This Sunday’s Epistle reading concluded with the following verse and a half: “And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts” (I Pet. 3:14-15a). The words that I have emboldened from the first of Christ’s Vicars are words that we should meditate on to see our way through the challenges of these days, for we are living in a regime of fear, and fear can be a powerful tool of manipulation in the hands of our enemies. As a result, many people are terribly “troubled.”
Saint Peter’s words struck me yesterday in a way that they never had before. Strangely enough, I was prepared for them by a visit to the chiropractor. About to walk out of his office (a bit better than when I walked in!), I had the strange experience of shaking his hand and then expressing relief that he was not “social distancing.” This became an ice-breaker that led him to relate an instructive anecdote: Someone representing the city approached him and other business owners with the request that they take a “pledge” to observe certain Covid-19-inspired safety recommendations from the CDC and the State of New Hampshire. The chiropractor demurred, telling the person who approached him, “I would rather not contribute to spreading fear.”
From that visit on Thursday till Sunday, I thought a lot about how this entire Covid-19 PSYOP — the largest exercise in social engineering in the history of the world — depends upon fear, fear surrounding an “invisible enemy” you are led to believe lurks everywhere, but especially on other people, with the seemingly miraculous exception of large-scale, cheek-by-jowl riots brought to you by the professional Marxist agitants of Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
Fear is one of the eleven passions, which are divided into the six concupiscible passions: love, hate, desire, aversion, joy, sorrow; and the five irascible passions: hope, despair, daring, fear, and anger. These passions are good servants but poor masters since they should always be under the control of reason, just as reason itself must be conformed to the natural and supernatural Law of God. As a gift of the Holy Ghost, fear has a very valuable and necessary place in our spiritual life (see “Fear, Holy and Unholy”); and, even as a passion or emotion, it can be used to our advantage. But, like all our emotions, the passion of fear can be manipulated by our visible and invisible enemies to our detriment.
As Dr. E. Michael Jones has shown in scholarly detail in his book, Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control, the disordered desire for venereal pleasure is also a powerful tool for control. Perhaps the passion of fear is not quite that effective, but I venture that it is at least a close second. There is also a similarity in the way the two passions can be manipulated for control; so, looking at control and manipulation through the lens of one can give insights into how the other might be used. Used in tandem, as they are, fear and lust can be a devastating combination.
There are certain people whose manipulative techniques resemble the methods of the demons. A case in point is the late Jeffrey Epstein, who has come roaring back into the headlines thanks the arrest of his accused partner in crime, Ghislaine Maxwell. She was taken into FBI custody last week here in New Hampshire, less than an hour and a half distance from where I am now writing. According to Epstein’s victims, Maxwell was the vixen who recruited and groomed underaged females for abuse by that reptilian predator. Aside from his own personal sins against these troubled girls, Mr. Epstein also used them as “honey pots,” i.e., bait to entrap the powerful people who frequented his Caribbean island and his private jet (dubbed “the Lolita Express”). This is how he resembled the demons: by getting “the goods” on those powerful people who frequented his bordello, he could extort favors from them. In other words, he controlled them by manipulating their vices — in this case through the crass method of having blackmail material furnished by cameras hidden in the “private” rooms of his pleasure palace. The demons, of course, are not interested in blackmail per se, but they do exert control over us by manipulating our vices. The less we are under the sway of vice, the less control they have over us.
Specific to fear, I will point out one last thing about Mr. Epstein. It is obvious that he not only manipulated lust, but also fear. “Honeypot operations” are not only the stuff of movies; they have long been used by intelligence agencies: American, Russian, Israeli, etc. (at least one account has it that Epstein and Maxwell were both working with the Mossad which would not be terribly difficult to believe). Sometimes it is an espionage recruiting tool, sometimes it is plain old blackmail. But consider it from Epstein’s angle. He wants favors from powerful people who are in his pocket as a result of the goods he has on them. A conversation ensues: “It would be a shame if your wife found out, Senator… about those photos, I mean. Please do me this favor, and your secret’s safe with me!” That is not only the manipulation of lust, but also of fear. Even if the Senator’s wife already knows that she married a rake, no doubt his political opponents would find the revelations handy to use against him if they became news. The journalists ready to get dirt from “informed sources” are legion.
