The International Writers Magazine: Political Comment - In
Bush and Mr. Hyde:
The Fundamentalist Shadow of George W. Bush
mouth that prays, a hand that kills.
John D. Goldhammer
"How do you find a lion that
has swallowed you?" asked Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung,
commenting on the moral dilemma posed by the "shadow,"
his insightful term for the dark, hidden side of the human psyche.
The answer to Jungs
questions is "you cant find or see that lion"not
as long as you are inside the beast. And therein resides the essential
dilemma of a groups dark side or shadow: it is nearly impossible
for those caught inside a groups belief system to see their own
dark side with any clarity or objectivity. This hidden side grows over
time, regressing, becoming more and more aggressive. Its the "long
bag we drag behind us," says poet Robert Blywhere, as
individuals, we dispose of all those things that are too uncomfortable
to look at. "The long-repressed shadow of Dr. Jekyll rises up
in the shape of Mr. Hyde, deformed, an ape-like figure glimpsed against
the alley wall." Now imagine millions of Mr. Hydes and you
have a sense of the group shadow of fundamentalist, right wing extremists
dressed up as "compassionate conservatives," led by George
W. Bush. Its like shifting from a hand gun to a nuclear bomb.
And it began long ago in both the Moslem and Christian worlds.
The invasion of American Democratic institutions by fundamentalist,
historically militant (as in crusades, witch hunts, inquisitions, and
support of slavery) Christianity has significantly increased the stench
coming from the already disturbing dark side of U.S. politics. Its
like a nightmarish replay of the Christian crusadespolitics with
a militant, convert-the-heathens dark side. Potent, cult-like group
dynamics combine with unacknowledged and unseen shadow qualities to
easily overwhelm the individuals sense of right and wrong, often
unleashing pure evil en masse.
As the political world and the media divided the U.S. into red and blue
states, I found myself feeling uncomfortable even thinking about driving
through one of those "red" states. I would imagine that every
red-state person must be a card-carrying, right wing fundamentalist.
From the other side of the mountain, those "blue" states are
full of liberal, soft-on-terrorism, big government socialists. Both
are examples of projecting our groups shadow onto the "enemy."
And both views prevent us from "seeing" individual human beings.
*Christians torturing Christians who were different
and plundering their villages was quite common during the crusades.
Battles over different interpretations of religious texts exemplify
what Freud referred to as the "narcissism of small differences." See:
A History of the Crusades: The First Hundred Years, ed. Marshall W.
Baldwin (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1955).
We see only that
group, those people. With remarkable ease, we slide into a "programmed,"
either-or, group-think: were the good guys, theyre the bad
guys. The group mind set is pulling the levers, directing individual
reasoning and logic. Its like seeing everything through red or
blue-tinted glasses that color all we see and thinkweve
been swallowed. The blind lead the blinded with ludicrous comments like
this: "I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal
affairs of Iraq," Paul Wolfowitz declared, clearly not seeing his
missionary, neoconservative dark sidethe U.S. invasion and occupation
Fundamentalists use labels as weapons, dialogue-diverting smokescreens
that reveal a lot about their own shadow. For example, they have demonized
Liberal Democrats using phrases like "the Liberal elite,"
repeated over and over, who they claim are part of some "vast liberal
media conspiracy." In fact, there is an actual conspiracy underway
and it is the fundamentalist Christian cults shadowy, carefully
planned, two-decade-long infiltration and gradual takeover of the Republican
Party from the grassroots-up. "Elitism," in reality, is at
the core of the Bush administrations dark side, especially their
pretentious, religious and political elitism.
George Ws elite base includes the wealthy and the powerful. They
are the hidden people he really represents, those economically "elite,"
special interest bosses he described so accurately in a speech at one
of his private, campaign fund raising dinners: "Youre
my base: the haves and the have mores." They must have been
some of the people he was referring to at a 2002 meeting with his economic
squad about a second round of tax cuts: "Havent we already
given money to rich people?"
The Bush administrations obsession with "activist" judges
is a bona fide tar pit; its their own projected shadow transforming
judges (and "trial lawyers") into another "evil enemy."
