By David Hughes, Daniel Broudy and Valerie Kyrie.
Table of Contents
On 29 November 2022, we published an extensively researched and referenced article in Unlimited Hangout, titled “Covid-19 – Mass Formation or Mass Atrocity?” The article is a critique of Mattias Desmet’s book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism. Our central points are that the psychology of mass atrocity is a more appropriate analytical framework for the abuses of the Covid era than “mass formation,” and that the two analyses are fundamentally incompatible. Throughout our critique we illustrate the ways in which The Psychology of Totalitarianism “paradoxically” and “inadvertently” supports, rather than undermines, the psychological foundations of the Covid era.
Our key points are that The Psychology of Totalitarianism: 1) denies motivated instigation by high-level actors who are causal agents in an atrocity analysis; 2) ignores systematic and coercive state violence and physical aggression in the Covid-19 era; 3) omits mention of harm consistent with a mass atrocity perspective such as foreseeable ‘vaccine’-induced stroke, myocarditis and blood clots, and mass human experimentation, and; 4) devotes an entire chapter to branding those who seek to hold instigators accountable as “conspiracy theorists”, which, even if inadvertent, is in alignment with the repressive machinations of multiple states around the world.
For purposes of illustration we have prepared a video summary of our article, which was presented as part of the Doctors for Covid Ethics Fifth Symposium in December 2022, substantiating our analysis and claims with audiovisual evidence of some of the atrocities concerned. We encourage readers to watch the video here. (Please note that the video contains distressing images of violence, police brutality, and people unexpectedly collapsing — viewer discretion is advised.)
On 24 January 2023, Irish nationalist commentator John Waters published on his Substack a hit piece on us titled The Psychology of a Hatchet Job, which was prompted by our initial article. Waters’ approach has been to deploy the tactic of projective attack, accusing us of the very strategies he himself adopts. Those strategies are to engage in ad hominem attack (e.g. “shitpost”, “sly”, “dubious”, “disingenuous” “grotesque” “would-be tyrant experts” and so-on), to use straw man arguments, and to ignore many of our key claims.
Rather than providing any references to credible third party sources, as we do extensively in our review, and rather than critiquing our arguments as posed, Waters writes at length about points we never made and positions we never took, whilst ignoring our central tenets. Laced with invective, his counter-critique serves primarily to obfuscate. Our core argument revolves around the centrality of high-level instigators who must be identified and held to account to prevent recurrence and escalation of mass atrocity, and the dangers of pathologizing, castigating, ostracizing and marginalizing those who seek to achieve this. Both points are obscured in the plumes of Waters’ acerbic misdirection and repetition.
We address Waters’ projective attack in detail below. We would like to stress that this is not some abstract, fastidious intellectual exercise. As our video summary of the review shows, the atrocities of the Covid era are real and consequential, as is the risk that those responsible will soon be back for more. It is this risk that we are seeking to mitigate by raising wider awareness of the largely invisible psychological foundations of mass atrocity.
We are infinitely more interested in helping readers understand the anatomy of atrocity, the reality and centrality of instigators, and the tangible and immediate dangers of the conspiracy theorist label, than we are in Waters’ opinions or Desmet’s book. As you read on, we hope that you will hold in your mind all that is at stake in accepting that powerful instigators have acted “blindly” (Desmet 2022, 112) or “entranced” while “hypnotized […] by the masses” (p. 110). Politics aside, the rule of law is at stake if the mens rea of culpable actors in mass atrocity is concealed, as it is in The Psychology of Totalitarianism. The ruling class thereby gets away with murder while the rest of humanity is subject to exploding numbers of restrictions on civil liberties, psychological and physical abuses, human rights violations, and the relentless building of a global bio-digital gulag.
Chapter description, from The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, recognising state-corporate criminality as a distinct category of crime.
PART 1 – WHO WIELDS THE HATCHET, AND WHY?
1.1 – Who Wields the Hatchet?
Waters accuses us in the title of his Substack post of conducting a “hatchet job” on Mattias Desmet. Yet, he himself dismisses our 15,000-word, meticulously referenced article as the equivalent of “a shitpost of 240 characters.” He calls its methods “sly and dubious,” based on “cheap shots” and “Gotchaism,” alleging that we have constructed “not just a straw man, but an inert bale of straw.” He brands the tone of our review “snide and misleading,” its argument “a little crazy” and full of “screaming misrepresentation,” its approach one of “pure malevolence” that aims to “twist and distort” Desmet’s argument through an “utterly underhanded mangling of his words.” We stand accused of being “disreputable” and guilty of “dishonest trickery,” “disingenuous distortion,” and “character assassination.” Our “appalling” review is “dishonest, malicious, and unfair” — “a hit-piece rather than a reasoned critique,” whose “ill-intent and malice [are] visible in virtually every sentence.” Waters calls us “lesser-spotted academics” — attention seekers who are envious of Desmet’s “success in captivating public attention.”
All of which begs the question: who is really wielding the hatchet?
At no point in our review of Desmet’s book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, do we stoop to such tactics nor use such language about Desmet or his work. Every analytical point we offer is referenced, evidence-based, and conducted in an appropriate academic tone and manner.
Textual interpretations are subject to reasonable disputation, and we do not expect everyone to agree with everything we have written. However, it is beyond the pale to respond to our critique of Desmet’s book with an 8,000-word barrage of ad hominem attacks. Ironically, it is Waters who has failed to produce a reasoned critique. In fact, it is this ex-Irish Times journalist who has produced a hit piece, using the tricks of the trade, intended to silence any criticism of Desmet’s scholarship and public work.
Waters accuses us of “twisting and manipulation of [Desmet’s] words and explications […] whilst ducking the responsibility of properly engaging with his thoughts. They are quite entitled to disagree, but not to distort.” With obvious hyperbole, Waters writes: “in not a single one of the uses of Desmet’s text” do our “noxious imputations survive a closer examination of what he actually wrote.” Waters here is claiming that, in a 15,000-word review of Desmet’s book, not once do we cite him faithfully. Rather, our “assertions are almost invariably fatuous, ignorantly or calculatedly misunderstanding Desmet’s [argument].”
“Oh boy!,” we might reply, turning Waters’ rhetoric back against him. How is it possible for any serious or impartial reader of our review to write such abject nonsense? In reality, as we demonstrate below, it is Waters who repeatedly distorts the contents of our review. Furthermore, while every part of our review of Desmet’s book is extensively referenced and evidence-based, Waters’ long unstructured diatribe frequently makes claims without providing any supporting evidence.
1.2 – Taking Sides
“Generally — and all too typically,” Waters claims, “the attacks [on Desmet] seek to suggest that he is ‘controlled opposition’, some kind of shill for the authorities.” Nowhere in our review of Desmet’s book, however, do we make such a leap or use the language of “controlled opposition” or “shill.”
In fact, it is Waters who engages in the business of taking sides. For example, he finds it odd that Desmet “is almost always shot at from what one might assume to be his own side” and claims that “the last thing” that “those on the side of the establishment” want is for attention to be drawn to Desmet’s work. Partisanship is introduced by Waters, not by us.
Waters, an experienced wordsmith, names his side “the Resistance,” defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “an organization that secretly fights against an enemy that has taken control of its country.” In contrast, he refers to us as “the troika” no fewer than 42 times (purposeful repetition being the principal hallmark of propaganda).
This loaded language invokes the single decision group created during the Eurozone crisis by the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund to manage the “bailouts” of Greece, Cyprus, Portugal — and Ireland. Waters’ rhetorical flourishes are revealing because they are couched in the framework of an assault on (Irish) national sovereignty — painting us as (in league with) the infiltrators.
Our review, according to Waters, “implies that the leaders are somehow outside the society — as though invaders, occupiers — whereas in fact, invariably, they will have been plucked from the ranks of the populace.” This says more about Waters’ obsession with invaders and occupiers than it does about our review. What we actually write is: “Perpetrators, however, like the members of the societies that spawn them [emphasis added], come in different shapes and sizes.”
Attacks on Desmet, according to Waters, risk “the demoralisation of many of those who have been fighting this war for human survival.” Do they? Or do they galvanise those looking to hold the perpetrators and instigators of Covid-era mass atrocity to account, and provide courage to those who feel cowed by official weaponisation of the “conspiracy theorist” label, as the flood of positive responses to our article suggests?
1.3 – Conflating Critiques
Waters’ strategy for defending Desmet rests on claiming that his critics do not merely question his analysis, but engage in a “recurring pattern of denigration and misrepresentation” in an attempt to “discredit him” and “take him down,” involving “sinister” and “grotesque insinuations concerning his motives and loyalties.” By insinuating defamation here, Waters tacitly moves to conflate our scholarly review of Desmet’s book “with previous attacks on Desmet,” including those which now form part of a $25 million lawsuit by Robert Malone. Waters’ hyperbole appears intended to send a message that any criticism of Desmet’s scholarly analysis is off limits.
Especially in the context of the Malone lawsuit and the mounting tendency to use legal action to silence alternative views, we were very careful in our review of Desmet’s book to avoid any personal or ad hominem attacks on Desmet. For example, we deliberately left out reference to controversial historical events that were reported on elsewhere. We focused instead on analysing the text of his book and its relation to wider analysis of social relations, bracketing questions of authorial intent, which is in line with well known methods of textual interpretation, such as outlined by the Cambridge School of literary criticism. Indeed, we use such phrases as “paradoxically” and “however inadvertently” to signal that Desmet himself did not necessarily intend the meanings that can be read into his text.
A “related theme” to the earlier attacks, Waters claims, is that Desmet, in his book, seeks to “’blame the victims’ of the continuing tyranny for what is happening, rather than facing down the conspirators against freedom.” We offer analysis of the apparent victim blaming in Desmet’s book in our review (see the paragraph beginning “There are shades of victim-blaming in The Psychology of Totalitarianism”), but Waters simply ignores most of it and gets what he does address (the toy steering wheel metaphor — see below) wrong.
1.4 – Desmet Beatified
Robert Malone, in an interview, claims to be “a student learning at the feet of the master,“ disciple-like, “very humble,” and “very grateful for the teaching that I received from Mattias.” Ludicrously, Waters claims that Desmet should be “venerated.” According to fellow Irishman, Ivor Cummins, “Prof Desmet is a God of understanding the disaster that has befallen us, at the hands of WEF/Pharma and the other evil goons.”
To criticize the work of Desmet is, by implication, heresy. As with “The Science”™, propounded by the powers that be, we are back to ideas, policies, and narratives that must never be questioned, analysed, or demystified. In other words, the perfect antithesis of scientific progress and scholarly research.
According to Waters, Desmet welcomes the questioning of his analysis “wholeheartedly and without rancour”; indeed, he has “offered to debate [his] attackers, but has had no takers so far.” It is, therefore, peculiar that Desmet himself did not write a reply to our initial review, despite being offered right of reply by Unlimited Hangout, nor offer to debate us.
Screenshot of an email from Whitney Webb, Unlimited Hangout editor, to Mattias Desmet.
In a recent Substack article, Desmet writes: “Extremely negative and emotional reactions are rarely accurate. That’s why I usually don’t respond to them. Sometimes the best response is silence.” This does not sound like a wholehearted welcoming of critique, as Waters claims; rather, if the critique is too “negative,” it is to be ignored, regardless of the quality of the argument.
In sum, Waters’ hysterical overreaction to our review, the Malone lawsuit, and the attempts to sanctify a scholar who so far has failed to defend his own work against our critical analysis of it — all of this points to a much deeper level of contestation over Desmet’s book than meets the eye. As we argue below, what is fundamentally at stake in debates over the book is not mere psychology or some intellectual exercise. Rather, it is that the book mystifies class relations and, by refusing to recognize the role of instigators in Covid-era mass atrocity, it works to conceal the global class war now unfolding.
PART 2 – WHO IS TO BLAME FOR COVID-ERA MASS ATROCITY?
2.1 – Perpetrators Tacitly Exonerated
Waters claims that our “shitpost” of an article aims to “twist and corrupt” Desmet’s words to create the misimpression that Desmet seeks to “get the evil-doers off the hook.” This defamatory claim is a sophomoric caricature with no basis in fact. In our review, by diligently examining The Psychology of Totalitarianism, we assess the ways in which the widely popularised “mass formation” thesis actually works, and find that it is compatible with exoneration of perpetrators. Indeed, the book is fundamentally incompatible with a mass atrocity framework for that very reason.
