What have they got in common?
Had I asked the same question but used Henry VIII, Winnie the Pooh and Attila the Hun you would have known the answer immediately wouldn't you, but it would have been a different answer. The King, the bear and the, well, hard geezer, all shared the same middle name.
As for Messrs Christ, Orwell, Skywalker and Rajapaksa the answer may be slightly less obvious. If I added George W Bush and Hillary Clinton into the picture you'd probably get warmer.
Yes, they've all taken the "If you're not with us you're against us" approach. Something I've been thinking on with some effort recently. As the Lankanosphere is wild and crazy with political and conflict related posts these days I'm sure many of us have found our minds wandering into unfamiliar territory.
One of my main mindfucks recently has been this "if you're not with us you're against us" (IYNWUYAU) mindset and how brilliant it is on one hand, how dictatorial and crushing it is on the other.
I did the wikipedia thing and was quite surprised to see a rather long entry about the concept.
It tells us that
"The phrase "you're either with us, or against us" is commonly used to polarize situations and force an audience to either become allies or to accept the consequences as being deemed an enemy."
as well as some quite interesting but useless information about other people throughout history using the phrase, from Mussolini to Clinton in real life and from Clint Eastwood in a Dirty Harry film to Gaston in Beauty and the Beast in fictitious life. Sorry Dinidu, Beauty and the Beast wasn't real. Father Christmas is though.
Isn't it a great tactic to pull out of your hard hat when you need to garner public support?
When the going gets tough some bloke decides to play the (IYNWUYAU) card and the atmosphere changes in a flash. I wonder if there can be an acronym for an acronym or am I just getting more lazy? Even that IYNWUYAU seems like a lot of effort.
But in that flash, people who are already a supporter of Clint, Jesus or whoever it is at the time, become even more ardent followers than they were before. The real beauty is that their passions and feelings of loyalty multiply too, as they realise that it's an all or nothing situation.
Others who dare to criticise are the enemy, not so much because that's what happens in "normal" life, more because that's what Clint has decreed. In "normal" life people are allowed to question and criticise, to challenge and argue, without being classed as traitors or the enemy. And all of this means that the unit of people who are "with us" becomes strong, bonded and united, with a passionate hatred towards the doubters.
Frankly, if I was Clint Eastwood and I needed to get people onside in a hurry, I'd seriously consider using the method. I guess many would consider it a last gasp attempt to gain support, but sometimes even Dirty Harry needs to do these things.
It does polarise people and opinions though. It gives no room for the doubters and the cynics. And this in turn makes for a rather dictatorial approach, though only Clint's inner circle might actually know who he argues with within the circle itself.
Anyone who is seen to disagree with Clint is branded as the enemy. Even if a fellow were to agree in a broader sense with his ideas and methods, as soon as he murmurs even the slightest bit of discontent about a specific thing, maybe the way Clint spoke to someone or the way he dealt with a dissenter, then that person becomes the hated foe.
So not only does the loyalty of the supporters grow and increase like the spread of swine flu at a Mexican Pig breeding farm in the grounds of a hospital, but there's also little or no outlet for people to think creatively and to come up with ideas other than those that are already in use, for fear of the consequences. Only the very brave or the incredibly stupid dare to speak out about Emperor Clint and his nakedness.
Some people would say that the IYNWUYAU approach is genius, creating an almost unstoppable force. Others would say that it's dangerous, for its very nature dictates that the only voices heard are those that are already being listened to.
I say it's a card that can only be played once, that must be used with impeccable timing and very careful consideration. It can help win a war and cripple a nation or it can help win a war and unite a nation.
What say you?