Posts Tagged ‘Fear of the other’

Best article I’ve read in a long time and written by a friend of a friend : Fear Laundering http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/25/fear-laundering-an-elaborate-psychological-diversion-and-bid-for-power/ 

Fear is the key word for this presidential election.

There is the fear of the Republican candidate Donald Trump as we all know. But I also think there is another fear.

It’s the fear of accepting what this country has become.

Martin Luther King Jr. accurately described the US government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

As a result, he wasn’t only killed physically, but his legacy as an anti-imperial revolutionary was also put to death. He was systematically demonized before the killing and his determination to confront the imperial war machine was subsumed (in effect whitewashed) by his image as a great civil rights leader.

Many of his contemporaries, probably the most brilliant, insightful and humanistic people to emerge from the US, have been assassinated and imprisoned.

A half century later, the US wields over 1000 military bases across the globe while over half of the federal tax goes for military spending. Currently it engages in eight wars. It also surrounds nuclear armed Russia and China while aggressively provoking both nations economically and militarily. There is no MLK or Malcolm X today, but there is the first black commander in chief who jokes about drone killings.

A Nobel Peace Prize winner is responsible for commanding the eight wars mentioned above. The country of freedom, equality and liberty is number one in mass incarceration, police killings, and mass surveillance. Perhaps this might be the worst time to wake up and realize that what the government has been doing is the complete opposite of what it’s been saying.

According to Jacques Lacan, the French psychoanalyst, such a shift in one’s world view causes fragmentation of the self, which leads to an extreme expression of anger and desperate efforts in protecting and defending the crumbling “reality”.

For some people this momentum of anger and fear seems to merge directly with anger against Donald Trump together with unconditional support for the de facto power of establishment: Hillary Clinton. They can divert the overflowing anger toward Trump while rebuilding their crumbling world by standing with Clinton, dutifully demonizing the good old cold war enemy Russia, erroneously calling the WikiLeaks founder a rapist, affirming American exceptionalism with conviction, and so on.

It is truly surreal to witness people turning into Russia-hating-angry-Americans who believe that American style democracy is exceptional and the nation should be led by a trusted imperialist with a proven record of spreading “democracy” with undemocratic means. However, it might not be a complete mystery after all.

I wonder if this psychological narrative was considered when the Democratic Party strategists conspired to promote Donald Trump as an extreme right wing conservative, as a “piped piper” candidate who would play the evil candidate against the “lesser evil” candidate Hillary Clinton.

Take a look at a Clinton supporter’s wall. You will notice a few emotionally charged angles that are prominent, which are designed to elicit highly emotional responses while covering up Clinton’s patriarchal policies of colonialism, corporatism and militarism:

  1. Trump’s misogyny, which, of course, functions to elevate “feminist” Clinton while covering up her patriarchal policies of wars and socioeconomic restructuring for the interests of the Wall Street bankers.
  2. Openly Russophobic remarks coupled with an alleged Trump connection to Russia. The demonization of Russians and portraying the Russian government as an illegitimate entity serve to prepare people for continuing economic and military pressure against Russia. This has been particularly concerning for all of us who have followed the movements of NATO forces encroaching on Russia. It is not Russia exhibiting aggression, but it has been the NATO forces, with 10 times more military spending, provoking nuclear armed Russia. This angle elicits a strong emotional response from people who have been long conditioned with anti-soviet, anti-Communist propaganda long after the fall of the Soviet Union and its communist governance. It also must be noted that it is simply appalling that Clinton has not presented any evidence for her claim that the Russian government has intervened in the presidential election, while the US has been officially engaging in political intervention of Russia through its Russian Democracy Act.
  3. Trump’s disrespectful remarks against US veterans. Highlighting Trump’s remarks about veterans elevates Clintons status as a potential military leader. I have been surprised that people, who I thought would be aware of the violent imperialism of the US hegemony, which has destroyed over 22 million lives across the globe while destroying domestic social programs and social safety nets, are so willing to go along with Clinton’s pro war position. Clinton has been literally in support of all the US colonial wars and continues to provoke Russia and China with aggressive remarks.

The US presidential election is a great tool of imperialism to turn good Americans into fervent nationalists dangerous to all humans on the planet.

I urgently ask readers to consider our predicament being trapped in this scheme devised to perpetuate the rule of the extreme minority with enormous wealth and power.