As we argue in the review, the social-psychological dynamics of mass atrocity revolve around high-level actors, with motives and means to inflict mass harm, who instigate members of a society to perpetrate that harm, and who neutralise and immobilise victims and bystanders. Instigators of atrocity can be understood as those in control not only of money (medium grade power) but information (high grade power). They use the high grade power of information-dominance to incite mass harm. Multi-billion-dollar foundations’ investment in messages of “moral persuasion” to incite citizens to embrace mass harm serves as an illustration of how atrocities can be instigated through information-dominance. Desmet’s book, in contrast, is clear that neither totalitarianism nor the Covid era should be understood in terms of such “malicious, intentional deception” (p. 115).
This is the critical, irreconcilable point of departure between the two analyses — and not “the weaponisation of a false dichotomy with a straw man on its back,” as Waters hyperventilates.
Making that case in our book review — and again here — is wholly different from attempting a deliberate stitch-up against a man we have never met, have never had any direct communication with, and have no personal interest in whatsoever.
Waters claims of Desmet: “Nowhere does he seek to exonerate any of the actual perpetrators of wrongdoing or to relieve them of personal responsibility.” Furthermore:
Nowhere does Desmet suggest that participants in a mass formation cease to be moral agents. What is at issue here is what Le Bon called ‘the psychology of crowds’, in which the individual surrenders his agency to a group identity, a dangerous state, and rarely a blameless one.
Indeed, Desmet claims that those caught in the grip of mass formation “still have the ability to make ethical choices” and so should not be “forgiven just like that” for the crimes they commit (p. 108). The trouble is, however, that the only crimes committed in the book are by the masses — never the “elites” (or instigators under an atrocity framework), meaning that this is morality for the masses. Waters neglects to include this distinction in his analysis, conflating perpetrators (i.e. foot soldiers) with instigators (i.e. elites) throughout.
As Waters notes, the “mass formation” thesis rests partly on Gustave Le Bon’s outdated late nineteenth century ideas about the way individuals lose themselves in crowds: all become one, like flocking starlings in Desmet’s terms. Or, to quote Waters, there is “symbiotic interaction between leaders and led.”
However, all are not one. The rapid development of mass communication and propaganda techniques in the opening decades of the twentieth century allowed the ruling classes, for their own benefit, to find effective ways of manipulating the masses, viz. the Creel Commission and US entry into World War I against so-called “isolationist” sentiment, or Hitler’s use of the radio to speak directly to the masses. A clear distinction must be drawn, therefore, between the masses and those who hold the power to manipulate them through the “mainstream” channels they access, control, own and/or operate.
The Superimposition of Social Worlds: Concerned father holds vaccine-injured son.
Desmet and Waters fail to make that distinction. For them, leaders, just like ordinary citizens, get caught in the grip of mass formation, and everyone is subject to the same ethical standards. As Desmet writes, totalitarianism “should be understood in terms of mass psychology rather than malicious, intentional deception” (p. 115) — a position that seems impossible to sustain in light of all the cunning deceptions and lies that have been constructed during the Covid-19 era, emanating from the WHO, public health agencies, government scientists, politicians, the Establishment media, the heads of charities and foundations pretending to serve the public good, etc.
In Brighton, England, large numbers of protestors take to the streets, fed up with constantly being lied to by the authorities
Waters claims: “To say that something (an impersonal force) is ‘the ultimate master’ is not the same as saying that ‘no one is to blame’ or that ‘the elite is in no way to blame.’” Elites, too, must, according to the theory, answer to their conscience as mass formation takes hold.
Or must they? “Those who guide the masses,” Desmet writes, are “like a child sitting on the bow of a ship and turning a toy steering wheel every time the tanker changes direction” (p. 134). They are essentially powerless — “not ‘real’ leaders in the sense that they do determine where the masses will go,” but rather adjusting their plan opportunistically in accordance with “what people crave” (p. 134). Deprived of any “real” agency, and as slaves to the will of the people, it is hard to see how leaders, who do not commit crimes in the book, let alone orchestrate mass atrocity, can be held accountable for anything. In this context, it seems reasonable to interpret Desmet’s toy steering wheel metaphor as imputing innocence to “those who guide the masses.”
Not so, according to Waters, who interprets the passage in question as follows:
The point of the image of the boy turning the toy steering wheel relates to the fundamental circumstances in which the mass formation is embedded: The conditions of the mechanistic society — in which the human element has become debased by the various characteristics of free-floating anxiety, aggression, monotonous work, et cetera — creating a situation of which an opportunistic elite may take advantage so as to steer the mass without much or any effort — hence the metaphor of the toy steering wheel.
This is an obvious misreading. Had Waters taken the time to reread p. 134 of the book, he would have realized that precisely the opposite of what he is claiming is true. The toy steering wheel metaphor is not about “elites” being able to “steer the mass without much or any effort” — it is about them not being able to steer at all!
The claim that there is no malicious intent behind totalitarianism (p. 115) has some astonishing implications. For example, it means that the ruling classes have never seen totalitarianism as the most ruthless means of crushing working class resistance. There was no reason why Wall Street, for example, financed Hitler and Stalin. The 1933 “Business Plot” by wealthy industrialists and financiers to carry out a fascist coup in the United States, exposed by Smedley Butler, was just an accident. Forget individual perpetrators — we are talking here about the exoneration of an entire class.
Protestors against the Covid countermeasures in Marseille (17 July 2021) display their concern about resurgent totalitarianism.
From the perspective of dominant institutions, a lack of malicious intent also means there can be no “high-level authorities […] responsible for orchestrating mass atrocities” in the words of USAID. There can be no instigators of mass atrocity in David Mandel’s sense of the term, i.e. those who “tune and transmit the messages that will effectively motivate others to cause harm and to provide perpetrators with the requisite resources for accomplishing their tasks.”
Covid-era mass atrocity must, therefore, have just come out of the clear blue sky — or, as Waters opines, out of the “cultural background radiation that makes episodes of atrocity more likely to happen, propaganda being the primary element.” Because propaganda is just part of the “cultural background radiation,” system-justifying propagandists, supported by a system that plans it, presumably cannot be guilty of malicious, intentional deception, or of tuning and transmitting messages to do harm. Waters ties himself up in knots here.
According to Waters, “the contemporary kind of totalitarianism (because of mass media penetration, primarily) differs radically […] from the twentieth century forms of totalitarianism.” This, however, contradicts Desmet’s claim that “without mass media, it is not possible to generate such long-lasting mass formation as that which gave rise to Stalinism and Nazism” (p. 100). Which again raises questions regarding how carefully Waters has read Desmet’s book.
Waters finds it “baffling” that people interpret the “mass formation” concept as “an instrument for absolving the wrongdoers.” “Baffling” just so happens to be the term of the moment, as when Establishment-oriented commentators find the sudden precipitous rise in heart attacks in young people over the past two years “baffling,” despite advance warnings about the “vaccines.” “Baffling” has, in fact, become synonymous with “wilful blindness.” How could anyone possibly suspect “mass formation” of absolving evil-doers? It is baffling.
Schoolgirls Comfort a Collapsed and Convulsing Classmate: One of a multitude of online posts documenting the proliferation of “baffling” sudden collapses and convulsions in young healthy individuals following the Covid “vaccine” rollout.
2.2 – Ever-elusive Psychopaths
Waters objects to our claim that an analysis of Covid-era mass atrocity should involve consideration of issues of psychopathy and sociopathy on the part of the perpetrators. Casually dismissing this as “Andrew M. Lobaczewski style of analysis” (whose work we do not cite for a reason), he writes: “Desmet’s point is not that psychopathy never arises: It is that it is not necessary for a mass formation to occur. He is dealing with the conditions which may cause such a phenomenon to erupt in an otherwise ‘normal’ society,” enabling “apparently free and open societies” to “descend overnight into totalitarian dictatorships.”
Though Waters neglects to mention it, we address that sudden descent twice in our review, citing Erich Fromm and Carl Jung, including the latter’s claim in 1946 that “No one knew what was happening to [them], least of all the Germans, who allowed themselves to be driven to the slaughterhouse by their leading psychopaths like hypnotized sheep.” We also cite Joost Meerloo’s 1956 claim that “Mass delusion can be induced. It is simply a question of organizing and manipulating collective feelings in the proper way,” and we remark on the resemblance between the techniques cited by Meerloo and the psychological warfare techniques used against the public in 2020. “Today’s ‘leading psychopaths,’” we observe, “are apparently driving the ‘hypnotized sheep’ wherever they like, and the last time this occurred it ended in World War II and the Holocaust.” These lessons from history are deliberately overlooked by Waters, who does not want to hear our claim that “Totalitarian mass psychosis does not just arise organically, however. Rather, it is deliberately inculcated by the ruling class.”
To bolster his position on psychopathy, Waters treats us to a sneak preview of a now-published interview he conducted with Desmet in Dublin in September 2022, in which he asks about the role of psychopathy. It is not clear why he felt the need to ask about psychopathy, having read the book and become a disciple of “mass formation.” He leaves Desmet’s remarks in the interview to speak for themselves, like the received wisdom of a prophet. Desmet’s key claims are: (i) “it is unethical to diagnose someone without having spoken to him personally”; (ii) “among totalitarian leaders you have all kinds of personality types”; and (iii) “The psychopath is a very specific psychological structure, characterised by extreme narcissism, which makes the person completely incapable of empathy, and so on.” To which we would reply: (i) we are dealing with enemies who are currently committing crimes against humanity on a worldwide scale, not patients; (ii) to be guilty of such crimes requires a total deletion of empathy and compassion; and (iii) this meets Desmet’s “very specific” criteria.
Moreover, we frame our discussion of psychopathology not in terms of any specific individual’s hypothetical psychological makeup, as Waters implies, but in terms of a “predator class […] whose long history of fraud, bloodshed and state-corporate crime is well-documented.” We cite numerous studies on ‘dark leadership’ which have found that the “dark triad” of personality, (i.e. psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism) is positively related to political participation and ambition. Rather than acknowledge this, in his evidence-free invective, Waters attacks the straw-man imputation that we have offered armchair diagnoses.
2.3 – Story Time
Waters claims that “Desmet does not deny the existence of tyrants or their nefarious agendas, but makes the point that they are, as individuals, dispensable and interchangeable within the structure of the trance.” However, Desmet does deny the nefarious agendas of tyrants. For example, he writes: “the real masters of the predicament are not the leaders of totalitarian systems, but the stories and their underlying ideology; these ideologies take possession of everyone and belong to no one; everyone plays a part, nobody knows the full script” (pp. 119-20). Like the rest of society, those in power are caught in the spell of “mass formation”; they are mere interchangeable cogs in the system; therefore, they have no real agency. Any nefarious agendas they enact can only be the result of “stories” and “ideologies” having taken “possession” of them.
As we argue in our review, however, the “mass formation” thesis avoids analysis of the storytellers — those who concoct, produce, market, sell, profit from, control, and manage the effects of those dominant stories and points of view. The entire global informational infrastructure owned and maintained by these same interests gets short shrift in the book.
Waters approves of Desmet’s citation of Le Bon: in a crowd, “the individual soul is replaced by a common group soul” (p. 92). We are reminded, however, of Franz Werfel’s critique of Nazi aggression during the reign of the Third Reich: nationalism is a “heretical religion based on the erroneous doctrine that nations have a soul and that this soul is more permanent, more ‘eternal,’ so to speak, than the soul of an individual.”
President Biden delivers his “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” speech on 1 September 2022, the background being reminiscent of Nazi aesthetics. Source: Daily Angle
As the language of “the trance,” “possession,” and the “common group soul” reveals, we are dealing here with magical thinking that mystifies actual social relations. The mass psychosis witnessed during the Covid era, on this reading, has nothing to do with the ruling class using every means at its disposal — psychological warfare, military grade propaganda, applied behavioural psychology, fear and intimidation, MKULTRA-based forms of mind control, decades of research into mass hypnosis, etc. — in order to break public resistance to its intended transition to technocracy. Rather, once upon a time in 2020, the masses, for no apparent reason, just fell under the spell/curse of “stories and their underlying ideology” (p. 120).
Waters takes umbrage at our criticism of Desmet’s argument that the population’s willingness to accept “with remarkable ease measures that destroyed their enjoyment of life, freedom, and prosperity” during the “lockdowns” can be attributed to a “hypnotic story” (p. 102). The “entire thrust of Desmet’s contributions,” Waters claims,
from his emergence into the international arena two years ago, has been directed at describing the imposition of a trance by political and health authorities on whole populations, for the purposes of enslaving them, using techniques of propaganda, manipulation, isolation, induced terror, censorship, abuse of numbers and statistics, mass entrancement by technology and communications media, narrative creation, division-making, and multiple other instruments.
Unfortunately, Waters provides no evidence to support his claim. More pertinently, the idea that political and health authorities used the techniques described above for purposes of enslaving entire populations does not appear in the book we reviewed. To claim that it does is a fairy tale.