Again, the dark side is so obvious: project our own "activism"
onto the justice system. Bush and his religious cohorts are in-deed
fundamentalist political "activists" in the truest sense of
the word. Consider the lawless, unjust treatment of U.S. citizens, suspected
terrorists and prisoners, justified by scary group jargon like "national
security" or "were in a war"Bushs "war"
that is at once everywhere and nowhere, making a mockery of the inscription
above the entrance to the United States Supreme Court: "Equal Justice
Under Law." In a remarkable statement, James Dobson, the fundamentalist,
right wing Christian chairman of Focus on the Family, clarified this
agenda (quoted in The Washington Post): "The courts majority,"
Dobson said, "are unelected and unaccountable and arrogant and
imperious and determined to redesign the culture according to their
own biases and values, and theyre out of control." Now
thats pure group shadow speaking!
Activist (fundamentalist), right wing politicians are promoting moral
and economic agendas we are all too familiar with: loading the courts
with right wing religious extremists, eliminating womens right
to freedom of choice, preventing equal rights for gays, using the "Patriot
Act" to destroy our constitutional rights to privacy and freedom
from unlawful search and seizure, undermining our democracys essential
liberties including the "rule of law," the cornerstone of
a civil society.
Shadow dynamics can shift the focus of our beliefs with stunning speed
to another "evil" enemy. Petty dictators are convenient "hooks"
on which groups can hang their shadow, their dirty laundry; a perfect
example being Saddam Hussein who, in 1990-1991 magically transitioned
from being a relatively obscure U.S. ally (receiving military aid, weapons,
satellite intelligence, and high tech equipment) into an incarnation
of evil and a dire threat to humanity that we had to eliminate. Such
is the hypnotic power of group paranoia combined with propaganda in
stirring up a nationalistic, lynch mob mentality.
In 1986, an article about Don Rumsfeld in the
Chicago Tribune listed helping "re-open U.S. relations with Iraq" when
he served as Reaganšs special envoy to the Middle East as one of his
career achievements. The State Department reported that while Rumsfeld
was opening relations with Iraq, Saddam Hussein was murdering thousands
of Kurds using chemical weapons.
Once a belief system gains control, those beliefs are much more likely
to move us to action, propel us into roles and conduct we would never
contemplate on our own. Voltaire warned, "Those who can make
you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Moreover,
under the influence of any fundamentalist ideology, beliefs (often paranoid
and delusional) tend to override factsa very dangerous mental
environment for making life and death decisions, or declaring war. Independent
critical thinking and logicqualities that are most threatening
to any destructive groupexpose absurdities.
Consider this excerpt from a speech by the Nazi Party leader Rudolph
Hess on June 30, 1934: "The National Socialism of all of us
is anchored in uncritical loyalty
" (my italics). "What
good fortune for those in power that people do not think,"
observed Hitler, knowing that thinking citizens were a real danger to
his political ambitions.
Ignorance of the group shadow and its destructive consequences locks
us into a mutually destructive embrace with our "enemies."
In a perverse way each side needing the otheran ironic, group
co-dependency on the others "evil" in order to perpetuate
themselves. Thus the twisted rationale for a never-ending "War
on Terror" (recently recast by the Bush administration as a "struggle
against violent extremism") that is the mirror image of the never-ending
Islamic Jihad against the West. The president made this unending mission
clear when he announced, "Theres no telling how many wars
it will take to secure freedom in the homeland." The notion of
permanent war against a designated "evil" or "tyranny"
is a classic dark side of Christian fundamentalism that mimics the Moslem
worlds fundamentalist doctrine that declares non-Moslem countries
as "Dar-al-Harb," which means "The Home of War."
Its no surprise to realize that George Ws fundamentalist
dark side also echos Islamic fundamentalisms oft-stated goal of
a global Moslem theocracy, which, the words of one prominent Iranian
ayatollah make perfectly clear: "It will . . . be the duty of every
able-bodied adult male to volunteer for this war of conquest, the final
aim of which is to put Koranic law in power from one end of the earth
to the other."
