“We have met the enemy and he is us.”— Walt Kelly, cartoonist, celebrating the first Earth Day in 1970
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”— Henry David Thoreau
“Our worst enemies here are not the ignorant and simple, however cruel; our worst enemies are the intelligent and corrupt.”— Graham Greene
“Never explain―your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.”— Elbert Hubbard
“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”— Winston Churchill
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”— Sun Tzu
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”— Napoleon Bonaparte
“We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.”— Aesop
“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”— Sun Tzu, Niccolò Machiavelli
Our world today is a major mess, and getting worse. Who is making all of this happen, and why? Russia’s Putin? China’s Xi? WEF’s Klaus Schwab? We must have great enemies for all of this to be taking place. Lots of bad guys out there to blame. But, just maybe, we are looking in the wrong places. What if our worst enemy is us?
Walt Kelly, a cartoonist, in 1971 had his central character Pogo make what seems to be an amazingly astute observation: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Perhaps we are causing most of the problems we face today. Scary thought, yes?
But just how “us” might be causing such grief?
Our human nature – weaknesses – may be the unavoidable cause
Turns out that “us” human-critters are prone to a variety of behaviors that can cause all kinds of mischief.
Kit Knightly highlighted five experiments that illustrated how easily people in general can be misled and manipulated:
“The world is a confusing place. People do things that don’t make any sense, think things that aren’t supported by facts, endure things they do not need to endure, and viciously attack those who try to bring these things to their attention.”
These and other ground-breaking experiments illustrate how all of this works:
- People will do almost anything if they are reassured that they won’t be held responsible or they do not have a choice. Milgram experiments on obedience to authority and “diffusion of responsibility”.
- Peer pressure will change people’s minds even in the face of undeniable reality – facts, especially if you make them feel completely alone. Asch conformity experiments showing behavior under majority group social pressure.
- People in authority will abuse almost any power they’re given, while those in subject roles will tend to believe that they are powerless to change the way they are being treated. The Stanford Prison experiment involving role playing by “guards” and “inmates” that got out of control.
- People offered only a small reward for completing a task will make up their own psychological justification for taking it. Festinger’s cognitive dissonance experiment where people create their own justification for lying.
- People tend mindlessly to do whatever everyone else is doing without ever asking for a reason. The 5 Monkeys experiment where people tend to do things the way they are told they’ve always been done, without questioning or revisiting the reason behind it.
- People will believe something that never happened if it is repeated often enough. Elizabeth Loftus’ misinformation effect studies on false information. See also here.
These are simply aspects of our human nature – aka “weaknesses” – that can readily be exploited by nasty people. They can’t be “cured” or “fixed”. They are just part of what we are as humans.
We are indeed the “enemy” within
That some unpleasant folks take advantage of this human frailty is to be expected. It’s just what many bad folks do, and have done forever. In that respect, many of us normal people are inherently available, like it or not, for bad purposes under control of a relatively few bad people. We then become their tools for nefarious ends – and are therefore effectively an “enemy” within.
Today, it has become so much easier to influence otherwise normal people, located almost anywhere on earth. The techniques for subverting such people have become super-sophisticated and highly effective, for the first time in history. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were at the starting point here, and were vital drivers of the subsequent development and spread.
This particular combination of human weaknesses and powerful influencing techniques is unique in history. If there ever was a good time to pursue world domination, this is it. Effectively, every country on earth now has an enemy of some size within. And ready to exploit.
An enemy dispersed within makes a new type of war possible
In the bad old days of Napoleon, Adolph, and Uncle Joe, enemies were generally massed on both sides. There might be a few subversives among them but, in practical terms, a conqueror had to subdue the masses – effectively everybody – in order to take control. This is no longer the case.
We have today goodly numbers among each of the masses that can be made into obedient soldiers unwittingly. Effective communications and propaganda, reinforced with fear-causing events, can create a powerful fighting force within each population. A traditional fighting force with weapons and such is no longer required in many cases.