Nevertheless, Waters tries to persuade his reader that “Desmet has explained in graphic detail the conditions required for a mass formation to occur,” citing the following passage from the book:
The first thing totalitarian leaders do is make sure their voices are the only ones left. To a certain extent, this is also what classical dictators do, but they limit the monopoly on the voice to the public sphere. They silence the political opposition. Totalitarian systems operate in a more thorough way. They censor alternative voices in the private sphere as well.
For readers wanting to follow this up, it is on p. 100, directly opposite the diagram on p. 101 that omits “vaccine” victims from its “victims of corona measures.”
A selection of the plethora of social media posts noting the “vaccination” status of victims of sudden death, in the face of official silence and downplaying of “vaccine”-related fatality and harm. (Ámbar Suárez, 2022; Leo Forstenlechner, 2021; Ernesto Ramirez, 2021)
2.4 – On Auto-oppression: Masochistic Serfs in a Biodigital Technocracy
Waters identifies in our critique “half-a-dozen discrete sentences pulled from different sections between pages 127 and 134, without any indication of the detailed exposition of complex arguments that occurs across that section.” What we actually write, citing Desmet’s book, is:
“The modern crowd is always pushing in the same direction: the hyper-controlled society,” (p. 127) he contends. As a result, experts’ “decisions always move toward a more technologically and biomedically controlled society … The leaders of the masses — the so-called elite — give the people what they want. When fearful, the population wants a more controlled society.” Leaders, according to Desmet, “sense what people crave and they adjust their plans in that direction” (pp. 133-134).
So: four sentences, of which three come from 1-2 pages, with the last two coming from the same paragraph, all creating a clear sense — in Desmet’s own words — of the argument presented in these pages, i.e. modern crowds wanting to be hyper/biomedically controlled, and leaders giving people what they want. Does Waters deny this is what Desmet argues?
“To cover themselves,” Waters writes of us, “they generally provide page references.” To cover ourselves? In fact, we provide page references consistently as a matter of basic academic convention, allowing readers to look the information up for themselves — something which Waters neglects to do. Waters claims “these [page references] will be useless to a reader who does not have Desmet’s book to hand” — a trite remark, since anyone with any serious interest in the controversy surrounding Desmet should read the book for themselves rather than relying on secondary interpretations.
Waters later returns to the same eight pages, claiming: “Desmet is not in any sense treating here of the desires or responses of the population, but purely of what he sees as a consistent dynamic to be observed in the prescriptions of ‘experts’.” So, on Waters’ reading, Desmet never wrote in those pages about what “the people” or “the population” “want” or “crave.” And yet, Waters has the gall to accuse us of being “wilfully distortionary or downright uncomprehending”!
He takes offence at our question: “Who knew we were all masochistic serfs seeking to be shackled by digital chains?” The offence is only enabled, however, by blanking out what Desmet explicitly has to say about the population wanting to be technologically and biomedically controlled.
A few more quotations from Chapter 5 of Desmet’s book, titled “The Desire for a Master,” may help to further illustrate our point. “Narcissism and regulation mania,” Desmet claims, “intensified the problem they seemed to solve, resulting in a psychologically exhausted population that craves an absolute master” (p. 86). He identifies “the pressing need among the population for an authoritarian institution that provides direction to take the burden of freedom and the associated insecurity off their shoulders” and claims that “it is precisely at this point that man turns to the opposite of what he pursued in his desire for freedom: the absolute master — the totalitarian leader […]” (p. 84). Pace Waters, it is clear from Desmet’s book that the population is being blamed for the very policies used to oppress it.
Waters, too, has no problem in pointing the finger of blame at the public:
To suggest that there has been no collaboration or collusion in Covid enforcement by members of the general population would be to deny the experience of virtually everyone who has in any way sought to resist or refuse these impositions over the past three years. Desmet’s thesis is that, without this cooperation, the tyranny would never have got off the runway.
This may be true, but the insinuation that we make that suggestion is false. This is another misreading of our review, and it ignores everything we have to say about instigators inciting unwitting foot soldiers to inflict harm (more on this below).
2.5 – “Conspiracy Theory”: On Loading a Weaponized Term
In our review, we observe that a whole chapter of Desmet’s book is devoted to disparaging those who seek to hold powerful actors or interest groups accountable for the deaths, destruction, and tyranny of the Covid-19 era as conspiracy theorists. We describe this as a textbook example of the derogation of moral advocates. Noting that Desmet’s views on “conspiracy theory” have “understandably, attracted quite a bit of negative commentary” (but only because of the term’s weaponization by the CIA), Waters nevertheless seeks to defend Desmet’s position on the subject as “interesting, complex and nuanced.”
Waters claims that Desmet “does not rule out the existence of supreme machinators, but is at pains to show that this is not necessary for a mass formation to work.” However, Desmet does rule out the existence of supreme machinators, by claiming: “the ultimate master is the ideology, not the elite” (p. 134).
According to Waters, Desmet “warns against simplistic theories being used to explain complex social processes.” Or again: Desmet “does not rule out an orchestration, but simply emphasises that this ‘top down’ understanding is inadequate to understanding the total phenomenon.” The tactic here is to dismiss orchestrated mass psychosis and atrocity as too “simple” or “inadequate” an explanation for what has unfolded in the Covid era, disparaging ordinary people and absolving powerful actors of premeditation and crime.
It simultaneously ignores a large literature on orchestrated mass atrocity, and there is certainly nothing simplistic about the raft of supporting psychological theories and bodies of research that we cite in our review. Desmet, a psychology professor, might reasonably be expected to demonstrate some familiarity with some of that literature in a book about totalitarianism, but he does not.
Desmet, on Waters’ reading, “does not disparage those who seek to hold powerful actors or interest groups accountable for the deaths, destruction, and tyranny of Covid-19. He does not call them ‘conspiracy theorists.’” This is splitting hairs. Desmet writes about “Operation Lockstep from the Rockefeller Foundation, Event 201 of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and the Rockefeller Foundation), and COVID-19: The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab.” He notes that these events and publications are, for many people, “the ultimate proof that the social developments we’re experiencing are planned and the product of a conspiracy” (pp. 132-133). Is this really any different from calling those people “conspiracy theorists”?
“Nobody is safe, if not everyone is vaccinated” (Klaus Schwab). The idea of a universal mandatory “vaccination” agenda is dismissed by mainstream sources as “conspiracy theory.”
In another example of hair-splitting, Waters writes:
Desmet does not brand the views of “conspiracy theorists” about the Covid tyranny as “simplistic and caricatural”; he says that the tendency to hypothesis [sic.] about “conspiracies” “shows a tendency to drift off course into theories that are unceasingly distant from a nuanced view of reality and, on a psychological level, often lead to simplistic and caricatural views.”
Yet, given that “many people,” in Desmet’s view, hypothesize that Operation Lockstep, Event 201, Schwab’s book, etc. are the “product of a conspiracy” (p. 133), then, by this logic, they are bound to end up holding “simplistic and caricatural views” (p. 138). Worse still, “conspiracy logic” tends to drift toward the “realm of the absurd,” and anecdotes involving extra-terrestrial beings, lizard people, flat Earth theory, and satanism serve to make those people appear ridiculous (pp. 124, 128, 130).
According to Waters, Desmet “simply explores the concept known as ‘conspiracy theory’ in the context of its possible role in mass formation […].” With this harmless-sounding, purely theoretical remark, Waters sweeps under the carpet everything we have to say about Desmet’s analysis assisting governing institutions to gag dissent by labelling it as “conspiracy theory.”
The Compliant Citizen Masochist: Referred to by critics as a muzzle, the face mask serves as both a visible symbol of gagging free speech and as a sign of total unquestioning obedience to The Science™ as numerous studies confirm the dangers to respiratory health and psychological states (Rancourt, 2020; Kisielinski et al. 2021).
“Aiding and abetting authorities in stigmatizing, censoring, marginalizing, and potentially criminalizing speech in this way,” we argue, “is dangerous, not only to those who would speak out against obvious atrocity, but to the victims whose lives depend upon dissenting voices.” For example, the book mentions “fanatical conspiracy thinking,” which “leads invariably to the dehumanization of a certain group,” i.e. “the elite” (p. 128).
This position inverts the reality that it is “the elite” which has been working to create dehumanized out-groups (”the pandemic of the unvaccinated,” treating “unvaccinated” people as disease carriers, recalling the Nazi treatment of Jews as vermin). It also tends toward providing a pretext for criminalising certain speech meant to stop the “fanaticism” from spreading. Nevertheless, Waters finds our warnings unjustified, claiming that Desmet is merely trying to “parse the process” of mass formation.
Everything Old is New Again: Fear-mongering media representations of ‘dangerous vectors of disease’ seen juxtaposed from 1942 and 2020. (Dixon, 2020)
In one of the few places where we cite Desmet’s public work, produced in support of his book, we note his claim to be “careful not to interpret what happened too much in terms of conspiracy,” lest his own speech be put “at risk of being cancelled.” Why, then, give credence to the “conspiracy theory” smear in an entire book chapter while at the same time being cowed by it? Waters oddly praises this refusal to speak truth to power as “a realistic awareness of the prevailing climate of censorship, which requires prudent tailoring of arguments by those hoping to stay in the game.” Yet, as we note, Desmet himself continues:
I acknowledge that this is hardly an excuse. If crimes happen, if large numbers of people die, it doesn’t matter what your expertise is. Every decent human being will recognize as his or her duty to simply articulate what everyone can see.
Have we not done as much in our critique? In Desmet’s studied avoidance of Covid-era mass atrocity and its instigators in The Psychology of Totalitarianism, he effectively hesitates to meet his own conditions.
In our review, we ask how it is that just five people could have “neatly and systematically” masterminded the Holocaust, according to the book (p. 136), yet any suggestion that the coronavirus crisis involved a “streamlined execution of a plan” (p. 133) must be “confused” and suffering from an “intense need for a simple frame of reference” (pp. 127-128)? Waters swerves the question.
Instead, he writes: “Evil orchestrations do occur, and therefore the notion of what [Desmet] describes as ‘secret, intentional, planned, and malicious’ projects cannot be ruled out, but this can turn into something far bigger than its individual elements might predict.” Evil orchestrations, in other words, are possible; however, we have not reached that stage yet with the Covid-19 crisis. This seems like a strange claim to make given Waters’ earlier concession that our claims regarding Covid-era mass atrocity are beyond “meaningful dispute.”
Waters’ claims about evil orchestrations are premised on pp. 135-136 of the book. Despite filling an entire paragraph with “countless other examples that seem to point in the direction of a plan being implemented” during the coronavirus crisis, Desmet regards these as “examples of how an ideology gets a grip on society rather than evidence of the execution of a conspiracy” (p. 135). It is unclear why he thinks this: certainly, the bizarre analogy he provides to “major reorganizations in large companies and government institutions” is unconvincing (p. 135). In future, he argues, it may be that the “structure of a conspiracy” begins to emerge, which could “devolve into a full-fledged conspiracy: a secret, intentional, planned, and malicious project,” like the Holocaust (p. 135). Any evil orchestration is thereby deferred; it is not a feature of our own time.
Cover image of the state-corporate funded CEPI Preliminary Business Plan, outlining the “value proposition” of “emerging infectious diseases, such as SARS”, which provide the opportunity “to co-ordinate funding and stimulate R&D for vaccines.” Published in November, 2016.
We might, finally, ask why Desmet writes the following: “Those who did see what was going on — namely that the concentration camps were in fact extermination camps — were accused of being … conspiracy theorists” (p. 136). Obviously, this is not literally true, as the CIA did not weaponize the term “conspiracy theory” until the 1960s. The reference given is to a Dutch translation of Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem, making it hard for non-Dutch speakers to follow up. Yet, there is something perplexing about Desmet’s remark in the context of all the disparaging comments he has made about “conspiracy theorists” by this point — namely, that the “conspiracy theorists” were right all along about the mass atrocities taking place in their lifetimes. Why would he admit this?
PART 3 – ON THE CONCEPT OF “MASS FORMATION”
3.1 – “Mass Formation”: A Concept Without Intellectual Pedigree
Waters misleadingly claims that a “central fixation” of ours is that “mass psychosis” is a more appropriate term than “mass formation.” We do, indeed, offer two whole paragraphs in our 15,000-word review on this topic, but it is hardly a “central fixation.” Our central focus is mass atrocity, hence its place in the title. The two paragraphs on mass psychosis are situated in a section on moral disengagement, in which we draw alarming parallels between mass psychosis in Nazi Germany and mass psychosis in the West today. We contrast this historical and political understanding with Desmet’s depoliticized and sanitized concept of “mass formation,” which likens human society to “complex, dynamic systems that organize themselves in nature” (p. 125). Waters falsely claims that we “make no attempt to analyse [that] thesis,” ignoring our claim that “humans, endowed with reason and the capacity for critical self-reflection, are far more complex than non-conscious systems acting on pure instinct, like flocking starlings.”