It is an aside, but given the moral caliber of most of the swamp dwellers in the District of Columbia, why should we be surprised that so much evil and so little good comes out of the place? Such blackmail and manipulation is common there. The reader may note that I am going very thin on supporting links in these two paragraphs. It is not for want of material; I simply do not want to bring attention to the prurient details.
Back to fear. Richard Gunderman’s article, “The Manipulation of the American Mind: Edward Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations,” has very much to tell us. Because it gives so much insight into the way we are manipulated by propaganda, I will quote from Gunderman’s article at some length. (Its subject is discussed in much more detail in the above-mentioned book by Dr. E. Michael Jones.)
Near the beginning of the article, Gunderman quotes Bernays’ own frank and almost unbelievable words from his “seminal work,” the 1928 book, Propaganda:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.
Gunderman goes on:
Bernays came by his beliefs honestly. Born in Austria in 1891, the year Sigmund Freud published one of his earliest papers, Bernays was also Freud’s nephew twice over. His mother was Freud’s sister Anna, and his father, Ely Bernays, was the brother of Freud’s wife Martha.
The year after his birth, the Bernays family moved to New York, and Bernays later graduated from Cornell with a degree in agriculture. But instead of farming, he chose a career in journalism, eventually helping the Woodrow Wilson Administration promote the idea that US efforts in World War I were intended to bring democracy to Europe. …
Having seen how effective propaganda could be during war, Bernays wondered whether it might prove equally useful during peacetime.
Yet propaganda had acquired a somewhat pejorative connotation (which would be further magnified during World War II), so Bernays promoted the term “public relations.”
Drawing on the insights of his Uncle Sigmund — a relationship Bernays was always quick to mention — he developed an approach he dubbed “the engineering of consent.” He provided leaders the means to “control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it.” To do so, it was necessary to appeal not to the rational part of the mind, but the unconscious.
The “unconscious,” keep in mind, is Uncle Sigmund’s “id,” which Dr. Jones says is synonymous with the passions. So, Bernays is “engineering consent” by manipulating people’s passions. Keep in mind that this became the tried-and-true methodology in the 1920’s! If anything, it has been refined since then.
Continuing with Gunderman:
Bernays acquired an impressive list of clients, ranging from manufacturers such as General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and the American Tobacco Company, to media outlets like CBS and even politicians such as Calvin Coolidge. To counteract President Coolidge’s stiff image, Bernays organized “pancake breakfasts” and White House concerts with Al Jolson and other Broadway performers. With Bernays’ help, Coolidge won the 1924 election.
Bernays’ publicity campaigns were the stuff of legend. To overcome “sales resistance” to cigarette smoking among women, Bernays staged a demonstration at the 1929 Easter parade, having fashionable young women flaunt their “torches of freedom.”
He promoted Lucky Strikes by convincing women that the forest green hue of the cigarette pack was among the most fashionable of colors. The success of this effort was manifested in innumerable window displays and fashion shows.
In the 1930s, he promoted cigarettes as both soothing to the throat and slimming to the waistline. But at home, Bernays was attempting to persuade his wife to kick the habit. When [he] would find a pack of her Parliaments in their home, he would snap every one of them in half and throw them in the toilet. While promoting cigarettes as soothing and slimming, Bernays, it seems, was aware of some of the early studies linking smoking to cancer.
Bernays used the same techniques on children. To convince kids that bathing could be fun, he sponsored soap sculpture competitions and floating contests. These were designed to prove that Ivory bars were more buoyant than competing products.
And then comes a special mention of the passion that is our subject, fear:
Bernays also used fear to sell products. For Dixie cups, Bernays launched a campaign to scare people into thinking that only disposable cups were sanitary. As part of this campaign, he founded the Committee for the Study and Promotion of the Sanitary Dispensing of Food and Drink.
Sound familiar? Other drinking vessels were not sanitary — crawling, no doubt, with microbial “invisible enemies” that will kill you and your family after a few unsuspecting sips of your favorite fluid. Dixie cups to the rescue! That was then. Now we are rescued by masks, social distancing, ruined family businesses from unnecessary lockdowns, and other nonsense — but especially, the benevolent Bill Gates’ vaccine that we are all supposed to be begging for. Note, too, that Bernays fabricated a fake bureaucracy as part of the sell, with the pompous name, “the Committee for the Study and Promotion of the Sanitary Dispensing of Food and Drink.” We Americans are often suckers for bureaucracies, like the inflated and polyvalent ones currently cramming corona-mania down our throats.
