Ever since the dawn of humanity, some people have sought to exercise control over others. In this excellent piece, blogger Leg-iron explains what has been perhaps the single key technique over the years:
The real fear is fear itself. Not fear of the Thing, but fear of being accused of being the Thing.If you do not join in the witchhunt, and join in enthusiastically, then you may very well be a witch yourself, or at least Soft on Witches.
People will submit to full body scanners because if they refuse, they know the mob will take it as a sign of guilt. They will cheer on minimum alcohol pricing because if they don't then they must support alcoholism. They will worship the Green God because if they don't they will be seen as polar bear killers. Standard witchhunting methodology - the mob will always support the witchfinder because the witchfinder might accuse any who don't. The mob will be keen to report the witch to prove that they are not also witches. The mob is easily controlled by the fear of being accused, not the fear of the witch.
People will submit to all those lunatic controls on flights, some of which make absolutely no sense at all, not because they are scared of terrorists but because they are scared of being suspected themselves. All these controls on smoking, drinking, diet, travelling, what you can say and so on are not there for your benefit. They are to keep you in the mob, to keep you compliant and to keep you too scared to object.Obviously this has strong resonances for the current anti-alcohol crusade, but it goes far wider in society, in fact in every case where the cry goes up “the innocent have nothing to fear” – implying that if you raise any objection, you can’t be entirely innocent yourself.
A prime example is the hysteria over paedophiles, which has led to millions of people needing expensive, time-consuming and probably ineffective background checks, and responsible men avoiding work with children for fear of others questioning their motives.
Interestingly, he says that such crusades eventually fail not because of popular opposition, but because those in authority decide that they have gone too far (as they always do):
The Righteous fail when they go too far. When people in authority start speaking out against them. The Pope stopped the Inquistion. The Church stopped the Witchfinder-General. The common people did nothing because they were under the thrall of 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' until someone they saw as an authority figure spoke out.Let us hope that the day when Sir Liam Donaldson and Don Shenker go the way of Matthew Hopkins and Joe McCarthy is not too far away.
There are signs of this starting now. It could be messy, the Righteous have never had so many projects running at once before. What they'll take down with them, and whether they'll all go at once is anyone's guess but they will fail and I think it'll be soon.