Seeking to lend credence to Desmet’s “mass formation” concept, Waters claims that it has been “elaborately described and analysed by numerous scientists, psychiatrists and psychologists in the past” (none cited). This is an empirically testable proposition.
For example, a search of the ProQuest Psychology database, one of the world’s leading academic psychology databases, returns no literature on mass formation as an explanation of totalitarianism. Searching the term “mass formation” returns papers on bone density, lymphoma, appendicitis and the like, with just one result, a 2010 book review, containing both terms “mass formation” and “totalitarian*” (though not as an explanation of totalitarianism).
A search for “mass formation” in the American Psychological Association’s database PsycNet returns zero results:
Screenshot of a search in the American Psychological Association database ‘PsycNet’ for the term “mass formation” in any field, whether title, abstract, keyword or full text.
Therefore, as far as we can ascertain, the “mass formation” concept has almost no academic pedigree. In the context of totalitarianism, it is Desmet’s brainchild. So, when Reiner Fuellmich praises Desmet as “the world’s expert on the phenomenon of mass formation” in his endorsement of the book, it is hollow praise, implying that Desmet is a “world expert” on a concept that he himself apparently invented.
In a recent Substack article, Desmet notes the objection made by Professor Nassir Ghaemi that
the concept ‘mass formation’ has never existed in human history. You will not find it anywhere in Gustave Le Bon’s writings. You will not find it anywhere, as far as I can tell, in any social psychology writings. You will not find it anywhere in any of the psychiatric literature for the last 200 years. The term ‘mass formation’ is completely made up by this person and his friend who goes on a Joe Rogan podcast and talks about it to a couple millions of people. … This concept of ‘mass formation’ has no scientific basis, no conceptual basis that anyone else has ever written about, no theoretical basis that anyone else has written about.
In response, Desmet notes that the term “Massenbildung” is used 19 times in Freud’s Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse (1921) (the correct count is 32), making it mysterious that Freud’s book is not credited in The Psychology of Totalitarianism (see below). He also cites texts by Gabriel Trade (1890), Scipio Sighele (1892), Gustave Le Bon (1895), Trotter (1916), McDoughall (sic., 1920), Ortega y Gasset (1930), Kurt Baschwitz (1940), Erich Fromm (1942), Wilhelm Reich (1946), Hannah Arendt (1951), Paul Reiwald (1951), Elias Canetti (1960), and Salvador Giner (1976).
Note that Trotter and McDougall lack first names. This could be because they also lack first names in Freud’s Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse, the relevance of which will become clear in the next section. One need not bother checking to see whether all these texts actually use the terms “mass formation,” “Massenbildung,” and/or “crowd formation” (Le Bon’s does not) to see that all are between 57 and 135 years old. Most are at least 72 years old, relics of the modernist era. Desmet’s avoidance of more recent psychological literature, therefore, renders “mass formation” a theoretical and conceptual dinosaur.
3.2 – Why Does Desmet Not Credit Freud?
It gets worse, however. Desmet neither credited nor explicated the origins of his “mass formation” postulates. His conceptualisation of the term appears to trace back to Freud’s “Massenbildung,” used 32 times in his 1921 book, Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse (Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego ). The term is typically altered to “group formation” in English versions of Freud’s book, but translates literally to “mass formation.” Importantly, Freud’s 1921 book is not cited in The Psychology of Totalitarianism. In the index of Desmet’s book, Freud appears only once, on p. 77, in an irrelevant mention, although Desmet does cite one of his own articles on Freud (p. 195, n. 14), in which he laments that “the level of complexity in Freud’s work is often lost,” indicating a certain admiration for Freud’s thought.
Yet, it is worth comparing passages of the two books. Freud writes (p. 41):
There are very fleeting groups and extremely lasting ones; homogeneous ones, made up of the same sorts of individuals, and unhomogeneous ones; natural groups, and artificial ones, requiring an external force to keep them together; primitive groups, and highly organised ones with a definite structure […] leaderless groups [vs.] those with leaders […] relatively simple group formation [vs.] highly organised, lasting and artificial groups.
Desmet notes the distinction between:
the short-lived mass formation during Saint Bartholomew’s night as opposed to the long-term mass formation of the French Revolution; the totally unstructured mass of the dancing plague in Strasbourg as opposed to the organized masses we find in the army and church; the religious masses of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as opposed to the pseudoscientific masses of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; the gigantic masses of Nazism and Stalinism; the small-scale mass formation that occurs time and again in trial juries, and so on” (p. 92).
The similarities are obvious. Moreover, Desmet’s reference here to “the organized masses we find in the army and church” echo Chapter V of Freud’s book (”Two Artificial Groups: The Church and the Army), where that idea comes up repeatedly, including a few sentences later, on p. 42, which refers to “church and army” as “highly organised and lasting” groups. The same Church/Army pairing does not arise in Le Bon’s book, where the Church is only mentioned twice.
“So long as a group formation persists or so far as it extends, Freud (p. 56) writes, “individuals behave as though they were uniform.” Desmet describes as a “far-reaching ‘uniformization’ of individuals” under “mass formation” (p. 92). In contrast, the word “uniform” only appears once in Le Bon’s book, not as an adjective.
Le Bon writes of the morality of crowds: “Collectivities alone are capable of great disinterestedness and great devotion” (p. 57). Freud paraphrases this as: “in certain circumstances the morals of a group can be higher than those of the individuals that compose it […] only collectivities are capable of a high degree of unselfishness and devotion” (p. 24). Desmet’s wording seems closer to Freud than to Le Bon: “In the crowd, everyone becomes equal to everyone else, people think together, and they tend to identify with the same ideals”; totalitarianism is “not […] selfish in nature” (pp. 92, 112).
On the subject of auto-oppressive impulses and Waters’ claimed “symbiosis” between the leaders and the led, Freud writes that the group “wants to be ruled and oppressed and to fear its masters. Fundamentally, it is entirely conservative […]” (p. 17). Moreover, “the group still wishes to be governed by unrestricted force; it has an extreme passion for authority; in Le Bon’s phrase, it has a thirst for obedience” (pp. 99-100). Desmet’s chapter titled “The Desire for a Master,” describes “a psychologically exhausted population that craves an absolute master“ (p. 86). Later in his book we read: “The modern crowd is always pushing in the same direction: the hyper-controlled society” and “the population wants a more controlled society […]” (pp. 127, 134).
Regarding disdain for the masses, Freud notes of groups:
the weakness of intellectual ability, the lack of emotional restraint, the incapacity for moderation and delay, the inclination to exceed every limit in the expression of emotion… show an unmistakable picture of a regression of mental activity to an earlier stage such as we are not surprised to find among savages or children (pp. 81-82).
Desmet contends that “The anonymity offered by the masses—the individual disappears into the crowd and feels unseen—is essentially just an excuse and a cover for letting one’s own compulsions run wild” (p. 108).
On suggestibility, Freud writes:
The influence of suggestion […] is not exercised only by the leader, but by every individual upon every other individual; and we must reproach ourselves with having unfairly emphasized the relation to the leader and with having kept the other factor of mutual suggestion too much in the background (p. 82).
In Desmet’s words:
The real masters of the predicament are not the leaders of totalitarian systems, but the stories and their underlying ideology; these ideologies take possession of everyone and belong to no one; everyone plays a part, nobody knows the full script (pp. 119-20).
On unethical behaviour, Freud writes: “Whereas the intellectual capacity of a group is always far below that of an individual, its ethical conduct may rise as high above his as it may sink deep below it” (p. 18). Desmet, similarly, identifies “a strong tendency to surrender to impulses that, under normal circumstances, would be considered radically unethical” (p. 92). Le Bon does not use the terms “ethical” and “unethical” in his book.
Freud writes: “when individuals come together in a group all their individual inhibitions fall away and all the cruel, brutal and destructive instincts, which lie dormant in individuals as relics of a primitive epoch, are stirred up to find free gratification” (p. 17). Desmet writes about how the Soviet system “had to discharge its destructive instinct” (p. 117). “Destructive instinct” does not appear in Le Bon’s book.
Freud references “the disappearance of religious illusions from the civilized world of today” (p. 124); Desmet claims that, in the nineteenth century, “religious frames of reference also lost coherence” (p. 47).
According to Freud, “If the individuals in the group are combined into a unity, there must surely be something to unite them, and this bond might be precisely the thing that is characteristic of a group” (p. 7). Desmet writes: “The masses believe in the story not because it’s accurate but because it creates a new social bond” (p. 97, emphasis in original).
Freud writes, paraphrasing Le Bon: “A group, further, is subject to the truly magical power of words” (p. 19). For Desmet, “stories” are able to “take possession of everyone” (pp. 120).
Freud says of hypnosis and groups: “The group multiplies this process; it agrees with hypnosis in the nature of the instincts which hold it together […] but to this it adds identification with other individuals” (p. 125). Moreover, “Hypnosis is not a good object for comparison with a group formation, because it is truer to say that it is identical with it” (p. 78). Desmet writes: “Mass formation is, in essence, a kind of group hypnosis […]” (p. 2).
Both Desmet’s and Freud’s concepts of mass formation involve the Freudian notion of an “object” upon which group members project their shared emotions and drives. In Freud’s words, “A primary group of this kind is a number of individuals who have substituted one and the same object for their ego ideal […]” (p. 80, emphasis in original). And in Desmet’s words: “Mass formation occurs when free-floating, unbound anxiety attaches itself to an object of anxiety” (p. 143).
In sum, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Freud’s Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego influenced the writing of Desmet’s book — fundamentally, given the Massenbildung concept. Yet, nowhere is this acknowledged in Desmet’s book. In a university setting, cases of suspected plagiarism (passing someone else’s ideas off as one’s own) would be referred to an Academic Offences panel. Here, we leave it to the reader to decide what the outcome of such a panel would be in this case.
3.3 – Massenbildung and Libidinal Ties
If there were an unacknowledged Freudianism running through The Psychology of Totalitarianism, it would be very embarrassing intellectually. For it would mean that long-deceased explanations from the Victorian Age had been resurrected and repurposed to explain the complex psychological dynamics of the Covid-19 era, while studiously ignoring the vast contemporary experimental literatures on group psychology, some of which we cite in our review.
Freud’s Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego rests on unsubstantiated, long-since discredited concepts, such as “libidinal ties” between group members (p. 58) and “the libidinal organisation of groups” (p. 70). It is founded upon the suppositious reasoning that “sexual tendencies that are inhibited in their aims” (i.e. not-to-be consummated) foster “lasting ties between men” (p. 78), which supposedly underpin group psychology: “A group formation consists in a new kind of libidinal ties among the members of the group” (p. 58). “There is scarcely any sense in asking whether the libido which keeps groups together is of a homosexual or of a heterosexual nature,” Freud adds, “for it is not differentiated according to the sexes” (pp. 122-123).
Such theories carry no weight in the 21st century, having been superseded by volumes of knowledge on group dynamics, accumulated through decades of research in experimental social psychology. Clandestinely sidelining this vast contemporary knowledge-base in favour of an obsolete Freudianism to explain something as important as Covid-era mass hysteria would seem a very odd, and even irresponsible, thing to do.
What is more, Freud’s book anchors its notions of group-based libidinal ties in the sexualization of children and parent-child relationships. Freud writes of the group-based sexual impulses which are “inhibited in their aims” that “libido in children” is “the first but also the best example of sexual instincts which are inhibited in their aims.” There is “no doubt,” he says, about the child’s “sexual intentions” towards their parents, whereby “the child makes the person it loves into the object of all its incompletely centred sexual tendencies” (p. 116). He goes on to explain how this process plays out in Massenbildung (“mass formation”) as “an inherited deposit from the phylogenesis of the human libido” (p. 126). Would Desmet’s “mass formation” have been quite so popular in the freedom movement had this lineage been revealed?
The contemporary academic psychological literature has certainly left the Massenbildung concept alone. Nowhere in the areas of group processes, social psychology, the psychology of leadership, the psychology of human rights abuse, and so on, is Massenbildung, to be found:
PART 4 – MASS ATROCITY
4.1 – Pretexts for Ignoring Mass Atrocity in the Book
According to Waters, we “repeatedly insinuate” that Desmet ignores “incontrovertible facts of the Covid episode — lockdown, vaccines, attacks on bodily integrity, health passes, et cetera.” We do not “insinuate” this, however. We state it outright, because The Psychology of Totalitarianism has precious little to say about any of these things — or about the systematic acts of brutality by riot squads and militarized police against protestors, worldwide coerced medical experimentation on the human race in various forms, material evidence of democide, state-sponsored euthanasia, and “elite” criminality and the destruction of the rule of law — all of which feature in our analysis.