 

Hiroyuki Hamada is an artist. He has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe and is represented by Lori Bookstein Fine Art. He has been awarded various residencies including those at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Edward F. Albee Foundation/William Flanagan Memorial Creative Person’s Center, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the MacDowell Colony. In 1998 Hamada was the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant, and in 2009 he was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He lives and works New York, the United States.

 

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John Stuart Mill, in his seminal On Liberty, wrote,

“Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”

The remark carries a number of significant implications. It defines an intolerant person as one who wishes others to live as he thinks they ought, and who seeks to impose his practices and beliefs upon them. It says that the human community benefits by permitting a variety of ways of life to flourish, because they represent experiments in dealing with the human condition from which much might be learned. It iterates the premise that no one has the right to tell another how to be or to act, provided that it does no harm to others. (The main facet of “the Golden Rule”).

These are the tenets of liberalism, a word of malediction or curse among those who fear that unless a tight grip is kept on human thoughts and instincts, the earth will break open and demons will rise.

But this “Live and let live” tolerance is also the paradox of liberalism. Liberalism urges tolerance of opposing viewpoints, and allows them to have their say, leaving it to a democracy of different ideas and viewpoints to decide which should prevail.

Often the result is the death of toleration, because those who live by “hard principles” and uncompromising views in political, moral and religious respects always, if given half a chance, silence liberal free thinkers, because liberalism, by its nature, threatens the hegemony that they seek to impose.

Should the tolerant tolerate the intolerant?” To this question the answer should be a resounding “No“.

Tolerance has to protect itself. It can easily do so by saying that anyone can put a point of view, but no one can force another to accept it. The only coercion should be that of argument, the only obligation should be to honest reasoning.

Helen Keller said;

“the highest result of education is tolerance,”

and she is right; (in most cases at least) the unbiased reasoning of an informed mind will come out in favour of what is good and true.

Intolerance is a psychologically interesting phenomenon because it is symptomatic of insecurity and fear. Fear of the other, fear of change, fear of self-worth. A confronting of ones own dissonance.

Religious Zealots who would, if they could, persecute you into conforming with their way of things, might claim to be trying to save your soul despite yourself, but are really doing it because they feel threatened.

ISIS/The Taliban, force women to wear veils, to stay at home, and to give up education and work, because they are afraid of women’s freedom, their innate sexuality.

The old become intolerant of the younger generations when alarmed by youth’s indifference or scorn towards what they have long known and held dear. Fear begets intolerance, and intolerance begets fear: the cycle is a vicious one.

Tolerance isn’t about the coin flip of acceptance and rejection. I tolerate a belief or a practice without accepting it. One example may be Gay marriage?

I often say “if you don’t like Gay marriage, don’t get Gay married! Who am I to stop two people’s conjoined misery?” We as a civilisation, have to recognize that there is plenty of room in the world for alternatives to coexist, and that if one is offended by what others do it is because one has allowed it to get under ones skin.

Socrates’ “Know Thyself” < temet nosce > is a warning, and is applied to those whose boasts exceed what they are, it is a warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitude.

In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates uses the maxim ‘know thyself‘ as his explanation to Phaedrus for why he has no time for mythology or other far flung topics. Socrates says, “But I have no leisure for them at all; and the reason, my friend, is this: I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things.

I think we only tolerate others best when we learn and understand how to tolerate ourselves: learning how to do so is the aim of civilised life. I would like to think my Art is a weapon against intolerance.


“You’ve gotta tolerate all those people that you hate, I’m not in love with you, but I won’t hold that against you.” Juxtaposed With U, SFA

I woke up this morning to a protracted item on BBC a Radio Four’s flagship Today programme that featured that utter CUNTSERVATIVE turned UberKIPper Mark Reckless MP commenting on the vile bias of Immigration Watch, it was totally unbalanced apart from the Polish Ambassador’s minor almost desperate input.

Like Mark McGowan says here, it’s election time coming, you sit down to your breakfast and they feed you hate and racism, that they make it up every single day.

Like the Daily Mail headline SLEEP GIVES YOU CANCER.

When it’s THIS SOCIETY that is fucking CANCEROUS! The majority of people are absorbing this message over their cornflakes, when they drive to work or doing the ironing or having an afternoon snooze, the messages are insidious, the headlines incessant. Even my own father’s attitude and conversation each time is right of Alf Garnett and informed by the Daily Heil or the BBC “we don’t tell you what to think but we tell you HOW to to think”. The Soft Power messages are everywhere.

we don’t have mainstream media, there’s nothing mainstream about it, it’s EXTREME. – John Pilger.