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Rape of the Mind - Chapter 14 -The Turncoat in Each of us THE RAPE OF THE MIND: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University Lecturer in Social Psychology, New School for Social Research, Former Chief, Psychological Department, Netherlands Forces, published in 1956, World Publishing Company. (Out of Print)


The Turncoat in Each of Us


As soon as "treason" is mentioned, something in man's soul is stirred. Anger and scorn, suspicion and anxiety are aroused, and people want to avoid the subject. The social reaction toward a traitor-even before we are certain that the accusation is deservedis very spectacular. Former friends of a man accused as a "traitor" retreat and withdraw from this token of evil. In every trial of traitors we feel inwardly, personally accused and guilty.

This is one of the reasons that treason trials make such deep impressions and provoke the most confusing discussions. Dictators can use such trials to cast a spell on the public. In a book on mental coercion and the rape of the mind, an investigation of the problem of treason and loyalty is needed.

The Involuntary Traitor

Self-betrayal comes out of all human pores. SIGMUND FREUD

In my home town in Holland there was a little barbershop quite near the government buildings. It was owned by a small man with a gray French beard. Through the years he had served many of the country's most important men. Diplomats and cabinet ministers, proud generals and aggressive leaders of the oppositionthey all wanted his service. The little barber was always very courteous and agreeable, eager to please his clients. He danced with prim, servile gestures around them while curling their hair and looking after their mustaches. As he worked, he would ask his distinguished clients polite questions: "What is His Excellency So-and-So going to say about this bill?" "How does the Minister of State feel about that one?" He was not really interested in politics at all, but the little barber knew that his clients were flattered by such questions.

And then one day a puffy, beribboned German general walked in and settled himself in the barber's chair-the Netherlands had been invaded and occupied by the Nazi hordes. Of course, our barber knew this, and he had even managed to hate the invaders for a few days. But he was innately a genteel soul, and he lathered the general's face himself and took care not to soil his uniform. On succeeding days, others of these strangely uniformed men appeared in the shop, and the little barber served them all well. The military men were followed by the Brown Shirts and then the Green Shirts of the Gestapo. The leather of the barber's chair was scuffed by the huge black boots. But the little barber did not complain, and soon the occupiers considered his haircut the most fashionable and best that could be obtained in the entire city.

Our barber was not too conscious of his increasing official importance. He danced attendance on his new clients with as much courtesy as he had showed the diplomats of the old days. He was sorry that his old acquaintances had gradually disappeared. But in the past his work had been seasonal; when parliament was not in session, his shop had been empty. Now his business flourished all the time. The Germans and the collaborators liked the little barbershop, the perfume, the barber's skill. Indeed, our amiable friend was well liked by the uniformed oppressors. They were, after all, thoroughly unused to friendly treatment; the barber's behavior was a welcome change from the contempt with which most of the Dutch people-those stupid, stubborn resisters-regarded them.

One day the barber was invited to buy a membership card in a newly formed organization of collaborators. Our friend responded to this request as he would have to any other appeal for charity. He did not like to give, but he thought of welfare as a special tax on business, and so he resigned himself to paying as a petty, necessary annoyance. Some of his old acquaintances warned him of the consequences; he would be accused of collaboration and treason. But he pacified them by saying, "I am a barber, and I live as a barber. I have absolutely no interest in politics. I only want to serve my clients."

When, after the bitter years of struggle and oppression, liberation came, our friend became officially known as a traitor and a collaborator. When the black-booted, uniformed supermen were thrown out, their collaborating friends were imprisoned, the barber among them. After he had served a part of his sentence, a wise and forgiving judge sent our barber back to his little shop. The first excitement of liberation had passed, and people were becoming more willing to forgive those who had been collaborators because they had been weak-hearted.

Our story is by no means finished. The barber came back from prison a beaten man. He had been in jail for three months; he still could not understand what had happened to him. He brooded constantly over his shameful days in jail. An injustice had been done him. He had served his fellow men as a well-behaved, virtuous citizen should, and he had been treated like a criminal. He felt self-righteous, abused, insulted, maltreated and misunderstood. After all, he had only wanted to be kind and helpful. He was a barber-nothing more.

The barber could not rid himself of his bitterness and resentment. None of his former friends came to cheer him up or to sympathize with him. His old clients did not return. His sadness and depression increased daily and in a few months he took his own life. And so ended the adventures of a little barber who had been completely unaware of his collaboration and his treachery.

I knew this man. I do not despise him-not at all. I am sure there were many such pitiful collaborators. I wonder, though, why the little barber was so unaware. Was it stupidity? Had his apparent kindness always covered up a resentment against his fellow men? Was he misled by an insidious wave of suggestion stronger than his mental capacity to resist? We will never know.

This tragedy, caused perhaps by unawareness, perhaps by the inability to choose between conflicting loyalties, stimulated me to investigate the problem of the traitor. I had ample opportunity to study this question, both through my experiences with the Dutch underground during the Nazi occupation, and when I was imprisoned in a Vichy detention camp. My first official analysis was made in 1943, when the Dutch government asked me to prepare a psychological report on disloyal Dutch soldiers and citizens being held in detention on the Isle of Man.

