Bush-Hitler: Hypnotizing The Masses
By Russell M. Drake
07/21/04 — Said by some to be more dangerous than Osama bin-Laden, he has been condemned as a “war maniac,” called a “moron” by the Canadian prime minister’s chief spokeswoman, ridiculed as “The English Patient” for his struggles with language, and likened to Adolf Hitler.
Of all the labels hung on George W. Bush, the hardest to shake may be the comparison with Hitler.
Perhaps the clearest likeness between the two men lies in their use of emotionally induced hypnosis to plant in the mass consciousness an image of themselves as protectors of their subjects from threats to national survival both inside and outside the fatherland.
In a June, 2003 article written for The Nation about Bush’s “mastery of emotional language, especially negatively charged emotional language,” clinical psychologist Reanna Brooks observed that “Bush creates and maintains negative frameworks in his listeners’ minds with a number of linguistic techniques borrowed from hypnosis and advertising to instill the image of a dark and evil world around us.”
His subliminal messages to justify religious war against “evildoers” are right out of Madison Avenue. Writing in The New Yorker of July 12 & 19, David Greenberg tells how Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, “himself an evangelical, laces the President’s addresses with seemingly innocuous terms that the devout recognize as laden with meaning: ‘whirlwind,’ ‘work of mercy,’ ‘safely home,’ ‘wonderworking power.’”
Aspiring political hypnotists would do well to study Hitler as an introduction to Bush.
“Without in any way straining language we can truthfully say that he (Hitler) was one of the great hypnotists of all time,” says George H. Estabrooks in Hypnotism, the ne plus ultra of Hitler hypnosis books. Dr. Estabrooks was chairman of Colgate University’s psychology department, and taught at the school from 1927 to 1964.
“The efficiency of the truly national leader consists primarily in preventing the division of the attention of the people, and always in concentrating it on a single enemy.” Hitler said that, in Mein Kampf.
Bush could just as easily have said it. Having lost public focus on Osama bin Laden by his inability to capture the wily 9/11 bomber, he found it not just convenient, but necessary, to replace bin Laden with Saddam Hussein as the new “single enemy,” a stratagem inherited from the first President Bush who damned Hussein as “worse than Hitler” in the run-up to Desert Storm, the first Iraq war. On the eve of war in early October, 1990, ex-president Ronald Reagan picked up the beat before a crowd of Houston Republicans, denouncing his former Iraqi ally as “the reincarnation of Hitler.”
“Depicting Saddam Hussein as an evil man made it easier to justify U. S. involvement in the Persian Gulf War. Psychology is an important part of any war strategy.” from Introduction to Psychology, a textbook by Mark Garrison, Kentucky State University. If demonizing Saddam was effective strategy in the first Gulf war, the current administration worked wonders with it, with a little help from people like 60 Minutes’ Andy Rooney and Bill Clinton who, on the David Letterman show, September 11, 2002, called Saddam “a threat, a murderer and thug…” while endorsing his removal.
In search of support for shaky WMD charges against Saddam, Bush found the torture issue and put it on the front burner in his January 2003 State of the Union address: “This dictator who is assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues and rape.”
Bush went on to urge Americans to come together in an orgy of fear induced self hypnosis by mentally imaging the dreadful prospect of Iraqi sponsored terrorists attacking the U. S., and tried again to link the Iraqi leader to the 9/11 attack on the twin towers: “Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans – this time armed by Saddam….We will do everything in our power to make sure that that day never comes.” If Saddam had not existed, Bush would have invented him.
Press Supports War on Iraq
With skillful use of fear hypnosis, Bush not only gulled the public, but played a credulous press like a Steinway baby grand.
The establishment press fell in behind Bush almost to a man in endorsing his war aims against Iraq. This blind procession is amply documented by reporter Chris Mooney in the March/April 2004 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. The L. A. Times and the N. Y. Times weakly dissented from war without UN approval but rolled over when Bush went ahead anyway. Even the usually skeptical The New Yorker saw merit in Bush’s war plans, warning that absent “Saddam’s abdication, or a military coup…a return to a hollow pursuit of containment will be the most dangerous option of all.”
The demonization of Saddam spread like germs.
“The mob leader will count on emotional contagion….Emotions are far more contagious than the measles. This fact of emotional contagion was very important to Hitler,” says Estabrooks. Emotional statements by a hypnotic leader, he avers, are “burned” into receptive subconscious minds with the permanence of an image engraved on a photographic negative.
To be hypnotized by one such as Bush is to be branded with his ideology and to bend to his will as he so directs. This is true of anyone drawn uncritically to any leader or dominant figure. Be it Bush or Clinton, Hitler or Churchill, Reagan or FDR, the difference in the degree of hypnotically induced allegiance depends on the skill of the hypnotist and the suggestibility of the subject.
