The Dark-Side Psychology Behind Holiday Madness

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market blog,

“Men (people) are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions.” — Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

The winter holidays are traditionally supposed to embody a certain ideal of that which is best in the hearts of human beings. As the world around us retreats into ice and snow and the Earth’s northern cycle returns to death once again, the holidays represent a time of contemplation, as well as an opportunity to shine a light in an otherwise dark and dreary period. This heritage is as old as history, dating back to an era in which agriculture was paramount and men garnered far more respect for the tides of nature. The parallel relationship between social “renewal” and seasonal renewal has served the collective psyche of Western society, in my view, for the better. Unfortunately, this process has all but vanished today, twisted and mutilated into something sinister and poisonous.

Those of us who pay attention are well aware of a trend of cultural decline within our nation, and this problem is disturbingly visible from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It’s not just the highly publicized Black Friday (now Black Thursday) riots over semi-cheap Chinese-made garbage. Those are certainly vile examples:




Rather, it’s the behavior of people throughout the season on a daily basis that is most disconcerting. I have personally witnessed, as I’m sure many people have, a magnified and astonishing disregard for conscience and basic decency growing worse each year for at least the past decade. That which is most unsettling about our society today is somehow unleashed with wild abandon every year at this time.

The idiocy and barbarism seems to span all economic “classes” — from the upper-middle-class snob screaming at bewildered cashiers over a coupon worth 50 cents, to the middle-class suburbanites brawling on the sticky floors of Wal-Mart over flat-screen TVs, to the part-time employee who sold her soul for minimum wage and who now yells at people on Thanksgiving eve to stop filming the mindless brawls that her corporate masters encourage because such videos might “reflect badly” on the company image. The dark side truly knows no social or financial bounds.

Every year, we see this behavior, shake our heads in dismay and look forward to the beginning of January, when Americans go back to being only moderately disdainful toward each other. This time, however, instead of merely gawking in disbelief at the circus sideshow, I would like to challenge people to explore more deeply the true motivations of the mob itself, as well as the motivations of the elitists who manipulate the mob for their own purposes. Let’s take a look at the fundamental dynamics of the psychology of mobs and the madness of crowds.

Filling The Emptiness

In my recent article 'You Should Feel Sorry For Sheeple; Here’s Why', I outline the inner life, or rather the lack of inner life, common to the average sheeple. Many of my compatriots find it increasingly difficult to muster any pity for the sheeple subculture, and I can see why. When given ample opportunity, sheeple always sink toward the worst humanity has to offer usually in an effort to aggrandize themselves.

But let’s set aside that sick feeling in our stomachs when thinking of sheeple and really consider what their existence is like. What does a sheeple’s daily life consist of?

In most cases I've observed, he lives what he believes to be the American dream. He wakes up in the morning swelling with superficial concerns of personal gain, scheming ways in which he can raise his perceived stature among the other sheeple around him. He then travels to his place of employment, usually a job he hates, in order to accumulate enough wealth (scraps from the plates of government and corporate financiers) to buy all the “things” he assumes everyone else wants. In the process, he pawns off his children to state-run schools designed to crush their spirits; and he becomes estranged from his spouse, who begins to forget why they ever got married in the first place. He returns home physically and emotionally drained, knowing that he did nothing worthwhile with his time, only to sit apathetically in front of his television for a few hours being bombarded with cancerous marketing propaganda and barely talking with the family he tells himself he works so hard for.

Think about it. Think of the pitch-black void that his life has become. Think of all the abandoned dreams, all the missed opportunities for experience and joy, all the moments of reflection and self-education that were lost because he was “too busy” trying to elevate himself within the ranks of a heartless collective.

Now, for one frightening moment, imagine this is your life. No sense of legitimate pride or individualism. No understanding of the underlying events that affect your environment or the high-placed people who determine your future. No thoughts outside the mainstream box. No recognition of possible alternative ways to live or how to break free. No hope for tomorrow but the endless drudgery of today’s mediocrity. Think of the unconscious rage you would have brewing inside like a putrid ball of sulfur and magma.

This rage is what sheeple use to fill the emptiness inside themselves once they subconsciously realize that no amount of frivolous consumerism will make them whole. Typically, they are on constant lookout for opportunities to vent their anger at unsuspecting victims in drive-by fashion.

