Our edited volume, Paranoid Fantasy & Enemy Creation is ready to go. We need someone to shepherd this exciting, timely volume through the publishing process.
Scroll down for a list of the Chapters and Chapter Summaries.
Originally Library of Social Science planned to publish our edited volume, Paranoid Fantasy and Enemy Creation. The book is ready to go. However, LSS has decided to focus on our book exhibit business.

Several major presses wish to publish this book. But we are understaffed. We need someone to help shepherd Paranoid Fantasy & Enemy Creation through the publishing process. You will work closely with LSS staff, as well as with editors and marketing people at the publisher we select.

Please write to oanderson@libraryofsocialscience.com if you’d like to work with us to publish this exciting, timely volume.
Paranoid Fantasy and Enemy Creation will consist of the these chapters.
To read summaries of each chapter, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN.
Fighting the “Real” Enemy Fantasizing the Liberal “Final Solution” (Peter Bloom) Creating the Idealized Nemesis: The Collective Psychology of the Red Scare (Alexander C. Chirila)
The Body Politic: Hitler, Paranoia, and “The Jew” in Modern Germany (Geoffrey Cocks) Götterdämmerung: Suicide Music and the National Self as Enemy (Panayiotis Demopoulos)
Creating the “November Criminals”: A Study of the Dolchstoss Legend (Tracie Provost) America is a Religion: Our High-Church Politics and Sacred War (Michael Vlahos)
Counterterrorism, American Exceptionalism, and Retributive Justice (Michael Vlahos) The Symbolic Dimensions of Torture in the War on Terror (Bradley Young)
Statement of Purpose
This volume examines how ideologies of enmity are based on ideas and fantasies with little or no foundation in reality. How can we understand the fact that delusive systems of belief frequently are embraced by societies—giving rise to systematic forms of violence to which we give names like war, genocide and terrorism? This volume explores the dynamics of enemy creation.
Chapter Summaries: Paranoid Fantasy and Enemy Creation
Fighting the “Real” Enemy Fantasizing the Liberal “Final Solution"
Peter Bloom, Swansea University

This Chapter presents a theory for understanding the political and cultural role of paranoia, demonization and enemy creation. Drawing on the work of Jacques Lacan, Bloom highlights the affective “grip” of ideologies—across time and in disparate societies—revolving around a paranoid fear of enemies. Through these ideologies, selfhood is constructed based on a “fantasmatic narrative” centering on the eternal struggle to realize a promised utopian state against the constant threat of a malicious other.

Bloom’s analysis emphasizes the paradoxically stabilizing role of enemies for “mastering” existential anxiety. This theoretical framework opens a space for examining the function of paranoia and reliance on enemies within seemingly opposing political systems.

Collective paranoia is witnessed, for example, in the pathologies exhibited by Nazis in undertaking the Final Solution, and contemporary Liberal Democracy with its pre-occupation on destroying “anti-liberal” enemies of all stripes, most recently Islamic terrorists. Despite ideological and normative differences, each ideology relies on a fantasy characterized by the “eradication” of its adversaries.

This Chapter suggests that it is normatively insufficient to distinguish between “false” enemies and “true” enemies. The horrific Nazi figure of the “Jew” is viewed as the epitome of a society “gone mad”, whereas Liberal railings against “neo-Nazis” are seen as appropriate responses to an authentic social danger. A psychoanalytic perspective, Bloom suggests, reveals that all enemies, whether or not they constitute an actual threat, reflect an illusionary identity connected to a collective cultural fantasy.

Creating the Idealized Nemesis: The Collective Psychology of the Red Scare
Alexander C. Chirila, Webster University

The idealized nemesis as constructed by the collective psychology of a nation, Chirila says, can take many forms: from the barbarous hordes storming the gate, to the cunning opponent scheming across a global chessboard. Perhaps the most insidious of these nemeses is the enemy within.

Characterized as a “fifth column,” viral infection, or spreading cancer, the enemy within generates a range of psychological reactions on the national scale, including an inward-focused aggression fixated on “rooting out” the enemy by emphasizing, aggrandizing, and mythologizing a standard of health linked to collective self-identity. The enemy, in turn, is a negative composite of oppositional, undesirable, and grotesque qualities that are uniquely configured to infiltrate, contaminate, and potentially transform the national body.