I arrived at the prison after a hazardous, stormy journey in a small airplane. The prisoners were a sorry lot. I had anticipated hostility, but I had not expected to find so many weaklings, consumed by bitterness and anger. Some of them were typical of the passive, egotistic, psychopathic personality, whose motto seems to be: "Let the world go to hell! I will never conform." Others seemed to be the victims of an unbearable inner struggle-a conflict between their desire to belong to the stronger group and their resistance to this desire, a resistance which only increased their bitterness and antagonism.

This was a situation which proved to me again that there are certain times when logic and discussion are no help at all. We tried over and over again to convince the semi-collaborators that they should join with us in the fight against the Nazis, but they only retreated further behind their private grudges. They even refused the cigarettes I offered them.

Bad as the trip to the prison had been, the trip back was even worse. The little plane was pushed off course by strong winds. I was depressed and disgusted by my experiences, and when we finally arrived in England, both the pilot and I were sick.

I had many opportunities thereafter to study spies, traitors, and subversives. My last official wartime investigation took me to a prison camp in Surinam, Dutch Guinea, where I made a collective report on all the inhabitants of the prison camp. In many of them, I could discern neurotic and even psychotic traits.

But I have found that perhaps the best understanding of the problem of treason has come to me from my psychiatric work with eurotic patients who have to face a daily struggle with the little betrayals of everyday life, with their own self-betrayal, and with their ambivalent feelings toward those they should love.

The Concept of Treason

Before looking into the subject further, let us make an enquiry into the meaning of the word "treason." It is, after all, used in a confusing variety of senses. The word "treason" has many

social and political implications, and the customs, habits, and mores of the group in which it is used affect and color its meaning.

The word itself is derived from the Latin tradere or transdare, to deliver wrongfully, to betray, to give something across, to give loyalty and secrets away. But from this root, the word has acquired a variety of meanings.

In the first place, it has a purely emotional, individual meaning related to feelings of deprivation and injustice. The infant often experiences all that compels him out of his state of bliss and dependency-which means the very act of growing up-as a betrayal, and sees treason in what he considers rejection by his parents. The person who retains these infantile feelings in his adult life may react to every fancied slight or rejection as to an act of treason or betrayal.

Lack of solidarity with the family or clan-with the in-groupnot conforming to its rituals and taboos has often been interpreted by the group as treason, treason through dissent. In this sense, the word implies a primitive moral evaluation; disgust and contempt are associated with it. Treason indicates something deeply emotional, something taboo, something different or strange, like allegiance to an alien ideology, a breach of traditions, or the simple fact of being a foreigner. Rejection of the norms and rules of the community, being one's own judge of morality and ethics, is often considered treasonable.

Utter rejection of the traditions of one's fatherland is an extreme. Often simple nonconformity may be considered treasonable, too. Indeed, in Totalitaria nonconformity and dissent are the most serious crimes against the system, and totalitarian minds have a tendency to look upon even honest mistakes or differences of opinion as deliberate treachery.

Because of its deep emotional content, the very word itself can be used as a political tool with which to manipulate people. In Totalitaria it becomes merely a Pavlovian sign, triggering off reactions of distrust and hatred. After a military defeat or a diplomatic disappointment, or whenever feelings of humiliation and inadequacy run high among the people, it is useful strategy to get them to project their sense of inferiority onto others. The "traitor" is in such a case an easy scapegoat who satifies the collective need to project blame and to relieve unconscious anxiety. In a totalitarian society every citizen is compelled to become a traitor, according to our own Western sense of decency, because it is his duty to betray to the regime every expression of dissension or rebellion. The child has to report his father, the father his child; they are even called traitors in the totalitarian sense as soon as they fail to report.

In the common political interpretation, treason is an act of rebellion, sedition, schism, heresy, conspiracy, or subversion. Its technical-juridical meaning is well known to everybody. Treason is adhering to enemies and giving aid and comfort to them; it is also, in a more modern, modified sense, taking part in an international ideological conspiracy against the fatherland.

To me, as a psychiatrist, its relation to the general problem of self-betrayal is the key to an understanding of the word. The germ of treason arises first in the individual's compromises with his own principles and beliefs. After these initial compromises have been made, it becomes easier to go on and on, to make more and more compromises, until finally the compromiser may become the man who is willing to sell himself and his services to the highest bidder. During the Nazi occupation, we saw this among those who were seduced to do little services for the enemy. The first step led to the second and then to final collaboration. It is because all of us do doubt ourselves from time to time, because we are unsure of what we would do if we were put to the test, and because we may see in ourselves a potential traitor, that the word "treason" has such highly emotional appeal.

