Tag Archives: Adam Hochschild

Deception 101: Pulling off a massive fraud

Want to pull off a grand deception of mass proportions and in so doing rule a people? Look no further than King Leopold II and his colonizing efforts in the Congo. He was able to destroy a country while all the time convince others that he only wished to be father protector for the country.

Yes, it helps to have lots of money to buy opinions outright. However, Leopold didn’t need to spend much money to get the opinions he wanted. Why? Most of us are easily “bought off” by being associated with wealth and fame. It is also good to have an attractive exterior (and by attractive I don’t mean beauty as much as I mean desirable). But money and attraction alone will not be enough. You must consider doing the following:

1.      Find any number of people who will vouch for you. In order to pull off a grand deception you need emissaries who will secure the trust of important gatekeepers. These emissaries tend to be easily persuaded because they have a particular Achilles heel for fame or money. They are fame mongers.

2.      Buy some airtime and print space in order to advance the notion that you may be the most humble person with only the most philanthropic intentions for the place or the people you want to control. Be sure to focus on existing evils that you wish to bring to an end by your tireless sacrifices.

3.      Convene think tanks of those with expertise or interests in the area—those who might want to get in on the action be also those who really do want to address the evils (see #2) you say you want to stop. It is essential that these folks have solid ability to strategize and make decisions. Further, they should be quite assured that they are the most gifted individuals who can solve pesky problems. Flattery helps!

4.      By all means, do not tell these individuals your true intentions. Instead,

5.      Get these very energetic folks to start making decisions about how to care for the poor saps who haven’t enough wits to help themselves. They needn’t have any significant expertise in the area. Just give them some maps and let them start deciding what resources they think are needed, who should be in charge, who should do the work, and how to best do all of this without getting the rest of the world needlessly involved or suspicious—you know, to avoid red tape that will only slow down altruistic efforts.

6.      Make sure the think tanks recognize your great desire to do good and get them to vote you to head the efforts. You need to have power, remember. But don’t look too eager…agree to let someone else lead the newly formed committee next year. And send them home with gifts and ready to spread your good name to all who will listen.

7.      Be sure to give none of them any real power. When you convene the group next time, only invite those most loyal to you. Of course you’ll keep leading the group.

8.      Questions will arise from those not involved. Be very perceptive. What is their concern? Tell each person what they want to hear. Say it with passion and clarity. Get them to agree that you are the right person for the job and to say it publicly.

9.      Now that you have your “permissions”, start working two plans. The first plan is some small efforts to fix problems you said you would fix. Do it very publicly. Pay for journalists if you must. The “real” plan must also begin now. Do this quietly and without fanfare…someplace where you will not get much attention. If anyone complains, have ready a very realistic excuse. Admit to some problems but make sure it looks like you had nothing to do with the problem.

And there you have it. You have pulled on your grad deception. If you want to read how King Leopold II did this for real…read chapters 3-5 of Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost. It is an excellent example of deception and using the cover of kindness to get what you want. Even Christian missionary movements sung his praises and gave him money because they bought his story.

Now, most of us have no plans to create a colony but I suspect that we all have moments where we try to look more honorable than we really are. The difference between us and Leopold is the scope of our intention.

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Filed under deception, Democratic Republic of Congo

Can one person do anything about mass rape?

Cover of "King Leopold's Ghost: A Story o...

Cover via Amazon

Ever notice how we can feel quite helpless when we hear about evil on a mass level? We’ve all had times when we’d rather turn away from systemic evil because we can’t stand to look at what we cannot change.

But check out the story of one Edmund Dene Morel as told in King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (by Adam Hochschild, Houghton Mifflin, 1998). Most likely you’ve never heard of him or the mass destruction of 5-8 million Congolese during the reign of Leopold II, Belgian King who “owned” the Congo during the turn of the 20th century.

Instead of my summarizing this story, click the link above and read the story yourself (link goes to Amazon’s search inside, p. 1). You will see that one person who saw the problem of slavery and raping a country and did not turn away. Rather, he made it is work to tell the world and cause Americans and Europeans to rise up and force the government of Belgium to take control of that area away from their king.

Once again, the Congo is facing the destruction of some of its population–the women. The main method is not slavery but rape. The instigators are warring groups, Congolese and outsiders. The goal is to destroy by destroying families, spreading HIV and fear. Many women are raped multiple times.

What will we do?

Consider writing to your congressmen or the president or Sec Clinton to speak out about this problem. Also, you might consider giving to groups that are working in the area to care for these women and/or trying to change culture. Doctors without Borders (MSF), Amnesty International, American Bible Society, and many others are working in the area. And start with talking to your friends about this problem.

Unknown people can do much when we are willing to speak the truth.


Filed under Abuse, church and culture, Democratic Republic of Congo