In The Group Mind, first published in 1920 by Putnam, author William McDougall says, “It is well recognized that almost any emotional excitement increases the suggestibility of the individual, though the explanation of the fact remains obscure.”
By putting the horror mask on Saddam, by petrifying U. S. citizens with tales of Saddam’s gases and torture chambers and terrorist connections, Bush dusted off and refined an old Hitler trick.
“The one means that wins the easiest victory over reason: terror and force.” Hitler, Mein Kampf.
Putting his own spin on Hitler’s formula, Bush induced fear-of-Saddam hypnosis in Americans to set them up for repetition hypnosis, to deepen and fix the fear. “Axis of evil” – “weapons of mass destruction” – “torture chambers” – “Iraqi terrorists” – “grave and gathering danger,” all gained dominance in the thought patterns of Americans to lure them to Bush’s side against the evil Saddam.
“The influence of repetition on crowds is comprehensible when the power is seen which it exercises on the most enlightened minds. This power is due to the fact that the repeated statement is embedded in the long run in those profound regions of our unconscious selves in which the motives of our actions are forged.” So said Gustave Le Bon in The Crowd, his seminal study of political hypnosis, published in 1897.
Bush Power Hypnosis
Why did Bush thus goad Americans to war by hypnotizing them? The answer seems to be that from day one, he intended the chaos of crisis and war to put in place a domestic agenda that he knew stood little chance of succeeding in peace.
He gambled that the electorate would be reluctant to change leaders in the crisis of war just as crewmen would hesitate to pull the captain from the bridge of their ship even as he sailed into a field of icebergs.
Bush’s incendiary bluster on taking office would seem to support this scenario. In turn, he dissed North Korean and Iranian leaders, sat by while the intafada exploded into the bloodiest, most enduring sequel of suicide bombings and Israeli retaliation in the history of the war, trashed the Kyoto treaty to reduce global air pollution, unilaterally revoked the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty with Russia, and vetoed U. S. support of a world court to try war crimes.
The Republican ‘Pearl Harbor’
His actions appeared designed to escalate seething world resentment of America’s imperial transgressions to flash point, provoking an outbreak of hostilities that would draw the nation into armed conflict.
While Bush and his handlers may not have expected a reaction to their warmongering so costly as 9/11, when it came may well have regarded it as God-sent. The twin towers disaster has been called “the Republicans’ Pearl Harbor,” because of the opportunity it presented to rally the electorate around Bush and continue him in power, as Pearl Harbor did for FDR.
In Bush’s Brain, by James Moore and Wayne Slater, Bush advisor Karl Rove is seen as agitating for the Iraq invasion to keep war fever alive when the hunt for bin Laden faltered and as 9/11 receded in the public consciousness. Other administration figures stepped forward to beat the war drums.
A March 5, 2004 article in the New York Times said, “Mr. Bush and his aides have planned for more than a year to make the president’s response to terrorist attacks the centerpiece of his re-election effort.”
“We are fighting a global war on terrorism,” said National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, on “Meet the Press,” Sunday, March 14, 2004.
In early February on “Meet the Press,” Bush referred to himself as a “war president” and said he had “war on my mind” when he made decisions in the Oval Office.
Verbal Confusion Hypnosis
While Bush may have led the nation into war with Hitler hypnosis he has kept it there with hypnosis of his own making, a technological tour de force of classical, textbook hypnosis that eclipses anything Hitler used and sets Bush apart as a political hypnosis stylist in his own right.
When it became apparent as time passed that Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq was an illusion, Bush segued smoothly into verbal confusion hypnosis, which is discussed at some length in Handbook of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, by Jesse E. Gordon:
“The verbal confusion technique, which is quite difficult to administer, involves an approximation of double-talk in which instructions of a somewhat contradictory kind are given in rapid succession making it impossible for the attentive subject either to quite comprehend or quite acquiesce to any of them. Finally, he simply gives up all attempts and more or less collapses into a hypnotic state.”
Exactly. A review of the Bush hocus-pocus in his 2004 State of the Union address, for example, shows how nimbly he skipped through a maze of issues such as WMD – deftly changed to “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities” – no child left behind, “the sanctity of marriage,” senior drug discount cards, invading Iraq in the interests of national survival and world peace, “foreign terrorists,” permanent tax relief, jobs, and much, much more. Holding up one theme card after another for public review, before they could “quite comprehend or quite acquiesce to any of them,” Bush fanned the deck and flashed yet another card at his bewildered audience.
A “GOP strategist” complained to the Los Angeles Times, “He’s all over the map now, sending a lot of confused messages to the voters.” Of course.
Many now openly wonder how so obvious a lie as WMD could have passed muster with such a large majority of Americans.
One answer is provided by Hitler in Mein Kampf: “In the size of the lie there is always contained a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people….will more easily fall victim to a great lie than to a small one.” Thus was born the concept of the “Big Lie,” yet another Hitler crowd manipulation tool co-opted by Bush.
Even the most skeptical may succumb to hypnotic contagion but later find the resources to cast off the devil spell, says William McDougall. Among the most fervent Bush supporters have been people now coming forward to say that they are “uncomfortable” with reports that the reasons given for going to war may have been nothing more than a pack of Bush lies. Call them recovering Bush dupes.
War is Peace
Perhaps the biggest challenge he has given the public is asking them to think of his war making as, actually, peace making. Think of the Pentagon as the “Ministry of Peace,” charged with making perpetual war in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Bush has been almost studious in application of the hypnotic word “peace” to sugarcoat his designs for war.
“Peace” has become his slogan.
“Slogans are both exciting and comforting, but they are also powerful opiates for the conscience….Some of mankind’s most terrible misdeeds have been committed under the spell of certain magic words or phrases,” said Harvard University president James Bryant Conant in the Baccalaureate Address to Harvard College, June 17, 1934.
“How many people in the confusion of a defeat or crisis have been reassured by one word? Peace. Independence. Reconstruction. Without taking a closer look, they adopt the leader in whose name this ideal has been proposed. It is the ideal that unites them and leads them into the venture. If necessary, technicians will be responsible for conducting it from the inside so long as the figurehead maintains his prestige.” Jean Dauven, The Powers of Hypnosis.
Nixon national security advisor Henry Kissinger intoned “Peace is at hand” as voters prepared to go to the polls in November, 1972 to choose between George McGovern and Richard Nixon as the candidate most likely to end the Vietnam War. In one of the most cynical betrayals of public trust on record, Kissinger the technician lied to a desperate nation about the prospects of peace in order to get the figurehead reelected.
After Nixon was safely reinstalled in the White House, saturation bombing to coerce North Vietnam to U. S. peace terms started again, with the unspeakable Christmas bombing of Hanoi as the main attraction.
Author, foreign correspondent and broadcaster William L. Shirer, who witnessed Hitler’s rise to power, commented in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich on Hitler’s masterful use of the peace card.
“On the evening of May 21 (1935), he delivered another ‘peace’ speech….one of the cleverest and most misleading of his Reichstag orations…..He rejected the very idea of war, it was senseless, it was useless, as well as a horror.”
But while the world was lulled by his peace offensive, the master of the Thousand Year Reich plotted the war he said he abhorred.
George W. Bush misses no chance to reaffirm his dedication to peace and to denounce those who he says threaten peace.
He mounted the pulpit of the United Nations, September 17, 2002 to bully the international body with his peace message: “The United Nations must act. It’s time to determine whether or not they’ll be a force for good and peace or an ineffective debating society.”
He stood before Congress and the press, sent an emissary to the Orwellian sounding United States Institute of Peace, went on the radio, appeared at factories and military bases, hawking his peace message while putting U. S. forces in place to invade Iraq.
Sometimes, to justify keeping the country in a state of war, he combines “peace” with “freedom” and “security” as in his commencement address to the students of Concordia University, May 14 this year when he said, “America works for peace and freedom….For the sake of peace, for the sake of security, we stand for freedom.” Administration spokespersons, notably Condoleezza Rice, repeat these buzz words in their own speeches.
Bush Radio Hypnosis
With his regular Saturday radio addresses, Bush works heroically on turning Americans into automatons of subservience to his goals. John Kerry, refusing to concede the airwaves to Bush, is using the medium to respond to Bush attack ads and launch attacks of his own, giving every indication that he will continue the tradition of Saturday presidential radio if elected.
Radio is the most hypnotic of the media as, in the words of Jean Dauven, “It is through the spoken word that the hypnotist exercises his power.” The audio nature of broadcast fosters an illusion of privacy that allows the hypnotist to flatter the listener that he/she is being addressed exclusively, enhancing the listener’s suggestibility.
Hate-Talk Radio Hypnosis
Estabrooks witnessed the birth of political radio hypnosis and the advent of the craft’s earliest stars, FDR, Churchill, and Hitler. He predated Rush Limbaugh’s lobotomized rabble by decades, but was in on the beginnings of hate-talk radio when Father Charles Coughlin and the Rev. Gerald L. K. Smith poisoned the airwaves in the 1930s.