But self-doubt is a far cry from actual treason, and the real traitor in the morbid sense of the word, is not merely a self-doubter. He is a man who believes only in his ultrapersonal rights and who scorns the rights and wishes of the community. He is disloyal even to his own gang. Hitler, for example, was a traitor not only to his own ideas, handling them as changeable tools to help him gain and maintain power, he was repeatedly a traitor to his closest friends and collaborators, many of whom he betrayed and murdered in 1934, during what has been called the night of the long knives. The real traitor is a person with egocentric delusions and the conscious conviction that he alone is right. He is a very different type from an involuntary, pathetic, unaware traitor like our little barber.

The Traitor Who Consciously Takes Option for the Other Side

In my study of political traitors and collaborators, I found that most of them shared two common characteristics: they were easily influenced by minds stronger than their own, and none of

them would admit his disloyalty as an act of treason. The traitors I interviewed always volunteered innumerable justifications of their behavior, always surrounded their treachery with a complicated web of sophisms and rationalizations. Actually, they could not tolerate an objective picture of their actions. If they did, they would condemn themselves out of their own mouths. Unconsciously, most of them realized the nature of their crimes and were tormented by guilt feelings. These guilt feelings would have been unbearable if they admitted, even to themselves, the enormity of their deeds.

During the Nazi occupation of the Low Countries, I saw these qualities demonstrated again and again. Many of our native traitors were spineless people, ready to accept almost any new idea or elaborate theory. Their suggestibility was their greatest liability. Most of these would-be Nazis had never possessed strong personali ties of their own. They had failed in their ambitions and had been disappointed in life, and they readily transferred their frustrated personal longings to political will-o'-the-wisps. After the German invasion and occupation, these people confronted their defeated countrymen with triumphant I-told-you-so's. They boasted proudly of their wisdom in having bet on the right horse. They gained a tremendous feeling of self-importance, and their newly acquired, blown-up self-assurance, backed by the enemy's armed force, made them hard and contemptuous of their compatriots.

In an effort to justify their own behavior and their greed for power, they tried to convert others to their new way of life. They were possessed by a compulsion to become propagandists for the invader. Turncoats always try to soothe their own bad consciences by persuading others to share their crime.

Of course, they had some real grievances. Everybody does. But these traitors were influenced less by them than by fancied injustices. Through acts of treason, they avenged themselves on society for the private wrongs they had suffered because of their personal failures. Their resentments could be felt in everything they said.

The Nazi strategists were experts in exploiting this sense of dissatisfaction. They seemed to know intuitively whether or not an individual could be ensnared by Nazi propaganda. One case I knew of in Holland concerned the ex-director of a large concern who had been ousted from his position on ethical grounds. Early in the occupation, this man received an invitation to join the Nazi ranks, and in a surprisingly short time he became the leader of an important Nazi business. The Nazis gave him the feeling of having been vindicated.

Among the recruits for the Nazi police force in the occupied territories were turncoats of all sorts and even the inmates of asylums for the criminally insane. The pathological grudge these people had against society was the foil by which the Nazis turned them into traitors. The Germans themselves despised these men, but they were cunning enough to put them to the best possible use.

The Nazis also played a strange game with some authors and artists who had not received enough appreciation. The enemy flattered these men by buying and praising their work. The artists were first told that they could write and create as they pleased, without fear of interference. Gradually, little political services were asked of them, tiny little concessions like a favorable report of a meeting or a favorable reference to a philosophy with which they did not agree.

It is the impact of that first little concession that starts the inner avalanche of self-justification that finally leads to self-betrayal. Following the first compromise and self-justification comes the second; and this one is met with shrewder self-exculpations. After all, the compromiser has had experience in rationalization by now. The repeated concessions turn into submission and voluntary cooperation. As I said before, once a man is seduced into a small ideological concession, it is very difficult for him to stop. From now on his imagination produces enough justifications which help him maintain his self-respect.

The inwardly insecure traitor always feels the urge to identify with the enemy-the hostile invader. He has never "belonged," never had a feeling of identification with his own group, has never felt the rewards of such cohesion, nor has he won the love, sympathy, and respect of his fellows. Therefore he wants to join the "others." He may even go so far as to call his former friends traitors. Lord Haw-Haw (William Joyce), the British traitor who was executed by his government, considered himself a real "Aryan German," and in this way justified his fight against England.

In the hectic days immediately following the Nazi invasion of Holland, I myself felt an occasional inner temptation to go over to the enemy, to the stronger party, with its powerful organizations, all ready to support one, to back one up. I even had a dream about visiting Hitler and convincing him in a childish and friendly way of the righteousness of our cause. I did not succumb to this dream temptation, but there were a few who fell for such infantile pictures and were unable to withstand their need to submit. The need to conform, to be accepted, to be safe and respectable, is deeply embedded in man. In our analysis of the inner forces that lead men to surrender their mental integrity under the pressure of prison and concentration-camp life, we saw how important a role this mechanism plays. Living in a country occupied by the enemy is by no means as horrifying as living in a P.O.W. or concentration camp, but it is, nevertheless, frightening, and in this frightening situation, the need to conform may show itself in surrender to the enemy ideology. Those who resisted this need, even though they felt it, usually became even more fervently anti-Nazi as a consequence of their guilt feelings about this impulse to treachery.