A. Counter-terrorism squad, backed by hundreds of riot police, confronts workers protesting the “lockdown” in Melbourne in September 2021; B. Syringe containing morphine and midazolam, both respiratory depressants. From ‘A Good Death?’ by Jacqui Deevoy; C. “We are not guinea pigs,” reads the placard at this protest in Paris against the Covid-19 “health pass”; D. Greg Hunt Says First Vaccines to be Administered Today, (ABC News, 2021)
In fact, Desmet explicitly differentiates the totalitarian Covid era from dictatorships, which he says involve social control through imposition of state terror and violence. He writes:
While dictatorships are essentially based on instilling a fear of physical aggression — the population is struck by such a degree of fear that the dictator (or the dictatorial regime) is able to unilaterally impose a social contract — the totalitarian state is grounded in the social-psychological process of mass formation (p. 90).
In order to maintain this position, upon which the designation “totalitarian” depends, according to the book’s own terms, the state-sponsored violence, physical aggression and terror of the Covid era must be elided. And in the book, as we illustrate with copious links to state-sponsored violence throughout the article and video, it is indeed elided.
Waters concedes that Desmet “does not deal with [these themes] in detail in his book,” but tries to get around that problem in two ways. First, he argues that we should be looking to the “sundry platforms” on which Desmet has discussed such topics “in minute detail.” But why? If, as scholars, we want to know what Desmet has to say about the psychology of totalitarianism, we ought, in the first instance, to go straight to his book, which has attracted so much attention. If the book has virtually nothing to say about the “incontrovertible facts of the Covid episode,” it can only mean that these are immaterial to the psychology of totalitarianism in its author’s eyes.
Why should we have to rely on interviews — secondary sources of information — to fill in the missing pieces of the mass formation puzzle? In any case, Desmet has appeared unreliable in interviews, as when he claimed on Infowars (shown in the picture at the top of Waters’ hit piece) that he witnessed open-heart surgery performed using only hypnosis as an anaesthetic — “if you believe that,” as Alex Jones exclaimed — a claim Desmet later retracted.
Waters seems to forget that we wrote a book review. The purpose was obviously to review the book. In the process, we highlight certain key details missing from the book — which he admits are missing — that we believe should have been included in order to make proper sense of the psychology of totalitarianism. This is standard practice for a book review. Yet, according to Waters, Desmet has “spoken about these aspects many times”; his “contributions over the span of the Covid period are well documented and contain none of the lacunae or evasions” that we “insinuate.” Waters provides no evidence of this, however. Even if he did, it would not change the fact that themes and practices of mass atrocity deserve extensive treatment in a book about the psychology of totalitarianism.
Waters claims that we offer “an extended section” on “the harmful effects of lockdowns, with the assertion that Desmet has expressed no view on these.” Actually, we offer a couple of paragraphs on lockdowns within a section on Moral Erasure, writing: “Nor does Desmet mention the ‘largest psychological experiment ever’ — worldwide ‘lockdowns.’” In the context of a book review, it should be obvious to anyone that we are referring here to Desmet’s book. It should also be clear, given that we have just referred to “Desmet’s overlooking of the mass experimentation on human beings that has taken place in the name of dealing with Covid-19,” that our concern here is with Desmet’s overlooking of the mass experimentation on humanity, not the harms of “lockdowns” (which are presented in the sanitizing language of “collateral damage” on p. 102). This is one of many examples of Waters misrepresenting our review.
4.2 – The “Conditions” of Mass Atrocity
The second way Waters seeks to evade the problem of Desmet not dealing with themes of mass atrocity in his book is to argue that they do not belong there in the first place. For example, he concedes that none of what we have to say about mass atrocity “can be subject to meaningful dispute.” But he then claims that it is “not in any sense a rebuttal of Mattias Desmet’s thesis” and that we construct a “straw man,” i.e. “If you do not state the full details of the situation you address, you are not entitled to theorise about its causes.” (At a basic philosophical level, how can one identify the causes of something which is not fully specified?) Waters then dismisses our “straw man” as “nonsense, since the facts of Covid tyranny have already been exhaustively documented.”
Waters’ argument thus assumes the form of: we already know all about Covid tyranny; there is no need to discuss it further; instead, we need to dig deeper into its causes. Desmet’s book, he claims, “has a particular, focused theme: the underlying conditions that give rise to mass formation and totalitarianism.”
The goalposts thereby shift. No longer are we seeking to explain the psychology of totalitarianism, as per the title of Desmet’s book; instead, the focus is on the conditions that generate totalitarianism. “The greater part of the book,” according to Waters, “is concerned with moving the discussion beneath the surface of totalitarianism to the conditions generating it from above and below.” Actually, despite the occasional mention in other sections, only Part II of the book (57 of 188 pages excluding bibliography — about 30 percent of the content) deals with totalitarianism.
In any case, Desmet’s analysis deflects attention away from “conditions generating [totalitarianism] from above.” As we argue in our review, his book “throws up a swarm of starlings between the reader and a predator class […] whose long history of fraud, bloodshed and state-corporate crime is well documented.”
What Waters calls the “surface” features of totalitarianism — under which we might list police brutality, eugenics, euthanasia, the killing of civilians, mass surveillance (now going “under the skin”), terrorization of the public, the erasure of due process, the replacement of the rule of law by a society that can only be governed by force, etc. — are, on his reading, irrelevant to understanding the psychology of totalitarianism. What Waters calls the “civic strife aspects of the Covid episode” turn out to be “marginal to Desmet’s thesis,” implying that they can be safely bracketed and left undiscussed.
Instead, what is really important, according to Waters, is to go a level deeper, to the “conditions” (not people, groups, or classes) that generate those phenomena. In order to understand why most of society, almost overnight, turned into a giant cult worshipping at the altar of The Science™ and following the orders of technocrats along a path of oppression that ultimately leads to biodigital enslavement, we do not need to know anything about psychological warfare, military-grade propaganda, menticide, censorship of opposing views, state violence against protestors, etc.
Rather, what we really need to understand are what Waters, following Desmet, calls “the underfoot conditions in the society — mass alienation, free-floating anxiety, anomie, bullshit jobs.” Somehow — it is never entirely clear how, why, or when — those conditions combine to “create an amenable ‘mass’ which readily embraces the [mechanistic] ideology that seems to offer it some strange kind of relief, including a false form of solidarity, which makes it easier for the manipulators to exercise control.” In this preposterous depoliticized explanation, the masses magically fall into a trance and become amenable to totalitarian control mechanisms. There are no instigators or string-pullers, it all arises spontaneously and for no apparent reason, through what Waters calls “mysterious patterns of [crowd] behaviour.”
Waters claims that we are wrong to criticize Desmet for mentioning things which fall outside his “particular, focused theme” and blames us for “appear[ing] to demand that Desmet deal with every aspect of the Covid episode.” He claims we are “peeved that Desmet has written a book that fails to make [our] argument for [us].” Yet, Waters makes the same kind of error when attacking our review. For example, he asks, why do we not critique mainstream media platforms? Why do we not deal with issues of collective guilt? Why did we not concoct an onslaught on Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci, Justin Trudeau, or any one of the hundreds of malign actors involved in the Covid debacle? Why should we? Our book review is clearly aimed at critiquing the book titled The Psychology of Totalitarianism. The scope of our inquiry is clearly defined.
4.3 – In Search of an Instigator
Waters claims we got it wrong when discussing Desmet’s avoidance of themes of mass atrocity — apparently, it is we who are guilty of “grotesque avoidance of Desmet’s point,” namely, that
… in the vast majority of cases [atrocities are] carried out by ‘ordinary’ people (as, indeed, per the very title of Christopher R. Browning’s book, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 11 and the Final Solution in Poland, in which precisely such a delegation of extermination is effected). The people who administer the deadly ‘vaccines’ are not politicians, but nurses and doctors; those who police the quarantine camps are not scientists, but policemen and soldiers ‘just doing their jobs’, and so on and on. The ‘leaders’ do not get their hands dirty, but simply create the legal and other conditions by which they can manipulate their underlings to do their dirty work, and this syndrome, too, has been writ large all over the Covid project.
Given that this, supposedly, is “Desmet’s point,” it seems curious that he does not mention any of it in the book. Browning is not cited, there is no mention of those administering the deadly “vaccines,” or of quarantine camps, or of leaders manipulating underlings to do their dirty work (implying mens rea on their part).
On the contrary, it is we, in our article, who discuss the “unwitting foot soldiers” who perpetrate atrocities at the behest of “a special class of actor whose role is to incite others to inflict harm.” We cite David Mandel’s work on instigators, whose role is “not to carry out the acts of violence themselves, but to tune and transmit the messages that will effectively motivate others to cause harm and to provide perpetrators with the requisite resources for accomplishing their tasks.” Waters appears to have got his wires crossed and to have misremembered where he read what information.
According to Waters, “Desmet’s thesis is not an either/or, but a both/and — manipulation and tyranny, mass formation and atrocity.” Is it? Atrocity is mentioned only three times in the book, never in relation to atrocities instigated by “elites.” Desmet does claim, in contrast, that “The masses are inclined to commit atrocities against those who resist them and typically execute them as if it were an ethical, sacred duty” (p. 104). There are no instigators manipulating the masses to commit atrocity, no one tuning and transmitting messages to do harm; instead, “the dominant discourse imposes itself” (p. 104).
The lack of an instigator in Desmet’s book is further reflected in its conceptualisation of criminality. “Totalitarian criminality” is said to reside in “uncritical and mindless adherence to a system of totalitarian social rules, even when this system becomes radically inhumane and transcends each and every ethical boundary” (p. 106). This seems like a reasonable description when applied to the masses. But what about those at the apex of the power pyramid? “When totalitarians seize power,” explains Meerloo (1956, p. 148), “they commit crimes on far greater scales than any petty criminal, and they no doubt also feel the rush of illicit power as they commit, not just crimes, but crimes against humanity itself.” As we note in our review, the injection of billions of people worldwide with substances now known to contain a devil’s brew of undisclosed ingredients constitutes a clear material violation of the Nuremberg Code and a global crime against humanity. But this type of crime, and the mindset behind it, does not feature in The Psychology of Totalitarianism.
“The entire thrust of Desmet’s book,” writes Waters, “is highly denunciatory of power abuses.” Is that so? Where precisely in Desmet’s book are the passages that denounce power abuses? Waters cites none. Pushing dangerous experimental “vaccines” on entire populations would have been an obvious place to start the condemnation of power, yet no such critique appears. Even if a few “denunciatory” passages could be found, to claim that the “entire thrust” of the book is towards speaking truth to power is just plain false — a patent misrepresentation. The first and third sections of the book (two thirds of the content), for instance, are largely filled with interesting anecdotes drawn from the history of science and have nothing to do with power abuses.
4.4 – Violence as a Tool of Psychological Conditioning
Waters, for once, finds some value in our question: “Are we really looking at mass formation, or is ‘mass atrocity’ a more appropriate term?” “Why not both?,” he suggests, noting the “perfect symbiosis in the use of indoctrination and mass hypnosis as a means to enable mass atrocity.” Symbiosis, however, is a two-way process. It is not just that indoctrination and mass hypnosis enable mass atrocity, but also that assorted forms of violence against the population serve to facilitate the psychological conditioning.
Source: Chaos in Melbourne – 21.08.21. The Real Rukshan. YouTube.
People’s underlying fear of being attacked and smeared by the media for exercising their right of free speech, of being beaten by police for standing up for their rights, of being delicensed and excluded from their profession, of being attacked by their own colleagues, of losing their job and entering poverty, of being ostracized by former friends and family for holding the “wrong” views, of being socially “cancelled,” of being forcibly injected with a substance they do not want in their bodies, of being hauled off to “quarantine” camps, etc. — all of this serves to terrorize society into going along with the groupthink.
Riot Squad Fires Rubber Bullets and Tear Gas to Crush Construction Worker Uprising (Rebel News, 2021)
Interestingly, Desmet displays a similar unwillingness to recognize the role of organised state violence in terrorizing victims into compliance:
Think of 425 young Dutch Jews who, after fighting with a German security police detachment, were tortured for months on end in Buchenwald, to the point of death. Still, the extent to which victims repeatedly complied with the plans of Nazi executioners should not be ignored from a psychological perspective; apparently many of them were also in the grip of mass formation (p. 109).
