On the final evening of the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump delivered a lengthy (a total of 75 minutes) and ominous acceptance speech that focused on how America is no longer safe.
His usual good-humored frivolousness, which occasionally blunted the sharp edges of his rants, was no longer to be seen. The cheerful personality that occasionally made you chuckle, even while he’s blaring something outlandishly offensive, was replaced with a dark and ominous shouting.
He told frightening stories of how Americans are no longer safe when traveling abroad because of our failed foreign policies. “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton,” he roared: “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness!”
The crowed erupted into chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!” – a popular phrase that calls for the incarceration of Hillary Clinton for her role in the Benghazi crisis.
“Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” warned Trump. “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life!”
The “we’re under attack” mentality is nothing new. It’s not the first, not will it be the last time that politicians use this technique to rile up popular support.
Six decades ago, during the Nuremberg Trial, Nazi commander and Hitler’s right hand man Hermann Göring admitted freely to Allied psychologist Gustave Gilbert how the Nazi regime had managed to rile up so much popular support.
Göring was sitting in prison facing the inevitable death sentence from the Tribunal and became very frank with the psychologist, who later recounted Göring’s confessions in his book Nuremberg Diary:
“Of course the people don’t want war. After all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
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 greater danger.”