This is why the WEF and its globalist associates, which now seem to be called the GPPP (Global Public-Private Partnership), can sway and control huge populations through the use of national, regional, and local governments and businesses. Who needs bullets and guns anymore?
Well, there are the non-believers and dissidents to deal with
Even though “soft” methods of mind and behavior control will work for a large proportion of a population, there will always be a sizable core of people who actively resist, or are otherwise unaffected by, the general control methods. These unfortunately must be dealt with by traditional force.
Some cultures are not much disposed to nurturing non-believers and dissidents. Japan comes to mind here, although it too may be changing. Other cultures, like the U.S., seem to breed non-believers and dissidents in great numbers. Clashes in these cases are often resolved (to some degree) by civil wars.
In the end, it seems that the putative rulers are obliged in general to use both mind control and force approached to get their domination goals fully achieved. Removing the dissidents and non-believers by force may in fact be a necessary first step in the path to complete domination.
This seems to be just what we are seeing in so many places today.
The British philosopher and Nobel Prize (Literature) winner Bertrand Russell had a sense of the essence here almost a hundred years ago:
“I believe that, owning to men’s folly, a world-government will only be established by force, and will therefore be at first cruel and despotic. But I believe that it is necessary for the preservation of a scientific civilization, and that, if once realized, it will gradually give rise to the other conditions of a tolerable existence.”
Global communications and powerful mass influence techniques are the key
For the first time in history, it may be possible to achieve world domination. Instead of having to raise armies in order to kill those who do not obey, today’s world dominators can gain control over huge populations through powerful mind and behavior control methods. The hopefully-few remaining non-believers and dissidents will still have to be dealt with harshly (i.e., imprisoned, eliminated) using traditional methods.
This situation raises a couple of fundamental questions in my mind:
- Can they (one of the major players) succeed in this domination endeavor?
After a bit of thought, my answer here is a solid NO. Why? There are at least three major players who are powerful enough to attempt world domination: the U.S. (plus others in the West), Russia, and China. Only the globalists, who seem to be working via the WEF, U.N., and other organizations in the West, are clearly working toward a New World Order – aka, world domination. Neither Russia nor China appear to have such aspirations. In fact, both Russia and China may well oppose any attempts at world domination by western powers, or perhaps anybody.
- Is world domination even possible today?
This question is clearly related to the first one, but it has a somewhat different approach. If world domination is not possible, there may still be one or more players who will have to learn this the hard way. History is full of examples of hard-way learning by dictators. Think Hitler. Stalin and Mao seem to have aimed somewhat lower, seeking to dominate only their own country and maybe a few neighbors. Moving back to the question here, my take is that world domination is indeed possible today – for the first time in history. Never before have the tools required for global reach been so readily available. In fact, it may well turn out that the development of these population-domination tools was driven largely by just such a plan.
The world today has very many moving parts
A major impediment to gaining control over our world is simply the huge number of “moving parts” that must be brought under one ruling force. Missing even a few of the probably hundred or so potential disruptor nations may doom the whole ball game.
There are about 8 billion people on earth at the moment. Only about a billion, at most, are accessible to direct control by a West-based domination group, such as the WEF and its GPPP-followers. The remaining 7 billion surely contain enough independent thinkers with access to substantial resources and power to cause a great deal of trouble for any domination wannabes. This group almost certainly includes Russia and China, along with a large number of Eurasian nations.
So, bad news it seems for the world dominators.
Even if Russia and China go mostly their own ways, they seem likely to unite against any external dominator wannabe. Their sheer population advantages make any such efforts by them very likely to prevail.
My take, for whatever it may be worth, is that the likeliest outcome near-term is that the three major powers will remain much as they are today, with none dominating anything close to the whole world.
A nuclear World War III is a wildcard in all of this
While there is a tiny but non-zero probability of a nuclear war being started in the somewhat near future, it’s devastating no-winners outcome seems likely to keep this as only a remote possibility for the indefinite future. Assuming of course that it does not get set off by accident.