As we note in our review, the act of resistance and the force of the atrocity barely register here, and the role of Nazi terror is not discussed. Instead, it is made to seem like a mystery why so many Jews compliantly boarded the trains to the death camps, knowing what awaited them.
Desmet differentiates between dictatorships, which operate through “a climate of fear amongst the population, based on the brutal potential of the dictatorial regime,” and totalitarianism, which, “on the other hand, has its roots in the insidious psychological process of mass formation” (p. 2). “On the other hand” here suggests that totalitarianism is not premised on a climate of fear of state brutality, but, rather, on a “psychological process.” This again downplays the role of organized state violence in the Covid era.
PART 5 – GLOBAL CLASS WAR
5.1 – Global Class War: Yes or No?
Waters denigrates us as “Marxist revolutionaries” and “red shirts” who have learned nothing from “the seven-decade reign of Bolshevism in the Soviet Union.” The move here is to politicize the debate and to insinuate guilt by association with the Soviet dictatorship. The aim is to paint us as paid up Party members (which we are not) whose politics clouds our intellectual judgment. This, again, is an intellectually dishonest form of argumentation, which, in any case, rests upon a lazy right-wing conflation of Marxism and Stalinism. Waters, presumably, would object if we were to suggest that his overreaction to our review had something to do with his “alliances with unambiguously far-right figures,” and we certainly would not speculate on the colour of his shirt.
It is conspicuous that Waters does not once mention class in his 8,000-word hit piece, apart from when quoting us. Even when trying to demonstrate his understanding of Marxism, he cannot bring himself to use the language of class: “And, of course it is rather obvious why Marxists might want to demolish a thesis in which ideology rather than personality is identified as the root cause of tyranny.” Marxists do not care about personality. Class forces are what counts. Orchestrators of mass atrocity act on behalf of a particular class, which we refer to as the “ruling class” and the “predator class” in our review.
After three years of deliberately orchestrated worldwide tyranny in the bid to introduce a new system of technocratic biodigital enslavement, we need to be clear about what it is that we are up against. And yes, we do need to speak the language of class. And no, the problem is not “mass formation.”
As we note in our review, drawing on the World Inequality Report for 2022, 10 percent of the world’s population controls 76 percent of the world’s wealth; 50 percent — the bottom half of humanity — controls only two percent of the wealth:
Source: Chancel et al. (2022, 10)
The richest 1% of the global population captured 38% of all wealth growth between 1995 and 2021, with wealth growth rising almost exponentially for the top 0.1%, the top 0.01%, the top 0.01%, etc:
Source: Chancel et al. (2022, 15)
Thus, the levers of capital are controlled by a miniscule fraction of the human race that has everything to lose.
In order to maintain control in the face of a growing and restive global population (van der Pijl 2022, 36), and with its international monetary system in terminal decline, the Atlantic ruling class, centred on Wall Street and the City of London with its transnational deep state controlling all allied countries, is seeking to effect the transition in those countries from democracy to technocracy, modelled on China, the “world’s first Technate,” that has steadily been cultivated with Rockefeller support for decades.
In order to effect that transition — to what amounts, in the final analysis, to a form of biodigital slavery — the ruling class is now waging Omniwar against the public, involving the “necrosecurity” and killer stress of the “lockdowns,” psychological warfare, censorship and information warfare, deprivation of necessary healthcare in the name of reconfiguring health services to deal with “the virus,” bioweapons (meeting the legal definition of the term) masqueradingas vaccines, inflation-based economic warfare under cover of the Ukraine conflict, and so on.
Public Relations Moments: Vaccines touted as the only necessary panacea for all ailments and a precondition to exercising inalienable human rights.
As a result, excess mortality in most related countries is now consistently running well above average, “died suddenly” and “vaccine genocide” trend routinely on social media, highly distressing videos are all over the internet of people suffering horrific serious adverse reactions to the “vaccine,” and children, young adults, and athletes are collapsing and having heart attacks at an historically unprecedented rate. As noted in our review, there is now clear evidence of democide, state-sponsored euthanasia, and eugenics owing to the global push for a novel, technocratic form of totalitarianism. Constitutional rights, the rule of law, and the social contract, whereby government’s first responsibility is to protect its citizens, have gone to the shredder, and all possibility of class compromise has been removed.
There is no evidence, furthermore, of any political or legal solution to this general crisis in sight. Politicians, the world over, have repeatedly voted — or not even bothered to vote — in favour of “lockdowns” and other “Covid countermeasures” that move liberal democracies ever further in the direction of police states.
Deputy Speaker Dame Rosie Winterton delights in telling a sparsely populated chamber: “The mood of the House is not to have a vote on this,” i.e. a third renewal of what Lord Sumption (2020, 1) calls “coercive powers over [British] citizens on a scale never previously attempted.”
As Waters knows from personal experience, recourse to the legal system has proven mostly futile: if the ruling class is left to band together, all major legal challenges to the tyranny can ultimately be expected to fail. The Irish case is particularly instructive in that respect: push hard enough, and the Supreme Court will, in effect, rule that tyranny is constitutional.
The professions have failed in spectacular fashion to challenge the lurch towards totalitarianism since 2020. The medical profession is the primary culprit, with its removal of licences from dissenting doctors and its threats to remaining members not to speak out. But academia, too, has had precious little to say about the totalitarian tyranny enveloping our world and the methods used to facilitate it; in fact, it has tried to silence dissenting academics, through open letters and other means, in contravention of academic freedom. The psychology profession has remained largely silent on the menticidal methods deployed against the public. The professions, it seems, know where their funding comes from and, consequently, refuse to bite the ruling class hand that feeds them.
Where does this leave us? Forming new political parties, such as Waters has been involved in, seems an exercise in futility given that the political system itself is captured by vested interests. Ultimately, the only resolution to the crisis that has unfolded since 2020 lies at the social level. An inhumane and rapacious global capitalist system that is now metastasizing into a global technocracy intent on human enslavement through whatever means necessary must be vanquished. Objectively, the conditions are present for worldwide revolution.
The key question that must be answered by anyone who is serious about stopping the tyranny is: what have the last three years fundamentally been about?
We propose a three-word answer: global class war.
5.2 – What the Desmet Controversy is Really About
Seen in this light, it makes sense why Desmet and his book have become a lightning rod for controversy. The book, whose endorsements come from such well-known figures as Peter McCullough, Reiner Fuellmich, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Robert Malone, and Eric Clapton, was initially received as a master explanation of the tyranny, which was understandable in the absence of any other prominent psychological explanations. Yet, it conceals the fundamentals of what we are up against, namely, global class war and the orchestrated instigation of mass atrocity in the bid for achieving technocracy.
Class conflict in a world where the numerical odds overwhelmingly favour humanity (i.e. the 90% vs. the 10%, falling exponentially towards the 0.0001%) is fundamentally what the tiny minority of rapacious, predatory, dark personalities at the core of the transnational ruling class seeks to conceal. Class conflict is the one category — above all others — that, from their perspective, must not become common currency. The Psychology of Totalitarianism does a superb job of hiding it.
The intense promotion of the book in 2022, both by its jet-setting author and — however unwittingly — by multiple heroes of what Waters calls “the Resistance,” have served to deflect critical attention away from the brutal material realities of the global class war in which we now find ourselves deeply entrenched. As we write in our review, “while psychoanalyzing tyranny, the [mass formation] theory paradoxically serves as an attractive and intellectually satisfying system-justifying veil behind which the architects of atrocity can hide.“
The whole sorry saga surrounding Desmet and his book — including a $25 million lawsuit, Waters’ 8,000-word hit piece, and the vitriol that is to be found all over social media — is not fundamentally about psychology, or “mass formation,” or Desmet. It is, instead, about global class war and the fundamental question of whether there are powerful instigators of mass atrocity controlling our governments who are using their dark arts to commit crimes against humanity — against us, the people. The evidence of mass atrocity which we present in our review, which Waters concedes is beyond “meaningful dispute,” strongly suggests that there are. In which case, this is fundamentally what we need to confront.
5.3 – Desmet on Class
Along with instigating elites, contemporary class relations are effectively camouflaged in The Psychology of Totalitarianism. As a result of nineteenth-century industrialization, Desmet writes, power was concentrated in “the hands of an ever-decreasing number of people,” while “man […] became disassociated from the social classes that were represented by the politicians and was left uprooted, no longer connected to the whole of society, no longer belonging to a meaningful social group” (p. 34). Note here that “man” is a separate category from the ruling classes, which are thereby elevated to a kind of superhuman status and form the only “meaningful social group.”
For “man,” in contrast, who is more like an animal in this regard, “life became meaningless and a-teleological (the machinery of the universe runs without meaning or purpose), and religious frames of reference also lost coherence” (p. 47). There is no mention of the working classes, and class conflict is erased through the claim that industrialization “heralded the disappearance of the aristocratic and class society” (p. 47). Of course, the opposite is true: industrialization created the modern working classes.
The classes, it seems from reading the book, were replaced by the masses, viz. “the emergence of a specific social group, which increasingly manifested itself through the Enlightenment and beyond and which formed the psychological-social basis of the totalitarian state: the masses” (p. 86). Chapter 6 is titled “The Rise of the Masses.” It draws, in part, on Le Bon’s The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895), a profoundly conservative tract that expresses a deep fear of “the threatening invasion of Socialism” (p. 69). It also draws on Chapter 10 of Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism, titled, “A Classless Society,” part I of which is “The Masses.” The attempt to erase the category of class is self-evident.
The most striking characteristic of the masses in Desmet’s book is their abject lack of agency and autonomy. For example, look at how the following, unreferenced passage transforms the protagonists of the October Revolution — who proved to the world that the working class can unite, organize, and overthrow its would-be masters — into utterly passive and helpless dupes within the space of two decades:
The whole ‘historical-materialist process’ would focus on the creation of a society without private property, in which ‘the proletariat’ would have the power. This also required a fair bit of extermination. At first, this took place according to a certain ‘logic’ [cf. “At first it was possible to discern some logic in the great purges,” p. 117]; at a later stage, everybody randomly fell prey to it. Tens of millions of people were deported to the gulags, where the majority of people perished. Half of the members of the communist party were also eventually liquidated, usually without the slightest hint of sedition or treason. And the most astonishing thing of all was that most victims made no effort whatsoever to refute the mostly unfounded allegations. They even made unequivocal admissions of guilt and willingly went to the gallows (p. 90).
It is telling here that the “historical-materialist process” and “the proletariat” are derisively put in scare quotes. The latter, and not the Stalinist bureaucracy, is snidely blamed for the gulags and the Great Purge in which large numbers of former revolutionaries perished. Marxism is tacitly conflated with Stalinism — a move which relies on erasing the entire history of the Left Opposition and the Fourth International (a matter of historical record that one does not have to be a “Trotskyite” to recognize). By the end of the passage, the masses are making no effort to defend themselves against atrocity and are marching meekly to their own deaths. Here, we witness elitist disdain woven into a caricature of the working classes who are so pathetically obedient and docile.
Reading passages such as this, it is easy to see why Desmet has attracted hostility from those seeking to fight back against the totalitarian (technocratic) tyranny that has been steadily unfolding since 2020. In his worldview, there appears no class conflict in mass society, only the dumb hapless masses who stand powerless before elites that rule god-like over them. When totalitarian regimes unleash mass atrocity in the book, be it against the Jews in Nazi Germany (p. 109) or those disloyal to Stalin’s regime (p. 90), the victims go willingly to their own deaths. Such is the worst conceivable model for resistance mounted by conscious human beings.
5.4 – Mystifying Class Relations
Desmet and Waters find various ways to mystify class relations. An obvious example is scientism. “Centrally,” Waters claims, “Desmet cites Hannah Arendt’s assertion that totalitarianism is the logical extension of obsession with science” (the assertion turns out to be by Eric Voegelin, but, hey, why bother to check?). And, indeed, we find ideas in the book about “belief in an artificially created, mechanistic-scientific paradise,” involving the “naïve belief that a flawless, humanoid being and a utopian society can be produced from scientific knowledge” (p. 47). It follows that totalitarianism has nothing to do with ruling class efforts to maintain control through methods of harsh repression under conditions of extreme crisis in capitalism. As we write in the review, a mystical “mechanistic ideology” — and not a vampiric transnational ruling class apparently waging undeclared covert war against the people — is the enemy for Desmet.
