Op-Ed: “Wait ‘Till Your Father Gets Home”

By Thomas R. Cuba, Ph.D.

“Wait till your father gets home!”  How many of us have never heard that phrase?  The statement imparts fear into the soul of the errant child and very often can induce a spate of better behavior.  But there’s more to it than that.

The next line might be, “Look what you did!  You should be ashamed of yourself!”  And, of course, the child is, at least momentarily.

Then there’s this one:  “You broke something very special and you’re going to have to live with that for the rest of your life.”

By this time, the wayward child is often crying and pleading, claiming that he will be good.  At that point, the final blow is dealt:  “Well, if you’re sure.  You promise.  If you can be good for the rest of the afternoon, I won’t tell your father what you did.”

After allowing the child to express relief, the next statement is, “Now clean that up, and maybe he won’t notice.”

That’s how it works when you’re four years old.  Leap forward fifteen years and play it again.

“You’re getting a D in this class.”

“You’re smarter than that.  You should be ashamed for not working hard enough.”

“If you try hard, you might salvage a C.  It’s your choice.”

Student replies, “What do I need to do?”

“Alright.  We’ll do a makeup test and maybe extra credit if you write a term paper.”

And that’s the pattern we have learned to live with.  Fear-Shame-Guilt-Obedience-Forgiveness.

The dance works pretty well when one party is in diapers or high school.  In the two examples, one party, the parent or the teacher, is in a position of responsible authority.  The job is to gain compliance in order to better the child through imparting proper behavioral standards or through education. 

Consider, however, that the purpose of both is to develop an adult with the capacity to think and act for themselves, making their own decisions and determining their own future, and that’s a good thing.  When, however, adults make these moves against other adults, the results can be disastrous.

Michael Crighton published one of his last novels, A State of Fear, in 2004.  In it, he refers to the use of fear to gain and maintain control.  We saw the premise in practice during 2020 and 2021.  The leverage of fear had been previously used in other experiments in social engineering.  It’s nothing new.

Throughout history, one can find examples of the use of the fear-guilt-obedience technique.  The most famous experiment was the one led by Adolph Hitler.  He posited that certain people carried with them inferior genetic codes.  These genes had the capability of destroying or diluting the more perfect Germanic genetics. 

That statement created the fear. 

The argument continued that the Germanic people had a responsibility to protect their more evolved genetics.  To not do so made them guilty of risking the betterment of the entire human race.  The last step Hitler used was to introduce the concept that the best defense is an offense; the best protection of the human species would be the elimination of the hazardous non-Germanic genetics. 

Overall the thesis is known as Eugenics.  Eugenics had been theorized for decades before Hitler took it up and put it into practice.

In a different setting, the use of the combination can be much less dramatic and much less socially damaging.  The process, however is the same.  Using seat belts was once optional.  Then the case was made that not using them would increase the likelihood of serious injury or death in a crash. 

True, but still a fear-based argument.  Then, the implications of guilt were added.  It was deemed selfish to not use seatbelts because it put you in a position of being guilty of becoming a greater burden on society.  The need for ambulances and emergency room capacity would rise, and it would be your fault.

The enactment of the 55 MPH speed limit followed the same path but was eventually reversed as impatience overcame the fear. 

Not being allowed to smoke in restaurants and other public places followed.  You’ll get sick and die.  Those around you will get sick and die.  If you make other people get sick and die, that is a guilty burden you will carry forever.  The arguments may well be true, but they also fit the profile of fear-based social engineering.

The events of 2020 have not lead to eugenics, but they did engage the practice of fear-based social engineering, using the fear-shame-guilt-obedience method.  Whether or not one accepts or rejects the multiple bodies of thought, speculation, science, and conspiracy that surround the actions of the Centers for Disease Control and a variety of government leaders, the use of fear created a willingness in the majority of the population to comply with the directives because those people did not want to be ashamed and guilty of spreading the disease to others. 

The directives were then painted with a broad brush of patriotism and good conduct.  People who failed to comply with the directives were labeled as rogues and shamed for willing to put others at risk as a result of their own bad behavior.

As you can see, there is no statement of conclusion to the logic or examples in this paper.  In fact, each reader can read it in a manner that supports their existing opinion on the matter of the examples, but that isn’t the point of the paper.  The point is this: whenever someone tells you to be afraid of something, they just might be running a game.  Be careful. Think for yourself.

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About The Author: Thomas R. Cuba, Ph.D.

Raised a simple Missouri farm boy, Tom managed to attend a British Prep School before commencing a college career that would culminate in a Doctorate Degree in Marine Ecology.  He also served as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy, and as a scoutmaster, SCUBA instructor, Wilderness Survival Instructor, and Firearms Instructor.

Tom has worked as an ecologist in both government and private practice, as well as a freelance nature photographer and computer programmer.

Now, a father and grandfather, Tom offers life lessons in the form of stories about the challenges people face and conquer as well as socio-political essays.  To that end, his first lesson is always his favorite quote.  “Failure is the whetstone of success.” ~ T. Leith Rettie, 1884.

You can read more from Tom on his site by clicking here


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