This war experience taught us another truth: traitors can be made by overwhelming collective suggestions. In the ambiguous chaos of shouting ideologies and changing values, the mind becomes sullen and stubborn, and where there is immaturity and lack of inner control, it may become confused in its loyalties and simply surrender to the most powerful group.

The Nazis, with their perverted political methods, tried to supply the weak, the ambitious, the disgruntled, and the frustrated with a ready-made set of bogus ideals to justify surrender to their side. In Mein Kampf, Hitler says that when the disappointed are given a sense of importance, they will swallow every suggestion with the utmost docility. He knew that human weakness-even kindnesscan be used as a starting point for a systematically nurtured conversion. Hitler knew, too, that unlimited political terror could make a traitor of almost anyone. Spread fear, terror, and hunger, inflict penetrating pain, and finally, as a result of mental coercion and growing confusion, many will succumb and even betray their own families. In many of the concentration camps, the victims themselves were in charge of the gas chamber killings and kept their gruesome jobs until their own turns came. Fear and terror had made will-less slaves out of them.

There is still another human characteristic that can lead to treason and betrayal. There are some people who simply do not know where their loyalties belong. The case of Klaus Fuchs, the man who betrayed atomic secrets to Russia, is a dramatic example of this. Here was a highly intelligent person, an expert on the most difficult theoretical problems, lost in a sea of conflicting loyalties. Because of the Nazi persecution of his Quaker family, he adopted a new fatherland, England. In the meantime, he carried a dream of a mystical universal world which he thought to find in the totalitarian ideology. In the midst of his confusion about world problems, he simply did not know where his loyalty should be.

This was not a case of schizophrenia or a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation, as the newspapers reported, but a case of confusion of loyalties in a hyperintellectual mind. Fuchs did not know emotionally where he belonged.

In other cases people were literally pushed into treason and collaboration because nobody in their environment trusted them. This happened, for instance, in Flanders with the collaborators of the First World War. Several of them were compelled to become collaborators again.

This analysis of the factors that lead men to treason certainly does not imply that every man must remain loyal to the group from which he has originally received his morals and ideals. Better insight and higher ethics may override our childhood loyalties. It is the fate and the need of human beings to go beyond their teachers and to correct, if possible, the traditional rules of their schools. The great philosopher Socrates was accused of being a "traitor" because he "corrupted the minds of the youth of Athens." And yet today we know that Socrates was far from being a corrupter.

Our Treacherous Intellect

Perhaps the most tragic form of unobtrusive treason and selfbetrayal is caused by the inertia of the human intellect. We are often betrayed by our own minds. We forget completely what we want to forget. We deny the existence of real problems in order to retreat into wishful thinking. As soon as we do not understand and feel the implications of a problem or an argument, we tend to submit passively to the most powerful side, just as did the overfriendly barber. The ease with which human beings can be corrupted is still one of our most serious psychological and moral problems. Inner confusion can make us submissive to almost any strong suggestion from the outside, no matter how foolish or false.

Our doubts are traitors,and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.

There are other more complicated tricks of the intellect which lead to self-betrayal. The feeling of inferiority often arouses in ignorant people a great desire to grasp extremely difficult ideas. Such people like to identify themselves with a quasi-profound system of thought. Hitler and his abstruse writings made temporary pseudophilosophers and magicians out of the majority of German people. All dictatorial totalitarians buy the services of scholars who can make them such a set of pseudo-philosophic justifications.

Unfortunately, some scholars are easy to buy. In Holland, for example, there was a not too intelligent philosopher who became converted to Nazism after it had shown its overpowering strength. Thereafter he felt free to write on the most abstruse philosophical subjects and to expound the most complicated theories, all for the glorification of his powerful friends from the Third Reich and their myth of conquering the whole world. At the same time, he built a system of inscrutable words around his own deep feelings of guilt; he isolated himself from the world more and more because no words were convincing enough to justify his treason to himself. In the end he lost all contact with reality. Then, of course, the Nazis had no use for him either.


As we have seen, there are various inner motivations which may lead to the crime of disloyalty or treason. Sometimes these motivations operate very subtly, in ways unknown to the subject; sometimes treason is merely a crude selling out to those who pay best. Let us try to arrange and classify some of these motivations, starting with the unconscious ones and ranging toward deliberate treason.

In the first place, an act of self-betrayal may begin as a defense against the feeling of being lost and rejected. In order to win acceptance in a group, the individual may hide and not defend his private beliefs and convictions when attacked. In psychology this may be called-if such passive behavior becomes an unconscious habit-the passive submission to and identification with the stronger person. If you cannot beat the enemy, join him! (A. Freud)

Although the concept of the inner traitor in us is not so easy to accept, by studying the contrasting inner drives that lead man, one becomes more convinced of that possibility. The clinical concept of man's inner ambivalence is based on numerous psychological experiences. In studying the deeper motivations of many a traitor, we often see that his treacherous act happened after an inner turmoil threatened to break him down, to make an uncontrolled nervous wreck out of him. It is as if the future mental patient preferred to surrender to an outward enemy rather than to the inward enemies of disease and nervous breakdown. Hess was on the verge of a schizophrenic breakdown when he broke Hitler's rules and flew to England.