Somehow, the holidays appear to have become a prime period of opportunity during which society opens the door for the dark side to come out and for sheeple to passively or not-so-passively project their failings onto others. For now, we might presume that this behavior is somewhat contained and relegated to particular moments of seasonal insanity, but the consequences of the willfully ignorant strata of American culture could go far beyond what most morally conscious people want to predict.

The Psychopath Next Door

“If thirty years ago anyone had dared to predict that our psychological development was tending towards a revival of the medieval persecutions of the Jews, that Europe would again tremble before the Roman fasces and the tramp of legions, that people would once more give the Roman salute, as two thousand years ago, and that instead of the Christian Cross an archaic swastika would lure onward millions of warriors ready for death — why, that man would have been hooted at as a mystical fool.” — Carl Jung, Archetypes And The Collective Unconscious, 1938

In his book, The Undiscovered Self, one of the fathers of modern psychology, Carl Gustav Jung, discusses the tension-filled relationship between the individual versus the collective and the state. In particular, he studies how individuals become swallowed up in the actions of the collective mob and how this momentum invariably leads to mass atrocities that defy imagination. A point of primary importance in Jung’s work is his discovery that at least 10 percent of any population at any given time is made up of individuals with latent psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies. Meaning, at least one out of every 10 random people around you today was born with the capacity for psychopathic behavior, including the ability to completely ignore inherent conscience.

The idea that one out of every 10 people near you might suddenly burst into an overwhelming animalistic blood fever is, of course, terrifying to many people. But generally, latent psychopathy in a person does not surface in immediately recognizable ways; and many people with that potential live their entire lives without ever acting on it. Some even come to terms with it through self-awareness and dispel it altogether. Problems arise, though, as Jung warned, when a society creates an environment in which emotionally or physically violent psychopathic acts become “acceptable” to the collective. That is to say, individual latent psychopaths and sociopaths are not so much a danger on their own; but when they get together in an organization or mob, the terrible floodgates open.

During national crisis, or during great ideological shifts towards collectivism, the 10 percent are given ample opportunity to act out their inner impulses. The corrupt state will often give latent psychopaths free reign or seek them out for positions of petty authority, leaving the gates to hell ajar, as it were.

Another dangerous reality is that these same people tend to pursue positions of authority, or they unconsciously gravitate toward events and situations that allow them to act on their darker side without facing consequences. One might even suggest that there will always be a potential for despotic regimes exactly because the 10 percent will likely always be around to be used as a weapon by dictatorships.

The mass rage and self-absorption we witness during the holidays feels ominous to us because it is just a glimpse of the greater shadow side of the American public. It is a glimpse of the kind of mentality that makes all human catastrophe possible. Like the tip of a shark fin cutting the surface of the water, we swim fearing not the dorsal, but the monster we KNOW it is connected to.

The Magicians Of Manufactured Consent

Jung, once a favorite of Sigmund Freud’s, broke sharply with Freud’s analytical school when he realized Freud would not accept the idea of inherent psychological properties beyond base instincts. Freud believed that conscience, morality, artistic ability, reason, etc. were all extensions of environment and experience. Freud’s theories on psychology focused on the idea that man was driven by base animal urges at his core, that people have no complex inborn contents and that all one needed to do was manipulate his environment to make himself “healthy.” Jung’s studies proved otherwise, finding that there are vast layers of inborn knowledge and personality in every individual.

It was not until Freud was near death that he admitted the merit of Jung’s work. Jung was shunned by the mainstream and labeled everything from a “charlatan” to an “anti-Semite” because of his opposition to the Freudian method.

Some industrious elites did find Freud’s notions of environmental manipulation useful, though, including his nephew, Edward Bernays, who saw it not as a way to make people healthy, but rather, to make them unhealthy. Bernays wrote extensively on the use of propaganda to control what he called “herd instinct,” believing (as most elitists believe) that self-governance of common people was “dangerous” and that the irrational public had to be controlled for their own good and the good of the nation. His entire philosophy is summed up in this quote:

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. … We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. … In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."

Bernays was instrumental in promoting Freudian psychology in the United States, where it became the mainstay of universities across the country. He helped establish the Tavistock Institute, a globalist think-tank much like the Council On Foreign Relations, focused on molding public opinion. He was also instrumental in promoting psychological propaganda models in everyday corporate marketing and political campaigns. He called this “engineering consent.”

It was Bernays who taught the marketing world how to appeal to the basest instincts of human beings and to use those instinctual desires to covertly control them. Corporations used Bernays’ strategies to create an atmosphere of decadent consumption in America that has lasted since the end of World War II. The idea was simple: Convince the public that buying corporate products will satisfy their animal urges. All commercialism to this day revolves around this method (which is why almost every beer commercial for several decades has included scantily clad women or sexual innuendo, for example).

