The Creation Of Enemies

(This essay constitutes chapter 9 of the book, The World's Wasted Wealth 2 by Dr. J.W. Smith of the Institute for Economic Democracy. See other books by Dr. Smith, order information and the IED.)


The creation of enemies to justify wars that erupt from trade wars has a long history Even most so-called religious wars have the control of economies, people, and resources as an underlying cause.1 For instance, consider the thirteen-hundred-year battle between Christians and Muslims. After Emperors Constantine and Theodosius II established Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire during the fourth Century A.D., Christians controlled most of the then-known world. Three centuries later, the Muslim religion was established. In just one hundred years Islam spread to Persia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean Coast of Africa, and most of Spain. They were defeated and tumed back by christian Franks at Toures, France in 732 A.D. Slowly, a small piece of territory at a time, the Muslims were pushed from Spain and, over seven centuries later, in 1492--the year Columbus discovered America--they were pushed back across the Straits of Gibraltar.

While the Chnstians were forcing the Muslims out of Spanish territory, they were losing ground in the East. By the sixteenth century, the Muslims had overwhelmed the eastern half of Christianity; the Byzantine Empire. Over eight hundred years after that Muslim defeat at Toures in the West, the tide began to turn in the East. The Muslims suffered a dramatic defeat at sea in Greece's Bay of Lepanto in 1571, they suffered a horrendous defeat when trying to take Vienna in 1683, and by 1922, the Christians had broken up the Ottoman/Muslim empire. After the collapse of that empire, the British and French, with their military might, gained control and decreed the borders and rulers of the Middle Eastern countries. Christian nations won that war and have controlled those resources ever since. Whereas gentler religions have been overwhelmed by Christi anity and their populations absorbed into--or become tolerant of--the Christian belief system, Islam was an equally violent and socially protective religion and could not be ab sorbed into the Christian belief system. There are just under one billion Muslims in the world--most not having full control of their countries' politics, resources, economies, and foreign policy, and just over one billion Christians who, through financial and military muscle, exercise that economic, political, and military control.

If Christians were to openly acknowledge having won that war, they would be rubbing salt in those wounds. Thus, on the Christian side, the winning of that thirteenhundred-year war is studiously ignored. The pretense of equality, freedom, and sovereignty goes on; but the tinderbox of the Middle East is fueled by the hatred Muslims feel over the control of their resources and destiny by Christians.

The current civil war in Lebanon started when Israel, not wanting another Arab government on their border, invaded to provide the Christians with enough muscle to control the overnment.2 Although the original Muslim and Christian populations of Lebanon were roughly equal, the Muslims had increased to two-thirds. The old Lebanese social contract, under which Christians and Muslims shared elected offices but the real power remained in Christian hands, was crumbling. That attempt to maintain Christian control failed, even as Lebanon's civilian population and their social wealth were devastated.

As the losers of this thirteen-century battle, Muslims still must fight for their identity and the survival of their culture. Thus, angry Muslims characterize Christians by the war cry "infidels". The Crusades are far from over and the heated rhetoric of enmity goes on as each religion battles to maintain control of its believers' minds and gain the support of other societies.


The eradication of the Templars in the Middle Ages is a classic example of the destruction of a group of people through accusations that they are immoral and a threat to the rest of society, when in reality they are only a political threat to those in power. The Knights Templar were industrious and faithful servants of Christianity Their history began in 1119 when nine knights formed an association to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land.* They fought so valiantly that

gifts in abundance flowed in on the Order, large possessions were bestowed on it in all countries of the west.... By the Bull, Omne datum optimum, granted by Pope Alexander III in 1162, the Order of the Templars acquired great importance, and from this time forth, it may be regarded as totally independent, acknowledging no authority but that...of the supreme pontiff.3

The Templars fought many battles for Christianity, and by 1302 they had spread all over Europe and were enormously wealthy and powerful. Much of the land owned by the Templars had been given to their forebears by the grateful ancestors of local aristocracy and by a church whose successors resented and feared the power of this great order. Local bishops and clergy made many complaints to the pope about the Templars' refusal to recognize local religious authority.

When a French pope was consecrated in 1305, King Philip IV of France and other nobles instigated an intrigue against the respected Templars. The French secret service spread vicious rumors and,

On the night of the 13th of October, all the Templars in the French dominions were simultaneously arrested....They were accused of worshipping an idol covered with an old skin, embalmed, having the appearance of a piece of polished oil-cloth. "In this idol," we are assured, "there were two carbuncles for eyes, bright as the brightness of heaven, and it is certain that all hope of the Templars their was placed in it: it was sovereign god, and they trusted in it with all their heart." They are accused of burning the bodies of the deceased brethren, and making the ashes into a powder, which they administered to the younger brethren in their food and drink, to make them hold fast their faith and idolatry; of cooking and roasting infants, and anointing their idols with the fat; of celebrating hidden rites and mysteries, to which the young and tender virgins were introduced, and of a variety of abominations too absurd and horrible to be named.†