Let us consider the British foreign office spies, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess.* Both showed several symptoms of imminent mental breakdown. It may be known to the reader that both these men left England in May, 1951, in order to go via France to Russia. Both deliberately fled the country. Both had Communist leanings during their student days at Cambridge but later renounced their adolescent affiliations. Both showed abnormal symptoms during their service. Maclean had a breakdown in May, 1950, due to overwork and excessive drinking; Burgess was reprimanded for reckless driving while in service and for neglect of his work. Reading through the report, one is surprised by the amount of mental instability which was tolerated at such a sensitive spot of the government. Both the men had homosexual leanings that can be related to a suppressed hostility for their mothers (and mother country).

Sometimes treason means a one-sided appeal to justice. This is found in the man who demands some sort of private protective justice and who refuses to acknowledge the subtle relationship between rights and duties. Such persons always feel continually deprived and betrayed. They are what Bergler calls the "injustice collectors:" In their acts of disloyalty they are seeking to play the role of their own private judges. Many querulous and even paranoiac persons have this kind of character structure.

Then there is the disappointed pseudo-idealist who gradually turns into a cynic, covering his emptiness by many self-justifications and exculpations. Such people betray their intellectual disappointment in all their debunking remarks.

Conflicts between parents may give rise in the child to the need to betray one or both parents, and this need may be transferred in later life to a need to betray the fatherland. I have often found that the unsolved ties of hate and love toward the parents play an important role in forming the turncoat personality. As we saw, this problem often lies at the root of the totalitarian character structure. Although the totalitarian-minded are not by definition overt traitors,

some of these people can easily become traitors to free, democratic ideals-either out of compulsive allegiance to a foreign ideology or out of repetitive nonconformism.

In describing special characteristics of a political group, one has to keep in mind that basic inner contrasts are inherent in all people. The quasi-rational Marxistic interpretation of the world, which satisfies the need for logical clarification and reasonable organization of social life, covers anxiety created by the irrational inner forces so easily detected in the totalitarian-minded. The cult of the "masses" often serves as a defense against loneliness. The belief in progress may be born out of vague despair and insecurity. The fear of deviationism is the fear that the unity of the group will be broken. Suspicion and self-criticism serve to keep, above all, the in-group together.

There are several forms of inner conceit that can turn man into a traitor. The Dutch philosopher of whom I spoke earlier is an example of this, as are any of the verbose ideological apologists for totalitarianism.

Lack of confidence or lack of belief in the guiding traditions and aims of one's own society can also lead to hostility, then to treason. Without such traditional beliefs, suggestibility and receptivity for competing ideologies are increased. The Klaus Fuchs case, which was mentioned earlier, is an example of this.

The personal need to be a pioneer or a martyr, often instilled by the unconscious need to suffer, may lead to a private messianic delusion and cause an attack on the traditional values of the group. Many groups consider such extremism as treacherous behavior.

Another form of self-betrayal may be caused by the inability to grasp the complexity of the real world. Many people have been seduced into unstable behavior and even disloyalty through lack of comprehension of these complexities and through the need to find a single, all-embracing, easy answer to the problems of human life. Who gives them the simple myth to believe in? The Nazis seduced nearly all of Germany into a form of ideological treason in this way!

Treason may also be a paradoxical reaction to a deep-seated neurotic sense of guilt. The neurotic strategy of accumulating more guilt coupled with the consequent development of an inner need for punishment are often the basic causes of criminal action. The treacherous deed is done precisely in order to provoke punishment (Reik).

Treason may also be paid adventure as we find it in international espionage. This kind of life fascinates the immature mind which lives in the world of mystery stories and fairy tales. Bribes with women or money make such treason even more attractive. The enemy gratifies economic and sexual needs, and the traitor is willing to sell his integrity to the highest bidder.

Overt fear and panic can also cause treason. The whole psychology of totalitarian interview and interrogation is based on this principle. People can be frightened and brainwashed into treason.

The Development of Loyalty

From all this we can see that what we call treason takes place more in the emotional than in the intellectual sphere of functioning. In the course of human growth, everybody passes through periods of inner conflict in which he has to turn his love and allegiance from one person to another-from mother to father, from parents to the entire family, from the family to the state, and from the state to mankind. The core of the problem of treason and selfbetrayal is found in the difficulties which arise in the repression of former loyalties, as each loyalty is in turn superseded by the next.

Many people experience deep confusion in adolescence when, for the first time, they must leave the safe emotional protection of their homes and create new loyalties and new moral standards for themselves. It is in this period that the critical faculties are developed. In doubting the traditional truths passed on by his parents, each adolescent might be called a traitor; yet he is actually being true to the self he is shaping. During the crisis of adolescence, with its increased feelings of yearning for some unknown happiness, many young people want to "betray" their parental home and their parents' standards. At the same time, they do not want to give up the protection the home offers.

