Friday, April 28, 2006

Protection Racket

In a previous essay, I addressed the natural resistance to believing that someone you trust could commit an atrocity. This essay focuses on a related issue: abuse and our supposed protectors.

You're a 10-year old. You don't know how to put a roof over your head, how to put food on the table, or how to defend yourself against bad guys. Your father takes care of those things (its a traditional marriage).

Your mother tells you that your father is abusive and hits her. Will it be easy for you to believe that?

You're a modern American. You don't know how to build a school, drive a fire truck, or defend yourself from foreign armies. Your government takes care of those things (its a traditional society).

Your friend tells you that 9/11 was an inside job. Will it be easy for you to believe that?

The answer in both cases is no, and for the same reasons. If you don't know how to protect yourself, you will be very reluctant to believe that your protector could be abusive, crazy or outright evil.

How Widespread?

Physical abuse might seem like a poor analogy to 9/11. However, there are 2 million reported cases of child abuse per year, and millions more acts of spousal abuse occur each year:

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a national survey that 34 percent of adults in the United States had witnessed a man beating his wife or girlfriend

• An act of domestic violence occurs every 15 seconds in the U.S.

• Victims and abusers are found in every social and economic class, race, religious group, and sexual orientation.

(these figures are apparently just for overt physical abuse. The numbers for emotional abuse are probably much higher.)

Protecting the Protector

Witnesses to abuse and even the victims of abuse themselves will go to great lengths to ignore or explain away the abuse. Indeed, it is often easier for victims to identify with their abuser than to face the terror of having their protector abandon them or to realize they've been abused.

Think about it. If you're a 10-year old, realizing that your father is an abuser might mean facing that the guy who puts food on the table and a roof over your head will pull the plug, and you'll be out on your ear stuggling in the cold, hard world without a provider and protector.

The child might find it easier to identify with the abuser than to face the terror of having to fend for him or herself in an overwhelming world. That is part of the reason why one of every three abused children becomes an adult abuser or victim. Either way, the adult makes the abuser right.

Similarly, one of the main reasons that people are so resistant to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job by our government is that that realization would mean that our provider and protector -- the "parent" that protects our borders, puts out the fires and builds the schools -- will not be there for us.

That is a terrifying idea for most people.

Abused Nations

Does this same dynamic hold true for nations? Have the Israelis become abusers in the Middle East because Jews were the victims in the holocaust? Have Christians launched a new "crusade" against Muslims because Christians were thrown to the lions by the Romans?

This sounds whacky, doesn't it? But think about it. Is it possible that Israel overreacts to perceived threats because of past abuse or -- at the very least -- falls into a bully role when it is the least bit pushed? And while the U.S. is -- the sole superpower with little real threat -- invades and threatens move preemptive wars, isn't it acting like it is being persecuted by muslims who are trying to mortally wound and snuff out its Christian way of life (85% of Americans are Christian, and many think of the U.S. as a Christian nation)?

Just like the abused child often grows up to be a domineering, bullying abuser, nations may also. After all, they are led by people who -- despite their supposed rationales and high-sounding rhetoric -- are driven by emotions.

Historical Waves

Indeed, a well-established branch of psychology, called "PsychoHistory", teaches that war and fascism are caused by the mass "acting out" of abusive childhoods on the national and world stages. Many psychohistorians know about false flag operations and understand that 9/11 was an inside job (indeed, the leading scholar in the field of psychohistory is a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth).

So not only are national leaders driven by their experience or ideas of abuse, but individual citizens also project their individual experiences, emotions and insecurities onto the national stage.

For example, Americans as a whole may right now be acting out our childhood issues in the form of our faulty assumptions about 9/11, our slide towards fascism, and our eagerness to fight the "war on terror".

Waking Up

We are not children anymore. We are adults, and we can take care of ourselves. We don't need government to act like our parent.

When we realize that, we know longer have to act like an abuser or a victim, we know longer have to perpetuate the myth of the protector. We can see things as they truly are, and make informed decisions as individuals and as a nation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch, George. This is really on target. You're asking the nation to recognize its hidden self, and the existence of emotional, physical, psychological and sexual abuse that pervades our society. It is also the root cause for the Abu Ghraib experience. And you correctly state that what it takes is for the individual, and the society, to stand up on its own two feet. I will never forget the time and place in the backyard of my house when, with firm stance and fists raised, I told my abusive parent that I was ready to give as well as get. The physical and psychological abuse stopped instantly. In our society, it will take a little more time, but you have provided a functional framework for understanding.

As in the movie "Witness"...: Enough!

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another good analogy--thanks for the efforts to bridge Americans' psychological gaps left by the many years of being spoon-fed half-true news by the mainstream media. Let's not forget though that while nations may seem to emulate the actions of a troubled person, the cause can often be traced to the actions and decisions of specific individuals. 9-11 is a case in point. The demolition of the WTC and framing of muslims for the crime was a deliberate act by a small group of people, not the emergent behavior of an abused population!

3:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, but how does it work?

Which of the known self-defense mechanisms and psychological biases contribute?

Self-serving bias: The tendency to take credit for success and blame external factors for failure.
Egocentricity bias: The tendency to exaggerate the importance of one’s role in past events.
False consensus bias: The tendency to believe that most people share one’s opinions and values.
Assumption of uniqueness: The tendency to overestimate one’s uniqueness.
Self-righteous bias: The tendency to regard oneself as having higher moral standards or greater moral consistency than others have.
In-group / out-group bias: The tendency to view members of groups to which one belongs in a more positive light than members of groups of which one does not belong.

Repression: Motivated amnesia
Projection: Misattributing some aspect of oneself to someone else.
Disavowal (or denial): Disbelieving a true memory or perception.
Reaction-formation: Representing an attitude or emotion as its opposite.
Rationalization: Attributing mental states to false reasons.
Acting out: Precipitately acting to preempt conscious awareness.

And are these ubiquitous aspects of human psychology, not specific to any cultures or geographic regions?

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you George.

What's your opinion about the Pentagon incident?


At 9:37:46, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, traveling at approximately 530 miles per hour.61 All on board, as well as many civilian and military personnel in the building, were killed.

was supposed to have caused this:

10:54 PM  

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