But Bernays was not only teaching corporations how to tap into existing human impulses, he was also teaching corporations and governments how to use psychological trickery to manipulate the citizenry to RELY on their basest impulses. Essentially, Bernays taught the establishment how to convince people, or shame people, into ignoring their greater selves and indulging their psychopathic and sociopathic urges. Bernays taught the establishment how to turn people into zombies.

We see the clear results today all around us as we enter into the absurdity that Christmas has become. The ramifications are dire. The holidays have come to represent not hope, but despair; not reflection, but callowness; not compassion, but narcissism and selfishness. They have become a yearly measure of our Nation’s sharp fall into something more or less horrific, something ironically inhuman.

The only solution is to strive with everything we have to remind others, and ourselves, that we are more than the sum of our darker instincts. That we have been living in the midst of a carefully crafted lie meant to make us impotent and non-threatening to the establishment. That there are greater and more meaningful contents at our core, and these elements of our being can only be satisfied by one thing: the truth.

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LetThemEatRand's picture

Everyone from politiicans to multi-national corporations to Drudge employ Bernays' techniques every day today.   Go for the heart (the "lizard brain" more accurately), not the head (the conscious mind).   Drudge today had a story about windmills killing bald eagles.   I read the comments and a bunch of people who hate environmentalists were cheering for the end of windmills, even as they slammed environmentalists.  Perfect example of Bernays in action.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Cue the slow motion eagles vs. the slow motion windmills.

LetThemEatRand's picture

It's primarily the slow motion eagles that were being killed.  Poor guys didn't have a chance against the fast moving socialist anti-big-oil windmill*.  The most patriotic eagles were the first to die.  And the ones reading Bibles and wrapped in the flag were true windmill fodder.

*windmill brought to you by GE.  Bringing good things to life (except bald eagles).

mofreedom's picture

Somebody wanted the turkey as the national symbol cause it wasn't a predator/scavenger like the eagle.

I would have gladly accepted the turkey, but can understand the mighty eagle!!!

LetThemEatRand's picture

"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.


"With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country...


"I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

-B Franklin. 1784

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Nowadays perhaps the ostrich would be more appropriate.

Anusocracy's picture

Why do you want a national anything? It just reinforces the concept of the collective over the individual.

Ingroup vs. the not in the ingroup (outgroup).

LetThemEatRand's picture

Because We stand for something other than ourselves.  With freedom comes sacrifice.  And that includes some sacrifice of your selfish desire to be an island onto yourself because history teaches there is no such thing and we're strong when we stand together.  That's why.  You wouldn't understand, Anus.

TBT or not TBT's picture

I'll sacrifice a buck o five. Will you?

grunion's picture

I strongly oppose the uncivilized character evident in your post. Is this an example of standing together or are you just unwilling to sacrifice your objectionable manner? You are not alone, the "Me Generation" could take lessons from the current crop of entitleists (made up word). Sacrifice as a part of the "Good works" being a component of a well adjusted human and a Christian mandate rarely occurs in our society.

Try helping someone without their knowledge or does your 21st century ego demand you take the accolades you deem sufficient in compensation for your good works or do you require cash.

You talk some of the talk but you're true intentions are not clear (Not at all unlike Soetero). Based on what I have read of your posts, it is highly doubtful you can walk the walk.

And yes, I have, I do and will continue because I believe we can save our beloved nation as set out in the Constitution of the United States even without your peculiar notions and counter-productive ideals.

Anusocracy's picture

You actually believe the shit you post?

I prefer to voluntarily interact with others. Idiots like you, who love to force their will on others, are practicing slavery. Of course, you wouldn't understand, you're a high-function ant.

The Anus thing was very clever - for a third-grader.

Element's picture

We've got a few surplus emus and a spray can.

mofreedom's picture

Thanks for doing the heavy lifting around here.

Good to see those words again.

No Turkey?

LetThemEatRand's picture

"No Turkey?"

I'm full of stuffing (or something else that starts with an s) if that helps.  Thanks man.

mofreedom's picture

Thank me very much for loving Ann Rand...and I'll buy you a turkey.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Ayn wouldn't let me pry her turkey out of her cold, dead claws.