Psychologically, we know, however, that temporary disloyalty is part of normal mental growth. In the process of individual human development, there are stages of progress which lead from initial submission to open rebellion and nonconformity. Every step toward mental maturity and independence involves the growing out of ties with the past. This growth can be effected in different ways, with more or less overt hostility and forsaking of the past, with self-betrayal and passive submission, with renewed submission to pay off feelings of guilt, with sworn conservativism or open rebellion. In this phase of adolescence he is especially vulnerable to totalitarian propaganda.

The youth may retain from the conflict of inner growth a sense of loneliness and guilt. If he puts it to productive use, he may become what we might call a creative revolutionary. The trail blazer, whose own inner forces drive him on to break with tradition, is such a man. Indeed, many of mankind's great moral and spiritual leaders have been of this type. They have been leaders precisely because they broke either with rigid remnants of the past or with the ossified or immoral elements of the present. In my own experience, I have known one such man, a German psychiatrist, whose idealism and moral sense made it impossible for him to go along with the Nazi desecration of human values and who was hanged as a traitor for his part in the abortive German rebellion against Hitler in I944

In Praise of Nonconformity

What can be done in general to combat treason, disloyalty, and self-betrayal? In the first place, the child's normal defensive attitude toward authority and his need to break away from it should be watched with favorable vigilance at all times on the part of parents and educators. It is all too easy to force a child into denial of the self. Many times, later disloyalty is a reaction to faulty handling of the problems of childhood. Most traitors are made, not born. Unfortunately, this truth is often forgotten by educators who may, as a result of their own frustrated aggressions, break down by force the feeling of great loyalty toward their own age group that we find among youngsters.

Is it possible to decide whether or not a person is dependable? Only when we have some insight into his hidden motives and drives and into the workings of his unconscious. For complete insight, psychoanalysis is necessary, but the way the unconscious expresses itself in character traits and character defenses can give us some very important indications. A person with excessive dependency needs or a weak ego, a person who is easily suggestible can usually be seduced into disloyalty. So can the boastful, inconsistent man, full of pride and vanity. Material egotism, desire for power, and continual hostility also lead to denial of moral values, among them loyalty.

As is often true in psychology, it is easier to say what character traits the dependable person must not have than to give a positive picture of what he should be like. In general, we can say that the person who is honest with himself and shows a minimum of selfdeceit, the man who exhibits a stable structure of character, the person with genuine maturity, is most true to himself, and, as a result, most loyal to others.

Nevertheless, the seeds of treason lie in each of us and may be fortified by environmental influences. In a totalitarian world, for example, everybody is educated in self-denial and self-betrayal; when a person becomes a nonconformist, the label "traitor" will be attached to him. In a world stifled by dogma and tradition, every form of original thinking may be called sedition and treason. In such cases the environmental, social, and political factors, and not the confusing inner processes, determine what is treason. In this chapter, however, I have emphasized the personal factors in producing treason-the influence of family and group prejudices, and the inner instability resulting from complications in the immediate environment. There are so many subtle fantasies of self-betrayal and secret aggression in everyone, and there is so much desire to revenge secret resentments, that any government may make use of these unhealthy neurotic feelings to stir up the country.

The Loyalty Compulsion

Recently Americans have been looking more critically at the concepts of loyalty and subversion. Deeply conscious of the cynical and ruthless nature of the totalitarian attack through subversion,we have begun to let our fear of subversion from within paralyze our democratic freedoms.

We have become so concerned over the specter of a treacherous fifth column in our own land that we have grown both overcautious and oversuspicious.*

* In his well-documented study on The German Fifth Column, the Dutch historian Dr. Louis de Jong could prove that Hitler's dreaded network of treason and betrayal was for the greatest part an imaginary ogre created by the panic and fear of the people.

We require constant reassurance that the intentions of our neighbors and fellow citizens are acceptable and loyal. The danger in this frantic search for security operates both on the political and psychological levels. Politically, in trying to erect invulnerable barriers against the spread of totalitarian ideas, we may find that we have given up those very qualities that distinguish democracy from totalitarianism: freedom and diversity. Psychologically, we may find ourselves the victims of pathological suspicions (which can be clinically termed paranoia), and this suspiciousness may lead us to reject utterly the most valuable qualities we can have as human beings: tolerance and respect for our fellow men.

The political dangers in this situation have been pointed out time and time again by responsible leaders of the American community. As a psychiatrist, I should like to devote my attention to the psychological aspect of this problem and to the dangers to the free mind that are inherent in the current situation. For, as we have already seen, all political behavior is essentially an extension of individual behavior and is rooted in the psychology of the individuals who make up the political group.

Much of our collective suspicion can be attributed to a gigantic multiplication of personal feelings of insecurity. In times of fear and calamity arises the myth of a treacherous aggressor, the myth the totalitarians know so well how to exploit. Our own inner insecurity is displaced and projected onto our neighbors and our environment. We begin to doubt and distrust everyone. We accuse others because we are afraid of ourselves. We feel weak and cover our weakness by growing suspicion and by being continually on the lookout for possible traitors and dissenters.

