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THINKING ABOUT - Part 4: Stockholm Syndrome

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The Dust for Thought series examines whether there are scientific explanations for the behavior of the majority of citizens under the current regime. Are there experiments that show how willing people are to let go of their own norms and values ​​and to embrace a totalitarian regime?

What preceded

Part 1 addressed the Milgram experiment that tested to what extent are people loyal to what they perceive as authority? Contrary to their norms and values, are they willing to harm others by order of authority? The result; 80% obey the authority instead of their own moral compass.

In part 2 came the Stanford experiment by Philip Zimbardo that dealt with the influence of the situation on people's behavior. Would anyone put in a position of power abuse that power and cause harm to fellow humans? The answer: 'Yes, the vast majority'.

In the third part, The Third Wave, we saw how quickly people embrace fascism and how easy it is to achieve it. Within five days, history teacher Ron Jones had enlisted more than 200 students into an organization that had all the hallmarks of fascism.

In this fourth and final part, we look at Stockholm syndrome. The term is used to describe a psychologically seemingly irreconcilable contradiction. Admire victims of hostage taking or long-term abuse, praise their captor and abuser, have understanding and empathy for them. That seems incomprehensible, but there are good explanations for it.

How the term Stockholm syndrome came about

On August 23, 1973, two criminals firing machine guns raided a bank in Stockholm, Sweden. The two bank robbers took three women and a man hostage for 131 hours. The hostages were tied with dynamite and put in a bank vault. They were released on August 28.

After their release, the freed hostages displayed a shocking attitude towards their hostage-takers, considering how they had been treated and feared for their lives for five days. During their interviews with the media, it became clear that they were supportive of their hostage-takers and ultimately had more fear of the police coming to their rescue. The hostages felt as if their hostage takers were protecting them from the police. One of the women later became engaged to one of the bank robbers and started crowd funding to support his defense. It was abundantly clear that the hostages had developed an emotional bond with their captors.

The psychological state of the hostages became known as Stockholm syndrome. Yet that was not the first time such a phenomenon had been observed in psychology. Only the name came later.

Other examples

There are other examples that, to a casual observer, bear a great resemblance to the Stockholm bank robbery.

One of the best known is Patty Hearst. She was the granddaughter of a media mogul, William Randolph Hearst. In 1974 she was captured by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a sort of urban guerrilla group. Under a new name, Tania, she participates in bank robberies as a member of the SLA. She publicly expressed support for the guerrilla group. On trial, she unsuccessfully used the Stockholm dream as the basis for her defense.

Colleen Stan was kidnapped and locked up in a chest under a bed for seven years. She was assaulted, raped and forced to live like a sex slave. And although she was allowed to visit her mother, she made no attempt to escape. Her situation came to an end when the hostage-taker's wife, who was fully informed, eventually reported her husband to the police.

There are other examples which, when looked more closely, bear a close resemblance to these cases. Think of abused children or incest victims who nevertheless appear to be very attached to their abuser. Abused women who support their husbands through thick and thin and often take the blame for the behavior of their abuser. Often they even refuse to report it. People who are members of a cult are susceptible to it. The Jim Jones drama in 1978 with 909 cult members' suicides is one of the best-known examples. Even between two people who are in a romantic relationship, there can be a very dominant partner who controls everything and abuses the other; sexually, forcing a certain lifestyle, financially parasitizes.


Ultimately, developing an emotional bond with the dominant party turns out to be a survival strategy of the abused, hostage underdog. The victim develops positive feelings for the abuser. And at the same time also negative feelings towards the police or family and friends who try to influence the situation. Victims understand or even help the abuser's motives. In extreme cases, they even work against those who try to help or deliver them. Of course, these effects are not always the case.

It is now such a well-known reaction that police negotiators, for example, in a bank robbery are no longer surprised. In fact, in such situations it is even recommended to form such a bond because it increases the chances of survival.

How does Stockholm syndrome develop

There is an imagined or actual threat to physical or mental survival. The (imagined) threat can arise by being threatened yourself, by witnessing it. The belief that the threatener will carry out his threat plays a role.

In such a hostage situation, the victim looks for a gesture, the slightest sign of goodwill from the abuser that could indicate that the situation could possibly improve. When the abuser sends out such a signal, the abused party sees it as a positive trait of the hostage taker.

Furthermore, the victim is isolated from any other perspective of the situation except the perspective of the dominant party. The victim constantly has the feeling of walking on eggs. Afraid that a word, gesture, or action will lead to intimidation or an outburst. In self-preservation, the victim begins to view the world from the eyes of the abuser.

And finally, whether imagined or not, there is the inability to escape the situation. That is clear in a bank robbery. But this can also be the case in other situations. Think of financial dependence, contractual ties, legal consequences (eg divorce) or even more serious repercussions when it suits the abuser.

The parallels of today

As with the previous three experiments, Milgram, Stanford en The Third Wave, we also see very strong similarities here with what is happening around us now.

Condition 1 - The threat   It has of course been known for a long time that the threat of dying from corona has been completely imagined for the vast majority of the population. But that is not important for the development of the syndrome. After all, the masses act as if the threat is real. This is fed by the regime with 'scary images', propaganda and fictitious figures.

The threat can also consist of serious repercussions if you do not obey the rules; Crazy fines, arrest, criminal record, closure of your company. Are you protesting, are you good to be persuaded, beaten up, arrested? The images of the para-military Polizei rages against peaceful Protestants on the Malieveld make this abundantly clear. Images that the regime uses to radiate strength: 'Fear with great fear the iron fist of the regime'. In short, for the believers there is in any case a threat and for the dissenters a real threat when they resist.