Sounding a lot like a description of our current world situation, Erasmus
(d. 1536), a peaceful, educated, psychologically savvy, Catholic humanist
observed: "There is no injury, however insignificant it may
be which does not seem to them [Christians] sufficient pretext to start
a war. They suppress and hide everything that might maintain peace;
they exaggerate excessively everything that would lead to an outbreak
of war." In his book, People of the Lie, author M. Scott Peck
explains the slippery nature of good and evil. He points out that "evil
people are often destructive because they are trying to destroy evil.
Instead of destroying others they should be destroying the sickness
within themselves." This paradox is similar to Jungs
observation that "a so-called good to which we succumb loses
its ethical character," meaning that we paradoxically facilitate
evil when we become one-sided, when we believe our group is on the side
of goodness and virtue. When one-sided, a so-called quest for peace
inevitably produces a group shadow filled with aggression and violence.
You know a groups shadow is active when "
is in the republic and the republic is declared endangered,"
explains author and psychologist James Hillman. "Whatsoever
the object of beliefthe flag, the nation, the president, or the
goda martial energy mobilizes. Decisions are quick, dissent more
difficult. Doubt which impedes action and questions certitude becomes
traitorous, an enemy to be silenced." "The greatest
purveyor of violence in the world today
is my own nation,"
observed Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who practiced nonviolent social
and political change. Shakespeare (in Julius Caesar) eloquently described
the bright facade of this fundamentalist, political shadow in his play
about another "super power": And let us bathe our hands
in . . . blood up to the elbows, and besmear our swords. Then we walk
forth, even to the market place, and waving our red weapons o'er our
heads, let's all cry "peace, freedom and liberty!"
"There will never be world peace until Gods house and
Gods people are given their rightful place of leadership at the
top of the world," proclaimed Christian fundamentalist Pat
Robertson. The Treaty of Tripoli (1797), carried unanimously by the
Senate and signed into law by John Adams, contained this statement:
"The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it
is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation." Whats really scary
is the politicizing of religious intolerance in the form of the Bush
administrations evangelical crusade to spread our political and
economic beliefs around the globe, to conquer the lesser political gods,
to save and convert democratically and economically unenlightened countries.
Fundamentalism in politics has resurrected a nightmarish apparition
in the form of Wilsonian political monotheism. We could summarize Wilsons
foreign policy as "the imperative of Americas mission
as the vanguard of history, transforming the global order and, in doing
so, perpetuating its own dominance," guided by "the
imperative of military supremacy, maintained in perpetuity and projected
globally" all thinly veiled religious elitism and hubris,
missionary theology masquerading as "peace, freedom and liberty."
Similarly, in a much applauded speech in 1899, Theodore Roosevelt (just
before becoming President) proposed "righteous war" as the
sole means of achieving "national greatness." And, speaking
through his groups fundamentalist "mouth that prays,"
Bush made his paranoid mission quite clear: "We will rid the
world of the evildoers."
Like it or not we are stuck in a psychological dilemma fueled by the
collision of two toxic groupsgroups with deadly shadows created
by literalized Christian monotheism and literalized Islamic monotheismboth
fundamentalist, both virulent strains of group-think, both after mental
territory, economic and political power. When one groups god is
the only god, all other gods must be inferior. When one groups
political view is the only view, all other political systems must be
inferior. Consequently, intolerance is one of the chief characteristics
of the fundamentalist political shadow. In this manner monotheistic
religions, like a contagious disease, spread violence and immoral behaviors.
The fact that fundamentalist cults, whether Christian, Islamic, or any
other denomination are able to recruit and brainwash legions of followers
illustrates a confounding global illiteracy about rudimentary group
One of the symptoms of fanaticism is the belief that ones mission
has been "blessed or even commanded by God," says Dr. Norman
Doidge, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto. George
W. Bush, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, told Palestinian
Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, "God told me to strike at Al Qaeda
and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which
I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."
For most psychologists, Bushs "God made me do it" sounds
a lot like schizophrenia, a malady defined as "a group of psychotic
disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical
patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations." In every
sense of the word, destructive, group-based beliefs are the real weapons
of mass destruction that we all need to be very worried about.
