Spiritual and Physical Terror

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On January 6th, 2021, the Republcian Party attempted a violent coup d’etat. The attack resembled previous attacks on state governments, most notably in Michigan, but was carried out on a much larger scale. Security agencies in Washington D.C. were internally hampered as part of the Coup, but managed eventually to put it down anyway. Immediately after the failed attempt to overthrow the government, a second date, for a new attack, was announced by the insurrectionists.

Much of my political life is governed by the regular tic-toc of monthly board meetings in one or another organization. One of those monthly meetings occurred after the January 6th coup attempt but before the announced Republican coup 2.0 date. At that meeting, one of our members talked about verbal attacks and physical threats, including trespassing, damage to property, and invasion in to her home, made against her and her family by one of her Republican neighbors. Others had less frightening stories to tell, but serious concerns nonetheless. Everyone became worried. We went so far as to consider setting up a phone tree and a network of safe houses to which one might flee in the event of a local attack, in particular against people of color, since that seemed to be the trend among the White Supremacists that make up most of the Republican Party.

In short, we were terrorized. Mostly “spiritual terror” with a touch of “physical terror.”

The coup 2.0 date came and went, and by now, coup 3.0 has come and gone as well. It has become apparent that the mass movement the Republican coup relies on is impotent. The propaganda this movement puts forth has also recently weakened, as major news media finally stopped uniformly and insidiously applying blind bothsiderism to all political stories. That shift by journalists is probably a response to direct attacks on them, some with threats of physical violence and a touch of actual violence, rather than out of a sense of duty or responsibility to civilization. Had the Republicans coddled all the media, instead of just their own propaganda wing (Fox), that would almost certainly not have happened.

And all this was fueled and energized by the Big Lie, which from the Republican perspective, centers on the failure of Vice President Pence to overturn the election, thus stabbing Trump and the White Supremacists in the back, allowing Joe Biden to win, and causing Donald Trump to lose.

Have you read Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf? Do you know the German term “Dolchstosslegende”?

Adolf Hitler wrote in that book about his realization, prior to actually attempting to take over the world and exterminate or enslave all the non-Germans (starting with the Jewish people), that three things would underlie any successful revolution. One was developing a mass movement. Hitler did this by creating a “Big Lie” aka “Dolchstosslegende.” The Dolchstosslegende the falsehood that the established state and their allies stabbed the German people in the back by capitulating at the end of World War I, by surrendering unnecessarily. The Germans were winning the war, and would have won, had civilians at home not conspired to end the war through armistice. Those civilians, of course, were mostly Jews.

That was a brilliant strategy, because it created the mass movement that Hitler needed.

Hitler did not invent antisemitism, it was already well developed in Central Europe. This allowed his propaganda about his own version of the Big Lie to propagate and take effect. The two main ingredients for domination were astonishingly easy and accepted by the masses he would control: The stab-in-the back myth linked to the Jews of Germany and Austria, and the spread of that idea which would foment hate, thus leading to a mass movement.

Trump’s Republican Coup maps so perfectly onto Hitler’s application of his own theory that it is impossible to avoid imagining a Steve Bannon or Stephen Miller converting Mein Kampf into a series of memos guiding Trump’s plan.

Where does the spiritual and physical terror fit in?

Hitler recognized that world view was more important than party politics, labor organization, or any other mundane societal organizing force. He recognized that fear would wear people down, and cause them to either run away from the fight, or more commonly, simply stop being interested in being involved, to reduce the emotional costs. He called that spiritual terror. Physical terror does the same thing for an overlapping and similar audience. In speaking of one of his organized enemies, the social democrats, he “… recognized the infamy of that technique whereby the movement carried on a campaign of mental terrorism against the bourgeoisie, who are neither morally nor spiritually equipped to withstand such attacks. The tactics of Social Democracy consisted in opening, at a given signal, a veritable drum-fire of lies and calumnies against the man whom they believed to be the most redoubtable of their adversaries, until the nerves of the latter gave way and they sacrificed the man who was attacked, simply in the hope of being allowed to live in peace. But the hope proved always to be a foolish one, for they were never left in peace.*

Birherism. “Lock her up.” Attacks on the press. Frequent attacks by Republican Thugs on government facilities. More recently, attacks on election officials. This is Hiter’s, er, I mean, Trump and his White Supremacist Republican spiritual and physical terror.