Another way the book mystifies class relations is by trying to explain complex social processes in individualistic psychological terms, which, incidentally, is the premise of Freud’s Massenbildung in his book Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse (Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego ). For example, when seeking to explain how “the Enlightenment tradition led to more fear and insecurity,” rather than the opposite, Desmet ludicrously appeals to developmental psychology in children and claims that this “makes the answer quite simple” (pp. 81-84). To be clear, child psychology is invoked to help explain the so-called “Dialectic of Enlightenment.” Were it not for the intense promotion of Desmet’s book (i.e. propaganda), it would be a mystery why anyone takes this nonsense seriously.
Yet, in his hagiography of Desmet, Waters writes that the Belgian displays “profound awareness of what has been happening to us, explaining in detail the mechanics of the totalitarian method,” and that he goes to the “very roots of the conditions that enable mass formations to grow.” Really? Is a mystified “mechanistic ideology” to blame for the lurch towards totalitarianism that we have witnessed since 2020? Or is a potentially terminal crisis of the capitalist system that can only be countered by a desperate attempt to move the entire world onto technocracy?
Desmet, says Waters, “describes a quasi-universal process by which the dynamics of living in community result in unexpected, organic forces and psychological cross-currents, which, under certain conditions, result in mass formation, and hence lead to totalitarianism.” In other words, for Waters, everything that has happened since 2020 has nothing to do with the attempt of a transnational ruling class seeking to refashion its fundamental paradigm of rule; it all just happened unexpectedly and organically, as a result of how we live in community. This is self-evident mystification.
At one point in the book, Desmet makes an important admission: only about 30 percent of the population is “hypnotized” (p. 140). Waters himself notes that this is ”nothing like ‘all’ of the population,” yet still it is enough, he claims, to exercise a “disproportionate effect by contagion on a broader swathe of the middle-ground.” Desmet defines that middle-ground as “a group that is not hypnotized but chooses to not go against the grain (usually about 40 to 60 percent)” (p. 140). If only 30 percent of people are hypnotized, and if the middle-ground just goes along with the prevailing consensus, it follows that the remaining segment of society, which “actively resists the [hypnotized] masses” (p. 140), only needs to reach 31 percent for the balance of forces to tip in its favour.
Even using Desmet’s figures, that final segment represents 10-30 percent of society. According to official data from the UK, 18.4 percent of adults had refused to take a single Covid-19 injection as of July 2022. The proportion is almost certain to be higher, taking into account the routine massaging of Covid statistics. Having faced down military-grade propaganda for over two years, that segment which “actively resists” — and which will not buckle now — is probably closer to 25 percent. With every passing day of the “vaccine”-induced horror show, more and more people are starting to “wake up” — and once awake, there is no going back. It is only a matter of time until the tipping point is reached. Mystifying this fine balance of social relations, however, Waters’ “quasi-universal process” and Desmet’s metaphors of human society flocking like starlings and forming Sierpinksi triangles make it seem as though virtually everyone is acting in unison.
Waters’ class-blindness comes through particularly strongly after we cite Desmet: “The totalitarian leader blindly sacrifices his own interests [… for instance] in the recklessness with which totalitarian regimes destroy their own economies and wreak economic havoc’ (p. 112). We note in our review that, “according to Oxfam, a new billionaire was created every 30 hours during the ‘pandemic.’” And we ask: “What, precisely, were the obscenely wealthy sacrificing?” According to Waters, “what Desmet (in the generality of these references) is talking about is political leadership, which has indeed appeared to be prepared to sacrifice popularity, by destroying the economies under its stewardship. The ‘obscenely wealthy’ are a different matter…” Does Waters not realize that political leaders govern on behalf of the obscenely wealthy? This is why Peter Philips calls them transnational Giants, as their overt hypocrisy (e.g. taking private jets to Davos to force “climate change” policies and “vaccine” technologies upon the masses) poses zero threat to their position of influence.
(Seven Stories Press: Phillips, 2018)
5.5 – Mystical Solutions to Totalitarianism
Waters claims that Desmet is “coaching us on how to combat and, perhaps, eventually overcome this continuing onslaught.” Really? How does Desmet do that, exactly? Under a mass atrocity framework, the only effective method is to hold instigators accountable so they don’t come back for more. Under a “mass formation” framework, in contrast, there is no point in holding even political leaders (mere implementers of plans formulated by intelligence agencies, bankers, think tanks, the foundations, WEF/Bilderberg, etc.) accountable, since they are “utterly replaceable” (p. 139).
Waters cites Desmet: “the antidote to totalitarianism lies in an attitude to life that is not blinded by a rational understanding of superficial manifestations of life […].” Thus, in order to resist totalitarianism, we need to cultivate irrational attitudes — precisely what totalitarian propaganda aims to do.
As we discuss in our review, the quasi-mystical solutions proposed in Part III of the book amount to little more than philosophical reflections on how to overcome scientism, not a substantive challenge to encroaching totalitarianism. Noting Marx’s claim that “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it” — which causes Waters to recoil — we argue that solutions to totalitarianism lie, not in the philosophy of science, but, rather, in class conflict. This is the fundamental truth that the book, and its most ardent supporters, appear ever ready to suppress.
Waters writes that Desmet “offers his own proposal for defeating totalitarian assault: truth-telling, courage and ethical behaviour, even in the face of great injustice.” Are these not precisely what our critique of Desmet’s work is based on?
5.6 – On Violence
According to Waters, we “disparagingly cite [Desmet’s] rejection of the idea that a violent revolution against an ‘evil elite’ offers the sole answer to the present situation of the world.” This absurdity not only plays into misconceived right-wing stereotypes about Marxism advocating for violence (begetting violence) rather than human emancipation, but it also constitutes yet another dishonest twisting of our words. What we actually write is:
It is entirely unclear why violence is the “inevitable” outcome of a line of reasoning that pins blame for Covid mass atrocity, not on the victimized and abused masses, but rather on a proportionately tiny ruling class responsible for worldwide crimes against humanity. The numerical odds are overwhelmingly in favor of humanity. Violence is not a prerequisite for emancipation: it simply takes a critical mass to see what is happening and to refuse to comply with its own enslavement.
Waters, however, scoffs at our claim about the numerical odds overwhelmingly favouring humanity. We “appear not to have noticed,” he claims, “that political leaders, right across the West, have for the past two years been demonising as ‘far right’ extremists and ‘domestic terrorists’ those who dare to question what was happening, with a view to turning the generality of their fellow citizens against them — and with manifest success.” Waters’ defeatist claim ignores, among other things, our observation that a 2021 European Commission report equates “conspiracy theory” with “extremism” and “radicalization” and that the US Department of Homeland Security blames “conspiracy theorists” for “domestic terrorism.” Noticing these facts would have required Waters to acknowledge Desmet’s conceptual alignment with these processes through his denigration of “conspiracy theorists.”
Ideas about violence are introduced, not by us, but by Desmet. Contrary to the state-sponsored brutality on the ground, it is never the elites, but rather the masses who are responsible for violence in the book, e.g. in the ever-present danger that they may become “fanatically convinced of their righteousness and their sacred duty to persecute and destroy the minority” (p. 138). Should leaders not be able to sustain the levels of manufactured “anxiety and aggression” necessary for mass formation, “the masses will wake up and become aware of the damage they have suffered, whereupon they will turn against the leaders in lethal fashion” (p. 116).
A “violent revolution,” Desmet writes, “justifies destruction of the opposition through harsh repression.” In response to our observation that this sounds fascistic on its face, Waters contends that “the word ‘justifies’ [here] is clearly intended to refer to the likely appropriation by a regime of the pretext of violence to ‘justify’ a clampdown on opposition,” even if this is “morally derelict.” Perhaps. But that is not the only possible reading. Here, as in many places in the book, there is a persistent ambiguity that ought not to be present, and which makes for troubling reading when seen in the round (see section 6.2 on “Technocracy Hidden in Plain Sight”).
Police with an armored vehicle pursue non-violent protesters in Melbourne, using tear gas and rubber bullets, injuring peaceful protestors. Source: Police deploy counter-terror squad on construction workers in Melbourne. Rebel News.
PART 6 – THE POLITICS OF THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TOTALITARIANISM
6.1 – Tenderising a Palatable Totalitarianism?
Waters takes offence at our factual claim that “Desmet announces early on that totalitarianism represents ‘the defining feature of the Enlightenment tradition’ (p. 7).” He describes this in his trademark hyperbole as a “screaming misrepresentation, making it appear that Desmet equates tyranny to enlightenment.” Once again, it is Waters who is guilty here of misrepresentation. We do not suggest in our review that Desmet equates tyranny to enlightenment (although he does claim that “The Enlightenment tradition had promised people autonomy and freedom, but, in a way, it brought people greater (feelings of) dependence and powerlessness than ever before,” p.34). What we actually write is:
Desmet reads history backwards to make the technocratic totalitarianism currently seeking to install itself seem inevitable. The latter is rooted in what Desmet calls “the mechanistic ideology,” which he traces back to Enlightenment positivism and the glorification of Reason as the means to a utopian future (pp. 46, 175).
This is, in fact, compatible with Waters’ claim that “Desmet is critiquing not merely totalitarianism, but also ‘mechanistic thinking’ and the ‘delusional beliefs’ that have arisen from the Enlightenment.” However, Waters presents that claim as though this is how we should have read the passage in question. The rhetorical smokescreen allows him to ignore our key point — made in the first sentence of the section concerned — that “The Psychology of Totalitarianism works to normalize key aspects of totalitarianism.”
One important feature of Desmet’s book, which comes through at different points in our review but is studiously ignored by Waters, is its apparently sympathetic presentation of certain features of totalitarianism. For example, labour camps are described there as “pilot projects for an ideal society, where an elite learns how to subject a population to its ideology” and are said to have been “not profitable at all, barely even self-sufficient” (p. 112). Here, slave labour and mass murder recede from view as the camps acquire an unexpected utopian aspect.
It is a “misconception,” apparently, that the “Nazi idea of creating a purebred superman based on eugenics” and transhumanism are “the products of deranged minds” (p. 47). After all, “Why not follow the principle of eugenics?” (p. 48). There does not appear to be any moral reason to reject eugenics, only the pragmatic consideration that eugenics “has more disadvantages than advantages” (p. 48).
According to the book, the idea that totalitarian leaders have a “psychopathic or perverted personality” is a “misconception” and in the Nazi regime such personality types were “systematically excluded from recruitment” (p. 106). This appears to imply that totalitarian leaders are sane, rational people capable of empathy, rather than monsters willing to terrorize entire populations, rule by brute force, and instigate genocide.
Following Arendt’s “banality of evil” concept, Desmet writes: “Totalitarianism is not about monstrous people — it is about normal people who stick to a morbid, dehumanizing way of thinking or ‘logic’” (p. 106). This may be true of the masses, who are steered to do terrible things against their conscience. But what about the instigators?
Totalitarian leaders in the book appear as neither greedy nor sadistic: “what characterizes the leaders of the masses is not greed or sadism, but their morbid ideological drive: Reality must and will be adjusted to the ideological fiction” (p. 107).
“The essence of totalitarianism,” we read in the book, “is not utilitarian or selfish in nature […] The ultimate goal is to realize an ideological fiction, and the totalitarian leader blindly sacrifices his own interests to achieve it” (p. 112). In other words, totalitarianism is not, fundamentally, about the regime systematically using every means at its disposal to control the rest of the population. It is, rather, unselfish in nature — ”for the whole good of all,” as per the Nazi 25-Point Plan.
Waters puts words in our mouths when he claims that we treat Desmet as “a fanboy for the totalitarians.” However, it is difficult to avoid the impression, based on the evidence in this section, that, for whatever reason, totalitarianism is given a soft edge in certain parts of Desmet’s book. We leave it up to readers to make up their own minds regarding why this might be the case.
6.2 – Technocracy Hidden in Plain Sight
Waters becomes particularly animated about our treatment of the following paragraph in Desmet’s book:
The fourth industrial revolution, in which man is expected to physically merge with technology — the transhumanist ideal — is increasingly seen as an unavoidable necessity. The entire society has to change into an internet of bodies, in which the human body is digitally monitored, tracked, and traced by a technocratic government. This is the only way we will be able to master the problems of the future. There is no alternative. Anyone who refuses to go along with the technological solution is naïve and ‘unscientific’ (p.176).
In our review, we point out the ambiguity of this peculiar standalone paragraph, which rounds off a section. Because no critical commentary is appended to the remarks made, it can, technically, be read either as a “rhetorical paraphrasing of the transhumanists’ position,” which is Waters’ reading, or literally, as a statement about the inevitability of surrender to technocracy.
For Waters, however, continuing the ad hominem to the bitter end, it is “obvious to anyone but a neophyte or a dissembler” that the passage serves the “orchestrators of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” and that, therefore, the only permissible reading of this passage is his own. This is not what the text itself tells us, however. And Desmet himself writes: “Human communication is full of ambiguities, misunderstandings, and doubt” (p. 69). Why leave this particular paragraph hanging with equal ambiguity, we wonder?