Condition 2 - The 'good deed'    The regime's 'good deed' is simple: 'Behave according to our super effective, irresistible regulations and everything will be fine'. And the naive, slavishly obedient citizens, so-called nappies (mouth-diaper wearers), behave accordingly. Any relief of the measures, of course only partial, is seen as a goodwill gesture. Then the regime tightens the stranglehold again with the promise that things will get better later. Any gesture of grace, after vaccination it returns to normal, is seen as a gesture of good will. But the stranglehold is inexorably tightened and tighter; a new, deadly variant is on the way. Then entire industries have to close with the promise that they can reopen this and that date ...

Condition 3 - No alternative view of the situation    The media bombardment, whether or not under the direction of the regime, shows only one message: 'The threat is serious and Our Way is the Only Way to a radiant new future. There are no alternatives'. This mass indoctrination has been going on for nearly ten months. All other views are fought with fire and sword. Censorship everywhere on the internet, the msm and even in book publishing. Baudet's book about 10 years of Rutte's tampering regime is simply not being published. Any form of non-conformity is ignored or actively combated. Every victory of the regime is widely reported: "Action group wronged by the judge." The message: 'You see that we are right. The independent judge (sic!) Said it himself '. You can read in the article to what extent this so-called independent judge is completely in the hands of politicians About the myth of the independent judge.

Condition 4 - It is no longer possible to escape     There is now one totalitarian regime all over the world, the coronaism. That term is nothing more than another word for fascism with a medical veneer. 'There is no way to flee anymore, I don't know where to go', Jenny Arean and Frans Halsema sang. Never before can a line from a song be taken so literally. Nowhere in the world can someone who thinks differently or wants to live a normal life. Escape is impossible; neither physically nor mentally. Fascist coronaism has poisoned the whole of society to its core.

How does it end

Not every hostage situation ends with Stockholm syndrome. Two hostages during a bank robbery did something completely different. A sniper took out the bank robber. The freed hostages dragged him to the window, pulled him up and invited the police to shoot him a few more bullets. It probably won't be this outcome after the Revolution. Although there are certainly people who would like to see that happen.

Food for Thought - Conclusions

The common thread in the series is the effect of power on people in a position of power, the abuse that ensues and the consequences this has for the subordinate party.

In part 1 on Milgram we saw that when authority abuses its power, they force people to let go of their moral compass of good and evil or to turn it off (un) consciously. The result is that more than 80% will kill a fellow human being by order of the authorities.

In Part 2 on the Stanford Prison Experiment, we saw that the vast majority of normal people who come into a position of power abuse this power by cruelly oppressing their fellow man and causing them physical and / or psychological harm.

In The Third Wave we saw how simply someone in a position of power is able to manipulate a large group of people in a short time and seduce them into fascism with everything that goes with it; a leader whose word is law, conformism, no place for the individual, abuse of power, mutual betrayal, polarization.

The Stockholm Syndrome provides insight into the reactions of the underdog who has to undergo it. Look around you and see how the majority slavishly obey the authority and defend their actions with fire and sword.

Lessons from the past

Some will say that these are only small-scale experiments / events and doubt whether this also happens in practice. The answer is yes. It has been proven literally a million times; the killing fields in Cambodia, the Nazi Vernietungslager, the Soviet-Russian gulags, the labor camps of the Japs, the Serbs in Srebrenica. Read the excellent book The Century of My Father by Geert Mak. It describes the events in Europe during the 20e century. It is one sequence of war, abuse of power, popular driving, demagoguery and warmongering. Don't squeeze it too hard because the blood will run out.

There is no reason to think that politicians are any better now than they were then. During each revolution, those groups are invariably arrested that differ profoundly from what the mainstream is calling out, what authorities propagate. They are the intellectuals, philosophers, students, the non-state press, union leaders. Anyone who resists is the hare. This group is labeled as hostile to the state. She is the target of state persecution and outlawed. Enough examples. The 'rich' kulaks under Stalin, the intellectuals during the Cultural Revolution under Mao in China, the Jews in fascist Germany, people with left-wing sympathies in the US under McCarthyism (the Red Fear). Whistleblowers like Assange, Snowden and Manning are still being prosecuted and, if possible, imprisoned. The Red Thread? Power and abuse of power, slavish citizens who obey and lazy employees of the regime who do the dirty work diligently. Because Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Franco, Idi Amin and all those other fascist dictators including Mark R. and Hugo de J. cannot do without them.

The true format of fascists

Hannah Arendt, a German Jewish philosopher, fled Nazi Germany in 1933. She has written several books on the totalitarian state. She concludes that in a totalitarian state the state is no longer there for the citizen but the citizen for the state. Our own philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) already wrote: 'The goal of the state is freedom'. It stands on the plinth of his statue in Amsterdam, where the 'social experiment' with diapers was introduced as one of the first… His legacy is squandered by the empty-headed Halsema.

Arendt attended trials of Nazi war criminals including Eichmann's in Jerusalem in 1963. Our own Harry Mulisch was there too. Both described how insignificant Eichmann looked now that he had been stripped of all power and obedient subordinates. It had been reduced to its true size; a measly bureaucrat seduced by the taste of totalitarian power. A minkukel who nevertheless proved capable of destroying millions of Jews.

Hopefully, in a very short time, we will see what the political 'elite' imagine themselves to be, in similar circumstances, including their Befehl-ist-Befehl henchmen.

I wish you wisdom.

Karel Nuks




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