When Moslems and Christians fought during the
crusades (1096-1204), both sides believed the other was the enemy of
their one, true, God.
"God wanted me to be President," said George W. Bush.
"God is my co-pilot," went a World War II slogan. In World
War I, "Clergymen created posters showing Jesus dressed in khaki
and firing a machine gun." The bishop of London urged his fellow
Christians to "kill the good as well as the bad
young men as well as the old
kill those who have shown kindness
to our wounded as well as those friends
militant shadow! Regarding Iraq, Lieutenant General Boykin declared
that our "spiritual enemy will only be defeated if we come against
them in the name of Jesus." "We are in a conflict between
good and evil, and America will call evil by its name," Bush
declared when announcing his "strategy" for his evangelical
crusade" Thus, warfare is applied theology. And from either side
of the bloody plain, "every war is a just war, a battle between
the forces of good and evil," a ghastly, incurable, repetitionthe
darkness of utter evil created by what appear to be the noblest of ideals.
Caught in the consequences of this shadow boxing, we find ourselves
compelled to live in a constant state of hypocrisy, burying more and
more of our own individual sense of real compassion and charity in the
graveyard of our collective dark side, covering our self-deception and
shame with the rags of hollow slogans from "mouths that pray."
Ironically, "hypocrisy," as Hillman points out, "holds
the nation together so that it can preach, and practice what it does
not preach. It makes possible armories of mass destruction side by side
with the proliferation of churches, cults, and charities" the
bright "good" side covering a very destructive dark side.
I use the term "evangelical" as "relating to,
or being a Christian church believing in the sole authority and inerrancy
of the Bible."
This fundamentalist, political shadow has become ever more insidious
as their ideological assault erodes the constitutional separation of
church and statea separation that marked a stunning acceleration
of individual human freedom, establishing a nation that respected the
tension between two old enemies: Enlightenment rationalism and organized
religion. Americans lived no longer under religious totalitarianism.
Instead they lived in an age of religious freedom and an age of reason.
America embodied the revolutionary notion that only a clean separation
of church and state can guarantee freedom from religious tyranny and
true religious freedom.
Religious fundamentalist incursions into American political life as
well as persistent attacks on individual freedom are not new. In 1776
"conservatives" around the world priests, state-supported
religion, Monarchy, aristocracy,vigorously denounced and attacked
the Declaration of Independence. In 1962 Supreme Court Justice Black
described the intent of the First Amendments Establishment Clause:
History had demonstrated time and again that "a union of government
and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion."
The American historian, Clinton Rossiter wrote: "The twin doctrines
of separation of church and state and liberty of individual conscience
are the marrow of our democracy, if not indeed Americas most magnificent
contribution to the freeing of Western man."
Psychological projection of a group shadow tends to make the enemy appear
to be far more dangerous and "evil" than actual reality. The
U.S. is "the Great Satan," and they (terrorists) are going
to "destroy civilization." For example, consider our declaration
of a "War" on Terror that has created a shadow-inflation enormously
elevating the status and celebrity of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda to that
of a nation state or even a world power when in actuality we are dealing
with scattered cells of cult victims who have been brainwashed by militant,
fundamentalist Islamic cult leaders into believing that mass murder
is the way into Paradise. Terrorists are what they are, no less, no
more: extremely dangerous, criminal psychopaths manufactured by a set
of powerful, destructive group dynamics.
One of the best ways to observe a groups dark side is to look
at what is particularly upsetting to our groupwhat "we"
(or they) are accusing someone else or some other group of doing. Take
the political storm over Newsweeks report about the Koran being
flushed down the toilet at Gitmo. The Bush cadre was suddenly VERY "upset"
that Newsweek printed an allegedly inaccurate story as a result of supposedly
faulty information from one of their "trusted sources"a
story that "seriously damaged" our image in the Arab world.
Of course it follows that Islamic fundamentalists reaction to
our disrespect for the Koran also exposes their group shadow, a dark
side crawling with their own savage disrespect for human life as in
killing innocent people and their violent intolerance for different
beliefs and views.
