09 June 2015

Enemies of the State

The Lucifer Effect by Zimbardo, 2007, Excerpts

Among the operational principles we must add to our arsenal of weapons that trigger evil acts by ordinarily good men and women are those developed by nation-states to incite their own citizens. Nations prepare their young men to engage in deadly wars while also preparing citizens to endorse engaging in wars of aggression. Propaganda helps accomplish this difficult transformation. Images of the enemy are created by national media propaganda, in complicity with governments, to prepare the minds of soldiers and citizens to hate those who fit the new category “your enemy. Such mental conditioning is a soldier’s most potent weapon. Without it, he might never put another young man in the crosshairs of his gun sight and fire to kill him.

In creating a new evil enemy in the minds of good members of righteous tribes, “the enemy” is: aggressor, faceless, rapist, godless, barbarian, greedy, criminal, torturer, murderer, an abstraction, or a dehumanized animal. Scary images reveal one’s nation being consumed by the animals that are most universally feared: snakes, rats, spiders, insects, lizards, gigantic gorillas, octopi, or even “English pigs.”

US airdrops anti-Isis propaganda cartoon over Syrian city of Raqqa
27 Mar 2015
The latest US attempt at combatting the Islamic State’s social-media-borne propaganda is decidedly low-tech: leaflet drops displaying a grisly cartoon that portrays the jihadist army as indifferent murders.

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