Fear sells. Some of my readers may well be old enough to recall the famous 1964 attack ad that helped get Lyndon Johnson elected, beating Barry Goldwater whom he had framed as a war hawk. At the height of the Cold War, with people frightened of “the Bomb,” this was very effective political marketing. You don’t have to be quite as old as that to recall Karl Malden’s fear-based American Express Traveler’s Checks ads, of which there were many, like this one. Politicians, insurance companies, home appliances, even beauty products are all sold using fear. I’ll never forget the true confession I heard from a Rainbow salesman on how fear was a major part of his pitch for that product.
During the Cold War, the CIA and other parts of the American deep-state, with their friends in Henry Luce’s media empire, used fear of the “Red Menace” to build up a very unwholesome American Imperium in part by dismantling Catholic social teaching both at home and abroad as David Wemhoff has amply documented in his book, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition. (See “Doctrinal Warfare, the CIA, and the Colonizing of the Catholic Mind.”)
Similarly, the “War on Terror” got Americans to go for all sorts of infringements of our liberties, from the Patriot Act to the intrusive TSA body cavity searches, and the like. These and similar Big State maneuvers are the Orwellian manipulation that turns Big Brother into a benevolent protector who will save the feckless inhabitants of Oceania from the likes of Emmanuel Goldstein, whom they are taught to fear and execrate in the daily Two Minutes Hate. (Please pardon my lapse into the world of 1984, but it is all too timely.)
As far as COVID-19 goes, we get more than two minutes of hate, fear, and hysteria every day. It’s nonstop PSYOP.
Anyone who has been reading what I’ve published the last several weeks knows that I’m not a true believer in the coronavirus party line. If you are still skeptical of my skepticism, I recommend this discussion between Steve Cunningham and James Corbett, along with the myriad links Steve provided to supporting information. Virologists, immunologists, doctors, nurses, and other professionals are lining up against the official party line being hyped from the Malthusians at the WHO, the CDC, and the interlocking directorate of foundations, NGOs, Big Tech, Big Pharma, mainstream media, and other profiteering paladins of panic. We need to unshackle ourselves from the chains of their fear.
I would like to close these considerations by looking at the insights contained in the closing three paragraph’s of Sofo Archon’s article, “Fear-Based Manipulation: How Politicians, Marketers and the Media Create Panic to Control the Masses”:
The first and most important thing is to identify fear when it arises within you and try to see it for what it is, without shying away from it or pretending that it’s not there. By bringing fear into your conscious awareness, you’ll be able to examine where it’s coming from and what message it’s trying to convey to you, which will help you to better understand it and hence deal with it. In fact, research has suggested that just acknowledging an emotion and explicitly identifying fear can help manage its subsequent effects on our behavior.
The technique these researchers recommend is called “affect labeling,” which essentially amounts to putting a name on the emotion one is experiencing — “grabbing” the feeling with the intellect, if you will: “I am now experiencing fear.” This alone helps to calm us. As in an exorcism wherein the demon is forced to reveal itself by name, once the identity of the emotion is established, we now have a “handle” with with to grasp and subdue it. This same technique can be used in all our temptations. A good confessor once advised me that, when tempted, I should “name the demon” tempting me. When we call the temptation by its name — generally one of the seven deadly sins — we control it, and not it us. At least this practice is a helpful beginning in getting control of it.
Archon’s subsequent pieces of advice — “remember to associate feelings of fear with the need to slow down and regain mental and emotional clarity” and don’t trust purported “authority figures” and experts manipulating your fears, but scrutinize their claims — are along the same logical lines.
I am aware that Archon is a self-described “freethinker.” Too bad for him. But his insights here are well said and comport with both philosophia perennis and Catholic morals. His suggestions all amount to applications of one general principle: the will asserting the authority of reason over emotion and the intellect judging whether our emotional reactions are reasonable or not. This is good. It is a methodology that asserts the proper hierarchy existing within each one of us, and holds our emotions accountable. Then we can hold accountable those who are manipulating our emotions.
Once you realize how your fear is being manipulated, you will not be “afraid of their fear” any longer. Then the regnant emotion may well become anger, but even that can and must be subject to reason so that it becomes disciplined and directed into truly righteous indignation and rational, salutary action.