Farmers Branch was in the news again on Valentine’s Day, with a recap of the nearly one million dollars spent this year to keep the illegal immigrant issue in the courts. Naturally, our City Council has vowed to keep up the fight for “the will of the people”. This bottomless money-pit reminds me of an article I read some months ago which contained Hermann Goering ‘s observations about manipulation of the common people by political leaders.

Goering was one of the highest-ranking Nazis who survived to be captured and put on trial for war crimes in Nuremberg. His comments were made privately to Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg Jail. Here is an excerpt of one of their conversations, in which Goering explains how easy it is to incite a mob mentality:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

“Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

“There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only congress can declare wars.”

“Oh, that is all well and good, but, 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 danger. It works the same way in any country.”

The bottom line is that once you get the citizens inflamed against a common enemy  it is a very simple matter to exert control over all other areas. Like debt, and invasion of privacy, and mob rule. All in the name of “The Will of the People”.

That brings me to this Tweet I read during the summer.

I have seen my last Brad Pitt movie.    10:12 PM Aug 17th from mobile web

I wonder what precipitated that? Hmmm – let me think …….. oh! Could it have been the movie Inglorious Basterds? The one where Brad Pitt and his band of Jewish Allied soldiers track down and assassinate members of Nazi Germany’s political leadership? The one that is currently nominated for Best Picture?

Now, I will admit that listening to Brad talk with that Tennessee accent kind of threw me off too. But there is one scene in that movie that I can’t forget: the one where the SS Colonel Hans Landa arrives at a dairy farm to interrogate the farmer about rumors he is hiding a Jewish  family. To put this scene in perspective you can imagine that the farmer has been turned in for a violation to The Ordinance and Colonel Landa is the SS’s Code Enforcement Officer. Landa persuades the farmer to confess by reminding the farmer that neighbors will talk, and that he will continue to bring his goons in to ” inspect” the farmer’s home until he is satisfied that the complaints rumours are unsubstantiated.

In case you haven’t seen the movie I won’t spoil it for you, but I do wonder if the author of this Tweet feels a sharp pain in his forehead every time he thinks of Inglorious Basterds.

File:Inglourious Basterds poster.jpg