Now we can see more of the George W. Bush groups dark underbelly,
fundamentalist politics long heavy bag. The Bush administrationwe
were toldwent to war in Iraq because of allegedly "faulty
intelligence" from trusted sources. Eight months before the invasion
of Iraq the Downing Street Memo ("
But the intelligence and
facts were being fixed around the policy."), provided even more
proof that the U.S. and Britain "fixed" intelligence in order
to support the Bush administrations war plans. The REAL damage
to Americas image, the REAL destruction of innocent lives began
when George W. Bush and a handful of hired mercenaries unnecessarily
invaded an already impoverished Arab nation that had nothing whatsoever
to do with the September 11th tragedy.
Fundamentalist politicians consistently blame and accuse other individuals
and other groups, projecting their own disowned darkness: they are part
of the "Axis of Evil," they are mass murderers; they are undemocratic;
those people dont value life, they "hate freedom," its
a "Liberal conspiracy." Saint Augustines directive comes
to mind: "All diseases of Christians are to be ascribed to demons"a
perfect characterization of fundamentalisms group-think that insures
infantile irresponsibility while spreading mass paranoia. Faced with
probing questions about the Patriot Act, John Ashcroft (a devout member
of a Pentacostal sect) told a senate panel, "To those who scare
peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this:
your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity
and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to Americas enemies,
and pause to Americas friends." Mark Twain would have
seen right through all this shadow-speak, language intended to "demonize"
and kill any serious criticism. Twain once wrote: "Next the
statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation
that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing
falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any
refutation of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that
the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after
this process of grotesque self-deception."
When someone shines a spotlight into a groups dark side it arouses,
almost without fail, righteous indignation along with virulent, "kill-the-messenger"
attacks. That is also why it is so utterly frustrating to have any meaningful,
rational discussion or collaboration with such people; you can never
quite reach the real person. Instead you are stonewalled; you keep getting
programmed, predictable, group-speak responses and jargon designed to
abort any real scrutiny of the groups always secretive dark side.
Exposing torture and gross violations of the Geneva Convention means
we are guilty of "not supporting our troops." In his famous
book On Liberty, John Stuart Mill maintained that silencing an opinion
is a "particular evil." If the opinion is right, we are "robbed
of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth"; and if its
wrong, we are deprived of a deeper understanding of the truth in "its
collision with error."
"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders,"
said Hermann Goring, at his trial in Nuremberg. He added: "This
is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked
and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country
to danger. It works the same in every country." George W. Bush
brings up Bin Laden and 9/11 over and over: "The only way our
enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11."
Constant repetition of certain ideas is a common method of indoctrination
used in destructive cults. "It is the absolute right of the
state to supervise the formation of public opinion," declared
Josef Goebbles, the Nazi propaganda minister, who knew that tyrannical
governments require brainwashed followers. And heres George Ws
not quite so articulate fundamentalist equivalent: "See, in
my line of work, you got to keep repeating things over and over again
for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda,"
quipped our self-titled "War President" in a 24 May 2005 speech.
So the Bush administration "fixes" intelligence reports, "fixes"
scientific data on climate change and greenhouse gases, "fixes"
reality on the ground in Iraq for the unthinking, uncritical, patriotic,
loyal, citizens. These so-called "fixes" are really "lies"the
Bush groups program to "supervise the formation of public
opinion," as Goebbles stated. Indeed, the purpose of all propaganda
is to program individuals to act according to group beliefs and aims.
Turn these hypnotic phrases around and we can again see into our own
shadow: two fundamentalist cults locked in another lethal embrace, an
"adversarial symbiosis," a system that guarantees that neither
side will have to face their own shadow, reminiscent of the "cold
war"Russia and the United Statesthe latter having created
nuclear weapons technology while the former copies it and both proceed
to manufacture and infect the planet with over 60,000 nuclear weaponsenough
destructive power to end all life on the planet many times over. Never
mind the fact that the United States actually dropped two atomic bombs
on civilian populations in Japan during the Second World War. Bush precisely
articulated his own treacherous dark side when he announced, "The
United States of America will not permit the worlds most dangerous
regimes to threaten us with the worlds most destructive weapons."
