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Principle 5: Society will always have an enemy--a race, a country, a political party. This enemy is artificial, merely a tactic in the eternal war waged by hate.
How to Create an Enemy
Step 1: Prime the Mind
The ancient Greeks had a rhetorical strategy called mythos. This is myth making. It can also be called broad deception. Get a story out to the public in many different ways, get it into the public discourse, and their minds will be primed to believe something else later on.
It worked in ancient Greece because most Greeks were illiterate and had to form their thoughts from daily conversations, which were often little more than gossip. The same strategy works today because, although we are literate, in a practical sense we are illiterate since so much of our knowledge comes from the free internet.
Our news gets combined with the myth of tech. We are told that certain things are "trending" on Twitter, that a particular topic is being "discussed" on Reddit, that a video on Youtube has millions of “views” and is being targeted by the government.
The myth of tech has primed us to believe that what materializes into the hive-mind must have legitimacy. And since many of us are in a state of perpetual anger and confusion caused by the internet, we cannot tell what is real and what is false, what has merit and truth and what does not.
In the Second Discourse of the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu text, the Blessed One says:
and from confusion
from the fall of memory
comes the loss of insight;
and one is lost
when one's insight is lost.
Step 2: Implant the Enemy
For the past several weeks there have been reputable op-eds in the WSJ and NYT claiming the Chinese have made deliberate and nefarious actions related to the pandemic.
Report after report about counterfeit masks and faulty devices from China are circulating the free news, as well as allegations about labs and secrecy and the Chinese military. "Investigators" claim that the Chinese have bullied the WHO and silenced people speaking out.
All of this has a hint of truth to our ears as we were long ago primed to believe anti-China news. We are all somehow mysteriously aware that China has a robust censorship apparatus.
Much of what is being said in the liberal press today echoes what was said in the republican press months ago, which gives the republican press incentive to say it even louder. The two sides appear to have something to agree on, which means it must be true.
This Sunday, the rhetoric became haunting and ominous.
In a 16 minute interview on Face the Nation--which is a 46 minute, greatly respected show -- a former director of the NSA, a man with white teeth, a purple tie (which signifies political unity), and a silver tongue, told us that the "ledger of circumstantial evidence" implies the Chinese government is culpable in the release of the virus, and purposely restricted our access to masks.
To the general public, this man appears intelligent and thoughtful and earnest. His title and position in government give him gravity. However, to a student of history and rhetoric his performance of sophistry was rehearsed, deliberate, and tinged with seductive hate.
His words and reasoning echo things we were told in off hand ways in the past, such as the Chinese are secretive, and so it feels as though we've known this all along. Yet the only thing we know is that a majority opinion is forming.
There is always a reason for a majority opinion. Something as dubious as a "ledger of circumstantial evidence" can be used to create any narrative.
Martin Luther King Jr writes in his sermon Transformed Nonconformist: "Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion.... Nowhere is the tragic tendency to conform more evident than in the church, an institution which has often served to crystallize, conserve, and even bless the patterns of majority opinion."
It does not take the genius of MLK Jr to see that the drum beat against China has begun.
Step 3: Appeal to God
The myth making has begun. An enemy has been chosen. In one month's time when we hear a story about China, we will be vaguely aware of something bad, of something nefarious... as though it is part of our subconscious, we know they are evil, and we will conclude exactly what we are supposed to conclude.
As the fever pitch grows, somebody will get on the news and make the killer argument, that the Chinese do not believe in God, therefore they are not our brothers and sisters.
We will be told that they have no Bible, no prophet, and thus are less than human. Community preachers will tell us that all men are made in the image of God, that God is not Chinese, therefore the Chinese are not human.
Do not allow such arguments to infect your mind.
Part 4: The Solution
I have heard similar arguments from friends I greatly admire, and I have seen how they stop people in their thoughts. We seem to have a reluctance to combat such arguments, and a likelihood to believe them.
China is a very religious country. Many individuals are Christian, many are Muslim, and many more are Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucians. The Chinese government is atheist, but the people are just as religious as we are. In almost every email I quote from Confucius and Lao Tzu. These were not just philosophers, but Chinese prophets.
There is a better counter argument, though: All people are children of God.
Those who would have us believe otherwise are the ones we should be wary of.
Principle 5: Society will always have an enemy--a race, a country, a political party. This enemy is artificial, merely a tactic in the eternal war waged by hate. The soldiers on the side of hate delight in killing the spirit and philosophy of agape. Do not let them.