Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fear as a Weapon of Mass Hypnosis

"I do not believe for one moment that it is mere coincidence that the Bush administration just happens to uncover some plot or threat of attack whenever the administration is facing political troubles. Rather, I believe that we are seeing is an administration deliberately using terror management theory to deflect attention from scandals and manipulate public opinion to expand White House power in our increasingly, distressingly authoritarian society.

"What is terror management theory? If you are like the vast majority of people, you have never heard of terror management theory. In all the books I have read recently by various political commentators, I have seen plenty of talk about the White House’s use of fear and 9/11, but no mention of terror management theory. It has received surprisingly little attention from the mainstream media. Nobody talks about it outside of certain academic circles, mostly within the field of social psychology, and presumably certain government officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the White House, whose discussions I am not privy to.

"The DHS and White House officials are among those who know about terror management theory because they’re the ones paying for at least some of the research in this field. DHS and military officials have received briefings from some researchers in the field, and have presumably reported on those briefings to their superiors in the White House. Other research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and similar organizations.

"All this silence on the subject of terror management theory is striking, because the theory so thoroughly explains much of the Bush administration’s interactions with the press and the public that understanding the theory can change the way you interpret the news..."

The politics of terror management

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