More than 10,000 reputable, peer-reviewed climate
scientists believe the evidence that shows rapid shifts in global temperature
are caused by human activity. Reported by Johann Hari in the Seattle
Post Intelligencer, May 29, 2005, p. D1.
Presidential scholar, Michael Genovese suggests that 9/11 helped to
create a mass illusion: "The public needed to believe that [Bush]
had grown," so "we chose to see him
better and different than he was." You could say that we
temporarily projected a "savior" image onto the president;
psychologists call this the "halo effect," the same sort
of illusion that can make quite ordinary people suddenly appear to be
superhuman, until the truth rattles our projections and reality returns.
The most insidious face of the ever-darkening shadow of evangelical,
fundamentalist politics and its bright, shining slogan, "compassionate
conservatism," is the in-humane, COMPASSIONLESS disregard for the
suffering of others. Of course war is not compassionate for either side.
So-called "compassionate" conservatives ignore preventable
human tragedies like the ongoing genocide in Darfur, mass starvation
in Nigeria, or the recent genocide in Rwanda, which was ignored by the
entire world but for a few U. N. peacekeeping remnants. George Ws
"Compassion" for the corporate world is a big part of fundamentalisms
economic shadow. "Compassionate" conservatives care more about
the welfare of corporate America than for human suffering. Hypocritical,
shadow-laden "compassion" is not new. Hitler and Stalin were
two of the most vigorous "pro-lifers" of all time, as were
numerous other tyrants. They (Hitler and Stalin) also criminalized previously
legal abortions immediately upon taking power.
Looking closely at the whitewashed rhetoric of the fundamentalist shadow,
we hear more black magicoft-repeated mantras like, "family
values," the "right to life," and a "culture of
life." But what about a trickle of compassion for the estimated
29,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable
neglect, starvation, disease, and abusea horrific "slaughter
of innocents." What about their "right to life?" Hey,
its OKwe have a "no child left behind" policyjust
a global, bloody sea of dead, ignored children in small coffins.
What we really have under the Bush puppet theocracy is a horrific example
of the fundamentalist shadow that has created a heartless culture governed
by what is really a "pro-birth," anti-life doctrinea
consistent erosion of basic human and civil rightsall utterly
un-American! In Iraq (at this writing), over 1,899 American soldiers
have been killed and another 14, 362 wounded, many horribly crippled
and disfigured for life.
) Incredibly brave young men and womenyet in reality victims
of a fundamentalist/political cults deadly shadow. The independent
public database, www.iraqbodycount.net,
reports over 24,000 innocent civilian deaths in Iraq resulting directly
from military action by the United States and its alliesdefinitely
not good for our "image." But this barely-seen slaughter by
a "compassionate," hide-the-coffins Republican cult must be
kept in the shadows because, as our President recently explained: "Those
people (Iraqi insurgents) kill innocent civilians
women and children."
Then we have the shadow travesty of religious fundamentalists
attempts to stop stem cell research. George W. Bush, replying to questions
about proposed stem cell legislation, said "
the use of
federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life
in order to save life -- I'm against that." Heres the
shadow: No life-saving stem cell research but immense, treasury draining,
scientific research into anti-missile systems, nuclear bunker-busting
weapons and a whole new arsenal of mini-nuclear weaponssounds
a lot like "using science which destroys life in order to save
life!" I hear that lion roaring!
Over time, dictators and other cult leaders tend to become increasingly
paranoid, unpredictable, and treacherously impulsive. Throw nuclear
weapons into this toxic mix of fundamentalism, politics and explosive
shadow dynamics and we have a planet in serious jeopardy at besta
doomsday scenario at worst. Robert J. Lifton, the author of Thought
Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, explains that fundamentalism
exists "always on the edge of violence because it ever mobilizes
for an absolute confrontation with a designated evil, thereby justifying
any actions taken to eliminate that evil."