BigSpruce's picture

Turkeys are certainly not predators but scavengers - that they are. I have worked in the woods of Northern New England all of my life and can testify they will eat anything that will give them sustenance. As an example: A few years back there was a moose walking through a dense hardwood stand at the end of winter. This poor critter was ravaged by winter ticks and being late in the winter season the ticks were engorged with the blood of the moose  and dropping off in droves . Following behind this poor sick moose was a gigantic flock of wild turkeys who were gobbling up these bloated ticks as fast as they dropped off.


But that aside I would rather be surrounded by a flock of tick eating wild turkeys than a mob of selfish wal-martians at Christmas time.   

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

A few years ago I was riding my horse in the local mountains and happened to meet a ranger patrolling the area. I mentioned I was surprized to have seen a lot of wild turkeys. I had been riding those mountains for years and hadn't seen one. He flew into a rage that " some idiot " had released them a few years back and they were now utterly destroying the environment. They were rats with wings and had to be destroyed. He was petitioning the government to organize a turkey shoot to rid of them once and for all.

I told him I have a friend who hunts them regularly and told me each bird he's shot was absolutely stuffed with ticks. The ranger reflected for a bit and admitted to me in the last few years there hadn't been a case of Lyme reported in the area. He didn't talk about the matter after that.


boogerbently's picture


Yeah, that's like all the posters here bemoaning the decline of our culture AND knocking Christians/The Bible.

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

The dark side? I never saw the good side...

mofreedom's picture

Why can't they call it the dark side of Christmas?  Even in demeaning it they can't call it by it's proper name:  Christmas.

Jews don't get dark in thier season, because they have all the money and I wish them well for it and am not jealous, one tiny bit, in fact I aspire for my kids to be that rich some day.

God Bless Christmas and God protect those that partake in it.

JR's picture

Thanks, mo. This time of year was America’s most important holiday. And the reason for its existence was to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ.

But that has been too much for the corporate shopkeepers and the opponents of Christianity, namely, the Jews. To change the meaning of this holiday two movements have been undertaken:

One of them is an incredible emphasis on commercialism with the magic of Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus and Rudolph and Mickey Mouse.

And the second movement is the incredible rise of a minor Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, put in place to run the full distance from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, providing the left and the atheists a tremendous politically correct alternative to the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world.

As a consequence, any shopkeeper who dares mention the word Christmas is his advertising is attacked. Instead, the PC word is “holidays.” In our town, a large western city, the word Christmas does not appear in any shop window or on any tree or on any decorations because it would be an affront to those people who would be personally “offended.”

Few American non-Jews over forty even remember hearing about the Hanukkah holiday as they were growing up because only recently has this minor holiday expanded as the major Christmas season alternative, this year encompassing Thanksgiving as well. Only until recently has it even appeared in Webster’s Dictionary.

Writes Diane Ashton, author of the book Hanukkah in America: A History (The Goldstein-Goran Series in American Jewish History) :

“Providing an attractive alternative to the Christian dominated December, rabbis and lay people alike have addressed contemporary hopes by fashioning an authentically Jewish festival that blossomed in their American world.”

Continues Ashton: “American Jews have been transforming the ancient holiday of Hanukkah from a simple occasion into something grand. Each year, as they retell its story and enact its customs, they bring their ever-changing perspectives and desires to its celebration.”

Says Aston: “The ways in which Hanukkah was reshaped by American Jews reveals the changing goals and values that emerged among different contingents each December as they confronted the reality of living as a religious minority in the United States.

“Bringing together clergy and laity, artists and businessmen, teachers, parents, and children, Hanukkah has been a dynamic force for both stability and change in American Jewish life.

“The holiday’s distinctive transformation from a minor festival to a major occasion that looms large in the American Jewish psyche is a marker of American Jewish life. Drawing on a varied archive of songs, plays, liturgy, sermons, and a range of illustrative material, as well as developing portraits of various communities, congregations, and rabbis, Hanukkah in America reveals how an almost forgotten festival became the most visible of American Jewish holidays.” …

forwardho's picture

Have a Ramahanaquansmas!

Sparkey's picture

God bless you, and Christmas too, MOfreedom, WE should all aspire to be rich, Pastor says; God loves everybody, but he loves the rich most that is why they have all the money!

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Oooh, how deliciously Calvanistic of you! That really takes me back to attending Presbyterian College and having all those frothy debates on predestination. It was such fun until they asked me to leave citing my unsuitability as a student.


Chuck Walla's picture

10% of 3 million vs 10% of 300 million . I need to check my ammo and passport.

