...the subject which will be of most importance politically is Mass Psychology. ... The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. ... As yet there is only one country which has succeeded in creating this politician’s paradise.” - Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society, 1960.
Russell wrote these lines in 1960 and the country he was referring to at the time was Nazi Germany...and yes, the Nazis became masters of political manipulation through the use of fear, prejudice and paranoia.
But, to go back a few years, to the rise of fascism in Italy after World War 2, we might be able to see some alarming connections with the world we are faced with today.
The manipulator in this modern world is not a charimatic personality, like Benito Mussolini, but it is a corporate entity which has the advantage of controlling media.
The charismatic figure is the hypnotic ranting of talking heads like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. The tools are the same, economic panic, racial fear, using loaded concepts which the public which has been trained to respond to in a Pavlovian fashion.
What is happening in America now, the violent suppression of speech and debate, the use of force to prevent communication is not new.
After the first world war, in Italy, as in most of Europe, there was real economic hardship. The labor movement was being born and the concept of Socialism was growing. In Italy, the Socialist Labor movement also had an ally in the Liberal/humanist elements of the Catholic Church. Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to have a Socialist Party.
This of course was percieved as deadly threat to the established order, the corporate and class interests of the ancient nobility and wealth. The fact that Socialism was an international movement made it easy to attack as being unpatriotic. Fear of socialism as being a foreign influence was played upon as the movement to suppress it gained momentum.
Benito Mussolini was a young officer in the first world war, like Adolph Hitler who was determined to create a political movement. Italy was an ally against the Germans, but after the war, the political realities of the repartioning of territories seemed to punish Italy. They lost territory to the Austrians.
Mussolini was elected to parliament, Italy st that time was still a monarchy and he used the rise of the Socialists and their strikes for higher wages and better working conditions as a springboard for his Fascist Party.
The Fascists were never a very big percent of the Italian population, but through the use of his organized gangs of "blackshirts" to violently suppress meetings, destroy the press, burn down their buildings and murder and maim the opposition and creating an aura of fear, he was able to cow a nation in to subservience.
The rhetoric he used was seductive as well, he spoke of the inherent nobility of Italy as a true vestige of Ancient Rome and promised a new Roman Empire. The aura of violent power and the dark power of totalitarianism was seductive to a young generation facing a bleak economic reality.
In 1922, he was able to stage a coup and sieze control of the government. he theatrically stage a spectacle with thousands of people recruited to be brought in to participate in his mass march of Blackshirts into Rome. The language he used was seductive to a nation, but the only ones who benefited were the upper classes and nobility, of course we know the end of the story...
A dictator hunted down and hung upside down and burnt by an enraged populace after he destroyed the country. These big dreams of power and control always seem to crash and burn, but that doesn't seem to deter a new generation of psychopaths from believing they are different....or are they?
Here is a video shot yesterday in Tampa, Florida of todays brown shirts, driven into a frenzy by the corporate mind controlling media drones. Thay are destroying a ttown hall meeting to discuss health care. They have been brought in and told what to do. This is the current state of Republican political discourse in action. They have nothing but hate and fear to bring to a discussion. This is Glenn Becks army of ignorant blackshirts shooting themselves in the ass: