Monday, May 22, 2023

Justice Gorsuch Denounces Government's Use of Fear and Power

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch issued a statement condemning the use of emergency power during the Covid-19 pandemic, arguing it was an intrusion on civil liberties. 

Gorsuch criticized the government's overuse of their power to shut down daily life, making Americans barely able to afford to feed their family or put gas in their cars. 

He also denounced lockdown orders, a federal eviction ban, and vaccine mandates.

And he gave a number of examples.

Some thoughts on government created fear and abuse of power.

Be informed, not misled.

Justice Gorsuch's thoughts on government created fear and abuse of power.

Justice Gorsuch said, "One lesson might be this: Fear and the desire for safety are powerful forces. They can lead to a clamor for action—almost any action—as long as someone does something to address a perceived threat," his statement reads. "Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country. Executive officials across the country issued emergency decrees on a breathtaking scale." 

The Supreme Court Justice gave examples of how the federal government intruded on Americans' rights citing the forced closures of businesses, schools, and churches but allowing casinos and other favored companies to remain open. Threats were made to violators with civil penalties and criminal sanctions. In addition, Gorsuch mentioned how the government invaded law-abiding U.S. citizens by surveilling church parking lots, recording license plates, and warning people who attended outside events that corresponded with social-distancing rules. 

"It is hard not to wonder, too, whether state legislatures might profitably reexamine the proper scope of emergency executive powers at the state level," Gorsuch continued. "At the very least, one can hope that the Judiciary will not soon again allow itself to be part of the problem by permitting litigants to manipulate our docket to perpetuate a decree designed for one emergency to address another."

"Fear is the foundation of most governments"--John Adams.

America's Founding Father, John Adams, echoed Gorsuch's belief when he noted, “Fear is the foundation of most governments.”

Fear is one of the most powerful human emotions. While highly useful in situations where the threat of immediate harm exists, it is the most debilitating and dangerous of emotions when present unnecessarily.

Seneca, the Stoic Philosopher, said, “There are more things…likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” 

While some of these imagined fears are of one’s own making, many are the consequence of narratives created by those in positions of power. Individuals looking to take advantage of and manipulate others have long realized fear's power. When one is gripped by fear of a threat, real or imagined, their rational and higher cognitive capacities shut down, making them easily manipulable by anyone that promises safety from the threat.

Edmund Burke said, “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear."

Ruling classes for thousands of years have understood the power of intentionally invoking fear in their subjects as a means of social control. In his book The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man, Henri Frankfort details some of the history of manipulating the masses.

Frankfort noted that "between 1800 and 1600 BC, a fear psychosis spread through Ancient Egypt, precipitated by the invasion of foreign rebels hungry for power and conquest. Initially, this fear psychosis was justified by a real threat, yet even when these foreigners were successfully driven far away from Egypt, the ruling powers sought to artificially maintain fear among the population – realizing that a fearful population is easier to control than a fearless one."

While there are numerous tactics and strategies that have developed over the centuries to effectively exploit the public through fear, two of the more powerful and efficient are the use of false flags and the implementation of propaganda via repetition.

Dictators have typically used these methods. Saul Alinsky taught the principles. 

A false flag can be defined as a “covert operation . . . designed to deceive in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by entities, groups, or nations other than those who actually planned and executed them”. 

In his book Feardom, Conor Boyack provides a nice explanation of the effectiveness of false flag attacks for those looking to institute social control:

Physical attacks lead to a corresponding increase of trust in political leaders and submission to them. This effect is likely the same whether the attack be a surprise, known to political leaders yet allowed to happen, or directly orchestrated by these same leaders who stand to benefit from the increased trust and submission…False flag operations are used because people generally do not have access to the details, so they are prone to rely upon what they’re told, and thus are easily deceived. People will, for the most part, believe what they are told in times of crisis, and so government officials, whether their motives are good or evil, capitalize on or completely fabricate the crises (Feardom: How Politicians Exploit Your Emotions and What You Can Do to Stop Them, Conor Boyack).

Repetition is also a well-known and prevalent propaganda technique used to advance lies and perpetuate fear in the public consciousness. By repeating specific phrases and warnings and displaying particular symbols and images over and over through various mediums, those in power are able to paralyze entire populations with a fear psychosis.

How a square becomes a circle.

The Nazi Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was well aware of the power of repetition in cloaking falsehoods in a garb of truth, stating:

“It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is, in fact, a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas in disguise.” 

George Orwell said, "Political language. . .is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

First published in 1955, They Thought They Were Free is an eloquent and provocative examination of the development of fascism in Germany. Milton Mayer’s book is a study of ten Germans and their lives from 1933-45, based on interviews he conducted after the war when he lived in Germany. Mayer had a position as a research professor at the University of Frankfurt and lived in a nearby small Hessian town which he disguised with the name “Kronenberg.” “These ten men were not men of distinction,” Mayer noted, but they had been members of the Nazi Party; Mayer wanted to discover what had made them Nazis.

“One doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse… You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow…

But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked … But of course, this isn’t the way it happens. In between comes all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next…

And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident. . . collapses it all at once, and you see that everything – everything – has changed…Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed…” (They Thought They Were Free, Milton Mayer)

A biblical Christian response.

In the last letter he would write to the young pastor Timothy, Paul told the younger pastor---and all of us--" Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 16-7).

The current leadership in our government, and all those enriching themselves with their deceptive messages of fear, will ultimately answer to Almighty God.

Message to Christians: "Stir up the gift that God has given you and remember that God has not given you a spirit of fear." He has given you the spirit of "power, love, and a sound mind."

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Bold. Be Engaged. Be Prayerful.