Thursday, October 5, 2017

Even murderers need a pretext. First invent the crime, then perpetrate the violence...

For some people - perhaps most in particular times and places - it is more important psychologically to belong than to tell the truth. This is one of the reasons people create and happily disseminate conspiracy theories that do not have a shred of verifiable evidence to support them. They get to belong to an insiders club who have "secret " knowledge that must be shared with the ignorant and hoodwinked. Most of these paranoid stories are a mixture of pure fiction mixed with a few cherry picked half truths for artistry's sake, to please the outright liars and provide feathering for the gullible and predisposed.

The basic stance is to attribute near omnipotent powers to a fictional "they" - Jews, Rothschilds, Bankers, 'Burgerbuilders', Zionists, George Soros - and to attribute - indeed to find -  sinister motives of control, power or profit to these actors, thus 'reexplaining' events which have either commonly accepted and prosaic explanations, or which like many things in life, have a complex array of causes, or are seemingly random and arbitrary, or whose causes - if any - are simply unknown. 
(Often the truth is we just don't know - we don't know why something happened, or didn't happen, or why things are the way they seem to be...but its not easy to sit with "I don't know.")

Attack is the best defence; how conspiracy theorists avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of their everyday actions and inactions, habits and addictions.

You can be a wife beater, a drunkard, a pedophile, a fraudster, unreliable and hence unemployable, an animal abuser, a liar and thief, numbed out, shut down, disconnected, lacking in initiative, overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness, but hitch yourself  to a conspiracy theory and suddenly no introspection is required, no ownership of the mess you have created or the pain you have buried is necessary: it's all someone else's fault. In Jungian terms your own shadow has been projected onto a fictitious other you have summoned into existence. "If the Jew did not exist" wrote Satre 60 years ago, "the anti-semite would create him." 

When you meet someone who is determined to make you wrong, no matter what, because of a psychological need of theirs, who is determined to find in the most innocent or prosaic of behaviours dark and devious purposes, no amount of goodwill, explaining, proving, open hearted sharing and transparency will shift this impulse to hold you as "wrong' and "bad"

These accusatory tales - whether backed by a state or political movement or faith group or simply created by individuals for financial gain, as in the case of Icke - always locate their originators and disseminators in a place beyond reproof: The inquisitors, the judge and jurists in Salem, the lynch mobs in the deep South, the settlers in Tasmania who hunted Aboriginals, Churches' and nazis blood libel agains Jews, The Tsarist secret police's protocols of the elders of Zion, the Stalinist - Maoist purges, the Hutus hate propoganda that preceded the slaying of 800 000 Tutsis, some elements in the Islamic world's fanciful attribution of 9/11, ISIS, Sunni - Shia secterian bloodletting  - those who point the finger and kill by word, and often later by deed - grant themselves and anyone who colludes with them moral immunity and an implied, and completely unearned "righteousness".

This dynamic is often at work in every kind of exclusionary and persecutory prejudice. Its a particularly pernicious form of stealing self esteem and the ego's self justification.