The importance of these links came to me suddenly while doing some historical reading, and it occurred to me that I should tell people about it! Then, I googled it and discovered that much as been written recently on the strategic overlap between Hitler and modern day Republicans, led by Trump. Here are a couple of examples:

Trump Contrives His Stab-in-the-Back Myth by Bret Stephens.

Trump’s refusal to acknowledge defeat mirrors the lie that fueled the Nazi rise by Jeffrey Herf.

So, I assume you all knew about this already, but have you seen it memed? Here you go:

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
*Please note:
Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

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18 thoughts on “Spiritual and Physical Terror

  1. Instead of impotent. I’d say in waiting. I hope I’m wrong, but combine the spreading anti-voting laws the fascists in the QOP are putting into place around the country with their attacks on local school boards and (at least here in MI) local and county health officials, it seems the magats are waiting to get a reasonable base in discriminatory laws and handles on local boards before they make more noise. They don’t have to destroy the democracy from the top as they tried to do on Jan. 6, they can start the rot from the bottom and wait for things to collapse that way.

    1. I think the movement is impotent. If they weren’t, somebody would have shown up.

      But, aside from that, the organizers are absolutely trying to do what you are saying.

  2. For the life of me I will never understand the First World War, and what the goals of the Germans were; how the assassination of Franz Ferdinand forced Germany to be the leading aggressor in the War when they were supposedly joining to support their weaker ally. I also seem to remember that the Treaty of Versailles was thought by my history professor to be unnecessarily harsh on the German economy and their ability to recover from the war. He seemed to blame the Allies for laying the groundwork for Hitler’s rise from the German ashes.

    Is there a German Howard Zinn who can explain this for me?

    1. I recently heard an excellent explanation for the start of WW I. But I don’t remember it or where I heard it so that is lost…. but if I run into it again I’ll let you know.

      Interesting point about the allies. I also learned that, but I think it is complete. The back stabbing lie started pretty much the day the war ended, and it was the basis for Hitler’s rise to power and the Holocaust and all of it. I suspect blaming the allies for the germans being out of sorts is a revisionist attempt to make people like germans again (probably unnecessary).

    2. how the assassination of Franz Ferdinand forced Germany to be the leading aggressor in the War when they were supposedly joining to support their weaker ally…

      Austria used the assassination of Franz Ferdinand as an excuse and with the forcing of the hawkish Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf to invade Serbia who they claimed was behind the assassination.

      Russia being an ally of Serbia mobilised which in turn caused Germany to mobilise fearing an incursion on their border. This in turn caused France to mobilise, France still smarting over the loss of Alsace and Lorraine at the end of the Franco-Prussian War.

      This action ensured that Germany would dust off and use the Schlieffen Plan during an invasion of France via Belgium. Britain had an agreement to come to the aid of Belgium in the event of a German incursion. Eventually Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania became involved on one side or the other with Japan lending naval support to the British.

      There was a slew of good books written on the centenary of the outbreak of that conflict.

      However there are some older books which should be sought out including:

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/Long-Fuse-Interpretation-Origins-World/dp/0881339547

      There are more recent books that question the official account and which use the writings of Professor Carroll Quigley, ‘The Anglo-American Establishment’ and ‘Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time’ to provide context and the names and associations of those involved in devious doings.

      These two should be looked at, indeed the website is worth a visit for :

      ‘Hidden Histories’ and the follow up ‘Prolonging the Agony’

      On a similar theme but shorter is:

      Lord Milner’s Second War: The Rhodes-Milner Secret Society; The Origin of World War I

      Milner’s first war was of course the second Boer War.

    3. how the assassination of Franz Ferdinand forced Germany to be the leading aggressor in the War when they were supposedly joining to support their weaker ally…

      Austria used the assassination of Franz Ferdinand as an excuse and with the forcing of the hawkish Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf to invade Serbia who they claimed was behind the assassination.

      Russia being an ally of Serbia mobilised which in turn caused Germany to mobilise fearing an incursion on their border. This in turn caused France to mobilise, France still smarting over the loss of Alsace and Lorraine at the end of the Franco-Prussian War.

      This action ensured that Germany would dust off and use the Schlieffen Plan during an invasion of France via Belgium. Britain had an agreement to come to the aid of Belgium in the event of a German incursion. Eventually Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania became involved on one side or the other with Japan lending naval support to the British.