As we have seen earlier, the whole question of loyalty is a complicated one. In our zeal to create guarantees of trustworthiness, we tend to oversimplify the problem, and thus we may overshoot the mark and become like our totalitarian antagonists, for whom over-simplification is a stock-in-trade. Asking people for a loyalty oath asking them to perform that magic ritual through which they forswear all past and future political sin-may have a paradoxical effect. Merely taking an oath does not make a man loyal, although it may later enable a judge to prosecute him for perjury. Our insistence on official expressions of allegiance actually discredits and devalues the basic personal sense of voluntary and self-chosen identification with the community which is the essence of loyalty; it certainly does not either create or insure loyalty. The loyalty oath too easily degenerates into an empty formula, and the man who takes it may forget completely the meaning it is supposed to have. To many it has become simply red tape, another one of those endless, troublesome forms that must be filled out.

The oath compulsion can easily grow into a childish magic strategy, a form of mental blackmail. There are some oriental religions in which devotions are performed through the use of a prayer wheel. When the wheel is set in motion by a flip of the hand, the worshipper has done his job. He need not recite any prayers; he need not think any devout thoughts. The practitioners of these religions no longer have any awareness of the content of their prayers. They are blind subscribers to a ritual whose meaning they have long since forgotten. Signing a loyalty oath can become as empty a gesture as turning the prayer wheel.

True loyalty is not a static thing; as we have already seen, it grows and develops with the personality. It has to be rediscovered and re-experienced every day, since it is, essentially, as a result of an inner battle of contending values that man finds his own particular values and loyalties. When a man is compelled to swear to his loyalty, even though he feels it already deeply within him, the compulsion from outside means that he must lay aside his personal right to weigh values and take counsel with his honest principles. It does not matter whether or not the oath is an expression of his true feelings, the element of enforcement that lies behind it has a psychologically weakening effect on the man who takes it. This may seem strange at first glance, but a simple analogy will make it clear. The man who truly loves his wife, for example, does not need repeatedly to swear to his love; he shows it in his actions. But if she insists on his swearing, her very insistence, implying as it does that she doubts him, may bring questions to her husband's mind-and he begins to grow confused as to what he really thinks.

Both in demanding an oath and in taking it, we perpetuate the ridiculous illusion that enemies can be kept out through this prayerwheel system. The fact is that deliberate traitors and subversives are the very ones who are not afraid to disguise their motivations and hide their intentions behind prescribed formulations. Nor are they afraid of perjury charges. They feel no hesitation in signing an oath if it is opportune for them to do so. For them, words and oaths are only tools which have no binding moral value. More important than the demand for loyalty should be the demand for integrity, for steadiness of character, for maturity of aims and motivations.

Free man needs loyalty to the self first of all, and this implies the right to be himself. The man who feels that he is nothing, who feels that everyone, himself included, doubts him, who is inwardly weak, may become an easy prey to all kinds of totalitarian political influences. Loyalty hunts and loyalty oaths may provoke disloyalty to one's personal integrity and to personal freedom, since they create suspicion in ourselves and in others. Freedom is kept upright by the very presence of opposition-even at the risk of nonconformism and scattered subversion.

Loyalty comes about as a result of mutual confidence; it cannot be created through compulsion. Any compulsion is, by its very nature, one-sided. Loyalty has to be deserved and won daily through mutual interaction, and through contact between leaders and citizens. Because it is based on confidence, loyalty is given spontaneously and of free will. True loyalty cannot be bought or demanded.

In investigating the case of the young American soldiers in Korea who were brainwashed and forgot too easily where their loyalty lay, we usually find in their backgrounds how disloyally one of their parents had behaved toward them. In nearly all the so-called pro-Communist cases we find a disturbed youth. It is important that the community investigate its initial loyalty toward these young men.

In a democratic state we should be prepared to adduce convincing facts in support of our own way of life or to develop new approaches which will reveal the weaknesses of any subversive system.

Prosecution of dissenting ideas, insistence on loyalty according to some prescribed formula-these make it impossible for us to do this and may be the beginning of an unwillingness to argue and persuade. They may even lead to a new form of betrayal, the subtle treason of intellectual detachment, the unwillingness to take responsibility, the treason of doubting relativism which leads to inaction. It may degenerate into a dangerous form of mental laziness which can easily be turned into a life of no commitments or into totalitarian submission. The approaches to truth are multifarious, and it is only where there is a clash of opinion that these approaches can be discovered and the right road to truth be found.

The danger in the loyalty compulsion is, then, that we may conceal mental apathy behind a rigid formula and thus lose sight of the constant need for psychological alertness and the real meaning of loyalty and a free way of life. The mechanical formula of a loyalty oath, because it checks moral alertness and a search for ethical clarification, may be the beginning of the thought control we all fear. True loyalty is a living, dynamic quality.