According to the British government's Department
of Trade and Industry (DTI) report on stem cell research (in China,
South Korea, Great Britain, Israel, and Singapore), China is "at or
approaching the forefront of international stem cell research." China
also engages in "significant recruitment" of U.S. and other Western
scientists, the DTI report noted, luring them with promises of greater
freedom and well-funded research centers. Reported by Micah Morrison
in Parade Magazine (USA), July 10, 2005, pp. 4-5.
So what can you and I do about this group shadow dilemma? We can expose
the fundamentalist, group-based lies that are redefining and reshaping
both political parties. We can insist that our government and its leaders
focus on solutions instead of forcing everyone to swallow dogma saturated
with one religious groups "truth," one groups
concept of "moral values." And we can demand that zealots
and ideologues keep their self-righteous claws off our democracy. Real
solutions that promote free and open societies will never come from
fundamentalist groups dragging their long heavy bags of intolerance
and "tyranny over the minds of men."
Shadow work begins with brutally honest self-examination, the courage
to admit ones errors and mistakes, and the moral integrity to
change policies, ideas, and opinions that have proven to be fallacious
or harmful to others. Corrupt leaders and governments have always feared
independent, critical-thinking, informed, skeptical, free, educated
citizens. Its time we withdrew our overly "educated,"
thinking, informed psyches from Bushs warhis great crusade
"to end tyranny in the world," that paranoid, militant, fundamentalist
misadventure that sees anyone who is not conforming to their world view
as the enemy. Its time for civilized, compassionate, courageous
people everywhere to refuse to participate in sanctifying a morally
bankrupt administration with patriotic doublespeak. James Madison warned,
"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in
the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
Looking honestly at our own dark side as individuals, as members of
groups, and as a nation does something quite remarkable; it gives us
a healthy dose of humility and empathy for others. It also exposes the
ghastly consequences of power abused, of corruption and secrecy in high
places. In his book, Faces of the Enemy, Sam keen explains the
"first rule" for understanding our own shadow: "Listen
to what the enemy says about you
Borrow the eyes of the alien,
see yourself from afar.
Look with suspicion on the rhetoric of
We need leaders who are skilled at encouraging constructive, even harsh
criticism and healthy skepticism, which Jefferson believed was essential
for responsible citizenship. We need leaders who understand the value
of different ideas and opinions, who understand that it is often the
opposite point of view that enriches our perspective and inspires a
creative solution that transcends warfare between opposite positions.
The shadow enables us to deny responsibility for our actions; evil is
always "out there." But at some point, so-called moderate,
non-violent Christians and Moslems must take responsibility for the
militant consequences of their beliefs systems. Like the German peoples
denial of Nazi death camps or the worlds ongoing blindness toward
genocide, every peace-loving Christian and every peace-loving Moslem
who remains silent, has the blood of innocents on his or her hands,
as does each and every politician who has cowardly fallen to their knees
before the brutal gods of religious fundamentalism, fanaticism and war.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, as a soldier and then as the thirty-fourth President
of the United States, knew the savage, inhumane consequences of warfare.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket
fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and
are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
We need to change our national priorities from a culture of existence
in the shadowy wastelands of war and increasing military expenditures
to a culture of creating what scientist and philosopher, Buckminster
Fuller called "livingry," a culture of compassion that actually
values and protects all life, a culture that respects learning, supports
scientific research, invention, free inquiry, and acknowledges our common
I would like to see the United States return to being an inspiring role
model, to helping others improve their quality of lifea nation
known for real compassion and benevolence instead of an arrogant, threatening,
military-industrial leviathan that inspires increasing revulsion, contempt,
and fear from the world community. But people make a nation and real
change begins with each individual. As for religious groups, the Dalai
Lama has a straightforward strategy: "This is my simple religion,"
he says. "There is no need for temples; no need for complicated
philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy
Looking at our world and religious extremists on both sides, Im
hopeful that all the killing and savaging of life will finally wake
people up to the awesome destructive power of groups and belief systems
that have become more important than human life, simple compassion,
and love for one another. But realistically, unless we change, I also
see a very dangerous world, a dark side that poets describe best: "And
we are here as on a darkling plain
Where ignorant armies clash
© John D. Goldhammer -- Still a very WORRIED American - September
John Goldhammer, Ph.D., is a Seattle, Washington (USA) psychologist
and author of three books including, This essay is adapted from a book
in process as yet untitled.