The trouble with a nuclear war, apart from its killing nearly everybody, is that it has a quite fragile trigger. It takes the launch of but one big nuke to automatically trigger the launch of thousands more. Despite the many strong precautions against such a happening, our human nature seems all too likely to develop a situation not covered by planners. An “accident”.
“Russia’s ‘Dead Hand’ or ‘Perimeter’ System, … is a Cold War-era automatic nuclear weapons-control system (similar in concept to the American AN/DRC-8 Emergency Rocket Communications System) that was constructed by the Soviet Union … and remains in use in the post-Soviet Russian Federation. An example of fail-deadly and mutual assured destruction deterrence, it can automatically initiate the launch of the Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by sending a pre-entered highest-authority order from the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Strategic Missile Force Management to command posts and individual silos if a nuclear strike is detected by seismic, light, radioactivity, and pressure sensors even with the commanding elements fully destroyed [emphasis added]. By most accounts, it is normally switched off and is supposed to be activated during times of crisis; however, as of 2009, it was said to remain fully functional and able to serve its purpose when needed.”
It seems very likely that the U.S. and NATO have a similar system in place.
Cognitive warfare – the battle for your brain
It is pretty clear from the preceding notes that human nature includes quite a number of “weaknesses” through which large numbers of people can be readily rendered cooperative if not active supporters of almost anything. It’s just what we are. It can’t generally be removed or blocked. Thanks in part to recent research into these common human cognitive and behavioral portals, some ingenious folks have figured out how best to exploit them.
Here is a brief excerpt from a recent article describing what appears to be going on:
“Cognitive Warfare (CW), the ‘Battle for your brain,’ involves the ‘militarization of brain science;’ the ‘brain is the battlefield of 21st century.’
“Cognitive warfare is a fight against what we think and the way we think and seeks to change how we act.”
“The objectives of cognitive warfare are to sow dissonance, instigate conflicting narratives, polarize opinion, and radicalize groups. Cognitive warfare can motivate people to act in ways that can disrupt or fragment an otherwise cohesive society.”
“CW involves ‘hacking the individual’ and ‘exploiting vulnerabilities in the human brain’ for ‘social engineering’ purposes.”
“CW is the ‘art of using neuro S/T technologies to alter the cognition of human targets’ in order ‘to harm the cognitive abilities of opponents,’ ‘make everyone a weapon,’ ‘harm societies as well as military,’ and ‘capture the psycho-cultural as well as the geographical high ground’- at home and abroad.”
“The CW battlefield is global via the internet. Just as this new mode of battle has no geographic borders, it also has no time limit: With no beginning and no end, this conquest knows no respite anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
“Anyone and everyone can be a target of CW. ‘Any user of modern information technologies is a potential target. CW targets the whole of a nation’s human capital.’ Everyone and anyone is considered an embedded fifth column (such as part of Russian or Chinese sleeper cells) who might do the bidding of our enemies, and therefore is considered an adversary.”
“Today’s progresses in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science, boosted by the seemingly unstoppable march of a triumphant troika made of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and civilizational ‘digital addiction’ have created a much more ominous prospect: an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors (again, for example, China and Russia).”
How real is this? Who knows, but it seems quite credible given what we understand today about the human nature aspects involved and the prevalence of some fairly aggressive and nasty groups globally.
So, what if anything can we do about all of this?
It is pretty clear that a majority of people can be brought under the control of aggressive leaders and organizations via mind control. This means that the “enemy within” is not the majority who have come under the control of possibly nasty leaders and groups. It is instead those of us who have not succumbed to the now-intense mind control machinations.
Biden in his September 1, 2022, address made it very clear just who he and his government think are the “enemies within”. This seems to include around half of the U.S. population. Of course, it is crazy politics season, with mid-terms coming up, so such statements really have to be taken with a truckload of salt.
Similar “divide-and-conquer” efforts are underway in quite a few other countries. Sizable chunks of national populations are being targeted as enemies within.
With economic and financial problems growing menacingly across the globe, people are becoming increasingly susceptible to such propaganda and mind control efforts. This suggests that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. There is huge momentum behind the divisiveness efforts. The next post will address this situation in more detail.
