The Disastrous Power Elite Tunnel Vision, to Which a Population Is Indoctrinated
A Lecture Outline
By Dr. Hassan El-Najjar
Editor of Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org
February 22, 2010
The following is an outline of a lecture, which also includes links to resources, photos, and maps, provided for the use of researchers, peace activists, journalists, and readers.
As a sociological term coined by Irving Janis (1972), it refers to the narrowing of thought by a group of people, leading to the perception that there is only one correct answer, in which to even suggest alternatives becomes a sign of disloyalty.
1. Examples of Groupthink from US history:
a. Pearl Harbor attack, in 1941.
b. Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, 1961.
c. Reports of Vietnamese strength, early 1960s.
d. Colombia space shuttle disaster of 2003.
e. Invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.
2. Consequences of Indoctrinating a nation to its Power Elite Groupthink
- The ruling class makes sure that the population under its control is indoctrinated to loyalty to their government and its policies, particularly those with long-term effects, such as wars.
- Because of indoctrination of loyalty to government no matter what it does, people become indifferent and numb towards wars launched by their government.
- Disasters and calamities befall on their heads and on other nations.
Examples from 20th century:
a. Populations of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperialist Japan
b. Populations of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics
Examples from 21st century:
Indoctrination of the U.S. population about:
a. The U.S. Invasion & Occupation of Iraq
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
II. Dehumanization as a requirement of forming Groupthink about the enemy, in preparation for war
1. Definition: The act or process of reducing people to objects that do not deserve the treatment accorded humans (Henslin, 2007).
III. How & why does it happen?
"War is the only solution for the world problems"
The dominant GROUPTHINK tunnel-vision view is that the US is involved in all of these wars around the world because there is something wrong with these people ... their religion, militancy, and terrorism.
An objective investigation shows that US wars are sought by the ruling class as the only way to control the world human and natural resources.
Explaining US "Permanent War" Policies:
1. The alliance between top political, military, and business leaders
a. The Power Elite Theory of C. Wright Mills
b. The acknowledgement of and warning against the military-industrial
complex by President Eisenhower in his Farewell Address):
2. Ownership and control of the corporate mass media by the Power Elite
(Major TV stations, newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses):
a. The functional and conflict sociological theories
b. Who owns the corporate mass media in the US?
IV. Explanation of war in relation to the historical evolution of capitalism
1. Mercantilism (Sponsoring explorations for trade): 16th Century
2. Colonialism (Establishing colonies in the New World): 17th-18th
3. Imperialism (Invasions and occupation for resources): 19th-20th Centuries
4. Neo-Imperialism (International debts & multi-national corporations): Late 20th Century & 21st Century.
V. The Empire Paradigm
In every historical era, few empires compete globally for control over human and natural resources until one is dominant. Then, it is challenged by an emerging empire. Empires last from few decades to several centuries, depending on several internal and external factors.
1. Historical sequence of major world empires
a. Ancient Egyptian (3,500 BC) and Iraqi (Babylon 1,800 BC) Empires in the Middle East
b. Greek world Empire (400-300 BC), from Greece to Egypt, to India
c. Roman Mediterranean Empire (200 BC to 600 AD), coastal Mediterranean regions
d. Arab-Islamic Empire (632-1254), Spain, North Africa, Middle East, to borders of India and China (Arab Spain continued to 1492)
e. Mongol Empire (1200-1500), from China to the Middle East
f. Ottoman Empire (1500-1918), Turkey, Eastern Europe, & the Middle East
g. European Empires, mainly Spanish, Portuguese, British, and French empires (1492-1945), dividing all continents among themselves
h. Soviet Empire (1917-1989), Russia, Central Asia, & Eastern Europe
i. American World Empire, competing with the Soviet Union for world dominance (1945-1989), then the only world-wide empire (1989-2010)
j. Emerging World Empire following the ultimate financial collapse of the American Empire due to permanent wars and the resulting astronomical national debt ($12.3 trillion, as of February 2010).
Contenders are China, Europe, & who else?
Or maybe a multi-empire world system?
2. Stages of the development of an empire (Bin Khaldoun, 14th Century)
a. Overthrow of an existing regime
b. Expansion (By war: Conquest, invasion, occupation, and subjugation)
c. Contentment and glory
d. Corruption and decay
e. Fall and displacement by an emerging empire
Note: Stages b, c, & d overlap.
VI. A historical survey of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as an example of GROUPTHINK.
A brief historical survey of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict shows that Israelis invaded Palestine during the first half of the 20th century, with help from Britain.
They dispossessed the Palestinian people in 1948, evicting them from their cities and villages and turning them into refugees.
Instead of helping the victim indigenous population, the European and United States governments have not stopped their financial, economic, and military aid to the Israelis.
Citizens of Europe and the US have been indoctrinated to the views of their governments towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
VII. Conclusion: The Way Out
The way out is democracy, more participation of the masses in politics. The dictatorship and tyranny of the Power Elite can only come to an end with the large entry to governance by the middle and working classes.
Only then, the GROUPTHINK of the Power Elite, can be replaced with a broad arena of diversity of opinions and views of the world.
More political parties need to emerge representing the middle and working classes, with their grassroots institutions and their mass media.
A culture of tolerance to dissent and different opinions should be encouraged and celebrated in all levels of education, work, and political decision-making.
It's time to have a government which truly represents the pluralistic and multi-cultural society it is supposed to represent.
- Here's the conflict historical survey:
Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Maps
10. Oslo II, 1995