“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders”

This is how it works, according to the Nazi who started the Gestapo, Hermann Wilhelm Göring.

I bring this up because of my tweet from two weeks ago that referred back to that quote. I see that Mish has also found that quote illuminating. I referred to the quote in the context of Americans’ acceptance of the loss of privacy from the NSA spying. Mish is referring to it regarding the coming war on Syria.

Here’s what Göring said in full:

Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

The context now is Syria.

See “More Americans Have Supported Syrian Air Strikes Than Opposed“, “Syria Intervention Would Reaffirm Obama’s Biggest Flip-Flop“, and Before You Conclude That ‘Precision’ Bombing Makes Sense With Syria … 

Everything I have read says that the U.S. is going to bomb Syria. The only question is how to win over the American people in the court of public opinion. So that’s where the Göring quote comes in. Basically, he’s saying that dictatorships are not so dissimilar from democracies if leaders can use fear and nationalism to bring people around.

P.S. – Gustave Gilbert says, “in the United States only Congress can declare wars.” But he was talking to the Nazi during his war crimes trial just after War War II. No wars have been declared by Congress since then but the U.S> has been engaged in many military confrontations. 

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