It may get bad enough that it becomes unavoidable to choose between what appears more and more to be the two extremes. Moderation has been cancelled for the present.
Human nature generally counsels us to choose a winning side if at all possible. This choice often has much to do with survival. Human nature doesn’t tend to favor non-survival options.
The trick here of course is picking the winning side early in the battle. It is often very hard to see the eventual winner until too late in the game. One typically doesn’t resort to flipping a coin in matters of personal survival.
Picking a side based on beliefs and principles doesn’t require predicting a winner, but it does place one in serious risk in the matter of survival. It brings up the question of whether you are willing pursue some issue or course of action with total and wholehearted conviction, despite the difficulty and potential consequences of doing so – a hill you are willing to die on, as the saying goes.
Your choice of sides may identify the hill you are willing to die on
If you can’t tell which side is most likely to win at the time you are forced to make a choice between opposing sides, you are probably best served by choosing a side based on your strongly-held beliefs and principles, if any. Otherwise, going with the majority may be safest.
The stakes may well be survival-high in our present situation. When a top government leader speaks forcefully against one side with the threat of civil war, then the stakes are definitely high.
This said, I am obliged to think a bit about how I would respond today. My nature is not to go along with any majority on my belief that the majority is very often wrong. They may however win the battle, wrong or not, so that opposing the majority has some serious risks.
Having just reread Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, I am even more inclined right now to ignore whatever majority may exist. Instead, I would follow my own instincts that hopefully reflect my strongest beliefs and principles. Despite what are likely to be serious risks.
America was founded and prospered mightily because a relatively small number of people put principles of freedom from British tyranny ahead of personal survival. Many died on this hill as a result, but the few ended up victorious. This is a case where the majority was not the right side to choose.
Obviously, this is a very personal choice. Each of us has a unique set of strengths, resources, weaknesses, and struggles. No one can do more than offer to explain one’s own position and choice.
Of course, those engaged in cognitive warfare have a very different take on what we all should do. It is kind of along the lines of “do what you are told, or else”. This today is very serious, and many of us will not have much choice. They will choose to survive, and live to fight – maybe – another day.
Mind control aka cognitive warfare has been with us for a long while
Finn Andreen via The Mises Institute noted that knowledge of a tech-free form of mind control existed about 160 years ago: “Antiwar Criticism and the Formation of Collective Opinion”:
“In his famous work, On Liberty (1859), John Stuart Mill is perhaps today best known for his prescient early warning of the dangers of the ‘collective opinion’; the ‘tyranny of the majority’ in the form of ‘the dominant opinions and feelings that society is trying to impose’ on a minority.”
“Society’s majority is naturally intolerant of nonconformism because thinking like everyone else gives psychological comfort and strengthens social ties. Yet, though society depends on collective opinion for its social cohesion, paradoxically it also depends for its well-being on views that run counter to this majority opinion. Just as natural science progresses only through the sometimes tortuous but generally respectful process of peer review, society also needs minority opinions and dissident voices to curb the permanent search for consensus on the part of the majority.”
“But minority opinions will suffocate if there is no deeper understanding of Mill’s idea. Fortunately, this understanding exists today. To Mill’s ‘collective opinion’ were added fundamental sociological concepts, such as ‘crowd psychology’ (Gustave Le Bon, 1895), the ‘political formula’ (Gaetano Mosca, 1923), ‘propaganda’ (Edward Bernays, 1928), the ‘role of the intellectuals’ (F.A. Hayek, 1949), the ‘banality of evil’ (H. Arendt, 1963), the ‘manufacturing of consent’ (Chomsky and Herman, 1988), and recently the concept of ‘mass formation psychosis’ (Matthias Desmet).”
“Political globalization, an antiliberal process which has been underway for several decades, has the effect of aligning national political centers and thus reducing plurality. Gradually, Western political power is flowing toward supranational institutions (like the UN, the EU, the World Economic Forum). This centralization of political power, and the resulting economic concentration of business, including concentration of media groups that this has entailed enables and facilitates the formation of public opinion by the Western elites.”