      There was a slew of good books written on the centenary of the outbreak of that conflict.

      However there are some older books which should be sought out including:

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/Long-Fuse-Interpretation-Origins-World/dp/0881339547

      There are more recent books that question the official account and which use the writings of Professor Carroll Quigley, ‘The Anglo-American Establishment’ and ‘Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time’ to provide context and the names and associations of those involved in devious doings.

      These two should be looked at, indeed the website is worth a visit for :

      ‘Hidden Histories’ and the follow up ‘Prolonging the Agony’

      On a similar theme but shorter is:

      Lord Milner’s Second War: The Rhodes-Milner Secret Society; The Origin of World War I

      Milner’s first war was of course the second Boer War.

  3. You should arm yourselves. That is what the 2nd amendment is for. Safe houses are all well and good, but when the evil white supremacists track you down at your safe house, you want to be able to defend yourself.

    1. And the racist returns with another asinine comment. You never seem to try to make a valid point, or even one that is relevant. Why is that?

  4. Re: “You should arm yourselves. That is what the 2nd amendment is for.”

    Really? I thought it might be a result of some sort of sexual hangup.

    Some of the numerous formerly marginalized groups now ramora on Trump have armed themselves and have been living for and dreaming about a violent revolution for years now. They would probably be happy to have some other group to trade bullets with to start their revolution, preferably one not used to armed combat.

    Do you think a violent revolution in the U. S. would be a good thing for most people in the country or would it just set the stage for a real tyranny imposed by a leader or group who survived to retain power and fend off any counterrevolution? Such has been the general rule in the world so far.

    1. Civil War would be a disaster of course.
      There are several armed groups on the left who train, it’s not clear who is better prepared, my guess is not the left but I believe their ranks would grow quickly.

      A “revolution” from the right is likely to be resoundingly unpopular and it’s not clear it would have overwhelming support from the military in fact at this time at least, quite the opposite. Let’s hope we can keep it that way.

      The number of soldiers and cops leaving their jobs over vaccine requirements at the moment gives me pause; that’s an extra axe to grind and would help drive some of those types to seek out militias to join for some sort of event should it take place.

  5. When I was in Phoenix, I was down shielding high school students holding a Die-In at the offices of the State Senate, House, and governor’s office. I got drawn into some conversations with the Patriots Movement, AZ. They’re the people who confronted a Native American and demanded to see his green card. Real whackos. They were the ones the green shirt guy (he of the meme) was laughing at in Tuscon. All of them were surprised that I know how to shoot, since they live under the stereotype that liberals are all afraid of and “hate” guns.

    Note: Nothing pushes my buttons more than someone telling me what I love and what I hate.

    More people on the left understand, and respect, guns and the damage they can do, than the RW loonies give credit for. It would be a bad surprise for them to think they can just mow us down in a civil war.

    1. “More people on the left understand, and respect, guns and the damage they can do, than the RW loonies give credit for.”

      To be honest, the modern RW loonies (loony seems to be the majority now) really don’t understand much of anything that requires rational, logical thought.

  6. The number of soldiers and cops leaving their jobs over vaccine requirements at the moment gives me pause; that’s an extra axe to grind and would help drive some of those types to seek out militias to join for some sort of event should it take place.

    It could also be a good thing Dave. If it came to a civil war type situation they would not be there pretending, Sinema style, to be on your side while stabbing you in the back. You could have more trust in the forces side fighting for democracy that way.

    1. The number of soldiers and cops leaving their jobs over vaccine requirements at the moment gives me pause

      Those numbers are minuscule.

  7. Re: “. . . You could have more trust in the forces side fighting for democracy that way.”

    I think there is something in that. Certainly there are more than a few military veterans in the right wing militias etc. While some, even most, people who join the military or police forces may join from patriotic motives and/or what could be called a drive to be socially useful citizens, there are others who have darker motives. We have seen the results on display in cases of unnecessary police shootings, chokings, and other physical assaults and brutality that make the news.

  8. Sorry about the double post. I was having trouble with a link and as I was sorting it my wife started talking to and the clock nearly ran down so I deleted and started over. Then having manage to get the link working I was interrupted again and forgot to provide name etc.

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