Without an idealized nemesis capable of threatening, challenging, and interactively structuring collective self-identity, the stories that express and support this identity might wither and fade into obscurity. The strength and numinosity of an ideological matrix must be measured against both internal and external opposition. National ideological matrices are measured in terms of their ability to bring and hold together individual members of a collective.

Did America look for a new enemy to replace communism? One that could exist on two levels, as a domestic threat and an international one? Or did the rise of terrorism naturally provide new material for a recurring pattern of conflict and identity ideation? New eras provide new martyrs and demagogues, heroes and villains…and new viruses.

The Body Politic: Hitler, Paranoia, and “The Jew” in Modern Germany
Geoffrey Cocks, Albion College

Hitler’s paranoia about the Jews became evident through his speeches and repeated references to them as a threat to the German nation and race. Hitler expressed his view through metaphors, asserting that Jews were the source of “disintegration,” “decay,” “annihilation,” “fragmentation,” “paralysis,” “infection,” “decomposition,” and “corruption.” Hitler and the Third Reich’s leadership were indulging in a bodily fantasy that posited the German nation as the rock against which the destructive forces of Jewish decomposition of the “body politic” would dash themselves.

Hitler himself was a hypochondriac and surrounded himself with doctors who dosed and treated him for a variety of ills. This rendered health a matter of greater expectation, but also rendered it a matter of ongoing hopeful, anxious, and even adversarial management and negotiation among individual, society, and state.

Cocks shows that the well-being of self, body, and mind constituted a social and cultural space of constant concern, action, and policy within a pervasive Nazi system of medical surveillance and control. The medicalization of society included a tendency among physicians to embrace the ideal of preserving the “eternal” body of the nation—because of their inability to save the mortal body of the individual.

The monolithic Nazi fantasy of “the Jew” as morbid enemy additionally carried with it the disturbingly intimate quality of an internal process of invisibly unmanageable weakening and eventual destruction. This morbid imagery spoke to Germans’ modern anxiety about body and self—beset by mortal peril from within and without.

Götterdämmerung: Suicide Music and the National Self as Enemy
Panayiotis Demopoulos, Composer/Performer

Examining the last days of Hitler’s Germany, Demopoulos puts forth a psychological interpretation of what music meant for Hitler, his close companions and the public. On April 11, 1945, as the Red Army approached the capital, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra performed its last war-time concert. The program commenced with the final scene from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. The piece describes how Valhalla, home of the Gods, was consumed in fire. The author asks the metaphorical question: were the German people “neighing happily” in those “radiant fires”?

When the end came for Hitler, he staged his own Götterdämmerung in his Berlin bunker. He refused to surrender, preferring to take his own life through a non-heroic end. By his absolute refusal to even consider capitulation, he ensured the vast, horrible destruction of lives and property long after these losses could have had any impact on the outcome of the war.

A prescribed death often brings despair, as well as irresistible primordial and sensual tensions. From the choice of their repertoire, it became evident that the Orchestra was playing a funeral march for the entire nation. At the end, “duty” and “death” were the same thing for Hitler. This equation applied to all men between the ages of 16 and 60. In this final act not even the Tristan chord conferred some magical turn of events. The role of music was plainly that of a muffled funeral drum that led to the guillotine.

Creating the “November Criminals”: A Study of the Dolchstoss Legend
Tracie Provost, Middle Georgia College

This Chapter looks at the Dolchstoss legend, which contended that the German Army in World War I—strong, with indomitable spirit, and led by two of Germany’s great war heroes, Erich Ludendorff and Paul von Hindenburg—was stabbed in the back by the civilian government, leading to Germany’s defeat by the Allies. According to this narrative, the army could have continued to fight and defend the Fatherland if the cowardly and duplicitous civilian government had not contracted a harsh and unfair peace with Germany’s enemies.

But the truth was that before August 1918, the German Army’s dire situation had been concealed from almost everyone. Battle defeats were claimed as victories or only as very narrow defeats. The Imperial Government feared if the soldiers were aware of the gravity of the military situation, the army would disintegrate. Civilians had already begun to strike and there were cases of isolated mutinies.

