George Orwell, in his book 1984, captured the essence of the last thirty years of Republican political strategy when he wrote, "We shall squeeze you empty then we will fill you with ourselves." Almost from the moment B.F. Skinner posited his idea that operant conditioning was the mechanism of learning, even in humans, some have sought to utilize positive and negative reinforcement to control others behavior for good or ill.
Skinner saw no ethical problems with those he saw as having superior intellect manipulating others behavior, of course for their own good. In his book Walden II he seemed to be saying that those with superior intellect had an obligation to do so. Ayn Rand defined who those entitled to do the manipulating were in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The Republican Party and its cadre of the wealthiest 1%, decided they were the new uber mensch of Skinner and Rand's books.
One of the off shoots of this desire to control others behavior and thinking was research concerned with mind control and ways human behavior could be influenced. Beginning in the 1950's one of the entities very interested in mind control was the CIA. One of the things they were studying under the rubric of MKUltra and its mind control experiments were physical things capable of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time that would enable the manipulation of human behavior. As they would learn and perfect, starting with Chile on September 11, 1973, was that crisis, whether real or artificially created, if it was severe enough, could produce these results. Thus what Melanie Klein called the Shock Doctrine was born.
Fast forward to today and you will find that Republicans, as Milton Friedman Free Market true believers, have also adopted and utilized his belief that crisis , real or artificially created, was the only time change could happen, and that you could utilize the disorientation and confusion in the moment to enact the legislation you wanted before your opponents could respond. Friedman advocated successfully for using this strategy after Hurricane Katrina to privatize almost all of New Orleans public schools turning them into corporate controlled Charter Schools.
It is interesting to note, that despite Friedman's belief that Free Market Capitalism and Freedom could not exist separately of each other, that his economic ideas have only taken hold when governments utilize authoritarian methods such as Pinochet's use of torture and murder after removing Allende from office with the help of the CIA in 1973.
Thus the shock and fear after 9-11 enables the passage of the Patriot Act and the beginning of the great erosion, by both political party's, of our sacred Bill of Rights. Americans can be killed without a jury trial on the presidents say so. NDAA allows for indefinite detention of Americans in violation of Habeas Corpus and the NSA spies on all of us in violation of the 4th Amendment right to privacy. That doesn't even get into how over the last few years the role of the police has changed from protecting and defending communities to protecting and defending the 1%, all through manipulation of the people through a nebulous and ill defined fear of terrorism. All the pieces of a modern police state are assembled for American use.
So here we are at the government shutdown with a the faith and credit of the nation on the chopping block next if we fail to raise the debt ceiling to pay for expenses already appropriated. The Republicans have ALEC waiting in the wings, with over 800 pieces of poisonous and anti-democratic legislation, that under normal circumstances could never be passed, but in the crisis of the impending economic meltdown we are told will happen if we fail to raise the debt ceiling, fear may enable Obama to cave in to the Devil's Grand Bargain.
Crisis all over the world has been utilized in this way ever since MKUltra experiments showed how useful debilitating fear in a crisis can be, to those wishing to use it. How many times has the deficit been demagogued to get us to cut aid to children and the poor all to give tax cuts to the rich to address a deficit the tax cuts created in the first place. I believe former president George W. Bush best described the Republican faith in Democratic principles when he said, dictatorship is so much more efficient.