Estabrooks would have been fascinated with the emergence of Ronald Reagan, radio hypnotism’s modern master. With his banal gipperisms, deeply imbedded fear of communism and Soviet nuclear threat obsessive-compulsive anxiety disorder, all delivered in the polished tones of a professional broadcaster, Reagan robbed a generation of Americans of their capacity to think critically, a condition perpetuated by his disciples as witnessed in the transcontinental state funeral of early June, 2004, a seven-day binge of national hypnosis. Brain dead from Alzheimer’s for 10 years, Reagan was resurrected from the public media files to extend his hypnotic hold on Americans, all part of the Republican power keeping machinery which includes putting Reagan’s picture on money and carving his likeness either on Mt. Rushmore, or “our own mountain,” as one of his adherents puts it.
Men of Action Don’t Apologize
The president, by the very nature of his position at the pinnacle of power, is hypnotic. Probably no president, with the possible exceptions of Nixon and Reagan, has marshaled so powerful an arsenal of hypnosis, or exercised it so energetically and effectively as George W. Bush.
Successful hypnosis of the electorate satisfies a demagogue’s dream – uncritical acceptance of the man and his policies by a majority. Bush has been good enough at it to acquire an aura of invincibility that predictably has led to an excess of hubris in his conduct.
As Reagan and the elder Bush did not apologize for Iran-Contra, do not expect George W. Bush to ever forswear his actions in Iraq. It is not in his nature to admit mistakes or reflect on his misdeeds, nor apparently is it in the nature of his closest aides and subordinates to do so either. Gustave Le Bon described the type in The Crowd.
“The leaders we speak of are more frequently men of action than thinkers. They are not gifted with keen foresight, nor could they be, as this quality generally conduces to doubt and inactivity. They are especially recruited from the ranks of those morbidly nervous, excitable, half-deranged persons who are bordering on madness…their convictions are so strong that all reasoning is lost on them. Contempt and persecution do not affect them, or only serve to excite them more.”
George Estabrooks spoke of such men possessing “…..an uncanny drive, a restless energy, as they push forward toward their own self-centered ideal, and they will be utterly ruthless in attaining their ends. The rights of others, even the lives of others, are simply of no consequence if they stand between the dictator and his determined goal….
The dictator really believes that he is God’s chosen instrument – or society’s chosen instrument if he does not believe in God – to lead his group, or possibly the entire world, into the promised land.”
Bush apparently has long held the notion that God wants him to be president. On the occasion of his second inauguration as Texas governor, he “gathered a few trusted colleagues in his office to announce, ‘God wants me to be president,’” according to Southern Baptist leader Richard Land as quoted in online Slate magazine, April 29, 2004.
Bush’s Hypnotized Supporters
Bush spinmeisters will continue to place their candidate in front of unsuspecting NASCAR dads, right wing religious fundamentalists, teenage soldiers, home owners, sports fans, snow mobilers and dirt bikers, loggers and roughnecks, teamsters and hard-hats, 2nd Amendment zealots, high school dropouts, Orange County developers, and field hands, where the president can work his inspirational way into their hearts and minds. This has been called targeting “the lowest common denominator,” but Nazi propaganda chief Paul Joseph Goebbels had a better description, revealed in his diaries discovered in the rubble of the Propaganda Ministry at the end of World War II:
“…..the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious. In the long run only he will achieve basic results influencing public opinion who is able to reduce problems to the simplest terms and who has the courage to keep forever repeating them in this simplified form despite the objections of the intellectuals.”
Bush, the Elected Dictator
Will all of this lead to a New Thousand Year Reich in America?
George Estabrooks warned that such an outcome, while not inevitable, is not impossible.
“How can we guarantee that our choice at the polls will be a wise one?……on this matter of electing a potential dictator, you will make that mistake once only. From then on, he will take care that your mistakes are always in his favor……
“Sit down and think over that last spellbinder you heard on the platform, over the radio or on television…..Were you listening to a man of reason or to a hypnotist who aimed to limit your field of consciousness? You say you cannot be hypnotized against your will. Perhaps you were hypnotized last night as you listened to that political address over your TV…..The most dangerous hypnotist may be the man you listened to last week over the radio. You were his subject….As a matter of fact, you were a very excellent subject. Think it over…..”
Hitler aide Albert Speer and newscaster William L. Shirer commented on a recent moment in history when a great people became the eager followers of a hypnotic leader who led them to ruin.
“…..as I see it today, these politicians in particular were in fact molded by the mob itself, guided by its yearnings and daydreams…Certainly the masses roared to the beat set by Hitler’s and Goebbel’s baton, yet they were not the true conductors. The mob determined the theme.” – Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich.
“The Germans imposed the Nazi tyranny on themselves.” William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Russell M. Drake is a freelance writer and photographer in Yucca Valley, California. He is a journalism graduate of the University of Texas, and a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and The West Texas Livestock Weekly. He co-founded and later sold a Los Angeles company that produced self hypnosis-aided educational courses on audio cassette. He has contributed articles and pictures to newspapers in Southern California. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2004 Russell M. Drake, P. O. Box 1213, Yucca Valley CA 92286