Waters accuses us of “dishonest trickery,” and even of failing the “next generation” of students (an attack on our professional competence) in highlighting the ambiguity, noting that we introduce the passage as follows: “Although Desmet seems rightly uneasy about the prospect of these dystopian agendas, he nevertheless appears to accept — inexplicably — their inevitability ….” However, this remark does not actually refer to the transhumanist passage above. Rather, it refers to the preceding paragraph in the book. Where, then, lies the “dishonest trickery”?
It is hardly controversial to claim that the meaning of a text is not synonymous with authorial intent. Many decades of literary criticism have been premised on that very idea, with critics exposing hidden layers of meaning that might not be immediately evident to the reader (or, indeed, the author). It is, therefore, perfectly legitimate to examine what the text itself tells us and to read it in different ways, through different lenses. Certainly, Waters is no High Priest when it comes to interpreting Desmet’s text.
The passage quoted above (p. 176) does not stand in isolation. Rather, it caps off a whole series of sentences and passages in the book that we would certainly not have included had we been writing the Sacred Text of the Resistance. Common features include use of the future tense “will” to conjure a sense of inevitability and blaming everything on “mechanistic thinking” or “the mechanistic ideology.”
For example: “The euthanasia machine — a box in which you can relieve yourself of life painlessly with helium gas — will be the ultimate consequence of mechanistic thinking” (p. 81). Moreover, “The individual will eventually lose even the right to make decisions about his own life […] from now on, the government determines when you are allowed to die” (p. 84).
Then comes another jarring standalone paragraph:
The coronavirus pass (and QR code) is also part of this trend toward ever more control. The plan to replace this pass in the long (or short) term with a more sophisticated system, more efficient and difficult, rests easily within the logic of the mechanistic ideology […] The part of the population that is in the grip of the mechanistic ideology will certainly go along with it, and the current state of technology offers the prospect of even more efficient “solutions” to this problem. At the end of this process, we will be moving in the direction of a society as described by, among others, the Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari, in which subcutaneous sensors constantly monitor the state of our blood and will not only be able to detect diseases at an early stage but will also know our state of mind, whether we are feeling sad or happy, angry or calm (p. 127).
The book notes with apparent nonchalance the “transition from a democracy to a totalitarian technocracy, in which the coronavirus crisis was a Great Leap forward” (2022, p. 132). Though couched in terms of “the mechanistic ideology,” the “Great Leap” metaphor indicates both political intention and disastrous large-scale social engineering.
The “lockdowns,” it turns out, “were, for many, a liberation from the unbearable and meaningless routine of working life” (p. 134, our emphasis), and not a form of tyranny against which people all around the world marched in unprecedented numbers — a truly audacious deployment of Doublethink.
A woman appeals to police at an anti-lockdown protest in Ottawa. Source: Woman who’s lost her career pleads with Trudeau’s secret police. Chinlee. Rumble
In 1951, we read, “Arendt already foreshadowed that the masses of the future would be dull, bureaucratic, and technocratic in nature,” a position that is endorsed in the book (p. 138).
Then, directly before the passage where Waters takes offence at our pointing out of its literal parsing of technocracy, we read the following:
Technocratic thinking always walks on two legs. On the one hand, it appeals to people by intimating a positive image of an artificial paradise with which it claims we can be delivered from all adversity and suffering. On the other, it imposes itself based on anxiety, as a necessity to solve problems. With every ‘object of anxiety’ that has emerged in our society in recent decades — terrorism, the climate problem, the coronavirus — the process has leapt forward [cf. the earlier “Great Leap” imagery]. The threat of terrorism induces the necessity of a surveillance apparatus, and our privacy is now seen as an irresponsible luxury; to control climate problems, we need to move to lab-printed meat, electric cars charged by wind turbines, and an online society; to protect against COVID-19, we have to replace our natural immunity with mRNA vaccine-induced artificial immunity (p. 176).
Seen in the round, these are troubling passages, because of the pattern that emerges. There are multiple statements of apparent fact/intent — entire paragraphs, even — that, when read literally, appear to lay out explicitly technocratic agendas and their methods of deployment.
Desmet’s disciples are thereby left to infer, as Waters does, that the hero of “the Resistance” could not possibly mean any of these passages literally. Instead, the book can only serve as a warning for where things will end up if the mystical “mechanistic ideology” is not subverted.
And yet, we have quoted Desmet at length above so as to let his text speak for itself. Regardless of authorial intent, these passages seem compatible — not incompatible — with ever-advancing technocracy.
Desmet himself, in the book, demonstrates explicit familiarity with the principle of things hiding in plain sight, as, for instance, when he describes how a “hypnotic story focuses attention on a small aspect of reality to such a degree that everything outside it, including one’s own pain and to a broader extent, one’s interests, passes unnoticed” (p. 102). Is the focus on “mass formation” in the book so intense that technocracy is able to hide in plain sight?
Waters’ 8,000-word hit piece on us alleges that “in not a single one of the uses of Desmet’s text” do our “noxious imputations survive a closer examination of what he actually wrote.” We hope to have demonstrated that not only is Waters’ charge baseless, but also that, in his projective attack, it is, in fact, he who is guilty of twisting our words in just about every sentence, creating an impression that is clearly defamatory. For whatever reason, it is becoming increasingly clear that criticism of Desmet’s book and public work is deemed off limits; warning shots are being fired, while the professor himself is yet to defend his own work against our critique.
Waters introduces the element of partisanship: anyone who is critical of Desmet’s work must be on the side of the powers that be and against “the Resistance.” He asks: “Why put such effort and time into such an attack on someone whose work is essentially on the same side of the argument as their own?” To reiterate: at no point have we “attacked” Desmet personally, as Waters has attacked us through his barrage of ad hominem epithets. The difference between our review and his could not be starker in that respect. We have never met Desmet, nor had any communications with him, and we have no personal interest in him whatsoever.
We are very concerned, however, about a text (Desmet’s book) that has been heavily promoted within “the Resistance” since its publication last summer, yet which, in our opinion, offers a singularly appalling model of resistance by whitewashing Covid-era mass atrocity, ignoring the architects of that atrocity, mystifying class relations, and instead blaming magical “stories” and a “mechanistic ideology” for all that has unfolded since 2020.
As we argue above, Desmet’s book tacitly exonerates perpetrators by depicting “elites” as equally susceptible to “mass formation” as the masses. From our reading, the book refuses to engage with the issue of “elite” mens rea, despite the fact that crimes against humanity are now taking place on an historically unprecedented scale via the 5.5 billion injections administered worldwide without informed consent regarding their actual contents.
Desmet’s thesis erects a seductive pretence that the whole world just suddenly fell under a hypnotic spell for reasons unrelated to politics, the military, or the deep state. It blames the public for its own auto-oppressive impulses, arguing in Freudian style that the public “craves an absolute master,” i.e. a “totalitarian leader” (pp. 86, 84). And it derogates moral advocates by branding those who disagree as “conspiracy theorists,” in line with current attempts by authorities to censor and eventually criminalise dissident speech.
The very concept of “mass formation” is empirically unsupported and without intellectual pedigree. Searches on major academic databases return no literature on mass formation in relation to totalitarianism. Instead, the term appears to trace back to Freud’s concept of Massenbildung, used in his 1921 book, Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse (Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego ). There is evidence to suggest that Freud’s book, with its hopelessly outdated libidinal explanations of group psychology, was an unacknowledged influence on Desmet’s book. If so, this would be very embarrassing intellectually, especially when coupled with the book’s failure to engage substantively with the vast contemporary literatures on group psychology.
Themes and practices of mass atrocity which deserve extensive treatment in a book about the psychology of totalitarianism are largely absent from Desmet’s book, chief among them the role of instigators in tuning and transmitting messages to do harm. Waters claims that we should be looking instead to Desmet’s public work to find such themes, given that the book is really about the conditions which generate totalitarianism. But, if so, the book is not really about the psychology of totalitarianism at all, and it can comfortably avoid dealing with psychological warfare, military-grade propaganda, menticide, censorship, organised state brutality against protestors, etc. There is no consideration, either in the book or in Waters’ hit piece, of the role of assorted forms of state violence in facilitating the psychological conditioning of the population.
Despite Waters’ failed attempts to politicize and muddy the waters, very serious analytical questions now need to be asked about whether we are, fundamentally, in a global class war, in which a transnational ruling class has resorted to the methods of warfare to wage undeclared Omniwar (attacking the population in as many clandestine ways as possible), with the war aim being to cripple public resistance to a paradigm shift in the mode of rule from liberal democracy to technocracy. If so, then class conflict is the one category, above all others, that a disproportionately tiny ruling class must prevent from becoming common currency.
In this context, we see that Desmet’s book, with its string of high-profile supporters, does a very thorough job of concealing class conflict. In fact, it is demonstrably hostile to the idea and robs “the masses” (the terminological replacement for the classes) of all agency, to the extreme point that they willingly go to their own deaths if ordered to do so. Desmet and Waters each find ways of mystifying class relations, including through scientism, psychologizing explanations of complex social processes, depoliticizing sociological explanations, obscuring the fine balance of social forces, and trying to draw an artificial line between politics and economics. Evading class conflict, they propose mystical solutions to the problem of totalitarianism while disingenuously attributing all violent intent to the masses.
Even on Desmet and Waters’ own terms, where will meaningful resistance come from, given that the “mass formation” process has already been set in motion? Mass alienation, free-floating anxiety, anomie, and bullshit jobs have already spontaneously given rise to the first ever mass formation on a global scale (p. 93). Covid-era discrimination against “the unvaccinated” is likened to early twentieth-century Pan-Slavism and Pan-Germanism, representing but the “initial phase of the totalitarization process” in which “the masses (or at least a large part of the population) become imbued with certain ideological convictions that, to them, are no longer distinguishable from reality” (p. 106). These dynamics then “slowly give rise to the emergence of totalitarian parties and totalitarian leaders who gradually institutionalize this logic and impose it on society” (p. 106). In the end, “Mass formation and totalitarianism invariably destroy themselves by way of logical necessity” (p. 116). Given that the useless masses in the book can be expected to go straight to their deaths without putting up a fight, what is to stop the inevitable slide into the abyss?
In fact, there is nothing in Desmet’s book, or Waters’ hit piece, to prevent the slide into the totalitarian abyss; rather, both facilitate it. The politics of the book are, in fact, compatible with totalitarianism, not only in what we have called its tenderizing of a palatable totalitarianism, but also in a great many upfront statements that appear to lend overt support for technocracy, regardless of whether or not these were consciously intended on the part of the author.
Irrespective of what Desmet had intended in writing his book, or why it has been promoted and defended in the way it has, the simple fact is that it performs a counter-revolutionary role during an era of global class war. Those who are serious about defending human freedom and the sanctity of life against the psychopathic designs of a vicious transnational predator class need to recognize this and to act accordingly.
Ultimately, only the complete defeat of that class, with its digital despotism and its depraved and unelected control over all levers of power, will emancipate humanity.
A protester against the COVID-19 “health pass” faces anti-riot police forces in Paris, July 2021. Source: Daily Mail
David A. Hughes
With doctorates in German Studies and International Relations, David A. Hughes lectures in areas including security studies, international relations theory, foreign policy analysis, globalization, and US exceptionalism. His research focuses on psychological warfare, 9/11, Covid-19, the deep state, intelligence crime, technocracy, resurgent totalitarianism, and global class relations. Selections of his work can be found on Academia.edu. David is an Associate Researcher with the Working Group on Propaganda and the 9/11 Global ‘War on Terror’.
With a doctorate in applied psycholinguistics and experience as an imagery analyst, Daniel Broudy lectures in areas ranging from communication theory to visual rhetoric. He is a professor of applied linguistics with research interests in symbols, signs, sounds, images, and colors as communication tools deployed by power centers which aim to shape knowledge and influence human perception and emotion. Selections of his work can be found at ResearchGate. Daniel is an Associate Researcher with the Working Group on Propaganda and the 9/11 Global ‘War on Terror’.
Working in the areas of political psychology, the psychology of atrocity, and psychological operations, Valerie Kyrie holds a doctorate in psychology on the topic of reality-perception and its manipulation. She has contributed to work in the areas of international human rights, media, advocacy and policy, focusing on the deceptions, tactics and machinations underpinning collective violence and atrocity. Valerie has written about Covid-19 for Propaganda in Focus and the International Journal of Vaccine Theory Practice and Research. She is an Associate Researcher with the Working Group on Propaganda and the 9/11 Global ‘War on Terror’.