Author of: Under
the Influence: The Destructive Effects of Group Dynamics (Prometheus
Dreaming: Use Your Dreams to Change Your Life (Kensington Publishing
/ Citadel Press 2003)
The Save Your Business Book (Macmillan / Lexington)
for this piece:
Robert Bly, A Little Book on the Human Shadow (New York: HarperCollins
Publishers, 1988), p. 2. Paul D. Wolfowitz, qtd. in The New York Times,
22 July 2003. For more information on group shadow dynamics in political
and religious organizations, see: Under the Influence: the Destructive
Effects of Group Dynamics, by John D. Goldhammer. (New York: Prometheus
Basil Davidson, Africa in History (New York: Touchstone, 1991), p. 219.
Khomeini, Sayings of the Ayatollah Khomeini,
José Chapiro, Erasmus and Our Struggle for Peace (Boston: Beacon, 1950),
pp. 158, 171. James Hillman, A Terrible Love of War (New York: The Penguin
Press, 2004), p. 182. Pat Robertson, The New World Order (Word Publishing,
1991), p. 227.
Andrew Bacevich, American Empire, pp. 215ff.
Theodore Roosevelt, cited in: Carl Sagan, Billions and Billions: Thoughts
on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium (New York: Ballantine
Books, 1997), p. 185.
George W. Bush, quoted in: "London Bombings: Good police work," The Seattle
Post Intelligencer, July 14, 2005.
Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern
Age (New York: Doubleday, 1990), p. 236.
Lieutenant General Boykin, cited in: Arianna Huffington, Fanatics & Fools:
The Game Plan for Winning Back America (New York: Hyperion, 2004), p.
George W. Bush, "Commencement Address at the United States Military Academy
in West Point," Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (June 1,
Keen, Ibid., p. 27. Hillman, Ibid., p. 197. Supreme Court decision: Engle
v. Vitale, 1962.
Clinton Rossiter, Seedtime of the Republic (New York: Harcourt Brace,
Excerpted in Rossiter, The First American Revolution (San Diego: Harvest).
"The Secret Downing Street Memo." The Sunday Times Britain: May 1, 2005.
John Ashcroft, cited in: Arianna Huffington, Ibid., p. 63.
Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger," pp. 726-27.
George W. Bush, cited in: "Bush on Iraq War: Donšt Forget 9/11," The Seattle
Times, p. A1.
George W. Bush, "State of the Union Address," Weekly Compilation of Presidential
Documents (Jan. 29, 2002), 133-39.
Michael A. Genovese, "The Transformations of the Bush Presidency: 9/11
and Beyond," The Presidency, Congress, and the War on Terrorism: Scholarly
Perspectives, University of Florida Conference (Feb. 3, 2003).
See: www.clas.ufl.edu/users/rconley/conferenceinfo.htm. Carl Sagan, Ibid.,
According to the World Health Organization, more than 10.6 million children
per year die before their fifth birthday. WHO attributes almost half (48
percent) of deaths under the age of 5 to diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria,
and measles, which would mostly be preventable given appropriate care
and treatment. A further 37 percent reflect neonatal causes, many of which
might be avoidable, and a third of which are infection related. Thus,
probably two-thirds of global deaths under the age of 5 could be averted,
if the necessary resources for basic health care were in place and accessible.
WHO report for 2000-2003. "Bush On Life," from: Bush's remarks with the
Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Air America Radio, April 14, 2005. Robert
J. Lifton, The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation
(New York: Basic Books, 1993), p. 202.
Keen, Ibid., p. 95. Dwight D. Eisenhower, "The Chance for Peace."
Speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953.
From the poetry of Matthew Arnold.
Also by John D Goldhammer Bush-Speak:
A Real Weapon of Mass Destruction
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