The great British evolutionary biologist, J. B. S. Haldane, famously said that fanaticism is man’s greatest invention. The obsessive, uncritical belief in an idea or cause is the opposite of the sober-minded and rational. The fanatic is intolerant of anything that contradicts his views, while the rational man is willing to update or even abandon his views when presented contradictory information. The fanatic sees only that which confirms his fanaticism and refuses to yield in his opinions.
The fanatic, of course, has been in the middle of every man-made social disaster since the French Revolution. It was fanatics who brought on the Reign of Terror and it was fanatics who brought on The Great Terror. Fanatics let loose by Mao in the Cultural Revolution terrorized the Chinese population. Man’s greatest invention turns out to be man’s most terrible invention. Once it is let loose, it is not easily put back on the leash, at least not until it runs out of things to smash.
This year has seen the fanatic set free to run wild in our streets. They were deliberately agitated and let loose by the petty men of the ruling class, frustrated that the people’s champion had not been vanquished. It’s hard for modern people to understand how the French radicals, for example, could have killed so many in the name of the revolution, but current events make this much easier to comprehend, even if we have not reached the bloodbath stage yet.
The thing is, fanaticism is not a well-defined group of people held in reserve and then deployed when needed. It’s more like a spiritual force that sweeps through a population, afflicting the weak minded and those desperate for a purpose. We see this with the election shenanigans. The desire to be part of the great fight against the bad man and his minions caused hundreds, maybe thousands to follow their fanatical rage and engage in thousands of acts of election fraud.
That is what is coming into focus as various parties look into what happened and whistle blowers step forward. The image that is emerging is of an orgy of corruption where the participants are free of any moral restraint. They were not working from a plan, but a belief that they were on the side of angels and therefore free to use any means necessary to help the cause. They were the righteous engaged in the great war against the wicked, unleashed by the ruling class.
The defenders of Trump will work hard to make it sound like a wide-ranging conspiracy, but that’s just how mass media culture works. Facts and observations cannot be presented as is. They have to be part of a narrative with a well-defined protagonist and an easy to hate villain. In reality, there is no grand conspiracy at work. The people involved in the election rigging are true believers. They believe what they are doing is for a just cause and they cannot see the corruption in it.
Fanatics in numbers are a lot like a flock of birds of a school of fish. They instinctively coordinate their efforts without needing to be told. Like fireflies at dusk, they are constantly signaling one another, which intensifies their fanaticism, making them more sensitive to the movements of the group. The people at the top cheered the fanatics in the streets, excused their behavior and reminded them that the evil Trump must be stopped by any means necessary. They were on a holy mission.
The thing is though, what motivates those unleashing the fanatics on the population also motivates the fanatic. That is a search for purpose. These are people who wish to be part of something bigger than themselves, but they lack the skill and ability to create anything but mayhem. This manifests as the smashing of whatever they see in their way, which can be anything. It is why they eventually turn on one another, because at some point they run out of things to smash.
That’s what makes this such a dangerous time. The petty and stupid people surrounding the corpse of Joe Biden are not going to be satisfied with expelling Trump from Washington. They will want vengeance. Part of that will be swinging wildly in what they perceive to be the opposite direction out of spite. It’s not hard to imagine them unleashing a Camp of the Saints event, for example, by reversing Trump’s immigration rules and inviting the world to their celebration.
It’s not that the people around the Pretender Biden want millions rushing the border in the hope of getting a promised amnesty. They are too stupid and short-sighted to think that far ahead. It’s that they will want the quick rush of smashing those rules and gloating over their work. Like the fanatics cheering the executioner holding up the head of his victim, they will simply be looking for the thrill of seeing their enemies, real and imagined, facing their holy wrath.
What the past tells us about times of terror is the fanatics are never satisfied with the blood of a few enemies of the revolution. The sight of the enemies blood just makes them hungry for more. There may be some in the ruling class sensing that they must first put their fanatics back on the leash, but most of too dull and self-loathing to grasp what they have unleashed. There is a good chance that the summer riots were just a taste of what lies ahead in the woke revolution.
It is tempting to assume that this revolution will eat itself, but that is not the pattern people think they see in the history book. People point to Robespierre as the example, but he seems more like an exception. Stalin’s terror campaign ended when Stalin died of natural causes. The Cultural Revolution ended when Mao died. Pol Pot lived to old age and according to his own words, died with a clear conscience. Perhaps this time will be an exception, but that is never the way to bet.
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