He was a Bernays believer.

knukles's picture

Everyday each of us elects a choice between the spiritual and temporal sides.  We as a species, are losing the war.

kaiserhoff's picture

Is it too late for us to join the dolphins?  They never seem to have a bad day.

knukles's picture

Best I can do is Mrs K is getting my Big Book and 12X12 rebound.
Now that's a present!

NoDebt's picture

.... And that's how you win.  You fix your side of the street.  Leave the other side to the other guy.

Congratulations on your recovery.  It's a rare gift.  I've heard the "real" recovery rate is way down in the single digits, depending how your measure it.

knukles's picture

Many thanks to all of you ......

IridiumRebel's picture

Knuks? You're in "the cult" too? I believe that ALunatic calls it that. I always thought that was funny. I ever go into one of the rooms and everyone has the same haircut and I am no allowed to leave the commune I'll call it a cult.

AlaricBalth's picture

+1 knuks

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation...

Thoreau, Walden (1st Chapter, Economy)

I know its been awhile for many of us, but Walden is worth reading again.

Yen Cross's picture

 I went shopping In downtown "Coastal City" no names and it was < Effin Empty> Chinese Ghost City <errie> Empty!  @ 11:40 a.m. Cali time.

   I purchased a roll of silver eagles though. The coin shop had front row parking!  Got out the door under 1500$.

knukles's picture

The shopping about my unnamed coastal CA location has been sparse, as well.  Few people and those are not packaged burdened in the slightest.

And here we are in the land of hedonistic self, California (I put that in for the rest of the people to say "Yeah, those fuckers, may they die eating pine needles like Yule Gibbons")

Yen Cross's picture

     It's eerily quiet Knuks. Personally I love Pinion Pine nuts sprinkled on my spinach or spring salad with tangerine wedges and walnuts. A nice summer vinaigrette to top it off.

I'm wine /port sort , with waffled facaccia and a hard Italian cheese of your choice, dipped in an extra virgin artichoke marinara sauce.  Mrs.Knucks will love these recipes for snack time

   Ask her to make carnitas for the holidays. I'm going to do it for my family this year. (extra crispy)

kaiserhoff's picture

 Freud’s theories on psychology focused on the idea that man was driven by base animal urges at his core, that people have no complex inborn contents and that all one needed to do was manipulate his environment to make himself “healthy.” Jung’s studies proved otherwise, finding that there are vast layers of inborn knowledge and personality in every individual.

Plenty of truth in both sides.  It you want to understand how all higher animals living in groups organize, Read Ardrey's Territorial Imperative.  Pissed on by left and right, but probably the most important book of the twentieth century.


Anusocracy's picture

Animals, and most people, only have a concept of my property and our property. They are survival adaptations of individuals and groups in the zero-sum game of nature.

The concept of other people's property is a survival adaptation of the positive-sum economics of mankind. It encourages economic growth, lack of it retards growth.

To possess that which you produce is a far greater incentive than the act of someone stealing it.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Neither of them practiced science in the Karl Popper sense. The nature of their knowledge was laughably speculative.

runningman18's picture

Not at all.  Both of them used exaustive studies to support their theories.  Read some of their books.  Jung was a meticulous scientist in many respects.

akak's picture

The problem with the large majority who are ignorant and/or intellectually limited, is that they are too ignorant and/or intellectually limited to realize that they are ignorant and/or intellectually limited.  What is the solution to this conundrum?

LetThemEatRand's picture

As Bernanys said, the key to propaganda on a societal level is to have information filtered through a few central sources.  The unseen men who guide the thought of the population.   The internet -- if it is allowed to exist for a while longer -- may be the equalizer.  When people are told they are being sold a bill of goods and an explanation is offered regarding how it is done, they start to get it (takes a while, but eventually).  It's a tired cliche, but it's hard to accept that you live in the Matrix until someone shows it to you.

mofreedom's picture

That's Bernays!!! no I get your point, why do you think I smoke (power over fire) and only use disposable cups, plates, bowls and ware (germs?)?

But I would not call him a nanny, thought he worked for sissy, pussy, nannies.


Anusocracy's picture

"When people are told they are being sold a bill of goods"

You mean like with the no-threshold model of radiation, brought to you by government. and based in falsehood.

