27 March 2006

A little bit of theory from the rabble-rousers

In the name of protecting freedom of speech and religion, many political and religious leaders incite people into violence. It doesn’t take much, just a little spark. How do they do it so quickly? There’s no secret really; they play on human behaviour. You see, simple social and psychological patterns have the makings of great destruction embedded in them. In the wrong hands, who can tell what this kind of human behaviour will do?

Here’s a little bit of theory I picked up from the rabble-rousers:

When our sense of physical and psychological self has been violated, when our personal property is invaded, our blood begins to boil. Because this violation, this invasion of our property, means that the systems that provide the statutes of law, justice, fair trade and personal protection in our society have failed. In turn, our faith in our safety and security reduces drastically. We feel victimised. We feel we have lost our sense of democratic autonomy. We wish to re-possess (or reclaim) our safety, our security, our sense of respectability. We seek retribution.

Not only do we seek retribution, going by our constitutional rights, we seek out opportunities to defend our property and whatever is contained within its space by whatever means necessary. This is an interesting situation because, in this situation, our sense of self and property actually becomes our sense of self as property. Waves of self-preservation overwhelm us and, along with a disdain for failed law and order and the justice system, we assume power in our own hands to rectify the situation that has gone wrong in our personal world.

What’s fascinating about this human behaviour is that it attracts popular sympathy, gains fervour through incitement, and becomes a movement. A dangerous one at that because, at this point, the movement believes it is above the law, and so, quickly turns into an uncontrollable mob. Political and religious leaders know this theory all too well.

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