Provost argues that this legend continued to live and influence German politics in the wake of World War II. Vilification of individuals and, in fact, of the entire civilian government was a favorite theme in Nazi propaganda both during Hitler’s rise and the years of the Reich. This legend, willfully constructed by the German General Staff and by some members of both the Imperial and Reich governments, successfully shifted the blame for the loss of World War I from the military leadership, where it rightfully belonged, to the newly democratized civilian government of the first German republic, whose members were branded the “November Criminals.”

America is a Religion: Our High-Church Politics and Sacred War
Michael Vlahos, Johns Hopkins University

This Chapter show how American national politics resembles an organized religion. Americans say they are a nation, not a religion: there is no established church, and the republic was founded to keep both church and God at arms’ length. However, certain national values and some national symbols, like the flag, are sacred to many Americans.

American citizens do not expect to be told how to worship or what God to pray to or how to meet in holy congregation. The American nation, rather, tells a story of who the people are and how they should live together. Yet, Vlahos argues, this is what religion is really about.

All religions deal with what is unknowable in life: God and death. But religions are above all living faiths. The word is from the Latin religare—to bind together—and this is what religion is for: To frame how we belong to each other, what is meaningful in life, and how together we should cherish each other. The power of religion is the power of sacred identity. The nation frames immortality in belonging, because the nation itself is eternal.

Vlahos contends that America is sacred for many of its citizens. Sacred objects, housed in America’s imperishable reliquaries, can move a citizen to tears: the Holiest of Holies, the Declaration of Independence; or the unconquerable battle flag that flew through the night at Fort McHenry. Similarly, America’s sacred kings are elected. Those who rise to such station must be able—so Americans tell themselves—to represent the whole nation, incarnate, in their very person.

Counterterrorism, American Exceptionalism, and Retributive Justice
Michael Vlahos, Johns Hopkins University

This Chapter traces the antecedents of American civil religion and examines how “terrorism” increasingly has been construed as an existential threat to American civil-religious identity. Vlahos argues that counterterrorism policy—and the steely mindset that legitimizes it—represents a new and troubling brand of “exceptionalism.” It has become an agency of retributive justice, to be righteously visited on the dark and alien other.

For Vlahos, Americanism is a faith as demanding as any world religion. However, our society is too close to its own belief system to be able to see how it operates as religion. Our public invocations of American exceptionalism are the equals of medieval enunciations of Papal infallibility—and ours a true faith unbowed after more than two centuries.

Yet this faith has a growing dark side. Since 2001, America’s “long war” has reified a highly-militarized incarnation of its cherished exceptionalism. The national mission is no longer—as it was in World War II—committed to the redemption of humanity brought down by evil, but rather steeled now to the singular protection of an embattled American “homeland” under siege and facing perpetual existential threat.

There has been a radical shift from an uplifting paradigm of redeeming/transforming communities of terrorist sympathy into communities of freedom-loving democrats—toward a dark paradigm where purging terrorists means continually flaying “the sea in which they swim” as the poisonous source of threat to the pure American body.

The Symbolic Dimensions of Torture in the War on Terror
Bradley Young, The New School for Social Research

Young observes that while global scale dangers threaten the individual, they also call into question the legitimacy of the state—that has been entrusted to protect its citizens, yet finds itself incapable of doing so. Contemporary debate surrounding torture has centered on efficacy, morality or legality. This Chapter seeks to explore the symbolic meaning of torturing detained suspects.

Despite the 1984 Convention Against Torture and the lack of any studies or empirical evidence to support its efficacy—torture continues to be used throughout the world. Torture must “work” in some sense. Young argues that torture’s effectiveness is drawn from its symbolic power.

Even though a single act of terrorism does not undermine a nation’s sovereign rule, it sends the message that this rule is invalid; is vulnerable and open to possible destruction. Acts of terror constitute a symbolic threat. While global terrorism may not pose an actual threat to the existence of the United States, it nevertheless can be interpreted by political leaders as if it did pose such a threat—because acts of terror question the nation’s claims to power.

This article explores how torture feeds, condenses and displaces public fears about security. Torture represents a displacement and condensation of external threats onto the detained and dominated terrorist enemy. Torture conveys the idea that the enemy must be evil if torture is required. The torturer has no responsibility except maintaining total dominance for extraction of a hidden truth.