No Safe Level of Radiation Exposure? Researcher Points to Suppression of Evidence On Radiation Effects by Nobel Laureate

Sep. 20, 2011 — University of Massachusetts Amherst environmental toxicologist Edward Calabrese, whose career research shows that low doses of some chemicals and radiation are benign or even helpful, says he has uncovered evidence that one of the fathers of radiation genetics, Nobel Prize winner Hermann Muller, knowingly lied when he claimed in 1946 that there is no safe level of radiation exposure.

Calabrese's interpretation of this history is supported by letters and other materials he has retrieved, many from formerly classified files. He published key excerpts this month in Archives of Toxicology and Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis.

Muller was awarded the 1946 Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery that X-rays induce genetic mutations. This helped him call attention to his long-time concern over the dangers of atomic testing. Muller's intentions were good, Calabrese points out, but his decision not to mention key scientific evidence against his position has had a far-reaching impact on our approach to regulating radiation and chemical exposure.

Calabrese uncovered correspondence from November 1946 between Muller and Curt Stern at the University of Rochester about a major experiment that had recently evaluated fruit fly germ cell mutations in Stern's laboratory. It failed to support the linear dose-response model at low exposure levels, but in Muller's speech in Oslo a few weeks later he insisted there was "no escape from the conclusion that there is no threshold." To Calabrese, this amounts to deliberate concealment and he says Stern raised no objection.

Calabrese adds, "This isn't an academic debate, it's really practical, because all of our rules about chemical and low-level radiation are based on the premises that Muller and the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) committee adopted at that time. Now, after all these years, it's very hard when people have been frightened to death by this dogma to persuade them that we don't need to be scared by certain low-dose exposures."

Within a year after Muller and his group persuaded the NAS to accept the linear model for gonadal mutations, the practice was extrapolated to somatic cells and cancer. Twenty years later, NAS adopted the linear approach for chemicals. Soon thereafter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it would use the linear model for risk assessment, Calabrese points out.

Some can accept that even the most distinguished scientists have human failings, he acknowledges. But his view is that "the regulatory research community needs to hear about this. The implications of my findings are that we should revisit our exposure regulations because our regulatory history is founded on a deception. We have seen literally hundreds of thousands of cleanup decisions based on a model that was fraudulently derived. I think we should probably have drastically different exposure standards today, and far less fear."

Calabrese believes, "The die was cast by Muller and regulations adopted since then have gone unchallenged. I think he got his beliefs and his science confused, and he couldn't admit that the science was unresolved. So he went ahead and expressed an opinion about how to handle the public health situation."

Geneticists in the 1950s came to embrace the "linear dose-response model" of risk because at the high exposures they tested, there was no level below which DNA damage did not occur. They felt medical doctors didn't grasp how significant were the dangers. As the smartest and brightest, Muller anticipated the risk of atmospheric atomic testing and became passionately committed to protecting society, Calabrese explains.

Muller and Curt Stern had done many of the key experiments. Muller himself served on the NAS's Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation (BEAR) committee, through which the linear dose-response approach to risk assessment became firmly entrenched. The two successfully suppressed last-minute evidence from the fruit fly experiment conducted in Stern's lab by postdoctoral researcher Ernst Caspari, and the rest is history, Calabrese says. It marked the "transformation of a threshold-guided risk assessment to one now centered on a linear dose-response."

"To me this all raises the question, what happens when a scientific field lies to the public, to federal agencies and the president? It's a very scary situation that the radiation genetics community in the 1950s assumed that something was correct without requiring the necessary documentation to support it," the UMass Amherst toxicologist says.

Stern's group published a paper in 1947 not long after Muller's Nobel Prize acceptance speech in which they tried to discredit their own study, further evidence of a deliberate cover-up, Calabrese says. "It's been hidden in the bowels of the Atomic Energy Commission for decades until I found it. They revised it to remove the one sentence suggesting this experiment might provide evidence for the threshold model."

"One could argue that Muller single-handedly undermined above-ground atomic testing, which is a good thing," Calabrese says. "But after uncovering this lie, I'm starting to contemplate what society would have looked like if the regulatory community had felt free to use a threshold model. Members of that 1956 NAS BEAR committee didn't see the domino effect of their actions on our society. Muller's impact on the world of today is almost incalculable. He couldn't have imagined it. But we shouldn't have to live with it."no escape from the conclusion that there is no threshold.

LetThemEatRand's picture

You do realize that this bullshit was propogated by wealthy individuals who hate a collective check and balance on their power, right?  Or do you think these guys will go away quietly when we abdicate power to them?  You are a coward and house nig.