In the subtle choice between loyalty to people and loyalty to principles (usually a much vaguer feeling) the lawmaker has to leave the individual as free as possible, because the latter type of loyalty is based on the first. Without personal loyalty there is no national loyalty!

There is still another aspect to this problem. We must learn to distinguish between disloyalty in actions and disloyalty in feelings and thought. Subversion of opinion is never a crime. The right to dissent is the keystone of democracy. In a free state we must be willing to correct subversion by our better arguments. Persecuting dissenting ideas is a form of mental laziness. Psychologically speaking, a government cannot concern itself with conscious motivations (and the unconscious motivations which cannot be separated from them) of people because inwardly everybody has contrasting motivations. The quandary that such a government would provide itself is illustrated by the following quotation from the Oppenheimer hearing by the Gray board published in 1954.

We believe that it has been demonstrated that the Government can search its own soul and the soul of an individual whose relationship to his government is in question with full protection of the rights and interests of both. We believe that loyalty and security can be examined within the framework of the traditional and inviolable principles of American justice.

In these beautiful phrases lie hidden all the ominous beginnings of totalitarian thought control. The government that searches the soul of any thinking individual can always find a case against him, because doubt, ambivalence, and groping are traits common to all men. We cannot measure anybody's dependability on the basis of his thoughts and feelings as they appear to us. In the first place, we can never know what lies behind a seemingly loyal facade. In the second place, the man whose search for truth leads him to explore many heretical points of view can be the most loyal in his actions. His very exploration may well lead him to the considered judgment that underlies true loyalty. What counts in any man is the consistency and integrity of his behavior, and his courage in taking a stand, not his conformity to official dogma.

And to state that the government can search its own soul is to state absolutely nothing. A government is, after all, merely a collection of individuals. Under the pressure of the loyalty compulsion, of the growing suspicion, these individuals themselves may not search their souls as honestly as they would in less hectic times or if they were acting as private individuals rather than as official representatives of the government. The man caught in official security rules is the prisoner of the anxiety and insecurity rampant in those who want to establish the delusion of certainty and security-a transgression of values!

As soon as the government starts to search the souls of its citizens, it begins to intrude on their rights and interests. It attacks democracy at home and weakens its position abroad. We cannot find the road to peace and fellowship with the rest of the world if we adopt dogmatic, intransigent positions and try to impose our orthodoxy on others. The hallmark of the totalitarian is his insistence that his is the only right way. If we are to maintain our position as the leader of the free world, we must always keep our minds open. Only in that way will we find new ways to peace.

We have seen now that the problem of treachery has to deal with the failure to understand our inner mental processes. Every betrayal is in the first place a self-betrayal, a disloyalty toward one's own standards. When people silence their conscience and compromise for the sake of convenience, at that moment they begin to be disloyal to themselves. Passivity-assumed when our conscience should have forced us to act-is the most common form of self-betrayal. Inwardly a man may be furious because of some injustice he has witnessed, but outwardly he may do nothing about it-this behavior he feels inwardly is treason to the self and is often what makes him so touchy toward other people's flaws. When the pattern of passivity is repeated, the individual continuously piles up more feelings of injustice and grows more and more resentful against society. Evasiveness and skillful dodging of issues of principle-these are among the most dangerous forms of self-betrayal in our time. They are dangerous because they lead unwittingly to the hypocrisy that puts power beyond ethical value.

It is dangerous to let personal grudges and discontent solidify into a permanent resentment against the whole of society. Parents and educators can forestall such difficulties through psychological insight by allowing each individual the freedom to criticize and attack-in a civilized, nondestructive way-the community to which he belongs. By helping to develop in the child the sense that he is responsible for his own views, subversive though they may temporarily appear, parents provide him with the opportunity to overcome his feelings of loneliness and ambivalence and his wish to do violence to those who influence him. Again, loyalty is a relationship-loyalty to family, friends, or country has to be deserved.

Loyalty is possible only when mutual mental aggression and hostility are allowed and tolerated within the limits of the law. This verbalized, sublimated, and civilized form of aggression presupposes fairness and good sportsmanship. It is the synthesis and conquest of rebellion and subversion. However paradoxical it may sound, democracy is founded on the mutual loyalty of politically opposed groups! You cannot doubt the good motives and intentions of your opponent without undermining the basis for cooperation and successful government. It is most undemocratic to impute disloyalty to the opposition party. History shows that only where there is opportunity to confront and integrate opposing ideas can man eradicate that form of psychological imbalance which gradually turns into a disloyalty to oneself and to the community. Fear of subversion and opposition is often fear of ideas, fear of being identified with certain unacceptable ideas, the fear of betrayal of the hidden part of oneself. Fear of treason will exist as long as loyal opposition is a crime.

Democracy is nonconformity; it is mutual loyalty, even when we have to attack one another's ideas-ideas, which, because they are always human, are always incomplete.

*Text of Britain's "Report on Inquiry," The New York Times, September 24, 1955; Time, October 3, 1955.

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