How to Fight Blood Libel

This is a must read, for every one of us. If any of you were bothered by the accusations thrown at the 'right' after the Norway shootings, or the silly Giffords "bullseye" campaign, then do yourself a favor and check out this article from Sultan Knish.
And if you weren't, check it out anyway!

It's a long way from Arizona to Oslo to Tel Aviv, but all three places have been the sites of major blood libels against the right. And a reminder of what to do in these situations.

2011 has seen the launch of two major blood libels aimed at the American and European right. The Breivik shootings and the Giffords bullseye. In both cases, the left tried to politicize an unstable man's shooting spree to silence and intimidate the political opposition. But my own experience goes back to the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin in the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv. A blood libel on an epic scale. There are common lessons to be drawn from all these events.

Each event played out in three phases. Shock media coverage that splattered the full details everywhere, followed by calls for the right to accept moral responsibility for the killer's actions. In the final phase, the right atones by practicing self-censorship so that, "nothing like this can ever happen again."

But let's follow a different path instead. A guide to how to handle these situations.

1. Avoid Panic and Self-Doubt

Panic is a natural response to suddenly being accused of being part of a movement of murderers. Non-stop coverage of every gory detail is upsetting even when you aren't being held responsible for it. It's far more upsetting when you are.

Self-doubt sets in. "Did my words help cause this?" or "If I had known this was going to happen, I would have been more careful." This too is natural. Sane human beings are built to take responsibility. And we make sense of larger events by connecting them to ourselves. Additionally political activists often have an element of grandiosity in their character, which in such situations works against them.

As natural as these responses are, they have to be shut down. In normal events, they are part of the process. It's normal to think, "If I had done this or that differently..." in just about any crisis. But in this event, your emotions are being manipulated.

Your self-doubt is the product of a carefully orchestrated media campaign. Its goal is to silence you and then enlist you into a campaign to silence others. It will use your human emotions against you. It will exploit your morality and your sense of responsibility, your grief and your shock, to take away your rights and turn you into a foot soldier in their cause... if you let it.

Conservatives are hit harder by the sight of internecine violence than liberals. Most conservatives want a stable and harmonious society. The left doesn't. It is not particularly bothered by the sight of Americans killing Americans, Israelis killing Israelis or Norwegians killing Norwegians. Their revolutionary cause is trans-national and political violence is proof of radical sincerity. But to conservatives, acts of domestic terror are devastating and make them question everything they are working for. The left knows this-- and it knows how to use this.

Don't get tricked into participating in a circular firing squad. Remember you are not responsible for an individual's acts of violence. Not unless you encouraged him to act. The media will draw specious connections, which will not hold up for long even to the general public.

That's the paradox. The average Israeli was not convinced that the right killed Rabin. The average American did not believe that Sarah Palin's map or talk radio caused a shooting in Arizona. But some on the right did believe it and and began seeking penance for a crime that no one outside the left believed they were guilty of.

Why did some on the right believe what the general public did not? Emotional manipulation. When you're close to an event, your emotions cloud your judgement. The blame seeking propaganda of the left is more effective against the right, in such situations, than against the general public whose emotional involvement diminishes rapidly after the first few days. This is why it's important not to let your emotions be manipulated...

[Read the rest at Sultan Knish]

1 Comments - Share Yours!:

Nick said...

A very nice essay. Well written, addresses the necessary points.