist terror attacks there have been in the West and then comparing their guestimates to the real figures. Similarly because of a lack of hype people generally imagine that there is less of a terror threat from the far right than there actually is.

    First it was the Germans, then the Japanese, then the Communists and now it is the turn of Muslims to be the bogey man. When geopolitical pressures change again it could be the BRICS members or the Occupy Movement or a whole host of others who take on the baddy role.

  2. cablestreetbulldog Says:

    Spot on. Its all in the stories we tell ourselves. Read 2 articles, next to each other in a paper the other day, one was about an IRA bomber, the other was about a muslim convert who apparently planned to attack a soldier. Despite the fact that the IRA man was directly responsible for over 20 deaths, the word ‘terrorist’ was never used in the article, in its place was ‘murderer’. Yet the in the story about the Muslim – who actually hadn’t hurt anyone – the word ‘terrorist’ was used 8 times! Its all about following the current ‘bad guy’ narrative. If the media wanted to, they could use Anders Brevik, abortion centre bombers, the Lords Resistance Army, the IRA and the UDF to tell us that Christians are the threat, and it would be just as nonsense as saying it was Muslims! It is terrifying though – when you see the front page of the daily express and mail, then compare that to ‘die Sturmer’ magazine in 30’s Germany

  3. concernedkev Says:

    The worst act of diversionary tactics was creating the war on terrorism which as some commenters state is not as extreme as we are given to believe. Those that do exist do so are as a consequence of NATO and the right wing military/industrial complex conspiring to make the world believe this. This gives them the excuse to introduce more surveillance and security measures so they can exert more control. Did anyone see the small piece on BBC Breakfast where the idea of everyone being offered an electronic chip, to be inserted in their wrist, to keep them SAFE. One of the female presenters said she thought it was a good idea and would have one fitted herself !!!!!!!!!!!!
    If people want to see the length these people will go to just go on the internet and type in 9/11. Amongst all the material out there, there is the truth. Just search and see what the architects and construction experts have been saying about the Twin Towers and how it was impossible for them to collapse the way they did.
    Look at the videos of the so called plane crashing into the Pentagon see if you can spot the plane. There is plenty of footage.
    Then look up Aaron Russo and listen to his testimony of how one of the Rockefellers tried to recruit him he offered him a chip in his wrist that would give him carte blanche and would register KMA wherever he went in the world. KMA stands for “Kiss My Arse”. He was told at the same time to watch out for an event that would happen in 11 months time. Sure enough it happened. 9/11. I am just paranoid.
    As for the capture and assassination of Bin Laden and convenient dumping his body at sea. That had to be one of the worst pieces of movie making ever. Before anyone calls me a crank check it out if you can cope. A lot of people cannot it is called cognitive dissonance when the truth becomes too much to accept.
    When told of the holocaust camps many thousands of people would not accept it until they saw the news reels.

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