Thanks to human nature, every society has its potential “enemies within”. Communication advances based on behavioral research have made it possible to reach and convert huge numbers of individuals in any society. Those not reached and converted automatically become enemies within. Us, to be enemies, merely have to disagree with or actively oppose the powers that be who control the majority. Causes and principles hardly matter these days except those advocated by the current group of controllers.
Our own choice of being “enemy” or “friend” is serious and often risky. It may well involve choosing the hill that we are willing to die on – in reality.
- Nic Haralambous writing in Medium.com directly addresses the question of choosing the hill you are willing to die on: “Ask yourself: Is this the hill you want to die on?”:
“Every day, we fight. We fight to live, we fight to get our way, we fight for our relationships, and we fight at work. Every day, we fight.”
“The issue is not so much that we fight a lot, it’s that most of us don’t realize we’re fighting and don’t know which hills we have climbed are important enough to die on.”
“In battle, hills are typically important pieces of ground that provide strategic advantages if won. It’s important to know which hills are worth climbing and fighting for and which are not. Once you have won a specific hill, are you willing to die to retain it? By choosing this particular hill, could you win the war?”
“These are all decisions that must be made before you wage a battle for ownership of a hill. Hence the phrase; “the hill you want to die on.” Ask yourself: Is this the hill you want to die on? You don’t have to fight to the death on every hill you climb.”
- Poet, philosopher, and naturalist Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) did not see government as the solution for much of anything, but instead a major part of the problem. In the individual’s conscience and actions lay the only hope. Via Wikipedia on Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience:
“In ‘Civil Disobedience’, Thoreau wrote: ‘I heartily accept the motto—That government is best which governs least; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe—’That government is best which governs not at all;’ and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have… But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.”
“Thoreau asserts that because governments are typically more harmful than helpful, they therefore cannot be justified. Democracy is no cure for this, as majorities simply by virtue of being majorities do not also gain the virtues of wisdom and justice. The judgment of an individual’s conscience is not necessarily inferior to the decisions of a political body or majority, and so it is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right…. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.’ He adds, ‘I cannot for an instant recognize as my government [that] which is the slave’s government also.’
“The government, according to Thoreau, is not just a little corrupt or unjust in the course of doing its otherwise-important work, but in fact the government is primarily an agent of corruption and injustice. Because of this, it is ‘not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize’.”
“Political philosophers have counseled caution about revolution because the upheaval of revolution typically causes a lot of expense and suffering. Thoreau contends that such a cost/benefit analysis is inappropriate when the government is actively facilitating an injustice as extreme as slavery. Such a fundamental immorality justifies any difficulty or expense to bring it to an end. ‘This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people.’”
“Thoreau tells his audience that they cannot blame this problem solely on pro-slavery Southern politicians, but must put the blame on those in, for instance, Massachusetts, ‘who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity, and are not prepared to do justice to the slave and to Mexico, cost what it may… There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them.’”
“He exhorts people not to just wait passively for an opportunity to vote for justice, because voting for justice is as ineffective as wishing for justice; what you need to do is to actually be just. This is not to say that you have an obligation to devote your life to fighting for justice, but you do have an obligation not to commit injustice and not to give injustice your practical support.”
“Paying taxes is one way in which otherwise well-meaning people collaborate in injustice. People who proclaim that the war in Mexico is wrong and that it is wrong to enforce slavery contradict themselves if they fund both things by paying taxes. Thoreau points out that the same people who applaud soldiers for refusing to fight an unjust war are not themselves willing to refuse to fund the government that started the war.”
“In a constitutional republic like the United States, people often think that the proper response to an unjust law is to try to use the political process to change the law, but to obey and respect the law until it is changed. But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken. In the case of the United States, the Constitution itself enshrines the institution of slavery, and therefore falls under this condemnation. Abolitionists, in Thoreau’s opinion, should completely withdraw their support of the government and stop paying taxes, even if this means courting imprisonment, or even violence.”
“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison…. where the State places those who are not with her, but against her—the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor…. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. […] But even suppose blood should flow. Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.”