Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Mass Hysteria of Convenient Targets

Mankind has a certain way of finding scapegoats, a method which seems to assign blame for causes on a scale inversely proportional with the ability of the scapegoat to defend itself against the charge.

Why do we insist on assigning guilt for all troubles great and small to the bogeyman of the day? While Satan, demons, pixies, elves, gremlins, and other such creatures have often received more blame than is their due, there can be little doubt that they are involved in some of our many troubles. But we don't stop there; we take actual things and people we see in the world and assign other-worldly power to them.

  • Witches
    From as early as we can tell, witches enjoyed a special reputation for casting ruinous spells and unprovoked magicks on their hapless neighbors.

    These witches were so powerful as to control the climate, the economy, disease or war. That they chose in their omnipotence to live in a hut on the outskirts of some dirty little village ought to have given a thinking peasant reason to pause with his pitchfork. History being so woefully incomplete, we may never know whether the Cotton Mathers of the world gave that consideration.

  • Jews
    Like witches, the Jews represented a convenient target. A small minority, with "odd" ways, the Jews were also quite a bit smarter on average. But beginning with the Black Plague in the 14th century, Jews were blamed for various events which, with the benefit of hindsight, they probably wish they had not brought about.

  • Corporations
    At the turn of the 19th century into the 20th, a populist movement began to vilify the Trusts as controlling all economic activity and exerting undue influence on government. This fell short of attributing weather patterns to corporate greed, but not too far short of it.

  • Drugs
    At about the same time, Prohibition Fever caught hold of Americans, especially activist Christians. Opiates, marijuana, and alcohol were each vilified as ruinous to good living, and banned. This was at about the same time that self-propelled vehicles became common, allowing unprecedented leverage. Prior to this time, what a person drank or smoked was a matter of taste, with social benefits and consequences, but no concern of the government. With modern machinery came modern restrictions on freedom.

    Today the hysteria continues in certain circles, but it must be noted that drug use has not tapered off, despite laws to the contrary.

  • Jews again
    The Nazis incorporated antisemitic hysteria into their governing philosophy.

  • Commies
    In the United States at the height of the Cold War, the Red Menace was thought capable of any evil imaginable, and so communists were held responsible for even the evil they didn't do.

  • Jews again
    What a surprise it is that the Islamofascists blame the Jews for their troubles. And what a shame that some Western dhimmis agree.

  • Corporations
    Those evil corporations are said to be keeping a lid on 200-mpg cars, electric cars, a cancer cure, an AIDS cure, and the like.

  • Global Warming
    But perhaps the all-time winner in the Mass Hysteria Sweepstakes, or at least giving antisemitism a runner up, is the Global Warming hysteria. Perpetuated by science worship and a willing media, the global warming myth plays on the fallacy that if something happens, there must be a human cause.
So if you start to think the Witches have unleashed the Jews on us with their Evil Corporations peddling Drugs and leading to Global Warming, just relax. It's really George Bush's fault.

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