Like all inquisition charges, these fabrications could not be defended against and confessions were obtained by torture. King Philip then sent the findings to other European countries. These preposterous accusations were at first rejected, but by 1314 the Templars were totally discredited and destroyed; over two thousand of them confessed under torture and were quartered or burned at the stake. In only eleven years the Templars, who had been perceived for centuries as elite warriors and builders of the Christian world, and commanded enormous resources and respect, were labeled enemies and cast into oblivion. The First and Second Estates had acted together to reclaim their wealth and power.‡

As in a cold war, the essential feature of that short eleven-year effort that destroyed the Templars was the depiction of the targeted people as an enemy. Destroying them was the very purpose of the intrigue. When the war cry against an enemy goes out, loyal citizens identified intellectually or emotionally with the targeted group are usually denied the protection of others in society. Common people are busy surviving and depend on their leaders to guide the ship of state; few will come to the defense of beleaguered and accused people. Even moral people in the higher echelons of power do not stand up to refute the lies; to do so is to risk being swept aside in the hysteria. The fabrications soon become reality to that society; the enemy belief system is then complete.

Normally those targeted are not the enemies of the people. They are the enemies of the powerful leaders of institutions (religions, governments, wealthy classes). The population is easily manipulated into providing protection for the powerful by warnings of threats to the foundations of their society. Of course, the power brokers who warn that an enemy is trying to take over the world neglect to tell, and will always deny, that it is they collectively, who exercise most control in this world. The creation of enemies is one facet of that control.

These statements invite branding as a conspiracy theorist. The error of conspiracy theory is the equation of world control with dictatorial powers, when in reality it is financial, political, and military power--exerted first through diplomacy; second through financial control, third through intrigues and covert actions, and lastly through war that has effective, not dictatorial, control. Two empires that have attained such world control for a long span of time are the Romans (roughly 1,000 years), and the British (roughly 100 years).

Currently, the world is coalescing into one block of capital. This block can be considered as controlling, not ruling, the world. Even when a dispossessed people appear to have won their political freedom, as evidenced with the collapse of Eastem Europe, they still have not won their economic freedom (access to technology, finance capital, and markets).

The current rhetoric of fear, engineered to gain the loyalty of populations for the protection of the powerful (the Cold War), begins much earlier in history than the rise of the Soviet Union as a world power; it goes back to the American and French Revolutions and the declaration of rights for all men.§

The battle to prevent a rekindling of democratic expression has a long history, After the defeat of the Free Cities of Europe, the suppression of rights they had known, and the erasure of those rights from social memory, what little democracy could function did so through secret societies.‡‡ Thus these secret societies were the constant enemies of the power brokers of the First and Second Estates.

The Creation of Enemies continued

* Pictures of crusading knights, each with a large cross emblazoned on his dress, depict Templars or their contemporaries, the Teutonic Knights.

† Charles G. Addison, The Knights Templar (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longman, 1842), pp. 194-203, especially p. 203. The pope certainly did not want to do away with such valuable protection as the Templars. But the Inquisition had already been in force for two hundred years and King Philip simply guided it to do his bidding. The evidence of other heresies was just as implausible and, once attacked as a heresy, the pope could hardly ignore it, he too would be subject to being swept aside (Edward Burman, The Inquisition: Hammer of Heresy [New York: Dorset Press, 1992], pp. 95-99).

‡ Burman, Inquisition, pp. 95-99. Some scholars have concluded that the Templars evolved into the Masonic lodge when they went underground (lohn I. Robinson, Born in Blood [New York: M. Evans & Company, 1989]).
The First Estate was the church, The Second Estate was nobility, and the Third Estate was the common people. These three were represented in the French Estates General. Some scholars refer to the middle and upper classes as the Third Estate and the impoverished classes as the Fourth Estate.

§ In America, those rights originally did not extend to women, minorities, or those without property. The rights gained from the French Revolution were far more extensive but did not survive long enough to enforce, and develop the custom of, those rights (Georges Lefebvre, The Coming of the French Revolution [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967]).
The American and French Revolutions shook the very foundation of the Europe's centuries-old power structure. To protect their power, the First and Second Estates had been suppressing such democratic outbreaks for centuries. Though necessary to understand our history, this political story is too big to include within this economic treatise. It is the subject of my next book. In the meantime, to understand much of that little-addressed history, read Edward Burman's The Inquisition: Hammer of Heresy.

‡‡That suppression of rights and its erasure from social memory was an essential function of the inquisitions. Any who were a threat were easily targeted as an enemy and burned at the stake (Burman, The Inquisition: The Hammer of Heresy).


Dr. J.W. Smith is the founder of the Institute for Economic Democracy.

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